On The View From Egypt, Part One, Or, How Professionals Rig Elections

It has been but a few hours since Sarah Palin took the stage to have a conversation with Joe Biden, and of course the Nation has a ton of questions.

What will happen now?
How will we view all this in a few days?
How will it affect McCain and Obama?

I don’t know...and I’m not even going to try to figure it out right this minute.

Instead, we’re going to take a trip halfway across the world to a country that has been essential to understanding the Middle Eastern story, has been at the center of international conflicts time and time again...and has lessons to teach us that, if we learn them well, could make us a much smarter “Foreign Policy Nation” than we are today.

The country? Egypt.

So grab your virtual passport...and after we arrive, there are a few people I want you to meet.

Why is the Wall Street bailout package packed with pork?

WTF is going on? Seriously!

The Wall Street bailout legislation passed by the Senate has $1.7 billion in tax breaks for shit like this:

  • Manufacturers of kids' wooden arrows - $6 million.
  • Puerto Rican and Virgin Islands rum producers - $192 million.
  • Wool research.
  • Auto-racing tracks - $128 million.
  • Corporations operating in American Samoa - $33 million.
  • Small- to medium-budget film and television productions - $10 million.

NASCAR is being subsidized in this taxpayer bailout of Wall Street? Do the people who represent us know what's going on in this country? Do they know healthcare and education systems are broken? Do they know bridges are collapsing? Do they know unemployment is at its highest levels in years?

WTF alternate universe are these people living in? Does anyone know?

Palin Bingo for Tonight's Festivities

Get your Palin_Bingo_here! Concerned that tonight's debate party might get a bit hard to take? No worries now--play along with the debate and distract yourself.

On a more serious note down here in the Kickapoo Valley we have a great organization working for all the candidates. The State Senate and Assembly seats (currently Republican incumbents) are being challenged with great candidates, Tara Johnson and Dale Klemme.

In our efforts to bring their issues to the fore we are highlighting them on the cvdems_website. The "c" and "v" in the website name stands for Crawford and Vernon Counties that in collaboration pack a punch. At least we are trying to make that Wisconsin difference.

McCain pulling out of Michigan to boost Wisconsin campaign

It's being reported that McCain is conceding Michigan and transferring staff to more competitive states like Wisconsin. This is a huge development.

Man, he was getting his hat handed to him in Michigan. Way to show McCain the door, you good Midwesterners!

Things here in Scony are a little tighter ... but not by as much as you might think.

Wisconsinites put Obama at 49 percent to McCain's 40 percent when it comes to who's strategic vision for America we trust more (and yeah polls are an iffy way to moderate what's going on. Ya can't depend solely on them, I know).

Where did the myth of Republican fiscal responsibility come from?

Did you know Wisconsin Republicans Jim Sensenbrenner, Paul Ryan, and Tom Petri voted for the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999 which is what led to the current financial meltdown? What a joke it is that these guys are now doing hilarious CYA moves to trick the people of Wisconsin into thinking they have any leadership when it comes to fiscal responsibility. 

Journalist John Nichols wrote a good article about this recently.

And nevermind that the Bush Administration added $4 trillion to the U.S. debt in the last eight years. Oh, and that doesn't count the current Wall Street bailout.

And this Doonesbury strip says it all. 90 percent of the U.S. national debt was created under three Republican presidents. Enjoy!

 

What top economists are saying about the Wall St. bailout

Talking Points Memo has a great breakdown of what top economists are saying about the Wall Street bailout. It's a darn good, insightful, and concise read. You'll learn a thing or two.

Maybe we will also get answers to some hard questions. Like:

--Why was the CEO of Goldman Sachs in the room when government officials decided to bailout the insurer AIG, especially since Goldman has about $20 billion, half of its shareholder equity, at risk on AIG? Keep in mind that Treasury Secretary Paulson is the immediate former CEO of Goldman.

--Why was Lehman Brothers, a Goldman competitor, the only Wall Street firm in trouble so far left to collapse on its own? The Wall Street Journal reports today that it was the collapse of Lehman (which because of its structure may not have been an attractive firm for purchase) that "triggered cash crunch around the globe."

--Has Treasury obtained from every bank the amount of its illiquid assets, which would tell us if the problems are concentrated at a few banks or are pervasive?

McCain: How will you get your party on the same page?

Securing the votes in Congress to pass real immigration solutions into law isn't going to be easy. The next President - no matter who wins - will need to lead his own party first to get it done.

Senator Obama would surely have an uphill climb, even with a Party Platform that favors comprehensive reform. But, given an enforcement-only Party Platform and the policy positions of most Republicans in Congress, Senator McCain may need to scale a brick wall to bring his party on board!

Nevertheless, both candidates continue to talk about reform (at least in Spanish).

Well, we've already heard enough rhetoric- we want a roadmap. We're asking the Senators how they will unite their own parties to pass real immigration solutions into law.

We're saying, Show America the Immigration Reform Roadmap during the next presidential debate on October 7th!

Resources

The Republican Platform

The Democratic Platform

McCain: How will you get your party on the same page?

Warren Buffett Says Confidence is Oxygen

"You want to be greedy when others are fearful. You want to be fearful when others are greedy. It's that simple. ... They're pretty fearful. In fact, in my adult lifetime, I don’t think I’ve ever seen people as fearful economically as they are right now."
- Warren Buffett, October 1, 2008 on the Charlie Rose Show

Why the Charlie Rose show featuring an exclusive conversation with Warren Edward Buffett, regarded as the world's greatest investor and chair of Berkshire Hathaway, is not endlessly broadcast this week is a mystery of the American political culture.

Even as House Republicans scream (at the apparent urging of Newt Gingrich) that the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act 2008 is a slippery slope to socialism, Buffett's reasoned defense of the Bush-Paulson-US Senate-Everyone-except-the-GOP-House Members Act assures that not only may the bailout bill produce a net profit (if conceived of in those terms) for American taxpayers, but the fear and loathing epitomized by the House Republicans (though not singled out by Buffett in the interview) is ludicrously removed from reality.

TNR's Kirchick Vindicated for Revealing Ron Paul's Racist Past

James Kirchick who wrote a piece in The New Republic in January knocking down the former candidate for president, Rep. Ron Paul, as a bigoted nutbag has been vindicated.

Steven Walters in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reveals today that "(f)ormer Republican presidential candidate U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas will keynote Saturday's session of the 50th anniversary of the Appleton-based John Birch Society."

The John Birch Society, dating back to the 1950s, is infamous for its conspiracy-minded, anti-Semitic, Joe McCarthy-supporting whacks.

Writes Kirchick in the January 8, 2008 The New Republic on Paul:

What If Your Social Security Was in the Stock Market ?

(Cross-posted from the AFL-CIO Now Blog. More than 96,000 people in Wisconsin receive Social Security and thousands more are nearing retirement.)

Monday’s stock market disaster, with the Dow plummeting 778 points—a larger drop than after the Sept. 11 attacks—may make Wall Street traders and billionaire hedge fund investors hyperventilate.

But imagine how much worse for the rest of us it would have been if, three years ago, President Bush and Sen. John McCain had succeeded in their efforts to privatize Social Security, gambling in the stock market funds that have been a guaranteed income for America’s retirees?

Many of our 401(k)s and pension plans took a hit yesterday—but no matter how our individual retirements fare on Wall Street, we would still have Social Security to back us up.

Not so if McCain became president.

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