October 7, 2008

Web Reconnaissance for 10/07/2008

A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

In the News: (Registration may be required to read some stories)
U.S. Shares Sink Despite Late Rally - NEW YORK, Oct. 6 -- The Dow Jones industrial average tumbled along with stock markets around the world Monday, raising fears of a cascading market meltdown as oil prices sank and investors rushed for the safety of government bonds and gold. (READ MORE)

Obama Leading In Ohio, Poll Finds -Aided by the faltering economy, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has the upper hand in the race for Ohio, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, putting Republican John McCain at a disadvantage in a state considered vital to his chances of winning the White House... (READ MORE)

Germany Drafts Plan to Shield Banking Sector - BERLIN, Oct. 6 -- German lawmakers said Monday that they were drawing up a massive intervention plan to protect the country's financial system as Europe's biggest economy braced for the possibility of more bank failures. (READ MORE)

China's Reputation On Product Safety Reaches a New Low - TOKYO, Oct. 6 -- Thanks to tainted milk, China's product-safety reputation is plumbing new depths. Even Burma -- where one of the world's most repressive and isolated military governments relies on trade with China -- has now warned its people to steer clear of all Chinese dairy products. (READ MORE)

Court Won't Force Testimony On Firings of U.S. Attorneys - A federal appeals court declined yesterday to order current and former White House aides to testify before a House committee about the firings of nine U.S. attorneys, leaving the next Congress to decide how aggressively to pursue the constitutional showdown. (READ MORE)

As Palin Brings Up Ayers, Obama Team Cites Keating - The presidential campaign of Sen. Barack Obama for the first time criticized Sen. John McCain for his role in the "Keating Five" savings-and-loan scandal yesterday, saying the issue is fair game after a weekend of attacks by Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin over the Democrat's ties to Vietnam War-era radical William Ayers. (READ MORE)

Global markets quake, Dow dives - Markets went to pieces Monday despite strenuous efforts to calm them by world authorities, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling as much as 800 points to below 10,000 and investments from oil to municipal bonds tanking in a global rout that stretched from Bonn to Bangkok. (READ MORE)

McCain hits Obama's past before debate - Sen. John McCain challenged his Democratic presidential opponent Sen. Barack Obama's honor and honesty on the eve of Tuesday's presidential debate, injecting a personal tone heading into the face-to-face showdown as he sought to refocus the race on Mr. Obama's character. (READ MORE)

Obama counting on black voter turnout - ST. LOUIS After an aggressive push to register black voters using text messaging, ads on hip-hop radio stations and Internet videos using popular stars and free concerts, the Obama team is turning to the next task: making sure that black voters show up on Election Day in bigger numbers than ever before. (READ MORE)

In debates, candidates differ little - A defining exchange in the first presidential debate opened with Republican Sen. John McCain's incredulous condemnation of the threat by Democrat Sen. Barack Obama to launch unilateral military strikes against terrorist outposts in Pakistan, a U.S. ally. (READ MORE)

Kashkari to take onus of bailout - At Neel Kashkari's confirmation hearing in June, Senate banking committee Chairman Christopher J. Dodd stumbled over both the nominee's first and last name. It's unlikely Mr. Dodd will repeat his mistake now that the 35-year-old Treasury Department official and former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. investment banker has been tapped to set up and start spending the government's $700 billion fund to rescue Wall Street and prevent a global economic implosion. (READ MORE)

Jury hears Stevens' tapes - In secretly recorded phone conversations played in court Monday, Sen. Ted Stevens tried to encourage an oil-rich friend whose property had been raided by FBI agents and whose time had become entangled in grand jury proceedings during a corruption investigation. (READ MORE)

Bailout Rout - It's no surprise that investors would be cautiously eyeing Washington for signs of how quickly the $700 billion bailout plan will be implemented. But that doesn't explain yesterday's global rout. The numbers suggest something deeper than mere "nerves" on the first post-bailout trading day in Asia and Europe. (READ MORE)

Public Passes on New Deal - Perhaps you've read -- several hundred times by now -- that the financial panic means we are returning to a new day of expanding government. Well, maybe not, if the American people are consulted. A new survey by the Kauffman Foundation describes a country that is worried about the impact of the financial turmoil on their lives, but is equally worried about what government might do to fix it. (READ MORE)

Lessons From the Selloff - Well, it's finally sinking in. Yesterday's global stock selloff is best understood as the recognition by investors that the financial panic is world-wide, and moreover that it almost certainly means a global recession. As bad as the carnage is and will be, this isn't the end of days. It might even be clarifying if it causes economic policy makers to abandon some of the illusions that have guided them for the past 14 months. (READ MORE)

On the Web:
James Taranto: Free-Associated Press - Over the weekend Sarah Palin accused Barack Obama of "palling around" with terrorists--a reference to his longstanding friendship and professional association with Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, husband-and-wife Chicago college professors who are unrepentant about their activities in the Weather Underground gang. According to an "analysis" by Douglass Daniel of the Associated Press, "[Palin's] attack was unsubstantiated." Palin said she got her information from the New York Times, and we suppose it says something that this isn't good enough for the AP. Odder still is Daniel's claim that Palin's statement "carried a racially tinged subtext that John McCain himself may come to regret." Reader, Mr. and Mrs. Ayers are persons of pallor. What could possibly be racist about Palin's criticizing Obama for associating with a couple of despicable characters who are white? This question brings us into the weird world of Douglass Daniel's imagination: (READ MORE)

