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The black guy can’t win. The black guy with the middle name “Hussein” can’t win. The black guy with the  middle name “Hussein” who has “most liberal voting record” in the Senate just can’t win. So if and when the terrorist-loving, radical ideology-embracing, “he doesn’t see America like you and I see America” skinny black guy from Chicago wins the presidency, the only logical explanation is that he stole it.

So goes the perverted “logic” of the panicked right these days, as the entire right-wing noise machine roars up into another faux frenzy this week regarding alleged “voter fraud.”

This was, after all, supposed to be the age of the “permanent Republican majority.”

As McCain’s numbers having nose-dived in the last week, some Republicans have dived head-first into the realm of conspiracy theories in order to sow the seeds of speculation that Democrats are going to “steal” this election. This week has provided some news items which they are using as kinder for their tinfoil bonfire.

ACORN (the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), is an organization which has been registering voters in low-income areas. Volunteers at some chapters (who are paid per registration) have been found guilty of submitting to ACORN fake voter registrations. That, obviously, is a crime.

Indeed, as this screencap from John McCain’s “Strategy Briefing” demonstrates, the entire McCain campaign was premised on the idea that voters do not think Obama is “one of them”:

ACORN is obligated by law to turn over all voter registration forms, even the fake ones, but it flags those it believes are suspicious (Mickey Mouse, John Q. Public, etc.) While the why of the situation remains unclear, ACORN’s Nevada office was raided this week in connection with a voter registration fraud probe.

Ben Smith at Politico, like many others across the blogosphere, puts the ACORN story into perspective:

The key distinction here is between voter fraud and voter registration fraud, one of which is truly dangerous, the other a petty crime.

The former would be, say, voting the cemeteries or stuffing the ballot boxes. This has happened occasionally in American history, though I can think of recent instances only in rare local races. Practically speaking, this can most easily be done by whoever is actually administering the election, which is why partisan observers carefully oversee the vote-counting process.

The latter is putting the names of fake voters on the rolls, something that happens primarily when organizations, like Acorn, pay contractors for new voter registrations. That can be a crime, and it messes up the voter files, but there’s virtually no evidence these imaginary people then vote in November. The current stories about Acorn don’t even allege a plan to affect the November vote.

When the reporter calls him out on the distinction between “voter registration fraud” and “voter fraud,” Graham palinizes his response:

Asked to identify non-existent people who have voted in the presidential election, Graham said: “Have you been following the ACORN investigation out there? They’re registering people who don’t exist.” He said there are multiple registrations going on. “One lady registered 11 times. I’m saying that the dynamic out here of voter fraud is something we’re concerned about.”

Republicans are pushing the irrational theory that Democrats are “cheating” their way to the White House because for them, the real reason for a possible Republican defeat would be irrational.

In this atmosphere, maybe having a “liberal” president who favors reasonable regulation and stringent oversight isn’t a bad thing after all.

This was, after all, supposed to be the age of the “permanent Republican majority.” America is a “conservative country” we’ve been told. Indeed, as this screencap from John McCain’s “Strategy Briefing” demonstrates, the entire McCain campaign was premised on the idea that voters do not think Obama is “one of them”:

But that screencap is from many months ago, before the full brunt of the failure of conservative policies has come to the foreground with the resounding “thud” of a stock market collapse. In this atmosphere, maybe having a “liberal” president who favors reasonable regulation and stringent oversight isn’t a bad thing after all. And maybe, when voters are worried about how to pay for health care, voting for the Republican who touts the ability of the “market” to deal with the problem doesn’t seem that appealing anymore. 

And maybe, when voters are worried about how to pay for health care, voting for the Republican who touts the ability of the “market” to deal with the problem doesn’t seem that appealing anymore.

The middle class is being cheated. And they know–as much as Republicans would like for them to forget–which party has been in power for the last eight years. And as they flock to a candidate who promises them change from failed Republican policies, panicked Republicans flock to conspiracy theories.

