Archive for Friday, October 10, 2008

Economy swamps GOP

October 10, 2008


We are a stalwart and stout-hearted people, and never more so than in hard times. People weep in the dark and arise in the morning and go to work. The waves crash on your nest egg and a chunk is swept away and you put your salami sandwich in the brown bag and get on the bus.

In Philly, a woman earns $10.30/hour to care for a man brought down by cystic fibrosis. She bathes and dresses him in the morning, brings him meals, puts him to bed at night. It's hard work lifting him and she has suffered a painful hernia that, because she can't afford health insurance, she can't get fixed, but she still goes to work because he'd be helpless without her. There are a lot of people like her. I know because I'm related to some of them.

Low dishonesty and craven cynicism sometimes win the day but not inevitably. The attempt to link Barack Obama to an old radical in his neighborhood has desperation and deceit written all over it. Meanwhile, stunning acts of heroism stand out, such as the fidelity of military lawyers assigned to defend detainees at Guantanamo Bay - uniformed officers faithful to their lawyerly duty to offer a vigorous defense even though it means exposing the injustice of military justice that is rigged for conviction and the mendacity of a commander in chief who commits war crimes. If your law school is looking for a name for its new library, instead of selling the honor to a fat cat alumnus, you should consider the names of Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift, Lt. Col. Mark Bridges, Col. Steven David, Lt. Col. Sharon Shaffer, Lt. Cmdr. Philip Sundel and Maj. Michael Mori.

It was dishonest, cynical men who put forward a clueless young woman for national office, hoping to juice up the ticket, hoping she could skate through two months of chaperoned campaigning, but the truth emerges: The lady is talking freely about matters she has never thought about. The American people have an ear for B.S. They can tell when someone's mouth is moving and the clutch is not engaged. When she said, "One thing that Americans do at this time, also, though, is let's commit ourselves just every day, American people, Joe Six-Pack, hockey moms across the nation, I think we need to band together and say never again. Never will we be exploited and taken advantage of again by those who are managing our money and loaning us these dollars," people smelled gas.

Some Republicans adore her because they are pranksters at heart and love the consternation of grown-ups. The ne'er-do-well son of the old Republican family as president, the idea that you increase government revenue by cutting taxes, the idea that you cut social services and thereby drive the needy into the middle class, the idea that you overthrow a dictator with a show of force and achieve democracy at no cost to yourself - one stink bomb after another, and now Gov. Palin.

She is a chatty sportscaster who lacks the guile to conceal her vacuity, and she was John McCain's first major decision as nominee. This troubles independent voters, and now she is a major drag on his candidacy. She will get a nice book deal from Regnery and a new career making personal appearances for forty grand a pop, and she'll become a trivia question, "What politician claimed foreign-policy expertise based on being able to see Russia from her house?" And the rest of us will have to pull ourselves out of the swamp of Republican economics.

Your broker kept saying, "Stay with the portfolio, don't jump ship," and you felt a strong urge to dump the stocks and get into the money market where at least you're not going to lose your shirt, but you didn't do it and didn't do it, and now you're holding a big bag of brown bananas. Me, too. But at least I know enough not to believe desperate people who are talking trash.

Anybody who got whacked last week and still thinks McCain-Palin is going to lead us out of the swamp and not into a war with Iran is beyond persuasion in the English language. They'll need to lose their homes and be out on the street in a cold hard rain before they connect the dots.

- Garrison Keillor is the author of a new Lake Wobegon novel, "Liberty" (Viking).


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 8 months ago

"Anybody who got whacked last week and still thinks McCain-Palin is going to lead us out of the swamp and not into a war with Iran is beyond persuasion in the English language. They'll need to lose their homes and be out on the street in a cold hard rain before they connect the dots."And I suspect that there will be many of such usual suspects chiming in here throughout the day.

Alia Ahmed 9 years, 8 months ago

Tom Shewmon (Tom Shewmon) says: WOW!! I'm not sure what to call Keillor first, so I just better refrain. OK, he for sure is a sexist curmudgeon. I better leave it at that. Oh, and I doubt Keillor can even balance his own checkbook without making a mistake, so how does he know Obama is the answer to the economy? 'Cause he ain't:..I can promise you that. It's now being said in private chats that the Dow is tanking in part, due to an impending Obama whitehouse. I don't know if I can back that up with facts, but if you ask me, I'll give it my best.Conservatives in McCain's own party don't agree with you, Tom. Many of them are blaming McCain for basically selling. So it may be chats like these where the extreme right are anxious to blame Obama for anything than can, that you'll hear and say what you want to believe, regardless of the truth. When conservative columnists are blaming McCain, it's about time for McCain to wave the white flag of surrender nationally, like he's done in Michigan.

