BREAKING: Palin to suspend HER campaign

Politico reports:

John McCain’s campaign has floated the possibility that Sarah Palin may also suspend her campaign, matching McCain’s announcement that he would cease campaigning for president to return to Washington to try to hammer out a fix for the nation’s financial meltdown.

As the governor of Alaska, Palin cannot participate in the high-level federal government deliberations on the economy that McCain gave as his reason for suspending his campaign.

Yet, after McCain’s dramatic announcement, his campaign chief Steve Schmidt suggested Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee, would also suspend her campaign.

Democrats have blasted McCain’s move, which includes a call to reschedule his planned Friday debate with Democratic rival Barack Obama, as political posturing, rather than a genuine effort to address the economic crisis.

Asked about Schmidt’s comment, given Palin’s inability to participate in congressional deliberations, spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt told reporters on a Wednesday evening conference call “We are part of the McCain-Palin campaign. It is one ticket.”

But she demurred when asked specifically whether Palin, too, would be suspending her campaign.

Since Palin was selected as McCain’s running mate in late August, she’s appeared at 21 rallies, most of which were at McCain’s side, has yet to hold a press conference, has conducted less than a handful of national media interviews and has pulled out of several fundraising appearances.

Read the rest at Politico.

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Palin can’t cite example of McCain calling for regulation

Raw Story: CBS’ Katie Couric talked with Sarah Palin about the economic crisis.

Partial transcript

COURIC: You’ve said, quote, “John McCain will reform the way Wall Street does business.” Other than supporting stricter regulations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac two years ago, can you give us any more example of his leading the charge for more oversight?

PALIN: I think that the example that you just cited, with his warnings two years ago about Fannie and Freddie–that, that’s paramount. That’s more than a heck of a lot of other senators and representatives did for us.

COURIC: But he’s been in Congress for 26 years. He’s been chairman of the powerful Commerce Committee. And he has almost always sided with less regulation, not more.

PALIN: He’s also known as the maverick though. Taking shots from his own party, and certainly taking shots from the other party. Trying to get people to understand what he’s been talking about–the need to reform government.

COURIC: I’m just going to ask you one more time, not to belabor the point. Specific examples in his 26 years of pushing for more regulation?

PALIN: I’ll try to find you some and I’ll bring ‘em to you.

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Fox News: Palin Town Hall was Pre-Ticketed

This from Fox News‘ Jake Gibson:

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — McCain town hall style meetings are generally open to the public where anyone may wait in line on the day of the event and come in without an advanced invitation.

However, at tonight’s 3,500 person townhall in Grand Rapids, Michigan–the first time Palin is taking questions from the public– only ticketholders are allowed in.

The McCain campaign confirms that tonight’s event was advertised on the McCain/Palin Web site and local newspapers. People had to pick up their tickets at local GOP offices after RSVPing for the event.

The Kent County GOP headquarters gave out about two thousand tickets.

The rest came from GOP offices in Ottowa and Kalamazoo.

UPDATE–McCain campaign officials insist that none of the questions are being pre-screened.

Surprise, surprise.

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Palin Plays Presidential

Sarah Palin, who has never been out of the country until last year, whose foreign experience has been touted by John McCain, Cindy McCain, Steve Doocy and others, as being so close to Russia she can see it, met with foreign leaders yesterday.  In a rare move, when the McCain camp barred reporters from the meeting, they rose up against the kind of politics played more in the areas of Syria and Pakistan than the United States of America.

Palin met with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and upon entering the room where President Zardari was, was met by Pakastan’s Information Ministor and had the following exchange with Ms. Palin:

“And how does one keep looking that good when one is that busy?,” Rehman asked, drawing friendly laughter from the room when she complimented Palin.

“Oh, thank you,” Palin said.

Palin then met with the Pakistani President. They shook hands and Palin said that she was honored to meet him. Their exchange consisted of:

Zardari then called her “gorgeous” and said: “Now I know why the whole of America is crazy about you.”

