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Few things in this world frighten me as much as Ideologues. The worse things get or the more obvious the failure of their beliefs become, the deeper they descend into denial. And if it stopped there, that would be bad enough. But they get more shrill, more strident, angry and belligerent… looking to take the rest of us down with them.

Since the start of the year, 11 commercial banks have failed and major brokerages Merrill-Lynch, Lehman Brothers, Bear-Sterns, and “AIG” have filed for bankruptcy, while “Goldman-Sachs” may be next, at a cost of HUNDREDS of Billions of dollars to the American taxpayer. But the ideologues argue that “regulation” hurts business and would cost consumers “millions of dollars”. To the Ideologues, the failure of all these banks & financial institutions has nothing to do with the rampant deregulation they pushed for. No. In fact, McCain has insisted we need “MORE deregulation“… or at least, he did one hour before he flip-flopped and said he now supports (quote) “excess” regulation. And why not, what is a “government takeover” if not “regulation” + $100 Billion tax dollars?

Wall Street firms have lost close to 10,000 jobs, or more than 5% of the work force, so far this year, according to the latest figures from the New York State Department of Labor.

Unemployment hit a five year high of 6.1% in August. 2.75% of ALL U.S. homes are in foreclosure (that’s 30% of all “sub-prime” mortgages).

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 504 points on Monday, and (as I type this) is roughly 200 points away from the 10,587 close on Bill Clinton last day in office (and well below the Clinton peak of 11,722).

UPDATE: The DOW continued its plunge throughout the day to 449 points, closing at 10,609, a mere 22 points above the January 19, 2001 close of 10,587). A stock market that rose over 7,100 points (67.8%) over eight years under “tax & spend Liberal” Bill Clinton, has now risen a grand total of 22 points (0.2%) after eight years of “fiscal Conservative” George Bush.

During the Clinton Administration, the stock market did SO well, Republicans pushed HARD for “privatization of Social Security” on the grounds that, had you of invested your retirement in the Market, you would of earned FAR more than it did sitting in the “Social Security Trust Fund”. Just imagine if they had gotten their way and millions of Americans had sunk their retirement into the Bush Stock Market? Where would they be today? (I should note that an Ideologue would be arguing at this point that “HAD they of invested all that money into The Market, it would of SOARED instead of sank”. Ask them for evidence and they have none.)

It’s an election year, and the Party that gave you Bill Clinton’s eight years of peace & prosperity is (supposedly) running neck-and-neck with the Party that’s given you everything I speak of above.

But when you confront one of the GOP Faithful on how they can even THINK of voting Republican in the next election, everything is sunny in Neo-Con world. “We have the highest standard of living in the world”… unless you count homelessness, the uninsured, or actual life-span… “the world is safer thanks to Bush’s War on Terror“… unless you count a worldwide rise in incidents of terrorism… “we haven’t been attacked again in seven years”… unless you count the attacks on our allies in England and Spain, and ignore the eight years we went without another attack under Bil Clinton… “we’re winning the war in Iraq”… unless you count General Petraeus calling the situation in Iraq “tenuous and reversible” on his way out the door Tuesday, or the rising violence in Afghanistan due to the return of the Taliban… and “the fundamentals of our economy are strong“… as long as you don’t count the record foreclosures, bailouts, and a stock market that has lost nearly 900 points in just the last 8 days.

After a year and a half of Senator McCain pressing upon voters the value of “experience” when deciding for whom to cast your vote for President of the United States, he picks a running mate whose resume includes “member of the PTA” and “can see Russia” from her home state.

Despite calling the Far-Right religious nuts “agents of intolerance” when he ran back in 2000, this time around, Senator McCain delivered the 2007 Commencement address at Falwell’s “Liberty University”, actively sought the endorsement of Pastor John “Hitler was doing the Lord’s work” Hagee, and now we learn his Evangelical running mates’ church of the last 20 years, the Wassilla Assembly of God, practices speaking in tongues, has a third-floor “portal to God”, and hosts “cellphone conversion” sessions where a room full of believers call people who “miraculously” experience a religious epiphany over the phone where they feel “the power of the Lord flow into their bodies”. But confront a Republican on any of this, and they’ll cite “Reverend Wright”, of whom they’ve heard tiny snippets from a few fiery speeches over the course of 20 years, as being “no different”.

Despite mounting evidence that his running mate, Sarah Palin, was in fact a supporter of the so-called “Bridge to Nowhere”, was the Queen of Pork, even hiring Washington lobbyists to pursue that money while mayor of a tiny town of 6,000, leaving Wasilla $20 million in debt on her way out the door to the governorship (and still more pork), Senator McCain, rather than concede the obvious, has instead chosen to dig his heels in even deeper and argue that she’s every bit the fiscal Conservative and opponent of earmarks as he is.

Where in 2004, Republicans turned “Flip-Flop” into a synonym for “John Kerry” and openly ridiculed his military service, questioning the validity of his medals for heroism (Bronze Star) and injury (second Purple Heart), in 2008, these same Republicans are mum when it comes to the subject of “flip-flops”, because their own nominee has become a flip-flop & gaffe machine and SUCH a political opportunist that he has flip-flopped multiple times… not just over the course of just a few hours… but within the same hour! And now “military service”… which was a taboo subject in 2000 (Bush) and worthy of ridicule in 2004 (Kerry), today is at the very top of John McCain’s resume as why he should be President.

In 2000, Republicans twisted Vice President Gore’s (accurate) assertion that he pushed for the legislation that gave us The Internet, into “Al Gore says he invented the Internet!”, but when McCain campaign adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin holds up his BlackBerry and claimed that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is responsible for the “miracle” of PDAs, the silence coming from those same Republicans is deafening.

A group that the majority of whom refuse to even admit the existence of Global Climate Change (I don’t like to use the term “Global Warming” because it is a misnomer), let alone whether or not it is the result of “human activity”, despite record climbing temperatures, “hundred year floods & forest fires” now occurring almost every year, the decimation of the polar icecap, and record hurricane seasons, are telling the rest of us not to believe the evidence of our own eyes,

And speaking of hurricanes, despite a falling supply of oil due to Hurricane’s Dolly, Edouard, Fay, Gustav, and Ike all in just the past three months, disrupting oil production in the Gulf of Mexico, oil prices are falling, now below $95 a barrel. Republicans would have you believe it’s because “they started talking about domestic offshore drilling” (not a single new drilling platform has been built, let alone pumped a single drop of oil, to affect the supply). So why are oil prices falling? Because deregulated Market speculators that pushed the oil prices through the roof, now fear those same high prices are pushing the U.S. economy into a Recession.

They tell you that “raising taxes on the top 5%” means Obama will raise “YOUR” taxes because higher taxes on businesses will “just be passed on to the consumer in the form of higher prices”. By that reasoning, why tax businesses at all? Just make consumers foot 100% of the bill. Never in my life have I seen so many people proclaiming their faith in “the free market” to keep prices low, simultaneously express so little faith in business not to raise prices regardless of what it might due to sales. It takes the “cognitive dissonance” of a Fred “the U.S. economy is the greatest story never told” Thompson to reconcile that one.

The U.S. economy is in meltdown. The jobless rate is in meltdown. The mortgage markets are in meltdown. The DOW is in meltdown. The “War on Terror” is in meltdown. The icecaps are REALLY in meltdown. And the people that brought you all of it say that if you want “Change“, you need to put them back in charge for another four years.

Latest composite tracking poll… McCain: 45.9, Obama: 45.3. Somebody call “Ripley’s”.