Why McCain Can't Look Obama in the Eye

"The eyes are the window of the soul."

Why couldn't John McCain look his opponent in the eye?

Is it because Sarah Palin took all his face time when she "didn't blink" when asked about becoming Vice President?

Why can't one guy look into the eyes of another when debating them? Fact is, John McCain has spoken about his ability to "look someone in the eye" before. Here's an article on the subject:

"Sen. John McCain issued the keeper of all campaign promises today. It's on the question of taxes, which he vows not to raise. It's not a "read my lips, no new taxes'' pledge, in the manner of former President George H.W. Bush, who made that pledge as a candidate and then raised taxes as president. Rather, it's a "look you in the eye,'' no new taxes.

""I want to look you in the eye: I will not raise your taxes nor support a tax increase,'' McCain said today at a "town-hall'' styled campaign appearance at the Wagner Company, a Caterpillar dealer, in Aurora., Colo. "I will not do it.''McCain has often told his town hall audiences that he "wants to'' or "has to'' look them in the eyes. Most often, it's had to do with his stance on the war in Iraq."

Okay, so John's aware when he's going to look, and when he's not going to look. He made a conscious decision not to EVEN LOOK AT HIM. Even when Obama shook his hand at the beginning, McCain didn't hear what Obama said, jerked his head up as if to say "What?" and still NEVER LOOKED AT HIM.

Something is going on. It's either subconscious, or its Karl Rove. So let's examine why another human being, standing in front of him for 90 minutes, would never even glance at him. Here's one doctor's response:

You may be aware that many people consider the eyes to be "windows to the soul." Looking into another person's eyes can be a very intimate act. We may feel as though we're seeing more of the "real person" as compared to the mask or persona many of us don for more superficial interactions. And, of course, we may feel the other person is also seeing more of us.

Sometimes we're afraid of what others might see when they look into our eyes, usually because we're uncomfortable or ashamed of some aspect of ourselves. We may be afraid of what we'll see reflected in the other's eyes. We may fear exposure or rejection of the "real" us. Or we might be afraid of seeing love or caring or acceptance in the other's eyes, feeling we don't deserve such kindness or that it might lead to a more emotionally or, perhaps, physically, intimate relationship. If we've been hurt or betrayed in other intimate relationships (whether with friends, lovers or family members), we may be especially reluctant.

Here's another doctor's response:

Eye Contact
When someone talks to you, do they look directly at you or look away? Maintaining eye contact when talking (or listening) to someone gives an impression that you/they are confident and honest. Making little eye contact can say that the other person doesn't like you, is nervous or shy, or perhaps believe that they are higher in status and think that eye contact isn't necessary.

Check it out:


What was Palin talking about???

"The fib I told was this big..."

So, reporters finally got a chance to lob some questions at Sarah Palin. I guess they showed enough deference, except perhaps this tricky one:

Palin was asked if she thought the U.S. presence in Iraq and Afghanistan was helping to mitigate terrorism.

"I think our presence in Iraq and Afghanistan will lead to further security for our nation. We can never again let them onto our soil," she said.

Excuuuuuuuuuuse me? What Iraqi, what Afghani has ever been on our soil, other than the happy-to-meet-anyone-Bush-asks-me-to Hamid Karzai at the UN? I think she's not aware that it was 19 SAUDIS ARABIANS that were in the planes at the World Trade Center.

But then maybe she thinks they're one and the same; that we're fighting a war in Iraq to "go after those responisble for 9/11." What an ignoramoose!! (a genderless word by the way) We'll never know what McPalin knows, because she'll be President and running the country before we get a chance to ask the question.

My two cents


Impeach Sarah Palin? Ouch!

Palin's Troopergate Moves Getting Bad Reviews in Alaska


On Monday, Sarah Palin's lawyers announced the Alaska governor's intention to cooperate with the Troopergate investigation.

Sort of.

Palin won't actually cooperate with the original investigation - the one approved unanimously by a majority Republican committee in the state legislature this summer, which Palin welcomed in a spirit of transparency and accountability before she became the Republican Party's vice-presidential nominee. The Alaska Senate Judiciary Committee had started the inquiry when former public safety commissioner Walt Monegan alleged that he might have been dismissed for not firing the allegedly loutish state trooper Mike Wooten, who was in a bitter custody battle with Palin's sister Molly McCann and was accused of threatening members of the governor's family. The investigation has since been painted by John McCain and Palin backers as a purely partisan exercise, particularly because the committee chair, state senator Hollis French, is an Anchorage Democrat who made several seemingly prejudicial statements to the media early on, including that the probe could yield an "October surprise" right before the election. Palin spokeswoman Meg Stapleton says French has already made up his mind about the governor's guilt and at this point is "just leading people into an ambush."