“You are so nice,” Palin said, smiling. “Thank you.”

A handler from Zardari’s entourage then told the two politicians to keep shaking hands for the cameras.

“If he’s insisting, I might hug,” Zardari said. Palin smiled politely.

As she was leaving, a reporter asked how the conversation went, Palin answered:

“It’s going great. These meetings are very informative and helpful, and a lot of good people sharing appreciation for America.”

Later, Palin and McCain met with Georgian President President Mikheil Saakashvilli and Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko. Reporters were allowed in the room briefly, and one reporter managed to ask:

Governor, what have you learned from your meetings?

McCain aide Brooke Buchanan intervened and shepherded everybody out of the room.

Palin looked surprised, leaned over to McCain and asked him a question, to which your pooler thinks he shook his head as if to say “No.”

Steve Benen adds:

Look, “What have you learned from your meetings?” is an easy one. It’s not a trick question, or a “gotcha” question, or even a question intended to do test Palin’s limited understand of international affairs. She could have easily said something like, “I’ve been encouraged by how much support the United States continues to enjoy around the world.” No muss, no fuss. It’s not rocket science.

But, no. The McCain campaign apparently believes the Republican vice presidential nominee is some kind of child, under strict instructions not to speak. Palin has no doubt been receiving extensive briefings on a variety of subjects, and could probably handle a random question or two, but the McCain gang is so convinced of her incompetence, they’re just not willing to take the risk — even after a genuine media backlash has begun in earnest in response to the campaign’s heavy-handed approach.

How is that foreign policy experience working so far?  Do YOU feel confident in her ability to deal with a major crisis, one possibly involving the massive nuclear arsenal the US is in possession of? Along with her beliefs in the End Times and that her state, Alaska, will play a big part when the world ends, should make any thinking person wary of there ever being the possibilitiy of a President Palin.

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Why Now, Senator McCain?

Senator John McCain today announced that he is suspending his campaign and intends to cancel the first presidential debate on Friday. McCain feels that it is critical that he returns to Washington to vote on a resolution for handling the meltdown on Wall Street. (Let me add that no one returned to Washington as American’s were losing their houses. It becomes a crisis when Wall Street begins to crumble.

Over last two years, Senator McCain has missed more votes than any other Senator,barring the Democratic senator who had a brain aneurysm.

This is from

McCains Voting Record

McCain's Voting Record

Just 10 days ago, you said the fundamentals of our economy were strong. Congress has been working around the clock for more than a week to try to solve this problem. One must ask: Why do you want to return to Washington so urgently, NOW, Senator?

Galveston Residents Return-Mayor Seeks 2.5 billion

With traffic backed up for 10 miles, most of the people are returning today for the first time since the city was hit by Hurricane Ike almost two weeks ago. There were warnings issued that Galveston was infested with germs and snakes. The city of Galveston started letting people come back at 6 a.m. this morning, some found their homes destroyed.

Police are trying to make this an easy transition; since many signals are missing, they are directing traffic at major intersections. To prepare the residents for the ravages from the Hurricane, city officials didn’t pull any punches on what the living conditions on the island would be like.

Ruben Rosas, 74, one of those who had fled inland to San Antonio. Once he reached his first-floor apartment located on a bayou, he found that the walls and nearly all his possessions were gone. “This is just sad, but the good thing is, I’m still around,” Rosas said. “I can recuperate these things sooner or later.”

The mayor and others warned people not to return without tetanus shots and rat bait, and to be ready for swarms of mosquitoes and displaced snakes. Residents were told to bring their own water and to not even consider turning on the gas or flipping an electrical switch until one of the island’s three remaining electrical inspectors can examine the property.

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BREAKING: McCain seeks to delay presidential debate

MSNBC reports that:

Republican John McCain says he’s directing his staff to work with Barack Obama’s campaign and the debate commission to delay Friday’s debate because of the economic crisis.

