Saturday, September 13, 2008

McCain/Palin: Back-hoeing It..........

Is the Republican well of contempt for the American voter bottomless? I'm not asking about mere tactical cynicism. In politics, that's a given, it seems to me. No, I mean contempt -- a profound, institutional contempt that knows no final depth.

This is no idle speculation or query, of course. With every passing day of this presidential campaign the GOP pushes one more Democrat, one more independent, one more thoughtful conservative to ask the very same question and for damn good reason. The GOP is daring us in so many ways and on so many fronts.

I almost didn't even ask, principally for the simple reason that the affirmative seems so bloody obvious. I mean, who isn't asking the question and drawing the same conclusive answer?

It's hardly unique or insightful for any commentator to note in any column on any given day anymore that McCain-Palin 2008 is beginning to make George W. Bush look honorable. It's that bad. Whereas Bush & Co. in 2000 and 2004 scraped the bottom of the contemptuous well, McCain & Co. is back-hoeing it.

It's got so bad, even the mainstream media are beginning to take note. For instance this morning the New York Times on the front page -- the front page, mind you, the one that some voters actually see and on a slow day perhaps even read -- writes of the avalanche of criticism being dumped on McCain "from Democrats, independent groups and even some Republicans for regularly stretching the truth in attacking Senator Barack Obama
’s record and positions."

True, the euphemistic "stretching the truth" terminology is less than ideal or semantically accurate, but this is progress, I'd say. The front page. I'm impressed.

What was exceptionally impressive was that the degenerating content of McCain's character is now being put on the record from Republican sources. One can always lift a quotable quote about GOP scurrility from a Democrat or neutral observer, of course, but when the conservative homefolks start publicly complaining, you know things are brushing the apocalyptic.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, for example -- and remember, this is one of the original New Righters who once believed in the supremacy of the lowest tactics -- said in a Friday interview on a New York news channel (and quoted by the NYT) that the McCain camp's interpretation of Obama’s "lipstick on a pig" comment was "ridiculous." As in, subject to ridicule -- this, from a McCain surrogate no less.

And said one "Republican advertising strategist," by name (Don Sipple): "The last month, for sure, I think the predominance of liberty taken with truth and the facts has been more McCain than Obama." And Mr. Sipple is on McCain's side -- he makes his living from McCain's side. For now.

Yet what has been, is, and forever shall remain the absolute Platonic Ideal of GOP contempt for the American electorate is the Mortimer Snerd candidacy of blank-slate Sarah Palin.

Being, as noted, ethereally contemptuous, this one is beyond description in down-to-earth English. There are simply no words that can fully capture the essence of McCain's insult to voters in choosing Ms. Palin, and the dropped-jaw validation of this proposition came, of course, in her Charlie Gibson "interview."

Truly, what can one say? How can one survey that on-air display of utter ignorance and casual bellicosity in mere words?

Here was an individual, submitted to voters as the potential caretaker of thousands of megatons of world-ending power, who didn't recognize the two-word description of U.S. foreign policy for the last seven years.

Here was an individual who, when asked if war with Russia over a U.S.-strategically insignificant piece of land might be necessary, could calmly, off-handedly respond, "Perhaps so."

Here was an individual who told Mr. Gibson she "would never presume to know God's will," yet assures her fellow church-goers that U.S. troops in Iraq are "on a task that is from God."

Unstinting ignorance, unbridled jingoism and delusional thinking. Sound familiar? And after eight years of it, sound even worse than familiar? Sound like "Change is coming"?

Oh, it's coming, all right. As the national conversation increasingly shifts from GOP charges to an examination of GOP charges and their contemptuous deployment, independent voters should start abandoning McCain-friendly territory en masse.

Because there's just no way to put, and keep without smearing, lipstick on McCain-Palin's virtual promise of World War III and the Great Depression II.

I have to believe that, at least for another 50-odd days, even while retaining my unshakable belief in democratic ineptitude. The alternative is just too depressing.

Depressing? More like devastating to the nth degree!

Please respond to P.M.'s commentary by leaving comments below and sharing them with the BuzzFlash community. For personal questions or comments you can contact him at


(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

You gotta See This!!!

'Songbird' McCain Exploits 911, Hopes to Become Bush's Third Term

Viet Nam Veterans and North Vietnamese call McCain 'Songbird" because he 'sang' like one while while a POW in Viet Nam. How does that qualify him to lead the US into war against people who had absolutely NOTHING to do with 911? It doesn't. McCain, like Giuliani before him, must be desperate. McCain is running on Giuliani's tried and failed mantra --911, 911, 911, 911. McCain has said that he knows how to 'win' the war against Iraq --a war that the US ought not to have begun, a war for which there is no military 'win', a war for which the GOP must mount an offensive --a PR offensive! McCain has proven himself just another lying Republican willing --like Giuliani before --to exploit a national tragedy, in fact, one of the most heinous crimes in world history. McCain will do this for his own selfish political motives, self-aggrandizement, and profit!

Has anyone checked lately the amount of money McCain has gotten from the big corporations, many of whom depend upon the killing of 'foreigners' for their living? Is it fair to to expose McCain's 'mis-characterization' of his life as a POW?

A better question is: is it fair that the GOP continues to exploit 911, especially when there is not a shred of evidence that anything said by Bush about 911 is true? In fact, McCain is the 'exploitation' candidate, having 'made hay of his POW status' and now resurrecting the specter of another 911-type attack. Is it fair to call him 'Songbird' McCain? Only if he really was one! My position is this: any Republican ---be it Bush, Giuliani, or McCain --who continues to lie about the events of 911 --an inside job --deserves to be both prosecuted and pilloried! So --McCain!!! Are you listening! When the MSM begins openly referring to you as 'Songbird', don't whine unless you have a perfect pitch and tenor!

A former Vietnam veteran with top secret clearance says he has personally spoken to numerous POW's who dispute John McCain's claim that he refused to provide information after he was captured and tortured in Hanoi, saying that in fact McCain's code-name was "Songbird" because of his willingness to tell all to avoid torture.Jack McLamb served nine years in secret operations in Cambodia and other nations before going on to become one of the most highly decorated police officer's in Phoenix history, winning police officer of the year twice before taking a role as a hostage negotiator for the FBI."I know a lot of Vietnam veterans and a few POW's and all the POW's that I've talked to over the years say that John McCain is a lying skunk," McLamb told the Alex Jones Show."He never was tortured - they were there in the camp with him and then when he came in....he immediately started spilling his guts about everything because he didn't want to get tortured," said McLamb, contradicting the official story that McCain only offered his name, rank, serial number, and date of birth."The Vietnamese Communists called him the Songbird, that's his code name, Songbird McCain, because he just came into the camp singing and telling them everything they wanted to know," said McLamb.McLamb said the POW's told him that McCain had sustained two broken arms and a leg injury from not pulling his arms in when he bailed out of his A-4 Skyhawk that was shot down over the Truc Bach Lake in Hanoi.The POW's said that McCain made 32 propaganda videos for the communist North Vietnamese in which he denounced America for what they were doing in Vietnam."They have these sealed now, our government has these sealed, we can't get to it, they have it classified," said McLamb, adding that in truth "the POW's hate John McCain."It is commonly accepted that McCain was treated better than other POW's and afforded medical care immediately after the North Vietnamese discovered that his father was a top admiral.Several Vietnam veterans groups do solely exist to expose McCain's abandonment of veteran's interests as well as his lies about being tortured, including Vietnam Veterans Against John McCain and US Veteran Dispatch.Doubts over McCain's alleged war hero status and his support to curtail efforts to look for missing POW's contributed to torpedoing his presidential campaign in 2000 and those same questions will undoubtedly surface again should the Senator win the Republican nomination.--'Songbird' McCain