Blaming a possible Democratic victory on “voter fraud” is much easier than acknowledging that a resounding Democratic victory would be a wholesale rejection of Republican governance. And it’s easier than admitting that voters–yes, Senator Graham, maybe even voters in Indiana and North Carolina–like what the liberal black guy from Chicago is saying about the middle class.

So let them wrap themselves in tin foil. Let them revel in nuttery now. They can use that tin foil to wipe their eyes if and when–as the polls suggest–they will be wallowing in defeat in November.

Source: Daily Kos

Amid the chaos and chatter about this week’s financial bailout, one clear theme emerged in some quarters: The era of free-market fundamentalism is over. But is it, really?

Source: ANP

The market has plunged 800 points since John McCain nominated former Ebay CEO Meg Whitman to be his Treasury Secretary.

The market has plunged 800 points since John McCain nominated former Ebay CEO Meg Whitman to be his Treasury Secretary.

Anybody who has ever worked on eBay – knows this is a bad idea – disastrous might be putting it mildly. Bad, bad decision! EBay’s stock is losing value – independently of the credit crisis – it’s plummeting on its own. Meg Whitman should be better know as Mickey Mouse Meg! She is no Steve Jobs and I would even venture to say that Carly Fiorina – former HP boss – might have did a better job that she did at eBay.

At the debate, John McCain says he favors ex-eBay CEO Meg Whitman for Secretary of the Treasury. Which would make Whitman the first Treasury Secretary in history to administer financial, economic and PayPal policy. Since McCain promises smaller government, no new taxes and the private sector assuming government functions, he would no doubt encourage Secretary Whitman to combine her new place of business and her old one into one big on-line government service: TreasuryBay.

Here’s what she’ll most likely be selling

Source: 23/6

People all across the country are suffering the fallout from Wall Street’s financial H-Bomb. ANP producer David Murdock and McClatchy Newspaper journalist Tony Pugh have set out on a journey across America to see how economic shock waves from last week’s DC drama are being felt across the land. Their road trip begins in the well-heeled town of Greenwich, Connecticut, where mountains of Wall Street money have created a community seemingly isolated from the tribulations of the common man, but even here, some cracks are beginning to show and those who depend on the rich are beginning to feel the pain.

Source: ANP

In Asheville, NC, this afternoon, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., made a statement about today’s bleak economic news, hammered Sen. John McCain’s campaign tactics, and refused to answer questions about McCain’s role in the Keating 5 scandal — which his campaign is discussing quite a bit — before getting into his car and speeding off to get some barbecue at 12 Bones Smokehouse.

“Before we go get some barbecue I want to make a statement on the economy,” Obama said.

“Obviously, we woke up this morning and saw that the markets are still in turmoil. Not only are we seeing the stock market go down, but there is still great danger of the credit markets locking up and we have seen the contagion is spreading to all parts of the globe. Europe is having some of the problems that we are having here in the states. Asia is being affected

“It is a reminder that the rescue package that was passed last week is not the end of our efforts to deal with the economy. It is just the beginning.

“I think it is very important for Secretary Paulson and Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Bernanke to move swiftly and try to restore confidence as quickly as possible to effectuate the plans, based on the authority given to them by Congress. I think it is still critical for us to move forward on an economic stimulus package that can provide people some relief from high gas prices. Food prices. Help states and local governments maintain their payrolls. I think we have to extend unemployment insurance after the statistics showing that 159,000 additional jobs were lost just last month.

“And we are going to have to then move on an aggressive plan to deal with some of the underlying structural problems in the economy, including the continuing decline in the housing market.

“Now, Sen. McCain and I have a debate tomorrow. And obviously, the American people are going to be anxious to hear from one of the two people who is going to be the next president and responsible for dealing with this economic mess and what their plans are. I was a little surprised over the last couple of days to hear Sen. McCain say — or Sen. McCain’s campaign say — that we want to turn the page on discussions about the economy and campaign, a member of Sen. McCain’s campaign saying today that if we talk about the economic crisis, we lose.

