Sep 25, 2008


Yesterday's Photo Diary Part 1 covering Tennessee, Kentucky and into Missouri found at this link is continued from Camdenton MO to Oakley Kansas.

This is all supposed to be Republican territory in the rural hills and lakes of the Ozarks but there is ZERO evidence of McCain support. Not a single McCain sign or bumper sticker in 500 miles today. Picturss from Wednesday's journey below the fold.

Today's drive was continued on 2 lane roads across Lake Ozark

and Lake Harry S. Truman

through Tightwad Missouri a town of 63

with the perfect bank name given the current banking situation

Fun with the GPS

This is my first cross country trip with a GPS and it turns out that using "shortest distance" to find a route between small towns off the beaten path can be quite an adventure

Between Harrisonville MO and Freeman MO on the Kansas state line the GPS put me on a very narrow gravel path

over this bridge

it was the shortest route but not one I would have found using a AAA map. Without the GPS I would have missed the best mailbox and Obama sign combination of the trip so far

The "Don't Worry About the Dog, Beware of the WIFE" Dog mailbox was on the gravel GPS suggested shortest route.
I doubt many people get to see that mailbox and Obama sign but it proves that at least one Democratic wife in rural Missouri supports Obama and has a sense of humor.

The road less traveled across Kansas took me through Council Grove where these sculptures

graced the hill outside of town

Today I saw a half dozen Obama signs and ZERO signs for McCain in Kansas or Missouri. Once again no bumper stickers for either candidate.

As night fell a massive storm system bore down on Kansas from the Rockies in the west and marble sized hail brought me to a halt in Oakley KS. The lightning show was spectacular but I'm glad to be off the road and inside tonight.

Tomorrow I reach Colorado and the Obama campaign.

I was happy to see a comment in my first Trippin for Obama diary from Jared Polis. He or someone in his campaign reads DailyKOS and he was kind enough to comment there and I want to thank him for that.

I've traveled over 1200 miles thus far and I'm anxious to see the Rockies and get to work for Obama Biden and the Democrats in Colorado.

My next photo diary should be filled with pictures of campaign work in Colorado. In the meantime


Thanks for all the good wishes

Sep 24, 2008


On the Road to Colorado to spend the next weeks until election day working as a Tennessee Volunteer for Barack Obama and the Democratic candidates of Colorado

After packing my Astro Van converted to a camper with my bike on the back and a canoe on the roof, I pulled out of Knoxville at 6AM on Monday morning for a cross country trek from the Smokies to the Rockies

My Congressional District the 2nd is the bloodiest RED in a deep RED state so rather than deal with the futility I want to make a difference where Barack can win. Along with Mark Udall for Senate, Betsy Markey for Congress, and Jared Polis to replace new Senator Mark Udall in Colorado's 2nd District.
As a bonus we get to retire Marilyn Musgrave (one of Rolling Stone's 10 Worst).

This report comes from Camdenton, Missouri on Tuesday night some 700 miles into the trip.

The route I chose took me through Wartburg TN. then Deer Lodge, Glades, Jamestown, Alpine, and Celina. In Kentucky from Tompkinsville, Scottsville, Russellville, Franklin, Hopkinsville, Mayfield, and Wickliffe. Through Cairo, Illinois to Sikeston, Poplar Bluff, Elsinor, Winona, and Eminence Missouri.

On well inflated tires at 50 miles an hour I took the shortest route on 2 lane roads.
right down the main streets of many small towns
the kind with court house squares where you can see the cars and yards.

The most surprising thing thus far is the amazing lack of bumper stickers or yard signs for either Obama or McSame. The count so far is 2 McSame yard signs and 3 Obama signs with one for Ron Paul and ZERO - not one single bumper sticker for 700 miles.

Tennessee is RED so it's good to see so little McSame support and Kentucky is somewhere to the right of Jefferson Davis who's monument can be seen near Hopkinsville.

Jeff Davis Washington Monument copy even leans to the RIGHT

Two things really struck me as I crossed Kentucky. The lack of any evidence of a Presidential campaign and the sparsity of traffic.


The two lane blacktop is a great escape from the cookie cutter sameness of the interstates. Each small town has some individuality. You see houses and fields up close at a speed that allows the mind to wander and wonder.
Fewer Wal-Marts and one size fits all mini-marts, fewer 18 wheelers and the occassional hay wagon with tractor or even a horse drawn Kentucky Amish.

The road took me over the French Broad and Holston in East Knoxville. Across the Clinch headed into Oak Ridge, Dale Hollow lake near Livingston,

Lake Barkley on the Cumberland River

and Kentucky Lake on the Tennessee River

Leaving Kentucky the highway crosses the Ohio River into Cairo Illinois the home state of the next President of the United States.
where a small ruined park occupies the triangle of land at the southern tip of the Land of Lincoln. A plack marks the spot where Lewis & Clark decided to "Proceed On"

The park is in horrible disrepair from total neglect

But here at lands end in Illinois surveying the confluence of the Ohio with the Mississippi I met my first Obama supporters fising for striped bass where the rivers meet

I left my four new friends on the banks of the river and crossed the Big River to the west into Missouri

Today I paddled 20 miles from Round Spring to Two Rivers on the Current River. 20 miles with no roads - just clear water, changing trees, and high bluffs. Not one soul was seen

Tomorrow I cross the plains of Kansas into Colorado and an adventure in campaigning renewed by the serenity of the scenic Current river.

Sep 21, 2008


"Even if the Treasury recovers some or most of its investment over time, this initial outlay of up to $700 billion is sobering. And in return for their support, the American people must be assured that the deal reflects some basic principles.

1. No blank check. If we grant the Treasury broad authority to address the immediate crisis, we must insist on independent accountability and oversight. Given the breach of trust we have seen and the magnitude of the taxpayer money involved, there can be no blank check.

2. Rescue requires mutual responsibility. As taxpayers are asked to take extraordinary steps to protect our financial system, it is only appropriate to expect those institutions that benefit to help protect American homeowners and the American economy. We cannot underwrite continued irresponsibility, where CEOs cash in and our regulators look the other way. We cannot abet and reward the unconscionable practices that triggered this crisis. We have to end them.

3. Taxpayers should be protected. This should not be a handout to Wall Street. It should be structured in a way that maximizes the ability of taxpayers to recoup their investment. Going forward, we need to make sure that the institutions that benefit from financial insurance also bear the cost of that insurance.

4. Help homeowners stay in their homes. This crisis started with homeowners and they bear the brunt of the nearly unprecedented collapse in housing prices. We cannot have a plan for Wall Street banks that does not help homeowners stay in their homes and help distressed communities.

5. A global response. As I said on Friday, this is a global financial crisis and it requires a global solution. The United States must lead, but we must also insist that other nations, who have a huge stake in the outcome, join us in helping to secure the financial markets.

6. Main Street, not just Wall Street. The American people need to know that we feel as great a sense of urgency about the emergency on Main Street as we do the emergency on Wall Street. That is why I call on Senator McCain, President Bush, Republicans and Democrats to join me in supporting an emergency economic plan for working families – a plan that would help folks cope with rising gas and food prices, save one million jobs through rebuilding our schools and roads, help states and cities avoid painful budget cuts and tax increases, help homeowners stay in their homes, and provide retooling assistance to help ensure that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built in America.

7. Build a regulatory structure for the 21st Century. While there is not time in a week to remake our regulatory structure to prevent abuses in the future, we should commit ourselves to the kind of reforms I have been advocating for several years. We need new rules of the road for the 21st Century economy, together with the means and willingness to enforce them.

Top-rated economics and finance blogger Calculated Risk says there is "no upside ... for taxpayers":

[T]he cost is still unknown, but there is no way that the taxpayers will profit. My initial estimate is that the direct costs of the Paulson plan will be $700 billion to taxpayers. That is about double the cost of the S&L crisis (compared to GDP).

....The plan only limits the Treasury to "$700,000,000,000 outstanding at any one time", so the total purchases can exceed $700 billion. In fact, every time the Treasury sells some securities, they will probably plow the net proceeds back into more troubled assets until the entire $700 billion is gone.

Think of a drunk gambler at a slot machine. He starts with $100 and slowly loses. Every now and then he wins some money, but he keeps putting the coins back into the slot until he has lost everything. That is how this plan will work.

