Monday, September 29, 2008

Will McCain denounce violence against Muslims?

The Clarion Fund must be proud of the effect their movie "Obsession" produced.
Friday, September 26th ended a week in which thousands of copies of Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West -- the fear-mongering, anti-Muslim documentary being distributed by the millions in swing states via DVDs inserted in major newspapers and through the U.S. mail -- were distributed by mail in Ohio. The same day, a "chemical irritant" was sprayed through a window of the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton, where 300 people were gathered for a Ramadan prayer service. The room that the chemical was sprayed into was the room where babies and children were being kept while their mothers were engaged in prayers.
This isn't an isolated incident either.
A four-state fire at an Islamic Mosque is labeled as a religious hate crime by federal agents in what they call an attack on religious freedom. The Carl Junction fire department responded to this sign on fire early Thursday morning in south Joplin. The sign reads Islamic Society of Joplin in both English and Arabic and belongs to an Islamic mosque. The FBI has now taken over the investigation due to evidence which leads authorities to believe this was in fact a hate crime.
Those were recent, overt acts of hatred, but some of the bias is more subtle and has been percolating for sometime now: Muslim Group Reports Jump in Workplace Bias Complaints
According to the study, discrimination in the workplace against those already employed increased by 18 percent, with 384 cases reported in 2006 and 452 cases reported in 2007. There was also a 34 percent increase in reports of discrimination against those seeking employment.
This is vile, despicable behavior. Americans are better than this. We don't defile places where other people worship. We don't use violence against people we disagree with. We don't attack innocent children.

I blame the Republicans and John McCain for this violence and hate-mongering, and since McCain is the appointed head of their party at this point, he needs to step up and forcefully denounce these people and their actions - including the Clarion Fund - before someone ends up dead.

(Cross-posted at Blogging for MI.)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

U.S. is blamed for spawning global financial crisis

Add Germany to the list of countries less than impressed with the Bush administration and Wall Street.
Germany blamed the United States on Thursday for spawning the global financial crisis with a blind drive for higher profits and said it would now have to accept greater market regulation and a loss of its financial superpower status. [...]

"The world will never be as it was before the crisis," Steinbrueck, a deputy leader of the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), told the Bundestag lower house.

"The United States will lose its superpower status in the world financial system. The world financial system will become more multi-polar," he said.
Germany recognized we were headed for trouble over a year ago and tried to do something about it to no avail.
Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose conservatives rule in coalition with the SPD, and Steinbrueck both pushed the Group of Eight (G8) to agree measures to boost financial market transparency during Germany's presidency of the G8 last year.

But their drive collapsed amid opposition from Washington and London.

Merkel criticized their stance at the weekend, saying the days of laissez-faire capitalism were over.
It's not just Germany either. The criticism comes from other countries too.
The German views were echoed by leaders of governments from around the world meeting this week at the United Nations in New York.

Many sharply criticized the George W. Bush administration's financial record and warned that U.S. financial mistakes now threatened the global economy.
Financial mistakes? I'm not convinced the Bush administration made a mistake. I think they knew all along what the outcome would be, but didn't give a damn as long as they kept raking in the money.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

China is not impressed with Paulson

Eighteen months ago, Henry Paulson told the Shanghai Futures Exchange that China risked trillions of dollars in lost economic potential unless it freed up its capital markets.
``An open, competitive, and liberalized financial market can effectively allocate scarce resources in a manner that promotes stability and prosperity far better than governmental intervention,'' Paulson said.
That was then, this is now, and the grasshopper is not impressed with the master according to Bloomberg.
``The U.S. financial system was regarded as a model, and we tried our best to copy whatever we could,'' said Yu Yongding, a former adviser to China's central bank. ``Suddenly we find our teacher is not that excellent, so the next time when we're designing our financial system we will use our own mind more.''
They've noticed the hypocrisy too:
The recent moves by Paulson, the former chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., contradict what the U.S. told Asian governments over the past decade. Thailand, South Korea and Indonesia were urged to let unviable banks fail during the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis.

``It's the end of an era,'' said Shanghai-based Andy Xie, a independent analyst who was formerly Morgan Stanley's chief Asia economist. ``In 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell, socialism was discredited and the whole world turned right. Now financial capital has been discredited and the whole world, including the U.S., is turning left.''
China learned something from our failures and plans to make some changes:
That road may be different from the one Paulson proposed 18 months ago, according to Arthur Kroeber at economic research company Dragonomics Advisory Services Ltd. in Beijing.

``China's made it clear it won't listen to these snake-oil salesmen who come from Wall Street, even if they're wearing suits issued by the Treasury Department,'' he said. ``It's strengthened the hands of all the people who are very skeptical about financial liberalization in China.''
The question is...will we learn from this, or will it be business as usual?

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Election, Economy and Race

A new American Research Group poll shows that “[n]o Americans say that the national economy is getting better,” while 82 percent say it is getting much worse. So, the question just begs asking: In the middle of this financial meltdown, why is the election close?