William McGurn: About That Middle-Class Tax Cut . . . Remember the last time a charismatic Democrat made such a promise? - "It's like déjà vu all over again." As John McCain heads into the second round of presidential debates tonight, Yogi Berra's words come to mind. Mr. McCain could do worse than remind the middle class what happened to them the last time a charismatic Democratic candidate promised them a tax cut. While he's at it, he might also remind them how much more expensive it will be to send Barack Obama to the White House at a time when his fellow Democrats will have a majority in both houses of Congress. The Clinton years hold some good lessons on both these scores. Back when Mr. Clinton was campaigning for president in 1992, he made a pretty direct pitch: Raise taxes on people making more than $200,000, and use those revenues to fund tax relief for the "forgotten middle class." (READ MORE)

Diethard Pallaschke: The Country With Real Leverage in Tehran - At the U.N. General Assembly last month, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier condemned a speech by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as "blatant anti-Semitism." Mr. Steinmeier also criticized Iran's "delaying tactics" on the nuclear issue and warned that the Iranian government "must not exhaust the patience of the international community." But was he really challenging Iran's nuclear-weapons program? For all his tough words, Mr. Steinmeier never said what steps the international community should take if Iran continues its "delaying tactics." His British and French colleagues recently repeated their willingness to impose unilateral European sanctions on Iran if Russia and China block new sanctions resolutions in the Security Council. However, Mr. Steinmeier opposes European sanctions, saying they exceed the U.N. mandate. Indeed, so far there is little sign of the Germany government implementing any measures to thwart Iran's ambition to develop nuclear weapons. (READ MORE)

Ulrich Volz: Europe Needs A United Approach To the Credit Crunch - Not long ago most European analysts and policy makers viewed the credit crisis as a primarily American problem, with unpleasant but limited spillover to European and other financial markets. European banks like UBS, Northern Rock, Société Générale, IKB, WestLB and several other publicly owned German banks that were hit by the crisis or even collapsed in the course of it were regarded as exceptions that had foolishly exposed themselves to the U.S. subprime market. That view sure has changed. From Germany to Britain and from Belgium to Ireland, governments committed billions of euros over the last week to prevent bank failures and shore up confidence in their financial systems. In the biggest European bank bailout since the crisis began, the Benelux governments took a 49% stake in Fortis -- to be followed a few days later by the complete takeover of Fortis' Dutch operations by the Dutch government and a sale of the Belgian and Luxemburgian operations to BNP Paribas, a private bank. (READ MORE)

Andrew G. Biggs & Kent Smetters: The Rich Pay Their Fair Share - Tax policy has two main goals: fairness and efficiency. Fairness encompasses philosophical values regarding how the tax burden should be distributed based upon the ability to pay. Efficiency incorporates economic consideration of how incentives built into the tax code affect individuals' willingness to work or save. Deciding whether a given tax plan maximizes fairness and efficiency is a difficult task under the best of circumstances. But given how most information pertaining to the two presidential candidates' tax plans is presented in the press, it is all but impossible to say much about either fairness or efficiency. The media typically report how each candidate's plan would change the tax code relative to current law: the size of the typical tax cut or increase that accrues to low, middle or high earners. (READ MORE)

David Gratzer: McCain Is the Real Health-Care Reformer - With less than a month to go, presidential candidate Barack Obama wants to deliver a knock-out punch by hitting John McCain on health care. On Saturday Mr. Obama called his rival's health-care proposal "radical" and, in swing states, he is now blasting it in TV ads. Mr. Obama is also distributing mailers and organizing "Docs for Barack" meetings to rally voters. It's good politics for Mr. Obama. But it's bad policy. Mr. McCain's proposal -- to give every American the tax credit businesses get for buying health insurance -- is the right prescription for what ails our health-care system. The foundation of that system -- employer provided health insurance -- is crumbling. For decades, the percentage of Americans who get their health insurance at work has been shrinking. (READ MORE)

Gary S. Becker: We're Not Headed for a Depression - In order to promote a much smoother functioning of the financial system, it is paramount to distinguish between the immediate steps needed to cope with the present crisis and the long-run reforms needed to reduce the likelihood of future crises. Let's start with the short-run fixes. First of all, the magnitude of this financial disturbance should be placed in perspective. Although it is the most severe financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s, it is a far smaller crisis, especially in terms of the effects on output and employment. The United States had about 25% unemployment during most of the decade from 1931 until 1941, and sharp falls in GDP. Other countries experienced economic difficulties of a similar magnitude. (READ MORE)

