Rahm Emanuel, briefly

Doubtless, others well versed in the intricacies of the Cook County/Chicago Machine can better elucidate just how indebted President-elect Obama is to the selfsame organization against which he purportedly fought in his days a community organizer. However, friend to Mr. Obama or not, Rahm Emanuel’s selection as chief of staff should remind us immediately of this debt. (So, too, of course, should Mr. Obama’s unsavory connections with Mr. Rezko.)

Beyond because of this, though, the selection of Emanuel should trouble us for multifarious reasons and further convince us that we have not, in fact, voted for change. During the Persian Gulf War, Mr. Emanuel volunteered as a civilian in the Israeli Defense Forces; it’s hard to believe that President Obama, already servile to AIPAC, could be expected to cease the unnecessary provocation in the Middle East whilst being supported by someone such as Mr Emanuel.

I recall, some years ago, hearing a dear Jewish friend, who actually worked in Emanuel’s office for a time, raving about the man; I still remember the dread in my feeling when I realized what a “centrist” the man is, particularly upon reading of his support for NAFTA and “free” trade. Sounds like re-enforcement of Barack Obama’s neo-liberal tendencies. “Socialist”? How risible!
Then we have this.

It’s time for a real Patriot Act that brings out the patriot in all of us. We propose universal civilian service for every young American. Under this plan, All Americans between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five will be asked to serve their country by going through three months of basic training, civil defense preparation and community service. …

Here’s how it would work. Young people will know that between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five, the nation will enlist them for three months of civilian service. They’ll be asked to report for three months of basic civil defense training in their state or community, where they will learn what to do in the event of biochemical, nuclear or conventional attack; how to assist others in an evacuation; how to respond when a levee breaks or we’re hit by a natural disaster. These young people will be available to address their communities’ most pressing needs. [Thanks to Daniel at The Left Conservative for posting the link on Facebook.]

Are we regretting our vote yet? Perhaps the systemic failings that leave us with only Messrs. Obama and McCain from whom to choose?


House to vote on bailout today; please, God, let the Republicans show that they have a spine!

WASHINGTON — The House braced for a difficult vote set for Monday on a $700 billion rescue of the financial industry after a weekend of tense negotiations produced a plan that Congressional leaders portrayed as greatly strengthened by new taxpayer safeguards.

The 110-page bill, intended to ease a growing credit crisis, came after a frenzied week of political twists and turns that culminated in an agreement between the Bush administration and Congress early Sunday morning.

The measure still faced stiff resistance from Republican and Democratic lawmakers who portrayed it as a rush to economic judgment and an undeserved aid package for high-flying financiers who chased big profits through reckless investments.

The New York Times offers, albeit unintentionally, one more reason why Congress should not permit the tax-payers to provide support to the powers of economic centralization:

“Citigroup Buys Banking Operations of Wachovia”

Citigroup will acquire the banking operations of the Wachovia Corporation, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation said Monday morning, the latest bank to fall victim to the distressed mortgage market.

[. . .]

The sale would further concentrate Americans’ bank deposits in the hands of just three banks: Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup. Together, those three would be so large that they would dominate the industry, with unrivaled power to set prices for their loans and services. Given their size and reach, the institutions would probably come under greater scrutiny from federal regulators. Some small and midsize banks, already under pressure, might have little choice but to seek suitors.

[All emphasis mine. – Nathancontramundi]

Three banks absolutely dominate the banking industry and the sprawling Federal government finds (Constitutional t)reason to exercise even more power. Ladies and gentlemen, sharpen your pitchforks: The troops will be positioning themselves on native soil and our fearless leaders commit acts that may incite uprising, which the troop shall, doubtless, be prepared to defeat. God. Bless. America.

Update: President Bush admonishes Congress to support the bailout, as “difficult” as the vote may be.

Bush acknowledged that the vote will be “difficult” in the face of opposition from taxpayers and voters but necessary to protect the economy.

“A vote for this bill is a vote to prevent economic damage to you and your community” by stabilizing financial markets and renewing the flow of credit, Bush said, attempting to undercut arguments that the proposed legislation bolsters Wall Street at taxpayers’ expense. “This is a bold bill that will keep the crisis in our financial system from spreading through our economy.”

My own two cents: Part of the fundamental problem is that we incline, all too easily, to think in macroeconomic terms, of “the economy”, rather than of our myriad local and regional economies. Daniel noted, a few days ago, that “[s]mall banks are functioning and even thriving as deposits have started flooding into them, and credit from these banks does not seem as if it will be drying up.” I suspect that the owners of First Farmers Bank and Trust and the First National Bank of Monterey, back in North Judson, even if the woes of “the economy” have hit home (actually, at least as of May, they had, for the better), probably have much less to fear than the shareholders of Wachovia had. These small banks, which serve the people who know the owners and employees of the bank, which serve as an important life-blood for countless small businesses across the country, help to drive our economies; the “too big to fail” banks drive — or wreck, as it were –“the economy”. Our purportedly conservative president wishes to “secure the economy” (to employ the present defensive jargon), rather than to allow our economies to function naturally, without fear (Yes, I apologize, I’ve anthropomorphized things as abstract as the economies.) of disaster caused by intervention. This, Mr Bush, is decidedly un-conservative, as has been most of your presidency.

