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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

www.NationalView.org's Note From a Madman

September 15, 2008


The Wrong Bailout

The President, the Secretary of the Treasury and all of those in the Bush "base of haves and have mores" who have steadfastly denied helping to bail out Lehman Brothers and future investment companies who may go out of business don't truly mean it. Sure they may let Lehman Brothers and their 25,000 employees go down as a sort or sacrificial lamb, but thee reality which exists speaks louder than their words.

And the reality reads like this Associated Press headline:

"Fed pumps $70B into nation's financial system"
-The AP

Just as a reminder, it was that very same Federal Reserve bank who decided to keep lowering interest rates which helped create the mortgage bubble that burst to bring us to the catastrophic economy we have today. And as investment giants, banks and insurance companies go out of business, or are bought out by other banking concerns, the rhetoric out of the White House tells us all that "The Market will suffer, but then correct itself."

That's a lot of faith to put into something which has shown no reason to have faith applied to it at all.

As the Fed puts another few billion of our hard-earned, middle-class tax dollars into the pockets of those who have already benefitted the most by the Bush administration policies (the Bush "base of haves and have mores", as the President jokingly called them himself), on is left to ask if there is anything or anyplace else that this rather large sum of money could be put into.

And there is.

Today we have somewhere between 46 million and 48 million Americans without health care coverage. And as large financial corporate giant after large financial corporate giant bite the dust, that number is sure to grow. I'm not speaking of the brokers and CEO types with their golden parachutes here, of course, but of the secretaries, IT personnel and the rest of the support staff who helped keep those on top at the top. What could $70 billion do for these out of work people?

The purchasing power which the approximately $1,600 per uninsured person, or possibly as much as $5,000 per uninsured household represents is in actual dollars. That's what you get if you were to distribute $70 billion among the uninsured and the truly needy in our country.

Someone ask the question why the gamblers known as the investor class is more in trouble than a sick uninsured family member who can't afford to see a doctor?

While the Fed injects middle-class money into banks so they can lend us back that money (using our homes as collateral, assuming our homes are worth anything today), they're sure to gain the financial health as we, the first lenders, get sicker and sicker.

Wouldn't it be wonderful of the Bush administration and, by extension, the Federal Reserve Bank, were to treat the 44 million or so uninsured Americans as if they were investors in the mortgage industry?

If they did, we'd all be healthier.

-Noah Greenberg

A Bridge, Another Bridge, and a Bunch of Pesky Whales

Quick: Name the state which gets the most aid per person in the whole United States. Here are two hints: It isn't a part of the lower 48 and there are few, if any lei's being put around the necks of tourists as they arrive for a visit.

That's right - you guessed it - Alaska. that very Red state bordering Canada - the state Sarah Palin claims to be able to see Russia from.

By now we all know the McCain camp's lies about Palin's refusal to accept money for a bridge to connect a small town to an island airport (a.k.a. "The Bridge to Nowhere). The price tag of that, er, what's-it-called... "EARMARK" was a mere $398 million That's like everyone sending about $1.35 each up north for a bridge almost no one will use. The earmark was a very integral part of the Palin Campaign for the Alaska state house as she was deposing her Republican party machine just a short time ago. When the Bridge to Nowhere earmark made news as a waste of federal money, Palin took the other road and came out against it.

Funny thing about that $398 million, however: we, the American middle class - never got that money back. new Governor Palin's Alaska decided it was better to receive and not to give... or give back.

But that wasn't enough for Governor Palin. The person John McCain chose for his Vice Presidential running mate received an additional earmark for yet another bridge, and this one is personal. Somehow, Governor Palin, with the help of her "friends" in Washington, DC and a number of hired guns (a.k.a. lobbyists), got an additional $600 million to out a bridge to make it easier for the people of her small town of Wasilla to get to Fairbanks, Alaska's largest city. It seems that the thirty-five mile ride from Wasilla to Fairbanks was about ten miles too long for Palin and her townspeople who work in Fairbanks and that's the reason why she procured the cash.

Well it's one of the reasons.

The other reason is that the land which the new bridge and road will go through is partly owned by the son-in-law of Rep. Don Young. Young is the sole Congressman from Alaska who was the chair (while the Republicans held the House majority) of the committee who made those decisions back then.


The flip side of the new bridge argument (as opposed to keeping the route which the people of Wasilla now use), and one of the arguments used by supporters of the bridge, is that the current route goes through a military base and could be a target to terrorists.

