You are currently browsing the daily archive for October 10, 2008.

Stock markets worldwide were gripped by fear as London’s FTSE 100 Index endured its worst week since the Black Monday crash of 1987.

Recession panic and concerns over fragile banks sent investors stampeding for the exits as the Footsie tumbled 8.9% – surpassing even Monday’s record sell-off.

The Footsie has plummeted 21% over the week – wiping more than £250 / $425 billion off the value of top-flight stocks in the process.

“another ugly day”

The index eventually finished below the 4,000 mark at 3932.1 – its lowest close for more than five years.

The 21% fall comes close to the 22% slide seen by London’s leading shares in the aftermath of Black Monday.

Following heavy overnight declines in Asia, screens turned red in the City as the London market approached falls of 10% at one stage. A dire start to US trading offered no respite.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which fell more than 7% on Thursday, tumbled as much as 8% during a volatile early session.

City watchers were confounded by the falls ahead of crisis talks among the G7 finance ministers this weekend. David Jones, chief market strategist at IG Index, called it “another ugly day”. “There is a real sense of despair… it is difficult to see what can be done to effect a handbrake turn in sentiment in the short term,” he said.

Across Europe, France’s CAC 40 and Germany’s Dax were also showing losses of 7% and 8% respectively amid the carnage.

In London, banking stocks were among the biggest victims of the turmoil as speculation mounted over the billions they may need to strengthen their finances. Royal Bank of Scotland lost 25% and is down a mammoth 61% this week, and Halifax Bank of Scotland fell 19%, and 37% over the week. Barclays tumbled 14%, making a 42% slump in the past seven days.

Source: Press Association

Four years ago, John Kerry flirted with the idea of making John McCain his running mate. Today, he is denouncing the Arizona Senator for “a stunning failure of leadership,” and running a nasty, hate-filled campaign.

In a letter to supporters, the Massachusetts Democrat — no stranger to smears himself — ramps up his criticisms of McCain to new heights. In addition to airing disgust with the tone of the McCain crowds, he rips Gov. Sarah Palin for making “outrageous charges that only a few years ago would have disqualified someone from serious consideration for national office.”

The letter reads:

John McCain has shown a stunning failure of leadership. His campaign, in a time of economic crisis and foreign policy drift, has degenerated into a negative and nasty campaign of smears.

The reports are piling up of ugliness at the campaign rallies of John McCain and Sarah Palin. Audience members hurl insults and racial epithets, call out “Kill Him!” and “Off With His Head,” and yell “treason” when Senator Obama’s name is mentioned. I strongly condemn language like this which can only be described as hate-filled.

According to reports, every ad paid for by the John McCain campaign is now a negative ad — every single one! McCain allows his running mate to make outrageous charges that only a few years ago would have disqualified someone from serious consideration for national office.

We cannot stand by and allow this to happen. We need to fight back, spread the word about what kind of low campaign he’s running, and make sure people know the truth.

Kerry, like Obama, has set up a website to debunk smears in real time. And he directs supporters to the link: http://www.truthfightsback.com/page/content/smearpolitics

His strained relationship with McCain serves as a reminder of how much the political dynamics have changed in the past four years. It also begins to raise the question: what kind of reception will McCain receive either if he goes back to the Senate as a campaign loser or has to work with Congress as the next president?

Source: HP

Sorry can’t get Daily Show videos to play on WordPress but watch it here

Obama’s ability to see is amazing – when it comes to judgment this guy is spot on.

The Jed Report reminds us that Barack Obama predicted the campaign’s nasty turn months ago!

Source: Huffington Post


Barack Obama attacked John McCain Friday for launching a “barrage of nasty insinuations and attacks” as the stock market drops tumbles.

“Even as we face the most serious economic crisis of our time, even as you are worried about keeping your jobs or paying your bills or staying in your homes, my opponent’s campaign announced last week that they plan to ‘turn the page’ on the discussion about our economy so they can spend the final weeks of this election attacking me instead,” Obama said during a speech in Chillicothe, Ohio.