Thomas Sowell: The Real Obama - Critics of Senator Barack Obama make a strategic mistake when they talk about his "past associations." That just gives his many defenders in the media an opportunity to counter-attack against "guilt by association." We all have associations, whether at the office, in our neighborhood or in various recreational activities. Most of us neither know nor care what our associates believe or say about politics. Associations are very different from alliances. Allies are not just people who happen to be where you are or who happen to be doing the same things you do. You choose allies deliberately for a reason. The kind of allies you choose says something about you. Jeremiah Wright, Father Michael Pfleger, William Ayers and Antoin Rezko are not just people who happened to be at the same place at the same time as Barack Obama. (READ MORE)

Dennis Prager: Gotcha Questions for Katie Couric (and Her Colleagues) - Just as Charlie Gibson did in his interview with Sarah Palin, Katie Couric set out to humiliate the Republican vice-presidential candidate with a series of "gotcha" questions. This tactic -- rarely employed with major liberal candidates -- could be used equally effectively against Couric, or most any other liberal member of the television news media. It would be highly instructive to have Couric asked questions in the same way in which she (and Gibson) asked questions of Palin. For example: Q: Critics of the war in Iraq argue that prior to the invasion of Iraq, America had never attacked a country that had no plans to attack it. How then do you explain the Korean War? On my radio show, I have asked this question of some of the most celebrated names among liberal intellectuals, and they had little or nothing to say. One major editor simply admitted that he had little familiarity with that war. (READ MORE)

Chuck Norris: The Bailaholics - Tombstone, Ariz., has nothing on Washington, D.C. Friday's financial OK Corral took place when federal politicians had a standoff over the mother of all bailout bills. Bullets called ballots were fired from both congressional houses and the White House. And when the smoke cleared, the bad guys appeared: Bush, Paulson, Barney Frank, Pelosi, Dodd and most of the other members of the House and the Senate, including Obama and even McCain. The truth is most members of Congress voted to pass the bill but don't have a clue what is in this 500-plus-page legislation, which was birthed in the White House just two weeks ago as an infant of only three pages. Then it was voted down at the Capitol a week later in its adolescent-sized 100 pages. And of course, in good bureaucratic fashion, it met the criteria to be mature when it was more than five times that size and packed with governmental goodies. And the president signed it just an hour after receiving it from Capitol Hill Friday. (READ MORE)

David Limbaugh: Don't Go Wobbly; Follow Sarah - There are many reasons that Sarah Palin is energizing the conservative base. It's not just her authenticity, freshness, noble defense of traditional values, and vivaciousness. This lady is finally giving red-state conservatives a voice, and she's taking it to the other side without apologies. Democrats are crying foul because she's confronting Barack Obama for his worrisome attitudes about America and his way-more-than-casual association with unrepentant domestic terrorist William Ayers. Some squeamish conservatives are counseling that we ignore this issue either because it is unpleasant and unfair or that it's a distraction from the "substantive" issues. Nonsense. This issue is neither unfair nor a diversion. It is imperative that we learn the extent of Obama's intimacy with this man. It's vital that we examine whether this relationship is part of a pattern of Barack Obama associating himself with people and causes that are hostile to the foundational principles of this nation. (READ MORE)

Mona Charen: Michelle Obama's Fearful Vision - I had an experience wearing a headscarf last week that was culturally and politically interesting. More on that in a minute. It made me think of Michelle Obama. Last year, Mrs. Obama introduced her husband at a campaign event in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Like so many of Mrs. Obama's speeches, this one reflected a jaundiced view of her country. She began by telling the crowd that her husband was "special." Nothing very unusual there. But then she offered a glimpse (she said) into their private discussions prior to his run for the White House: We talked about it and asked people what they were concerned about and it was fear. They were afraid. "It was fear raising its ugly head. Fear in one of the most important decisions we would make. It was fear of everything. Fear that we might lose. Fear that he might get hurt. Fear that this would be ugly. Fear that it would hurt our family. Fear." (READ MORE)

Doug Giles: Hunters Against Obama - You know, I’d love to believe that Obama is cool with guns and hunting, but when the nation’s largest and most radical group that wants to ban hunting thinks he’s peachy, it makes this middle-aged redneck think that maybe Barack is full of B’crap and his “pro gun/hunting” spiel is just another con job spun by the King of Obfuscation. But that’s just me. This past week Obama added to his rogue gallery of support groups another radical band of anti-American spirit lunatics. No, I’m not talking about an additional endorsement by a new terrorist group or Black Muslim faction, or pro-abortion loon, or another communist cabal, or an extra Castro/Chavez-like dictator but rather the Humane Society (HSUS). Y’know, opposites might attract in love, according to Paula Abdul (and who are we to question her wisdom?), but that’s not true in elections. Special interest axe-grinders look for sympathetic co-belligerents in their cause": (READ MORE)

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.: Characters Count - Suddenly, the presidential campaigns are addressing an issue that should have been at the forefront of this year’s election long ago. Call it “characters count.” We know people – especially public figures – by the company they keep. And we need to know much more about, to put it charitably, the characters that have figured prominently for years in Barack Obama’s life. ver the weekend, Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin brought the issue to the fore by observing caustically that the Democrats’ would-be commander-in-chief has “palled around with terrorists.” The Obama campaign immediately deployed talking points and a television ad conjuring up Charles Keating, a one-time friend and supporter of John McCain who was a driving force behind the 1980s-era savings and loan debacle. The problem for Barack Obama is that convicted – and unrepentant – terrorist William Ayers is not the only person with a profound animosity towards this country with whom he has “palled around” since his youth. (READ MORE)

