Thursday, March 27, 2008

To the Red Queen

Oh, and while we're talking sheer craziness:

Today is the 4th anniversary of the first meeting of myself and the Red Queen, someday-to-be
Madame Meander.

We've weathered hurricanes, mass evacuations, and toxic exes (mine) and we never would have made it without her strength, honor, dignity, and laser focus. (I provided ongoing commentary and snacks.)

Let it be another twenty (or more). So mote it be, beloved.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Reign Of Witches

Something to remember when all is grey and grim:

Thomas Jefferson : " A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles. It is true that in the meantime we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war and long oppressions of enormous public debt...If the game runs sometime against us at home, we must have patience till luck turns, and then we shall have an opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost, for this is a game where principles are at stake. "

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A refresher course on the Keating Five

John McCain was one of five senators -- and the only one still in public life at all, let alone in the Senate -- who was alleged to have used his position and influence to intervene on behalf of a convicted felon.

A convicted felon paid for vacation trips for McCain's family, and McCain didn't reveal that until he was forced to do so.

The story:

In early 1987, at the beginning of his first Senate term, McCain attended two meetings with federal banking regulators to discuss an investigation into Lincoln Savings and Loan, an Irvine, Calif., thrift owned by Arizona developer Charles Keating. Federal auditors were investigating Keating's banking practices, and Keating, fearful that the government would seize his S&L, sought intervention from a number of U.S. senators.

At Keating's behest, four senators--McCain and Democrats Dennis DeConcini of Arizona, Alan Cranston of California, and John Glenn of Ohio--met with Ed Gray, chairman of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, on April 2. Those four senators and Sen. Don Riegle, D-Mich., attended a second meeting at Keating's behest on April 9 with bank regulators in San Francisco.

Regulators did not seize Lincoln Savings and Loan until two years later. The Lincoln bailout cost taxpayers $2.6 billion, making it the biggest of the S&L scandals. In addition, 17,000 Lincoln investors lost $190 million.

In November 1990, the Senate Ethics Committee launched an investigation into the meetings between the senators and the regulators. McCain, Cranston, DeConcini, Glenn, and Riegle became known as the Keating Five.

(Keating himself was convicted in January 1993 of 73 counts of wire and bankruptcy fraud and served more than four years in prison before his conviction was overturned. [In 1999], he pleaded guilty to four counts of fraud and was sentenced to time served.)

McCain defended his attendance at the meetings by saying Keating was a constituent and that Keating's development company, American Continental Corporation, was a major Arizona employer.

McCain said he wanted to know only whether Keating was being treated fairly and that he had not tried to influence the regulators. At the second meeting, McCain told the regulators, "I wouldn't want any special favors for them," and "I don't want any part of our conversation to be improper."

But Keating was more than a constituent to McCain--he was a longtime friend and associate. McCain met Keating in 1981 at a Navy League dinner in Arizona where McCain was the speaker. Keating was a former naval aviator himself, and the two men became friends. Keating raised money for McCain's two congressional campaigns in 1982 and 1984, and for McCain's 1986 Senate bid. By 1987, McCain campaigns had received $112,000 from Keating, his relatives, and his employees--the most received by any of the Keating Five. (Keating raised a total of $300,000 for the five senators.)

After McCain's election to the House in 1982, he and his family made at least nine trips at Keating's expense, three of which were to Keating's Bahamas retreat. McCain did not disclose the trips (as he was required to under House rules) until the scandal broke in 1989. At that point, he paid Keating $13,433 for the flights.

And in April 1986, one year before the meeting with the regulators, McCain's wife, Cindy, and her father invested $359,100 in a Keating strip mall.

A convicted felon paid for vacation trips for McCain's family, and McCain didn't reveal that until he was forced to do so.

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Future of gutter politics

Attaturk wrote : Now, if one person looks at the above and says, "now this is why we can't nominate Obama" come here and let me stick my metaphorical foot up your emblematic ass.

Nice. I'm saving this for the next troll attack over at Eschaton.

But regarding gutter politics and the anticapted sliming of Obama, for it will happen: I can't wait!

Obama's speech on Tuesday laid down the battlefield for the fight. The Thugs, and their courtiers and enablers will lay down as lowdown a political fight as any of us will have ever seen or may ever see again.

Let them. Let them expose their ugliness and their fear, because this is the end for those strategies. For decades now, divisive politics have been used to give the stupid far more leverage than they deserved - primarily because no-one wanted to go there; it's too ugly, too frightening, too painful.

I want us to rise above that ugliness and expose it to the light. I want us to face the fear. Fear is the mind-killer and it's nearly killed our society and our democracy. We can be better. Every poll out there now says that Americans want to be better.

Let do this thing.

Labels: , , , ,