Unless there is a dramatic changes, there will be no upside participation in the financial companies for taxpayers, and the taxpayers will recapitalize the banks by, in Krugman's words, "having taxpayers pay premium prices for lousy assets".

Prof. Paul Krugman agrees, saying this is a con-game at taxpayer expense:

It seems all too likely that a “fair price” for mortgage-related assets will still leave much of the financial sector in trouble. And there’s nothing at all in the draft that says what happens next; although I do notice that there’s nothing in the plan requiring Treasury to pay a fair market price. So is the plan to pay premium prices to the most troubled institutions? Or is the hope that restoring liquidity will magically make the problem go away?

The Treasury plan, by contrast, looks like an attempt to restore confidence in the financial system — that is, convince creditors of troubled institutions that everything’s OK — simply by buying assets off these institutions. This will only work if the prices Treasury pays are much higher than current market prices; that, in turn, can only be true either if this is mainly a liquidity problem — which seems doubtful — or if Treasury is going to be paying a huge premium, in effect throwing taxpayers’ money at the financial world.

And there’s no quid pro quo here — nothing that gives taxpayers a stake in the upside, nothing that ensures that the money is used to stabilize the system rather than reward the undeserving.

Even right-wing economist Harvard Prof. Greg Mankiw is aghast:

A Blank Check

A friend emails me a link to the proposed bailout legislation and asks,
Has more money ever been given with fewer restrictions on how it is used? Ever?
Update: Naked Capitalism's analysis of the plan is well worth reading.

And here is the aforementioned analysis by Naked Capitalism. If you truly want to understand Paulson's Wall Street bailout plan, this is the gold standard. That the taxpayer gets cleaned out isn't a bug, but a feature of the plan, and Paulson has admitted so behind closed doors:

The increase of the request from the initial $500 billion and the release of the shockingly short, sweeping text of the proposed legislation has lead to reactions of consternation among the knowledgeable, but whether this translates into enough popular ire fast enough to restrain this freight train remains to be seen.

First, .... here is the truly offensive section of an overreaching piece of legislation:
Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

This puts the Treasury's actions beyond the rule of law. This is a financial coup d'etat, .... Given the truly appalling track record of this Administration in its outsourcing, this is not an idle worry.
Nouriel Roubini does not think it passes the smell test:
`He's asking for a huge amount of power,'' said Nouriel Roubini, an economist at New York University. ``He's saying, `Trust me, I'm going to do it right if you give me absolute control.' This is not a monarchy.''
Now to the substance. The Treasury has been using the formula that it will buy assets at "fair market prices". . ....
Yet as we discussed, the plan makes no sense unless the Orwellian "fair market prices" means "above market prices." The point is not to free up illiquid assets. Illiquid assets (private equity, even the now derided CDOs were never intended to be traded, but pose no problem if they do not need to be marked at a large loss and/or the institution is not at risk of a run). Confirmation of our view came from a reader by e-mail:
I worked at [Wall Street firm you've heard of], but now I handle financial services for [a Congressman], and I was on the conference call that Paulson, Bernanke and the House Democratic Leadership held for all the members yesterday afternoon. It's supposed to be members only, but there's no way to enforce that if it's a conference call, and you may have already heard from other staff who were listening in.

Anyway, I wanted to let you know that, behind closed doors, Paulson describes the plan differently. He explicitly says that it will buy assets at above market prices (although he still claims that they are undervalued) because the holders won't sell at market prices. Anna Eshoo pressed him on how the government can compel the holders to sell, and he basically dodged the question. I think that's because he didn't want to admit that the government would just keep offering more and more.

.... this program is going to swing into action with the clear but not honestly disclosed intent of buying assets at above market prices when future markets and the analysts with the best track records on forecasting this decline (you can add Robert Shiller, CR at Calculated Risk, and Nouriel Roubini to the list) believe it has considerably further to fall.
Losses on the paper acquired are guaranteed. This is not a bug but a feature. The whole point of this exercise is an equity infusion to banks. ....

Taxpayers have no upside participation.

There is no regulatory reform as part of the package. ....

U. Cal. Berkeley economics Prof. Brad de Long also begs Congress to turn down this plan:

John McCain chose Sarah Palin to be his vice president.

There is a 40% chance John McCain will be president on January 21, 2009.

There is no way in hell that anybody should give any extra power to any Treasury Secretary chosen by John McCain.

I beg the Democrats in congress: write a bill that makes sense.

Prof. of Finance Luigi Zingales of the U. of Chicago agrees that the plan "crreate[s] a charitable institution that provides welfare to the rich -- at taxpayer expense" and offers a good alternative:

the solution is Chapter 11. In Chapter 11, companies with a solid underlying business generally swap debt for equity: the old equity holders are wiped out and the old debt claims are transformed into equity claims in the new entity which continues operating with a new capital structure.

Alternatively, the debt holders can agree to cut down the face value of debt, in exchange for some warrants. ..... So why is this well-established approach not used to solve the financial sector's current problems?

The obvious answer is that we do not have time; Chapter 11 procedures are generally long and complex, and the crisis has reached a point where time is of the essence. ....

The Paulson RTC will buy toxic assets at inflated prices thereby creating a charitable institution that provides welfare to the rich—at the taxpayers’ expense....

Since we do not have time for a Chapter 11 and we do not want to bail out all the creditors, the lesser evil is to do what judges do in contentious and overextended bankruptcy processes: to cram down a restructuring plan on creditors, where part of the debt is forgiven in exchange for some equity or some warrants. And there is a precedent for such a bold move. During the Great Depression....

The major players in the financial sector do not like it. It is much more appealing for the financial industry to be bailed out at taxpayers’ expense than to bear their share of pain..... The appeal of the Paulson solution is that it taxes the many and benefits the few. Since the many (we, the taxpayers) are dispersed, we cannot put up a good fight in Capitol Hill; while the financial industry is well represented at all the levels.
The decisions that will be made this weekend matter not just to the prospects of the U.S. economy in the year to come; they will shape the type of capitalism we will live in for the next fifty years.

Another top-rated economic blogger, Mike Shedlock a/k/a Mish who has a Ron Paul-ian political bent, begs for a Senate filibuster:

Congress is lining up to give "Unreviewable Dictatorial Power"to the Treasury while increasing the size of the already ridiculous proposal.

Contact Your Senator Today!

It's time to contact your senator. Here is contact information for Senators of the 110th Congress.

Phone or Email your Senators today. Tell them in your own words
Urge your senator to Filibuster any bailout legislation.
Emphatically state you do not want a bailout of any kind for anyone.
No Dictatorial power for Paulson or Bernanke
Taxpayers should not have to bail out banks making bad loans
Tell them that "The Fed" and Paulson are systemic risk".

So does Lee Adler of the Wall Street Examiner whose views are generally more progressive:

Dear Senator:

By assuming most of the bad debt from the financial system (if that’s even possible), the government will be infecting itself with the disease it has been seeking to treat. Interest rates will soar as investors perceive not only an increased threat of inflation from the Fed’s money printing that has already begun, but also from the correct perception that the government is destroying its own creditworthiness.Through a combination of softening tax receipts, a thermonuclear explosion of government spending for bailouts, and rising expenditures in all other aspects of government, the US will soon be facing trillion dollar deficits at a time when the only way to pay for them is to sell more and more bonds.

..... The government has in turn taken us from the the brink of financial system collapse and added to that the threat of financial collapse of the government itself, a fate which I would suggest is far worse than allowing Wall Street to collapse and money market funds to break the buck. No question, that’s a bad thing, but a loss of faith in the financial system is one thing, a loss of faith in the government’s ability to pay its bills and protect the public is a catastrophe of unimaginable proportions. If this program is passed by Congress, I fear that our fate will have been sealed.

I have no hope that this can be stopped in the House. Let’s hope that enough of our Senators are wise enough and courageous enough to stop this madness before it destroys our beloved Republic.

