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Robert Parry: founder of  His new book is called “Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush”.

Robert Dreyfuss: freelance investigative journalist whose work appears in The Nation, Rolling Stone, Mother Jones, The American Prospect, and other progressive publications.  His work also appears in the new blog "Dreyfuss Report".

Danny Schechter: television producer, independent filmmaker, blogger, and media critic who writes and lectures frequently about the media in the United States and worldwide. Check out his blog at

Mark Winston Griffith: community economic justice activist, journalist and Senior Fellow in Economic Justice at the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy.

Brad Friedman: self-described election integrity muckraking journalist jerk. You can read his blog at

If you would like to make a contribution in honor of Sarah Palin, here's the link to the Planned Parenthood website:

You'll need to fill in the address to let people know where to send the 'in Sarah Palin's honor' card. I suggest you use the address for the McCain campaign headquarters, which is:

1235 S. Clark Street
1st Floor
Arlington , VA 22202

Patty Sharaf: works as a Producer/Director as well as a sound engineer for network news, sports and entertainment.  Her latest film is “Murder? Spies & Voting Lies”.

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BushCo Bailout Bonanza!

So I woke up this morning, flipped on the tube, and there was our NeoCon-in-chief, trying to restore confidence in the markets.  Flanked by his E-Con team of Bernanke, Paulson and Cox, he announced a new episode in the Wall Street soap opera.  The plan is kinda fuzzy, but the bottom line isn't:  the federal government will assume responsibility for all the bad mortgages in our financial system, relieving a galaxy of irresponsible financial institutions of the knotty problems they created while the Republicans promoted their no-regulation no-enforcement policies the last 7+ years.

He lectured me that this is not the time to talk about how we got into this mess.  But if we don't look at the causes, then the workout plan will be based on the same philosophies and principles (sic) that led to the meltdown; likewise, I've heard no accurate estimate of the extent of the losses--so how prudent is it to write a blank check that could go as high as a trillion dollars.  Bush also warned that this unlimited corporate bailout should be fast-tracked through Congress without amendments--so taxpayers will be soaked to protect fat cats while Democratic efforts to throw a few bones to working families (unemployment extensions, food stamps, relief for high gas and heating oil prices) will be thwarted.

Well, there goes health care reform and universal coverage.  It's pretty clear that wars and Wall Street will choke the budgets for years to come, and if Obama wins, the Bush legacy will preclude the domestic initiatives that the campaign was about until a month ago.  As Naomi Klein has eloquently explained in Shock Doctrine, this is Disaster Capitalism in all its glory.  Can we get some of that great advice from the Chicago School, coupled with loans from the World Bank that require that we bust unions and open our markets?  I guess we already took care of those last two points.  Once again, while Tom Frank would argue that the "wrecking crew" has demolished the surplus and healthy economy Bush inherited, this is all consistent with the Grover Norquist plan to reduce the size of government and structurally prevent social spending by lowering taxes and and running it into the ground.

As Bono once said, "Fucking brilliant".

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McKeating 5

Thursday, John McCain, the small government maverick reformer guy, proposed a whole new agency to rescue America's bad loans from the good lenders who never imagined their hot paper would go up in smoke as Americans lose up to 40% of their home equities.  The "Mortgage and Financial Institutions Trust" which he acronym-ed as "MFI" but looks more like M-FIT or MisFit to me.

Deja vu: The Resolution Trust Corporation was created in the 1980's to take over all of the failed Savings and Loans, hand off the viable parts of the portfolios to a small group of industry insiders, then break up the rest, fire lots of employees and stick taxpayers with the bill in a lump sum.  It helped cover up embarrassing cases like Neil Bush and Silverado in Colorado, which cost us more than $2 billion and Neil kept the change.

Then there was McCain's pal from Phoenix, Charlie Keating, who gave lots of money to senators including McCain and 4 others, including Democrat Alan Cranston of California.  McCain was the most special of the 5, since his wife Cindy was a partner with Keating in a shopping center deal. The 5 got caught pressuring regulators to go easy on Keating, and were disciplined by the Senate.

