Posts Tagged ‘McCain

Republican presidential candidate John McCain suspended his campaign to work on the bailout package before Congress, but didn’t even manage to convince a single Arizona member of Congress  from his own state to vote for it.

Arizona is represented in the U.S. federal legislature by eight members of the House of Representatives and two members of the United States Senate.

All eight Arizona members of Congress- four Republicans and four Democratsvoted against the bailout package, entitled the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act.  Passage of the bill would have allowed $700 billion in federal funds to help with an emergency credit crunch that has resulted in a number of major U.S. bank failures, and unprecedented nationalization of other key financial organizations.

Arizona senators John McCain and  Jon Kyl, the Senate Minority Whip, voted for the package

A new revised package package will be before the House of Representatives Thursday, after being initiated in the Senate. The revised bill may cause controversy among Democrats, as reports are it includes debt-subsidized tax cuts.


When a presidential candidate’s party has conducted an unpopular war precipitated by an invasion of a sovereign country that didn’t have weapons of mass destruction or Al-Queda or 9-11 links, when it has run the world’s greatest economy straight into the ground, when it’s spending is greater than any other administration, when it took steps to dismantle social security, and when its preparation for disasters at home, namely Katrina, have made the U.S. look like the third world, you’d think that would be the candidate on the defensive.


John McCain won tonight’s presidential debate, the firswt of four scheduled, by being aggressive. He stuck to simple issues and hammered them home. Cut government spending. Bring home victory in Iraq. Obama wanted $932 million in earmarks. Spending is out of control. He held up a pen (“…this old pen..:”) and said it would be used to veto every spending bill that came across his desk.

His best moment was toward the end when speaking about military veterans.

“I know the veterans, I know them well. I love them. I know them and will take care of them and that is going to be my job.”

This was the closest thing to a simple sound bite all night. With a complex mess in Washington and Americans needing someone to take care of it, that statement almost feels like relief.

Great stuff. No knockout one-liners, all hard issue questions with substantive, informed answers.

The surprise was Barak Obama being on the defensive for so much of the night. McCain owns the military issues. That’s clear. But now he owns the issue of government spending. That was supposed to be Obama’s issue- isn’t he touted as the agent of change in this election?

Twice Obama agreed quickly with moderator Jim Lehrer it was time to move on to the next issue. He sounded like a boxer being saved by the bell.

Obama’s best moments came at the beginning. Those were also McCain’s worst moments. Obama, in his opening statements- the question to deal with was on the bailout- talked directly to people’s biggest concerns on the issue of the financial crisis. He talked about the hardship people were having. He spoke well, he looked presidential. The man understood and he cared. That came through clearly. Then Obama made four strong points on what has to be included in a bank bailout- oversight, see that taxpayers may get the money back, no padded CEO pay or golden parachutes and help for homeowners.

McCain followed Obama’s great start start with the line, “I’m not feeling good..” and you had the sense of his age. The debate seemed over then with those four words. I felt an oh-oh moment. Would McCain fall asleep? Would he cry? Would he fall down? He also used the line “..Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac and all that..” as if not pushing the entire issue of the U.S. economy cratering away, as if it didn’t matter a damn.

But through the debate McCain warmed like an old motor, firing on all cylinders once the debate rolled. He became a warrrior, absolutely in control of himself, and he was the only candidate to make fun of himself. Moderator Jim Lehrer very much wanted the candidates to address each other directly. He told Obama at the end of one of his comments, “Tell him,” meaning McCain, who joked, “Did you not think I heard him the first time?”

McCain sounded experienced and presidential, chiding Obama for saying he would sit down with Iraq President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad without conditions. “That’s not just naive, that’s dangerous.”

On the war in Iraq, McCain is adamant that the war can be won and is being won. He stubbornly refuses to note that Obama’s point- the U.S. should never have gone in. Obama said the two have “fundamental differences” on the issue. That could be understatement.

McCain also borrowed a line from Hillary Clinton: “I’m ready to go on day one.” Now that should have sparked applause somewhere and shocked gasps elsewhere.

Again, no knockout blows, no sound bite oneliners, but McCain came close to some good ones. It was, very simply, good honest hard debate from two very capable and knowledgeable men. It may have been one of the best ever presidential debates as far as candiates being informed enough to aggressively discuss a wide range of complex issues in a knowledgeable way without resorting to “There you go again” Reaganesque trick-quips, in order to be memorable without being substantial. This debate had meat to it. The players came to play.

Interestingly, McCain also never once looked at Obama while Obama was speaking. He may have never looked at him while he was speaking, either. Some commentators didn’t like that. I did. It made McCain look even more in control, like the leader in the two-man contest.

