Republicans derail talks with infighting

I want to hear a debate tonight. If McCain flew to Washington to fuck up talks about the bailout and to drag Obama into the weeds with him, he better stand up in front of me and explain himself.

If if he’s too much of a chicken to do so, then Obama should appear without him.

According to MSNBC:

Harsh Republican Party in-fighting sidetracked the Bush administration’s $700 billion plan to bail out the battered financial services industry, and it’s uncertain how many GOP lawmakers will even take part in Friday’s resumption of closed-door negotiations in Congress.

Even for a party whose president suffers dismal approval ratings, whose legislative wing lost control of Congress and whose presidential nominee trails in the polls, Thursday was a remarkably bad day for Republicans.

A White House summit meeting called principally with the purpose to seal the deal that President Bush has argued is indispensable to stabilizing frenzied markets and reassuring the nervous American public descended into arguments — mostly among Republicans.

The meeting revealed that Bush’s proposal to combat the worst financial crisis in decades had been suddenly sidetracked by fellow Republicans in the House, who refused to embrace a plan that appeared close to acceptance by the Senate and most House Democrats.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson begged Democratic participants not to disclose how badly the meeting had gone, dropping to one knee in a teasing way before U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to make his point according to witnesses.

Paulson reportedly pleaded Pelosi not to “blow it up” by withdrawing her party’s support for the financial rescue package over what Ms. Pelosi derided as a Republican betrayal.

“I didn’t know you were Catholic,” Ms. Pelosi said, according to a report in the New York Times, making a wry reference to Mr. Paulson’s kneeling, adding that “it’s not me blowing this up, it’s the Republicans.”

When Paulson hastily tried to revive talks in a nighttime meeting near the Senate chamber, the House’s top Republican refused to send a negotiator.

“This is the president’s own party,” said Rep. Barney Frank, a top Democratic negotiator who attended both meetings. “I don’t think a president has been repudiated so strongly by the congressional wing of his own party in a long time.”

By midnight, it was hard to tell who had suffered a worse evening, Bush or McCain. McCain, eager to shore up his image as a leader who rises above partisanship, was undercut by a fierce political squabble within his own party’s ranks.

Emphasis mine.

Continue ReadingRepublicans derail talks with infighting

I heard the news today, oh boy…

I’ve tried numerous times to stop blogging about political matters. I’m not any sort of expert on them, and they do make me frazzled in a way that isn’t always healthy. There are lots of cool things going on in our lives that I should be talking about instead.

But like many people I know, in the last week I just can’t stop reading the papers. Lately I flip from the to to to to the to and then back again, trying to figure out what new shit is happening every day.

I think my attitude about all this is like millions of Americans. I go to work every day, do my job, come home, take care of my house & family, and pay the bills. I’m not over-extended or over my head. But now because some empty suits fucked up because they were greedy fuckers, we have to have another Great Depression and lose everything. I have to give up stuff I care about, work harder, tighten my belt and worry about my family and friends getting along and surviving.

Fuck that noise. I’d like to opt out of this new Great Depression, please. I did nothing wrong. I’m not fucking around on Wall Street. I’m not taking out loans I can’t pay back, or handing out loans I can’t get back. Why the fuck should this affect me? Let the shitheads responsible pay 700 billion dollars, or whatever made up number they’re throwing around.

Interestingly enough, the “It’s not my shit, why should I pay for it?” is the exact attitude that the Republican party has been cultivating for decades in regards to any social program whatsoever. But now they’re SHOCKED, SHOCKED I TELL YOU1!! that American citizens are having this reaction to the bailout. Welfare is welfare, whether it’s being handing to starving people or people driving BMWs to work every day. I’d much rather give $2,300 dollars to people who are starving.

You guy rang that bell, so deal with it.

Continue ReadingI heard the news today, oh boy…

Barack Obama on the Economy

Candidate Obama addresses what’s happened in the last few days. Every time I hear him speak, I think this guy is the most presidential guy I’ve seen in years.