Instead, Palin plans to cooperate with an investigator from the state personnel board. That investigator is a Democrat, but the board's three members are political appointees who ultimately answer to the governor herself. (One was appointed by Palin, the other two by her predecessor.) They got involved only after Palin took the unusual step of filing an ethics complaint against herself in early September to spark an investigation that her lawyers hoped would overshadow - and effectively kill - the legislature's inquiry.

But the Alaska senate inquiry is moving ahead. Last week, after many of Palin's aides and associates, as well as her husband, reversed their positions and refused to testify in front of the legislative committee, French said the senate investigator would issue findings on the matter in early October with or without their testimony. As if to parry that move, Palin's lawyer, Thomas Van Flein, met with the personnel board's investigator on Monday and promised that he would furnish a list of who would be interviewed on Tuesday. The McCain campaign told the Associated Press that after Tuesday, the entire personnel board process would be confidential and that the campaign would have no further comment. The Alaska personnel board is "the only legal forum in the state for the Monegan inquiry," Palin's spokeswoman explained.

For many Alaskans, all this maneuvering is a bit too clever. Palin's jockeying doesn't just clash with her previous image as a good-government reformer. It strikes some here almost as a matter of state sovereignty. There was grumbling when the McCain campaign brought in a high-powered cheechako (that's an outsider), former federal terrorism prosecutor Ed O'Callaghan, to dictate the governor's strategy and deal with the media. Spokeswoman Stapleton says O'Callaghan is in Alaska because she and Van Flein need the extra help, and that the media have made this a national issue, so bringing in advisers from outside of Alaska is only appropriate. But the campaign's public bashing of Monegan, a widely respected, longtime public official in the state, didn't help its case. Now that O'Callaghan's hardball tactics are becoming clearer, the complaints have grown louder, from all sides of the political spectrum.

(See photos of Sarah Palin on the campaign trail here.)
(See photos of Sarah Palin's rise here.)

As the Anchorage Daily News wrote in a blistering op-ed over the weekend: "Is it too much to ask that Alaska's governor speak for herself, directly to Alaskans, about her actions as Alaska's governor?" One longtime observer - a Palin fan who says she's done "brilliant" things in the state - worried aloud to me over coffee in downtown Anchorage that allowing the McCain campaign to antagonize both parties in the legislature on Palin's behalf could even lead to her eventual impeachment, if her bid to become Vice President fails and she returns to the state with a little less political luster.

That seems far-fetched, but the whole affair is a rarity in Palin's charmed career: a political miscalculation. To many observers, the underlying accusations in Troopergate are not all that damning. Many Alaskans have sympathy for the anxiety and frustration the Palins felt over Wooten's continued employment. In Anchorage, I've heard time and again that Palin could have avoided further scrutiny with a single convivial mea culpa at the outset, apologizing in particular for her initial inaccurate denial that anyone in her administration, including herself, had contacted Monegan about Wooten. Stapleton says the firing was a personnel matter that the state attorney general advised Palin not to comment on initially. But still, Alaskans say that if Palin had ignored that advice and spoken openly to the public, she could have defanged any investigation and signaled to Alaskans that even as the vice-presidential nominee, she would still be the same supposedly straight-talking Sarah they had voted for overwhelmingly.

But almost every move she has made related to Troopergate since she was named McCain's running mate has damaged her credibility and standing. Most recently the shifting public explanations for why Monegan was fired have looked shaky - at one point, it was that they didn't share the same general law enforcement priorities, at another it was that he hadn't done enough to crack down on rural bootlegging, and most recently it was for his unauthorized travel to Washington to lobby for federal dollars. After many Democrats complained that the McCain campaign appeared to be trying to run out the clock on the investigation, the campaign's announcement that Palin would work with the personnel board is designed to blunt such criticism and show voters nationwide a renewed openness in the case. But it's unclear whether the board will actually reach any findings before the Nov. 4 election.

Even in iconoclastic Alaska, there are rabid Democrats and rabid Republicans who now view Troopergate only through the lens of national politics. But far more people, on both sides, see this as a more nuanced situation, and one that may end up costing Palin more here than it ever should have.