Yeah, that's it - terrorists are looking to make a strike in central Alaska, Wouldn't a billion dollars (the cost of the two bridges) be put to better use in, say, New York City - the most likely target of terrorists? Perhaps I should remind those bridge-builders that it was New York City which suffered the most on September 11, 2001, not Wasilla, Alaska.

"The bridge is popular with property developers — including a group comprised of Young's son-in-law, the former legislative director for indicted Republican Sen. Ted Stevens and three others — who own land across from Anchorage on the inlet's western side."
-The Associate Press

I bet it's quite popular.

The new bridge isn't' popular, however, with wildlife supporters. Its completion could impact the beluga whales that travel through the inlet which it would cross.

By the way, they're even going to name the bridge after Rep. Young.

"This is basically an incredibly expensive project that doesn't help commuters, doesn't help create jobs and may drive whales to extinction. It is also a project that serves the area where the governor is from, which is near and dear to her heart."
-Justin Massey, an attorney advising environmentalists (from the AP)

Maybe Palin could just shoot the whales. It's quicker, more fun and they won't be an issue with her pet project.

It's a win-win, unless you happen to be a beluga whale or a US middle-class citizen, that is.

-Noah Greenberg

A Trooper-Gate Thought

The Palin Trooper-gate investigation looks just like all the Bush Administration investigations. Now you have her wanting to be investigated by her very own political appointees, and the McCain Campaign refusing to let her be questioned by an investigator hired by a bipartisan group of the Alaska Legislators. If she has nothing to hide why the concern???? Guess the McCain/Palin Presidential wanna be's are just showing us ahead of time just how much they are like the current Bush Administration - they like to dictate the laws but not abide by them. I hope voters are not so naive that they would vote to give us more of the same of what we have endured for the last eight years. Please give me a break!!!!


Another Thought

What are the chances that, once elected, Vice President Palin will decide that her family, especially her grandchild and special needs child, need her too much, so she is going to resign the position of vice president because, in her values, family is first. Then, McCain gets to choose the person he really wanted – Lieberman. The religious right would have deserted that ticket in the thousands. In short, Palin gets McCain elected, then she leaves in favor of the good old boy, the Senate certainly votes in a member of the Club and the war goes on and on and on and on.


by Victoria A. Brownworth
copyright c 2008 The San Francisco Bay Area Reporter, Inc.

Every time we think TV just can’t get more fun, it does. Not only are we getting a raft of new shows, but we also get to watch the daily antics of that fun foursome, Obama/Biden and McCain/Palin.

Or at least Obama and Palin. The other two seem to be MIA or at least not suitable for prime time. Too old for anyone but AARP? After all, TV is the landscape of the beautiful and charismatic and Obama and Palin do look like refugees from a *90210* reunion.

With apologies to the Log Cabin folks (not really), who’d have thought the Republicans could even *find* an attractive, charismatic candidate? Although they *did* have to leave the lower 48 to do so.

Regardless of hurricanes and Fannie Mae, Sarah Barracuda Palin seems to be the main story--on the real news, talk shows, late night and tabloid TV shows, confusing pundits and Democrats alike. TV Guide says “red or blue,” anything with Palin is “must see TV.”

Not for Matt Damon. The actor and Obama supporter was thrown into an apoplectic fit on the September 11th episode of *Access Hollywood* by the mere thought of Palin.

Damon ranted that Palin’s story, which Barack Obama has called “compelling” and “terrific” (which sure ups the ante on his “you’re likable enough, Hillary” line in the primary), was like a “really bad Disney movie.”

This prompted Damon’s good friend Jimmy Kimmel, whose show is on ABC, the Disney channel, to do a faux trailer for a Disney film called “Hockey Mom President,” which featured, among other things, Palin shooting moose and chatting with Vladimir Putin in a hockey uniform.

Meanwhile over in real-news TV, ABC’s Charlie Gibson beat out CBS veteran Bob Schieffer and other reporters for the first interview with Palin.

The interview was a ratings bonanza for ABC’s *Nightly News*, already the top-rated evening news show. ABC reported that the interview garnered a ten-million viewers rating share–the network’s highest in seven months and a full two million viewers over the previous night’s newscast.

The second part of the interview was aired on *Nightline,* which consistently ranks third behind Jay Leno and David Letterman’s comedy programs. The September 11th Palin interview put *Nightline* firmly in first place.

According to an ABC rep, “People cannot get enough of Palin.”

