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Time To Take Grandpa's Car Keys Away

Tuesday, October 14, 2008 by Michael Reynolds

You know what I think about Sarah Palin? I think McCain knows, in his gut, that he put somebody unqualified on the ballot. He knows that in his gut, and when this race is over that is something he will have to live with... He put somebody unqualified on that ballot and he put the country at risk, he knows that.

Except, that's not just what I think. It's what Bush-Cheney strategist Matthew Dowd said today. So let me put it in quotes:

"[McCain] knows, in his gut, that he put somebody unqualified on the ballot. He knows that in his gut, and when this race is over that is something he will have to live with... He put somebody unqualified on that ballot and he put the country at risk, he knows that."
The choice of Palin is all you need to know when you step into the voting booth in a couple of weeks. Bill Ayers is a piece of shit and so is Jeremiah Wright. But Barack Obama isn't proposing to put either of them one 72 year-old heartbeat away from the nuclear codes.

It's John McCain who endangered the country he loves. And I don't know if it was sheer petulance on his part (my earlier guess) or Christopher Hitchens' guess, diminished mental ability:

Last week's so-called town-hall event showed Sen. John McCain to be someone suffering from an increasingly obvious and embarrassing deficit, both cognitive and physical. And the only public events that have so far featured his absurd choice of running mate have shown her to be a deceiving and unscrupulous woman utterly unversed in any of the needful political discourses but easily trained to utter preposterous lies and to appeal to the basest element of her audience. McCain occasionally remembers to stress matters like honor and to disown innuendoes and slanders, but this only makes him look both more senile and more cynical, since it cannot (can it?) be other than his wish and design that he has engaged a deputy who does the innuendoes and slanders for him.
Whatever is going on with McCain, it is increasingly clear that he should not be our president. Our hero, maybe, even now, but not our president.

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Blood Libel

Sunday, October 12, 2008 by Michael Reynolds

Let's rerun this sweet little snippet from Krauthammer:

I have little doubt that some, if not many, cases of malfeasance will emerge. But what we conveniently neglect is the fact that much of this crisis was brought upon us by the good intentions of good people.

For decades, starting with Jimmy Carter's Community Reinvestment Act of 1977, there has been bipartisan agreement to use government power to expand homeownership to people who had been shut out for economic reasons or, sometimes, because of racial and ethnic discrimination. What could be a more worthy cause? But it led to tremendous pressure on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- who in turn pressured banks and other lenders -- to extend mortgages to people who were borrowing over their heads. That's called subprime lending. It lies at the root of our current calamity.

The right wing has been at pains to prove that the economic meltdown is A) not the fault of the Republican president, the banks, the investment class, deregulation or the Fed, but is, rather, 2) the fault of poor black people.

From McClatchy:

Federal Reserve Board data show that:

_ More than 84 percent of the subprime mortgages in 2006 were issued by private lending institutions.

_ Private firms made nearly 83 percent of the subprime loans to low- and moderate-income borrowers that year.

_ Only one of the top 25 subprime lenders in 2006 was directly subject to the housing law that's being lambasted by conservative critics.

Trillions of dollars of suspect credit has been laid at the door of the working poor, and of course, working poor minorities. It's a lie. It's a Weimar-era lie. It's scapegoating the Jew er, the "minority."

It's a theme that seems to have started with Krauthammer, but has been eagerly embraced by the usual suspects. That people could convince themselves that a global economic meltdown involving tens of trillions of dollars could have been caused by working class mortgage holders -- and let's not ever forget the deliberate inclusion of the word "minority" in all these slanders -- points to the continued existence of racism as a living, malevolent force in American politics.

This modern blood libel is not only a lie, it is deliberate, knowing, and very dangerous lie. If we really are on the verge of a deep recession, or even a depression, it is vitally important to the right wing that some "other" become a designated scapegoat. They have pointed the finger at "minorities." That's not an accident.

It is equally vital that decent people, of all parties, not let that lie take hold.

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