Bill Steigerwald: The Government Failed Us - It's no surprise that someone who named his company FreeMarkets Inc., as founder and CEO Glen Meakem did, is a foe of the gargantuan financial bailout bill that President Bush signed into law Friday. Meakem, who calls himself "an economic conservative" and is active in Republican politics, sold his innovative business-to-business Internet company to Ariba Inc. in 2004 for $493 million. Now 44, he is the co-founder and managing director of Meakem Becker Venture Capital. I talked to him by telephone on Thursday evening, the day after the Senate passed a pork-stuffed version of the $700 billion "rescue" plan that its proponents hope will free up the country's frozen credit markets so banks can start lending again. Q: Are you a pro- or anti-bailout person? A: I'm against it. .... The bottom line here is that this crisis was caused by the government. They've only worsened it. (READ MORE)

Amanda Carpenter: Keating Five Member is Obama Surrogate - If Barack Obama is so outraged at John McCain’s involvement in the Keating Five scandal, why is John Glenn, another Keating Five member, doing surrogate work for Obama? Obama’s presidential campaign released a scathing documentary on Monday detailing McCain’s ties to the Savings and Loan crisis on the 1980’s. Five U.S. senators were named in the scandal: Sen. Alan Cranston (D.-Calif.), Sen. Dennis DeConcini (D.-Ariz.), Sen. John Glenn (D.-Ohio), Sen. John McCain (R.-Ariz.) and Sen. Donald Reigle (D-Minn.). "The Keating scandal is eerily similar to today's credit crisis, where a lack of regulation and cozy relationships between the financial industry and Congress has allowed banks to make risky loans and profit by bending the rules," reads a trailer for the video on a website created by the Obama campaign to attack McCain, www.keatingeconomics.com. "And in both cases, John McCain's judgment and values have placed him on the wrong side of history. (READ MORE)

Lawhawk: The Ayers-Obama Connection Muddied By Media - The media continues to portray Bill Ayers as nothing more than a radical or an activist. Just take a look at the headlines and the commentary produced by media outlets like ABC News, New York Times, CNN, MSNBC, FoxNews, etc. Even Chicago media outlets have soft-pedaled the Ayers family business in terrorism. They go out of their way to minimize what Ayers did, and then compound matters by minimizing how well Ayers knows Sen. Barack Obama. Ayers was a terrorist. He founded a terrorist group - the Weather Underground in 1969 out of another radial leftist group the SDS. He and his cohorts, including his then girlfriend, built and detonated more than 30 bombs. Bombs were detonated at the Pentagon, Capitol, NYPD headquarters, and several other locations. (READ MORE)
The Anchoress: Obama/Ayers: Palin DID handle that well! - UPDATED - Ann Althouse first made the observation, and she linked to a reporter shouting a question and Palin answering. You’ll want to go see it before it - like the SNL skit on the sub-prime markets/financial crisis - gets pulled. Because we live in an era where anything that doesn’t fit the narrative gets pulled. And let me point out that it is not President George (the “evil nazi who is squashing our civil rights”) Bush or anyone in his administration, who keeps doing all this information yanking and video disappearing. Just thought I’d mention that. Can’t be mentioned enough. What puzzles me is how Democrats who care about free-speech can consent to and stand for what is becoming Standard Operating Procedures on the left: if it hurts the cause, it never happened. Things get erased and disappeared, pretty regularly, these days. Seems wrong, doesn’t it? Why is no one on the left speaking up? If nothing else, the issue of FREE SPEECH should be one upon which both left and right can agree. (READ MORE)

The Barnyard: More On Obama, Ayers And Dohrn - After Sarah Palin started hitting Obama about his ties to the domestic terrorist duo Obama spokesman David Axelrod today tried to claim Obama didn't know about their history. That has got to be one of the biggest steamiest piles of BS yet in this campaign. The Weather Underground terror campaign didn't end in '68, it was started then and continued well into the '80s. Obama and his wife have known this pair for at least two decades, they have worked at the same law firms and the same boards with the same goals of a radical transformation of America into a socialist state. Go read this great essay by Bob Owens that explores this relationship between the two Chicago couples. “By 1995, Barack Obama had known Bill Ayers at least eight years since their shared involvement in the Alliance for Better Chicago Schools, if not longer. Bernardine Dohrn, once labeled ‘the most dangerous woman in America’ by none other than J. Edgar Hoover, was also well known as the inspiration for the 1988 movie Running on Empty. Subtle terrorists they were not.” (READ MORE)