In a statement, McCain says he will stop campaigning after addressing former President Bill Clinton’s Global Initiative session on Thursday and return to Washington to focus on the nation’s financial problems.

We will provide updates as information comes out.

UPDATE: CNN is reporting that McCain will suspend his campaign for President of the United States and is asking Obama to do the same.

No other information was available.

UPDATE: Fox News reports: John McCain announced that he will suspend his presidential campaign on Thursday to return to Washington to help with bailout negotiations. He urged his opponent Barack Obama to do the same.

UPDATE: From CNN: According to the source, McCain wants to create a “political free zone” until a deal is reached on legislation for a $700 billion bailout of the financial industry.

McCain said he wants President Bush to convene a leadership meeting in Washington that would include him and Obama.

“It has become clear that no consensus has developed to support the administration’s proposal,” McCain said. “I do not believe that the plan on the table will pass as it currently stands, and we are running out of time.”

McCain said if Congress does not pass legislation to address the crisis, credit will dry up, people will no longer be able to buy homes, life savings will be at stake and businesses will not have enough money

“If we do not act, ever corner of our country will be impacted,” McCain said. “We cannot allow this to happen.”

McCain said he has spoken to Obama about his plans and asked the Democratic presidential nominee to join him.

The Obama campaign said Obama had called McCain around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday to propose that they issue a joint statement in support of a package to help fix the economy as soon as possible. McCain called back six hours later and agreed to the idea of the statement, the Obama campaign said. McCain’s statement was issued to the media a few minutes later.

UPDATE:  Nicole Belle asks:  This must be a VERY important crisis if it requires the full, undivided attention of a Senator who has missed 230 out of 286 votes since Q4-2007. That’s 80% of those votes he’s missed. Good question.

Biden in Cincinnati

Some key phrases courtesy of Steve Benen at Washington Monthly:

On McCain’s judgment:

“This week, John talked about the judgment required to be Commander in Chief. He’s right: nothing is more important than judgment. But time and again, on the most critical national security issues of our time, John McCain’s judgment was wrong. Right after the terrorists attacked us on 9-11, John responded by urging that we consider attacking countries other than Afghanistan, including Iraq, Iran and Syria. In the run up to the war in Iraq, John insisted that we would be greeted as liberators… that we didn’t need a lot of troops… that victory was imminent. Then, he said he wasn’t worried about Afghanistan… that we would ‘muddle through’… and he declared Afghanistan to be ‘a remarkable success.’ In John’s judgment, there is nothing to talk about with Tehran. And he has one idea for dealing with Russia: kick it out of the Group of Eight nations.”

On Iraq and counter-terrorism:

“It is John’s judgment that six years into the war in Iraq, we should keep spending $10 billion a month… indefinitely… at a time Iraq is running an $80 billion surplus. And John McCain continues to insist, against all the evidence and all the facts, that Iraq is the central front in the war on terrorism… and not the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan where the people who actually attacked us on 9-11 reside and are regrouping. John is more than wrong — he is dangerously wrong. On a question so basic, so fundamental, so critical to our nation’s security, we can’t afford a Commander-in Chief so divorced from reality and from America’s most basic national interests.”

On Spain:

“Last week, John McCain said he would not meet with the leader of Spain. Now folks, he would not meet with the leader of a NATO ally. A NATO ally who has Spanish forces in Afghanistan, who has forces fighting side by side with the U.S. Ladies and gentlemen, what kind of judgment is that? What kind of bluster is that? Ladies and gentleman, John McCain’s notion about how to deal with our allies as well as adversaries is something I just don’t understand. How in God’s name will we deal with Russia, without a united NATO. Ladies and gentleman, John McCain has gotten it wrong on so many fundamental issues.”

