Friday, October 31, 2008
That's right, not satisfied with deregulating banking and Wall Street into a financial free-for-all Armageddon, "The new rules would be among the most controversial deregulatory steps of the Bush era and could be difficult for his successor to undo. Some would ease or lift constraints on private industry, including power plants, mines and farms.
"Those and other regulations would help clear obstacles to some commercial ocean-fishing activities, ease controls on emissions of pollutants that contribute to global warming, relax drinking-water standards and lift a key restriction on mountaintop coal mining."
We must ask once again.... don't the conservative Bushies, their lobbyist enablers and corporate oligarchs breathe the air, drink the water, want to protect their children and grandchildren so they can continue to live on this earth?
Or has relentlessly narrow ideology so warped their world view that they would gamble with precious lives to add even one more piece of silver to their obscene stockpile.
"As many as 90 new regulations are in the works....the burst of activity has made this a busy period for lobbyists who fear that industry views will hold less sway after the elections."
Take for example "one rule, being pursued over some opposition within the Environmental Protection Agency would allow current emissions at a power plant to match the highest levels produced by that plant, overturning a rule that more strictly limits such emission increases.
"According to the EPA's estimate, it would allow millions of tons of additional carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually, worsening global warming.
Another "rule would allow increased emissions from oil refineries, chemical factories and other industrial plants with complex manufacturing operations.
"These rules will force Americans to choke on dirtier air for years to come, unless Congress or the new administration reverses these eleventh-hour abuses," said lawyer John Walke of the Natural Resources Defense Council."
The new administration to reverse these outrages isn't John McSame's.... he never saw a lobbyist he didn't like.... or employ.
Vote. It really matters!
Thursday, October 30, 2008
McCain tries to make a sinister case.... Obama broke his word, where is his money really coming from. Defense of Obama's campaign fund-raising comes from an unlikely source, conservative columnist George Will in "Call Him John the Careless."
Will points out, "McCain has a history of reducing controversies to cartoons. A Republican financial expert recalls attending a dinner with McCain for the purpose of discussing with him domestic and international financial complexities that clearly did not fascinate the senator. As the dinner ended, McCain's question for his briefer was: 'So, who is the villain?'
"McCain revived a familiar villain -- 'huge amounts' of political money -- when Barack Obama announced that he had received contributions of $150 million in September. 'The dam is broken,' said McCain, whose constitutional carelessness involves wanting to multiply impediments to people who want to participate in politics by contributing to candidates -- people such as the 632,000 first-time givers to Obama in September.
"Why is it virtuous to erect a dam of laws to impede the flow of contributions by which citizens exercise their First Amendment right to political expression? 'We're now going to see,' McCain warned, 'huge amounts of money coming into political campaigns, and we know history tells us that always leads to scandal.'
"The supposedly inevitable scandal, which supposedly justifies preemptive government restrictions on Americans' freedom to fund the dissemination of political ideas they favor, presumably is that Obama will be pressured to give favors to his September givers. The contributions by the new givers that month averaged $86."
Will dismisses McCain's tempest-in-a-teapot campaign funding scolds, reasoning that "by Election Day, $2.4 billion will have been spent on presidential campaigns in the two-year election cycle that began in January 2007, and an additional $2.9 billion will have been spent on 435 House and 35 Senate contests. This $5.3 billion is a billion less than Americans will spend this year on potato chips."
And silly Sarah Palin didn't escape Will's pen either. He writes, "From the invasion of Iraq to the selection of Sarah Palin, carelessness has characterized recent episodes of faux conservatism."
Will continues, "Some polls show that Palin has become an even heavier weight in John McCain's saddle than his association with George W. Bush. Did McCain, who seems to think that Palin's never having attended a 'Georgetown cocktail party' is sufficient qualification for the vice presidency, lift an eyebrow when she said that vice presidents 'are in charge of the United States Senate' "?
George Will doesn't suffer fools gladly.
And while he has not endorsed anyone for president, his comments on how McCain handled the financial meltdown almost seemed to, as he wrote in "McCain Loses His Head" (WaPo).... "Under the pressure of the financial crisis, one presidential candidate is behaving like a flustered rookie playing in a league too high. It is not Barack Obama."
Vote. It really matters!
He reviewed what we already know about John McCain.... his military service and Senate history.... and then he zeroed in on his current performance as wanna-be president.
Broder opines, "We suspected, and soon had confirmed, that he had limited interest in, and capacity for, the organization and management of large enterprises. His first effort at building a structure for the 2008 presidential race collapsed in near-bankruptcy, costing him the service of many longtime aides. From beginning to end, the campaign that followed has been plagued by internal feuds and McCain's inability to resolve them.