“So in the last couple of days, we’ve seen a barrage of nasty insinuations and attacks, and I’m sure we’ll see much more over the next 25 days. We know what’s coming. We know what they’re going to do.”

“I think that folks are looking for something different,” Obama continued. “It’s easy to rile up a crowd by stoking anger and division. But that’s not what we need right now in the United States.”

“The times are too serious. The challenges are too great. The American people aren’t looking for someone who can divide this country – they’re looking for someone who will lead it. We’re in a serious crisis – now, more than ever, it is time to put country ahead of politics.”

Source: Politico

Despite championing immigration reform in 2007, John McCain is poised to lose the Hispanic vote by a landslide margin that is well below President George W. Bush's 2004 performance.

Despite championing immigration reform in 2007, John McCain is poised to lose the Hispanic vote by a landslide margin that is well below President George W. Bush's 2004 performance.

Polls show Obama winning the broadest support from Latino voters of any Democrat in a decade, while McCain is struggling to reach 30 percent, closer to Senator Bob Dole’s dismal 1996 result than to Bush’s historic 40% four years ago.

McCain seems to have wound up with the worst of both worlds: He appears to be getting no credit from Latino voters for his past support for immigration reform, while carrying the baggage of other Republicans’ hostility to illegal immigration.

And he’s been unable or unwilling to attack Obama—who was once thought to have taken a lethally liberal stance by supporting granting drivers licenses to illegal immigrants—from the right.

As October puts four states with large Hispanic populations – Florida, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico – at the center of the presidential contest, what appeared at first to be a possible strength for McCain has emerged as a profound weakness.

“I feel bad for McCain,” said Sam Rodriguez, the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and a prominent supporter of George W. Bush in 2004, who is neutral this year. “We find ourselves between the proverbial rock and the hard place. We really like John McCain. We really don’t like the Republican Party.”

Democrats relish McCain’s quandary.

“It’s hurt him in every way,” said Simon Rosenberg, the president of the New Democrat Network, which has focused on bringing Hispanics back to the Democratic Party. “I don’t think it’s assured the right he’s really with them. And for those who are immigration reform advocates, he’s become a betrayer, having been a leader.”

Since America’s economic crisis deepened this fall, immigration has almost entirely vanished from the national conversation. Three debates have passed without a single mention of the issue. And the undertow has pushed Hispanic and anti-immigrant voters alike toward the Democratic Party.

But under the radar, McCain and Obama are slugging it out in a bitter exchange of attack ads on Spanish-language radio and television.

“Obama is trying to do with $20 million what John McCain has done with over 20 years of service,” she said, citing a figure released by the Obama campaign. “We don’t have that kind of money to spend.”

Recent Gallup surveys show McCain with just 26 percent of the Hispanic vote.

Amandi said that some had also falsely assumed that because McCain shared Bush’s moderate position on immigration, he would inherit Bush’s support.

“President Bush making his life and career in Texas grew up with Hispanics, always had Hispanics in his inner circle and in his kitchen cabinet, and had a genuine respect for the culture,” he said. “There was never an emotional connection, there was never a personal connection, between McCain and the Hispanic community.”

Source: Politico

Navy pilot John Sidney McCain III should have never been allowed to graduate from the U.S. Navy flight school. He was a below average student and a lousy pilot. Had his father and grandfather not been famous four star U.S. Navy admirals, McCain III would have never been allowed in the cockpit of a military aircraft.

During his relative short stunt on flight status, McCain III lost five U.S. Navy aircraft, four in accidents and one in combat.

More at ~ Vietnam Vets Against McCain

Imagine if the Obamas had hooked up with a violently anti-American group in league with the government of Iran.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and her husband, Todd, at a rally in Vienna, Ohio, on Sept. 16, 2008.

Oct. 7, 2008 | “My government is my worst enemy. I’m going to fight them with any means at hand.”

This was former revolutionary terrorist Bill Ayers back in his old Weather Underground days, right? Imagine what Sarah Palin is going to do with this incendiary quote as she tears into Barack Obama this week.