On Obama:

“Time and again, Barack Obama has demonstrated the judgment we need in our next president… and the vision to see over the horizon. Seven years ago, Barack Obama opposed one of the most disastrous decisions in the history of American foreign policy: the diversion of our military might, our resources and focus from Afghanistan to Iraq. He was profoundly right. Now, he is right again: Barack Obama will end the war in Iraq responsibly. He will be as careful getting out as George Bush and John McCain were careless getting in…. Barack Obama understands what John McCain does not: the next President must be more than the Commander-in-Chief for Iraq. He must be Commander-in-Chief for America’s security around the world.”

Full text of the speech below the fold.

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“Free Sarah Palin”

CNN’s Campbell Brown Rips McCain Camp’s “Sexist” Treatment Of Palin:

“Tonight I call on the McCain campaign to stop treating Sarah Palin like she is a delicate flower that will wilt at any moment,” said Brown. “This woman is from Alaska for crying out loud. She is strong. She is tough. She is confident. And you claim she is ready to be one heart beat away form the presidency. If that is the case, then end this chauvinistic treatment of her now. Allow her to show her stuff. Allow her to face down those pesky reporters… Let her have a real news conference with real questions. By treating Sarah Palin different from the other candidates in this race, you are not showing her the respect she deserves. Free Sarah Palin. Free her from the chauvinistic chain you are binding her with. Sexism in this campaign must come to an end. Sarah Palin has just as much a right to be a real candidate in this race as the men do. So let her act like one.”

So why won’t they let her face the press for questions like the rest of the candidates? It seems strange to me. She should answer the same questions so that the American public can judge for themselves her qualifications and readiness to be a heartbeat away from the presidency. People can’t make informed decision when it comes down to voting if they haven’t been allowed to hear from ALL the candidates.

McCain’s Propaganda Machine

John McCain has opted to enlist a group of foreign nationals to write positive letters to the editors to “get out a positive message” about John McCain and Sarah Palin. Phil Tuchman, a McCain campaign worker, tells his ghostwriting team that they can be whomever they choose to be when writing these letters. It matters not. Just write something positive about McCain and have several people send out similar letters to various editors around the country.

Salon reports this from one of those ghostwriters, Margriet Oostveen, who is Dutch.

“You can be whoever you want to be,” says an inviting Phil Tuchman. “You can be a beggar or a millionaire. A mom or a husband. Whatever. You decide!”

Today he is training six ghostwriters. What on earth is the appeal of McCain for the former Soviet bloc? Last time I was here, an exuberant Polish guy was phone banking next to me. Today, a Russian in yellow suspenders is shimmering at the same table, looking just like an actor who is famous in the Netherlands for star turns as a genius who suppresses his dark side with painstaking self-control.

The assignment is simple: We are going to write letters to the editor and we are allowed to make up whatever we want — as long as it adds to the campaign. After today we are supposed to use our free moments at home to create a flow of fictional fan mail for McCain. “Your letters,” says Phil Tuchman, “will be sent to our campaign offices in battle states. Ohio. Pennsylvania. Virginia. New Hampshire. There we’ll place them in local newspapers.”

Place them? I may be wrong, but I thought that in the USA only a newspaper’s editors decided that.

“We will show your letters to our supporters in those states,” explains Phil. “If they say: ‘Yeah, he/she is right!’ then we ask them to sign your letter. And then we send that letter to the local newspaper. That’s how we send dozens of letters at once.”

No newspaper can refuse a stream of articulate expressions of support, is the thought behind it. “This way, we will always get into some letters column.”

It is the day after Sarah Palin’s speech at the Republican convention. Today, she is our main subject. The others are already enthusiastically hammering their keyboards. I am struggling with a tiny writer’s block. “Dear Editor …”


“That is why Senator John McCain could count on my vote from day one.”

“With Sarah Palin, I have even more reason to trust in victory. She represents my heart.”

“Sincerely …” I leave the dots for somebody else’s signature.

Phil bends over my computer screen and reads. This takes a while. I am expecting roars of laughter or to be kicked out. Then he says drily: “I like that. It appeals to the hearts of people. Can you write more letters?”