“I have got news for the McCain campaign: the American people are losing right now. They are losing their jobs. They are losing their health care. They are losing their homes and their savings. I cannot imagine anything more important to talk about than the economic crisis, and the notion that we would want to brush that aside and engage in the usual political shenanigans and smear tactics that have come to characterize too many campaigns, I think, is not what the American people are looking for. So, I am going to keep on talking about the economy. I am going to keep on talking about what we need to do to strengthen the middle class and get our credit markets settled down. I have confidence we are going to solve this problem, but we are not going to solve it with business as usual. And we need fundamental change, and that is why I am running as president. Alright. “

Obama was twice asked by the press pool, “Why did you bring up the Keating Five?” but Obama ignored the questions and got in his car.

**

He wasn’t so reticent on the “Tom Joyner Morning Show,” when the host asked about the McCain-Palin campaign’s attack on him for “palling around with terrorists,” namely former Weather Underground member William Ayers, currently an education professor in Chicago.

“First of all, just the facts,” Obama told Joyner. “Mr. Ayers is somebody who lives in Chicago, he is a professor at the University of Chicago — University of Illinois, teaches education, and he engaged in these despicable acts 40 years ago when I was 8 years old. I served on a board with him, and so now, they are trying to use this as guilt by association. And as you’ve said, they explicitly stated what they want to do is to change the topic, because they don’t want to talk about the economy and the failed policies of the last eight years. So, I think the American people deserve better. I think they deserve a last four weeks that talks about the economic crisis, about the 159 jobs that were lost –- 159,000 jobs that were lost just last week — last month.

“But if John McCain wants to have a character debate, then I am happy to have that debate, because Mr. McCain’s record, despite him calling himself a maverick, actually shows that he is continually somebody who relies on lobbyists for big oil, big corporations, and that he makes decisions oftentimes based on what these lobbyists tell him to do. And that, I think, is going to be a lot more relevant to the American people than what somebody — who is tangentially related to me — did when I was 8 years old.”

Joyner noted that the Obama campaign launched a Web site, keatingeconomics.com, going after McCain for his role in the S&L crisis of the late 1980s/early 1990s, and his role in the Keating Five scandal. “Of course, Charles Keating was a savings and loan guy out of Arizona,” Joyner said. “Doesn’t this put you in the position of going negative, taking away your message of running a different kind of campaign?”

Said Obama:

“One of the things we’ve done during this campaign: we don’t throw the first punch, but we’ll throw the last. Because if the American people don’t get the information that is relevant about these candidates and, instead, in the last four weeks, all they are hearing about are smears and Swift Boat tactics, that can have an impact on the election. We have seen it before, and this election is too important to be sitting on the sidelines. If Sen. McCain wants to focus on the issues, then that is what we focus on. But if Sen. McCain wants to have a character debate, that is one that we’re willing to have.”

**

At 12 Bones Smokehouse, he ordered takeout for his campaign staff: Brisket, 2 racks of ribs, pulled pork, a barbecue platter, a veggie platter, six sweet teas, corn pudding, macaroni and cheese, and a double order of collards.

Source: ABC News

Men in Tokyo look at an electronic board displaying share price movements on Oct. 6, the day that Japan's Nikkei share average sank to a four-and-a-half-year closing low

Men in Tokyo look at an electronic board displaying share price movements on Oct. 6, the day that Japan's Nikkei share average sank to a four-and-a-half-year closing low

For the most part, Asian banks have remained unscathed and economies relatively robust compared with other parts of the world. But tumbling Asian stock markets, marked on Monday by near-panic selling, is signaling just how little confidence there is among bankers and investors that the $700 billion bailout of U.S. banks will end the financial crisis.