(See photos of Sarah Palin on the campaign trail here.)
(See photos of Sarah Palin's rise here.) View this article on

Two Telling Articles

Source: Freddie Mac paid McCain aide's firm

By PETE YOST, Associated Press Writer 28 minutes ago

Almost up until the time it was taken over by the government in the nation's financial crisis, one of two housing giants paid $15,000 a month to the lobbying firm of John McCain's campaign manager, a person familiar with the financial arrangement says.The money from Freddie Mac to the firm of Rick Davis is on top of more than $30,000 a month that went directly to Davis for five years starting in 2000.The $30,000 a month came from both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the other housing entity now under the government's control because of the nation's financial crisis. All the payments were first reported by The New York Times, which posted an article Tuesday night revealing the $15,000 a month to the firm of Davis Manafort. The newspaper quoted two people with direct knowledge of the arrangement. In response to the latest disclosure, the McCain campaign issued a statement saying that Davis left the firm and stopped taking salary from the firm in 2006. A person familiar with the contract says the $15,000 a month in payments to Davis' firm started around the end of 2005 and continued until the past month or so. The person spoke on condition of anonymity.

The connection between Davis and the housing giants that figure centrally in the global financial crunch emerged after the McCain campaign unleashed a sharp attack on Democratic rival Barack Obama.McCain has tied Obama to Fannie and Freddie's troubles and has called on Jim Johnson and Franklin Raines — both Obama supporters and former Fannie Mae executives — to return large golden parachute payments they received from the corporations after leaving. McCain's campaign released a new television ad that says Raines is among those advising Obama on housing policy. Obama's campaign released a statement from Raines, who says he is not an Obama adviser. Robert McCarson, a former spokesman for Fannie Mae, criticized the McCain campaign's attack on Obama, given the five years of payments to Davis."It's either idiocy or hubris" on the McCain campaign's part, McCarson, a Democrat, said in an interview.

Gee. What a surprise. And 15 grand a month, but not really sure what it's for? How about supplying the lube to the nation for the grand rogering it's experiencing from the banking world and Wall Street? 15 Grand can buy a lot of lube. (Of course, I wouldn't know about that). Maybe this guy can join Carly Fiorino in "out of McPalin's hair" camp. Anyways, someone please call Senator McCain what he really is; a prevaricator.

September 24, 2008

Pinpoint Attacks Focus on Obama

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. — Hundreds of times in the past three weeks, cable television viewers here have been the exclusive audience for two of the roughest advertisements of the political season.One links Senator Barack Obama to the former mayor of Detroit, Kwame M. Kilpatrick, an African-American whose political career unraveled in scandal. The other features Mr. Obama’s former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A Wright Jr., also black, and his now infamous sermon marked by the words “God damn America.”

Ooh! America is frightened! We're scared! We need to lock our doors at night, or some boogy man is going to creep in and steal us blind. Wait a second, that's already happening. How about Herman Munster Paulson? Does he want in too?

The advertisements, from a political action committee that is not connected to Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign, are running only here, in Macomb County, heavily populated by white, unionized auto workers, once considered “Reagan Democrats,” whose votes could largely determine which candidate wins Michigan, a state vital to both sides. The advertisements point up the unusual nature of this year’s more potentially pernicious political attacks: They are not coming with the loud, nationally recognized cannon blast of the type launched by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth against Senator John Kerry in 2004, but, rather, as more stealthy, narrowly aimed rifle shots from smaller groups armed with incendiary material.

As Mike Moore points out in "Bowling for Columbine" - everything that's dark and insidious in America started somewhere in Michigan. Yet again!

Mr. McCain has at times been a target of over-the-top attacks from outside groups, such as a recent advertisement from the liberal group Brave New Pac, based in California, that suggested his time in a Vietnamese prison ill-affected his ability to be president; the Internet was filled with various unsubstantiated and discredited rumors about his running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, immediately after he named her last month.But the more explosive charges from outside groups against Mr. Obama have often drawn closer scrutiny this year for their volume and the cultural and racial sensitivities they tend to touch, and, occasionally, seek to exploit.

In Mr. Obama’s case, the messages have frequently sought to paint him as foreign, like the chain e-mail messages sent for months to Jewish areas of Florida, suburban Philadelphia and other swing states that portray Mr. Obama as Muslim (he is Christian). This week, a hate group calling itself the League of American Patriots distributed fliers to as many as 50 homes in Roxbury, a mostly white town in northern New Jersey, portraying Mr. Obama as Osama Bin Laden and including language that was derisive of black people. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks extremist groups, said the fliers, initially reported by The Star-Ledger in Newark, were the first overtly racist printed tracts of their kind this election season.

