Thursday, October 30, 2008

Harry Truman - 60th Anniversary of "The Greatest Campaign Speech"

Sixty years ago today, President Harry Truman made what some consider the best Democratic campaign speech ever.

"I have told the people that there is just one big issue in this campaign and that's the people against the special interests.

The Republicans stand for special interests, and they always have.

The Democratic Party, which I now head, stands for the people--and always has stood for the people."

"Of all the fake campaigns, this one is the tops, so far as the Republican candidate for President is concerned. He has been following me up and down this country making speeches about home and mother and unity and efficiency, and things of that kind. He won't talk about the issues, but he did let his foot slip, when he endorsed the 80th Congress. He endorsed that Congress! He said that Congress had done great things for the future of this country.

It has done great things for the special interests in this country. It has worked for the lobbies, the worst lobby outfits in the history of the United States have been in Washington, surrounding that 80th Congress. And they haven't done a thing that these good-for-nothing lobbies haven't asked them to do."

"Then I asked this Congress to do something about the health of the people of this country. I asked them for health insurance. I asked them for hospitals. You know, in this country there are two classes of people that get all the medical care that they ought to have; and that is the fellow who has got a million dollars at this end of the scale, and the fellow that hasn't got a cent at this end. But the people in the middle, the large number of people in the middle between those two classes, can't afford to go to a hospital, they can't afford to pay what it costs, sometimes; and they can't afford sometimes even to pay the doctor's bill, after they get service.

I wanted an insurance program that would work, so that a fellow would have a little money saved up, when it came time to pay medical and hospital bills, and the doctor and the hospital would get paid promptly. But the Republicans are against that. They say that's socialized medicine. Well, it isn't. That's just good commonsense, and some of these days we are going to get it, because the Democrats are going back in power, and we are going to see that we get it."

"People are waking up that the tide is beginning to roll, and I am here to tell you that if you do your duty as citizens of the greatest Republic the sun has ever shone on, we will have a Government that will be for your interests, that will be for peace in the world, and for the welfare of all the people, and not just a few."

It is one of the best enunciations of core Democratic principles I've ever heard and should be required reading for all progressives. The audio is mesmerizing.

Here's the complete text.

Catch you later.....

We'll be right back after this brief message...

Sweet and to-the-point.

Catch you later.....

Pre-emptive ejection: Audience members removed at McCain rally in Cedar Falls

Audience members escorted out of Sen. John McCain’s, R-Ariz., campaign event in Cedar Falls questioned why they were asked to leave Sunday’s rally even though they were not protesting.

David Zarifis, director of public safety for the University of Northern Iowa, said McCain staffers requested UNI police assist in escorting out “about four or five” people from the rally prior to McCain’s speech.

...Lara Elborno, (see photo/Jon Lemons-Iowa State Daily) a student at the University of Iowa, said she was approached by a police officer and a McCain staffer and was told she had to leave or she would be arrested for trespassing.

...She said McCain staffers wouldn’t tell her why she was being asked to leave and when she got outside, she saw “a group of about 20 people” who had all been asked to leave.

...“When I started talking to them, it kind of became clear that they were kind of just telling people to leave that they thought maybe would be disruptive, but based on what? Based on how they looked,” Elborno said. “It was pretty much all young people, the college demographic.”

...“I saw a couple that had been escorted out and they were confused as well, and the girl was crying, so I said ‘Why are you crying? and she said ‘I already voted for McCain, I’m a Republican, and they said we had to leave because we didn’t look right,’” Elborno said. “They were handpicking these people and they had nothing to go off of, besides the way the people looked.”

And they wonder why they're behind?

We are witness to one of the worst run campaigns of my lifetime. If they can't effectively run a campaign, what would lead us to believe they are capable of running the government?

I wonder if the crying McCain voter might want a mulligan?

H/T to the Booman Tribune

Catch you later.....

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Three Red Hens: Letterpress & Design: Designs on the presidency: 50+ Manifestations of Design in the 2008 Campaign

The "Honest McCain Campaign Poster" thingy I've had goin' on here has come in for a little love from a blog devoted to Graphic Design.

I set out to find some of the best examples of graphic design & art from the 2008 campaign but have had a difficult time keeping it balanced. Graphic artists (and artists in general) haven't used their skills for McCain in the same way. Try Googling "McCain poster" versus "Obama poster". Even a poster competition on McCain's website wasn't enough to get the creatives going in the same way.