"The shortcoming was intellectual as well as bureaucratic. Like Jimmy Carter, the only Naval Academy graduate to reach the Oval Office, McCain had an engineer's approach to policymaking. He had no large principles that he could apply to specific problems; each fresh question set off a search for a 'practical' solution. He instinctively looked back to Theodore Roosevelt and the Progressive era, with its high-mindedness and disdain for the politics of doling out favors to interest groups. But those instincts coexisted uneasily with his adherence to traditional, Reagan-era conservatism -- a muscular foreign policy, a penchant for tax-cutting and a fondness for business."
Considering Broder's long friendship and support of both George W. Bush and his political guru Karl Rove, this is quite a startling analysis. In fact, it reads like The Decider's approach to governing.... McCain has "limited interest in, and capacity for, the organization and management of large enterprises".... McCain's "shortcoming was intellectual as well as bureaucratic." Wow!
And, he truthfully notes, that while McCain's instincts are high-minded, his actions support Reagan-era conservatism including "a fondness for business."
While giving McCain credit for being engaging and a survivor, Broder still worries that with a McCain presidency, "the country will have to hope this campaign has honed his leadership skills."
The country doesn't have to "hope"..... with Barack Obama in the White House we'll have a president with demonstrated intellectual acuity, and the management and leadership skills necessary for this critical time in the country's history.
Vote. It really matters!
The theory is that giving tax breaks to the top 5% of taxpayers (corporations) will create jobs and benefits that "trickle down" to strengthen the "fundamentals of our economy."
We all know how that turned out... not just once, but time and again.
Ronald Reagan ran the country into deep debt with his "credit card" economy; Bush 41 dug the hole deeper (Clinton got it back on track); and Bush 43's dismal failure of trickle-down, tax-cuts-for-the-wealthy Reaganomics has resulted in bringing the country's economy to its knees.
The news today... the "U.S. economy shrank from July through September, confirming an economic slowdown that was already showing itself through steady job losses and declining consumer sales.
"Gross Domestic Product fell 0.3 percent on an annualized basis for the third quarter of the year, as consumers and businesses both curbed spending."
But it could have been much worse.... if government hadn't "increased their spending by 1.15 percent to GDP."
Yet in the face of this colossal failure, McCain is still pushing voo-doo Reaganomics, calling Barack Obama's tax plan to give tax breaks to the middle class socialism and worse.
McCain the magician wants you to keep your eyes on the pretty lady while presenting his slight-of-hand amazing shrinking economy.
Voters have seen this trick before. Vote. It really matters!
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Iowans invested their hope in Obama, and Obama invested in Iowa.... "Obama's campaign has expressed confidence in its Iowa organization, largely the product of an intense battle for the leadoff nominating caucuses in January. Obama has 50 offices in the state and roughly 120 paid campaign staff, compared with 16 offices for McCain and about a quarter of the paid staff."
And, Obama's campaign has recruited 6,000 volunteers in Iowa, part of the network of first-time caucusgoers that helped him earn his first-in-the-nation caucus victory early in the year.
Rallly, Iowa.... "Yes We Can!"
As journalist Christine Wicker exposes today in "Evangelical Leaders Using God Like a Hired Gun" (HuffingtonPost) when the branding of Barack Obama as the anti-Christ, palling around with terrorists, and a secret Muslim didn't work, they started "using God like a hired gun to terrorize the town's people, the evangelical Christian mullahs are declaring that Obamageddon is at hand....
"...using that very word and asking as the Religious Right/Republican Townhall magazine did in a September headline, 'Could We Survive a Barack Presidency?'
"Evangelical publisher James Strang answers the survival question by warning his readers that people who hate Christianity will take over the country once Obama is elected.
"In fact, 'life as we know it will end,' Strang writes."
You can hear the wind howling, sense the ghouls skulking in wait, the Four Horsemen bearing down.....
Wicker continues, "Last week Focus on the Family's James Dobson added his own doomsday predictions with a 16-page rant about evils that will befall the United States by 2012 if Obama is elected."
But young evangelical leaders are resisting using God as their hired gun. Dobson blames misguided young evangelicals for elevating Obama. Wicker points out, "It's them he's hoping to scare most. But they and emergent church leaders such as Brian McLaren, who endorsed Obama, have broken ranks and won't be coming back.
"A great mass of other evangelicals, who never followed the evangelical mullahs and never will, are also going for Obama. Maybe Dobson thinks they'll listen to him."
But that's not likely, they're already off pursuing their own causes, and "won't be convinced by Dobson's scare tactics. They're more likely to agree with a new bumper sticker popular in Colorado, where Focus on the Family is based.
"It reads, 'Focus on your own damn family.' "
Dobson, sure that he could shoo Republican primary voters away from the Senator, said in a Focus on the Family press release that McCain "is being touted by the media as a man of principle, yet he was involved with other women while married to his first wife, and was implicated in the so-called Keating scandal with four other senators.
