(Hat tip: Hot Air)
Welcome! My Blog focuses on security and political news, current events, and technology happenings.
I think Reid fears more than just the idea that McCain will “risk injecting presidential politics into this process or distract important talks about the future of our nation’s economy.” What Reid fears is that McCain will return to lead the Republican effort to reach a compromise, and the Senate and House GOP will let him do it. If McCain takes ownership of the bailout effort and manages to get his suggestions on limiting executive compensation and so on as part of the finished product, he will be able to trot McCain-Dodd on the campaign trail as yet another reform he’s accomplished by working across the aisle. And in a time of crisis, no less.
And what will Obama be able to say? He gave a couple of speeches and raised cash for himself while McCain went to work for the nation.
If that’s what McCain and the Republicans have in mind, this could be the coup of the entire campaign. While Obama went out and sucked up to fundraisers, McCain built the bipartisan compromise that saved the American financial system. If he succeeds, McCain will have trumped Obama on what should have been the Democrats’ best issue.
Tomorrow, Ahmadinejad will come to New York. On our soil, he will exercise the right of freedom of speech — a right he denies his own people. He will share his hateful agenda with the world. Our task is to focus the world on what can be done to stop him.
We must rally the world to press for truly tough sanctions at the U.N. or with our allies if Iran's allies continue to block action in the U.N. We must start with restrictions on Iran's refined petroleum imports.
We must reduce our dependency on foreign oil to weaken Iran's economic influence.
We must target the regime's assets abroad; bank accounts, investments, and trading partners.
President Ahmadinejad should be held accountable for inciting genocide, a crime under international law.
We must sanction Iran's Central Bank and the Revolutionary Guard Corps — which no one should doubt is a terrorist organization.
Together, we can stop Iran's nuclear program.
Senator McCain has made a solemn commitment that I strongly endorse: Never again will we risk another Holocaust. And this is not a wish, a request, or a plea to Israel's enemies. This is a promise that the United States and Israel will honor, against any enemy who cares to test us. It is John McCain's promise and it is my promise.
U.S. to Take Over AIG in $85 Billion Bailout
The U.S. government seized control of American International Group Inc. -- one of the world's biggest insurers -- in an $85 billion deal that signaled the intensity of its concerns about the danger a collapse could pose to the financial system.
The step marks a dramatic turnabout for the federal government, which had been strongly resisting overtures from AIG for an emergency loan or some intervention that would prevent the insurer from falling into bankruptcy. Just last weekend, the government essentially pulled the plug on Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., allowing the big investment bank to go under instead of giving it financial support. This time, the government decided AIG truly was too big to fail.
The U.S. negotiators drove a hard bargain. Under terms hammered out Tuesday night, the Fed will lend up to $85 billion to AIG, and the U.S. government will effectively get a 79.9% equity stake in the insurer in the form of warrants called equity participation notes. The two-year loan will carry an interest rate of Libor plus 8.5 percentage points. (Libor, the London interbank offered rate, is a common short-term lending benchmark.)
The loan is secured by AIG's assets, including its profitable insurance businesses, giving the Fed some protection even if markets continue to sink. And if AIG rebounds, taxpayers could reap a big profit through the government's equity stake.
"This loan will facilitate a process under which AIG will sell certain of its businesses in an orderly manner, with the least possible disruption to the overall economy," the Fed said in a statement.
It puts the government in control of a private insurer -- a historic development, particularly considering that AIG isn't directly regulated by the federal government. The Fed took the highly unusual step using legal authority granted in the Federal Reserve Act, which allows it to lend to nonbanks under "unusual and exigent" circumstances, something it invoked when Bear Stearns Cos. was rescued in March.
As part of the deal, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson insisted that AIG's chief executive, Robert Willumstad, step aside. Mr. Paulson personally told Mr. Willumstad the news in a phone call on Tuesday, according to a person familiar with the call.
Glenn Reynolds takes a close look at Barack Obama’s response to Amir Taheri and doesn’t see any daylight between them. Yesterday, Taheri accused Obama of attempting to derail a status-of-forces agreement between the US and Iraq by telling the Iraqis to wait until after the American elections and stop negotiating with the Bush administration. Obama responded by essentially confirming Taheri’s account:
In the New York Post, conservative Iranian-born columnist Amir Taheri quoted Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari as saying the Democrat made the demand when he visited Baghdad in July, while publicly demanding an early withdrawal.
“He asked why we were not prepared to delay an agreement until after the US elections and the formation of a new administration in Washington,” Zebari said in an interview, according to Taheri.
“However, as an Iraqi, I prefer to have a security agreement that regulates the activities of foreign troops, rather than keeping the matter open,” Zebari reportedly said. …
Obama’s national security spokeswoman Wendy Morigi said Taheri’s article bore “as much resemblance to the truth as a McCain campaign commercial.”
In fact, Obama had told the Iraqis that they should not rush through a “Strategic Framework Agreement” governing the future of US forces until after President George W. Bush leaves office, she said.