Instead, worries are growing that a severe economic downturn in the U.S. and Europe could hurt export-driven Asian economies more than originally thought. Turmoil in Europe as governments scramble to cobble together their own bailout packages has convinced Asia that the contagion will spread far from Wall Street. “We felt pretty good that our economies are stronger,” says Song Seng Wun, an economist at CIMB-GK Research in Singapore. “Problems seemed to be other people’s problems.” But recent events “have made us realize that we aren’t entirely safe. It looks like the problem might be closer to home.”

That’s because credit markets, which affect the ability of businesses and governments to borrow to fund day-to-day operations, continue to tighten in Asia as banks become more nervous about lending. In Hong Kong, the one-month interbank lending rate has doubled in the past month to 4%. Central banks are trying to pump liquidity into financial markets to avert a credit crunch. India on Monday cut the amount of cash that banks must deposit with the central bank in an attempt to loosen credit. “Credit markets are quite global,” says Kirby Daley, senior strategist at financial services firm Newedge Group in Hong Kong. “It is inescapable, if the credit crisis continues to worsen, that Asia must be affected.”

Source: TIME

I’m of two minds about how to deal with the McCain campaign’s further descent into ugliness. Their strategy is simple: you throw crap against a wall and then giggle as the media try to analyze the putresence in a way that conveys a sense of balance: “Well, it is bull-pucky, but the splatter pattern is interesting…” which, of course, only serves to get your perverse message out. I really don’t want to be a part of that. But…every so often, we journalists have a duty to remind readers just how dingy the McCain campaign, and its right-wing acolytes in the media (I’m looking at you, Sean Hannity) have become–especially in their efforts to divert public attention from the economic crisis we’re facing. And so inept at it: other campaigns have decided that their only shot is going negative, but usually they don’t announce it, as several McCain aides have in recent days–there’s no way we can win on the economy, so we’re going to go sludge-diving.

But since we are dealing with manure here, I’ll put the rest of this post below the fold.

It is appropriate that the prime vessel for this assault is Sarah Palin, whose very presence on a national ticket is an insult to your intelligence. She now has “credibility,” we are told, because she managed to read talking points off notecards in the debate last week with unwitting enthusiasm.

Over the weekend, she picked up on an article in The New York Times, which essentially says that Barack Obama and the former terrorist Bill Ayers have crossed paths in Chicago, served on a couple of charitable boards together, but aren’t particularly close. To Palin–or her scriptwriters–this means that Obama has been “palling around” with terrorists. Now, I wish Ayers had done some serious jail time; he certainly needed to pay some penance for his youthful criminality–even if most people in Chicago, including the mayor, have decided that he has something of value to say about education. But I can also understand how Obama, who was a child when Ayers was cutting his idiot swath, would not quite understand the enormity of the professor’s background. (I got to know Alger Hiss twenty years after the fact–he was a printing salesman then, a friend of my father’s–and thought of him as a sweet old man, if a good deal more liberal than dad’s other friends.)

In any case, this is rather rich coming from Palin, who is married to a man who belonged to a political party–the Alaskan Independence Party–that wanted to secede from the union. (I should add here that the Times may have been overreacting to the McCain campaign’s attack on its fairness here: the Ayers story was a nothingburger, but it was placed prominently in the top left hand corner of page one–a position that would seem to indicate that it contained important news, which it didn’t.)

Then we have the ever-reliable Bill Kristol, in today’s New York Times, advising Palin to bring up the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Palin, of course, believes that’s a darn good idea:

“To tell you the truth, Bill, I don’t know why that association isn’t discussed more, because those were appalling things that that pastor had said about our great country, and to have sat in the pews for 20 years and listened to that — with, I don’t know, a sense of condoning it, I guess, because he didn’t get up and leave — to me, that does say something about character. But, you know, I guess that would be a John McCain call on whether he wants to bring that up.”