We, however, were as underwhelmed by Gibson’s performance as others were overwhelmed by Palin’s ability to stand up to his grilling. We haven’t seen Gibson behave as badly since the Philadelphia debate where he spent a full seven minutes asking Obama about flag pins when he should have been asking the kind of questions he asked Palin.

Palin held up well under pressure, however, and only flubbed one of Gibson’s questions–the Bush Doctrine gotcha. She didn’t get that the Bush Doctrine is Bush-Cheney takes over the world. She thought it meant Bush’s overall position.

Wait–that *is* his overall position, isn’t it?

Watch the entire interview at ABCnews.com. No other vice-presidential candidate in history has been asked so many questions. In fact, the two current *presidential* candidates haven’t been asked most of these serious questions (and we really wish they had been at some point in the past 20 months).

Well worth a look. (Caution to feminists: Gibson’s pseudo-avuncular sexism *will* gall you, even if you are a Democrat and hate Palin on principle.)

ABC was grilling the Republican ticket right and...can we say left? While Gibson was attempting to gut Palin, the rarely savvy women of *The View* were taking on John McCain, something the real news has yet to do with either McCain *or* Obama.

McCain looked slightly more comfortable than had Obama. Obama had been ogled and kissed by the women during his appearance after the Rev. Wright debacle and was asked no hard questions. (Although Barbara Walters, fresh from her revelation that she’d had an extra-marital affair with a black senator in the 70s, *did* tell Obama he was sexy.)

We doubt McCain thought he’d get the cougar treatment, but we’re certain he didn’t expect to be flayed alive. Flanked by Walters and Joy Behar (which made him look younger), the team went to town on him–including the Republican in the group, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and the evangelical loon, Sherri “what do you mean the Earth isn’t flat?!” Shepherd.

Behar implied McCain was a liar. Walters implied there was no reforming that needed doing in Washington by Palin. Whoopie asked McCain, “Do I have to worry about becoming a slave again?” (Really, she asked this.)

“Don’t worry,” said Walters, “us white folk will take care of you.”


We didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Neither did McCain.

Another ABC moment gave us a big guffaw, however. Oprah, whose urging and cash to cover an exploratory committee launched Obama’s presidential bid, who anointed Obama “The One” and who has had only Obama on her show of all the candidates, was asked by *Extra* why she would not have Palin on her show. (She has been petitioned to do so by a range of groups.)

Oprah has campaigned for Obama with her friend, California’s First Lady, Maria Shriver, has linked her website to Obama’s since he announced and had a falling out with her mentor, Maya Angelou, because the latter supported Hillary Clinton. Oprah said–wait for it–with a straight face, “I said I would not use my platform for my own personal politics.”

Right. Speaking of nonsense, what *exactly* was Joe Biden thinking when he said Hillary Clinton may have been a better VP choice than he?

Wasn’t this the kind of gaffe everyone on our side of the aisle hoped he *wouldn’t* make and everyone on *their* side hoped he *would*?

As ABC news’ Matt Jaffe reported it, Biden told a small crowd, “Make no mistake about this. Hillary Clinton is as qualified or more qualified than I am to be vice president of the United States of America. Let’s get that straight. She’s a truly close personal friend, she is qualified to be president of the United States of America, she’s easily qualified to be vice president of the United States of America, and quite frankly, it might have been a better pick than me. But she’s first rate, I mean that sincerely, she’s first rate, so let’s get that straight."

McCain spokesman Ben Porritt said, “Barack Obama’s most important decision of this election, and Biden--the candidate he selects--suggests, himself, that he wasn’t the right man for the job, and that Hillary Clinton would have been a better choice. Biden certainly has a credible viewpoint on this.”

Speaking of political satire, if you missed it, check out either NBC.com or YouTube to catch the September 13th premiere of *Saturday Night Live* with Tina Fey as Palin and Obama as himself.

Will *this* bump his polls up?

Meanwhile, there are actually shows on the tube that aren’t about Palin. *Really.*Although some *are* about powerful women with guns.

For those who don’t want to wait until January when *Lost* returns for more JJ Abrams, *Fringe*is the show for you. It’s *Lost* and *The X Files* with a touch of *CSI* mashed together on Fox for a mysterious ride that stars a powerful female FBI agent and a series of complex conspiracies involving lab experiments, animals with no fur, humans with translucent skin and...well, check it out on Tuesdays.

Since government conspiracy shows seem about right this season, we also recommend the three-hour return of *Heroes* on September 22.