"He was eventually reprimanded by the Congress for the 'appearance of impropriety.' The Senator reportedly has a violent temper and can be extremely confrontational and profane when angry. These red flags about Senator McCain's character are reminiscent of the man who now occupies the White House."
"The man who now occupies the White House".... oh yes, the last guy the Religious Right elected.
And Dobson didn't leave out of that release McCain's love of alcohol and gambling.
Wicker, shining light in dark places, explains "When Dobson saw that threats to take his toys and go home didn't keep McCain from winning the nomination, he forgot his previous scruples. Now Dobson sees McCain as God's man. It's Obama who's the devil. And under God's direction, as he always is, Dobson is speaking out again...."
In his current sixteen-page delusional tirade against Obama, Dobson channels the things that could happen if Christians don't unite behind McCain.... the same McCain he branded as an adulterous, profane, violent, scandal-tainted, drinker and gambler who he is now anointing to preside over the most powerful elective office in the world.
It almost the bewitching hour. Hopefully the Religious Right's false soothsayers will be defanged and return to being merely pompous pumpkins. God must be so proud....
Vote! It matters.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Case in point is Anne Applebaum's op-ed today in the Washington Post, "Why McCain Lost Me." As an Independent who lived in England in the 1980s and1990s and was "truly comfortable" when Conservative Margaret Thatcher ran things, she wanted to support the McCain-Palin ticket.
But, as Applebaum explains, "I'm not voting for McCain -- and, after a long struggle, I've realized that I can't -- maybe it's worth explaining why, for I suspect there are other independent voters who feel the same. Particularly because it's not his campaign, disjointed though that has been, that finally repulses me: It's his rapidly deteriorating, increasingly anti-intellectual, no longer even recognizably conservative Republican Party. His problems are not technical; they do not have to do with ads, fundraising or tactics, as some have suggested. They are institutional; they have to do with his colleagues, advisers and supporters."
Applebaum sees.... "Fiscal conservatism, balanced budgets, sober spending -- all of these principles have been brushed away as so much nonsense for the past eight years by Republicans more interested in grandstanding about how much they hate Washington."
Then there is Charles McC Mathias Jr..... a Republican who represented Maryland in the U.S. House from 1961 to 1968 and in the U.S. Senate from 1969 to 1986.... writes today in "My Choice: Obama" (WaPo)
He explains: "Sens. Obama and McCain have vastly different backgrounds and strikingly different visions of how America should navigate these tumultuous times. For me, the decision on who should be the next president transcends private friendship or political affiliation.
"My decision is based on the long-range needs of our country and which of these two candidates I feel is better suited to recharge America's economic health, restore its prestige abroad and inspire anew all people who cherish freedom and equality. For me, that person is Barack Obama."
A puzzled Eugene Robinson reflects on McCain and his campaign in "Campaign on Empty." (WaPo) ".... when it could hardly be more obvious that Americans desperately want to change direction -- more than 80 percent tell pollsters the country is on the wrong track -- the Republicans offer nothing new."
Yet, McCain chose to walk in lockstep with the Bush-GOP thugocracy off the right-face of the political cliff.
Robinson continues, "McCain's repeated references to 'maverick' have drained all meaning from the word, but it's true that he's an iconoclast with little reverence for Republican orthodoxy. Why he chose, in an election that was always going to be decided by independents and Reagan Democrats, to campaign on a platform of slavish devotion to Republican orthodoxy is beyond me."
It seems the obvious answer is that he sold his "maverick" political persona to the Karl Rove, corporations-first, religious-right wing of the Republican party because he though they could deliver the presidency. In so doing he became inauthentic, and in all probability, unelectable.
As Obama asks, "The question in this election is not 'Are you better off than you were four years ago?' We know the answer to that. The real question is, 'Will this country be better off four years from now?' "
The growing resounding answer.... certainly not with McSame in the White House.
Vote! It matters.
Monday, October 27, 2008
And, Adelman has an Iowa connection.... he was a philosophy major at Grinnell College before attending Georgetown University, where he received a Masters in Foreign Service Studies and Doctorate in Political Theory.
Last Friday in a Huffington Post op-ed, "Why a Staunch Conservative Like Me Endorsed Obama," Adelman explains why he decided for the first time in his life to vote for a Democratic presidential candidate.
This paragraph about sums it up, "McCain's temperament -- leading him to bizarre behavior during the week the economic crisis broke -- and his judgment -- leading him to Wasilla -- depressed me into thinking that "our guy" would be a(nother) lousy conservative president. Been there, done that."
Adelman rejects the Bush-McCain brand of conservatism... he labels himself as a "staunch conservative" but not a "neo con."