Dafydd: Transformation Is the Only Certainty - I believe more firmly than ever that this not be a "holding action" presidential election, as were the last five; it will indeed be "transformational" -- but it's now 50-50 in my mind which way we will be transformed. If John S. McCain is able to beat Barack H. Obama, it will not, I believe, be close; it will be because the American voters fundamentally and finally reject Obama and everything for which he and that wing of the Democratic Party stand. It will be a resounding defeat; and when the Democrats once again claim it was "stolen" from them -- racism! lies! panic! Diebold! -- they will only make themselves utter laughingstocks for a generation. The new Republicanism will be conserative at its core but practical and reformist in its methods... a huge transmogrification away from the two Bushes, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, Dwight Eisenhower, and even old Blob Dole, and back towards muscular Reaganism instead. (READ MORE)

Noah Shachtman: Taliban Ready to End War, Break with Qaeda (Update) - Is the Taliban breaking with Al Qaeda -- and negotiating to end its insurgency? "Former Afghanistan presidential advisor Muhammad Sadeq Tashqari says thatseveral senior Taliban officials have participated in drawing up a Saudi-U.K initiative to end the war in Afghanistan," according to London'sAl-Sharq Al-Awsat. "He said that Taliban representatives had set several conditions for ending the war, including ministerial appointments for Taliban members and a withdrawal of foreign forces from the country." CNN, citing unnamed sources, says the Taliban "has beeninvolved four days of talks hosted by Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah. "The talks -- the first of their kind aimed at resolving the lengthy conflict in Afghanistan -- mark a significant move by the Saudi leadership to take a direct role in Afghanistan." (READ MORE)

Dr. Sanity: THE NEW EDUCATIONAL INDOCTRINATION - OBAMA STYLE - Is it any surprise to anyone that today's schools have become petrie dishes to culture left wing ideology in the minds of our young people? Here is the latest case in point from American Thinker: “The shocking video of uniformed youngsters marching and chanting about Obama we blogged yesterday turns out to have been organized during school hours by a middle school teacher at a (taxpayer funded) charter school in Kansas City. The teacher in question, whose name has not been disclosed, has been suspended and may face legal charges. [...] I find it disturbing that the superintendent knew about the political indoctrination underway and only objected to it being made public on the internet. Now, she claims to be disturbed by the politicization of school activities. The fact that her charges have been indoctrinated to chant that ‘because of Obama’ they will accomplish marvelous things in life is far worse than making it public.” Now consider this appalling reality that exists at our schools. Yoko Ono and John Lennon are the key historical figure that 8th graders want to study?? John Hinderaker goes on to lament in the post: (READ MORE)

Don Surber: Congressional crash - The Bush bailout continues its rampage, wrecking stock markets across the global. Herbert Hoover did it. Franklin Roosevelt did it. Richard Nixon did it. They took a small problem in the stock market, intervened and made the situation even worse. Hoover took a correction in the stock market in October 1929 (when Hoover was president and 12 years before the first commercial TV station was licensed) and made it worse. The Smoot-Hawley Act raised tariffs in an effort to “buy American.” This screwed up the world economy and slowed the American economy down to a crawl. Roosevelt’s attempt to manage the economy extended the Depression another 8 years, transforming it into the Great Depression. World War II ended it. Nixon’s wage-and-price controls. Now we have the bailout. It was supposed to keep the economy going by keeping the easy credit coming. Since it was signed the Dow plunged 1,000 points (700 net) and world markets have reacted likewise. (READ MORE)

Baron Bodissey: Settling the Bill - As a result of the current financial crisis and the recent bailout, we have reached a historic milestone: The people of the United States have finally paid reparations to the descendants of African slaves. Admittedly, it was a stealth form of payment. It wasn’t a straightforward check written from the Treasury to the people involved. The voters weren’t consulted about the arrangement. It was something that just kind of happened. Members of Congress didn’t actually vote for legislation ordering reparations — not as such. What they did was cobble together a “Christmas tree” of a bank bailout bill, one larded down with so much pork that it was guaranteed to squeak by and be signed by the President. No incumbent politician stood to benefit from a complete financial meltdown, so the Senators and Congressmen voted for the bailout in an attempt to save their sorry fundaments…or… enhance their chances of re-election. (READ MORE)

GayPatriotWest: Has Barney Frank No Shame? - Instead of admitting his own responsibility in the current financial mess, Barney Frank does what he and Democratic partisans always do when their records are called into question: attack conservatives. It’s not the same blame he attempted to ladle out when Bill O’Reilly pressed him. Now the Massachusetts Congressman is accusing conservatives of racism: “U.S. Rep. Barney Frank claims conservatives are trying to partly blame the nation’s economic woes on black people. ‘This is an effort I believe to appeal to a kind of anger in people,’ Frank, a Newton Democrat who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, today told a Boston foreclosure-prevention forum. Frank charged that conservatives aim to shift blame for the market meltdown away from Wall Street and toward minority-lending laws like the federal Community Reinvestment Act.” Um, Barney, if you bothered to read the conservative stuff, you’d find they’re looking at more than just the Community Reinvestment Act. It’s not they, but you who are trying to shift the blame. (READ MORE)