I tried to stick with the positive or at least light-hearted manifestations of design in this campaign, but there's plenty of negative out there too: There's the resurrection of 90s-style motivational posters parody on both sides (just look in the above "poster" Google searches—eek—just bad design) and everyone & their mom parodying or borrowing from Shepard Fairey's iconic Obama posters—see a few examples here, here, and kinda here (this last one scared me in the East Village the other day!). Of course there's also the Palin Poster Project.

In the end it's really the issues that matter. Just consider this a little eye candy reminder to vote. :-)

There are some really great designs and graphics at the post, be sure to check them out.

I'm very pleased and humbled that my modest efforts at political humor have been well received. It has been great fun.

And after the election (hurry up!) I hope to devote less time to the political and more posting of items of a more purely humorous nature. After eight years of BushCo we all need to learn to laugh again.

Catch you later.....

Michelle Bachman is an Odious, Racist Tool - Veracifier

My parents were born and raised in Minnesota. My extremely large extended family still lives primarily in Minnesota. Most are DFL'ers, well educated, Catholic and progressive.

They can't tell me how this disgusting piece of crap gets elected. They are, however, hopeful we've nearly seen the last of her.

I hope they're right.

Catch you later.....

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Honest McCain Campaign Poster #50

From tonight's Countdown with Keith Olbermann.

Keith and Rachel are must see TV in this house!

Catch you later.....

Martial Law within 100 miles of ANY Border? ACLU - Youtube

More love of the Constitution by those wonderful folks at BushCo.

I've seen it here in northern San Diego county. In the back canyons one might encounter black-clad, MP3 armed Border Patrol agents stopping every passing vehicle in both directions.

Dogs and paddy wagons standing by. I kid you not.

Catch you later.....

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Colin Powell on McCain's Negative Campaigning

Well said, good timing.

Catch you later.....

GOP Engaged in Massive Election Fraud, Where's the Outrage?

Millions of voters illegally purged and all McSame/Phailin can talk about is Ayers and ACORN?

They're out to steal it, again, because they've got nuthin'.

Catch you later.....

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Rep. Darrell Issa's Response

I finally got a response to my calls and Emails about the "bailout" legislation from my Congressman:

Dear Mr. __________:

Thank you for contacting me to express your opposition to the $700 billion Bush-Paulson-Pelosi bailout plan. I share your opposition and voted NO both times the bill was brought before the House of Representatives.

It is an outrage to stick taxpayers with the bill for the failed decisions of Wall Street financiers. When investors put their money into the marketplace, they reap a benefit when they make the right choices, they have to face the consequences when they make bad ones. The Paulson-Bush-Pelosi scheme allows investors to realize the benefits while shifting all the risk to taxpayers. It is the wrong plan, and a bad idea.

Furthermore, in their rush to act, the Bush Administration and Congressional leaders spread panic, shattered American's confidence in the banking system, ignored the American people and shut out debate on alternatives that would more effectively address the problem without shifting the cost and trillions of dollars of additional risk to taxpayers.

Our financial markets are struggling, and we do need to act to insure that creditworthy individuals and businesses have access to the capital they need to conduct legitimate business transactions. But we don't owe Wall Street a bailout, and we can do it without putting taxpayers on the hook.

In opposing the Bush-Paulson-Pelosi scheme, I offered several alternatives, including the use of Guaranteed Recovery Bonds, suspension of mark-to-market accounting rules, and restoring the net-worth certificate program which the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has used successfully to help banks recover during previous economic downturns. To view my statements or to read my alternative proposals, please visit my website at

I will continue to work on your behalf in Congress to advance common sense solutions to restore stability to the financial markets and promote economic growth. The American economy has time and again weathered political shocks and financial hardships and proven itself resilient. I am confident that we will get through the current turmoil, overcome the losses incurred, and return to financial prosperity.

Again, thank you for contacting me to share your concerns on current conditions in the financial markets and the bailout scheme. I appreciate hearing your views.

Sincerely, Darrell Issa
Member of Congress

Let me just say, again, that I am disappointed with the responses from Sens. Boxer and Feinstein and Rep. Issa, in varying degrees, but disappointed in the lack of specifics and the tone they seem to take.

These are non-responsive responses, all too typical of our "ruling classes".

I just don't think they 'get' it.

Catch you later.....