According to a fellow POW, John McCain sustained some injures after ejecting over North Vietnam, but was never tortured or mistreated. Speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear of what the new Republican Nazi Party, my party, might do to him and his family, he said, "Hell, they didn't have to torture McCain. He talked incessantly. We didn't nickname him "Songbird" because he was cute or had a pleasant voice…"I've known McCain for years and while he's a lot of things, a straight talker he is not. Even though I was shot down twice in Vietnam, I wasn't captured. The records show that most pilots did their very best to avoid being captured, and those who were, carried out their orders according the United States Military Code of Conduct, especially Article III. There is no record of John McCain trying to escape or aiding others in their attempt to escape. I also know that like me, McCain is one sick old man. He's eaten up with PTSD and hate, and it's not the North Vietnamese, North Koreans or even the Taliban he hates. He hates Americans for leaving him to rot in a POW camp. Evidently, the Pentagon didn't believe McCain warranted being rescued to the degree that McCain believed.

After Bush wiped the floor with McCain in 2004, it was as if Merlin the Magician had waved his magic wand over McCain and said some magic words; McCain instantly became Bush's butt boy.

"John McCain voted against veterans in 2004, '05, '06 and '07," says Jeffrey David Cox, who spent twenty-two years as a VA nurse before moving to the American Federation of Government Employees, where he serves as secretary-treasurer (AFGE represents employees of several federal agencies, including the VA).Sen. James Webb (D-Va.), a former Marine who served in Vietnam and who was President Reagan's Navy secretary, has made restoring the GI Bill education benefits one of his signature issues. It was his bill, co-sponsored by Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), that cleared the Senate over McCain's and Bush's opposition. In April 2006, John "Songbird" McCain, was one of 13 Senate Republicans who voted against an amendment to provide $430 million for veterans outpatient care.Washington June 17 – AP - Notably absent from the hearing Tuesday was the Senate's biggest champion of detainee rights and the top Republican on the committee, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. A former prisoner of war, McCain has become less visible on the issue of detainee treatment since becoming a presidential candidate. And the list goes on and on and on.--Bob Miller, McCain Not Tortured as POW

Some instances in which McCain has tried to exploit his "POW" image:

A few of McCain’s more strained attempts to “weave” his POW experience into his public image include:

Raising his POW experience to justify not remembering how many houses he owns. “Could I just mention to you Jay, that in a moment of seriousness, I spent five and a half years in a prison cell, I didn’t have a house, I didn’t have a kitchen table, I didn’t have a table, I didn’t have a chair,” McCain said to Jay Leno in response to a question about his housing gaffe.

Raising his POW experience to justify his love of the song ‘Take a Chance on Me’ by Abba. “A lot of my taste in music stopped about the time I impacted a surface to air missile with my own airplane,” McCain said to Walter Issacson at the Aspen Institute. (In fact, Abba began recording years after he was shot down.)

Raising his POW experience to justify his opposition to universal healthcare. “I did have a period of time where I didn’t have very good healthcare, I had it from another government. Look, I know what it’s like not to have healthcare,” McCain said on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos.

Raising his POW experience to attack political opponents. “Senator Clinton tried to spend $1 million on the Woodstock concert museum. Now, my friends, I wasn’t there…I was tied up at the time,’” McCain said during a primary debate.

Indeed, Carter’s suggestion that McCain views his POW experience as politically advantageous is nothing if not the opinion of McCain himself. As McCain wrote in his 2002 book Worth Fighting For, “Thanks to my prisoner of war experience, I had, as they say in politics, a good first story to sell.”

--Think Progress

It is fashionable, of late, to say that Democrats are just as bad as are Goppers!


Let's look at the record.

In response to Pearl Harbor, FDR and Congress declared war on the 'Empire of Japan' and on HItler's 'Third Reich'! The date of Pearl Harbor was December 7, 1941. VJ day was September 2, 1945 --about half as long as we've been mired in Iraq.

There is NO end in sight.

McCain is the candidate of 'stay the course'. There is NO course to stay. In response to 911, the GOP regime of George W. Bush has yet to tell a single truth about either 911 or Iraq. He has, instead, demagogued 911 in order to wage a perpetual war, assume dictatorial powers, crackdown on dissent, charge his political opponents with being 'terrorists', shredding the Bill of Rights, the separation of powers, habeas corpus and other defining characteristics of 'Democracy'.

He has created a dictatorship and, by law, merely pointing that out, probably makes me a terrorist.

In my defense, Bush was a TRAITOR first!

And he remains a traitor!

Not only is Bush a traitor to this nation, not only has Bush 'waged war' upon the people of the US, he had literally exported terrorism and made it worse world wide.

This should have been expected. Terrorism is, in fact, always worse under GOP regimes. GOP regimes cause terrorism. According to FBI stats, terrorism has been worse under GOP regimes at least since 1980.

Over the period of time in which Ronald Reagan waged a great "War on Terrorism", terrorist attacks against the United States increased. [Source: Total Acts of Terrorism in the US 1980-98, America's Response to Terrorism, The Brookings Institution (Based on FBI Statistics)]

There is a reason for that.

The GOP needs both war and terrorism in order to prop up its utterly failed regimes. And by 'failed', I mean that they are failed by my standards and standards that should be yours as well. I hardly call policies that enrich the already rich 'successful'.

I am not interested in sophistry that makes of Bush a 'success' because he enriched his crooked base. That's not success. That's corruption. For example, Foreign Affairs magazine recently stated that the war in Iraq has made terrorism worse and America more vulnerable to another terrorist attack.

The Bush administration can be depended upon to cite this as a reason to stay in Iraq. In the GOP bizarro world, truth is whatever you can spin and success means 'just keep on doing whatever makes you sick! Of course the Bush, his GOP base and now the GOP puppet du jour, John McCain, are all owned by oil barons and defense contractors. At this point, that's a given. I am concerned now with rounding up and prosecuting to the letter of the law the 'ususual suspects'.