Hamilton, Madison, and Jay: The. Gloves. Come. Off. - For the better part of a week we have been e-mailing and calling the McCain campaign to take off the gloves, and hit Obama -- and the Democrats in Congress -- over this financial problem, including Fannie and Freddie. We could all see how this went down. But all McCain wanted to do was sweep this under the rug, and while he was doing that, Obama gained traction in his lying ads about who's at fault for all of this. Captain Ed and Geraghty the Indispensable have the skinny on how John McCain just cold-cocked Barack Obama: “Our current economic crisis is a good case in point. What was his actual record in the years before the great economic crisis of our lifetimes? This crisis started in our housing market in the form of subprime loans that were pushed on people who could not afford them. Bad mortgages were being backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and it was only a matter of time before a contagion of unsustainable debt began to spread. This corruption was encouraged by Democrats in Congress, and abetted by Senator Obama.” (READ MORE)

Jules Crittenden: Mudslinging Initiated - This is pretty good. AP: “WASHINGTON - Mudslinging — initiated over the weekend by Republican John McCain’s campaign — gathered intensity in the presidential race today as Democrat Barack Obama resurrected his opponent’s links to a financial scandal two decades ago.” That’s precious, coming from a news service that just accused the GOP vice-presidential candidate of racism without providing anything but an editor’s conjecture and personal prejudices to back it up. Especially after weeks of disproportionate trashing of said nominee and her running mate; repeating Obama camp talking points as gospel without any attribution; and regular reports on the sunlight that miraculously shines out of his … never mind. The Obama campaign’s proxies have made it easy for him to maintain that above-it-all focused on a distant horizon of hopeful change thing. But that’s changing, and we can hope for a good time at tomorrow night’s debate. (READ MORE)

neo-neocon: Wall Street is not reassured, and neither are we - I must be a glutton for punishment, because I’ve been glancing at MSNBC again. The tone of the talking heads there (maybe that’s a misnomer; some of them seem more like shouting heads) is frenetic and energized. They look like people who’ve absorbed a big blow and are scrambling to figure out what hit them, floating theories as fast as they can as they watch the Dow plummet minute by minute. The bailout bill was passed, and it was supposed to help. But the first hint that it wouldn’t came from reports last night that the overseas markets were down, and when the US stock exchange opened today it followed suit. Credit isn’t flowing yet, and if I’ve learned one thing in the last couple of weeks it’s that credit greases the engine that drives our economy. Without credit, the whole thing seizes up much like my car did one awful pre-cellphone night some thirty years while driving on a dark rural road. (READ MORE)

Michelle Malkin: The forbidden skit: Full transcript and screenshots of SNL’s Soros/Sandler bailout satire - NBC is furiously erasing its tracks. Any attempts to upload the forbidden SNL bailout skit skewering George Soros and his left-wing subprime schemer friends Herbert and Marion Sandler will likely be squashed. So, I transcribed the whole comedy sketch for you and provided screenshots for the 7-minute video that has disappeared from NBC and Hulu. (You can see it as of 1:08am Eastern here on YouTube, though I doubt it will last long. Pat Dollard’s blog has posted the full clip on its server. Thanks to Ms. Underestimated for the .wmv file.) The hits on the Sandlers ( “People who should be shot”) and Soros ( “Owner, Democratic Party”) occur near the end of the skit. “Announcer: Next on C-SPAN, President Bush, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Congressman Barney Frank appeared earlier today at a joint press conference to comment on the financial bailout measure just passed by Congress.” (READ MORE)

Neptunus Lex: Going Through the Record - We’ve already learned that John McCain was an imperfect midshipman 50 years ago. Today we find that he may not have been the ace of the base as a student naval aviator 40 years ago, although, to be fair, naval aviation used to fling planes into the dirt all regardless, back in the early 60’s. We’ve reduced our mishap rate from 19 per 10,000 hours in those days to less than 2 today, mostly through the use of the Naval Aviation Training and Operations Procedures Standardization (NATOPS) process. Heralding the end of an ubiquitous “kick the tires, light the fires, brief on Guard, first guy airborne has the lead” mindset. Demarcating the beginning of the era of the “Big Blue Sleeping Pill”, because of the blue covers of the ginormous manuals we were forced to pretty much memorize. So maybe he doesn’t get to fly Air Force One, comes the day. I’m betting he can live with that. Everyone’s pretty much skipping past that whole 5+ years in the Hanoi Hilton. Heard that tale, I suppose. *Yawn* Who hasn’t spent five years being tortured for his country? (READ MORE)

William Teach: AP Attacks McCain Over Iran-Contra, Announces True Reason - The Obama Compliant Media is carrying the water buckets up the hill: McCain linked to private group in Iran-Contra case. Let’s start with paragraph 2, where the AP’s intentions for writing this article are announced “McCain’s ties are facing renewed scrutiny after his campaign criticized Barack Obama for his link to a former radical who engaged in violent acts 40 years ago.” In the tank. This is the same press who have ignored Ayers, Wright, Pflagar, ACORN, Chicago politicians, and every other association that puts Obama in a bad light, till they could spin them away using Barry Camp talking points. “GOP presidential nominee John McCain has past connections to a private group that supplied aid to guerrillas seeking to overthrow the leftist government of Nicaragua in the Iran-Contra affair.” (READ MORE)