It worked when the Pentagon sent paid generals out en masse to the media to sell the war. It worked when Ronald Reagan enlisted a small group of people (three to be exact) to start a big-name organization (the George C. Marshall Institute) to counter all of the scientific complaints about his beloved Star Wars defense system…along with the other propaganda Reagan espoused. This is the basis for how Global Warming deniers operate today.

A small group of psudo-scientists get equal time against a mass of real scientists. Ironically, it was the Fairness Doctrine which allowed this to begin. The George C. Marshall Institute started with three members who were vocal, wrote letters to the editors en masse (just as McCain is doing) and threatened to sue, under the Fairness Doctrine, if their viewpoint was not heard. Then, one of these three “scientists” with an agenda, was given one-to-one airtime with a scientist who represented more than six thousand scientific voices (at that time, relating to Star Wars). We see the exact same thing playing out today in relation to Global Warming.

Since McCain has taken to lying about everything and anything, why not enlist a group of foreign nationals to a propaganda campaign of his very own.

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FDA Cracks Down-Products That Cause Blindness & Rapid Heart Rate

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is taking steps to stop companies from marketing unapproved ophthalmic balanced salt solutions (BSS) and unapproved topical drug products containing papain, must stop manufacturing and marketing these products or risk enforcement action. FDA announced it has received reports of unapproved products that have been linked to serious adverse reactions.

The eye wash, known as a balanced salt solution, is used to keep the eyes moist during surgery. Two companies, Alcon Laboratories and Akorn, Inc. have versions that are officially approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and are not affected, the FDA said in a public notice.

But three other firms are selling similar types of eye wash without federal validation of their safety and effectiveness, said Deborah Autor, who directs the FDA’s unapproved drugs initiative. They are B. Braun, Baxter, and Hospira, she said.

There are more than 300 reports about ophthalmic balanced salt solution products. Some of these events resulted in patients permanently losing the ability to see objects clearly.

FDA said one manufacturer’s unapproved ophthalmic balanced salt solution product a couple years ago was contaminated with endotoxins, resulting in several hundred reports of adverse events, some of which were serious. In some patients, exposure to the contaminated product led to a noninfectious inflammation of the anterior segment of the eye.

“These unapproved products have put consumer’s health in jeopardy, from reports of permanent vision loss with unapproved balanced salt solutions to a serious drop in blood pressure and increased heart rate from the topical papain products,” said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director for the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Consumers need to be assured that all drug products are manufactured according to the high quality standards required for FDA approval and that they are safe and effective.”

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Who Created the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac Sub-Prime Mandate?

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President Bush and his HUD appointee Alphonso Jackson

President Bush and his HUD appointee Alphonso Jackson

Recently, the right-wing crowd has taken to blaming Democrats for the debacle in the housing market which created the mess that we are seeing on Wall Street (and throughout Main Street) today.

Let’s take a trip in the Way Back Machine, shall we. This is from Business First – from November of 2004.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be required to increase financing to low- and moderate-income home buyers and to increase their commitment to underserved areas under new rules by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

HUD is requiring the two government-sponsored enterprises to make 56 percent of their mortgage activities in loans written to low- and moderate-income borrowers by 2008, up from the current goal of 50 percent. They will have to increase mortgage activity in underserved areas from 36 to 39 percent by 2008.

To meet the new goals, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae would have to purchased 400,000 more qualifying home loans during the four-year period, HUD said in a statement.

The new goals become effective beginning Jan. 1.

And who is HUD? HUD is the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. At that time (2004), the Secretary of HUD was Alphonso Jackson. From HUD’s website:

In nominating Jackson, President George W. Bush chose a leader with a strong background in housing and community development, expertise in finance and management, and a deep commitment to improving the lives of all Americans.

Alphonso Jackson first joined the Bush Administration in June of 2001 as HUD’s Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer. As Deputy Secretary, Jackson managed the day-to-day operations of the $32 billion agency and instilled a new commitment to ethics and accountability within HUD’s programs and among its workforce and grant partners.