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Honest McCain Poster #48 - he's really old edition

I wish to state, for the record, that if something, anything, untoward happens to Barack Obama, next week, next year, ten years from now, I am going to hold John McCain, Sarah Palin, Fox News, and the "base" responsible.

In the course of my day in our clinic, I speak to many different people from all parts of our society. And the chatter the last ten days or so has been all about the election and the economy.

There is a growing sense of a hopeful outcome from the 'regular folks', a sense that this time will be different, better.

Amongst certain other folks, however, there seems to be a growing sense of anger, frustration and, yes, violent impulse. I can't believe some of what I hear from people I have treated as a health care pro for 6+ years now. These are people I have cared for personally and professionally, have come to think of as part of our "extended family".

What I hear makes me fear for Sen. Obama's safety and that of his family. This isn't the anonymous bullshit we see too frequently on line. It's from mouth to ear, face to face and I see real hate in it.

And I blame the McCain campaign, top to bottom, for it.

It is in Sen. McCain's power to douse this fire, ignore it or to fuel it. Let his character at last be revealed.

Catch you later.....

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Thinking Man - You Tube

See, I told you so.

Catch you later.....

Sub Prime Voter

Nice base you've got there, Sen McSellout. (from via 538)

Jeebus must be so proud of you.

Catch you later.....

Honest McCain Campaign Poster #47 - Questions

Trust me, they're trying to find the answer to that one.

Catch you later.....

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Breaking Election News - The Onion, America's Finest Source

Old, Grizzled Third-Party Candidate May Steal Support From McCain

Maybe he can take Sarah's place.

Catch you later.....

DWT on McCain's "Spotty" Military Record

Is It Reasonable To Keep Referring To McCain's Spotty Military Record As "Heroic"-- Or Even Honorable?

In a (mercifully concise) post today, DWT examines the differences in the legend of John McCain, Navy Hero and the truth of McCain's actual performance as a Naval officer.

It references the outstanding Rolling Stone article by Tim Dickinson and brings together several useful links for greater detail.

Though he was in the Navy a bit before I enlisted, my Naval service and Mr. McCain's were contemporaneous.

I vividly recall, during boot-camp but especially during the fire-fighting training of Seamanship School, that the utter horror and needlessness of the events aboard the Forrestal were hammered into us, over and over again. Normally a raucous bunch, 160 men sat in stunned silence as we contemplated what we had seen and heard.

The Forrestal incident serves the Navy to this day as an example of one of the most egregious examples of what can go wrong aboard a warship. To see the films and hear the stories of the heroic efforts of sailors to save their crew mates from an inferno is to know true bravery and selflessness.

And I recall as well, the scuttle-butt that circulated after the Forrestal films were shown to our company: The tragedy was caused by some Admiral's "hot-shot" middie-pilot son and the Naval Department big-wigs had covered up the details and transferred the asshole in question "for the good of the service and to prevent a keel-hauling". John McCain was the first sailor evacuated.

Special rules for "special" people is all too common in the service. DWT asks, and I second, why this also seems to apply to the MSM's kid-gloves treatment of a putative Commander-in-Chief.

When will Mr. McCain's military record come under the same microscope the MSM used to trivialize the heroic service of Sen. John Kerry?

From one sailor to another, from one disabled vet to another: Sen. McCain, can we have the straight poop, now, please?

Catch you later.....

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Honest McCain Campaign Poster #46 - Hate

I don't usually take requests, but...

Catch you later.....

Oh, the things people forward...

Image, Tony Papini
Flikr, Creative Commons

Sad, But True...

The Washington Monthly

The McCain/Palin ticket is the first in American history in which both candidates were found to have violated ethics standards before a national election.

Now that's experience you can count on!

Catch you later.....

Friday, October 10, 2008

McCain's attacks fuel dangerous hatred --

McCain's attacks fuel dangerous hatred --

By Frank Schaeffer

October 10, 2008

John McCain: If your campaign does not stop equating Sen. Barack Obama with terrorism, questioning his patriotism and portraying Mr. Obama as "not one of us," I accuse you of deliberately feeding the most unhinged elements of our society the red meat of hate, and therefore of potentially instigating violence....


...You have changed. You have a choice: Go down in history as a decent senator and an honorable military man with many successes, or go down in history as the latest abettor of right-wing extremist hate....