That means charging George W. Bush and his complicit minions with the capital crimes that they most certainly committed. Will McCain restore the US Constitution? NO! Will McCain undo Bush's illegal re-write of the Constitution. No! Will McCain withdraw American troops from a country they have no business in? No! Will McCain tell you the truth about Iraq? No! Will McCAin 'win' in Iraq!

No, McCain cannot win in Iraq because the presumed 'enemy' --al Qaeda --was NEVER in Iraq to begin with!

Let me repeat that: al Qaeda was never in Iraq to begin with; Iraq had NOTHING whatsoever to do with 911; Iraq NEVER had WMD! Bush lied to you. The GOP has lied to you! 'Your' government has lied to you and continues to lie to you. And now --John McCain is lying to you about his 'war record', about Iraq, and about 911!

The US government, under the administration of the traitor and war criminal George W. Bush, continues to betray you and subvert OUR Constitution! The Bush regime is, therefore, illegitimate. It will continue to be illegitimate because McCain has never bothered to address the issue.

King Charles I was beheaded for much less egregious offenses against the people of England than George Bush has perpetrated against the sovereign people of the United States!

Bush's 'third term' --a John McCain 'presidency' --will not bother to address the issue. McCain will never restore habeas corpus. McCain will not restore the rule of law. McCain will not undo the harms done to the US Constitution by Bush. Rather --McCain hopes to exploit them, perhaps expand them, take up where Bush left off. McCain hopes that Bush has, rather, blazed the trail.

That John McCain is now, like Giuliani (that other failed GOP crook and liar) the specter of 911, indicates to me that his campaign is in trouble, the kind of trouble that does not show up on a poll. Bush lied to you and McCain has just picked up the mantra.

I mused recently that terrorism may be the GOP's last redoubt. The GOP is nothing without a bogeyman. The GOP exploited fear of communism, drugs, porn and --now --terrorism. Exploitation is what the GOP is all about! When you understand that, then you understand the GOP. Giuliani was among the worst practitioners of it because he was so bloody transparent, overtly evil and despicable. McCain, by contrast, has until recently gotten away with hiding behind the 'honest John' persona.

It's bullshit!

John is another goddamned lying Republican. It's fashionable these days to say that the Democrats are not any better. That's just not true. Let's take a look at the record. Let's take a look at the history before it gets re-written:

  • Any Democratic President has presided over greater economic growth and job creation than any Republican President since World War II.
  • When Bush Jr took office, job creation was worst under a Republican, Bush Sr, at 0.6% per year and best under a Democrat, Johnson, at 3.8% per year.
  • Economic growth under President Carter was far greater than under Reagan or Bush Sr. In fact, economic growth in general was greater under Johnson, Kennedy, Carter, and Clinton than under Reagan or Bush. Democrats always outperform a failed party: the GOP!
  • The job creation rate under Clinton was 2.4% significantly higher than Ronald Reagan's 2.1% per year.
  • The "top performing Presidents" by this standard, in order from best down, were Johnson, Carter, Clinton, and Kennedy. The "worst" (in descending order) were Nixon, Reagan, Bush.
  • Half of jobs created under Reagan were in the public sector--some 2 million jobs added to the Federal Bureaucracy. Hadn't he promised to reduce that bureaucracy?
  • Reagan, though promising to reduce government and spending, tripled the national debt and left huge deficits to his successor. Bush Jr's record will be even worse.
  • By contrast, most of the jobs created on Clinton's watch were in the private sector.
  • Put another way: any Democratic President beats any Republican President since World War II.

Everything posted above is based upon official, government stats from the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, CBO, and BEA among others.

Meanwhile, Paul Krugman exposes the pest hole of lies, half-truths, no truths, and bullshit that make up the McCain/Palin crusade to finish the GOP destruction of America.

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.-Paul Krugman, Blizzard of Lies

Obama doesn't have to bother calling Palin a 'pig'. That's OUR job!

Addendum from the Department of Endless BULLSHIT:

Magnetic forces to blame for 9/11 tower collapse

Scientists can finally explain why the Twin Towers collapsed on September 11, despite the temperature of the fires being well below the 1,500C melting point of the steel girders holding up the buildings.The discovery that unusual magnetic forces within the girders made them weak at temperatures of about 500C explains away the conspiracy theories that have spread like wildfire since the disaster.

"Yeah, yeah, sure, sure. That's it. Unusual Magnetic Forces. Yeah, yeah, sure, sure. Just because no building ever collapsed before or since from Unusual Magnetic Forces doesn;t mean anyhting. It was Unusual Magnetic Forces that did it. Unusual Magnetic Forces. Yeah. Unusual Magnetic Forces. Sure, sure. Unusual Magnetic Forces melted right through those beams on a sharp diagonal line that made it LOOK like thermite cutter charges. Sure, sure." -- Official White Horse Souse

--What Really Happened

Additional resources: Published Articles

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Palin: Not Constitutionally Fit To Serve.

Would it not be more wise to wait, for such an announcement, until said candidate to be elected?

Maybe not.

Perhaps it would be better to put the facts out there so that McCain can not say he was not warned.

The Sarah Palin Selection: Why McCain's Inexperienced Running Mate Falls Short of Meeting the Implicit Constitutional Qualifications For Vice Presidents
Friday, Sept. 05, 2008

In truth, the Vice President of the United States is important for only one reason: He or she will become President of the United States upon the death, incapacity or resignation of the President. Nine times in our history, vice presidents have succeeded to the presidency: John Tyler (1841), Millard Fillmore (1850), Andrew Johnson (1865), Chester A. Arthur (1881), Theodore Roosevelt (1901), Calvin Coolidge (1923), Harry Truman (1945), Lyndon Johnson (1963), and Gerald Ford (1974). Of course, the vice president also has a significant secondary role: It is he or she, acting with a majority of the Cabinet, who can declare the president incapable of carrying out the duties of the office, and then take charge - until the action is either ratified or rejected by a majority of the Congress. So far in our history, however, this has never occurred.

Given the fact that the 2008 GOP standard-bearer John McCain is seventy-two years of age, his selection of an inexperienced Vice Presidential running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, has again focused attention on the process and procedures for selecting vice presidents - or, to put it more bluntly, the utter lack of process or procedures in selecting the person who is a heartbeat away from the presidency. McCain, not unlike others before him, selected a less than fully vetted running mate for political reasons. That is surely a concern for voters to think over in the upcoming election - but it raises a systemic concern, too, for the long run.

Consider this parallel: Does anyone believe that if John McCain were president and had selected Governor Sarah Palin under the Twenty-fifty Amendment to fill a vacancy in the vice presidency, Congress would have confirmed her? Not likely. In fact, it is even less likely that McCain would have even attempted to do so, for he would have embarrassed himself.