Alia Ahmed 9 years, 8 months ago

Truthstretcher,Isn't pulling out of MIchigan surrendering? Even his darling little soulmate, Palin, was critical of that tactic (or is the strategy?) Biden is far from spineless, I admire the fact that he's overcome tragedy and always put his family first (as opposed to McCain who cheated on his disabled first wife and abandoned her for a chance to enter Arizona politics with his sugar mommy wife). Deferments are only acceptable for Republicans, like Dick Cheney, eh? McCain entered the military as a career choice as did his father and grandfather. That's fine. That was his choice. Others made other career choices.

sfjayhawk 9 years, 8 months ago

The GOP took their eye off the ball. They know they had their shot, gave it everything they had. 6 complete years of total control, their most potent culture warrior leaders, their best ideas, war and terror and jingoism, anti-gay anti-women anti-science. The economy was a distant afterthought And they failed. Spectacularly. Historically. Unsurprisingly - theirs will go down in history as one of the most profound collapses of any totalitarian power cluster in our short history. Mark your calendars. You were there. You survived. Barely".

budwhysir 9 years, 8 months ago

my hockey mom can beat up your hockey mom. And the problem with this world would be the same. To many of our every day thinking is politicaly driven. Our economy is down the drain for one reason, everyday political greed found its way into the minds of corporate america ceo's. And what did our government (political forerunners) do about it? Create a bipartisan across the isle bailout plan that will allow companies like AIG (im not pointing fingers they stood up on thier own) to continue with the exact thinking that brought us where we are today.

Alia Ahmed 9 years, 8 months ago

Truthteller,That's getting pretty personal to call a whole school, not a department, loons because you disagree with me. It's usually an indication you're losing an argument when you resort to name-calling and stereotyping.

bad_dog 9 years, 8 months ago

Alia, your link just touches the tip of the vitriolic iceberg known as "truthteller". There's many more examples out there on that interweb thing...

ASBESTOS 9 years, 8 months ago

I think if the economy tanks too much, Obama is done. Who is going to trust a no experience idiot smooth talker the keys to a ferrari going sideways?I think that in that voting booth, with the economy tanked, and if it loses 7% again, I think McCain looks better.At least there is less of a "learning curve with mcCain, and "Change" is out the window with a tanked economy.How about those criminal ACORN thugs making up hundreds of thousands of illegal voters?Obama cannot get elected without ACORN stuffing the ballot box with ficticious voters.

temperance 9 years, 8 months ago

Keep at it Alia -- you're one of the only ones making sense today."Why does Biden always seem mad?"I dunno. Why are all the recent participants at McCain/Palin rallies lathering up the hate and racism with chants for "off with his head!" "terrorist!" and "traitor!" ? Probably for the same reasons the McCain supporters on these discussion boards are reduced to laughable character attacks (ACORN! Ayers! flag pin!). And, oh, the righteous anger! As Obama's lead mounts, this Obama Derangement Syndrome is becoming adorably cute.Just for the record, Ayers was right about the Vietnam war. It was a stupid war in which we never should have participated. I weigh the fictional people Ayers killed with the innocents killed in the Vietnam war and I laugh at the idea that the "Ayers connection" would influence anyone one way or another. Again, y'all are adorably cute with your 5 minutes of hate, hang ups with the middle name "Hussein," and all of the other nonsense. But your little boy McCain and what's her name are going to lose, so it might be time to look into some anger management classes.

Alia Ahmed 9 years, 8 months ago

Truthteller,Thanks for video of Biden in 1988. He seems like he has more hair now, but hasn't changed in looks much. If that's the most damning video you could find of his "temper", I don't think you have proved your point. Again, I saw and heard passion in this video. Unlike John McCain's well-known rants, Biden didn't curse, didn't storm out and actually spoke up for the most vulnerable in our society. Take a look at this video of McCain, in a Senate hearing, no less. Contrast that with Biden's "temperment" in your link.

budwhysir 9 years, 8 months ago

OH look politics leading to talk of school. Keep your politics out of my school, had to keep religion out of there

budwhysir 9 years, 8 months ago

Hey has anyone seen my pig? she ran off before I could find my lipstick

Satirical 9 years, 8 months ago

ASBESTOS...Acorn has never done anything wrong. Fifteen year olds deserve to be able to vote 6 times.I agree with the author. Cutting taxes is ridiculous. I mean, Washington politicians are much better at spending the people's money than are the people. If people were forced to think for themselves some of them might make bad choices, so it is "safer" to prevent everyone from making choices. Don't fuss litle one, the government is hear to protect you from yourself.

Alia Ahmed 9 years, 8 months ago

Tom,Biden doesn't seem angry to me. He smiles and got a big chuckle out of his characterization on SNL. He clearly is passionate about what he believes. I've never seen any evidence that he has the kind of hot temper that has been documented re: McCain. I'd be happy to read anything you find or watch a youtube video that shows he's generally an unhappy fellow who doesn't like his job.