...Stop! Think! Your rallies are beginning to look, sound, feel and smell like lynch mobs.

Accusing your opponent of treason during a time of armed conflict and economic collapse is some pretty serious stuff.

Most of the treasonous behaviour I've seen lately comes the current administration.

One of my fondest dreams is to see Bush & Co. in the docks faced by the mountains of evidence of their criminality.

Obama is guilty alright. Guilty of being a fine, decent, hard-working, intelligent, patriotic Senator, devoted husband and loving father. Guilty of putting his own life at risk of mob violence or a lone gunman in an effort to make a positive difference for his family, friends and fellow American citizens in a time of crisis.

A crisis for which he is largely blameless.

And yet, while the GOPers whine and fling poo from their cages, Obama only seeks to unite us in common purpose in search of solutions, for the sake of the nation. And to implement those solutions while handcuffed by the sorry state of affairs brought on by the real criminals, the real traitors, whom he seeks to replace.

So, who is it that's really demonstrating patriotism here? Who's showing class?

Catch you later.....

(Image by Dutchlad, Flikr)

Sen. Dianne Feinstein's Response...

Here is the entire response to my calls and E-mails to Sen. Dianne Feinstein regarding the Bailout:

Dear Mr. __________:

Thank you for your letter expressing concern about Congress' recent consideration of a plan to meet our Nation's credit crisis with financial help from the Federal Government.

This is a difficult situation for which there are no perfect solutions, and I would like to share my thoughts and concerns with you. Please find attached two statements that I have given on the Senate floor detailing my reasons for supporting the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-343), which the President signed into law on October 3, 2008.

Once again, thank you for writing. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 224-3841. Best regards.

Statement of U.S. Senator Dianne FeinsteinIn Support of the Economic Rescue PackageOctober 1, 2008

"Mr. President, I rise today to support the bipartisan economic rescue legislation.

It has been said that Senators have six-year terms for a reason. And that reason is to be able to take tough votes because it's right for the nation, and take tough votes when at times they may be adverse to the beliefs of your constituency.

This today is indeed a tough vote.

I want to thank the Banking Committee, particularly its chairman, Chris Dodd, and members on both sides of the aisle for their work on this.

So let me quickly begin.

This bill is not the bill that was put forward by Secretary Paulson on September 20th. His bill was essentially a non-starter - startling in its unbridled allocation of power to one man: the Secretary of Treasury whom we know now, and to a Secretary of Treasury after January whom we do not know.

It placed this man above the law, above administrative oversight and above Congressional action and essentially gave him $700 billion to do with what he thought best.

This bill didn't fly with virtually anyone who looked at it, particularly constituents, who have called in the tens of thousands all across this land.

My office has received over 91,000 calls and emails with over 86,000 opposed. The bill before us is not Paulson's three-page proposal. Rather, it is a bipartisan effort that adds oversight, accountability, assistance to homeowners, executive compensation limits and other measures to protect taxpayers.

But there still is a lot of misinformation on this bill.

This is not a $700 billion gift for Wall Street.

Rather, the federal government will buy equity in certain assets - both good and bad - to pump liquidity into the marketplace and unfreeze credit which is increasingly freezing and unavailable.

Over time, these assets will be sold and the federal government will be the first paid back on the investment.

The belief is that by doing this the federal government will clear much of the bad debt on the books of certain strategic financial institutions, restoring stability, adding liquidity and unfreezing credit.

Recently, we have seen major U.S. institutions fail: Bear StearnsFannie Mae and Freddie MacLehman BrothersMerrill LynchAIG And, two retail banks - not investment banks:

Washington Mutual, and Wachovia

If we do nothing, more institutions will fail.

Now, you may say: what does this mean to me? I work hard, I pay my bills, I pay cash. Here's what it will mean to you: it will be harder for most Americans to get any credit.

Therefore, jobs will be lost.

And we may well face a deep recession.

California has 3.75 million small businesses with an average of 5.6 employees. That adds up to over 20 million jobs.

Some of these businesses are funded with cash, but most are funded with credit. When credit freezes, payrolls cannot be met. And when payrolls cannot be met, pink slips are sent out.

And this will happen to retailers, grocery stores, restaurants, electrical and plumbing contractors, apparel manufacturers, computer and electronics stores, and auto dealerships.

Sales at auto dealerships have fallen dramatically in the past year. Ford sales are down 34 percent,Chrysler sales are down 33 percent,Toyota sales are down 29 percent, andGM sales are down 16 percent. The list will go on and on.