Wait a second. Isn't this kind of mail against the law? A hate crime?

The advertisements running here against Mr. Obama come from a group called Freedom’s Defense Fund, a political action committee based in Washington that was formed four years ago and raises money from conservatives around the country. The advertisements have stood out because of the group’s connections — including to its paid consultant, Jerome S. Corsi, the author of the highly negative, largely discredited political biography of Mr. Obama, “Obama Nation” — and what local critics say are their racial overtones. “That’s all they are — race oriented,” said Ed Bruley, the chairman of the Democratic Party of Macomb. “I think some people will be affected by it, others will see it for what it is.” It is a view shared by Democratic leaders, including Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who, in a recent interview with MSNBC, said of the advertising campaign, “The fact that it is being run in a predominantly white suburb tells you that there is an explicit effort to try to divide people by race.”

No shit, Sherlock.

Todd Zirkle, the executive director of Freedom’s Defense Fund, said race had “zero” to do with the spots. “That’s the standard retort when you want to say ‘Don’t listen to these people,’ ” Mr. Zirkle said. He said the group’s intention was to show Mr. Obama’s affiliations — although Mr. Obama and Mr. Kilpatrick were never known to be close. He said coming spots would highlight Mr. Obama’s ties to two white men, the developer Antoin Rezko, a former financial backer of Mr. Obama’s who has been convicted of fraud, and to the Weather Underground founder William Ayers, with whom Mr. Obama worked on an education commission in Illinois and whose past Mr. Obama has repudiated. Mr. Zirkle said a fifth spot would highlight Mr. Obama’s supposed support for the Kenyan prime minister, the opposition leader Raila Odinga. Mr. Zirkle did not share that script, but Mr. Corsi’s book asserts, without substantiation, that Mr. Obama has been a close supporter of the African leader. Mr. Obama remained neutral in the Kenyan elections.

Liars who love to lie. So drunk on power they lose their souls. If it wasn't so important, I'd have compassion for this pathetic creep. But there's too many of them out there. Creeps with money. Liars with access to video equipment. Shame on Zirkle. Shame on Corsi. Couple of creepos. Obama was 8 years old when Ayers was an anarchist. And what was he protesting? To allow Nixon to continue the war?

Officials with Freedom’s Defense Fund, which gives Mr. Corsi’s book to its donors, said they paid Mr. Corsi only to help write fund-raising appeals. Federal returns show he was paid $15,000 as a fund-raising consultant. But the details of his book provide a thread that runs through several of the anti-Obama groups. One of them is the National Campaign Fund, a group directed by Floyd Brown, who produced the Willie Horton attack ads against Gov. Michael S. Dukakis of Massachusetts in the 1988 race. An advertisement Mr. Brown hopes to run against Mr. Obama this fall — and now on his group’s Web site — cites Mr. Corsi’s book in trying to paint Mr. Obama as a Muslim.

Mr. Brown said in an interview that he had spoken with Mr. Corsi, whom he said he has known “for years,” but Mr. Corsi is not listed as a formal consultant. Federal filings show that Mr. Brown’s group has spent more than $60,000 for a direct mail campaign, the content of which he would not share. Disputed claims that Mr. Corsi has made about Mr. Obama’s abortion stance have dovetailed with those of a group that recently ran a commercial in Dayton, Ohio, accusing Mr. Obama of supporting “infanticide” (he does not). The group, the Black Republican PAC, has several connections to the Freedom Defense Fund. They share the same treasurer, Scott B. MacKenzie, who had also worked on Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaigns in 1980 and 1984, as well as those of Jack Kemp and Patrick J. Buchanan. Mr. MacKenzie’s office is located in the direct mail firm working with both groups, BMW Direct, whose chief operating officer, Michael Centanni, is also the chairman of the defense fund.

