So "Two for One" day continues on The Dead Zone...
First off, I'm trying to understand the full scope of what the Obama campaign is doing in Missouri. The claim is that they are using legal intimidation to silence anti-Obama sentiment, by having high-profile legal officials in the state join their "Truth Squad" and imply that legal action may be taken against people expressing their opinions of Obama. Here is a somewhat overheated video that I'm using because it uses the clearest combination of statements from those involved that I've found:
I'm not clear what exactly has been called for by the Obama campaign -- is this just a suggestion of legal action by people with the power to actually follow through, or has specific legal action been threatened (as they have against stations running the NRA ad, mentioned in the previous post)? If you have more info, please post in the comments.
Meantime, here is the Missouri Governor's statement on this, which unfortunately doesn't spell out exactly what is going on:
“St. Louis County Circuit Attorney Bob McCulloch, St. Louis City Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, Jefferson County Sheriff Glenn Boyer, and Obama and the leader of his Missouri campaign Senator Claire McCaskill have attached the stench of police state tactics to the Obama-Biden campaign.
“What Senator Obama and his helpers are doing is scandalous beyond words, the party that claims to be the party of Thomas Jefferson is abusing the justice system and offices of public trust to silence political criticism with threats of prosecution and criminal punishment.
“This abuse of the law for intimidation insults the most sacred principles and ideals of Jefferson. I can think of nothing more offensive to Jefferson’s thinking than using the power of the state to deprive Americans of their civil rights. The only conceivable purpose of Messrs. McCulloch, Obama and the others is to frighten people away from expressing themselves, to chill free and open debate, to suppress support and donations to conservative organizations targeted by this anti-civil rights, to strangle criticism of Mr. Obama, to suppress ads about his support of higher taxes, and to choke out criticism on television, radio, the Internet, blogs, e-mail and daily conversation about the election.
“Barack Obama needs to grow up. Leftist blogs and others in the press constantly say false things about me and my family. Usually, we ignore false and scurrilous accusations because the purveyors have no credibility. When necessary, we refute them. Enlisting Missouri law enforcement to intimidate people and kill free debate is reminiscent of the Sedition Acts - not a free society.”
As a free speech absolutist who has railed against the anti-free speech politics of both campaigns, if the McCain campaign does anything similar, I'll be all over that too. (If I've missed something along those lines, let me know.)
And now for something lighter...an explanation of the financial crisis! Well, a partial explanation. Here's a surprisingly watchable video explanation of at least some of what went wrong:
I said "partial explanation" -- the financial crisis is a very complex thing (way above my pay grade, for sure) and anyone pointing at just one source probably has a political agenda. Here are some pointers to the most thoughtful commenter on the crisis I'm aware of, economics expert Megan McArdle, a libertarian supporter of Obama who has some in-depth posts on this situation that I'm not quite sophisticated enough to follow. You should look at her recent posts in general, but here are a few key ones with excerpts:
• "Obama goes for the jungular [sic]"
This was not some criminal activity that the Bush administration should have been investigating more thoroughly; it was a thorough, massive, systemic mispricing of the risk attendant on lending to people with bad credit. (These are, mind you, the same people that five years ago the Democrats wanted to help enjoy the many booms of homeownership.) Lehman, Bear, Merrill and so forth did not sneakily lend these people money in the hope of putting one over on the American taxpayer while ruining their shareholders and getting the senior executives fired. They got it wrong. Badly wrong. So did everyone else.
What, specifically, should the Bush administration have done, Senator? Don't tell me they should have beefed up SEC enforcement, since this is not a criminal problem (aside from minor lies by Bear execs after the damage was already done). Perhaps he should not have reappointed Greenspan, or appointed Ben Bernanke? Both moves were widely hailed at the time. Moreover, to believe that a Democrat could have done better is to assert that a Democratic president would have found a Fed chair who would pay less attention to unemployment, or a bank regulator who would have tried harder to prevent low-income people from buying homes. Where is this noble creature? And why didn't Barack Obama push for him at the time?
I'm seeing commenters claim that the housing crisis is really all about the Democrats making lenders lend money to poor people.
The data doesn't track you. The legislative pushes to expand lending to the poor do not match very well the subprime crisis, either in time or scope. Probably they contributed somewhat, but at best only slightly.
• What should Bush have done
There are a whole lot of Democrats in the comments to this post who know that Bush could have and should have stopped this bubble. They don't know what he could have done, exactly; they're not tricksy bankers. But they've read, like, one and a half whole articles on the subject, so they're sure that this is the fault of Republican ideology.
I'm so glad that I'm voting with the reality based community this time around.
I interrupt this post to note that thanks to Bill Clinton, millions of people have died of cancer in the last ten years. It seems to me that if he cared, he could have funded research that would have cured cancer. What research? I don't know, I'm not a damn doctor. All I know is, a lot of people are dying of cancer.
• Perhaps her most insightful post of all, which we should all keep in mind: Thought for the day
Isn't it marvelous how the financial crisis has been caused entirely by things that you were opposed to before the crisis happened?