Jonathan Tasini believes it boils down to race. "...certain people won't vote for a black person for president. Simple as that."

How do we combat people's irrational fear? Education. In this case, Tasini gives us a video he filmed at a recent Ohio delegation breakfast meeting where Richard Trumka, secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO, took on the issue of race. It's about 6 minutes long, but well worth watching.

These are some of the important points I jotted down while watching it:
A friend told him she didn't trust Obama because he's black. Trumka tells the woman she's out of her mind - this is 2008. Workers are losing pensions, losing their homes, losing their healthcare and want change, but can't bring themselves to vote for a black man.

Education is the answer. Racism is a tool used to divide working people. The only way working people have ever won anything in this country is by crossing that color line, by turning to each other and not on each other, and by recognizing that our common interests as working people are far more important than race. That's how steel workers organized, that's how auto workers organized, etc.
Watch the video. Trumka is a good speaker and he's funny too. This was my favorite line:
A worker who votes for John McCain is like a chicken voting for Colonel Sanders. If you vote Republican in 2008, you're bound to get plucked.

(Cross-posted at Blogging for MI.)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The McCain+Palin+Palin ticket

John McCain and Sarah Palin are holding a town hall meeting tonight in Grand Rapids. I wonder if Todd Palin will be campaigning with them since, as Salon noted, some in Alaska have referred to him as the "shadow governor," raising "questions about whether a Sarah Palin vice-presidency would hand the same type of backstage power to Todd, and what that might mean in the running of the U.S. government."

Here's some background from Salon on the unusual influence Todd Palin has had on his wife's Alaska government.
Not long after Sarah Palin was sworn in as Alaska's governor in December 2006, her husband, Todd, started showing up in the state capitol in Juneau. He'd hang around her office, or he'd sit in on meetings with Cabinet officials or legislators. He'd leave for a few weeks to go work his $100,000-a-year oil job on the North Slope, then come back to Juneau (or Anchorage, depending on where Palin was spending her time). At some point, the "First Dude" became enough of a fixture in the statehouse that people just sort of figured he belonged there.

Soon, Todd Palin was getting copied on e-mails dealing with official state business. He had already helped write the state budget, gotten involved in personnel matters and called up lawmakers when he -- or Sarah Palin -- had a bone to pick with them. Apparently Palin's inner circle figured they better include him on messages about pending legislation or ongoing controversies, too. The First Dude's involvement in Palin's efforts to get her ex-brother-in-law fired from the state police force have now earned him a subpoena from the Legislature, and he also allegedly intervened to have John Bitney (a former friend) fired from the state payroll for having an affair with the ex-wife of one of Todd Palin's buddies. The Washington Post reported last week that the Palins billed the state $1,371 for Todd's airfare to Washington, when he joined Sarah Palin at a National Governors Association conference, and for the whole family to fly around Alaska watching him compete in the Iron Dog snowmobile race.

In the Palin administration, Todd appears to have had an unusually strong role, the extent of which remains unclear. He is not on the state payroll and was never elected -- but the First Dude has crossed over from the standard-issue supportive political spouse to something far more influential, weighing in on policy and political matters in ways that few observers seem to understand.
Red caution flags should be going up in voter's minds about Todd Palin, and questions should be asked about what his presence might mean in the running of the U.S. government. Todd and Sarah were once affiliated with a group that - as Communication Guru puts it - would make Timothy McVeigh proud.
[Sarah] Palin may have once been a member of the Alaskan Independence Party. The AIP say they want Alaskans to get an opportunity to vote on whether or not they will remain a state, or become a commonwealth, or split off as an independent nation.

According to ABC News, Officials of the AIP said Gov. Palin was once a member, but the McCain campaign -- providing what it says is complete voter registration documentation -- says Palin has been according to official records a lifelong Republican.

Palin's husband Todd was a member of the AIP from October 1995 through July 2002, except for a few months in 2000. He is currently undeclared.

The AIP was founded by Joe Vogler in the 1970s. He has been quoted as saying, “I'm an Alaskan, not an American. I've got no use for America or her damned institutions."

"The fires of hell are frozen glaciers compared to my hatred for the American government. And I won't be buried under their damn flag. I'll be buried in Dawson. And when Alaska is an independent nation they can bring my bones home."
Damn flag? Why aren't Republicans jumping all over that statement?

This website has a YouTube video that shows the Vice Chairman of the AIP, Dexter Clark, talking about Sarah Palin and the fact she was an AIP member before she got the job as a mayor, and he then goes on to say she "is pretty well sympathetic to her former membership.“

Mr. Clark has also been quoted as saying, "that AIP members must "infiltrate" -- his words -- the other two parties and push for the cause of Alaskan independence."

By most people's standards, this group is anti-American and they definitely don't put "country first." The Palin's association with AIP could be innocent or subversive, but ignoring that association and failing to ask questions could have deadly consequences for our country. Voters need to take a long, hard look at Palin & Palin before casting their ballot.

(Cross-posted at BFM.)