Satirical 9 years, 8 months ago

Sfjayhawk:You are totally right. I mean Clinton and the Dems putting pressure on the lending institutions, including Freddie and Fannie to give loans to minorities and indigents had absolutely nothing to do with our economic crisis. And the Republicans trying to get more oversight of Freddie and Fannie which was opposed by the Dems is irrelevant.Republicans got control of both the Legislative and Executive branch because Bill Clinton was a joke. The Republicans were voted out because of the war in Iraq ( which we are now winning thanks to McCain and despite Obama's opposition to the surge). The Dems have had control of the Legislative branch for two years which has control of the purse strings, and now our economy is collapsing. If the Dems have control of the Legislative and Executive branch we will likely be facing an economic depression. The only solution the Dems can come up with is higher taxes and more government control. It didn't work to get us out of the Great Depression and it won't work now.

Satirical 9 years, 8 months ago

Ahmed:"Do you think a one party system would be a democracy?"In theory, yes it would be possible (Although parties are for a Republic not a Democracy, but i will assume you are referring to America's Democratic-Republic). In reality, no.

dipweed 9 years, 8 months ago

Everyone can just relax because Kansas worthless electoral votes will go Republican like they always do no matter how the vote turns out in Lawrence.

Alia Ahmed 9 years, 8 months ago

More proof that rational, moderate Republicans are jumping off McCain's sinking ship. My dad was a life-long Republican and would be so disappointed to see what his Grand Ole Party has come to. If our system of democracy is supposed to be the greatest in the world, why do many extreme Republicans try to totally invalidate and destroy the two party system?

Scott Drummond 9 years, 8 months ago

"Your hero Barack Hussein Obama may win, but it's not in McCain's nature to surrender."Wasn't it just a matter of days before he was making anti-American propaganda after being shot down in Vietnam?

Satirical 9 years, 8 months ago

Alia Ahmed...Are you suggesting a two party system is necessary to maintain our system of democracy?

Alia Ahmed 9 years, 8 months ago

Satirical (Anonymous) says: Alia Ahmed:Are you suggesting a two party system is necessary to maintain our system of democracy?Well, I think we could have and do have more than two parties and be a democracy. Let me ask you the reverse, not being a smart aleck, really want to know what you think. Do you think a one party system would be a democracy? I assume that for most of our country's existence we've had more than one party (other than that Boston tea party, of course :~ ). It sure would be nice if we could be more civil to each other and remember that just because someone holds views politics differently than we do, that is democracy at work.

Orwell 9 years, 8 months ago

Truthteller: Follow along, please I assume you agree that if the tax rate were reduced to zero, tax revenue would definitely NOT increase. Therefore, at some point, tax rate reduction fails to produce increased tax revenue.We have no parallel "control group" economy against which the effect of a single change in economic policy can be measured reliably. This isn't the Sixties.Empirically, deficits disappeared after modest Clinton-era rate increases on the upper income brackets; conversely, deficits skyrocketed after Bush's tax cuts.Seems it's safe to say tax cuts have at best a mixed record as a generator of economic health. We might be better off without advocacy of faith-based economic policy.

Alia Ahmed 9 years, 8 months ago

bad_dog (Anonymous) says: Alia, your link just touches the tip of the vitriolic iceberg known as "truthteller". There's many more examples out there on that interweb thing:b_d, I'm relatively new to blogs and commenting on stories. I really had no idea about truthteller's reputation. He seems to be known far and wide. It's hard to connect all the dots, however, with the name changes and I've not been that interested. But, his rather strong reaction to where I work made me curious enough to check it out further.

sfjayhawk 9 years, 8 months ago

Truthtell - where were you for the first 6 years of Bushes presidency? You remember dont you, Dick Army, and The Hammer Delay and all bushes squinting and bumbling and "is our children learning" and bible literalism, creationism, intelligent design, and screeching over stem cells - all the while paying no attention what so ever to the economy. We refer to that time as the dark ages of America (or merika as you may call it). You see now the intellectual bar has been raised. Or rather, the bar has been lifted out of the cave where it was dumped eight years ago; it's been polished up, reinstalled. And it clearly scares the holy hell out you and your pals.