Only one problem. The quote is from Joe Vogler, the raging anti-American who founded the Alaska Independence Party. Inconveniently for Palin, that’s the very same secessionist party that her husband, Todd, belonged to for seven years and that she sent a shout-out to as Alaska governor earlier this year.

(“Keep up the good work,” Palin told AIP members. “And God bless you.”)

Enjoy this story?

AIP chairwoman Lynette Clark told me recently that Sarah Palin is her kind of gal. “She’s Alaskan to the bone … she sounds just like Joe Vogler.”

So who are these America-haters that the Palins are pallin’ around with?

Before his strange murder in 1993, party founder Vogler preached armed insurrection against the United States of America. Vogler, who always carried a Magnum with him, was fond of saying, “When the [federal] bureaucrats come after me, I suggest they wear red coats. They make better targets. In the federal government are the biggest liars in the United States, and I hate them with a passion. They think they own [Alaska]. There comes a time when people will choose to die with honor rather than live with dishonor. That time may be coming here. Our goal is ultimate independence by peaceful means under a minimal government fully responsive to the people. I hope we don’t have to take human life, but if they go on tramping on our property rights, look out, we’re ready to die.”

This quote is from “Coming Into the Country,” by John McPhee, who traipsed around Alaska’s remote gold mining country with Vogler for his 1991 book. The violent-tempered secessionist vowed to McPhee that if any federal official tried to stop him from polluting Alaska’s rivers with his earth-moving equipment, he would “run over him with a Cat and turn mosquitoes loose on him while he dies.”

Vogler wasn’t just a blowhard either. He put his secessionist ideas into action, working to build AIP membership to 20,000 — an impressive figure by Alaska standards — and to elect party member Walter Hickel as governor in 1990.

Vogler’s greatest moment of glory was to be his 1993 appearance before the United Nations to denounce United States “tyranny” before the entire world and to demand Alaska’s freedom. The Alaska secessionist had persuaded the government of Iran to sponsor his anti-American harangue.

That’s right … Iran. The Islamic dictatorship. The taker of American hostages. The rogue nation that McCain and Palin have excoriated Obama for suggesting we diplomatically engage. That Iran.

AIP leaders allege that Vogler, who was murdered that year by a fellow secessionist, was taken out by powerful forces in the U.S. before he could reach his U.N. platform. “The United States government would have been deeply embarrassed,” by Vogler’s U.N. speech, darkly suggests Clark. “And we can’t have that, can we?”

The Republican ticket is working hard this week to make Barack Obama’s tenuous connection to graying, ’60s revolutionary Bill Ayers a major campaign issue. But the Palins’ connection to anti-American extremism is much more central to their political biographies.

Imagine the uproar if Michelle Obama was revealed to have joined a black nationalist party whose founder preached armed secession from the United States and who enlisted the government of Iran in his cause? The Obama campaign would probably not have survived such an explosive revelation. Particularly if Barack Obama himself was videotaped giving the anti-American secessionists his wholehearted support just months ago.

Where’s the outrage, Sarah Palin has been asking this week, in her attacks on Obama’s fuzzy ties to Ayers? The question is more appropriate when applied to her own disturbing associations.

Source: Salon

Like leader – like follower. Many of those following the John McCain campaign are angry – with an added touch of Palin spitefulness – versus the Obama supporter who shows another frame of mind – with Obama its work hard – know what’s against you – whereas the McCain supporter which seems to be dependent on an old order and the assumption that this base of support will automatically be in place – and now we see the violent/angry reaction when it is not.

It is evident from the way Mr. McCain debates – that he is heavily reliant on this power-support or on a sense of supremacy – and when he stands alone in front of the world – with Barack Obama it appears he is reaching for it. The Republican Convention was a little like McCain at the Puerto Rican Craps table – where he becomes untouchable – because of who ‘I am’ – a former POW, and a Senator for 20 odd years. This is the kind of power-framework which he has placed himself in – and therefore he becomes untouchable by Barack Obama, and through that he wins the election – in his own mind.

