Daily Flog: Future mortgaged; balloon payment due; either Obama, McCain on hook

Obama's stock keeps rising on the InTrade prediction market. This morning, he's trading at 89.7, up 1.2, while McCain's trading at 11, down 1.2. Think of it as percentages — nearly 90 percent of hundreds of thousands of predictors trading over a million shares see an Obama victory.

But no matter what happens tomorrow, at least one of them will take over for George W. Bush, whose disinterested moronism is the last thing the planet needs to combat the financial crisis.

Ill-prepared for his responsibilities, Bush mortgaged our future, and now we're facing the balloon payment.

The latest of many Bush gaffes occurred last month, according to reports out of Australia and the U.K.

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Passing without much notice in the U.S. press was this Bush blunder, according to the Times (U.K.) — which incidentally is a Murdoch paper:

'Australian PM under fire over alleged Bush gaffe leak'

A conversation between the Australian Prime Minister [Kevin Rudd] and out-going US president George W. Bush has threatened to turn into a diplomatic row between the two countries, after details of the private chat were leaked to the Australian media.

During a pre-arranged phone call between the two leaders, held during a dinner party at the Prime Minister's Sydney residence on the evening of October 10, Mr Bush and Mr Rudd discussed the G-7 plan for a co-ordinated response to the world financial markets crisis.

As Mr Rudd argued plans to resolve the global financial turmoil should include Asian countries and should therefore be discussed at a summit of the broader G-20 grouping, Mr Bush asked the Australian leader: "What's the G-20?", according to The Australian newspaper.

The details of the conversation have since been denied by both leaders. However foreign diplomatic sources told Sydney's Sunday Telegraph newspaper that their Washington counterparts were "gobsmacked" at the leak of details of such a phone call.

You can't spell "dumb" without "duh" (except for the "h").

Neither McCain nor Obama is that stupid. In fact, Bush will go down in history as the country's dumbest, most unaware president.

Hoover was smart; Washington and Eisenhower were generals; Truman and Harding were adept local pols; Reagan was an actor, but he had been immersed in Hollywood politics in the '40s, which counted for something. Bush was none of that, just a rich, unsuccessful kid. At least he could have displayed some noblesse oblige, but he didn't have one iota of that. The people around him were smart enough to take advantage of his inadequacies and push their own agendas. And the rest was hysteria.

Thanks in large part to de facto U.S. CEO Dick Cheney — for details, see David Bromwich's New York Review of Books piece "The Co-President."

Exactly how did we get to this situation? I dare the Bush people to release Bush's daily diary — dare them. Take a look at Harry Truman's diary, or Ike's or any other president's.

We'll never see anything but a heavily bowdlerized version of Bush's. And if we do, it will have been written by his staff. The odds are that Bush himself, unlike other presidents, didn't even keep a daily diary.

Once things settle down after tomorrow's vote, check out snippets of Truman's diary or LBJ's diary. You'll see some warts, but at least there's substance.

We can only hope that Bush's handlers were as paranoid as Nixon and thus bugged the Oval Office — not that we'll ever get our hands on any Bush tapes.

After that last lick at Bush — OK, maybe it won't be the last, because his list of pardons is sure to be as astonishing as Clinton's — it's time to move on to other topics . . .


N.Y. Daily News: 'Mortgage borrowers warned of more woe'

Bloomberg: 'Congo Rebels Warn Government Will Fall If No Talks'


Slate: 'Stock Surge Sweeps Asia'

Reuters: 'UK's Brown seeks Saudi cash in latest crisis salvo'

Wall Street Journal: 'China Journal: A Rare and Violent Strike Among Cabbies'

Jewish Daily Forward: 'Gruesome Scenes From the Poultry Line Are a Sign of Agriprocessors' Troubles'

Guardian (U.K.): 'Brown confident of Middle East cash for bail-out fund'
"Gordon Brown yesterday said he felt confident that he has successfully enlisted the help of Gulf states for international plans for an emergency bail-out fund, with both Qatar and Saudi Arabia indicating they will offer funds when leaders of the 20 most developed countries meet in Washington in a fortnight.

"As the prime minister arrived in Qatar on the second leg of his whistlestop Gulf tour last night, the Qataris hinted they would contribute money to an International Monetary Fund bail-out fund — being billed as a 'new Bretton Woods' after the initiative of 1944 — the details of which will be thrashed out in Washington on November 15."

New Yorker: 'The Test' (Steve Coll)
"The accumulating failures in the country's health-care system are a cause of profound weakness in the American economy; unaddressed, this weakness will exacerbate the coming recession and crimp its aftermath . . ."

Slate: 'If Obama Loses, Who Gets Blamed?: His loss would be disastrous for the media and political establishment'

N.Y. Review of Books: 'The Co-President at Work'
"The shallowest charge against Dick Cheney is that he somehow inserted himself into the vice-presidency by heading the team that examined other candidates for the job. He used the position deviously, so the story goes, to sell himself to the susceptible younger Bush. The truth is both simpler and more strange.

"Since 1999, Cheney had been one of a group of political tutors of Bush, including Condoleezza Rice and Paul Wolfowitz; in this company, Bush found Cheney especially congenial — not least his way of asserting his influence without ever stealing a scene. Bush, too, resembled Cheney in preferring to let others speak, but he lacked the mind and patience for discussions: virtues that Cheney possessed in abundance."


N.Y. Times: 'Soldiering On, Clinton Preserves Her Options'


N.Y. Times: 'Voting Experts Say High Turnout May Add to Problems at the Polls'

The Onion: 'Struggling Lower-Class Still Unsure How Best To Fuck Selves With Vote'



Washington Post: 'A Positively Negative Home Stretch: McCain, Obama Break Tradition By Staying On the Attack'

Washington Post: 'Hard-Fought Battle in Hard-Hit Ohio'

The Onion: 'Obama's Record-Breaking Fundraising Effort Bankrupting NPR, World Wildlife Fund, ACLU'

Washington Post: 'Study First to Link TV Sex To Real Teen Pregnancies'

Washington Post: 'Experts Question AIG Bailout: Some say a bankruptcy filing by the insurance giant would better serve taxpayers, shareholders'


Washington Post: 'The End of the Report Card?: Online grades allow students -- and their parents -- to keep track of their performance in real time'

N.Y. Daily News: 'Will Closet Racism Hurt Obama?'
"Point/Counterpoint: Are potential voters telling pollsters they'll vote for Obama, when they secretly plan to back McCain?"

N.Y. Times: 'Level of White Support for Obama a Surprise'
"If Tuesday's election were confined to white America, polls show, Senator Barack Obama would lose.

"And yet Mr. Obama's strength across racial lines lies at the heart of his lead in the polls over Senator John McCain heading into Election Day. Remarkably, Mr. Obama, the first black major party presidential nominee, trails among whites by less than Democratic nominees normally do.

"America's political parties grew decisively polarized by race after 1964, the year President Lyndon Johnson signed civil rights legislation that his Republican presidential opponent, Barry Goldwater, opposed. Since then, election pollsters estimate, Democratic nominees have averaged 39 percent of the white vote. In last week's New York Times/CBS News poll, Mr. Obama drew 44 percent support among whites — a higher proportion than Bill Clinton captured in his general election victories."

N.Y. Times: 'Republicans Scrambling to Save Seats in Congress'

BBC: 'How Congo's heaven became hell'

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