Does Barack need to suspend the campaign and return home? Here’s an astute analysis from metafilter:

This is entirely needless. Yes, they’re both Senators, but that doesn’t put them on any sort of level at which they ought to be meeting with the sitting President as a pair on this issue. Nor should they be able to do that as candidates. And despite both being Senators, neither of them are on the Senate Banking Committee. Nor is either on on the Joint Economic Committee, from which the eventual bicameral bailout bill is expected to emerge.

As Senators, they have only three roles in this crisis: 1) to vote on the eventual bill, and 2) to negotiate with their networks within the Senate on the content of the bill, and 3) to speak publicly in support of their vision for the bill. Only one of those roles (1) requires presence in Washington, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to be happening Friday night. Congress was scheduled to end its session Friday – they may have to go into special session, in which case Friday evening won’t be when things get resolved anyway (that would be insanely optimistic!) The other two Senatorial functions can be fulfilled – indeed, perhaps best are fulfilled – by communicating from the road, privately and to the public and the press.

I am not sure I respect the judgement of a candidate who is so ready to go into panic mode over a crisis that he doesn’t really even have much power to direct at this moment. We’re six weeks away from electing one of these two men President. I think that the debates are actually a much more important way for them to spend their time than meddling in a process which is already well under way and doesn’t require special Candidate Magic to move forward. It will be easy for them to fulfill their rather limited (at this moment) Senatorial responsibilities while still campaigning, as sitting Congresspeople usually do. The choice of who will be leading us through the aftermath of this crisis over the next 4-8 years is a bit more important to me than watching them showboat right now. Put in your two cents, stay out of the way, vote when you’re called to, and stay accountable to the American people whose votes you’re asking for. Anything else looks like grandstanding and evasion. No other way to read it.

Continue ReadingBarack Obama on the Economy

Rachel Maddow on the Bailout

My favorite part of this is the Bush quote “now is not the time to be partisan. We need to come together…”

I disagree. I think this is a GREAT time to be partisan. The best possible time, actually. The Republicans FUCKED UP. There’s just no other way to see this. The fuck-ups don’t get to make decisions now. You’re done.

Someone somewhere made the analogy about the Iraq War rebuilding efforts — if someone breaks into your house, loots and steals all your stuff and kills your pets, you sure don’t want THEM to be the ones to try to help you sort everything out and help you get back on your feet afterwards.

The same holds true of this economic crisis.

Continue ReadingRachel Maddow on the Bailout

Clinton on the Administration’s Proposal to Restore Stability to U.S. Financial Markets

Statement of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton on the Administration’s Proposal to Restore Stability to U.S. Financial Markets
WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton made the following statement on the administration’s proposal to restore stability to U.S. financial markets.

“When the American people, facing a foreclosure crisis and struggling economy, turned to this administration for help, the answer was no. Now, the administration is turning to the American people for help, to rescue the credit markets and take on hundreds of billions in debt and financial obligations as a consequence of that same foreclosure crisis. The truth is, Main Street came to Washington and got little. Now Washington is coming to Main Street and asking for a lot. The American people deserve to know that this isn’t a blank check. While the need to address the current crisis is clear, I will only support steps that will prevent a widening crisis, tackle the worst kinds of abuse tolerated for too long by the Bush Administration, and address the root problems at work.

The proposed intervention outlined today by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson would be a watershed moment for our economy. I believe that such an intervention demands that we fundamentally alter the priorities and policies of our nation under the Bush Administration that allowed this crisis to take place and escalate. Corporations that will benefit must be held accountable not only to large shareholders but also to the American people. And American taxpayers deserve to know that their money will not allow for a continuation of the status quo: short term profit at the expense of long term viability; obscene bonuses and golden parachutes regardless of performance; reckless risk taking that have placed the markets in so much jeopardy; rewards for those who foreclose on middle class families and sell mortgages designed to fail to turn a profit; and outsourcing of good jobs to serve short term stock prices instead of America’s long term economic health. The prevailing dynamic of corporate America, where the sole priority was the dividend, the inflated bonus and the quarterly earnings report, must give way to a new respect for the long term prosperity of the American worker and the well being of the middle class.