Adelman explains: "I was never liberal along the way (having campaigned for Barry Goldwater in 1964, when at that hotbed of lefty politics, Grinnell College). I'm really a con-con.
"And not a staunch Republican, as I've never been to a Republican rally or convention. So I've considered myself less of a partisan than an ideologue. I cared about conservative principles, and still do, instead of caring about the GOP....
"Granted, McCain's views are closer to mine than Obama's. But I've learned over this Bush era to value competence along with ideology. Otherwise, our ideology gets discredited, as it has so disastrously over the past eight years."
So... as we've seen time and time again these past few months, conservatives of character and conscience disavow the Bush-McCain failed faux-conservative ideology.
Adelman's final thought, "...I concluded that McCain would not -- could not -- be a good president. Obama just might be."
Where does he get this stuff?
It's hard to believe that this type of shallow campaign rhetoric ever worked in Iowa. But of course it did. In 2000 and 2004.
But not this time.
Anyone paying even half-attention knows that this time around it's different. Obama is constantly warning about not getting overconfident. Obama's rallying cry is.... "Remember New Hampshire".... where Hillary, who was down in the polls whooped Obama in the primaries.
He's taking nothing for granted in Iowa.... Obama has out-organized McCain and actively getting-out-the-vote.
Maybe McSame forgot that it was Iowa's "Yes we can" voters looking for change who launched Obama's winning nomination bid. They're proud of their cruical role in his success and looking ahead.
Yes Iowa can, did and will again.
David Frum, former "axis of evil" Bush speechwriter, advises in his Sunday op-ed, "Sorry Senator, Let's Salvage What We Can." (WaPo)
McCain has captained what must be one of the worst-managed campaigns in recent memory.
He gave policy control to lobbyist campaign managers who crafted a ditto-Bush far-right corporatist message, picked a Moose-hunting creationist as his "anti-elite" partner (you really thought Hillary supporters would take to You Betcha' Palin?) and hired Rovian thugs to Swiftboat Obama as a pal of terrorists who is "not like us," not a part of "real America" where the campaign burrowed for votes.
And presto! McCain energized the most radical element of the GOP base and chased off the great moderate center of the electorate.
So.... well, duh.... McCain's losing.
"There are many ways to lose a presidential election. John McCain is losing in a way that threatens to take the entire Republican Party down with him" Frum moans.
Frum offers this save-what-you-can advice.... "In these last days before the vote, Republicans need to face some strategic realities. Our resources are limited, and our message is failing. We cannot fight on all fronts. We are cannibalizing races that we must win and probably can win in order to help a national campaign that is almost certainly lost. In these final 10 days, our goal should be: senators first."
In self-preservation, the GOP should pull-anchor on their McCain-campaign life-support. To accomplish this successfully the flagship commander should sublimate his ambition for a cause greater than himself. But it seems McCain's ambitions are greater than his grasp of such a cause.
Besides his erratic campaign efforts, a crippling blow was dealt to McCain's hopes at the meltdown of Wall Street and the Bush-Paulson-declared economic emergency... just hours after McCain had serenaded "the fundamentals of our economy are strong."
Still, the RNC and McCain stubbornly clung to his backward-leaning campaign even though he was listing badly. He resorted to easily-seen-through staged responses like "suspending my campaign" and "Joe the Plumber" who isn't a licensed plumber and doesn't pay his taxes.
And, it's not working.
The pivotal moment for the GOP is now.... will they man the lifeboats or go down with McCain's unseaworthy ship?
Sunday, October 26, 2008
This week Christopher Hitchens, no-holds-barred writer and unapologetic supporter of the invasion of Iraq, endorsed Barack Obama. As his headline blares in Slate, "McCain lacks the character and temperament to be president. And Palin is just a disgrace."
Referring to the town hall debate, he observed that McCain seemed to be "someone suffering from an increasingly obvious and embarrassing deficit, both cognitive and physical. And the only public events that have so far featured his absurd choice of running mate have shown her to be a deceiving and unscrupulous woman utterly unversed in any of the needful political discourses...
Hitchens continues, "McCain occasionally remembers to stress matters like honor and to disown innuendos and slanders, but this only makes him look both more senile and more cynical, since it cannot (can it?) be other than his wish and design that he has engaged a deputy who does the innuendos and slanders for him."
In this same town hall debate, McCain called Obama "that one" and today in Waterloo, Iowa on "Meet the Press" with Tom Brokaw he was unable to remember the name of his endorser George Schultz who he finally had to refer to as "one other."
It was a jumpy, forced-jovial, even rude McCain facing Brokaw as he dismissed the endorsement of Obama on last week's "Meet the Press" by GOP Secretary of State Colin Powell.