While McCain is attached to past glories – we have a catastrophic economic crisis – not since the Great Depression and maybe never – as its fallout is not complete – this while McCain is trying to lock everyone into his frame of mind – which is – more than what I will do for you – its what I have done for you – or what I have did – that’s more important – so he’s running on past glories – but what he is offering and expects you to accept – is more of the same – almost the same as what Bush offered – tax cuts for the wealthy who don’t need them as much as the less well off especially in these times – and he is expecting you to accept this – not because they are rational choices – but purely because he was a war hero – and because he has been a Senator for more years than Obama.

With the information age – we can look at his military record (reckless/maverick/lucky), we can look at what he did and didn’t do in the Senate – and we can put that with his plan for the future – and we can look at the current economic state – and say we are going to need more than a touching story about a man who survived the horrors of being a POW. People have children to feed – and a tax cut for the top 5% of the wealthiest people in America – along with benefits for corporations – is not going to help my family – or most of the people I know.

Mr. McCain’s image is his world – it is what he looks at the world through – and when it is challenged, threatened or slighted in anyway – he defends it with his anger. By being behind in the polls – more than anything he sees it as a rejection of his image – of the POW who fought for his country, like so many others and the senator who served – senators make good and bad decisions - so therefore by rejecting his image – he turns to his anger in an attack directed at Obama’s image. But attacking a man who cares less about image – likely will not produce the results that were hoped for.

What we are seeing is a man leading people with this misplaced anger – and its no wonder his crowd is angry – as they also believe people should see McCain’s image. And no matter what he says or what he believes or what he is offering – the image of Mr. McCain should trump everything.

McCain’s image – like Palin’s image of a moose-hunting, polar bear-despising, extreme-anti-abortionist drill-baby-drill final-solution locks her appeal into too narrow a group – has not managed to multiply the women’s vote as expected – by putting a negative, dirty and hateful spin on it – will drive people away from their limited vision faster – and worst you’ll get the wrong types of people being attracted. Unfortunately that’s what has happened – Palin/McCain rallies are turning into Iran – Death to Obama – Obama’s the Great Evil – and WWII Country First/more Country Űber Alle. Signs of this emerged during the GOP convention – and now it is being played out on the stump. At one rally a black camera man was insulted (Palin’s husband and children are part Eskimo) – versus Barack Obama’s DNC Convention – which he not only said but you could see – this was one America – this is not a Black America or a White America this is the united States of America.

With McCain as President – we could expect a leader – who executes his power through his anger – not healthy. A leader who looks backwards – with an over reliance on an image – that has a place – but is no longer as relevant. With Obama as president – we could expect a healing – a thoughtful approach to the environment, to issues which concern women and families, both Wall Street and Main Street, and a forward lookingness to face some of the technological challenges America will face in the near future.

For this entire presidential campaign, the media have been waiting for John McCain’s famous temper to explode. A few small examples have been reported without anyone trying to make a big deal about it. The rule seems to be that if he can keep it bottled until November 5, he’s home free. But if he explodes in the interim, it becomes an official issue. This isn’t completely nuts. If he can’t hold it in for just the few months he is under maximum scrutiny, then he has a real problem. Otherwise, hey—Bill Clinton also had a temper, it was said, along with other uncontrollable passions.

Until recently this anger business didn’t bother me much. There is a lot to be angry about. Furthermore, I was not confident that McCain’s anger passed the whose-ox-is-gored test: As an Obama supporter, would I be equally alarmed if my preferred candidate had anger issues? (Which some folks say he does, by the way.) Then I heard the following story. 

“DON’T TOUCH ME,” he repeated viciously. “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM? DO YOU KNOW WHO YOU’RE TALKING TO?”

It comes in an email from my friend Jeff Dearth, a media investment banker and former publisher of The New Republic. We also went to junior high and high school together in Michigan. He would not make this up. In 2005, Jeff attended a magazine industry conference at a casino hotel in Puerto Rico. (I was there, too, though not a witness to what follows.) The guest speaker was McCain. He put on a terrific performance, breaking up the friendly crowd by referring to journalists as “my base.” (To anyone who remembers this period in McCain’s history, his attempt this year to paint Barack Obama as Britney Spears or Paris Hilton because Obama is now the media darling seems especially cheap.)