Pros and Cons: Thoughts on two presidential precedents, assuming we will lose that is - In the 1980 election for the 1981 presidency, the ill-fated James Wilson Carter, largely abandoned by his own party, hoped, along with the commentators who generally despised him, for the nomination of the supposedly extreme Ronald Wilson Reagan, against whom “reasonable sane liberalism” would supposedly triumph. It did not and the Reagan Revolution continues to effect even the way Barak Hussein Obama, the most liberal of the Democratic contenders for his party’s nomination, speaks and articulates his policy. That has chilling implications for the sake of things to come if one is, like myself, deeply center-right. It sure scares 7.62 mm Justice. But there is another precedent. William Jefferson Clinton, like Obama, gave speeches bathed in generalities and bathed in zigs and zags on some fairly basic policy priorities. (READ MORE)

McQ: Who are those guys? - First we had Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama’s preacher for 20 years. We find out Wright is anti-American, antisemitic and bases his church in the black liberation theology of James Cone. What clued us in was the fact that he preaches all of that from the pulpit and it was available on DVDs sold out of the lobby of the church. Barack Obama’s reaction on "learning" of this - "wow, I had no idea." Then comes William Ayers, leader of the Weather Underground during the ’60s and ’70s, responsible for the bombing of the Pentagon, the Capitol and various other places. An unrepentant domestic terrorist who later helped get Barack Obama the job as chair on the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, served on the Woods Fund board with Obama and helped launch Obama’s political career from his living room. Barack Obama’s reaction on "learning" all of this - wow, I had no idea. (READ MORE)

Melanie Phillips Blog: Guilt by participation - Whichever way this American election ends, it will surely be remembered as the one in which big media threw aside all pretence of objectivity and flung itself into the campaign as committed partisans for Obama. I have been documenting on this blog some of its more egregious acts of commission and omission – the double standards in the treatment of the two opposing sides, and above all the almost total silence over, or even endorsement of, aspects of Obama’s background, attitudes and associations, the exposure of any one of which would have surely sunk a white Republican candidacy in five seconds flat. It is only in the blogosphere where proper journalism has been doing its job in bringing to the surface the deeply troubling evidence of Obama’s dubious associations and the misleading way in which he has sought to play them down. (READ MORE)

Warner Todd Huston: Newsweek: Obama Just like Lincoln? - Howard Fineman has no knowledge of history. In fact, it would not surprise me if we should find out some day that, in his original draft of this absurd comparison of Lincoln to Obama, he even spelled Lincoln’s name wrong. It is just that obvious that Fineman knows nothing of what he speaks. You see, Howard Fineman has decided that Barack Obama is somehow just like Abraham Lincoln. This is hero worship at its worst without being weighed down by any facts. It’s so bad that one wonders if Fineman had a Matthewsian “thrill up his leg” when writing this sycophantic slop? In pondering if he should write a story about Obama’s connections to Chicago, Illinois, Fineman found his mind wandering to Abraham Lincoln — “the only president ‘from’ that city,” as Fineman says. And right there we have the first stretch of reality to fit Fineman’s gauzy feelings. Lincoln was neither from nor “from” Chicago. (READ MORE)

The Sundries Shack: Everything is Racism When it Comes to Obama - Are the media completely in the tank for Barack Obama at this point? I feel pretty silly for even asking this question given the complete lack of curiosity shown toward the Obamessiah’s long association with people who not only show naked contempt for America (Jeremiah Wright, Father Pfleger, et. al. ) but who have actively tried to destroy our democratic institutions (Bill Ayers, Bernadette Dohrn) and who are still trying (ACORN). Still, what I’ve seen from the MSM in the way of sending a few dozen reporters to Alaska to root through Sarah Palin’s garbage while assigning perhaps half a reporter to any story that might cast Barack Obama in anything but a corona of glory pales in comparison to this piece of nonsense from the Associated Press today. In a nutshell, the story says that when Sarah Palin says that Barack Obama has been “palling around” with domestic terrorists, she really means that White America should be afraid of the black man. (READ MORE)

Ron Winter: Palin Was Right on Obama-Ayers Connection; Now Let's Look At Obama's Police State - Gov. Sarah Palin went right to the heart of Barack Obama's character on Saturday when she linked him to radical anti-American Bill Ayers, who with his wife, was a founder of the Weather Underground. That radical, domestic terrorist organization claimed opposition to the Vietnam War as its originating principle. But its terrorist activities that started in 1969, when Richard Nixon had already begun withdrawing troops from Vietnam, continued through the 70s and into the early 80s. Ayers was quoted in the New York Times in 2001 saying the Weather Underground didn't do enough, even though they bombed police stations, the Pentagon and the US Capitol. Ayers lately has been saying that the quote means they didn't do enough to end the Vietnam War. (READ MORE)