McCain countered by listing his own five former secretaries of state who endorsed him.... "Jim Baker, Henry Kissinger, Larry Eagleburger, and Al Haig".... and then, ".....uh," and he started listing them over again. When he couldn't come up with the name of the 5th, the said "and one other."
Then, as Brokaw started to move on to another subject, McCain burst out "George Schultz!"
McCain "dismissed the sour poll numbers that show him trailing in his White House race against Democrat Barack Obama and said his campaign is 'doing fine.' " (WaPo)
He rejected the widespread consensus.... even among a host of influential conservatives.... that Sarah Palin is not qualified for the job and is hurting his campaign.... " 'I don't defend her. I praise her. She is exactly what Washington needs,' he said, and was equally dismissive of criticism about the Republican Party spending $150,000 on her wardrobe at high-end retailers.
But, as Judith Warner points out today about Palin and the status of women in politics in "No Ordinary Woman," (NYTimes) "...women will truly have arrived when the most mediocre among us will be able to do just as well as the most mediocre of men."
Based on that sad observation, it seems McCain-Palin are a matched set.
Vote! It matters!
On it's face, it shows how McCain's plan gives huge breaks to the wealthy, while Obama's gives bigger breaks to the up-to-$111,645 income taxpayers. But this chart doesn't really tell the true story because the bottom two-thirds of the population are given only a third of the space on the graph, while the top 0.1% of the population - one in a thousand people - gets almost 10%.
Thanks to the blog site chartjunk, here is the weighted chart giving a truer picture of the tax plans:
This weighted chart factors population distribution which depicts even more clearly that Obama's tax plan is the most beneficial to two-thirds of the population.... lower and middle class taxpayers.
And, while we're on the subject of clearing up the record, let's address the outsiders-against-greed-and-corruption campaign blather about "maverick" Palin's touted Alaska pipeline.
As spelled out in "Palin pipeline terms curbed bids" (AP-USA Today) "Gov. Sarah Palin's signature accomplishment — a contract to build a 1,715-mile pipeline to bring natural gas from Alaska to the Lower 48 — emerged from a flawed bidding process that narrowed the field to a company with ties to her administration, an Associated Press investigation shows.
"Despite Palin's boast of a smart and fair bidding process, the AP found that her team crafted terms that favored only a few independent pipeline companies and ultimately benefited the winner, TransCanada Corp.
"And contrary to the ballyhoo, there's no guarantee the pipeline will ever be built; at a minimum, any project is years away, as TransCanada must first overcome major financial and regulatory hurdles."
And, just what kind lobbying influence was at play?...."The leader of Palin's pipeline team had been a partner at a lobbying firm where she worked on behalf of a TransCanada subsidiary. Also, that woman's former business partner at the lobbying firm was TransCanada's lead private lobbyist on the pipeline deal. Plus, a former TransCanada executive served as an outside consultant to Palin's pipeline team.
"Under a different set of rules four years earlier, TransCanada had offered to build the pipeline without a state subsidy; under Palin, the company could receive a maximum $500 million."
Does this sound like a reformer?.... an outsider who will come down hard on lobbyists and insiders, a maverick who will cut costs? And, Palin's fellow "maverick" McCain has a campaign, Senate office staff and policy advisers rife with lobbyists or former lobbyists.
The "maverick" campaign lingo is just more Rovian McSame-Bush say anything truth-be-damned tactics.
They're aimed at trying to convince the majority of Americans who think the country is going in the wrong direction that the McSame ticket is the agent of change.... to once again lure them with empty words to vote against their own best interests when in fact the McCain-Palin ticket is intent on continuing The Decider's power-grabbing corporatist ways.
Vote! It matters!
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
That is why John McCain's long litany aboard his Straight Talk Air last Wednesday is so revealing as "McCain Lambastes Bush Years.... "We Just Let Things Get Completely Out of Hand.' " (Washington Times)
And, this isn't just the slant of McCain's scorned "liberal media." As they say, "thanks to the miracle of technology" McCain's frustrated outburst was caught on tape by the Washington Times reporter.
Here's what McCain.... trying to distance himself from the eight-year reign of his party's President Bush.... had to say:
"Spending, the conduct of the war in Iraq for years, growth in the size of government, larger than any time since the Great Society, laying a $10 trillion debt on future generations of America, owing $500 billion to China, obviously, failure to both enforce and modernize the [financial] regulatory agencies that were designed for the 1930s and certainly not for the 21st century, failure to address the issue of climate change seriously.
"Those are just some of them.... We just let things get completely out of hand."
McCain also noted how the Bush administration is failing to pay for expanding Medicare and abusing executive powers. In short, McCain lashed out at The Decider for dragging the Republican Party to the brink of a massive electoral defeat while leaving the country in a shambles.