While the Constitution does not expressly set forth qualifications for the vice-presidency, it strongly implies them --- and Palin falls short.

How Our Constitutional Process for Selecting Vice Presidents Evolved

Our founders gave little thought to the vice presidential selection process. Initially, the candidate who placed second in Electoral College votes became vice president. While this worked for the first three presidential elections, the election of 1800 produced a tie in the Electoral College, between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr (both of the same party), and although Burr was the announced candidate for vice president, when he came up with a tie vote, he refused to step aside, forcing the resolution of the contest in the House of Representatives, which proved to be a messy affair.

This clear flaw in the system was corrected by the Twelfth Amendment, which requires electors to vote separately for president and vice president. It was the Twelfth Amendment (adopted in 1804), along with the growth of political parties, that encouraged the pairing of candidates in the presidential election. Since then, the vice presidential selection process has evolved from party leaders' making the selection to the current system, under which the party's presidential nominee is given the power to select a vice presidential running mate.

The Twenty-fifth Amendment (adopted in 1967) indirectly codified the power of a candidate for president to select his vice president, for the Amendment states that when there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, "the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress." A Vice President, like a President, must be a natural born citizen, at least thirty-five years of age, and a resident of the United States for fourteen years.

Of course, Sarah Palin, McCain's running mate, meets the minimum constitutional requirements. But there also exists a clear subtext within the Constitution, and related statutes, that suggests that there are other, implicit qualifications for the Vice President, as well - qualifications as to which Governor Palin falls short. While this subtext is plainly not formally binding on either a presidential candidate or president, candidates and presidents have traditionally followed the implicit qualifications suggested by the Constitution.

The Twenty-fifth Amendment Suggests the Primary Qualifications for Vice Presidents: Be Equipped to Serve as President Starting, if Necessary, on Day One

I served as minority counsel to the House Judiciary Committee when the Committee was working on the Twenty-fifty Amendment. Accordingly, I recall well the difficult debates and discussions on how vacancies in the vice presidency should be filled. The procedures under discussion ranged from a special national election for the vice president, to a convening of the Electoral College to make the decision, to the selection of a vice president by the Congress.

The process that was actually settled on, as I mentioned earlier, codified the procedure that had evolved over the years, through which the candidate selected his running mate. In line with that procedure, presidents were similarly given the power to fill vacancies in the office of the vice president. But there was a crucial difference: Under the Twenty-fifth Amendment, presidents can only fill that office with the approval of a majority vote of both the House and Senate. Confirmation thus entails not only ratification by the public, but also scrutiny by political pros who assure Americans that the new vice president is up to the task of taking charge.

Twice, the Twenty-fifty Amendment has been employed to fill a vacancy in the vice presidency. Nixon appointed Gerald Ford to fill the office when Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned (under threat of indictment). Then, after Nixon resigned, and Ford succeeded to the presidency, Ford used it to appoint Nelson Rockefeller his Vice President.

Both Nixon and Ford explained their decisions, and the criteria at the top of their lists. Nixon wrote in RN: Memoirs of Richard Nixon that from "the outset of the search for a new Vice President I had established four criteria for the man I would select: qualification to be President; ideological affinity; loyalty and confirmability." (Emphasis added.) Nixon's first choice was his Secretary of Treasury John Connally, who was dropped because he would have confirmation problems. (Connally was, in fact, later indicted but acquitted.) New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller and California Governor Ronald Reagan were taken off Nixon's list because the selection of either one over the other would have split the Republican Party. Finally, also on the list was Jerry Ford, the Minority Leader of the House, on whom Nixon settled.

Ford explained in A Time To Heal: The Autobiography of Gerald R. Ford that he had given considerable thought to filling the vice presidency when he became president, and his staff developed a ranking system. "There was one overriding criterion," he wrote to explain his baseline: "[H]e had to be a man fully qualified to step into my shoes should something happen to me."

Ford's top aides eliminated George H. W. Bush, who had served in the House of Representatives and headed the Republican National Committee, "as not yet ready to handle the rough challenges of the Oval Office." And when Ford settled on one of the wealthiest men in America, Nelson Rockefeller, it resulted in protracted confirmation hearings because of the extent of Rockefeller's holdings (which might have raised conflicts of interest). But in the end, Rockefeller was confirmed.

Congress Has Also Suggested Vice Presidential Qualifications Indirectly In the Succession Statutes It Has Passed

The Twenty-fifth Amendment only covers succession to the presidency or vice presidency when one of these offices is vacant - not both. It is silent if there are vacancies in both of the offices of the President and Vice President. The scenario of concurrent vacancies has, however, been addressed by Congress, most recently in a 1947 law.

The line of succession to the presidency begins with the Speaker of the House of Representatives (currently, Nancy Pelosi of California). Next is the President pro tempore of the Senate (currently, Robert Byrd of West Virginia). Finally, if neither of these officers is unwilling or unable to take the post, the succession law turns to the President's Cabinet members.

The current order of succession is Secretary of State (currently, Condoleezza Rice), Secretary of the Treasury (Henry Paulson), Secretary of Defense (Robert Gates), Attorney General (Michael Mukasey), Secretary of the Interior (Dirk Kempthorne ), Secretary of Agriculture (Edward Schafer), Secretary of Commerce (Carlos Gutierrez, who was born in Cuba, and thus not "natural born"), Secretary of Labor (Elaine Chao, who was born in Taiwan, and thus not "natural born"), Secretary of Health and Human Services (Mike Leavitt), Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (Steven Preston), Secretary of Transportation (Mary Peters), Secretary of Energy (Samuel Bodman), Secretary of Education (Margaret Spellings), Secretary of Veterans Affairs (James Peake) and Secretary of Homeland Security (Michael Chertoff). Under the succession statute, the presidency is filled for the remainder of the president's term.

Although this 1947 succession statute has been appropriately criticized, Congress has been reluctant to change it. The Congressional consensus has been that if there is a dual vacancy in the Executive branch's elected officials, it should be temporarily filled by a seasoned elected official from the Legislative Branch. In practice, while the full line of succession has been stipulated, it is unlikely that we will ever need to go beyond the Speaker of the House to fill the vacancy temporarily.

If neither the Speaker nor the President pro tempore is up to the task of serving, Congress has been comfortable with the caliber of appointees serving as Secretaries of State, Treasury, or Defense to serve as temporary president - for no one believes (absent a dramatic situation such as a massive attack on the seat of government that would call into force continuity-of-government plans) that the succession process would ever proceed beyond the "big three" Cabinet posts.