God, the lies are so rampant - from WMD's to emergency bailouts. "I'm the decider." What a dolt. But that's the mantra. "I'll decide what's good for the country, and the economy. "

Mr. Centanni said he has no connection to Mr. McCain’s campaign. He said Freedom’s Defense Fund, with relatively scant resources to spread nationally, decided it could have the most impact by focusing its presidential efforts here for tens of thousands. “We feel Obama can’t win the presidency without Michigan and he can’t win Michigan without Macomb,” he said. “We’re relatively small, but we’re trying to be effective and relevant.” Bill Burton, a spokesman for Mr. Obama, said, “Considering that these ads have only run on television a couple of times, this group is getting a wealth of attention it would otherwise never get just by this article appearing in The New York Times.” Macomb is where the Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg helped define the term “Reagan Democrat” in the mid-1980s, conducting a series of polls to conclude that white, unionized workers came to believe Democrats had abandoned them for, in part, the poor and African-Americans.

Guy should be prosecuted for lying, slander and just being a public nuisance.

Mr. Greenberg returned this year with his Democratic advocacy group, Democracy Corps, to find that racial attitudes among white workers had grown less hostile, though concerns had not disappeared. Union officials have worked to dispel those concerns. Waiting in a car outside a Dollar Store here, a retired auto worker named Angie Christel, 78, who is white, said the union had dismissed for her the notion that Mr. Obama was Muslim. “I thought he was Muslim until I got the letter in the mail,” Ms. Christel said, “and he was raised by all white people.”

Oh Lordy! One person doesn't fear the half white/half black candidate. Did you know that in Puerto Rico, if one of your parents is white, you're considered white? Why is the US the only country on the planet that has it backwards? Our nation is so inured to its xenophobia, so addicted to the drug of fear, it's driving itself off a cliff.

My two cents.


Bailout = Highway Robbery

I'll take time out from my McPalin bashing to kick the Bush administration. (Ooh! Only a few months of kicking left!!) When we hear that the government is "bailing out" Wall Street, we should all pay attention. This administration has been responsible, or ignorant of, some of the worst profiteering in the history of the nation. Bush & Friends asked for a blank check for the War in Iraq. A blank check paid for willingly by the nation... while the press sat on their hands. And now, hmmm, they're asking for another blank check. So far they've figured out the FEAR makes us docile, and willing to give up our checkbooks. But what happened to checks and balances? Why can't Congress take some time to see what the hell is under the hood of this massive semi the Administration is trying to sell us? Can't someone kick the tires? It's outrageous that the lies that led us into the war in Iraq have gone unpunished, or in most cases, unpublished. A liar comes along and says "Hey, ignore those other lies me and my friends told you, THIS TIME it's the truth." To paraphrase Mr. Bush; "Fool me once, I'm a fool. I'm ashamed to say that fool me twice, I should be ashamed of being ashamed." Gimme your dough before I go... Here's an article from Bill Greider at the Nation.

Paulson Bailout Plan a Historic Swindle
Friday 19 September 2008

by: William Greider, The Nation

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

If Wall Street gets away with this, it will represent an historic swindle of the American public - all sugar for the villains, lasting pain and damage for the victims. My advice to Washington politicians: Stop, take a deep breath and examine what you are being told to do by so-called "responsible opinion." If this deal succeeds, I predict it will become a transforming event in American politics - exposing the deep deformities in our democracy and launching a tidal wave of righteous anger and popular rebellion. As I have been saying for several months, this crisis has the potential to bring down one or both political parties, take your choice.

Christopher Whalen of Institutional Risk Analytics, a brave conservative critic, put it plainly: "The joyous reception from Congressional Democrats to Paulson's latest massive bailout proposal smells an awful lot like yet another corporatist lovefest between Washington's one-party government and the Sell Side investment banks."

A kindred critic, Josh Rosner of Graham Fisher in New York, defined the sponsors of this stampede to action: "Let us be clear, it is not citizen groups, private investors, equity investors or institutional investors broadly who are calling for this government purchase fund. It is almost exclusively being lobbied for by precisely those institutions that believed they were 'smarter than the rest of us,' institutions who need to get those assets off their balance sheet at an inflated value lest they be at risk of large losses or worse."

Let me be clear. The scandal is not that government is acting. The scandal is that government is not acting forcefully enough - using its ultimate emergency powers to take full control of the financial system and impose order on banks, firms and markets. Stop the music, so to speak, instead of allowing individual financiers and traders to take opportunistic moves to save themselves at the expense of the system. The step-by-step rescues that the Federal Reserve and Treasury have executed to date have failed utterly to reverse the flight of investors and banks worldwide from lending or buying in doubtful times. There is no obvious reason to assume this bailout proposal will change their minds, though it will certainly feel good to the financial houses that get to dump their bad paper on the government.