Importantly, there have now been several improvements to this bill. First, The FDIC insurance rate covering bank deposits has been increased from $100,000 to $250,000. Americans will know that their deposits are secure up to $250,000.

The legislation will provide tax relief to working families.

One example: the Alternative Minimum tax is a real problem. It was meant to apply only to 200 wealthy people, but it was never adjusted for inflation and it has crept down the income scale to the point where more than 25 million taxpayers today may well have to pay an Alternative Minimum Tax.

In California, 700,000 people paid this tax last year. But 4 million Californians will pay that tax this year unless we take action.

This bill takes that action. For one year it will prevent this tax increase.

The Congressional Budget Office has reviewed this bill and concluded that the net cost to taxpayers is "likely to be substantially less than $700 billion."

Again, these investments are first in line to be paid back.

It must be remembered that there was a great deal of criticism when the U.S. government bailed out Mexico in 1996 with $20 billion. The fact is, the money was paid back ahead of time and $600 million in profit was made.

Let me give you the following points.

This bill mandates that the government provide loan modifications for the subprime mortgages it acquires. This will help keep families in homes rather than foreclosing and putting the house on a deteriorating housing market where property values drop and homes are looted.

The bill limits executive compensation.

It provides strong oversight and accountability, including a financial stability oversight board, a five-member Congressional oversight panel, an Inspector General, and a constant presence at Treasury by the Government Accountability Office.

This is the only choice Congress can make.

One can rail against it and vote no on it, but that's not going to solve the problem. We have one chance, and one chance only, to solve the problem, and it is this bill.

I wish I could write it differently. Others wish they could write it differently, but the fact is that we are faced with this. Again, there is no question this is a tough vote.

But there's no question that this is a vote that I believe has to be made."

U.S. Senator Dianne FeinsteinFloor Statement on the Economic Rescue ProposalSeptember 26, 2008

"Mr. President, to date I have received from Californians more than 50,000 calls and letters, the great bulk of them in opposition to any form of meeting this crisis with financial help from the Federal Government. I wanted to come to the floor to very simply state how I see this and some of the principles that I hope will be forthcoming in this draft. Before I do so, I wish to pay particular commendation to Senator Dodd, Senator Schumer, Senator Bennett, and others who have been working so hard on this issue. I have tried to keep in touch -- I am not a negotiator; I am not on the committee -- but California is the biggest State, the largest economic engine, and people are really concerned.

We face the most significant economic crisis in 75 years right now. Swift and comprehensive action is crucial to the overall health of our economy. None of us wants to be in this position, and there are no good options here. Nobody likes the idea of spending massive sums of Government money to rescue major corporations from their bad financial decisions. But no one also should be fooled into thinking this problem only belongs to the banks and that it is a good idea to let them fail. The pain felt by Wall Street one day is felt there, and then 2,3,4 weeks down the pike, it is felt on Main Street.

The turbulence in our financial sector has already resulted in thousands of layoffs in the banking and finance sectors, and that number will skyrocket if there is a full collapse. The shock waves of failure will extend far beyond the banking and finance sectors. A shrinking pool of credit would affect the home loans, credit card limits, auto loans, and insurance policies of average Americans. I am receiving calls from people who tell me they want to buy a house, but they can't get the credit or the mortgage to do so. Why? Because that market of credit is drying up more rapidly one day after the other. It would have a major impact on State and local governments which would lose tens of millions of dollars, if not hundreds of millions of dollars.

Hurricane Ike shut down refineries on the gulf coast 2 weeks ago, and now, today, people are waiting hours in lines for gasoline in the South. Similarly, the collapse of the financial sector would have severe consequences for Americans all across the economic spectrum: for the person who owns the grocery store, the laundry, the bank, the insurance company. Then, if the worst happens, layoffs. And even more than that, somebody shows up for work and finds their business has closed because the owner of that business can't get credit to buy the goods he hopes to sell that week or that month. Wages and employment rates have already fallen even as the cost of basic necessities has skyrocketed. Our Nation is facing the highest unemployment rate in 5 years, at 6.1 percent. Over 605,000 jobs have been lost nationwide this year. My own State of California, a state of 38 million people, has the third highest unemployment rate in the Nation at 7.7 percent. That is 1.4 million people out of work today. One and a half million people -- that is bigger than some States. We have 1.5 million people out of work, and one-half million have had their unemployment insurance expire and have nothing today.