Charlie Keating was originally from Cincinnati, and was a classmate of my father's in high school.  I went to the same school, and Keating donated an olympic sized indoor pool to the school.  He had an ego that size, and his son was a champion swimmer.  Charlie learned his tricks from Carl Lindner, a Cincinnati mogul who owns banks, a retail dairy chain, and Chiquita bananas.  He is a major Republican donor, which is a good investment in Ohio and has made him important to GOP leaders.

Lindner set Keating up with Lincoln Savings in California, and Keating moved to Phoenix to build a resort hotel called The Phonecian.  Steve Pizzo is co-author of "Inside Job", the definitive book about the S & L saga, and called Keating a financiopath.  The signature crime at Lincoln was the sale of junk bonds to the elderly in the lobby of an S & L, where they thought they were dealing with insured investments.  Keating kited millions of dollars scammed from little people, and gave some of it to Mother Theresa and some to John McCain.

So McCain, who opposed bailouts on Monday, by Thursday has whipped up a new mausoleum for financial crimes, bailing out corporate crimes and failures with tax dollars.

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Rep. Peter Welch: 1st term Democrat from Vermont At Large.  First elected in 2006.

Faiz Shakir: Research Director at The Center for American Progress and serves as Editor-in-Chief of

Caroline Fredrickson: director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington Legislative Office. As director, Fredrickson leads all federal lobbying for the national ACLU, the nation's oldest and largest civil liberties organization.

Scott Dick: regular contributor on Military/Vets issues. Dick hosts his own radio broadcast called The Scott Dick Show.

Free Speech Zone

R J Shulman: political satirist. You can read Shulman’s blog at

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Sean (heart) Sarah

Just watched Hannity's lovefest with Sarah Palin, and lost a $5 bet that Sean would drop the Bill Ayres bomb in the first installment.

It was billed as an exclusive interview with Hannity and Colmes, (credit to Al Franken for font selection) but milquetoast Alan was not even permitted to ask a question or two as time is running out, the usual protocol.  No it was all Sean, and he proved his love for Sarah by denouncing left wing smears and unspecified attacks from the Obama campaign, and setting her up to parrot GOP talking points.  No mention of troopers, bridges to nowhere, or anything remotely critical of the Palin package.

First Sean teed up McCain's repeated remarks that the economy is "fundamentally sound" and Palin dropped her prefab soundbite, that this was an unfair attack on McCain's verbiage, and that he was talking about the American workforce being sound.  No challenge from Hannity on a lie so obvious it drew a rebuke from the NY Times editorial page.  Palin slid into disingenuous calls to fight the "abuse" and "toxic waste" of Wall Street, and that John McCain will fix it with "stringent oversight".  No mention from either lover of McCain's intractable support of deregulation of every kind, and that his Senate Commerce Committee failed to provide ANY oversight as Wall Street ran wild.  And when she talks about the "old boys" in Washington, doesn't that include her Johnny?

Then Hannity accused Obama of exploiting the problems for political gain, and Palin decried "obsessive partisanship"--perhaps she meant "excessive".  As Hannity blamed Obama for the bailout of Freddie and Fannie, Palin fingered lobbyists (but not the dozens on the McCain campaign), cronyism (3 times) and that her brand of reform will put government regulatory agencies "back on the side of the people".  Hannity didn't bother to ask about her own patterns of cronyism as mayor and governor, or raise an eyebrow that a fellow republican would embrace government as a solution.  And isn't the troopergate investigation that she formerly welcomed an effort to expose cronyism that needs reform?

Next, Hannity got really tough and asked her why low taxes are good.  Another prefab bite;  "Barack Obama had 94 opportunities to be on the side of the people", but voted against tax cuts.  No mention that McCain had opposed some of the Bush tax cuts, too.

And Hannity, oblivious to all of the fact checking that shows Palin deserves the scrutiny she's gotten (and much more), talked about the heated campaign and that she has been the focus of "attacks".  Palin said the American people are getting down to the facts and "seein' through the rhetoric and cheap shots"
I hope she's right, guys and gals!

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Grover Virus Fells California

Now 81 days without a budget, just today I learned the cause of the stalemate in Sacramento:  we are the first to go swirling down the drain of Grover Norquist's bathtub.