A serious intervention in which Washington takes charge would, first, require a new central authority to supervise the financial institutions and compel them to support the government's actions to stabilize the system. Government can apply killer leverage to the financial players: accept our objectives and follow our instructions or you are left on your own - cut off from government lending spigots and ineligible for any direct assistance. If they decline to cooperate, the money guys are stuck with their own mess. If they resist the government's orders to keep lending to the real economy of producers and consumers, banks and brokers will be effectively isolated, therefore doomed.

Only with these conditions, and some others, should the federal government be willing to take ownership - temporarily - of the rotten financial assets that are dragging down funds, banks and brokerages. Paulson and the Federal Reserve are trying to replay the bailout approach used in the 1980s for the savings and loan crisis, but this situation is utterly different. The failed S&Ls held real assets - property, houses, shopping centers - that could be readily resold by the Resolution Trust Corporation at bargain prices. This crisis involves ethereal financial instruments of unknowable value - not just the notorious mortgage securities but various derivative contracts and other esoteric deals that may be virtually worthless.

Despite what the pols in Washington think, the RTC bailout was also a Wall Street scandal. Many of the financial firms that had financed the S&L industry's reckless lending got to buy back the same properties for pennies from the RTC - profiting on the upside, then again on the downside. Guess who picked up the tab? I suspect Wall Street is envisioning a similar bonanza - the chance to harvest new profit from their own fraud and criminal irresponsibility.

If government acts responsibly, it will impose some other conditions on any broad rescue for the bankers. First, take due bills from any financial firms that get to hand off their spoiled assets, that is, a hard contract that repays government from any future profits once the crisis is over. Second, when the politicians get around to reforming financial regulations and dismantling the gimmicks and "too big to fail" institutions, Wall Street firms must be prohibited from exercising their usual manipulations of the political system. Call off their lobbyists, bar them from the bribery disguised as campaign contributions. Any contact or conversations between the assisted bankers and financial houses with government agencies or elected politicians must be promptly reported to the public, just as regulated industries are required to do when they call on government regulars.

More important, if the taxpayers are compelled to refinance the villains in this drama, then Americans at large are entitled to equivalent treatment in their crisis. That means the suspension of home foreclosures and personal bankruptcies for debt-soaked families during the duration of this crisis. The debtors will not escape injury and loss - their situation is too dire - but they deserve equal protection from government, the chance to work out things gradually over some years on reasonable terms.

The government, meanwhile, may have to create another emergency agency, something like the New Deal, that lends directly to the real economy - businesses, solvent banks, buyers and sellers in consumer markets. We don't know how much damage has been done to economic growth or how long the cold spell will last, but I don't trust the bankers in the meantime to provide investment capital and credit. If necessary, Washington has to fill that role, too.

Finally, the crisis is global, obviously, and requires concerted global action. Robert A. Johnson, a veteran of global finance now working with the Campaign for America's Future, suggests that our global trading partners may recognize the need for self-interested cooperation and can negotiate temporary - maybe permanent - reforms to balance the trading system and keep it functioning, while leading nations work to put the global financial system back in business.

The agenda is staggering. The United States is ill equipped to deal with it smartly, not to mention wisely. We have a brain-dead lame duck in the White House. The two presidential candidates are trapped by events, trying to say something relevant without getting blamed for the disaster. The people should make themselves heard in Washington, even if only to share their outrage.


William Greider - National affairs correspondent William Greider has been a political journalist for more than thirty-five years. A former Rolling Stone and Washington Post editor, he is the author of the national bestsellers One World, Ready or Not, Secrets of the Temple, Who Will Tell The People, The Soul of Capitalism (Simon & Schuster) and - due out in February from Rodale - Come Home, America

Response to New Yorker's "The State of Palin"

There's an article in the New Yorker this month that paints a flattering portrait of the next President (oops! did I slip? She did say Palin/McCain ticket didn't she? Just like the Cheney/Bush White House!) of the US, the Hockey Mom from The Great White North. I won't waste the amount of air time Phil Gourevitch does on here, other than to point out the silliness of his writing.

Last year, the F.B.I. hit the home of Ted Stevens, Alaska’s six-term senator, and he became a favorite figure of ridicule on “The Daily Show”: an angry little man, with an uncanny resemblance to Mr. Magoo, who had once made himself seem even older than his eighty-plus years by describing the Internet as “a series of tubes”; Jon Stewart called him a “coot,” and portrayed him as a bully and a crook. As I travelled around Alaska in mid-August, Alaskans wanted me to understand that, sadly, he might well be all of that—and a very good thing for the state, too.