Finally, Stirling Newberry who once upon a time was a top-rated diarist here at DK, says this is a "defining moment" for Obama:

Liberals have pined for a new deal moment, well, it has arrived.
One of the crucial moments of the New Deal was one which occurred before FDR was in office. He was offered, by Hoover, a chance to wield the powers of the Presidency early, if, and only if, he renounced the "so-called New Deal." .... FDR replied that he was still a private citizen, and would assume the duties of office at the constitutionally appointed time.
That is to say, FDR invited Herbert Hoover to engage in political auto-fornication. Now this is one of the most hard minded decisions that could have been made. It is absolutely true that some people who lost everything in the intervening months would have been temporarily spared had FDR accepted the agreement. It is also clear that millions more would have suffered far worse. FDR, as much as he would be the architect, or at least General Contractor, for the liberal state in America, was also willing to break eggs to make an omelet.
It is precisely this willingness to take short term losses, to not be held hostage by a mad man, that made FDR able to see through the project to its conclusion.
They key is to avoid being saddled with the debt, and leaving the same bums in charge. It's really that simple. That's why the Village is all fuzzy for the RTC all of a sudden: the consumer takes the shaft, and the people who crashed the sports car walk away scott free.

Stirling Newberry is back! after a 2 year absence from DK, he has just posted his own diary. (warning, it's very long). Stirling will definitely make you think, and he may just be the most erudite diarist on this blog.

Prof. Krugman has just updated his material. He is even more skeptical of this bailout, saying it doesn't even address some of the major issues and may well not work. (Thanks to the commenter who brought this to my attention).

Calculated Risk reads the Treasury's "fact sheet" and discovers that FOREIGN INVESTMENT BANKS are eligible for the bailout!* And 2008-vintage securities (what, were those people absolutely nutz!) are included.
*I wonder if China and the petrosheikhdoms, our big creditors, insisted. If so, this is the second time in 2 weeks they have insisted on guaranteed payment by their US taxpayer serfs.
UPDATE 5: Economic blog Housing Wire says that even market participants are growing uneasy about the implications of the vast power grab of Paulson's plan:

While market participants conveyed to HW just how close much of the nation’s debt markets came to collapse last week, many were increasingly uncomfortable with the Treasury’s response after having time to consider it. Others were downright apocalyptic in their assessment of the bailout proposal.

“Buying bad assets from solvent institutions is a really bad idea. I think they need to wait for them to go bankrupt,” said one equity fund manager, who asked not to be named. “They had a liquidity crisis on their hands, but that was not the way to fix it.”

Let's cross our fingers and hope that this means there will be pushback against passing without amendment or restriction Paulson's bill.

William Greider of The Nation joins the chorus:

Financial-market wise guys, who had been seized with fear, are suddenly drunk with hope. They are rallying explosively because they think they have successfully stampeded Washington into accepting the Wall Street Journal solution to the crisis: dump it all on the taxpayers. That is the meaning of the massive bailout Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has shopped around Congress. It would relieve the major banks and investment firms of their mountainous rotten assets and make the public swallow their losses--many hundreds of billions, maybe much more. What's not to like if you are a financial titan threatened with extinction?

If Wall Street gets away with this, it will represent an historic swindle of the American public--all sugar for the villains, lasting pain and damage for the victims. My advice to Washington politicians: Stop, take a deep breath and examine what you are being told to do by so-called "responsible opinion....
The people should make themselves heard in Washington, even if only to share their outrage.

Dean Baker asks the obvious question about Paulson's insistence that exactly his bill
must be passed NOW!:

Paulson Missed the Bubble and Understated the Financial Crisis at Every Point

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is telling Congress that if it doesn't give him a $700 billion blank check the financial system is going to collapse. It would be reasonable for reporters discussing this request to present some background on the track record of the person asking for this enormous blank check....

At every point along the way, Secretary Paulson has failed to see the extent of the crisis resulting from the collapse of the housing bubble. This raises serious questions about his judgment. Reporters should be discussing Paulson't track record in the context of this bailout proposal.

Sep 19, 2008


In Crawford TX ignores a Condi Rice hand delivered National Security Memo - Al Queda Determined to Attack US. Only a fool would vacation in Crawford TX in August.
This particular fool has a family compound in Kennebunkport Maine.
No wonder he was too dim to comprehend the danger of an attack.

Kenny Boy Lay a major contributor and favored friend of W oversees the greatest confidence scheme in corporate history that does not end until the Terminator is Governor of California

In the mother of all premature ejaculations Captain Codpiece takes to the skies and becomes his own WMD landing on an aircraft carrier off San Diego ordering the ship to turn around for a better television shot.


Not content to torture American's here at home with mangled English W shames every American with his policies of Rendition and Torture in Guantanamo and Iraq


Not content to allow his Horse Show expert and FEMA chief to screw up relief in New Orleans by failure to get water to the Super Dome in eight days, W celebrates McSame's birthday in Phoenix while hundreds die in the Gulf - not that gulf but our gulf


Just one of hundreds of lobbyists running Washington into the ground in the biggest transfer of wealth in history, Jack Abramoff is stupid enough to get caught. That fails to deter John McSame from staffing his campaign with 157 lobbyists who claim that McSame and Palin will reform Washington.

If you believe that I've got a bridge to nowhere that may interest you.


After running the Justice Department as if it were the Bush Criminal Defense Team
Alberto 'Johnny Cochran' Gonzales's glove no longer fits.
Gonzales leaves an indelible stain of Liberty University Law grads who have been vetted politically to fit the W mold.
Only W could top the clueless John Ashcroft with a worse choice.


Banks and Stocks dive and disappear like stock brokers plunging from office towers on Black Monday. McHOOVER assures us "the Fundamentals of the Economy are Strong."


Sep 18, 2008

INSANITY - 1929 and 2008

the similarities are unreal....even the time of year

The Wall Street Crash of 1929, also known as the Crash of ’29 or the Great Crash, was the most devastating stock market crash in US history Three phrases—Black Thursday, Black Monday, and Black Tuesday—are used to describe this collapse of stock values. All three are appropriate, for the crash was not a one-day affair. The initial crash occurred on Black Thursday (October 24, 1929), but it was the catastrophic downturn of Black Monday and Tuesday (October 28 and 29, 1929) that precipitated widespread panic and the onset of unprecedented and long-lasting consequences for the United States. The collapse continued for a month.

The crash in America came near the beginning of the Great Depression, a period of economic decline in the industrialized nations, and led to the institution of landmark financial reforms and new trading regulations.

Those reforms including the Glass-Stegall Act protected Americans from the excesses of Wall Street until Phil Gramm and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 repealed the regulations and allowed Wall Street to run amok

These two look as if they just caught a whiff of the steaming pile of crap they left lying at the intersection of Wall and Broad in lower Manhattan.

The Roaring Twenties was a time of prosperity and excess in the city, and despite warnings against speculation, many believed that the market could sustain high price levels. Shortly before the crash, Irving Fisher famously proclaimed, "Stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau." The euphoria and financial gains of the great bull market were shattered on Black Thursday, when share prices on the NYSE collapsed. Stock prices fell on that day and they continued to fall, at an unprecedented rate for a full month.

In the days leading up to Black Thursday, the market was severely unstable. Periods of selling and high volumes of trading were interspersed with brief periods of rising prices and recovery. Economist and author Jude Wanniski later correlated these swings with the prospects for passage of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, which was then being debated in Congress. After the crash, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) recovered early in 1930, only to reverse again, reaching a low point of the great bear market in 1932. The Dow did not return to pre-1929 levels until late 1954, and was lower at its July 8, 1932 level than it had been since the 1800s.
“ Anyone who bought stocks in mid-1929 and held onto them saw most of his or her adult life pass by before getting back to even. ”

After an amazing five-year run when the world saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) increase in value fivefold, prices peaked at 381.17 on September 3, 1929. The market then fell sharply for a month, losing 17% of its value on the initial leg down. Prices then recovered more than half of the losses over the next week, only to turn back down immediately afterwards. The decline then accelerated into the so-called "Black Thursday", October 24, 1929. A record number of 12.9 million shares were traded on that day. At 1 p.m. on Friday, October 25, several leading Wall Street bankers met to find a solution to the panic and chaos on the trading floor. The meeting included Thomas W. Lamont, acting head of Morgan Bank; Albert Wiggin, head of the Chase National Bank; and Charles E. Mitchell, president of the National City Bank. They chose Richard Whitney, vice president of the Exchange, to act on their behalf. With the bankers' financial resources behind him, Whitney placed a bid to purchase a large block of shares in U.S. Steel at a price well above the current market. As amazed traders watched, Whitney then placed similar bids on other "blue chip" stocks. This tactic was similar to a tactic that ended the Panic of 1907, and succeeded in halting the slide that day. In this case, however, the respite was only temporary.

