First off, if you go blog-trawling, here's one I find very cogent, by my friend Russ Daggatt, former owner of the Seattle Sonics, on the financial crisis.
This list of “factoids” is especially devastating, such as the clear conclusion that Obama’s fiscal plan would result in 1.2$Trillions less debt than McCain’s. Or that US Troops overseas donated 6x more to Obama; our troops and prefer his Iraq plan by 30 pts.
But Senator McCain is good at distilling his philosophy to simple one-liners. Last month “We must eradicate evil.” Last week: “We must eliminate greed!” Dang. The man is ambitious. Will he alter human nature with gene-splicing? Or wires in the skull?
But it gets better. McCain’s plan for the health care industry: ”Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation.”
Banking deregulation as a model for health care reform. Now that’s a winning campaign theme.
And better, still. Last week, the neocons became the biggest socialists in U.S. history, far and away surpassing FDR. As economics expert Daggatt puts it: “The US has performed the greatest nationalization in the history of humanity. By nationalizing Fannie and Freddie the US has increased its public assets by almost $6 trillion and has increased its public debt/liabilities by another $6 trillion.
“The US has also turned itself into the largest government-owned hedge fund in the world. By injecting a likely $200 billion of capital into Fannie and Freddie and taking on almost $6 trillion of liabilities from them, the US has also undertaken the biggest and most levered leveraged buy-out in human history, having a debt to equity ratio of 30 ($6,000 billion of debt against $200 billion of equity). This is the biggest and most socialist government intervention in economic affairs since the formation of the Soviet Union and Communist China.
“So foreign investors are now welcome to the USSRA (the United Socialist State Republic of America) where they can earn fat spreads relative to Treasuries on agency debt and never face any credit risks (not even the subordinated debt holders who made a fortune yesterday as those claims were also made whole).
Only it turns out, that was nothing! Today, Paulsen & Bernanke have announced plans to effectively create a National Mortgage Agency, assuming the bad debts accrued by a hundred thousand crazed gamblers, thieves and CEO-jerks who ought to be on a big chain gang, right now.
*** Only, by emphasizing buying the securities from banks, this bailout primarily benefits Wall Street. An alternative - lending directly to stressed homeowners, so that they won’t default at all - would help Main Street. It would stop the wave of foreclosures, keep homes off the market, and keep the federal government out of the business of managing millions of empty houses. Yet, somehow, that would be more socialistic. ***
But let’s reiterate the key point here, because it is time to rub it in the faces of your conservative friends, who refuse to lift their heads, when their country needs them to wake up! Not only has 95% of our national debt been squandered under Republicans, who always favor monopolists and let small business languish. Not only do the stock market, the economy, investment, production and business startups always do better under democrats. But the GOP has now led us into the biggest act of nationalization of business and outright socialism in American history, ever, making FDR look like a Adam Smith.
Oh, but who will they pick as scapegoat? It appears that McCain has zeroed in on one man -- albeit a deeply culpable one, Christopher Cox, head of the Security and Exchange Commission, whose principal job it has been to ensure that the skilled civil servants under him did nothing to impeded the greed festival. Well, before we have his head on a platter, let’s learn a little about this fellow.
My friend Joe Carroll offers this timely bit:
"Remember that the head of the SEC for the last 3 years has been Chris Cox, the former Orange County Republican congressman who instigated the famous 96 investigation of Gore (that led to larger penalties being recommended against the Republicans than the Democrats), and also the famous "Cox Report" (which was as full of innuendo and unproven charges as most claims by Joe McCarthy). I think that the Cox Report was the main factor that led to the 1999 redefinition of ALL spacecraft and support systems as munitions requiring State Department export control. My strong suspicion is that he did that to get at Bernie Schwartz of Loral, who was more dependent on Long March launches than anybody else in the US, and was on the board of governors of the Democratic party. That change has hurt far more than Loral. Cox's trademark is a naive single-minded focus on one issue, which leads to serious "friendly fire" damage to his friends and/or the rest of the country."Possibly Cox has learned from his experiences, and has been a good SEC chief. But I suspect not. In fact, I suspect that the melt-down is occurring now rather than after the election largely because fixes engineered next year would not be as generous as fixes engineered now."Fortunately, there may be time for some serious investigative reporting between now and election day."