Governor Sarah Palin Does Not Qualify Under the Implicit Constitutional Standards

When Nixon selected Ford to be his Vice President, and Ford selected Rockefeller, the government was divided, with the Democrats controlling Congress. Yet a Democratic Congress approved both Ford and Rockefeller to be Vice President based on inter-branch comity. Surely no one would argue that Sarah Palin is in a league with Ford and Rockefeller when it comes to experience.

Nor does Palin possess anything close to the experience qualifications of the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, or the President pro tempore of the Senate, Robert Byrd. Indeed, I feel confident that Palin could not get confirmed for any of the top presidential succession posts, namely the posts of Secretary of State, Treasury and Defense. Palin's lack of qualifications have been widely noted. Newspapers from her state have raised questions of her qualifications.

Recently, I was in Alaska, just after Palin's name was first floated as a possible McCain running mate. Although I am not a Democrat, I gave a keynote speech at the Democrats' state convention. During my visit, a senior Democratic Party official said to me that he sure hoped McCain would select Palin, because based on his observation of her record Alaska, he opined that, : "She's screwing up Alaska big time, and she could probably assure defeat for McCain." His wish may be coming true.

John W. Dean, a FindLaw columnist, is a former counsel to the president.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

TV jokesters warming to Palin challenge

Here are five representative Sarah Palin jokes I found in recent late-night TV monologues:

•Reporters asked Sarah Palin if she could ever be president and commander-in-chief, and she said, "Ya, sure, you betcha!" … David Letterman (CBS)

•Since Sarah Palin became the vice presidential nominee, there's been an actual spike in the sales of her style of eyeglasses. Gone way up. Yeah. Yeah, with Palin's glasses, you'll be able to see everything, except what the hell your teenage daughter's up to. ... Conan O'Brien (NBC)

•I gotta admit, [Palin, the governor of Alaska] looked very comfortable at the podium. 'Cause it's kinda like Alaska: you look out on that [Republican] convention floor, nothing but white as far as the eye can see. … Jay Leno (NBC)

•They asked her if she would be able to explain how she once lobbied Washington for earmarks, and she said, "We'll cross that bridge to nowhere when we come to it."… Jay Leno

•"[Republican presidential nominee John] McCain has been running this campaign based on 'We're at war, it's a dangerous world out there … I, John McCain, am the only one standing between the blood-thirsty Al Qaeda and you. But if I die, this stewardess can handle it.' " … Bill Maher (HBO)

You'll notice I didn't say five hilarious Sarah Palin jokes. I'd have led with those if I had 'em.

Truth is, for all that the GOP's vice presidential nominee is one of the more remarkable political figures to burst on the national scene in many years, comedians and satirists haven't yet reached consensus about where to direct their remarks.

Jimmy Kimmel of ABC jokes about her sex appeal, saying Palin is "the prettiest candidate for vice president since John Edwards" and that "she looks like one of those women in the Van Halen videos who takes off her glasses, shakes out her hair, and then all of a sudden, she's in high heels and a bikini."

But Letterman jokes about how ordinary she looks—"like the lady in the dental office who gives you the keys to the restroom" and "like the woman in the department store who tries to spray you with perfume."

The one-liners about Palin's enthusiasm for guns—"Another vice president who's a hunter, what could go wrong there?" (Leno); She "likes to shoot assault rifles. I'll say this for her daughter's boyfriend: the kid's got guts." (Letterman)—and the related shotgun wedding jokes related to the upcoming nuptials of Palin's pregnant teenage daughter have been serviceable enough.

So have the Alaska jokes.

But late-night political humor tends to rely on caricature—one or two distinctive traits that comedians hammer on and that, fairly or not, become central to a candidate's identity.

In joke after late-night joke, Dan Quayle was a dunce, Bill Clinton was a horn-dog, Bob Dole was a crank, Al Gore was a wooden braggart, George W. Bush was an incurious frat boy and John Kerry was a vacillating aristocrat. (See "Flashback: Late-night political jokes from early September, 2004 ")

In this cycle, John McCain is a doddering senior, Joe Biden is a windy bore and Barack Obama is a vain, would-be messiah.

We don't yet know what Palin will be.

  • The "Ya, sure, you betcha!" small-town mom?
  • The compulsive exaggerator whose reform credentials are actually slight?
  • The blinking Washington neophyte?
  • The Church Lady?
  • The conservative attack dog who dominates McCain?

Whether the late-night comics will create this image or merely reflect it is a good chicken/egg question for academics.

All I know is that while others will be watching opinion polls to see how Palin is playing with the electorate, I'll be watching the monologues.

MORE SARAH PALIN HUMOR gleaned mostly from's Political Humor site, the New York Times' Laugh Lines blog and The Best of Late-Night Jokes at Newsmax.

You'll note that some of these jokes, though they mention Palin, are at the expense of someone else:


You know, Sarah Palin is the governor of Alaska. You know that. And she's a lifelong member of the NRA, the National Rifle Association. So, great, is what I'm thinking, another vice president that shoots a drinking buddy.

The Palin family crisis that we were talking about on Sunday and Monday, that has been solved now and, today, the baby is being adopted by Angelina Jolie.

I kind of like that Sarah Palin. You know, she reminds me, she looks like the flight attendant who won't give you a second can of Pepsi. No, you've had enough. We're landing. Looks like the waitress at the coffee shop who draws a little smiley face on your check. Have a nice day.

Is it just me, or does Sarah Palin look like a model for LensCrafters? .

Sarah Palin gave a tremendous speech to the Republicans, though some are claiming it was actually her daughter's speech.

Say what you will about this Sarah Palin, women love this candidate. Am I right about that? As a matter of fact, last night at the convention, security had to restrain Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter.

When Sarah Palin and John McCain make an appearance together, there's always a brief hug, but no kissing. It's just like Bill and Hillary.

I like that Sarah Palin. She looks like the lady in the dental office who gives you the keys to the restroom.

Sarah Palin looks like the weekend anchor on Channel 9. She looks like the hygienist who makes you feel guilty about not flossing. She looks like the relieved mom in a Tide commercial

She looks like the lady at the bakery who yells out, “44! 44! 45!”

Sarah Palin looks like a real estate agent whose picture you see on the bus stop bench.

Sarah Palin looks like the lady who has a chain of cupcake stores.

Sarah Palin looks like the mayor of a small town that’s banned dancing.

People are now asking the question is Sarah Palin ready to be president? If, God forbid, something happens to John McCain, is Sarah Palin ready to be president? I don’t think we need to worry about that because Bush has lowered the bar so tremendously, I mean, I’m ready to be president.


Did you see Governor Sarah Palin on the cover of Newsweek? Look, she's holding a shotgun. Holding a shotgun. This picture was taken right after she announced that guy would be marrying her pregnant daughter.

It got a little testy on the campaign trail today. A reporter asked John McCain if he ever Googled Sarah Palin, and McCain said, 'Hey, you take your filthy mouth, and get out of here!"