Over the weekend, the events were covered by the newspapers across the United States. On Monday, October 28, more investors decided to get out of the market, and the slide continued with a record loss in the Dow for the day of 13%. The next day, "Black Tuesday", October 29, 1929, 16.4 million shares were traded, a number that broke the record set five days earlier and that was not exceeded until 1969. Author Richard M. Salsman wrote that on October 29—amid rumors that U.S. President Herbert Hoover would not veto the pending Hawley-Smoot Tariff bill—stock prices crashed even further." William C. Durant joined with members of the Rockefeller family and other financial giants to buy large quantities of stocks in order to demonstrate to the public their confidence in the market, but their efforts failed to stop the slide. The DJIA lost another 12% that day. The ticker did not stop running until about 7:45 that evening. The market lost $14 billion in value that day, bringing the loss for the week to $30 billion, ten times more than the annual budget of the federal government, far more than the U.S. had spent in all of World War I.

An interim bottom occurred on November 13, with the Dow closing at 198.6 that day. The market recovered for several months from that point, with the Dow reaching a secondary peak at 294.0 in April 1930. The market embarked on a steady slide in April 1931 that did not end until 1932 when the Dow closed at 41.22 on July 8, concluding a shattering 89% decline from the peak. This was the lowest the stock market had been since the 19th century.
This morning we woke up to a market that lost every penny it had gained over the past eight years of the Bush Mis-Administration. The Dow Jones Industrial Aveage closed at 10.606 vs the 10.614 mark held on the black day that George W. Bush took office.

In the interim W has managed to spend and raise the NATIONAL DEBT by over 4 TRILLION DOLLARS without stimulating the economy. Most of us never thought that would be possible but like Houdini Bush has made trillions disappear while failing to record impressive growth in the markets.
The crash followed a speculative boom that had taken hold in the late 1920s, which had led hundreds of thousands of Americans to invest heavily in the stock market, a significant number even borrowing money to buy more stock. By August 1929, brokers were routinely lending small investors more than 2/3 of the face value of the stocks they were buying. Over $8.5 billion was out on loan, more than the entire amount of currency circulating in the U.S. The rising share prices encouraged more people to invest; people hoped the share prices would rise further. Speculation thus fueled further rises and created an economic bubble. The average P/E (price to earnings) ratio of S&P Composite stocks was 32.6 in September 1929, clearly above historical norms. Most economists view this event as the most dramatic in modern economic history. On October 24, 1929 (with the Dow just past its September 3 peak of 381.17), the market finally turned down, and panic selling started. 12,894,650 shares were traded in a single day as people desperately tried to mitigate the situation. This mass sale was considered a major contributing factor to the Great Depression. Economists and historians, however, frequently differ in their views of the crash's significance in this respect. Some hold that political over-reactions to the crash, such as the passage of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act through the U.S. Congress, caused more harm than the crash itself.

The 1931 Pecora Commission established by the U.S. Senate studied the causes of the crash. In response to that study Congress passed the Glass-Steagall Act in 1933, which mandated a separation between commercial banks, which take deposits and extend loans, and investment banks, which underwrite, issue, and distribute stocks, bonds, and other securities.
After the experience of the 1929 crash, stock markets around the world instituted measures to temporarily suspend trading in the event of rapid declines, claiming that they would prevent such panic sales. The one-day crash of Black Monday, October 19, 1987, however, was even more severe than the crash of 1929, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell a full 22.6%.

The Wall Street Crash had a major impact on the U.S. and world economy, and it has been the source of intense academic debate—historical, economic and political—from its aftermath until the present day. The crash marked the beginning of widespread and long-lasting consequences for the United States. The main question is: Did the crash cause the depression, or did it merely coincide with the bursting of a credit-inspired economic bubble? The decline in stock prices caused bankruptcies and severe macroeconomic difficulties including business closures, firing of workers and other economic repression measures. The resultant rise of mass unemployment and the depression is seen as a direct result of the crash, though it is by no means the sole event that contributed to the depression; it is usually seen as having the greatest impact on the events that followed. Therefore the Wall Street Crash is widely regarded as signaling the downward economic slide that initiated the Great Depression. One can date the onset of this Great Depression from December 1930 with the collapse of the Bank of the United States, a mid-size lender to the Jewish community in New York (it is often alleged that the Anglo elites let the bank fail from motives of anti-semitic malice).
Despite the lessons of history and remedies that have worked to keep us protected passed by Congress in 1933, the insane Phil Gramm with help from his deregulation crazy Republican buddies in Congress, repealed the Glass Stegall Act. Insane and crazy because they have decided to repeat the mistakes that led to massive failure.

Back in July of 2007 the Dow Jones topped out at just over 14,000 riding a wave of the Ownership Society (as formulated by the CATO Group)
..if you own something, you have a vital stake in the future of our country. The more ownership there is in America, the more vitality there is in America, and the more people have a vital stake in the future of this country. - President George W. Bush, June 17, 2004

We're creating... an ownership society in this country, where more Americans than ever will be able to open up their door where they live and say, welcome to my house, welcome to my piece of property. - President George W. Bush, October 2004. [2]

Individuals are empowered by freeing them from dependence on government handouts and making them owners instead, in control of their own lives and destinies. In the ownership society, patients control their own health care, parents control their own children's education, and workers control their retirement savings. - Cato Institute

Many people don't have the time, inclination, or expertise necessary to take full responsibility for their own well-being in areas that are so complex as assuring they have sufficient income for retirement or choosing a health plan appropriate for their circumstances. - Robert Reischauer, president of the Urban Institute, a Washington think tank.

...the key to health care reform is to restore control to the patients themselves. - John McCain's campaign website, 2008.
Mortgage lenders we now know told their sales agents that they would be fired if they checked on the incomes of people who applied for mortgages. As a result thousands of unqualified "owners" who were clueless about the fancy instruments offerd signed away their homes for loans to invest in stocks or to purchase goods from China. When rates increased or they lost their jobs to the Chinese they defaulted in record numbers. George Bush and his Republican friends gave Wall Street the green light to place the entire nation at risk of another 1929 like depression in order to boost stock sales and the credit crisis. John McSame was a key player along with his economic advisor Phil Gramm who will go down in history as the author of the great financial crisis of 2008.

GOD help us all if McHoover and Pinnochio Palin are elected

All LIPSTICK aside this video from a couple of days ago stayed with me until last night I realized I was listening to an excellent rendition of either Porkey Pig or Elmer Fudd. I am long past my cartoon days.

At first I couldn't recall if it was
the Disney character who carries a shotgun to shoot Wascally Wabbits obviously a better match with Dick Cheney or was it the porcine prevaricator prone to nervous stuttering - the real live Looney Tune K Ka Ka Karl Ra rr Rove

"Ma Ma Ma McCain is
beyon beyon beyond
th th th
100% truth test?"

Th Th Th Thats All Folks

Anywhere you spread the lipstick the comparison is creepy.

Sep 16, 2008

10 REASONS TO ELECT McBUSH and Pinnochio Palin

As someday it may happen that a victim must be found
I've got a little list

Some days you just have to do something silly to keep from tearing your hair out.
I don't watch much Letteman but I am a fan of his lists
so with apologies to David here are mine

Please help out by adding your improvements via the comment section

10 Most Viable reasons to elect Pinnochio Palin Vice-President

10. She’s a terrific role model for abstinence only sex education

9. She is already very competent in hiding her administration’s e-mail from public view and will require no instruction from Dick Cheney

8. She will put Air Force Two on eBay and when it fails to sell she will offer it through a broker at a loss so McSame can claim she sold it on eBay for a profit

7. She will eliminate any moose or polar bear infestation in Washington DC

6. She will reduce the clutter in the Library of Congress by offering a list of books to be removed

5. She will fight pork by removing bacon from all government operated cafeterias.

4. She will streamline the various departments in Washington and reduce the size of government by firing those who refuse to fire anyone who disagrees with her.