After eight years of failed policies – and two years of an absentee administration – our only option left may be an unprecedented government intervention into the private markets. The markets must be stabilized to stave off wider turmoil. Nevertheless, the urgency of this crisis does not mean that we should offer a blank check to financial institutions or the privileged few. Nor can we simply allow the administration to use the taxpayers like a ‘reset button.’ We cannot allow Wall Street to act without oversight by a vigilant SEC and administration – and without regard for the American people, who will now have paid twice: in falling prey to a widening credit crisis, and in paying the bill to hopefully bring it to an end.

I will be examining the administration’s proposal very closely to ensure that we do not approve a policy that may stabilize the markets in the short term without addressing the root problems facing middle class families or the kinds of reckless gambling that was permitted for far too long by the administration. The Bush Administration may have changed its tune once the crisis facing Main Street hit Wall Street. But we need to be sure that the American taxpayers – asked to shoulder yet more risk and responsibility – have a voice.”

Yeah. What she said.

Continue ReadingClinton on the Administration’s Proposal to Restore Stability to U.S. Financial Markets

To Middle Class, Economic Crisis isn’t News

Barack Obama outlines exactly what he wants to do to fix the economy.

You can read more about his plan here.

Transcript of the Video:

In the past few weeks, Wall Street’s been rocked as banks closed and markets tumbled. But for many of you — the people I’ve met in town halls, backyards and diners across America — our troubled economy isn’t news. 600,000 Americans have lost their jobs since January. Paychecks are flat and home values are falling. It’s hard to pay for gas and groceries and if you put it on a credit card they’ve probably raised your rates. You’re paying more than ever for health insurance that covers less and less.

This isn’t just a string of bad luck. The truth is that while you’ve been living up to your responsibilities Washington has not. That’s why we need change. Real change.

This is no ordinary time and it shouldn’t be an ordinary election. But much of this campaign has been consumed by petty attacks and distractions that have nothing to do with you or how we get America back on track.

Here’s what I believe we need to do. Reform our tax system to give a $1,000 tax break to the middle class instead of showering more on oil companies and corporations that outsource our jobs. End the “anything goes” culture on Wall Street with real regulation that protects your investments and pensions. Fast track a plan for energy ‘made-in-America’ that will free us from our dependence on mid-east oil in 10 years and put millions of Americans to work. Crack down on lobbyists — once and for all — so their back-room deal-making no longer drowns out the voices of the middle class and undermines our common interests as Americans. And yes, bring a responsible end to the war in Iraq so we stop spending billions each month rebuilding their country when we should be rebuilding ours.

Doing these things won’t be easy. But we’re Americans. We’ve met tough challenges before. And we can again.
I’m Barack Obama. I hope you’ll read my economic plan. I approved this message because bitter, partisan fights and outworn ideas of the Left and the Right won’t solve the problems we face today. But a new spirit of unity and shared responsibility will.

Continue ReadingTo Middle Class, Economic Crisis isn’t News

Quotes of the Day: “the fundamentals of our economy are strong”

John McCain – speaking THIS MORNING on today’s financial markets meltdown:

“You know that there’s been tremendous turmoil in our financial markets and Wall St. And it is — people are frightened by these events. Our economy, I think still — the fundamentals of our economy are strong. But these are very, very difficult times.”

And for counterpoint:

“The man most responsible for the financial services and banking deregulation that made today possible, fmr. Sen. Phil Gramm, is the man John McCain wants to put in charge of the whole economy.” — Josh Marshall

Continue ReadingQuotes of the Day: “the fundamentals of our economy are strong”

Unemployment climbs to 5-year high of 6.1 percent

According to the Associated Press:

By JEANNINE AVERSA – 1 day ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation’s unemployment rate bolted above the psychologically important 6 percent level last month for the first time in five years — and it’s likely to go even higher in the months ahead, possibly throwing the economy into a tailspin as Americans pick a new president.