When a political party has caused this much mess, how McCain, the old warrior, managed to be on the offensive, and not on the defensive, is testament to his mettle. That is how McCain won, but Obama, in spite of being on his heels for some of it once McCain got rolling, more than held his own.


For additional reading check out this fact check list of the candidates’ on-air statements and claims during the debate. Link here.

Thank you for reading AardvarkCola

Do not piss off a clown.

John McCain, the Republican nominee for president, cancelled a guest appearance on the David Letterman show at the last minute. I could go on, but it’s more fun if you watched.

A lecturer I listened to had this thought. In ancient Greece a philosopher was getting a lot of students and handed someone a clay clipboard with some parchament and said, “Take the names.” Two millennia later the descendants of that one guy with the ancient clipboard are now the top-heavy city of academia’s bureaucrats, governing the instructors and every damn move they make. The appointed temporary secretary to the ancient instructor evolved into the instructor’s ruler.

The same can be said for America’s clowns. With an audience of millions each night, the smirks and one-liners can make or break a reputation. The television shows of America’s clowns can, and have, launched political campaigns, or made campaigns a laughing stock. How did the clowns go from juggling for the king to cheer him up while avoiding getting their heads cut off to being so powerful that the court jester outranks the king? Today’s American court jester is fully capable, for entertainment and editorial comment for millions at a time, of putting a fork up the king’s ass to see if he’s roasted enough.

Only in America.

If you thought Bear Sterns and Lehman Brothers on the ropes was a big deal, prepare yourself.

American International Group, the insurance company you know as AIG, is teetering.

Why is that important news in bank crisis?

AIG is the largest insurance company on the planet, the 18th largest company of any kind in the world, with a reported $1 trillion in assets. AIG is a component of the Dow itself. It has also been the back-stop insurance agency of a lot of American banks who are finding billions in subprime mortgage paper is worth less and less daily. So much less, banking giants are actually failing. If American banks need an insurance back-stop and the insurance company happens to fail, then a lot of those very same banks will be even more vulnerable than they are now.

The American federal reserve let Lehman Brothers, as big as it is, die. Lehman declared bankruptcy yesterday, the biggest bankruptcy in American history.

The latest news on AIG- I picked this up from a news flash at the end of tonight’s Squeezeplay ( my favourite television show of all time) on the Business News Network, is that AIG has hired a law firm to draw up bankruptcy papers, if needed, repeat, if needed, for tomorrow (Wednesday), a deadline day if it undergoes such a process.

On October 9, 2007 the AIG stock price was $70.11. It’s been sliding a little since then. It lost 18 per cent of its value in one day last month, on August 7, 2008, after AIG reported a loss for the quarter of $5.4 billion. In the last three quarters AIG has lost $18 billion. Today the price closed at $3.95 a share on the New York Stock Exhange. That’s actually an improvement from a low today of $1.25 after an opening price of $1.85.

Where did that bit of confidence come from to push the share price up?

The federal reserve, it appears, has deemed AIG too important to fail. Tammy Luhbi of CNN Money reports the federal reserve has guaranteed AIG an $85 billion loan. However, as she reports, a downgrade of AIG’s rating by Moody’s and Standard and Poor makes it necessary for the insurance firm to raise more collateral, as much as $13 billion, which will make the federal loan come in handy.

How did this become as big a problem as it has? Those back-stop guaratees of AIG are referred to as a Credit Default Swap (you’ll likely hear the word “swap” on the news when referring to this) or a Collateralized Debt Obligation (CDO). A good article explaining those is from Time Magazine in March. A very good basic explanation on what swaps are is from this transcript of an interview on Market Place on April 1. A good story on what has happened today is this, from the New York Times, written by three of their writers.

The swap market deals with what should be solid investments, but are unregulated. They are deals made almost automatically, not between two people, but as a sort of sign-here guesture for things like municipal bonds.

Now a word about regulation and deregulation about the banking industry.

After the 1929 crash, President Franklin Roosevelt’s administration and the Congress of the time put into place some serious regulations for the American financial sector. One of those, out of Congress, was what became known as the Glass-Steagal Act. That 1933 law prevented commercial banks from risking depositor investments in the stock market. After the act came into effect, there were two different kinds of banks in the United States- commercial banks and investment banks.

Much of the banking regulations made then have unravelled. Who did the unravelling?

Here is an interesting story from Mother Jones, a magazine I hadn’t heard of until tonight. ( I live such a sheltered life.) A damn good magazine from the look of it. Anyway, this next story is a good way to end this post. It scared me more than the news of AIG having this much trouble. The story, written by David Corn, author of George W. Bush, Mastering the Politics of Deception, points out a key McCain advisor, Phil Gramm is the man who may have to take some responsibility for this whole subprime mortgage mess by encouraging deregulation of the banking industry as a United States senator from Texas. (If you’ve haven’t heard of him, you may have heard some quotes of his this year, saying America has become a nation of whiners and that American is undergoing a “mental recession”.) Until July Gramm was a co-chair of John McCain’s national campaign for the United States presidency. That interesting factoid should help unfog your glasses as you admire your Sarah Palin poster. Have a read.