Immediately preceding his appointment at HUD, Jackson served as President of American Electric Power-TEXAS, a $13 billion utility company located in Austin, Texas.

If you don’t recall, Jackson resigned amidst multiple ethics violations and spent tens of thousands of dollars on a photo homage to himself (and President Bush) at HUD headquarters.

UPDATED with video below the fold.
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Hounddog Hounded by Fundamentalists

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Dakota Fanning

Dakota Fanning

Hounddog, a disturbing R-Rated film that debuted at the Sundance Film Festival recently. is a story about a 9 year old girl, played by Dakota Fanning (who is 14), who uses Elvis Presley’s music as an escape from her lousy life. Fanning plays a girl who is abused by her father and, in one scene in the movie, is brutally raped by a 17 year old boy after being duped into stripping for tickets to an Elvis concert. The film is set in the 1950’s

The film contains no nudity or explicit violence – it is all implied (which is often the case in many of the best films in American cinematic history). You can read the script of the rape scene in question here.

The group Concerned Women for America has waged a national campaign to halt release of this film.

Concerned Women for America is a conservative Christian political action group active in the United States. The group was founded in 1979 by Beverly LaHaye, wife of Christian Coalition co-founder Timothy LaHaye, as a response to activities by the National Organization for Women and a 1978 Barbara Walters interview with noted feminist Betty Friedan.

CWFA’s mission:

We are the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization with a rich 28-year history of helping our members across the country bring Biblical principles into all levels of public policy. We help people focus on six core issues, which we have determined need Biblical principles most and where we can have the greatest impact.

And what are some of their areas of discontent?

  • Opposition to LGBT rights
  • Opposition to Abortion’ rights
  • Abstinence-only sex education
  • Promotion of Christianity
  • Censorship and the media
  • Hotel pornography

The Watcher says of the Fanning film:

People on all sides of the political spectrum are up in arms over one particular scene in which Fanning’s character, Lewellen, is raped by an adult. Most notably, of course, fundies are upset, because they believe that they’re the only ones allowed to have sex with children.

Ooh, sorry. Anyway, you might be asking yourself some questions at this point. “Is the Watcher going to make fun of someone opposed to the rape scene? Is the Watcher pro-kiddie porn?” The answers are yes and no. As in yes, I’m about to make fun of a fundie who opposes the rape scene, and no, I am not in favor of kiddie porn. Obviously.

But the reason we have laws against child pornography is because children will be harmed psychologically by sexual encounters. I should know; it used to be my job to work with these kids. Trust me, it is NOT pretty.

So, was Dakota Fanning harmed psychologically by the production of this particular movie, and this particular scene?

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McCain’s lobbyist-infested campaign: Put it in a bathtub and drown it..

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Can it get any better?

“The Maverick” said:

“At the center of the problem were the lobbyists, politicians and bureaucrats who succeeded in persuading Congress and the administration to ignore the festering problems at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,” he said. “Using money and influence, they prevented reforms that would have curbed their power and limited their ability to damage our economy. And now, as ever, the American taxpayers are left to pay the price for Washington’s failure.” (emphasis added by me)

The New York Times:

One of the giant mortgage companies at the heart of the credit crisis paid $15,000 a month from the end of 2005 through last month to a firm owned by Senator John McCain’s campaign manager, according to two people with direct knowledge of the arrangement.

The guy must have been reaping it just until you taxpayers had to bail out Fannie and Freddie. Plus/Minus a couple of days, maybe.

Of course, “the Maverick” lied about that, too. Again, The NYT, same article:

The disclosure undercuts a remark by Mr. McCain on Sunday night that the campaign manager, Rick Davis, had had no involvement with the company for the last several years.

Davis needs to resign. Now. And McCain has a lot of splainin’ to do. Please go and vote them out of their misery in November!