Daily Flog: Panic spreads to McCain; White House meeting will solve everything; the world sneers

You can't spell "down" without "Dow."

The only good thing about this morning's scheduled meltdown meeting of George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and John McCain is that it confirms that Bush will not be president for much longer — he's actually hosting his successors in the White House.

Otherwise, what the hell are these guys doing? This is not democracy.

Neither Obama nor McCain has won the presidency yet, and Bush is the lame duck. Even if Bush were capable, it's not in our interest for the three of them to reach a consensus unless it's conducted in a democratic process as a publicly hashed-out and argued bit of horse-trading (I'm not talking about a debate). Even then it wouldn't be democratic because we haven't elected any of these three guys to lead the country starting in January 2009.

Besides, you can hardly call this a meeting of the minds if one of the participants is Bush. The mindless, careless, disinterested front man hasn't been running the country — Dick Cheney has, with the help of three guys formerly on our payroll: Karl Rove, Don Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz.

Democracy is what's going on in Congress right now: messy, contentious, and often ugly, with alliances shifting and factions of Democrats and Republicans forming with each other and dissolving, instead of a strictly bipartisan war in which Republicans march in lockstep at the White House's bidding.

Democracy is also messy, ugly episodes like the Bonus Army, the economy-ravaged, broke World War I vets who camped out in protest in D.C. and clashed with the Army in 1932, during Depression I.

Is a Wall Street Executive Bonus army forming? Or is the government worried about the broke-ass rest of us descending on D.C.? The Register (U.K.) reports this morning, based on an Army Times story: "US Army unit deployed to home front: Nonlethal force for civil unrest." (For background on the grim 1932 clash, see NPR's 2005 video and story "Soldier Against Soldier: The Story of the Bonus Army.")

Still, there may be no need to rush into a massive bailout — as Press Clips reader John McGowan argues in a detailed comment attached to my Tuesday item "Krauts Sour on Wall Street Bailout."

Don't pay much attention to Bush's speech last night. He doesn't know shit about the economy — even with his daddy's help he couldn't make it in the oil bidness, and he became the Texas Rangers' owner without investing hardly any money at all. (The real owners brought him in so they could pimp for a new stadium at public expense, a previous example of his pimping for corporate welfare).

Now, he's performing as the front man for the GOP/Wall Street types who hunger for a quick dose of corporate welfare at our expense through a plan that would throw the rest of us onto the welfare rolls.

Yes, there is definitely pressure on the U.S. from other countries to be quick about a bailout plan ("Overnight Markets," Financial Times).

Although maybe there's not as much pressure from other countries as Hank Paulson and crew would have us believe: See this morning's Washington Post story "U.S. Appeals Abroad Fall Flat as Leaders See No Crisis at Home."

Still, there's no doubt that something does have to be done quickly, but maybe it doesn't have to be an entire, massive bailout right this second. Aren't there more intermediate steps that could calm things down without putting the average American in deeper hock for the unimaginable future?

But in this country, there's always such a rush by lobbyists that all important issues can't be fully hashed out. Remember that during the hubbub leading to the disastrous October 2002 Iraq war resolution, debate was sharply curtailed on the orders of the White House and the GOP leaders who controlled Congress.

And after the unjustified invasion, Democrats like Henry Waxman and Byron Dorgan were prevented from conducting hearings on how the Cheney-Rumsfeld regime was conducting the war. (See my April 2005 item "Fix Your Corrupt Regime" for details.)

Just one of many examples: In February 2005, Waxman pushed for a hearing on allegations of "waste, fraud and abuse in U.S. Government Contracting in Iraq." He was rebuffed and had to hold an unofficial hearing that, even though it revealed fascinating and major corruption including actual bundles of cash, had no official standing and, as a result, garnered little press coverage.

And now there's a real danger of another invasion: the possibility of a GOP-engineered October Surprise involving Pakistan that could scare voters into sticking with the Republicans and electing McCain. Scott Horton laid that out in Harper's the other day.

For guidance, however, look to the markets — the one stock exchange that hasn't yet melted down and isn't asking for a bailout: Intrade Prediction Market, where the current action on John Delaney's sophisticated and clever operation shows that the betting favors Obama.

I wrote about Intrade during the Paul Wolfowitz and Scooter Libby meltdowns, but because our site is screwed up you may not be able to find those items. So here they are:

"Wolfowitz Out? Bet On It." (May 7, 2007)
"Wolfie's Stock Soars" (May 8, 2007)
" 'You're a Criminal!' " (June 6, 2007)

And now here's a collection of today's links from all over . . .

NO PARTICULAR ORDER:

McClatchy: 'Election officials telling college students they can't vote'

BBC: 'US rivals in economy crisis talks'

N.Y. Daily News: 'Naked man falls to his death after Tasered by cops in Brooklyn standoff'

Slate: 'Is Paulson's bailout bill unconstitutional?'

Dawn (Pakistan): 'We’re in a state of war: Asif'

N.Y. Times: 'Bush Aides Linked to Talks on Interrogations'

N.Y. Post: 'WALL STREET WHIZZES LOOK TO HEAD WEST'

BBC: 'What would financial Armageddon look like?'

N.Y. Daily News: 'This loss to Brewers could strand Mets in October'

N.Y. Post: 'PLAY TRIPPER: PAUL'S GAL SKIPS MTA VOTE FOR HIS ISRAEL JAUNT'

BBC: 'Q&A: US $700bn bail-out plan'

BBC: 'Japan offers solution to financial crisis'

Financial Times: 'Bail-out fears hit credit markets'

Financial Times: 'Banking after the bail-out'

Financial Times: 'Bail-out cost ‘impossible’ to estimate'

AME Info (Dubai): 'Jordan poised to enter nuclear age'

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