And the big guns are out. The Democrats have sent Hillary to Florida to go after Sarah Palin. So, that makes two Clintons trying to nail her now.

Even Bill Clinton was impressed. In fact, Clinton said when he saw [Palin's] speech, he said, "Finally, a woman who could be president I'd actually want to have sex with."'

It turns out Sarah Palin, a life-time member of the National Rifle Association, and a firm believer in shotgun weddings.

Did you see Sarah Palin standing next to John McCain at the podium the other day? Didn't it look like one of those commercials where the daughter is trying to find a nice home to put Dad in?

Back in 1984, Sarah Palin finished second in the Miss Alaska pageant. Now she might be the vice president. You know what that means? For the first time in history, a beauty-pageant contestant might actually bring about world peace.

They say Sarah Palin's speech was written by George Bush's speechwriter. Which was great for that guy because he finally got a chance to use some big words.

Dick Cheney told reporters this week there’s no reason why Sarah Palin cannot be a successful vice president in the McCain administration. In fact, not only can she shoot a lawyer in the face, she can field dress him.

All the Republicans are heaping praise on Governor Palin. Fred Thompson said, as an actor, he could see them making a movie about Sarah Palin and her family. Didn't they already make that movie? I think it was called "Knocked Up."

I guess there are some problems with Palin, though. Have you heard about this "Troopergate" scandal? Palin allegedly…used her power as governor to pressure officials to fire her former brother-in-law from his state trooper job. Now, maybe I'm wrong, but wasn’t that an episode of "The Dukes of Hazzard?"

In her speech last night, Sarah Palin mocked Barack Obama for giving speeches in front of adoring crowds and standing in front of a stage backdrop. Ironically, Palin did so in front of an adoring crowd standing in front of a stage backdrop.

Well there's a lot of controversy about [Bristol Palin’s pregnancy]. Apparently she told McCain about this weeks ago, but what happened was, I guess she said it into his bad ear. So he didn't realize.

Today President Bush called Gov. Palin and congratulated her. Bush told Palin the job of vice president is very important because as vice president, you get to tell the president what to do.

Democrats are sending an army of lawyers and investigators up to Alaska to look into [Palin's background]. And of course, John McCain is furious. He said, “Hey, if I didn’t look into her background, there’s no reason you should be looking into her background.”


Vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has many views. She says she's opposed to same-sex marriage. Did you know that? Yeah, Palin says everyone knows marriage isn't for gay people; it's for pregnant teenagers.

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is out on the campaign trail. Today, she attended a rally in Wisconsin. That's right, yeah. The Alaska governor said she was thrilled to visit Wisconsin because she's never been to the deep south.

Oprah Winfrey's in the middle of a big scandal, because she is refusing to have Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin on her show. She won't let her on. Yeah. The friction started because Palin said if she's elected, she'll be the most powerful woman in the country. And Oprah said, "The hell you will."

There’s an old picture of Sarah Palin circulating on the Internet right now, and she’s wearing a T-shirt that says, “I may be broke, but I’m not flat busted.” John McCain was upset when he heard this and asked, “What’s the Internet?”


Hey, the Republican Convention is still going wild in scenic St. Paul, Minnesota right now. Alaska Governor and Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin was the star speaker tonight. A lot of excitement. She promised a walrus in every igloo and a whale tooth in every papoose.

Sarah Palin's got a 4-month-old of her own, she's about to become a grandmother and she's partnered with John McCain. How many diapers can one woman possibly change?

I saw that they’re selling Sarah Palin action figures. Sad incident at Toys R Us today — a Sarah Palin doll shot My Little Pony.

Three years ago, Sarah Palin was the mayor of a town with 9,000 people in it. Never mind national security, they barely have mall security in a town of that size.


Some people are saying that McCain picked Sarah Palin to appeal to women who supported Hillary Clinton. This is crazy. You can't just replace Hillary Clinton with another woman. Bill tried that, it didn't work out.


The only other job she had in politics was the mayor of a small town known as Wasilla, Alaska, and now she has the opportunity to be on a ticket opposite of Barack Obama, the first black man she's ever seen.

Are you kidding me, the mayor of Wasilla, Alaska? Yeah, that’s who you want in the White House during a time of crisis. When she got a phone call at 3 in the morning, it was because a moose had gotten in the garbage can.

When they were vetting her for this job, like three seconds ago, she said, quote, I'm not making this up, 'What is it exactly that the VP does every day?' Let me field that for you, Sarah. They start wars, they enrich their friends, they subvert the Constitution, and they shoot people in the face. That's what the vice president does.


[video: McCain saying he will veto all pork-barrel earmark requests. McCain adds that he will 'make them famous and you will know their names']. Yeah, like the wasteful, jackass mayor of an Alaskan town of only 6,000 people who requested 27 million dollars in government earmarks, I will make her famous! Oops!

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Palin's Office Scrubs Docs From Governor's Website

By Jason Leopold,
The Public Record

On July 18, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin made the unusual decision of posting two documents on her website, accompanied by a harshly worded statement, denying reports that her husband, Todd Palin, and officials in her office illegally accessed her ex-brother-in-law’s confidential personnel files.

The documents: a release signed by Wooten in February giving his ex-wife's attorney access to his "entire employment file including but not limited to any and all disciplinary action(s) and complaints, and personnel records," and a letter from her attorney addressed "To whom it may concern," stating that any records obtained were done through proper channels.

“The governor's office, and particularly Governor Sarah Palin, has at no time had any involvement in this litigation. All records relevant to the litigation were obtained through the standard discovery process involved in every court case, as governed by the Alaska Rules of the Court," the attorney’s letter said.

On Thursday afternoon, Palin’s office removed the two documents from the governor’s official website following a news report that the law enforcement union representing her ex-brother, Mike Wooten, filed a formal complaint alleging the documents were accessed illegally and leaked. (PDF files of those documents can be found here and here,).

Wooten was married to Palin’s younger sister, Molly McCann. The couple, who divorced in January, have been engaged in a bitter child custody dispute. Palin filed several formal complaints against her ex-brother-in-law over the course of three years alleging he engaged in illegal behavior while on duty. But her complaints relied heavily on second-hand information, some of which was later determined to be suspect and unverifiable.

Alaska law enforcement officials investigated all of Palin’s accusations and concluded that 11 of Palin’s 36 allegations against her brother-in-law did violate department policy, including an admission by Wooten that he tasered his stepson, Payton, and drank beer while on duty. The department suspended Wooten for 10 days, which the union negotiated down to five.

A spokesperson for Palin, Sen. John McCain’s vice presidential running mate, refused to say Thursday why the two documents were scrubbed from the website.

The documents were posted in response to a news conference held the same day by John Cyr, Palin’s union representative, who released 482-pages of documents that detailed the extent of Palin’s complaints against Wooten.