So, to follow this logic, if someone brings pork to the state, then it's okay if they also break the law and abuse their power. Follow that argument, and the Chinese have every right to imprison Tibetans because the Chinese have taken the time to build roads for the lowly Tibetans. They can't complain. Hey, Mussolini made the trains run on time. So what if he looked like a toad in a jumpsuit. "He's our toad."

On the day I stopped by Palin’s office in Juneau, she did not seem bothered that Alaska’s newspapers were filled with stories about Troopergate. Palin had just called a press conference to discuss the latest twist—a tape-recorded phone call from Frank Bailey, one of her closest aides, who could be heard trying to influence an officer to sack Trooper Wooten.

Sure, last June she'd talk to anyone who could help her. She didn't have the weight of the nation on her shoulders, or was training for the "don't blink" method when McCain, after meeting her ONCE (this article makes it seem like she was on everyone radar - what nonsense. McCain is still figuring out the blackberry let along how to use radar) decided to cynically make her his choice. If he wins, Karl Rove will once again prove he's worth every grimy nickel they pay him. However, Ted Stevens is on his way into the political graveyard, and when it becomes convenient, the rest of Alaska will boot him all the way there, and supply the shovels.

She said that one of her goals had been to combat alcohol abuse in rural Alaska, and she blamed Commissioner Monegan for failing to address the problem. That, she said, was a big reason that she’d let him go—only, by her account, she didn’t fire him, exactly. Rather, she asked him to drop everything else and single-mindedly take on the state’s drinking problem, as the director of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. “It was a job that was open, commensurate in salary pretty much—ten thousand dollars less”—but, she added, Monegan hadn’t wanted the job, so he left state service; he quit.

Riiiight. She has a history of going after those who disagree with her. This writer chose to ignore the many reports of her high handed behavior while Mayor of Wasilla.. What are we talking about here? Mayor of small town takes on the big wigs and changes Washington? It is a bad Disney movie! Either way, she's been painted by her associates as vindictive, a bully and relentless with people who disagree with her. Hmm. Dick Cheney anyone?

Palin’s style of governing was unorthodox and at times impulsive. Although she boasts of a record as a fiscal conservative, she raised the sales tax while she was in office. She left the town saddled with millions of dollars in debt from the building of a new sports complex, and with legal fees, because she had failed to secure title to the land on which the complex was built. Casting herself in the Ted Stevens mold, however, she had proved herself skilled at collecting federal earmarks for Wasilla, bringing in twenty-seven million dollars for her small town in three years.

And really adept at lying. She's been lying about her support for earmarks, lying about her experience with international relations (Claiming she'd been to Ireland, when her plane landed on the runway and she never got off it!), lying whenever she needs to. It's nauseating, and puts McCain in the worst possible light, for the worst possible choice as a running mate.

A few weeks earlier, when I telephoned Palin’s office in Juneau and asked for a press officer, I was invited to meet the Governor the next day. The state legislature was in recess at the time, and I found Palin sitting sidesaddle on her receptionist’s desk, studying the receptionist’s family photographs. She wore slacks and a belted sweater-jacket, and her hair was piled and pinned atop her head in her trademark upsweep. She kept up the family chitchat as she led me to her office. Her press person had told me that I could have twenty minutes of the Governor’s time, but, once we were alone, she was in no hurry. We talked for about an hour before an aide poked her head in to announce that someone else was waiting.

Trademark upsweep. Oy. Are you kidding me? She makes one speech at the Republican convention - well done by the way - and she has trademarks? Oooh, they talked for an hour! Was it about her tanning salon? Or the hours she's billed the state for her work from home? Or the hundreds of emails she's been sending for state business from her Yahoo account because she wants to be above/outside/around the law?

“It’s not aerial hunting,” she claimed. “What the state has been engaged in for the past four to six years—and I support—is predator control.” Shoot the wolves, she said, and moose and caribou herds will increase, providing more food for Alaskans. That was the argument: “Let the people who live off those herds not buy and import meat.”

Okay, this is a waste of energy. Wolves have nothing to do with Moose. They don't eat Moose. They never have. It's a program based on fake science, just like her disbelief in global warming. She will continue the Bush/Cheney order of things, and keep McCain in line. She's in predator control mode right now. And we're the prey. The office is what she wants, and will do anything to get it. All I can say is to quote Randi Rhodes of Air America when she heard the quote of Sarah Palin talking about the Palin/McCain administration:


my two cents.