Godot 9 years, 8 months ago

Now, let this insane bailout go before the Supreme Coiurt. "Doctor asks federal judge to issue restraining order stopping bailout bill10/10/2008 2:11 PMBy Steve GonzalezEAST ST. LOUIS-A Belleville doctor is asking a federal judge to bar President George W. Bush from enforcing the congressionally-approved financial industry bailout bill.Dr. Randy J. Jung filed the request for a restraining order Friday, arguing Congress and Bush exceeded their constitutional authority when passing H.R. 1424, otherwise known as the bailout bill."In the spirit of the Magna Carta where the King and government are required to follow their own laws; and in the honorable tradition of the Judicial Branch of government providing checks and balances for excesses of Congress and/or the President, I would like to plead that a restraining order be issued preventing the 'bailout bill' from being enforced until after a federal judge has ruled on the above maters which strongly indicate that the Congress and President have exceeded their Constitutional authority passing H.R. 1424 as amended," the complaint states."After reading Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, I do not see where Congress has the legal authority to deprive its citizens of property in the form of taxation to effect the above act and bailout the troubled financial district," the complaint also states.Jung argues since the bailout bill is an attachment to mental health legislation, it makes it "extra topical to the spirit and scope of the mental health act" and is an effort to "get around the fact that the U.S. Senate is the originator of a bill raising revenue of $700 billion, which exceeds the rights of the US Senate as indicated in Article I, section 7."The U.S. Senate has taken away the constitutional right of the House of Representatives to originate bills for raising revenue; and is assuming that function for the Senate," the complaint states."Sometimes, children are abused by their parent, relative, acquaintance, or stranger," the complaint also states. "This abuse generally occurs in a milieu of neglect where other adults fail to allege that the perpetrator has exceeded his rights; and exercised his will over the child simply because he is powerful enough to do so."U.S. District Judge Michael Reagan and Magistrate Clifford Proud have been assigned to the case. No hearings have yet been scheduled."

Alia Ahmed 9 years, 8 months ago

Truthteller,That's good you only stereotype one group, not the entire university. How's that for reframing your negativity? I'll not get into a semantics lesson with you about what constitutes a department or school versus the entire university at KU.

Godot 9 years, 8 months ago

PANORAMA CITY, Calif., Oct. 10, 2008 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Eighteen Libertariancandidates for Congress in California today issued a joint statement opposingthe current financial bailout and asking whether the votes for it were openlybought with campaign contributions. The candidates released a table of data(below) from, which shows that the bailout votes of theLibertarian candidates' incumbent opponents correlate with 2008 campaigncontributions from PACs in the finance, insurance, and real estate industries tothe incumbents. The Libertarian candidates' statement said:"The current mortgage crisis is the direct and predictable resultof the government protecting borrowers and lenders from their ownunwise choices. Only one party in America-the Libertarian Party-iswilling to say who caused this crisis and to consistently followthe principle of holding such people responsible for their ownchoices."When the government covers someone's losses, this creates a'moral hazard' that those businesses will continue to take unwiserisks. After the 1989 bailout of the savings and loan (S&L)industry, the government fed a new real estate bubble with severalmore bad decisions. In 1992, Congress required Fannie Mae andFreddie Mac to devote part of their mission to support affordablehousing efforts. In 1994, Congress acted to encourage privatelenders to direct more money to low-income borrowers. In 1995, newrules under the Community Reinvestment Act required lenders tospend money on advertising these loans to low-income borrowers. In1999, Fannie Mae created another program to make loans toborrowers whose credit was not good enough to qualify for normalloans, prompting one economist to warn: 'This is another thriftindustry growing up around us. If they fail, the government willhave to step up and bail them out the way it stepped up and bailedout the thrift industry.'"Now the Republicans and Democrats have intervened again in thecredit markets, by spending $700 billion of taxpayer money on badmortgages. This is a recipe for continuing the cycle of bailouts.Twenty years ago, the S&L bailout cost $160 billion. Today's billis $700 billion. What will the next bailout cost?"Libertarians say it's time to stop the insanity. Bailoutadvocates claim the government could profit from buying these non-performing mortgages. If this were true, then let privateinvestors pursue these opportunities with their own money insteadof with your tax dollars.(cont)

Godot 9 years, 8 months ago

(cont from earlier post)"We already have a mechanism to sort out the assets andliabilities of a troubled company-it's called bankruptcy.Bankruptcy doesn't mean that assets get torched or employees getblacklisted from all future employment. Bankruptcy just means thatassets and employees are taken away from those who failed tomanage them wisely, and made available for more productiveemployment."We already have a mechanism to punish those who deceivedborrowers or lenders-it's called prosecution for fraud. TheLibertarian candidate for president, Bob Barr, a former federalprosecutor, has called for vigorous prosecution of anybody whoengaged in deceptive lending or who deliberately overvaluedmortgage-backed securities. He says we need to clean up themarketplace, not cover up financial crimes with a pile of taxpayermoney."Most importantly, we already have a mechanism to punish thepoliticians who worked so hard to help create this mess-it'scalled an election. This November, don't bail out the incumbentswho are using your tax dollars to bail out their irresponsiblefriends on Wall Street. Instead, vote for the only party inAmerica that believes people should be free to make their ownchoices in their personal and economic lives-and should bear theresponsibility for those choices. Vote Libertarian, and send themessage that Washington should be in nobody's pocket."

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