A blizzard of pink slips propelled the jobless rate from 5.7 percent in July to 6.1 percent in August, the Labor Department reported Friday. Such a sharp increase is usually a strong recession warning, and it dashed investors’ hopes for a late-year recovery.

Worried about the economy and their own business prospects, employers cut payrolls by 84,000 in August, marking the eighth straight month of losses.

So far this year, a staggering 605,000 jobs have vanished — slightly less than the population of Alaska. The economy needs to generate more than 100,000 new jobs a month for employment to remain stable.

Richard Yamarone, economist at Argus Research, feared that the jobless rate would cause consumers and businesses to “move from a moderately concerned stage to outright fear” and reduce their spending even more.

A toxic trio of housing, credit and financial problems has badly shaken the economy, and the crisis shows no signs of letting up. It’s the public’s top worry, and many experts believe the situation will get worse before it gets better.

Continue ReadingUnemployment climbs to 5-year high of 6.1 percent

Republican Wealth and the Economic Struggle of Ordinary Americans

This was an interesting juxtaposition of articles that came through my feedreader today. Via Metafilter, I learned that Vanity Fair did a breakdown of dollar value of the clothes the women of the Republican National Convention were wearing:

One of the persistent memes in the Republican line of attack against Barack Obama is the notion that he is an elitist, whereas the G.O.P. represent real working Americans like Levi “F-in’ Redneck” Johnston.

It caught our attention, then, when First Lady Laura Bush and would-be First Lady Cindy McCain took the stage Tuesday night wearing some rather fancy designer clothes. So we asked our fashion department to price out their outfits.

Laura Bush
Oscar de la Renta suit: $2,500
Stuart Weitzman heels: $325
Pearl stud earrings: $600-$1,500
Total: Between $3,425 and $4,325

Cindy McCain
Oscar de la Renta dress: $3,000
Chanel J12 White Ceramic Watch: $4,500

Three-carat diamond earrings: $280,000
Four-strand pearl necklace: $11,000-$25,000
Shoes, designer unknown: $600
Total: Between $299,100 and $313,100

Note that Cindy McCain’s earrings COST MORE THAN MY HOUSE. As Vanity Fair notes: “No wonder McCain has so many houses: his wife has the price of a Scottsdale split-level hanging from her ears.”

On the same day, Heather Armstrong asks her readers to rethink some of the Republican talking points in light of the economic realities facing regular citizens:

Any time I engage with one of my conservative friends or family members, or sometimes the conservative commenters on this website, it usually devolves into them screaming about WELFARE! and TAXES! and THE GOVERNMENT IS TAKING MY MONEY AND GIVING IT TO PEOPLE WHO DON’T WORK! And what they don’t understand is that this is not the issue at all. What I and many of my more liberal friends want is to HELP people, not give them a free ride, but also not to ignore those who would benefit from us tossing them a life jacket.

Case in point: Because Leta was diagnosed with plagiocephaly when she was two months old, she cannot qualify for private insurance until she is thirteen years old. So the only insurance we can get her is high-risk insurance that costs us upwards of $300 a month. Just for her alone. And even then that insurance won’t cover anything until she has reached a $3000 deductible. I am fortunate enough to have grown up in a white, middle class family who could afford to send me to college, as did my husband, and we have enough work experience to run a business that makes it so that we can afford this insurance for our daughter. We don’t have to make the choice between buying food or insuring our daughter. We are really fucking lucky.

But what about the family who cannot afford that insurance for their child? The family who can barely make rent, and if they stretch the budget they can eat three meals a day all week, let’s hope nothing bad happens to their kids because then they’re screwed. Kids, go hug your father, he’s off to one of his three jobs, none of which provide him insurance. And it’s not because he’s lazy or unwilling to work, it’s that his family couldn’t afford to send him to college, or he came from a family that didn’t know they should encourage him to go to college because they were busy trying to survive. If giving up more of my paycheck could help get this family adequate healthcare, then PLEASE. TAKE MY FUCKING MONEY.

Continue ReadingRepublican Wealth and the Economic Struggle of Ordinary Americans