“Officer Wooten has asked that we release the records around that investigation so that the press can take an open and honest look at what happened and you may draw your own conclusions," Cyr said.

After Cyr released the information, Palin released a strongly worded statement:

"To allege that I, or any member of my family, requested, received or released confidential personnel information on an Alaska State Trooper, or directed disciplinary action be taken against any employee of the Department of Public Safety, is, quite simply, outrageous.

“Any information regarding personnel records came from the trooper himself. I question the timing of these false allegations. It is unfortunate, as we seek to address a growing energy crisis in this state, that this matter has been raised now,” she said.

The same day, in response to news reports that alleged Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan was fired because he resisted Palin’s calls to fire Wooten, Palin told the local CBS affiliate in Alaska that the timing of the allegation was suspicious and an attempt by her critics to interfere with her plans to build a natural gas pipeline.

However, Palin then veered off into another diatribe about Wooten.

"So suspect of the timing,” Palin told CBS. “Will come to find out it was on Sunday that Trooper Wooten refused to obey a court order after visitation with his children, he doesn't have full custody of the kids. He had visitation. He refused to turn the kids over.

“One of his sergeants had to call him and tell him, 'Trooper Wooten you have to follow the court order. You have to give the kids back.' He did that with this threat. He said, 'Get ready for the show. I'm going to bring you down.' Here he's talking to his ex-wife. The mother of these children.

“And 'I'm going to bring your family down.' And now what is it three days later, four days later? Starts to show. So it makes sense to me now, why he riled people up. Riled the union up, and they came forward today. Because we know, I know without a doubt the dismissal of Walt Monegan, the replacement of him as commissioner of Department of Public Safety has absolutely nothing to do with Trooper Wooten."


Jason Leopold launched a new online investigative news magazine, The Public Record.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

US Bailout of Mortgage Giants Sets Stage for Wider Financial Crisis

We Are All So Screwed!!!!

By Barry Grey

WSW" -- - -Since the Bush administration announced on Sunday the US government takeover of mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, in the largest corporate bailout in American history, developments have underscored the profound and systemic nature of the crisis that precipitated the action.

A week of wild gyrations on US stock markets, fueled by fears of an impending collapse of the Wall Street investment bank Lehman Brothers and the country’s largest savings and loan bank, Washington Mutual, demonstrates that the rescue of the government-sponsored mortgage companies is a stop-gap measure that does not begin to resolve the underlying crisis of American capitalism.

On the contrary, the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac sets the stage for an intensification of the crisis in the coming months. At heart, the demise of the mortgage firms, which account for 80 percent of new home mortgages in the US and have a combined liability of $5.3 trillion in mortgage-backed securities which they own or guarantee, is a result of the collapse of the colossal credit bubble which sustained the super-profits of US banks and investment firms and the seven- and eight-figure salaries of their top executives.

It is the product of an economic system that has increasingly based itself on speculation and various forms of economic parasitism, while gutting the productive base of the country—at the cost of millions of jobs and the living standards of the American working class.

The decay of American capitalism has produced an economy that is drowning in debt and is dependent on massive inflows of capital from abroad for its survival. Now, the assumption by the government of the debt of the mortgage companies, carried out to protect the financial interests of banks and big investors, has placed a question mark over the solvency of the US government itself.

This threatens a curtailment of the inflow of international capital, a further erosion in the status of the US dollar and a drastic increase in the interest paid by the government to borrow money from its creditors. The US is already by far the world’s biggest debtor nation, with a balance of payments deficit of $800 billion and an economy that is sustained by a yearly inflow of $1 trillion in overseas capital.

The quantum leap in the national debt and government budget deficits resulting from the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—and the further corporate bailouts that are all but certain to follow—must inevitably lead to a realignment of social conditions within the US in accordance with the actual, deeply eroded, position of the United States in the world economy. This means an even more drastic lowering of the living standards of the American people.

On Tuesday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) declared that as a result of the government bailout, the finances of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had to be “directly incorporated into the federal budget,” and its liabilities added to the US national debt. This means, in effect, a near doubling of the US sovereign debt to a figure equivalent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

The Financial Times reported Wednesday that the bailout had already resulted in a sharp rise in the price of credit default swaps on five-year US government debt. Credit default swaps are private contracts to buy insurance against the default of various forms of debt.

As the Financial Times wrote, “... the price suggests the market believes the US government is more likely to default on its obligations than some other industrialised countries.” It went on to cite a credit research strategist as saying, “The USA is now ‘riskier’ than Norway, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Austria, France, Denmark, Quebec and Japan.”

The CBO statement on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac accompanied its report on the US government budget deficit for the current fiscal year, which ends September 31, and its projections for fiscal 2009 and beyond. The CBO put the current deficit at $407 billion, more than double the $161 billion deficit for fiscal 2007.

It projected, on the basis of current tax laws, that the budget gap would rise to a record $438 billion in the 2009 fiscal year that begins October 1. However, as CBO Director Peter Orszag noted, that figure could easily climb to $540 billion if Congress acts in the coming months, as expected, to curtail the growth in the alternative minimum tax and extend a variety of expiring business tax breaks.

Orszag further noted that these figures did not take into account the full scale of government expenditures related to the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said on Sunday the government would commit up to $200 billion to prop up the companies. Given the continuing decline in home prices and rise in foreclosures, that figure is virtually certain to rise by tens, if not hundreds, of billions.

Orszag said that the deficit would remain at between 3 and 4 percent of the GDP for the next decade, resulting in a $7 trillion rise in the national debt. Even these dire projections assume that Bush’s massive tax cuts for the rich will not be extended beyond their scheduled expiration in 2010.

Significantly, Orszag pointed to government health care spending—not the cost of corporate bailouts or the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (which have to date consumed a combined sum of $850 billion)—as the main source of exploding deficits going forward. The CBO warned that Medicare and Medicaid spending, which currently account for an estimated 4.6 percent of GDP, could account for up to 12 percent of GDP by 2050.

The mounting financial crisis of American capitalism was further underscored by the Commerce Department’s report Thursday on the US trade deficit, which surged in July by 5.2 percent to $62.2 billion, the highest level in 16 months.

The headlong rush of Lehman Brothers and Washington Mutual toward collapse—or new federal bailouts—within days of the government takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has underscored the depth of the financial crisis.

The stock of the 158-year-old Wall Street investment bank collapsed this week after it was reported that Lehman’s efforts to secure a capital infusion from the state-owned Korea Development Bank had collapsed. At the close of the financial markets on Thursday, the value of Lehman’s stock—down by more than 90 percent since its peak last February—was about $2.9 billion. It stood at $37.2 billion at the start of 2008.