Congress is faced with a situation where we have to act and we have to do two things. We have to provide some reform in the system of regulation and oversight that is supposed to protect our economy. We also have to find a permanent and effective solution to keep liquidity and credit functioning so that markets can recover and make profit. The situation, I believe, is grave, and timely, prudent action is needed.

Just last night, the sixth largest bank in America -- Washington Mutual-- was seized by government regulators and most of its assets will be sold to JPMorgan Chase. This follows on the heels of bankruptcies and takeovers of Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, AIG, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac. If nothing is done, the crisis will continue to spread and one by one the dominos will fall.

Now, this isn't just about Wall Street. Because we are this credit society, the financial troubles facing major economic institutions will ricochet throughout this Nation and affect everyone. So I believe the need for action is clear. But that doesn't mean Congress should simply be a rubberstamp for an unprecedented and unbridled program.

My constituents by the thousands have made their views clear. I believe they are responding to the original 3-page proposal by the Secretary of the Treasury. It is clear by now that that 3-page proposal is a nonstarter. It is dead on arrival and that is good. Secretary Paulson's proposal asked Congress to write a $700 billion check to an economic czar who would have been empowered to spend it without any administrative oversight, legal requirements, or legislative review. Decisions made by the Treasury Secretary would be nonreviewable by any court or agency, and the fate of our entire economy would be committed to the sole discretion of one man alone -- the man we know today, and the man whom we don't know after January.

Additionally, the lack of governance or oversight in this plan was matched by the lack of a requirement for regular reports to Congress. This proposal stipulated that the economic czar, newly created, would report to Congress after the first three months with reports once every 6 months after that. This was untenable. Six months is an eternity when you are spending billions a week. The Treasury Secretary asked Congress to approve this massive program without delay or interference. It is hard to think of any other time in our history when Congress has been asked for so much money and so much power to be concentrated in the hands of one person. It is a nonstarter.

Yesterday, shortly before we met for the Democratic Policy Committee lunch, we were told there had been a bipartisan agreement on principles of a possible solution, and many of us rejoiced. We know that our Members, both Republican and Democrat, have been working hard to try to produce something that was positive. Then, all of a sudden, it changed. One Presidential candidate parachuted into town which proved to be enormously destructive to the process. Now, negotiations are back on the table, and as I say, we have just received a draft bill of certain principles.

I would like to outline quickly those principles that I think are important. First is a phase-in. No one wants to put $700 billion immediately at the discretion of one person or even a group of a very few people, no matter how bright, how skilled, how informed they might be on banking or finance principles. The funding should come in phases and Congress should have the opportunity to make its voice heard if the program isn't working or needs to be adjusted.

The second point: Oversight, accountability, and governance. The Treasury Secretary should not and must not have unbridled authority to determine winners and losers, essentially choosing which struggling financial institution will survive and which will not. The original plan placed all authority in the hands of this one man, and this is why I say it was DOA -- dead on arrival -- at the Congress. We must assure that controls are in place to watch taxpayer dollars and make sure they are well-spent fixing the problem, and that oversight by a governance committee and the Banking Committees are strong, and that they give the best opportunity for the American people to recover their investment and, yes, even eventually make a profit from that investment. That can be done and it has been done in the past.

I believe that frequent reporting to Congress is critical. Transparency, sunlight on this, is critical. So Congress should receive regular, timely briefings, perhaps weekly for the first quarter, on a program of this magnitude. A proposal should mandate frequent reporting and the public should be ensured of transparency to the maximum extent possible.

I also believe that within the first quarter -- and this, to me, is key -- a comprehensive legislative proposal for reform must be put forward. We must reform those speculative practices that impact price function of markets. We must deal with the unregulated practices that have furthered this crisis. Look. I represent a State that was cost $40 billion in the Enron episode during 1999 and 2000 by speculation, by manipulation, and by fraud. There still is inadequate regulation of energy commodities sold on the futures market. And that is just one point in all of this. We must prevent these things from happening. The only way to do it is to improve the transparency of all markets. No hidden deals. Swaps, in my view, should be ended. The London loophole should be ended.

We have to outline rules for increasing regulation of the mortgage-backed securities market, along with comprehensive oversight of the mortgage industry and lending practices for both prime and subprime lending.