So Bush did this all by himself? Where was Senator McSame during those eight disastrous years?
According to boasts by McCain during the 2008 campaign.... when he needed the GOP base and parroted the GOP "trickle down" mantra that the "fundamentals of our economy are strong" .... McCain opined that President Bush did "a great job in leading the country," and that he had "voted with the president 90 percent of the time." McCain strongly affirmed that on "transcendent" issues, "the most important issues of our day," that he was "totally in agreement and support of President Bush." (YouTube)
But now, with the country teetering on the edge of financial collapse, McSame is trying to distance himself from The Decider's deeds.
His attempts to avoid blame are being trampled by the stampede of GOP faithfuls distancing themselves from McCain with endorsement of Barack Obama for president.... Christopher Buckley, son of conservative-movement icon WFB, and a now former-columnist for the National Review; Colin Powell, GOP Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Bush's first Secretary of State; and the latest Bush insider to do a mea culpa for his role in the administration, former White House press secretary Scott McClellan.
Now it's the electorate's turn to speak. For an angry, misled and lied-to country, an accounting is coming.
November 4. Vote. It matters!
Thursday, October 23, 2008
But then, most noticeably in the 2004 race where he literally embraced Bush and then started his pandering courtship of the religious right, McCain started trimming his Straight Talk sails in favor of what he perceived to be the prevailing voter-base wind....the Karl Rove base.... culminating a month ago with his naming of the unfitted vacuous but well-packaged Sarah Palin as his running mate.
Now in angry desperation, as he sees his chances slipping away, "McCain Tries To Push Past Palin Backlash." (WaPo)
Even after it was discovered that the RNC spent $150,000 on Silly Sarah's clothes, hair and makeup, "his campaign dismissed the latest controversy over his running mate as coming from elitists and not representing the opinions of average Americans."
What is more elitist than cloaking your VP in Saks runway-knockoffs while pretending she's "just like us."
No matter how McCain tries to spin it, he started losing his bi-partisan broad-base following when he caved to the GOP hard right that he had campaigned against and repudiated in 2000. And with his choice of Palin "a majority of voters now say McCain's vice presidential pick reflects poorly on the decisions he would make as president, according to the Post-ABC News poll. Overall, 52 percent of likely voters said they are less confident in McCain's judgment because of his surprise selection of Palin..."
At a rally today longtime friend of McCain and Barack Obama's choice for VP, Joe Biden, said after stumbling over the name of McCain that he did so "because I don't recognize him anymore. I used to know him well."
McSame has become the political portrait of Oscar Wilde's Dorian Gray. Dorian Gray bargained to retain his beautiful persona by having his ageing reflected only in his portrait. Untouched personally as his debauchery steals his soul, Gray's portrait turns into the disfigured, aging reflection of his true self.
The country has watched a similar ugly transformation in the portrait of McCain's campaign. Palin is but the latest cynical calculation of a candidate who traded his for-a-cause-larger-than-yourself instincts for political gain. Not a pretty picture.
November 4. Vote. It matters!
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
We'll also resist the impulse to wonder why Clothes-horse Sarah doesn't understand the job description for the high office to which she aspires.... it's in the Constitution, Sarah. The vice president is to become president should the need arise, and can cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate. That's it.
But, for the fourth time, Palin gave the same answer when asked about what she thinks the job of vice president is about. Here is her latest answer: ..."They're in charge of the U.S. Senate so if they want to they can really get in there with the senators and make a lot of good policy changes..." Evidently it's hard to deprogram pageant-patter.
No, the news that should grab our attention today is about endorsements. Not the ringing endorsement of Barack Obama by The Decider's first Secretary of State, Colin Powell. No, this is about an endorsement of John McCain, and a celebration of our financial crisis... by al-Qaeda.
As reported today in the Washington Post, "Al-Qaeda is watching the U.S. stock market's downward slide with something akin to jubilation, with its leaders hailing the financial crisis as a vindication of its strategy of crippling America's economy through endless, costly foreign wars against Islamist insurgents.
"And at least some of its supporters think Sen. John McCain is the presidential candidate best suited to continue that trend.
" 'Al-Qaeda will have to support McCain in the coming election,' said a commentary posted Monday on the extremist Web site al-Hesbah, which is closely linked to the terrorist group. It said the Arizona Republican would continue the 'failing march of his predecessor,' President Bush.
"The Web commentary was one of several posted by Taliban or al-Qaeda-allied groups in recent days that trumpeted the global financial crisis and predicted further decline for the United States and other Western powers.
"In language that was by turns mocking and ominous, the newest posting credited al-Qaeda with having lured Washington into a trap that had 'exhausted its resources and bankrupted its economy.' It further suggested that a terrorist strike might swing the election to McCain and guarantee an expansion of U.S. military commitments in the Islamic world."