The NBC ratings monster was truncated by the writer’s strike last season and comes back with a *big* bang. This “book” of the graphic novel is called “Good Will Battle Evil.”

Look for some major twists in the plot line.

Monday night is going to be Tivo/DVR night, for sure, however, because along with *Heroes* on NBC is the CBS comedy line up. Who doesn’t need laughs this close to the election? Over on ABC it’s the return of the always arch, always political, always Bush-bashing *Boston Legal,* dramatizing the news you aren’t seeing.

Speaking of guilty pleasures, Fox’s *Kitchen Nightmares* is back on Thursdays with the chef everyone loves to hate, Gordon Ramsay, cleaning up disgusting restaurants that make you never want to eat out again. It’s a fabulous hour, although we think Fox should forget bleeping Ramsay’s language as it’s part of the shtick.

Speaking of shtick, the *CSI* triumvirate returns next week, too, and despite everyone’s hopes, David Caruso’s Horatio is not going to be dead on *CSI Miami.* The sunglasses and posture will prevail. What number sunblock does he have to use, anyway? But the kinky original *CSI* remains worthy of watching as does over-the-top *CSI New York.* Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, with *Law&Order: SVU* tossed in on Tuesdays to keep the crime flowing.

Finally, in the news you aren’t seeing because Alaska *is* the biggest state, the U.S. invaded Pakistan, nobody knew–including the President of Pakistan–and we killed some al-Qaeda guys when we were there.

Just thought you’d like to know.

Stay tuned.

In response to, "I have news for you Senator McCain (or McBush, as Madman calls you): I have faith that most of the women of this country are smarter than you give us credit for. Our Chief concerns right now is the economy, ending this war, universal health care, etc. - In other words, the issues that this country is facing. So pardon me if I don’t fall for your ploys," Pat Thompson writes:

You might not fall for his ploys, but a large number will. Women with no actual "ideology"; not liberal or conservative. Who have no historical perspective. And who watch American Idol. Obama was the rock star for a while, but he's old news already, and Sarah Palin is the new rock star. She is ignorant to the point of ridiculous, conflating 9/11 with the war in Iraq, talking about victory, and sending her 19 year old son there to fight. Calling herself Christian, while lying and supporting an illegal and immoral war. Almost 1 million Iraqis have now died due to this war and our bombing and other aggressions. And the cost of the war is so high because we are currently building many, many US military bases in Iraq, some as large as 40 square miles, which will be used to keep US troops there for perhaps the "hundred years" mentioned by McCain.

No one is talking about the huge investment in military installations all over Iraq, but the fact that Obama has repeated promised to have all troops out within a limited period of time makes it very unlikely that the powers that be would ever allow him to be president. Just a little over half of Democrats voted for him in the primaries. That isn't enough to win an election. Just watch the lying spin machine go to work against him in the weeks ahead. I personally cannot stand to get involved in another stolen election. I gave all the money I could to the Gore campaign in 2000 and worked for him. I had just lost my mother and invested a good portion of her estate in the Kerry campaign, because I so truly believed it would save lives and make America good again, and worked many fund raisers and wrote letters to the editor, and made hundreds of hours of phone calls for Kerry, only to see that election stolen in Ohio. I hope and pray I am wrong, but it appears this election is already lost, and I have a suspicion that the media was such a cheerleader for Obama through the primaries because they knew he couldn't win a general election. The sad state of affairs at the end of the empire we used to call America....

In response to, "The U.S. could withdraw from Afghanistan tomorrow with less trauma than when it withdrew from Vietnam. Leaving Iraq will be a much more arduous task which no one seems to actually have a coherent plan for achieving," Pat Thompson writes:

but the people who supposedly attacked us on 9/11 were trained and commanded by those in Afghanistan. Actually 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia. Iraq wasn't involved. We can't leave because they have a tremendous supply of the remaining oil reserves.

In response to Hillary Clinton's age, Pat Thompson writes:

Did you listen to the horrible comments that went on during the entire primary season? Chris Matthews and all the rest of the talking heads, talking about her pantsuits, etc. In the parlance of some men I know, Hillary is a "dinky shrinker". Yes, certainly, there are still women of a certain age who are attractive -- but a woman who "presumes" to be the leader of the free world just got a lot of jeers from men who continuously chanted "why won't she quit?" "She can't win". They had decided that it had to be Obama -- and then that Obama would never pick her for VP. And look what has happened -- it is likely that McCain/Palin could win, in a year that was certainly the Democrat' great chance.

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-Noah Greenberg