Senator Martinez of Florida and I had a part in the earlier housing bill, which included our legislation entitled the SAFE Mortgage Licensing Act. We found that the market was rife with fraud. We found there was one company that hired hairdressers and others who sold mortgages in their spare time. We found there were unscrupulous mortgage brokers out there unlicensed, preying upon people, walking off with tens of thousands of dollars of cash. This has to end. It has to be controlled. It has to be regulated.

So I believe the crisis of 2008 stems from the failure of Federal regulators to rein in this Wild West mentality of those Wall Street executives who led those firms and who thought that nothing was out of bounds. Every quick scheme was worth the time, and worth a try. Congress cannot ignore this as the root cause of the crisis. It was inherent in the subprime marketplace, and it has now spread to the prime mortgage marketplace.

It is also critical that accurate assessments of the value of these illiquid mortgage-related assets be performed to limit the taxpayers' exposure to risk and structure purchases to ensure the greatest possible return on investment.

Taxpayer money must be shielded at all costs from risk to the greatest extent possible. Reciprocity is not a bad concept if you can carry it out. The Government must not simply act as a repository for risky investments that have gone bad. An economic rescue effort that serves taxpayers well must allow them to benefit from the potential profits of rescued entities. So a model -- and it may well be in these new principles -- must be developed to ensure the taxpayers are not only the first paid back but have an opportunity to share in future profits through warrants and/or stocks.

As to executive compensation limits, simply put, Californians are frosted by the absence of controls on executive compensation. Virtually all of the 50,000 phone calls and letters mentioned this one way or another. There must be limits. I am told that the reason the Treasury Secretary does not want limits on executive compensation is because he believes that an executive then will not bring his company in to partake in any program that is set up. Here is my response to that: We can put that executive on his boat, take that boat out in the ocean, and set it on fire. If that is how he feels, that is what should happen, or his company doesn't come in. But to say that the Federal Government is going to be responsible for tens of millions of dollars of executive salaries, golden parachutes, whether they are a matter of contract right or not, is not acceptable to the average person whose taxpayer dollars are used in this bailout. That is just fact.

The one proposal that was made by one of the Presidential candidates that I agree with is that there should be a limit of $400,000 on executive compensation. If they don't like it, too bad, don't participate in the program. As I have talked with people on Wall Street and otherwise, they don't believe it is true that an executive, if his pay is tailored down, will not bring a company in that needs help. I hope that is true. I believe there should be precise limits set on executive pay.

Finally, as to tangible benefits for Main Street in the form of mortgage relief, there have been more than 500,000 foreclosures in my home State of California so far this year. In the second quarter of this year, foreclosures were up 300 percent over the second quarter of 2007. More than 800,000 are predicted before this year is over.

I have a city in California where one out of every 25 homes is in foreclosure. This is new housing in subdivisions. As you look at it, you will see garage doors kicked in. You will see houses vandalized. You will see the grass and grounds dry. You will see the street sprinkled with "For Sale" signs, and nobody buys because the market has become so depressed.

This crisis has roots in the subprime housing boom that went bust, and it would be unconscionable for us to simply bailout Wall Street while leaving these homeowners to fend for themselves.

Everything I have been told, and I have talked to people in this business, here is what they tell me: It is more cost-effective to renegotiate a subprime loan and keep a family in a house than it is to foreclose and run the risks of what happens to that home on a depressed market as credit is drying up, as vandals loot it, as landscaping dries up, as more homes in the area become foreclosed upon; the way to go is to renegotiate these mortgages with the exiting homeowner wherever possible. I feel very strongly that should be the case.

I don't know what I or any of us will do if we authorize this kind of expenditure and we find down the pike in my State that the rest of the year, 800,000 to 1 million Americans are being thrown out of their homes despite this form of rescue effort. Think of what it means, Mr. President, in your State. You vote for this, any other Senator votes for it, and these foreclosures continue to take place and individual families continue to be thrown out of their homes. It is not a tenable situation.

I hope, if anybody is listening at all, that in the negotiating team, they will make a real effort to mandate in some way that subprime foreclosures be renegotiated, that families, wherever possible, who have an ability to pay, have that ability to pay met with a renegotiated loan. I have done this now in cases with families who were taken advantage of. We called the CEO of the bank, and the bank has seen that the loan was renegotiated, in one case in Los Angeles down to 2 percent. That is better than foreclosing and running the uncertainty of the sale of the asset in a very depressed housing market.