They're right. Bush's misbegotten war in Iraq has been a recruiting dream for al-Qaeda and the Taliban. And, McSame would trumpet a terrorist attack before the election as a reason to continue Bush's foreign adventures by electing him commander-in-chief.
Just as the Iraq war has depleted our military and financial resources, the Bush administration's other corporations-first-middle-class-last policies have resulted in the gutting of the economy.... transferring wealth to the already wealthy then going to already hard-pressed taxpayers to bail out the reckless raiders..... over $1 trillion in corporate welfare. This is in addition to the exploding national debt and trade deficit.
Oh, yes.... the terrorists out there are pulling for McSame and his trophy vice, Palin.
November 4. Vote. It matters!
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
The Republican party is stuck in reverse, so they "Party Like It's 1964." (WaPo) Cohen explains, "It is hard to avoid the conclusion that Bush and now John McCain have constructed a mean, grumpy, exclusive, narrow-minded and altogether retrograde Republican Party. It has the sharp scent of the old Barry Goldwater GOP -- the angry one of 1964 and not the one perfumed by nostalgia -- that is home, by design or mere dumb luck, to those who think that Obama is 'The Madrassian Candidate.' Karl Rove, take a bow.
"It is also that the GOP, under Rove and his disciples in the McCain campaign, has not only driven out ethnic and racial minorities but a vast bloc of voters who, quite bluntly, want nothing to do with Sarah Palin. For moderates everywhere, she remains the single best reason to vote against McCain."
And beyond Rove and Palin, the G.O.P.'s "flattering of the ignorant on matters of undisputed scientific consensus -- evolution, for instance -- and, from the mouth of Palin, its celebration of drab provincialism, have sharpened the division between red and blue. Red is the color of yesterday."
From the hard-edged anti-New Deal Goldwater campaign of 1964, to the broken promise of The Decider in 2000 to be a "compassionate conservative" who would bring people together, the G.O.P. has now come full circle.... back to an angry McNasty.
Before he died, Goldwater softened his views as he saw the G.O.P going badly off course. He became dismayed by the hijacking of the party by the religious right.... vocally opposing their crusades against abortion and gay rights.
Goldwater must have foreseen that this holy-roller coaster could only end at the bottom where party-riders of principle.... from the most conservative like Christopher Buckley to moderates like Colin Powell.... would have to depart in all conscience.
McSame's Republican party now wanders in the campaign-wilderness of McCarthyistic witch-hunts for anti-Americans.... trying to tar Barack Obama as someone who "pals around with terrorists," and mining for votes by casting only small towns as the real America.
For our tattered and bruised nation it has been a dangerous and costly ride.
November 4. Vote. It matters!
Monday, October 20, 2008
Krugman explains, "Forty years ago, Richard Nixon made a remarkable marketing discovery. By exploiting America’s divisions — divisions over Vietnam, divisions over cultural change and, above all, racial divisions — he was able to reinvent the Republican brand. The party of plutocrats was repackaged as the party of the 'silent majority,' the regular guys — white guys, it went without saying — who didn't like the social changes taking place."
This laid the foundation for the original everyman Joe, the G.O.P.'s "Joe six pack" .... "It was a winning formula. And the great thing was that the new packaging didn't require any change in the product’s actual contents — in fact, the G.O.P. was able to keep winning elections even as its actual policies became more pro-plutocrat, and less favorable to working Americans, than ever."
Fast forward to the 2008 presidential campaign. "John McCain’s strategy, in this final stretch, is based on the belief that the old formula still has life in it.
"Thus we have Sarah Palin expressing her joy at visiting the 'pro-America' parts of the country.... McCain making Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, a k a Joe the Plumber... the centerpiece of his attack on Barack Obama’s economic proposals.
"And when it turned out that the right’s new icon had a few issues, like not being licensed and comparing Obama to Sammy Davis Jr., conservatives played victim: see how much those snooty elitists hate the common man?"
So.... what's the situation of the real plumbers of Ohio? In 2007.... the "Bush boom" years.... according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual income of “plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters” in Ohio was $47,930. A far cry from the $250,000 income the wanna-be plumber Joe.... who himself earned $40,000 that year.... was querying Obama about.
And this is to say nothing about the lack of medical insurance available to employees, like plumbers, of small businesses, or the decreasing income, rising costs and home market squeeze since 2007.
Krugman asks.... "Who is really standing up for Ohio's plumbers?"
"McCain proposes continuing Bush’s policies in all essential respects, and he shares Bush’s anti-government, anti-regulation philosophy.
"What about the claim, based on Joe the Plumber’s complaint, that ordinary working Americans would face higher taxes under Obama? Well, Obama proposes raising rates on only the top two income tax brackets...."