John Laird, the Democrat who chairs the budget committee in the lower house, the Assembly, told me today that the reason the Republicans have held firm on their "no new taxes" pledge--even though it will cripple economic growth and education for years to come--is that all but one of the GOP in the Assembly have signed a pledge to reject all tax increase proposals, even from their own Governator.  And they all know that if they fall off the wagon they will be taken out at the next election; just like kindergarten, they make an example out of one guy, and it keeps the rest in line.

So, instead of some modest tax increases to close a $17-billion gap, we get a payday loan plan.  Starting January 1, the payroll withholding rate doubles (from 5 to 10%) but the tax rate doesn't go up.  For 2009 only (they say), every worker in California will loan the state a few bucks each paycheck, interest-free, creating a loan pool of about a billion dollars.  In April of 2010 (they say) they will refund the extra tax we paid.  Can you think of a more regressive tax?  In Grover's book, this is not a tax increase, it just feels like one.

Arnold has painted himself into a corner, one Dem said "he's a leader with no followers".  He broke his own pledge a few weeks ago and proposed a sales tax increase (only slightly less regressive) and could not get a single member of his party to support it.

And now Schwarzenegger is vetoing the stinky budget that passed by a veto-proof margin, further delaying the resumption of payments to millions of people, plus schools and nonprofits.  The squabble now is about the terms of a "rainy day fund" that is supposed to prevent budget gridlock in the future.

The Grover virus is most dangerous when it combines with the Jarvis strain of anti-tax radicals here in California.  They passed Prop 13 in the 1970's which limits property taxes, and are ruthless enforcers like the Norquist gang.  They use thuggish tactics and minority rule and they are winning.

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Eric Boehlert: Senior Fellow at Media Matters for America. He is the author of “Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush”.

John Laird: Assemblymember for the 27th Assembly District, which includes portions of Santa Cruz, Monterey and Santa Clara Counties. In 2004, Mr. Laird was named by Assembly Speaker Núñez to join the Assembly leadership team as chair of the Budget Committee.

Marjorie Cohn: president of the National Lawyers Guild and a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, where she teaches criminal law and procedure, evidence, and international human rights law.

David Cobb: an American activist and was the 2004 presidential candidate of the Green Party of the United States (GPUS).

Cliff Schecter: political commentator and journalist. His blog is called The Political Carnival. His latest book is called “The Real McCain: Why Conservatives Don’t Trust Him and Why Independents Shouldn’t”.

Tommy Panik: special report from Alaska

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Christopher Fettweis:  assistant professor of national security affairs at the U.S. Naval War College. Author of Losing Hurts Twice As Bad: The Four stages to Moving Beyond Iraq

David Cay Johnston: was an investigative journalist for The New York Times now focusing on the subject of taxation. He accepted a buyout offer from the Times in April 2008 and is now an independent reporter. He most recently published Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense and Stick You With The Bill, about hidden subsidies, rigged markets, and corporate socialism.

Lt. Gov John Garamendi: 46th Lieutenant Governor of California. He brings to the office 32 years of public service.

Jason Leopold: investigative journalist. He writes for the online publication The Public Record.

Melanie Sloan: serves as CREW’s Executive Director. Prior to starting CREW, she served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Columbia where, from 1998-2003, she successfully tried cases before dozens of judges and juries.

Free Speech Zone

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Adrian Levy: Adrian Levy is a journalist and film maker specializing in foreign affairs and South East Asia.

Patty Goldman: Vice President for Litigation of Earthjustice, leads the organization’s ten regional offices in developing and implementing effective legal strategies to protect the environment for future generations.

Cliff Schecter: political commentator and journalist. His blog is called The Political Carnival. His latest book is called “The Real McCain: Why Conservatives Don’t Trust Him and Why Independents Shouldn’t”.

Bob Borosage: president of the Institute for America’s Future and co-director of its sister organization, the Campaign for America’s Future.

Free Speech Zone

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Ari Melber is a great young reporter who covers Netroots for The Nation and is posting frequent dispatches from the Obama campaign trail at The Washington Independent (

)  His real-time account of the origins of the lipstick-on-pig faux controversy last week was priceless.

I'm cross-posting this item he's running today, based on his appearance on my show last Friday.  As he points out, I'm blessed with callers who are well informed and have interesting views.

(Beau, please paste in his post with this link

If you'd like to hear the segment with Ari, go here