The Reviews are In Prime Time Emmys are Lame!

Wow. The LOWEST rated Emmys in HISTORY.

What's that about?

Can I rant for a bit? Where to begin? First, the article in Vanity Fair about how films have died and t.v. has become the last bastion of quality writing, and filmmaking.. was compelling. Until I tuned into the Emmys. Oy. What fatuousness. Julia Louis Dreyfus got the best line in of the night; supposedly referring to the clip from Seinfeld that covered "an evening of self gratification" and then saying it was about the Emmy night. Couldn't be truer.

The hosts were.. awful. Howie Mandel is hilarious. He should have been up there by himself. He's got the chops to carry this off on his own, without the dead weight around his shoulders. I predict you won't see that mistake again. Worst moments; the awful art direction with the lame sets - filled with nostalgia, or supposedly so. For a happier time. Tom Bergeron is great at what he does, as is Ryan Seacrest - what they aren't great at is giving people some sophisticated laughs without depending upon the lame writing staff of the Emmy's to come up with jokes. Ouch. Jimmy Kimmel milking the "reality show host of the year." It seemed like a bad ad for ABC entertainment. Steven McPherson is a genius, but I wish he was producing the show. This went over like a greasy meatball that didn't want to be digested. Where were the Sopranos when we needed them?

Best moments:
In memoriam. Some real heavyweights passed away this year... Some unbelievable talent who donated years of laughter and tears of joy. Shocking to see so many great talents disappear in the blink of an eye in one year. Steve Martin introducing his old boss and mentor Tommy Smothers was fun. And Tommy actually saying something of substance - it was electrifying. The audience held it's breath, not knowing, or fearing what he'd say. Which is what Hollywood has been doing for 8 years, for fear of pissing off corporate media, the govt., take your pick. Right on Tom. You showed us what we've been missing since you went off the air 40 years ago. Why doesn't someone give Tom a cable access talk show? Tina Fey's acceptance speeches.. she's got the gift of gab. I met her while striking online with fellow WGA writers in NY City. Class act all around. Lorne Michaels has become the grandpa of comedy. He's survived quite a bit. The Josh Grobin bit was funny, although the people I watched it with didn't laugh. Not even a chuckle. But it was a zany bit that worked.

Longest moments:
Ricky G. C'mon mate - even the Director of the show, in his acceptance speech, whined that your bit went on too long. Sure, it bordered on Andy Kaufman creepiness (He was brilliant at making you wonder what was scripted or not) and Steve Carrell's stone face; hilarious - but not.. that.. funny. You're funny. Your speech; hilarious. The bit - too long. And when it's too long, you wind up looking like poor Don Rickles milking an OJ joke. Ouch. Don is hilarious, but not when straight jacketed by timing and writers. Why not just make the dang show 3 hours and stop whining about the time? It's so annoying, like someone standing behind you and poking a finger constantly saying "C'mon, finish, hurry up, let's go.." and if they're worried about time, I've got some edits for them; the accountants (who were clipped anyway) and the Academy director, who went on for an awful long time spouting cliche's about the industry. If you've got nothing to say, you shouldn't be saying it; it makes everyone turn the channel.

The filmed bits for the writing credits turned out to be the funniest of the evening, and everything else.. was like the insipid title. "THE PRIME TIME EMMYS." Oh, were we going to be confused and think they were the "DayTime Emmys?" Which is another name for "soap opera" and daytime yak shows. They aren't in the same league. Why pretend they are by throwing "Prime Time" in the title? What Fox wannabe thought up that one? Trying not to hurt the feelings of those daytime artists? What was that about?

And the women of Wysteria Lane - I'm sorry, the show lost my attention after season one. I'm a fan of Dana Delaney's, and it was fun to see her with a bucket of water thrown in her face.. But they acted as if this show was still something to write home about.. instead of something that seems like a cliche in every aspect. If it wasn't an ABC staple, I'd think they were milking it for some ad revenue. But that's just me.

But the Laugh In sequence - what the heck is the genius Lily Tomlin doing waiting for timing on a half baked, poorly written sketch? Holy Huevos, it was watching Muhammed Ali boxing with Hulk Hogan - these people aren't in the same ring!!! Dick Martin is rolling in his grave - well, he probably is anyways, but had to add that.

So all in all, the Emmys are lucky that had no one watching. They can reboot next year.

My two cents.

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