McCain’s game is craps. So is Jeff Dearth’s. Jeff was at the table when McCain showed up and happily made room for him. Apparently there is some kind of rule or tradition in craps that everyone’s hands are supposed to be above the table when the dice are about to be thrown. McCain—“very likely distracted by one of the many people who approached him that evening,” Jeff says charitably—apparently was violating this rule. A small middle-aged woman at the table, apparently a “regular,” reached out and pulled McCain’s arm away. I’ll let Jeff take over the story:

“McCain immediately turned to the woman and said between clenched teeth: ‘DON’T TOUCH ME.’ The woman started to explain…McCain interrupted her: ‘DON’T TOUCH ME,’ he repeated viciously. The woman again tried to explain. ‘DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM? DO YOU KNOW WHO YOU’RE TALKING TO?’ McCain continued, his voice rising and his hands now raised in the ‘bring it on’ position. He was red-faced. By this time all the action at the table had stopped. I was completely shocked. McCain had totally lost it, and in the space of about ten seconds. ‘Sir, you must be courteous to the other players at the table,’ the pit boss said to McCain. “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM? ASK ANYBODY AROUND HERE WHO I AM.”

This being Puerto Rico, the pit boss might not have known McCain. But the senator continued in full fury—“DO YOU KNOW WHO YOU’RE TALKING TO? DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?”—and crisis was avoided only when Jeff offered to change places and stand between McCain and the woman who had touched his arm.

What is bothersome about this story, if it’s true, is only partly the explosive anger. More, it’s the arrogance. At the craps table, who cares who he is? And there’s the recklessness of such a performance in a casino full of journalists (unless McCain absolutely couldn’t control himself, which is even scarier). But this gamble paid off. Although there were published reports that McCain had gambled late into the night, which properly treated that matter as charming, this particular episode has gone unreported until now. Maybe no journalist saw it. Or maybe this illustrates the unwritten rule of political journalism that all human-interest anecdotes must reaffirm a previously established belief. Arrogance is something McCain is not known for. Quite the opposite. Logic might dictate that an anecdote showing that, say, Obama has webbed feet would be more interesting than one showing that he is a skinny guy with big ears. But that’s not how it works.

Jeff Dearth is not an extreme partisan or an activist for either candidate. He supports Obama, in part because he is truly alarmed at the thought of the arrogant hothead he saw becoming president. (“I’d happily gamble with Senator McCain again,” he says, “but I definitely wouldn’t gamble on him.”) It alarms me, too. John McCain is the best Republican presidential candidate of my lifetime. But a performance like this would give me pause about supporting a candidate of either party.

Source: DailyBeast

John McCain’s town/halls and rallies are growing angrier. In fact both Palin and McCain are getting their crowds all rowd-up on information that is thin on the facts – that their next problem will be what do you do with all this pent-up – aggression – and where will it go?

It’s irresponsible of John McCain to say the least – although Sarah Palin is playing a large part – John McCain has the experience – he knows better – and besides Sarah Palin wouldn’t be able to utter a single word without McCain’s camp’s permission.

What they are doing is more than passing on information – this is a classic smear tactic – without making a definite statement – you simply point to the conclusion you wish people to draw – in this case Bill Ayers > Obama – therefore Obama >> terrorist.

Never mind the fact that the people at these McCain rallies are becoming angrier – and seemingly more aggressive – calling for the death of Obama and saying he’s a terrorist – with jeers and applause from the crowd – and without caution from McCain or Palin. Palin/McCain are enjoying the notoriety right now – but I fear that the backlash will reflect badly on them – and more the fallout felt by others in the Republican Party.

WAUKESHA, Wis. (AP) — Republican presidential candidate John McCain said Thursday that questions about Democratic rival Barack Obama’s association with a former war protester linked to Vietnam-era bombings are part of a broader issue of honesty.

In his strongest personal criticism since his faltering campaign began casting Obama as an unknown and unacceptable candidate, McCain told supporters that Obama had not been truthful in describing his relationship with former radical William Ayers. The Arizona senator also said Obama himself has “a clear radical, far-left pro-abortion record.”

