Saturday, March 22, 2008

Obama Adviser Faults Bill Clinton Speech

The latest Clinton tactic is to paint Obama as unpatriotic. The reality is that they are no more unpatriotic people than the Clintons:

Former President Clinton is using divisive tactics and unfairly trying to question Barack Obama's patriotism, a retired general who has a prominent role in the Democrat's campaign said Saturday.

Merrill "Tony" McPeak said he was astonished and disappointed by recent comments Bill Clinton made while speculating about a general election between Obama's Democratic rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Republican John McCain.

Standing next to Obama on stage at a campaign stop in southern Oregon, the retired Air Force chief of staff repeated Bill Clinton's comments aloud to a silent audience.

The former president told a group of veterans Friday in Charlotte, N.C.: "I think it would be a great thing if we had an election year where you had two people who loved this country and were devoted to the interest of this country. And people could actually ask themselves who is right on these issues, instead of all this other stuff that always seems to intrude itself on our politics."

McPeak, a co-chairman of Obama's campaign, then said to his Oregon audience: "As one who for 37 years proudly wore the uniform of our country, I'm saddened to see a president employ these tactics. He of all people should know better because he was the target of exactly the same kind of tactics."

That apparently was a reference to Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign, when he was accused of dodging the Vietnam War draft.

For his part, Obama is right to question the truthfulness of an opponent that lies like she breathes:
Barack Obama's campaign, on the defensive for the past week, yesterday launched its most pointed assault yet on the character of rival Hillary Clinton, accusing her of routinely misleading voters for political gain.
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Obama's campaign, in a memo and conference call with reporters, asserted that Clinton had been untruthful about her foreign policy resume, her position on the North American Free Trade Agreement, her involvement in the 1993 passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act, and her views on the renegade primaries in Michigan and Florida.

Clinton's campaign responded swiftly that Obama was in "political hot water given the news stories of the last few weeks and is desperate to change the subject." The Illinois senator has been dogged in recent days by his long association with a controversial Chicago pastor and tried to defuse the issue with a widely viewed speech Tuesday on race relations.

Obama's attack, the latest salvo in the two senators' increasingly acrimonious nomination fight, rounded up a number of earlier criticisms into a broad critique of Clinton's trustworthiness and her prospects in the fall against Senator John McCain, the presumptive GOP nominee.

"The American people are simply not going to elect someone they think is not being honest and trustworthy," said Obama's campaign manager, David Plouffe, pointing to what he called a "character gap" revealed in a new Gallup poll, which found that 53 percent of voters do not perceive Clinton as "honest and trustworthy," while more than 60 percent believe both Obama and McCain are.

"She would be a deeply flawed nominee," Plouffe said.

Paul Krugman: Partying Like It’s 1929

Paul Krugman is an economist. He also knows his history and what happens when you ignore it. I know my history. But America has forgotten. Just as we forgot about Vietnam, and are repeating the same mistake in Iraq, so are we repeating the mistakes of the 1920s:

But what we should be asking is: How did we get here?

Why does the financial system need salvation?

Why do mild-mannered economists have to become superheroes?

The answer, at a fundamental level, is that we’re paying the price for willful amnesia. We chose to forget what happened in the 1930s — and having refused to learn from history, we’re repeating it.

Contrary to popular belief, the stock market crash of 1929 wasn’t the defining moment of the Great Depression. What turned an ordinary recession into a civilization-threatening slump was the wave of bank runs that swept across America in 1930 and 1931.

This banking crisis of the 1930s showed that unregulated, unsupervised financial markets can all too easily suffer catastrophic failure.

As the decades passed, however, that lesson was forgotten — and now we’re relearning it, the hard way.

But the root of the problem is debt. We are drowning in debt. For a long time that debt was profitable for the lenders. But the free ride is over. An economic system that runs on debt is one headed for disaster. We have a disaster on our hands:
If the subprime mortgage mess has taught us anything, it is that we are leverage addicts. Nearly all of us are -- from Northern Virginia, where we bought big houses with no money down, to Wall Street, where traders borrowed cash to make bigger bets on the housing market.

Seeing Zero Percent Interest Until Next Year! on envelopes causes us to tear them open, find the Web address, enter some information and send new credit cards hurtling toward our mailboxes. Financing cars for three years is so passe; we finance them for six or seven. And now we buy -- or used to buy -- houses with pick-your-payment mortgages. We are leveraged from here to China. U.S. consumers spend more than 14 percent of their after-tax income just to stay current on household debt.

The question worth asking now is: Why do we love leverage so much that it hurts?

The simple answer, according to personal finance experts, is that we want more -- more money, more house, more car, just more, more, more. We often think we deserve more. Leverage gets us more. With historically low interest rates, leverage is the easiest and quickest tool to get more stuff.

The problem is that too much leverage has a downside that is easy to overlook. When everyone else is using leverage so successfully to get more, do we wonder what will happen if interest rates go up? Not so much.

Cheney, Saudis Discuss Oil, Security

You can bet that none of those discussions have anything to do with anything that is good for the American people. More like keeping oil prices high and starting more wars:

Vice President Dick Cheney wrapped up his visit to Saudi Arabia on Saturday after private talks with King Abdullah on stabilizing the volatile energy market.

It was not immediately clear whether Cheney asked the Saudi leader to increase oil production to hold down rising gasoline prices.

Cheney spent a little more than an hour in discussions Friday with the king at his horse farm on the outskirts of Riyadh. The vice president also spent one-half hour with the petroleum minister before a 3 1/2 hour dinner with the king. They discussed Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Mideast peace process and the energy markets.

Later Saturday, Cheney planned to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem. The vice president's schedule for Easter Sunday included a church service and talks in the West Bank with the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas.

Democrats Call for HUD Chief's Resignation

This has to be the most corrupt department in the White House. Stories of pervasive corruption in HUD has gone back to the Reagan days. Time to abolish this agency:

Two Democratic senators said Friday that Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson, buffeted by allegations of cronyism and favoritism, should resign.

Sens. Patty Murray of Washington state and Christopher Dodd of Connecticut said that Jackson's problems represented a "worsening distraction" at HUD at a time when the nation needs a credible housing secretary who is beyond suspicion.

"It is time for Secretary Jackson to go," Murray said.

Murray chairs a Senate Appropriations subcommittee on housing, while Dodd is chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. The pair sent a letter to President Bush urging him to request Jackson's resignation.

Jackson has refused to answer questions about his role in a Philadelphia redevelopment deal. The city's housing authority has filed a lawsuit charging that Jackson tried to punish the agency for nixing a deal involving music-producer-turned-developer Kenny Gamble, a friend of Jackson.