Sure, he’s culpable. But the key fact is that he’s no isolated case. Was Cox ever even remotely qualified? Remember “Brownie” - whose qualification to run the Federal Emergency Management Agency was having run a few horse shows? What this typifies is the way major positions in the Bushadmin were selected entirely for the basest possible political reasons.
(Side bet! Has Bush promised to pardon Cox, in exchange for stoic silence? Someone tell him that Henry Waxman can offer a much better and more reliable deal, if he’ll squeal right now! In fact, the Wax-man may be one of the most important men in America, because of his power to offer immunity to singing henchmen.)
But far more telling is John McCain’s eagerness to let one human sacrifice suffice! Plus some vague arm-wavings about “reforming the mess in Washington.” But, again, this is not an isolated pustule! Look at the swarm of advisors surrounding McCain. Throw a rock in any direction and you’ll likely hit somebody just as culpable as Cox. And that is the thing that really should concern us.
All right. We’ve spoken of Senator McCain’s domestic policy advisory staff -- filled with lobbyists, aristocratic socialists and the same gang of thieves that brought us to this noxious state of affairs. But what about foreign policy? What about Senator Foreign Affairs’s War Cabinet?
OMG any group of “advisors” that includes John Bolton and Bill Kristol.... there are ten thousand implications, including the clear fact that the same Washington insiders that McCain rails against will stay in charge of foreign policy. But there is one fact, above all, that even neocons will have to admit. If John Bolton and Bill Kristol have anything to do with US foreign policy, their “up yours, foreigners!” attitude will finish off any alliances we had left. (Alliances? Neocons don’t need no stinking alliances!). Yup. we’ll start any McCain administration right off without a single reliable friend on the planet other than Albania.
Of course, the most prominent – (McCain’s top foreign policy advisor) – is probably the most radical of the bunch. Randy Scheunemann was a core participant in the lobbying, plotting and organized campaigns of deception that led America to war in Iraq. He was a close collaborator with Ahmad Chalabi through the 1990s. He helped draft the Iraq Liberation Act, which created the new funding stream for Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress. At the start of the Bush administration he signed on as Don Rumsfeld's 'consultant' on Iraq at the Pentagon. And then when the administration started cranking up the machinery for the propaganda campaign in favor of war he went back on the outside to form and lead the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, to lead the press and lobbying campaign to make sure the war got started on schedule.
Remember, US intelligence later found evidence that Chalabi, in addition to foisting a bunch of bogus intelligence and lying informers on the US and pocketing a lot of US taxpayer dollars, had provided highly classified US intelligence to Iran. Scheunemann worked closely with Chalabi for years in his efforts to get the US into war with Iraq. He was also a go-between between Chalabi and McCain.
Again, this has to be pulled back from the arm-waving incantations, at which the neocons are masters. They mesmerize fear-drenched Red America with smoke and mirrors about how we've "won" in Iraq (as that country rapidly becomes a satrapy of the Iranians. (Indeed, I'm glad we'll leave Iraq a bit improved) No, the issue is simple: winners and losers.
Hammer home the obvious. Which four nations are vastly better-off after eight years of Republican US leadership?
Which once-dominant world power has plummeted in power, strength, influence and by every conceivable measure?
The United States of America.
Oh, here’s a final, disturbing thought. Of the cabal of outright crazy foreign policy monsters surrounding John McCain -- nearly all of whom are deeply loathed by the foreign service professionals, by our military officers and by our allies -- by far the most rational is Joe Lieberman. Brrrrrrr.