Just a few years ago John McCain was one of the biggest advocates for deregulating our financial system. Today, with the stock market in ruin and financial institutions collapsing, John McCain is all of a sudden changing his philosophy. He now believes in government regulation! It’s as if he woke up one morning and saw the light. Nah, not really. It’s just election season and he knows that he’s on the wrong side of the issue, and has been his entire career in Congress.
Archive for September, 2008
The Republican Party is engaging in voter suppression in the swing states of Michigan and Ohio, as reported by two prominent newspapers. The first incident occurred in Ohio and was reported last week by the Cincinnati Inquirer:
About one-third of the absentee ballot applications received at the Hamilton County Board of Elections have been ruled invalid because Republican Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign printed a version of the form with an extra, unneeded box on it.
In a narrow interpretation of Ohio law, Democratic Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner says many of the McCain forms have not been completed properly. If the box stating the person is an eligible elector — or qualified voter – is not checked, Brunner said, the application is no good.
Even though the box is unneeded, by not checking it voters are essentially admitting they’re not eligible, Brunner said.
The result: nearly 1,000 ballot requests have been invalidated in Hamilton County, Ohio alone. The county election board will now have to contact tens of thousands of voters to correct the problem started by the McCain campaign when they sent out 1 million of the faulty forms. Voters will have to fill out a new form and hope that they receive and send their absentee ballots in time for Election Day on November 4.
Meanwhile in Michigan the Republican Party is planning on challenging voters going to the polls, according to the New York Times:
Last week the chairman of the G.O.P. in Macomb County, James Carabelli, was quoted in the online publican, the Michigan Messenger, as saying that the party planned to use foreclosure lists to stop voters who no longer have valid addresses from casting their ballots.
“We will have a list of foreclosed homes and will make sure people aren’t voting from those addresses,” Mr. Carabelli was quoted as saying, according to a Sept. 10 article in the Michigan Messenger.
The Democratic Party and the Obama campaign are now suing to prevent this illegal practice from occuring. Two months until Election Day and we are already seeing the Republican voter suppression machine in full force.
Today may go down in the history books as the start of the next Great Depression. The Dow Jones dropped over 500 points on Monday, September 15, 2008, marking the biggest drop since the 9/11 attacks. Over the weekend it was revealed that the investment bank Lehman Brothers would file for bankruptcy. Most people (including myself several months ago) had never heard of Lehman Brothers. It’s the fourth largest investment bank in the country. And while it sinking would otherwise be a big deal on Wall Street, it probably would not have much affect on Main Street.
That’s not true, though, because of the situation that the economy now faces. With the $613 billion in debt that Lehman Brothers will be protected from in bankruptcy, news broke that the third largest investment bank, Merrill Lynch, was also in trouble. Instead of filing bankruptcy they agreed to be bought out by Bank of America for $50 billion. The collapse of Lehman puts 25,000 people out of work in an economy that already has a 6.1% unemployment rate.
The blame lies in Washington and on Wall Street. President Bush and his administration enabled the mortgage crisis by letting Wall Street become the Wild West where an unregulated banking industry played by its own rules. The banks were giving loans, “sub-prime mortgages”, to people that either could not afford them based on their income or had bad credit. They gave them loans anyway and teased them with low interest rated, but the interest rates were variable and adjusted upwards eventually.
Meanwhile, the banks sold these mortgages to investment companies so when one of these people with these loans paid their mortgage, it wasn’t actually going to the bank – it was going to an investor. When the interest rates adjusted, millions of these loans defaulted and now the companies that put their money into them are waving around worthless pieces of paper. There was no government regulation at all of these schemes that resulted in massive exchanges of money, people losing their homes and investors being defrauded.
America under George Bush and the Republicans has become nothing but a way for large companies and powerful Wall Street executives to pass on risk to someone else while they cash in. Al Greenspan has called this a once in a century event. The economy is teetering on the brink of recession and while it is unpleasant to imagine, the reality is that the parallels to the Great Depression are too great to ignore. We have an out-of-touch president, a reckless group of thugs on Wall Street and millions of average Americans suffering, as usual. America, have you had enough?
A sad, sad display of how little experience Sarah Palin, John McCain’s choice for VP, has as a governor of Alaska for a year and a half. A heartbeat away from the presidency and this is the best the Republicans can offer?