Thank you for reading AardvarkCola

Election in Canada
Governor-General Michaëlle Jean will meet with Prime Minister Steven Harper at 8:15 a.m. Sunday when Harper will tell her that he does not have confidence in parliament. The Canadian federal election is expected to take place October 14. Three Harper cabinet ministers will not run again, David Emerson (Foreign Affairs), Monte Solberg (Human Resources), and Loyola Hearn (Fisheries). Link to David Akin story, Edmonton Journal. Link to Alexander Panetta story for the Chronicle Herald.

How long has the American election been going on? Seems like forever. Here in Canada a parliament will fall and we will be at the polls all in 37 days. Then there will still be 18 days to the American election on November 4.

A recent CBC poll places the Conservatives at 38 per cent, Liberals at 28 per cent and 19 per cent New Democrat..majority territory is 40 per cent plus…Conservatives could make gains in Quebec – that story by Rhéal Séguin, Globe and Mail.

Election U.S.A.
Quote from Todd Palin…”I should have asked more questions when Sarah joined the PTA”…that from ABC news…Here’s a profile of Mr. Palin from Dino Cappiello for Associated Press…Can you see him hosting a tea for former Alaska First Ladies? Well apparently he has. See the bottom of the article.

There is an online buzz that Oprah Winfrey, a strong Barak Obama supporter is balking at putting Sarah Palin on her show that pulls in 15 million viewers a day…story from newsroomamerica.com

(Well, well. Update to the above. Oprah has responded. She would be happy to have Sarah Palin on her show- after the election. Winfrey’s statement: "The item in today's Drudge Report is categorically untrue. There has been absolutely no discussion about having Sarah Palin on my show. At the beginning of this Presidential campaign when I decided that I was going to take my first public stance in support of a candidate, I made the decision not to use my show as a platform for any of the candidates. I agree that Sarah Palin would be a fantastic interview, and I would love to have her on after the campaign is over." Link to story on Drudge Report.)

The Republicans did get a bounce at their convention. From Obama’s recent 50 per cent polling (Gallup reporting that on September 2) the tide has shifted. Rasmussen puts McCain-Palin pulling to within a single point of Obama-Biden…link here…Gallup conducted a poll over September 1 to 3, before Sarah Palin made her RNC acceptance speech. That poll still had Obama over McCain 49 per cent to 42 per cent. Gallup expects any Palin effect, if any, to show up in a couple days for their polling.

Stormy Weather
Atlantic storms this hurricane season are lining up like a hurricane traffic jam…Following the near miss of Hurricane Gustav that prompted an evacuation of New Orleans and cut off power to 900,000 Louisiana homes…there is Hanna, now a category 3 hurricane with 125 mile-per-hour winds (198 kilometres per hour), now 420 miles (632 kilometres) off North Carolina, followed by Hurricane Ike and then Josephine, a tropical storm not expected at this time to make landfall. Story link to Jack Ryan, Post Chronicle.

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How can you tell if Sarah Palin is from Wasilla or Wetaskiwin?

The girl seems down-right Albertan. She is about as Canadian as you can get. She likes moosemeat, she owns a float plane, her husband works in the oil-patch, she hunts, and even as the head of government she drives her own car to work.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee, John McCain, likes free trade, while the Democratic Party nominee, Barak Obama, has made threatening noises to rip it up. (Go ahead, rip it up, along with the guarantee of supply, world price, and no fees. You buy Manhattan with beads once.)

As Alaska governor, Sarah Palin wants more drilling. The woman also has a very Albertan attitude toward oil companies, too, namely the state owns the resource, and oil companies just hold leases to extract the resource. She knows Canada. Her state has inked a deal with TransCanada Corp. for a half a billion dollar gas pipeline, she’s a genuine hockey mom and, hey, McCain even has relatives in Canada.

Suddenly Obama-Biden look less exciting, eh?


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  • wordbeeps: No, he doesn't deserve an apology. Who tweets during a funeral? If you do, expect feedback. I didn't say the mourners were faking it. I think they we
  • Holly Stick: Look you fuckwit, are you too stupid to realise that Ghomeshi was an actual friend of Layton's, when you tweeted to him that the mourners were faking
  • aardvarkcola: Thank you. I see the rest of your message now. i'm honoured to to have your words on my blog. That alone is a delight. Lawrence