3. She will improve the museum of natural history and cut costs by moving the dinosaur display in with the Neanderthals.

2. She will hunt down Democratic Congressmen using airplanes and helicopters and offer a $150 bounty on their limbs.

1. She will have a totally fresh outlook on foreign policy if she becomes President unfettered by any previously held knowledge or belief.

10 Best Reasons to elect John Sidney McSame

10. He chose the most qualified person in the world to be his VP

9. His wife Cindy has more experience than anyone in decorating new houses

8. His economy is on solid ground - even if ours sucks

7. He will enter his VP in the Miss Buffalo Chip contest

6. He will reform Washington so it looks like it did back in the good old days of George W Bush or Herbert Hoover

5. He can bail out Lehman Brothers with his own (Cindy’s) money

4. He won’t have to use Camp David or Air Force One since he has better places to stay and his own jet.

3. He has 159 Hogs on his campaign staff who will bring enough pork to Washington to eliminate the need for more

2. He will revitalize the drilling industry in your back yard and use the holes to store nuclear waste.

1. He will attack Russia, bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran, and stay in Iraq for 100 years after following Osama bin Ladin to the gates of Hell so cable news ratings could skyrocket if anyone is left with enough money to pay for cable.

Sep 13, 2008


We have come to expect a good deal of truth stretching and spin from political candidates and their mouthpieces over recent history. The lies and distortions of the Bush years have been legend topped off by the lies and deceit that led us into a horrendous and costly war. The failure of the Democratic Congress to press for impeachment as the only real answer for such incredible malfeasance on the part of the President has left us impotent to stop the slaughter of reason and truth by the new Republican team seeking to top the record of lies told by their predecessors.

We are over 50 days from voting and the compendium of lies and distortions is growing exponentially. Slowly these lies that have been repeated so often are finally being called out by our increasingly impotent media and press. Here are just a few of the more egregious examples.

Blizzard of Lies

Published: September 11, 2008

Did you hear about how Barack Obama wants to have sex education in kindergarten, and called Sarah Palin a pig? Did you hear about how Ms. Palin told Congress, “Thanks, but no thanks” when it wanted to buy Alaska a Bridge to Nowhere?

These stories have two things in common: they’re all claims recently made by the McCain campaign — and they’re all out-and-out lies.

Dishonesty is nothing new in politics. I spent much of 2000 — my first year at The Times — trying to alert readers to the blatant dishonesty of the Bush campaign’s claims about taxes, spending and Social Security.

But I can’t think of any precedent, at least in America, for the blizzard of lies since the Republican convention. The Bush campaign’s lies in 2000 were artful — you needed some grasp of arithmetic to realize that you were being conned. This year, however, the McCain campaign keeps making assertions that anyone with an Internet connection can disprove in a minute, and repeating these assertions over and over again.

Take the case of the Bridge to Nowhere, which supposedly gives Ms. Palin credentials as a reformer. Well, when campaigning for governor, Ms. Palin didn’t say “no thanks” — she was all for the bridge, even though it had already become a national scandal, insisting that she would “not allow the spinmeisters to turn this project or any other into something that’s so negative.”

Oh, and when she finally did decide to cancel the project, she didn’t righteously reject a handout from Washington: she accepted the handout, but spent it on something else. You see, long before she decided to cancel the bridge, Congress had told Alaska that it could keep the federal money originally earmarked for that project and use it elsewhere.

So the whole story of Ms. Palin’s alleged heroic stand against wasteful spending is fiction.

Or take the story of Mr. Obama’s alleged advocacy of kindergarten sex-ed. In reality, he supported legislation calling for “age and developmentally appropriate education”; in the case of young children, that would have meant guidance to help them avoid sexual predators.

And then there’s the claim that Mr. Obama’s use of the ordinary metaphor “putting lipstick on a pig” was a sexist smear, and on and on.

Why do the McCain people think they can get away with this stuff? Well, they’re probably counting on the common practice in the news media of being “balanced” at all costs. You know how it goes: If a politician says that black is white, the news report doesn’t say that he’s wrong, it reports that “some Democrats say” that he’s wrong. Or a grotesque lie from one side is paired with a trivial misstatement from the other, conveying the impression that both sides are equally dirty.

They’re probably also counting on the prevalence of horse-race reporting, so that instead of the story being “McCain campaign lies,” it becomes “Obama on defensive in face of attacks.”

Still, how upset should we be about the McCain campaign’s lies? I mean, politics ain’t beanbag, and all that.

One answer is that the muck being hurled by the McCain campaign is preventing a debate on real issues — on whether the country really wants, for example, to continue the economic policies of the last eight years.

But there’s another answer, which may be even more important: how a politician campaigns tells you a lot about how he or she would govern.

I’m not talking about the theory, often advanced as a defense of horse-race political reporting, that the skills needed to run a winning campaign are the same as those needed to run the country. The contrast between the Bush political team’s ruthless effectiveness and the heckuva job done by the Bush administration is living, breathing, bumbling, and, in the case of the emerging Interior Department scandal, coke-snorting and bed-hopping proof to the contrary.

I’m talking, instead, about the relationship between the character of a campaign and that of the administration that follows. Thus, the deceptive and dishonest 2000 Bush-Cheney campaign provided an all-too-revealing preview of things to come. In fact, my early suspicion that we were being misled about the threat from Iraq came from the way the political tactics being used to sell the war resembled the tactics that had earlier been used to sell the Bush tax cuts.

And now the team that hopes to form the next administration is running a campaign that makes Bush-Cheney 2000 look like something out of a civics class. What does that say about how that team would run the country?

What it says, I’d argue, is that the Obama campaign is wrong to suggest that a McCain-Palin administration would just be a continuation of Bush-Cheney. If the way John McCain and Sarah Palin are campaigning is any indication, it would be much, much worse.


Why does the McCain campaign think it is honorable or fair or decent or worthy of anyone's respect to lie so disgracefully about a bill designed to help protect children from predators by saying Obama wants to teach kindergarden children about sex before they can read? What kind of man approves such a hideously distorted message? The Illinois bill was an attempt to fund instruction for children about inappropriate touching so they would know what to do if a predator touched them. That isn't sex. That's good common sense.


He has to lie because he has nothing else to run on - all he can do is run down Obama. STOP IT NOW.

E.J. Dionne in WaPo:

John McCain's deceptions about Barack Obama's views and Sarah Palin's flip-flopping suggest an unedifying scuffle over a city council seat. The media bear a heavy responsibility because "balance" does not require giving equal time to truth and lies. So does McCain, who is running a disgraceful, dishonorable campaign of distraction and diversion.

Note that E.J. too picks up on the phony "balance" in media that's contributing to the mudslinging.

Charles Babbington at AP (of all places):

The "Straight Talk Express" has detoured into doublespeak. ... Even in a political culture accustomed to truth-stretching, McCain's skirting of facts has stood out this week.

Jonathan Alter on Charlie Rose,

On Charlie Rose tonight

Jonathon Alter from Newsweek made the same point, and said that it was time for the media to start using the word "liar".

Maybe it's spreading.

Another one from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Palin — with the full backing and support of the McCain campaign — is doing herself longterm political damage with this ploy. The American people are watching her repeatedly lie to them, day after day, and watching her do so with no apparent compunction. This is her introduction to the national scene; this is when her image is being cemented into the public mind.

And her image is increasingly that of a guiltless liar.

Andrew Sullivan at The Atlantic Online:

If she is a fraud, and has been proven a demonstrable liar in ways that a competent campaign would have vetted six months ago, McCain's campaign is over, and deserves to be over. ... This is the most shambolic campaign I have ever witnessed in a general election. If he runs his campaign this badly, how would he run the country?

Cherry Creek (CO) News:

Sarah Palin: Serial Liar?
Despite a solid debunking, the McCain-Palin campaign continue to traffic in falsehoods about the Alaska Governor's short tenure.

Michael Kinsley, also at WaPo:

The whole controversy is ginned up, a fraud, a lie. All obvious.