Jay Tea: Who Are You? 'Cause I Really Wanna Know - Yesterday, John McCain asked a very simple -- but very important question: Who is Barack Obama? Everyone has an answer -- he's the Democratic nominee for president. He is currently in his fourth year of his first US Senate term. Before that, he was an Illinois State Senator, a lawyer, community organizer, president of the Harvard Law Review, child of a Kenyan father and an American mother, born in Hawaii, raised for a while in Indonesia. But just try to look beyond the official biography, and you end up with far more questions than answers. This is brought into even starker contrast when you compare what we know about Barack Obama with what we know about John McCain. For example, we know that John McCain graduated almost at the bottom of his class at Annapolis. We have no idea how Obama did, academically, either as an undergraduate or in law school. We know that McCain showed reporters over 1800 pages of his medical records. (READ MORE)

Lorie Byrd: I Hope McCain Talks About This Tonight - Track record-- I hope McCain points out as often as possible examples of talk vs. walk in both candidates' track records. There are many examples of Barack Obama talking about a problem (or claiming to have talked about it) and John McCain actually doing something. The Fannie/Freddie example is perfect. Obama says he warned of the financial crisis a year or so ago. Well, John McCain not only warned of it three years ago, but he did something about it. He sponsored legislation that might have prevented much of the pain we are experiencing today, but Democrats in Congress killed it. Obama talked the talk (at least he claims he did -- did anyone out there hear him?), McCain walked the walk. Another difference in track record where McCain walks and Obama talks is in reforming government. Obama is now talking about change, but when has he ever done it? John McCain has bucked his party and Sarah Palin has too. (READ MORE)

Soccerdad: Abbas at the abyss - Secretary Rice is apparently planning to celebrate the first anniversary of the Annapolis summit with - another summit. Shmuel Rosner describes this proposed summit as maintenance as opposed to a desperate, ill fated and misguided attempt (like Taba in 2001) to reach a final agreement. “A summit in November is unlikely to provide a definitive answer as to which of these assessments is closer to reality. Nevertheless, Secretary Rice can make a strong argument for such a summit. She’ll argue that this event should not be seen as a last-minute attempt at reaching an agreement in the mode of Clinton’s Taba talks (following the collapse of the Camp David summit in 2000), but rather as a maintenance measure.” Aside from the success the PA has had in enforcing the law and order in Jenin, David Hazony writes that perhaps what’s motivating Mahmoud Abbas, is a sense of mortality. (READ MORE)

This Ain't Hell: DC’s tax scam winding down - Some of you may not have heard, but the DC government discovered last year that a small gang of their bureaucrats have been stealing money from taxpayer coffers for decades to the tune of nearly $50 million. Harriet Walters and some of her friends and workmates in the DC Tax and Revenue office siphoned off phony tax rebate checks, most recently in $400k chunks. In fact, when DC decided to tighten security in their procedures, it was Harriet Walters, the ringleader who designed the system intended to stop her. How did she get caught? Was it an internal audit when the new administration came in last year? Was it one of her fellow employees who noticed her lavish spending when Walters paid Tax Office workers out of her pocket to do her job around the office? Nope, it was because of a confrontation at a SunTrust bank branch. From the Washington Post; (READ MORE)

The Duck of Minerva: Barak Obama and the Renewal of American Hegemony - By way of introduction... I've been pondering a post along these lines for a short while now, but this isn't going to exactly be the post I had originally envisioned. Rather, inspired by the ongoing financial crisis and some things I read this evening, a slightly different version has emerged. Now, onto the show: A significant challenge for the next President will be dealing with the percipitous decline in American Hegemony since 2001. All three pillars of American power have severely eroded, leaving an open to mount a challenge to America's international leadership. Following Iraq and Afghanistan, the US military is stretched thin. More significantly, the success of insurgency warfare coupled with the failure of non-proliferation policies in North Korea and Iran have shown the door to resist US military pressure--build a nuke or threaten to draw the US into a protracted guerrilla conflict that mitigates its conventional military advantage. (READ MORE)

John Hawkins: I Have 4 Words For You: "We Can't Afford It." - For years, conservatives have been talking about the potential consequences of out-of-control spending -- and guess what? The consequences are here. The markets are plunging, we're probably already in a recession, and we may be genuinely headed towards a financial crisis of global proportions. And this crisis? It isn't merely another turn of the wheel in the market, another capitalistic cycle. It's directly related to our national debt and our foreign debtors, who are deliberately withholding credit. Are they actually trying to create a crisis or merely protecting their investments? Either way, nations like China have now confirmed that they have an effective weapon that they can use against the United States economy. If they cut off our credit, they can create a crisis at will. That's what this deficit spending has done to us. (READ MORE)

Instapundit: FINANCIAL BREAKDOWNS - I mentioned Megan McArdle's post last night, and I also recommend this piece by Andy Kessler, on going back to basics. The response of most in the political class to the financial crisis is to call for more regulation. Markets are prone to irrational exuberance, and that exuberance can result in crashes that harm lots of people besides the traders in the markets. The problem is, regulators are prone to their own varieties of irrationality. We saw a gradual move to ease -- and even require -- loans that would have been unthinkable a few decades ago. Now, in response to the financial crisis, we'll likely see a "speculative bubble" in regulation. As with post-disaster building codes, some of these regulations will be good and some won't, and all will be gradually relaxed over time as the memory of crisis fades. That's not rational, but it's human, and we're human. My own preference would be for a more fault-tolerant system to begin with. (READ MORE)

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