Which is exactly what Taheri wrote. Barack Obama went to Iraq and interfered with the diplomatic efforts of the elected United States government, in a war zone no less, by telling the Iraqis to stop negotiating with the President. How exactly does that make Taheri’s column untruthful?It wasn’t enough for Obama to fail at forcing the nation into a defeat in Iraq when he opposed the surge. Now he has interfered with our efforts to stabilize Iraq and provide for its security after the surge succeeded in keeping Iraq from falling into a failed state.
On one hand, way to go Paulson. The United States Treasury is not a backstop for stupid business decisions. While this of letting Lehman tank will be painful, it's the only way all the rest of the banks are going to get their affairs in order - which they are doing right now, very expediently, quietly, and after they change their pants. And yet, out of the other side of their mouth, the treasury is stepping up lending to financial institutions to calm the markets. There must be some bitter infighting about how to handle this thing. Who's driving this bus?!
Crisis on Wall Street as Lehman Totters, Merrill Is Sold, AIG Seeks to Raise Cash
Fed Will Expand Its Lending Arsenal in a Bid to Calm Markets;
Moves Cap a Momentous Weekend for American Finance
By CARRICK MOLLENKAMP, SUSANNE CRAIG, SERENA NG and AARON LUCCHETTI
September 15, 2008 7:57 a.m.
NEW YORK -- The American financial system was shaken to its core on Sunday. Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. said it would file for bankruptcy protection, and Merrill Lynch & Co. agreed to be sold to Bank of America Corp.
It was a gut-wrenching weekend for Wall Street, with Lehman Brothers headed toward possible liquidation, Merrill Lynch about to be taken over and AIG facing shareholder wrath. WSJ's Dennis Berman and Matthew Karnitschnig look at what's ahead.
The U.S. government, which bailed out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac a week ago and orchestrated the sale of Bear Stearns Cos. to J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. in March, played much tougher with Lehman. It refused to provide a financial backstop to potential buyers. Without such support, Barclays PLC and Bank of America, the two most interested buyers, walked away. Barclays said Monday it pulled out of the potential deal after deciding it wasn't in the best interest of shareholders.
Two more Navy SEALs from an extraordinarily elite and supersecret counterterrorism unit have been killed in Afghanistan, following the death two weeks ago of a SEAL from the same clandestine unit.
Details were - not surprisingly - vague. There is no direct evidence they died fighting in the new CIA-led offensive against Al Qaeda and the Taliban along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. But their loss in Afghanistan is certainly significant and a real blow to their fellow operators in the Joint Special Operations Command, which includes the Army’s Delta Force.
The two SEALs were killed September 11 somewhere “in Afghanistan,” according to military press releases, and were part of the shadowy Naval Special Warfare Development Group, the elite counterterrorism force once known as SEAL Team 6. Typically, the military identifies which Afghan town, district, city or province where American troops perish. But for the third time since August 30, when Petty Officer 1st Class Joshua Thomas Harris, a Bronze Star recipient, was reported killed after being swept away during a combat river crossing, the precise location of the latest “DEVGRU” combat casualties is unknown.
Killed last week were Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator John Wayne Marcum, 34, and Chief (select) Special Warfare Operator Jason Richard Freiwald, 30, the Navy said. Each man had served in Iraq and Afghanistan and was a highly decorated SEAL. Before Harris, no DEVGRU SEAL had fallen in Afghanistan since March 2002, according to a review of Operation Enduring Freedom deaths at iCasualties.org.
Marcum earned four Bronze Star medals with the combat “V” distinguishing device, as well as the Joint Service Commendation medal, four Combat Action ribbons and a chestful of other decorations in his career. The younger Freiwald had also earned a Bronze Star and Combat Action ribbon, the Navy said.
Sadly, both SEALs leave behind a wife and daughter. The Naval Special Warfare Foundation, which accepts donations, will likely provide support for each family.
Via Of Arms and the Law:
Chicago's handgun ban seems functioning as expected: 125 homicides over the summer, more than the KIAs in Iraq. Glenn Reynolds suggests that with escalating violence and a corrupt regime, maybe we should just pull out of Chicago.
Given all of her enemies among the state party establishment, how is it these various and sundry nefarious scandals haven’t already emerged?Here's more:
What does the media have to show for all these breathless scandals they’ve dug up? We found out her daughter’s pregnant, but McCain probably knew about that in advance; in any case, the base has rallied around her in the aftermath and independents are unlikely to care two months down the road. We found out she was once a member of the Alaska Independence Party — except that, er, she wasn’t, and as Smith notes, it’s not nearly as fringe a party as one might think. We found out Todd Palin had a DUI back when Wham! was still together. We found out she flip-flopped on the bridge to nowhere, which would sting if not for the fact that she flip-flopped in the right direction and ended up torpedoing it. We found out she requested earmarks as mayor of Wasilla in the fine tradition of The One, who also claims to stand for “Change.” We found out she hopes God approves of what our soldiers are doing overseas. And as to the one big story that’s cooking, Troopergate, we found out nothing: She has a private lawyer now and the Democrat in charge of the investigation is trying hard to make Republicans panic, but like the Bristol Palin news, this is one thing McCain probably did vet thoroughly given the stakes.Oh, and have you heard she shoots?