I know that by even bringing this up, I am falling into the trap that McCain’s people have set and perpetuating this ridiculous controversy. But the routine acceptance of obvious lies now corrodes our politics as much as the money that was the subject of McCain’s famous act of Republican apostasy: McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform. ... the media have trouble calling a lie a lie, or asserting that one side is lying more than the other -- even when that is objectively the case. ... He says he’d rather lose the election than lose the war. But it seems he’d rather lose that honor he’s always going on about than lose the election.

This from Washington Monthly:

Now, it's obvious she's lying. She knows she's lying. She knows that we know she's lying. But she just doesn't give a damn. At this point, it's bordering on pathological. (According to one count, the McCain campaign has now repeated the lie 23 times.) ... Whatever the motivation, the McCain campaign simply has a problem telling the truth. With each passing the day, the disdain this gang shows for the democratic process becomes a little more breathtaking.

Wanting the White House in the Worst Way

Whether Schmidt or Rove executes those same old appeals to the worst in us hardly matters. What matters is that McCain has adopted an approach that was once thought beneath him. And that choice dates back to his decision to ally himself with George W. Bush and indeed with Rove, despite the vicious tactics that defeated him in the Republican primaries of 2000 -- for which he held them responsible...he has once more sold himself to those same forces, hoping that they will at last usher him into the White House.

Joe Conason - Salon



McCain talks up Palin as a reformer on 'The View'

McCain says Palin is good for the country because of her 'reformer credentials' on 'The View'

AP News

Sep 12, 2008 11:50 EST

Republican presidential candidate John McCain said Friday running mate Sarah Palin has never asked for money for lawmakers' pet projects as Alaska governor when in fact she has sought nearly $200 million in earmarks this year.

McCain made the comments as he appeared on the ABC television show "The View" as part of his effort to woo women to his candidacy.

The Arizona senator said the GOP vice presidential nominee would be good for the country because she would reform government, and specifically cited curbing federal spending for earmarks.

When pressed about Palin's record of requesting and accepting such money for Alaska, McCain ignored the record and said: "Not as governor she didn't."

As questions swirl about whether Palin is qualified to serve, McCain defended her and said he's very happy with his selection of her.

"She's ignited a spark in America," McCain said, even as he acknowledged that they sometimes have different views.

McCain also used the appearance to defend his TV commercials criticizing his Democratic opponent, Barack Obama. McCain stretches the truth in several of them that have been debunked by fact checkers.

"They're not lies," McCain said.



John McCain: Still Lying. Again.

Fri Sep 12, 2008 at 05:16:07 PM EST

And there isn't any way this is an "honest mistake", because the figures for Alaska earmarks have been floating around as a major campaign issue, the last week. He's just a liar:

MCCAIN: Well, first of all, earmark spending, which she vetoed a half a billion dollars worth in the state of Alaska.
WALTERS: She also took some earmarks there.

BEHAR: A lot.

MCCAIN: No, not as governor she didn’t, she vetoed...

WALTERS: As Mayor.

MCCAIN: Well, look, the fact is that she was a reform governor.

Um, no. Not even close. Alaska under Palin still sought more earmark dollars per-capita than any other state. Alaska requested $750 million dollars in earmarks during the time she was governor. Denying that she took earmarks is about as credible as McCain announcing he won the Tour de France (maybe he's saving that one for next week.) And yes, Walters was correct to note that as Mayor of Wasilla, Palin was also an avid earmark seeker.


Have we really reached the point where is doesn't matter if what a president says is true?

another list of more lies and distortions:

Over the weekend, Senator McCain said, "this election is about trust and trusting people's word"

Signing of the GI Bill: Now enthusiastically for it... after it passed. Previously attacked the Webb Bill. Didn't even bother to vote on it.

Campaign reform: On political reform, McCain last January opposed a grassroots lobbying bill he once supported. In 2006, the "New York Sun" reported that his presidential ambitions led McCain to reverse his support of a campaign financial bill called McCain/Feingold.

Alien Minors Act/Immigration: Last October he said he would vote against the development, relief and education for Alien Miners Act that he co-sponsored, and then said he would vote against an immigration bill that he introduced.

Abortion: On abortion, 1999, publicly supporting Roe v. Wade, privately opposing it in a letter to the National Right to Life Committee. In the 2000 debates, he would change the GOP platform to permit exceptions for rape, incest, the life of the mother. May 2007, "flipped", reported.

Nuclear Waste: No Storing Nuclear waste at Yucca mountain flipped

Negotiating with Kim Jong-Il: Negotiating with Kim Jong-Il not acceptable until President Bush did it last week.

Negotiating with Cuba/Castro: With Fidel Castro acceptable in 2000, not 2008.

Negotiating with Hamas/Terrorists: ...with terrorists appropriate when Colin Powell went to Syria and in 2006 when McCain said sooner or later we‘ll talk to Hamas, but not appropriate now re: Obama's willingness to use diplomacy.

Pakistan: Unilateral action against suspected terrorists in Pakistan; "Confused leadership" when Obama suggested it, not when Bush did it.

Warrantless Wire-taps: Six months ago, presidents had to obey the law, not anymore.

Torture: Torture detainees, no way, except for the CIA. Hold them indefinitely, wrong in 2003, the right move in 2008.

Iraq War: The Iraq war, the right course 2004, stay the course 2005. Today, McCain has always been a Rumsfeld critic.

Tax Cuts: In 2001, he could not in good conscious support them. Now he can.

Estate Tax: 2006, "I agree with President Roosevelt who created it". In 2008, "most unfair".

Privatizing Social Security: This month not for privatizing Social Security, never has been. In 2004, he "didn‘t see how benefits will last without it".

Balanced Budget: In February, promised a balanced budget in four years by April, make that eight years.

Windfall Profits Tax: In May, glad to look at the windfall profits tax. By June, that was Jimmy Carter's big idea.

Offshore Drilling: In 2000, no new off shore drilling. Last month, it would take years to develop. This month, very helpful in the short term.

Coyotes..Bush Big Time Fund Raisers: The Bush fund-raisers McCain called coyotes breaking the law in 2000. By 2006, they were co-chairing McCain fund-raisers.

"Agents of Intolerance": Buddy Jerry "agent of intolerance in 2000". Kissed Falwell's ass in 2007... The Reverend Hagee and Parsley in, then out this year alone.

Martin Luther King Holiday: In 1983, opposed Martin Luther King Day. Today, all for it.

Confederate Flag: In 2000, defended South Carolina's confederate flag as a symbol of heritage. Two years later, McCain calling it, quote, an act of political cowardice not to say the flag should come down. Quote, "everybody said, look out. You can't win in South Carolina if you say that."

Evolution in Public Schools: In 2005, McCain said alternatives to evolution should be taught in school. "Evolving" the opposite position he had taken in 2000.

Restoring the Everglades: On June 5, John McCain traveled to the Everglades to win over Floridians and environmentally-minded voters. There he proclaimed, "I am in favor of doing whatever’s necessary to save the Everglades." Sadly, as ThinkProgress documented, McCain not only opposed $2 billion in funding for the restoration of the Everglades national park, he backed President Bush’s veto of the legislation in 2007. "I believe," he said, "that we should be passing a bill that will authorize legitimate, needed projects without sacrificing fiscal responsibility."

Swiftboating: McCain's sudden embrace of Swiftboating --- which today is synonymous with a concerted effort to lie about an opponent's history --- is all the more deplorable because he has hired retired Col. George "Bud" Day, a proud member of the group that Swiftboated Kerry --- and someone McCain once described as having "tunnel vision" --- to lead what McCain is calling his "Truth Squad."

GITMO/Habeus Corpus:Despite John McCain's outrage last week that the Supreme Court ordered Gitmo detainees know why they were being held, or released -- Political Base has stumbled upon a McCain appearance on Meet the Press in 2005 where he argued they deserved trials, going so far as to say "if it means releasing some of them, you'll have to release them." Shameless.

Divestment from South Africa: During his June 2 speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), John McCain called for the international community to target Iran for the kind of worldwide sanctions regime applied to apartheid-era South Africa. Unfortunately, McCain’s lobbyist-advisers Charlie Black and Rick Davis each represented firms doing business with Tehran. Even more unfortunate, John McCain was frequently not among those offering "moral clarity and conviction" in backing "a divestment campaign against South Africa, helping to rid that nation of the evil of apartheid."

