ThinkFast: October 16, 2008

Socialist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez “mocked US President George W. Bush as a ‘comrade.’” “Bush is to the left of me now,” Chavez told an audience of international intellectuals debating the benefits of socialism. “Comrade Bush announced he will buy shares in private banks.”

More than 200,000 registered Ohio voters “may be blocked from casting regular ballots on Election Day because of a federal appeals court decision on Tuesday requiring the disclosure of lists of voters whose names did not match those on government databases.” Once local officials receive the names, they may “ask partisan poll workers to challenge these voters on Election Day.”

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) is breaking with the conservative line on voter fraud and ACORN, saying yesterday, “’I think that there’s probably less [voter fraud] than is being discussed. As we’re coming into the closing days of any campaign, there are some who enjoy chaos.”

A revised draft of the Iraq-U.S. security agreement “includes a previously discussed timeline for the withdrawal of American combat troops, with the troops moving out of Iraq’s cities and towns by the middle of next summer and leaving the country in 2011,” according to Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh.


19 days to go: Barack Obama will headline a gathering at Mack’s Apples in Londonderry, NH, and will then attend the Alfred E. Smith dinner in New York City with John McCain. Before the dinner, McCain will attend a rally in Dowington, PA, and then appear on the Late Show with David Letterman.Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) third-largest donor “is a $14 billion New York City hedge-fund firm led by a man — nicknamed ‘the Vulture’ — who squeezes distressed companies and countries for their last dollars and boasted that the current U.S. economic crisis is ‘the opportunity of a lifetime.’”

FDIC Chairwoman Sheila Bair criticized the federal government’s bailout plan “for failing to take more aggressive steps to prevent Americans from losing their homes, highlighting a rift between her and other senior U.S. officials over terms of the $700 billion rescue package.” “We’re attacking it at the institution level as opposed to the borrower level, and it’s the borrowers defaulting,” said Bair.

Global markets tumbled yesterday “amid mounting anxiety that the world economy is plunging into a deep and protracted recession.” “European stocks fell 3 percent by midday after Wall Street and Japan’s Nikkei both suffered their worst one-day losses since the stock market crash of 1987, and the MSCI World stock index traded 3 percent lower.”

Several of the nation’s largest banks reported that consumers “are increasingly unable to pay off their credit cards,” forcing them “to hoard cash to protect against future losses and lend to fewer people.” According to J.P. Morgan, “the number of credit card loans in default rose 45 percent in the third quarter from the comparable period a year ago.”

And finally: Think you might be feeling lonely on next Valentine’s Day? Then consider joining right-wing luminaries such as former attorney general John Ashcroft and Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) on a 10-night cruise hosted by the Young America’s Foundation. After all, who can resist sharing “pressing thoughts with individuals who have done so much to advance the Conservative Movement”?

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