So then, I’d guess, it would be appropriate to bring up some of the nuttiness that passes for godliness in Palin’s religious life. Leave aside the fact that The Embarracuda allowed herself to participate in a cermony that protected her from witchcraft, how about her presence–she didn’t “get up and leave”– at a sermon by the founder of Jews for Jesus, who argued that the Palestinian terrorist acts against Israel were God’s “judgment” on the Jews because they hadn’t accepted Jesus.

Speaking of Jews, the ever-execrable Sean Hannity has been having intercourse with a known Jew-hater named Andy Martin, who now wants to expose Barack Obama as a Muslim. According to the Washington Times:

In 1986, when Mr. Martin ran as a Democrat for Connecticut’s 3rd Congressional District seat under the name “Anthony R. Martin-Trigona,” his campaign committee filed papers saying its purpose was to “exterminate Jew power in America and impeach U.S. District Court of Appeals judges in New York City.”

Calling all Podhoretzs! Where’s the outrage? I mean, don’t the hateful doings at Palin’s church and Hannity’s perfidy deserve a lengthy exegesis from Pete Wehner or Jennifer Rubin or one of the other empretzled ideologues over at Commentary?

As I said, I’m of two minds about this. I don’t want to give currency to this sewage, so it will remain below the fold. And I’ll try to devote the lion’s share of my time to the issues–the war, the economic crisis, the fraying health insurance system, the environment–that should define this campaign. But what a desperate empty embarrassment the McCain campaign has become.

Soure: TIME

Find out more at The Real John McCain

This Washington Post headline is not real….

But what is interesting is the fact that John McCain hasn’t been talking about the economy.

CNN’s Jim Boulden takes a spin in Mercedes-Benz’s first hybrid being introduced at the Paris Motor Show.

CNN

Drill Baby Drill – Perhaps we won’t need that now!

Oct. 3 (Bloomberg) — The U.S. lost the most jobs in five years in September and earnings rose less than forecast as the credit crisis deepened the economic slowdown.

Payrolls fell by 159,000, more than anticipated, after a 73,000 decline in August, the Labor Department said today in Washington. The jobless rate, the last one reported before the presidential election, remained at 6.1 percent. Hours worked reached the lowest level since records began in 1964.

The world’s largest economy may be headed for bigger job losses as the worst financial meltdown since the Great Depression causes consumers and companies to retrench. A sinking labor market and rising borrowing costs raise the odds Federal Reserve policy makers will cut interest rates by their Oct. 29 meeting.

“The financial panic is a body blow to business confidence, and companies are now battening down the hatches,” Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Economy.com in West Chester, Pennsylvania, said before the report. “We’re in store for very sizable job losses across many industries. A rate cut by the Fed could come before the next meeting.”

Revisions added 4,000 to payroll figures previously reported for August and July. The Labor Department said it was “unlikely” that Hurricane Ike, which struck the Gulf Coast last month, “had substantial effects” on payrolls figures.

After today, the total decline in payrolls so far this year has reached 760,000. The economy created 1.1 million jobs in 2007. […]

The jobless rate is up 1.4 percentage points from September 2007. Since World War II, the rate has risen only twice during similar periods before presidential elections. In both cases — when Bill Clinton defeated George H. W. Bush in 1992 and when Ronald Reagan beat Jimmy Carter in 1980 — the incumbent party lost the election.

Americans will go to the polls on Nov. 4 and the October jobs report is due Nov. 7.

“Voters are extremely angry, and they want someone to blame,” said Scott Anderson, senior economist at Wells Fargo & Co. in Minneapolis.

Presidential Race

Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama has opened up a lead over Republican rival John McCain in the aftermath of their first debate and amid growing concerns about the economy, according to a Pew Research Center survey taken Sept. 27 to Sept. 29. A mid-September poll from Washington-based Pew had shown the candidates were in a statistical dead heat.

Earlier in September, a Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll showed more respondents said Obama would do a better job handling the financial crisis than McCain, and almost half of the voters believed he had better ideas to strengthen the economy than his rival.

Read more..

Source: Bloomberg