Opposing Hurricane Katrina Investigations: During a June 4th town hall meeting in Baton Rouge, John McCain answered a reporter’s question regarding Hurricane Katrina and the failure of the New Orleans levees by announcing:

"I’ve supported every investigation and ways of finding out what caused the tragedy. I’ve been here to New Orleans. I’ve met with people on the ground."

As it turns out, not so much. McCain’s revisionist history neglects to mention that in 2005 and 2006 he twice voted against a commission to study the government’s response to Katrina. He also opposed three separate emergency funding measures providing relief to Katrina victims, including the extension of five months of Medicaid benefits. And as ThinkProgress pointed out, "until traveling there one month ago, McCain had made just one public tour of New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina touched down in August 2005."

McCain On His Economic Abilities: "I have not. I have not. Actually, I have not." "I said that I am stronger on national security issues because of all the time I spent in the military and others. I am very strong on the economy. I understand it. I have a lot more experience than my opponent."

-- Sen. John McCain, in an interview on ABC News, when asked why he "admitted that you're not exactly an expert when it comes to the economy."

However, NBC News compiles past McCain quotes in which he said "The issue of economics is not something I've understood as well as I should" or "I'm going to be honest: I know a lot less about economics than I do about military and foreign policy issues. I still need to be educated."

On Criticizing Obama While "Overseas": Traveling in Colombia, he told reporters that he wouldn't criticize Obama while he was overseas, but on the plane, he blasted Obama’s opposition to the proposed Colombia free trade...

Temperment and Temper: "My temper has often been both a matter of public speculation and personal concern," he wrote in a 2002 memoir. "I have a temper, to state the obvious, which I have tried to control with varying degrees of success because it does not always serve my interest or the public's." Not true and not under control, according to many of those on the "W"rong side of McCain's famous temper.

Drilling For Oil and Automobile Efficiency: "Last week, Senator McCain reversed himself and said we need to drill more. Today, he has reversed years of failing to support more efficient cars, new energy technologies and green jobs.

Offshore Drilling: Two weeks ago, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) offered "a bit of a capitulation to the oil companies" by announcing that he would end the federal ban on offshore oil drilling. Not only is McCain’s move a break with environmental activist, but it is also "a reversal of the position he took in his 2000 presidential campaign.

Payroll Taxes: "When he was asked in 2005 whether he could see himself lifting the cap on the payroll tax, (McCain) said, 'I could.' Two years later, during a May 13, 2007, appearance on "Meet the Press," Russert asked McCain if he was still open to lifting the Social Security tax cap as part of a compromise. "Am I opposed to tax increases?" said McCain. "Yes. But we've got to sit down together and figure out what our options are, and tough decisions have to be made, Republicans and Democrats. And I know how to do that." Asked about the 2005 remark, a McCain spokesman acknowledged the tension with his current position while arguing that the Arizona senator's criticism of his Democratic rival is still valid because McCain has spoken out against higher Social Security taxes as a 2008 White House hopeful.

Ethics Reform and Abramoff: On the stump, Sen. John McCain often cites his work tackling the excesses of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff as evidence of his sturdy ethical compass. A little-known document, however, shows that McCain may have taken steps to protect his Republican colleagues from the scope of his investigation.



Jukebox John keeps changing his tune

It’s obvious that the McCain campaign and the RNC have decided to go after Barack Obama as a flip-flopper. What’s equally obvious, though, that Republicans couldn’t have chosen a worse narrative.

McCain & Co. seemed to stumble on this line of attack almost by accident. They’d experimented with a variety of memes in recent months, none of which had any real salience. The right settled on “flip-flopper,” in large part because it’s the closest available, already-written Republican narrative, and in part because McCain staffers haven’t been able to think of anything else.

The irony, of course, is that the McCain campaign couldn’t have picked a more hypocritical line of attack. Below you’ll find a comprehensive list of reversals from the Republican nominee, numbered and organized by category for easier reference.

Remember, McCain recently said, “This election is about trust and trusting people’s word.” Just a few days prior, the McCain campaign admonished Obama for trying to “have it both ways” on issues.

I should note that there’s nothing offensive about a political figure changing his or her mind once in a while. Policy makers come to one conclusion, they gain more information, and then they reach a different conclusion. That is, to be sure, a good thing — it reflects a politician with an open mind and a healthy intellectual curiosity. Better to have a leader who changes his or her mind based on new information than one who stubbornly sticks to outmoded policy positions, regardless of facts or circumstances.

So why do McCain’s flip-flops matter? Because all available evidence suggests his reversals aren’t sincere, they’re cynically calculated for political gain. This isn’t indicative of an open mind; it’s actually indicative of a character flaw. And given the premise of McCain’s presidential campaign, it’s an area in desperate need of scrutiny.

The perception people have of McCain is outdated, reflective of a man who no longer has any use for his previous persona. What’s wrong with a politician who changes his or her views? Nothing in particular, but when a politician changes his views so much that he has an entirely different worldview, is it unreasonable to wonder whether it’s entirely sincere? Especially when there’s no other apparent explanation for six dozen significant reversals?

McCain has been in Congress for more than a quarter-century; he’s bound to shift now and then on various controversies. But therein lies the point — McCain was consistent on most of these issues, right up until he started running for president, at which point he conveniently abandoned literally dozens of positions he used to hold. The problem isn’t just the incessant flip-flops — though that’s part of it — it’s more about the shameless pandering and hollow convictions behind the incessant flip-flops. That the media still perceives McCain as some kind of “straight talker” who refuses to sway with the political winds makes this all the more glaring.

Here’s the list.

National Security Policy

1. McCain thought Bush’s warrantless-wiretap program circumvented the law; now he believes the opposite.

2. McCain insisted that everyone, even “terrible killers,” “the worst kind of scum of humanity,” and detainees at Guantanamo Bay, “deserve to have some adjudication of their cases,” even if that means “releasing some of them.” McCain now believes the opposite.

3. He opposed indefinite detention of terrorist suspects. When the Supreme Court reached the same conclusion, he called it “one of the worst decisions in the history of this country.”

4. In February 2008, McCain reversed course on prohibiting waterboarding.

5. McCain was for closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay before he was against it.

6. When Barack Obama talked about going after terrorists in Pakistani mountains with predators, McCain criticized him for it. He’s since come to the opposite conclusion.

Foreign Policy

7. McCain was for kicking Russia out of the G8 before he was against it. Now, he’s for it again.

8. McCain supported moving “towards normalization of relations” with Cuba. Now he believes the opposite.

9. McCain believed the U.S. should engage in diplomacy with Hamas. Now he believes the opposite.

10. McCain believed the U.S. should engage in diplomacy with Syria. Now he believes the opposite.

11. McCain is both for and against a “rogue state rollback” as a focus of his foreign policy vision.

12. McCain used to champion the Law of the Sea convention, even volunteering to testify on the treaty’s behalf before a Senate committee. Now he opposes it.

13. McCain was against divestment from South Africa before he was for it.

Military Policy

14. McCain recently claimed that he was the “greatest critic” of Rumsfeld’s failed Iraq policy. In December 2003, McCain praised the same strategy as “a mission accomplished.” In March 2004, he said, “I’m confident we’re on the right course.” In December 2005, he said, “Overall, I think a year from now, we will have made a fair amount of progress if we stay the course.”

15. McCain has changed his mind about a long-term U.S. military presence in Iraq on multiple occasions, concluding, on multiple occasions, that a Korea-like presence is both a good and a bad idea.

16. McCain was against additional U.S. forces in Afghanistan before he was for it.

17. McCain said before the war in Iraq, “We will win this conflict. We will win it easily.” Four years later, McCain said he knew all along that the war in Iraq war was “probably going to be long and hard and tough.”

18. McCain has repeatedly said it’s a dangerous mistake to tell the “enemy” when U.S. troops would be out of Iraq. In May, McCain announced that most American troops would be home from Iraq by 2013.

19. McCain was against expanding the GI Bill before he was for it.

20. McCain staunchly opposed Obama’s Iraq withdrawal timetable, and even blasted Mitt Romney for having referenced the word during the GOP primaries. In July, after Iraqi officials endorsed Obama’s policy, McCain said a 16-month calendar sounds like “a pretty good timetable.”

