Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Pre-debate roundup

1. Wow, in the past couple days, the McCain campaign has really devolved into some kind of perverse Rovian self-parody.

Yesterday, McCain gave a simply odious speech, full of lies and hypocrisy, that included thinly veiled winks at Barack Obama's "foreign" background, part of which elicited an embarassing response from the audience.

Near the end of his vitriolic speech, after McCain asked "Who is the real Barack Obama?", some guy yelled out "Terrorist!". Here's the clip:

McCain may protest that this kind of outburst had nothing to do with his speech. That he was only asking legitimate questions about Obama's plan for America. But it would be an empty defense. Starting with Palin's claims of Obama "palling around with terrorists" (without naming Bill Ayers), and continuing with McCain's mention of illegal Palestinian donations to Obama's campaign, I believe there is a subtle but obvious strategy at work here to associate Obama not only with Bill Ayers but with more contemporary terrorists.

There is no need to be explicit. Just subtley plant the seeds of doubt in voters' minds that Obama cannot be trusted to lead the country. It's pretty disgusting, and we'll no doubt see a lot more of it in the coming days.

Glenn Greenwald has more:

In the last two months of this election -- as the Bush administration winds down as the most unpopular in modern American history and the Right is on the verge of a desperately-needed collective death -- we see a perfect microcosm of what our country has been over the last eight years. The financial crisis is spreading, accelerating, and morphing across the globe in unpredictable ways. The economic anxiety levels are as high as one can recall, teetering on panic, and even the Wall St. Journal Editorial Page is acknowledging that America's days of economic dominance are over. The national debt is over a staggering $10 trillion and has doubled in the last 8 years alone. And the symbols of our nation have become gulags, the waterboard, an endless stream of bombs and occupations, and people imprisoned forever with no charges of any kind.

And as these flames engulf America's foundations, what is the Right doing -- the movement that brought us all of this through their virtually absolute control of our Government for the last eight years? They're spending all their time chattering with each other about an aging 1960s radical and giddily cheering the increasingly repellent Sarah Palin as she skips around the country in front of rambunctiously booing right-wing crowds accusing Barack Obama of palling around with The Terrorists and pointing out that he doesn't see America the way all the Normal, Good Americans do. For the last eight years, the opponents of the Right have been America-hating Terrorists and they still are.

And just now, John McCain -- speaking in New Mexico -- delivered one of the ugliest, nastiest, most invective-filled personality attacks a major candidate has ever delivered, blatantly designed to stoke raw racial resentments and depict Obama as a Manchurian candidate funded by secret Arab Terrorist sources.

2. I voted yesterday, and I felt good doing it. I can't understand why so many young people fail to show up at the polls. It takes only five minutes, and you can walk away with the knowledge that you had some say in the future of your country. Men died so that you could have this privilege. Don't miss out on it.

3. Iron Man was pretty awesome, but when I stick the Blu-ray into my PS3 the other day, I'm greeted with this loading screen. After it's stuck on this for several minutes, I start pushing buttons, and after much trial and error and growing consternation, I am finally able to get the movie to play. Whose bright idea was this? What the hell good is this internet stuff anyway? I'm just trying to watch the fucking movie.

4. This is is a very good primer on CDS, or "credit default swaps". They are basically insurance contracts for firms that purchase risky mortgage securities, but since they called them swaps instead of insurance, they didn't have to be regulated. And since they weren't regulated, the insurers were not required to hold sufficient capital to cover the risk.

Watch CBS Videos Online

Nice, huh? What a bunch of geniuses.

(h/t Balloon Juice)

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