These are my thoughts. Again, it is easy to come to the floor and give your thoughts. It is much more difficult to sit at that negotiating table.

I once again thank those Senators on both sides of the aisle who really understand the nature of this crisis -- that it isn't only Wall Street, that it does involve Main Street, and if there is a serious crash, it will hurt tens of millions of Americans, many of them in irreparable ways. So we must do what we must do, and we must do it prudently and carefully.

I yield the floor. I suggest the absence of quorum."

Sincerely yours,

Dianne Feinstein

United States Senator

Further information about my position on issues of concern to California and the Nation are available at my website You can also receive electronic e-mail updates by subscribing to my e-mail list at

This response, almost entirely in the form of previously published speeches I've already seen, on the Web, the news, or C-Span, arrived only today, weeks after the initial contact, well after Sen. Boxer's reply, but bless his pea-pickin' soul, she beat Rep. Darrell Issa.

So, on the whole, this series of interactions with my elected representatives leaves me disappointed.

Like having an "accident" while wearing black trousers... It gives you a warm feeling but nobody notices.

Catch you later.....

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Go read the details. Nice base you've got there, Sen. McCranky.

Found on Jesus' General.

Catch you later.....

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Honest McCain Campaign Poster #45 - Unfair Edition

The negative attacks are simply disgusting. The behavior of some of McNasty's supporters ever more so. The petulant candidate seems to think he's entitled to be president.

It doesn't matter if you measure the GOP's nominee by the issues or by his character.

John McCain is the wrong man.

Catch you later.....

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The You Tube Generation's First Election

The power of the InterTubes in national elections is vastly underestimated by people who should know better..

Barack Obama is redefining 21st Century politics.

Catch you later.....

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Honest McCain Campaign Poster #44 - Post Debate Edition

Late getaway from work here on the Left coast.

From what I saw... Not specifically too good for the Senator from Cranky.

Check this out.

Catch you later.....

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Monday, October 6, 2008

Character Counts

If, as we heard from certain opponents of Bill Clinton, "Character Counts" then this story about an act of kindness toward a total stranger by Barack Obama twenty years ago is quite illuminating.

ÅSGÅRDSTRAND (VG): Mary was a newlywed and ready to move to Norway, but was stopped at the airport because she didn’t have enough money for the trip. Then a stranger turned up and paid for her.

...Although she explained the situation to the man behind the counter, he showed no signs of mercy.-"I started to cry, tears were pouring down my face and I had no idea what to do. Then I heard a gentle and friendly voice behind me saying, That’s OK, I’ll pay for her".

...She was thrilled to be able to bring both her suitcases to Norway and assured the stranger that he would get his money back. The man wrote his name and address on a piece of paper that he gave to Mary. She thanked him repeatedly. When she finally walked off towards the security checkpoint, he waved goodbye to her.

...The piece of paper said ‘Barack Obama’ and his address in Kansas, which is the state where his mother comes from. Mary carried the slip of paper around in her wallet for years, before it was thrown out.

Go read the whole piece, it might just change a few minds.

The picture above comes from Leisha's post and shows Mary, her husband and a letter from Barack Obama.

I'm tempted to make a snarky comparison at this point but shall refrain, as nothing more need be said.

Catch you later.....

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Sunday, October 5, 2008

New on the Blogroll - Mojo !

Say hello to Mojo.

"The funniest person you will ever meet."

She's got her Mojo workin', you'll love her.

Stop by and say "howdy".

Catch you later.....

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Honest McCainCampaign Poster #43 - Crazy Future Edition

The base will love it! Vote the straight Jeebus ticket!

Catch you later.....

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Al-Qaida: US economic crisis equals Muslim victory - Yahoo! News

CAIRO, Egypt - An American member of al-Qaida pointed to economic troubles in the United States as proof that "the enemies of Islam" face defeat, in an English-language video released Saturday.

..."The enemies of Islam are facing a crushing defeat, which is beginning to manifest itself in the expanding crisis their economy is experiencing," said Gadahn, in a clip of the message distributed by the SITE Intelligence Group, a Washington-based monitor of militant Web sites.

Didn't Osama bin Laden once say victory would be theirs when the price of oil rose seven-fold?

You've done a heckuva job, Georgie.

Catch you later.....

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