Once the biggest underwriter of mortgage-backed securities, the firm has seen its speculative investments collapse and would have already gone bankrupt were it not for the Federal Reserve’s decision, taken at the time of the government-subsidized sale of Bear Stearns to JP Morgan Chase last March, to extend low-cost loans to investment banks and accept virtually worthless mortgage-related securities in return for highly rated Treasury securities.

It was reported Thursday that the firm was in talks with potential buyers, including Bank of America, for a buyout that would avoid bankruptcy or a government bailout—at the cost of billions in losses to shareholders and the jobs of thousands of Lehman employees. On Wednesday, when it announced a third quarter loss of $3.9 billion and a plan to spin off much of its business and shrink its operations, the company said it was slashing 1,000 to 1,500 jobs, its fourth round of layoffs this year.

Over the past year, US banks and brokerages have cut more than 110,000 jobs.

The collapse of both Lehman and the two government-sponsored mortgage giants starkly illustrates the immense dependence of American capitalism on overseas capital. Lehman went to ground after its bid for funds from a South Korean bank failed, and the government bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was precipitated by the dumping of the firms’ securities by central banks and major investors in Asia and Russia.

The stock of the giant savings and loan bank Washington Mutual, which has some $180 billion in mortgage-related loans, has fallen by 34 percent since Monday and 92 percent over the past year. This week it reported a $3.33 billion second quarter net loss and has said its mortgage losses could reach $19 billion through 2011.

Raising the possibility of another government bailout, Christopher Whalen, a managing partner at Institutional Risk Analytics, said of Washington Mutual, “If this goes on until the end of the year, the bank is either going to have to be sold or recapitalized by the government. Those are the only choices.”

The Financial Times on Wednesday worried that the massive US budget deficits were limiting the ability of the government to continue propping up Wall Street with injections of hundreds of billions in capital. It wrote:

“Yesterday’s new deficit projections by the Congressional Budget Office highlight the troubled state of US government finances as it embarks on a new stage of interventions to contain the chronic impact of the credit crisis....

“Some economists worry that as the Federal Reserve has spent much of its ammunition, and as fighting the credit crisis falls more to the government, weak public finances mean the government does not have unlimited ammunition either.”

Noting that the Federal Reserve was seeking to conserve its capital for further corporate bailouts, the newspaper wrote, “Many Fed officials share this view, which is why the Fed is lukewarm on further fiscal stimulus, preferring to see the limited government funds spent on shoring up the financial system.”

The response to mushrooming budget deficits and soaring national indebtedness, as well as the spreading crisis on Wall Street, by the next administration, whether headed by Republican John McCain or Democrat Barack Obama, will be a policy of brutal austerity directed against the working class.

One can safely predict that not long after the November election, the incoming president will announce that his transition advisers have shown him the country’s financial books, that the dire state of the nation’s economy makes inoperative any and all promises of health care reform or relief to distressed homeowners, and that a regime of discipline and “sacrifice” will have to be imposed in the “national interest.”

Senator Kent Conrad, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, sounded just such a note when he said, in response to the CBO report, that “the next president will be inheriting a budget and economic outlook that is far worse than most people realize.”

As the CBO report indicates, the next administration will be tasked with dismantling basic entitlement programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

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The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Sarah Palin is a Disaster in Waiting.....

....and if I were McCain I would be watching my back, given how much the bible-toting, crusading crackpots hate him.

By Joan Burnie

12/09/08 "
Daily Record" -- -I AM going to burn in Hell. Well, I suppose it's one way of keeping warm this winter.

This is what will happen to me because of my words last week on Sarah Palin, the Republican's candidate for vice-president.

According to my critics, I only had a go at Palin because she's a Christian. No, I had a go at the woman because she is potentially more destructive than the Large Hadron Collider.

I'll leave the CERN boffins, when they've finished playing with their new expensive toy in Switzerland, to argue with her over whether God did or didn't make the world in six days.

The problem is that with Sarah in charge, it could be unmade in six minutes flat. For, should the elderly Senator McCain become president, Palin is a heart beat away from the nuclear button.

All the rest, from the lies she's told, such as maintaining she was against a ruinously expensive bridge in Alaska when in fact she campaigned for it, to her views on sex education, which have resulted in her state now having the highest rate of chlamydia in the country, aren't our problem.

That is the US's business. Let them deal with it. Except, America also treats the rest of the world as its backyard in which it can - and does - interfere at will.

That is why Sarah Palin, with her rigid belief that God and the gun can solve everything, scares the lipstick off me.

Meanwhile, Obama and Co seem paralyzed, unable to attack her, lest they be accused of sexism and being nasty to a girlie.

Furthermore, there are some dames, not all of them hard-line Republicans or even Americans, who think Palin should be supported simply because she's a woman. That, my deluded loves, IS sexism.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Most Americans Don't Know What The Bush Doctrine Is.....

Many Americans don't know who their senators, representatives or governors are!

Is that a good thing?

Should we hope that our elected officials are as ignorant as many of our countrymen are?

I'm beginning to think that the American people are not smart enough to have a democracy.

If I know what the Bush (Cheney 1 %) doctrine is, why shouldn't the V.P. candidate of both parties know?

How can I possibly vote for someone who is less knowledgeable about current affairs than I am?

Media Dismiss Palin’s Ignorance Of The Bush Doctrine Because ‘Many Americans’ Don’t Know What It Is

During an interview yesterday on ABC, Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) indicated that she did not know what the so-called Bush Doctrine is. When asked for her interpretation, Palin guessed, “His worldview?

Even though Palin was unaware of the foundation of President Bush’s national security strategy, some in the media have come to her defense, arguing that ordinary Americans don’t know about it either. In short, the vice president of the United States shouldn’t be any more intelligent than “most” Americans:

CNN’s Jessica Yellin: The question is given that many Americans themselves don’t know what the Bush doctrine is… it’s unclear how much of a fallout that would be — that question and the answer would have.”

CNN’s David Gergen: She didn’t know what the Bush doctrine was. But I don’t think most people know what the Bush doctrine is or was.

CNN’s Candy Crowley dismissed the gaffe by saying that regular Americans don’t care. Fox News’s Juan Williams gave Palin a pass because he admitted that he also wouldn’t have been able to answer the question:

WILLIAMS: I thought actually Charlie did try a gotcha question with this business about the Bush doctrine – which if you ask me in the middle of the night, I would have been: “What? What?”

On MSNBC’s Morning Joe today, Rudy Giuliani also tried to defend Palin, saying that three of his friends didn’t know what the Bush Doctrine was when he asked. But NBC correspondent Andea Mitchell quickly jumped in, noting that Giuliani’s friends “are not running for Vice President.”

In fact, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has used a similar argument when trying to explain away a foreign policy gaffe. Earlier this year when a reporter confronted McCain on his inaccurate claim that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is leading Iran, McCain said that because the “average American” thinks Ahmadinejad is Iran’s leader, then that’s good enough for him.

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The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.