Domestic Policy

21. McCain defended “privatizing” Social Security. Now he says he’s against privatization (though he actually still supports it.)

22. On Social Security, McCain said he would not, under any circumstances, raise taxes. Soon after, asked about a possible increase in the payroll tax, McCain said there’s “nothing that’s off the table.”

23. McCain wanted to change the Republican Party platform to protect abortion rights in cases of rape and incest. Now he doesn’t.

24. McCain supported storing spent nuclear fuel at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. Now he believes the opposite.

25. He argued the NRA should not have a role in the Republican Party’s policy making. Now he believes the opposite.

26. In 1998, he championed raising cigarette taxes to fund programs to cut underage smoking, insisting that it would prevent illnesses and provide resources for public health programs. Now, McCain opposes a $0.61-per-pack tax increase, won’t commit to supporting a regulation bill he’s co-sponsoring, and has hired Philip Morris’ former lobbyist as his senior campaign adviser.

27. McCain is both for and against earmarks for Arizona.

28. McCain’s first mortgage plan was premised on the notion that homeowners facing foreclosure shouldn’t be “rewarded” for acting “irresponsibly.” His second mortgage plan took largely the opposite position.

29. McCain went from saying gay marriage should be allowed, to saying gay marriage shouldn’t be allowed.

30. McCain opposed a holiday to honor Martin Luther King, Jr., before he supported it.

31. McCain was anti-ethanol. Now he’s pro-ethanol.

32. McCain was both for and against state promotion of the Confederate flag.

33. In 2005, McCain endorsed intelligent design creationism, a year later he said the opposite, and a few months after that, he was both for and against creationism at the same time.

34. And on gay adoption, McCain initially said he’d rather let orphans go without families, then his campaign reversed course, and soon after, McCain reversed back.

35. In the Senate, McCain opposed a variety of measures on equal pay for women, and endorsed the Supreme Court’s Ledbetter decision. In July, however, McCain said, “I’m committed to making sure that there’s equal pay for equal work. That … is my record and you can count on it.”

36. McCain was against fully funding the No Child Left Behind Act before he was for it.

37. McCain was for affirmative action before he was against it.

38. McCain said the Colorado River compact will “obviously” need to be “renegotiated.” Six days later, McCain said, “Let me be clear that I do not advocate renegotiation of the compact.”

Economic Policy

39. McCain was against Bush’s tax cuts for the very wealthy before he was for them.

40. John McCain initially argued that economics is not an area of expertise for him, saying, “I’m going to be honest: I know a lot less about economics than I do about military and foreign policy issues; I still need to be educated,” and “The issue of economics is not something I’ve understood as well as I should.” He now falsely denies ever having made these remarks and insists that he has a “very strong” understanding of economics.

41. McCain vowed, if elected, to balance the federal budget by the end of his first term. Soon after, he decided he would no longer even try to reach that goal. And soon after that, McCain abandoned his second position and went back to his first.

42. McCain said in 2005 that he opposed the tax cuts because they were “too tilted to the wealthy.” By 2007, he denied ever having said this, and falsely argued that he opposed the cuts because of increased government spending.

43. McCain thought the estate tax was perfectly fair. Now he believes the opposite.

44. McCain pledged in February 2008 that he would not, under any circumstances, raise taxes. Specifically, McCain was asked if he is a “‘read my lips’ candidate, no new taxes, no matter what?” referring to George H.W. Bush’s 1988 pledge. “No new taxes,” McCain responded. Two weeks later, McCain said, “I’m not making a ‘read my lips’ statement, in that I will not raise taxes.”

45. McCain has changed his entire economic worldview on multiple occasions.

46. McCain believes Americans are both better and worse off economically than they were before Bush took office.

47. McCain was against massive government bailouts of “big banks” that “act irresponsibly.” He then announced his support for a massive government bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Energy Policy

48. McCain supported the moratorium on coastal drilling ; now he’s against it.

49. McCain recently announced his strong opposition to a windfall-tax on oil company profits. Three weeks earlier, he was perfectly comfortable with the idea.

50. McCain endorsed a cap-and-trade policy with a mandatory emissions cap. In mid-June, McCain announced he wants the caps to voluntary.

51. McCain explained his belief that a temporary suspension of the federal gas tax would provide an immediate economic stimulus. Shortly thereafter, he argued the exact opposite.

52. McCain supported the Lieberman/Warner legislation to combat global warming. Now he doesn’t.

53. McCain was for national auto emissions standards before he was against them.

Immigration Policy

54. McCain was a co-sponsor of the DREAM Act, which would grant legal status to illegal immigrants’ kids who graduate from high school. In 2007, he announced his opposition to the bill. In 2008, McCain switched back.

55. On immigration policy in general, McCain announced in February 2008 that he would vote against his own bill.

56. In April, McCain promised voters that he would secure the borders “before proceeding to other reform measures.” Two months later, he abandoned his public pledge, pretended that he’d never made the promise in the first place, and vowed that a comprehensive immigration reform policy has always been, and would always be, his “top priority.”

Judicial Policy and the Rule of Law

57. McCain said he would “not impose a litmus test on any nominee.” He used to promise the opposite.

58. McCain’s position was that the telecoms should be forced to explain their role in the administration’s warrantless surveillance program as a condition for retroactive immunity. He used to believe the opposite.

59. McCain went from saying he would not support repeal of Roe v. Wade to saying the exact opposite.

60. In June, McCain rejected the idea of a trial for Osama bin Laden, and thought Obama’s reference to Nuremberg was a misread of history. A month later, McCain argued the exact opposite position.

61. In June, McCain described the Supreme Court’s decision in Boumediene v. Bush was “one of the worst decisions in the history of this country.” In August, he reversed course.

Campaign, Ethics, and Lobbying Reform

62. McCain supported his own lobbying-reform legislation from 1997. Now he doesn’t.

63. In 2006, McCain sponsored legislation to require grassroots lobbying coalitions to reveal their financial donors. In 2007, after receiving “feedback” on the proposal, McCain told far-right activist groups that he opposes his own measure.

64. McCain supported a campaign-finance bill, which bore his name, on strengthening the public-financing system. In June 2007, he abandoned his own legislation.

65. In May 2008, McCain approved a ban on lobbyists working for his campaign. In July 2008, his campaign reversed course and said lobbyists could work for his campaign.

Politics and Associations

66. McCain wanted political support from radical televangelist John Hagee. Now he doesn’t. (He also believes his endorsement from Hagee was both a good and bad idea.)

67. McCain wanted political support from radical televangelist Rod Parsley. Now he doesn’t.

68. McCain says he considered and did not consider joining John Kerry’s Democratic ticket in 2004.

69. McCain is both for and against attacking Barack Obama over his former pastor at his former church.

70. McCain criticized TV preacher Jerry Falwell as “an agent of intolerance” in 2002, but then decided to cozy up to the man who said Americans “deserved” the 9/11 attacks.

71. In 2000, McCain accused Texas businessmen Sam and Charles Wyly of being corrupt, spending “dirty money” to help finance Bush’s presidential campaign. McCain not only filed a complaint against the Wylys for allegedly violating campaign finance law, he also lashed out at them publicly. In April, McCain reached out to the Wylys for support.

72. McCain was against presidential candidates campaigning at Bob Jones University before he was for it.

73. McCain decided in 2000 that he didn’t want anything to do with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, believing he “would taint the image of the ‘Straight Talk Express.’” Kissinger is now the Honorary Co-Chair for his presidential campaign in New York.

74. McCain believed powerful right-wing activist/lobbyist Grover Norquist was “corrupt, a shill for dictators, and (with just a dose of sarcasm) Jack Abramoff’s gay lover.” McCain now considers Norquist a key political ally.

75. McCain was for presidential candidates giving speeches in foreign countries before he was against it.

76. McCain has been both for and against considering a pro-choice running mate for the Republican presidential ticket.

JOHN MCCAIN is no longer the MAVERICK he once tried to be. The saddest thing is that he doesn't appear to know that he has changed or that he is lying. We do not need a President who does not know the truth or the facts. Why does anyone want this kind of man leading our country?