(Hat tip, on the internal occupation: John Schwenkler)

Palin’s war prayer

All over the web, Sarah Palin’s already infamous address to ministry students at her former church:

“Our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God,” she said. “That’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that plan is God’s plan.”

The first sentence, yes, troubles me immensely. However, the second, which appears to take on a subjunctive tone, seems, to me, partially to retract the Messianism exuding from the first. She suggests, toward the end, not that, as she first remarked, our Middle Eastern debacle is God’s will; rather, she implores her audience to pray that it is, that we have not, as a nation, acted against God. This hardly comforts me, is only trivially better than directly calling it God’s plan, as she first does; nonetheless, I think it leaves open the possibility that the Iraq War, in her eyes, isn’t necessarily God’s plan.

Truth be told, as much as I doubt it, for the sake of the souls of those who have perpetuated the Arabian absurdity, I hope that such prayers, that God might, even partially, approve, are answered on high in the affirmative.

Arm your-self: The government is coming to get you.

Courtesy of Will at The Reactionary Epicurean, this terrifying piece in on the Washington Times’ web-log.

According to this promotional video found at the Lamperd Less Lethal website, the bracelet would be worn by all airline passengers.

This bracelet would:

• take the place of an airline boarding pass

• contain personal information about the traveler

• be able to monitor the whereabouts of each passenger and his/her luggage

• shock the wearer on command, completely immobilizing him/her for several minutes

The Electronic ID Bracelet, as it’s referred to as, would be worn by every traveler “until they disembark the flight at their destination.” Yes, you read that correctly. Every airline passenger would be tracked by a government-funded GPS, containing personal, private and confidential information, and that it would shock the customer worse than an electronic dog collar if he/she got out of line?

Maybe we need a Twenty-eighth Amendment, one requiring that all Americans arm them-selves to the teeth in preparation for the impending theft of all liberty in the name of security.

Iraqi prime minister suggests time-table; immediately disappears into mysterious car, never again to be seen

Just kidding. I hope. In to-day’s Washington Post, Sudarsan Raghavan reports that

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has for the first time suggested establishing a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops, a step that the Bush administration has long opposed.

Maliki floated the idea on Monday during a visit to the United Arab Emirates, where he spoke with Arab ambassadors about a security pact being negotiated to determine the future role of U.S. troops in Iraq. The agreement would replace a U.N. mandate authorizing the presence of the troops, which is set to expire Dec. 31.

One should think that this might serve as a sign that we could start contemplating actually withdrawing our troops, rather than simply arguing disingenuously about such policy in political campaign speeches. However,

A U.S. Embassy official, speaking on condition of anonymity, downplayed Maliki’s comments, saying that he was not referring to a fixed timetable, but was speaking more generally to convey opposition to any large and long-term presence of troops or U.S. bases. The Bush administration has long said that a timetable could benefit insurgents or Iraq’s neighbors.

Allow the Iraqi people to control their own destiny? Heaven forfend.

A sign of end times?

As he often does, my roommate Dustin, home for lunch, tuned the big-screen to Maury. A most remarkable scenario, one almost disappointing to the sick type of person who enjoys such programming, arose.

Dawan is the father of a year-old son born to his ex-girlfriend. A young black man, certainly no more than twenty-years old, living with his parents still, Dawan is a exemplary father, quite the anomaly in a nation in which so many black children grow up without a father present. Though he and the child’s mother are no longer romantically involved, they remain good friends, and Dawan does all that he can to support the child whom he dearly loves.

The mother of the child brought Dawan on to national television to reveal a dark secret, one that has torn at her heart for some time, to him: Whilst they dated, she cheated on him, and her one-time partner may have, in fact, rather than Dawan, impregnated her. Though quite hurt, Dawan asserted that, biological father or not, he will continue to love and to support his child. He is, in fact, the father.

Most of the guests on the show were involved in “I know that tramp’s baby ain’t mine, he don’t look nothin’ like me; his feet are too small” cases. The mothers had brought the men on so that, despite these would-be fathers’ claims and wishes, DNA testing could prove the men wrong. This is much more typical daytime talk fare. But here we have Dawan, brought on because he might not be the child’s father, and he not only hopes that he is, but insists that the test’s results will change nothing.

Remarkable. Poor formula for successful trash television, but an amazing exception to a sad, sad rule.