Loud cheers from 4,000 people gathered at a sports complex near Milwaukee greeted McCain’s attacks over Ayers, who helped found the Weather Underground, a Vietnam protest group that bombed government buildings 40 years ago. Obama has pointed out that he was a child at the time and first met Ayers and his wife, ex-radical Bernadine Dohrn, a quarter-century later.

“Look, we don’t care about an old, washed-up terrorist and his wife,” McCain said. “That’s not the point here.”

“He’s a terrorist!” a man in the audience screamed without making clear to whom he was referring.

“We need to know the full extent of the relationship,” McCain replied. Later, McCain told ABC News: “It’s a factor about Sen. Obama’s candor and truthfulness with the American people.”

Obama has denounced Ayers and his violent actions and views. He dismisses McCain’s criticism as an effort to “score cheap political points.”

The AP and other news organizations have reported that Obama and Ayers, now a college professor who lives in Obama’s neighborhood, are not close but that they worked together on two nonprofit organizations from the mid-1990s to 2002. In addition, Ayers hosted a small meet-the-candidate event for Obama in 1995 as he first ran for the state Senate.

David Axelrod, a senior campaign adviser, says that Obama, who was a child living in Indonesia and Hawaii in the late 1960s and early 1970s, was not aware of Ayers’ radical past at the time of that campaign event. Some McCain supporters have expressed skepticism about that.

Some of those at the rally questioned why McCain was trailing Obama and why no one was talking about Obama’s past associations.

Obama’s history with Ayers was explored during the primaries in news reports and in a campaign debate. It has been resurrected by the GOP campaign as the economic crisis deepened in recent days.

Responding to McCain’s criticism, Obama campaign spokesman Tommy Vietor said, “Its now clear that John McCain would rather launch angry, personal attacks than talk about the economy or defend his risky bailout scheme that hands over billions in taxpayer dollars to the same irresponsible Wall Street banks and lenders that got us into this mess a scheme that guarantees taxpayers will lose money.”

One person at the rally here suggested McCain get tougher in his final debate with Obama next week: “I am begging you, sir.”

“Yes, I’ll do that,” McCain said.

To press its argument, the McCain campaign also released a 90-second Web ad about Obama and Ayers.

“Barack Obama and domestic terrorist Bill Ayers. Friends. They’ve worked together for years,” the ad says. The ad also claimed that one of the nonprofits on which Obama and Ayers worked was a radical education foundation.

That educational foundation was The Annenberg Challenge; it was funded by the Annenberg Foundation, a charity set up by longtime Republican backer and newspaper publisher Walter Annenberg. Annenberg has since died, but his wife has endorsed McCain this year.

McCain and his campaign have sought to raise doubts about Obama, who is seeking to become the first black president. Supporters have used Obama’s middle name, Hussein, during introductions of McCain and Palin this week — trying to remind voters that he shares a name with deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

The Obama campaign denounced the move, which also plays to Internet rumors that Obama is a Muslim, even though he grew up in a secular household and is a Christian. After the fact, the McCain campaign said in an e-mailed statement that it did not condone using the middle name.

McCain’s running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, joined McCain at the town hall — the first of three in this swing state with 10 electoral votes — and blamed “mainstream media” for not asking Obama tough questions about his proposals.

“Are Americans having an opportunity to ask all the questions and are we receiving straight answers from our opponent?” Palin asked. The crowd shouted, “No!”

In a response for the Obama campaign, Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle said that it was preposterous to suggest Obama hadn’t been scrutinized during one of the toughest primaries and general elections in modern history.

McCain also repeated the false claim that Palin opposed the so-called Bridge to Nowhere, for which she campaigned in her race for governor and accepted federal money to build. When the project drew national scorn as an example of wasteful spending, Congress withdrew its support for the bridge but Alaska kept the money for other projects.

A poll released Wednesday by WISC-TV in Madison showed McCain trailing Obama by 10 points, the Arizona senator’s largest deficit in Wisconsin since July when polls also showed Obama with a double-digit lead.

“Do you know how many times the political pundits in the last two years have written off my campaign?” McCain asked.

Source: AP

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