Krugman concludes, "I don’t want to suggest that everyone would be better off under the Obama tax plan. Joe the plumber would almost certainly be better off, but Richie the hedge fund manager would take a serious hit.
"But that’s the point. Whatever today’s G.O.P. is, it isn’t the party of working Americans."
November 4. Vote. It matters!
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Saturday, October 18, 2008
And The Decider is taking full advantage of the electorates' distraction.... rushing to fill the vacuum with goodies for his corporate buddies and more power for the executive.
Ponder this.... in the entire history of the United States, all presidents combined have signed about 600 executive orders. Those are statements made at signing saying that the executive will not comply with.... or enforce.... certain provisions of laws passed by Congress with which they disagree.
I-decide-what's-law George has used the executive order signing statements to assert a right to bypass sections of laws.... are you ready for this.... a staggering 1,100 times. Double the amount of all of the executive orders of all the presidents who preceded him!
Just last Tuesday, Bush asserted "that he had the executive power to bypass several parts of two bills he was signing: a military authorization act and a measure giving inspectors general greater independence from White House control.' (NY Times)
The Decider challenged four sections in the authorization bill, one challenge would enable the U.S. to exercise control over Iraq oil resources. We're leaving when....
In the other bill, Bush challenged two sections that strengthen legal protections against political interference with the internal watchdog officials at each executive agency. Bush challenged the inspector general's right to counsels who report directly to them. Instead, such lawyers would be bound to follow the legal interpretations of the politically appointed counsel at each agency.... leaving the agencies the unfettered freedom to exercise their will, public good be damned.
While the White House defends The Decider's actions, the American Bar Association called executive orders "contrary to the rule of law and our constitutional system of separation of powers."
The Bush administration is flexing their will in other ways while the presidential campaign in the center ring entertains and distracts.
For example, as Tom Kenworthy laments today in "Saving the Desert Southwest," (WaPo) .... "as Bush prepares to leave office, the administration is working quickly to hand over much of southern Utah to the oil and gas industry and off-road-vehicle enthusiasts."
In less than two months this summer, the federal Bureau of Land Management released six new proposals for managing 11 million acres of public land in Utah.... 80 percent of some of the Southwest's most spectacular treasures will be open to oil and gas development.
And this gift to Bush and Cheney's oil buddies is just the tip of The Decider's "Last-Minute Mischief." (NYTimes)
Dirk Kempthorne, Secretary of the Interior, is trying to revoke the rule that gives Congress and the interior secretary emergency powers to protect public lands when commercial development seems to pose immediate dangers.
Kempthorne decided on this move after members of the House Natural Resources Committee ordered him to withdraw about 1 million acres near the Grand Canyon from new uranium mining claims to give officials time to assess potential damage to the air and water.
Kempthorne not only refused to obey the committee’s order, but proposed to rescind the departmental rule requiring him to obey it. The public has been given 15 days to comment, after which Kempthorne will be free to jettison the rule.
And, it's not just the environment under attack. Labor protection laws are in the Bush administration's mischief-making cross hairs.
In "Last-Minute Mischief for Labor," the New York Times finds that "under the Bush administration, the Department of Labor has shirked its responsibility to upgrade workplace safety. In seven years, it has issued but one major rule change protecting workers against a chemical toxin — and that was forced on it by court order.
"Now, it’s taken a giant step beyond benign neglect. Political appointees at the agency have been discovered in a rush to duck public disclosure and jimmy into place a pro-industry rule making it more difficult to limit workers’ exposure to poisonous chemicals."
It’s pathetic to discover Bush's agencies investing their closing months on one more sop to industry. It signals that the regulatory mess facing the next president continues to grow, since the stealth games at Labor are likely being duplicated in other agencies.
The next president must not be another George Bush. Another corporations first, trickle-up ravaging of our country. Must not be another arrogant good ol' boy administration..... tilted to the interests of oil and run by lobbyists.... like McSame's campaign.
November 4. Vote. It matters!
Friday, October 17, 2008
Buckley was the captain who sailed his flagship of conservative ideals into the public discourse. The flagship was the magazine Buckley founded, the National Review.
That is why it is so startling, seismic actually, that Christopher Buckley the Younger not only endorsed Barack Obama -- but then abruptly departed from the back page of the National Review.
Christopher's walking-the-plank for Obama created more than a splash, "it has caused a ripple of contempt from the conservative right," as Kathleen Parker opines today in "WFB Would Be Proud." (WaPo)
Parker explains, "In 1955, when WFB announced his new magazine and explained the reasons for it, he described conservatives as 'non-licensed nonconformists' "
WFB lamented that "radical conservatives in this country have an interesting time of it, for when they are not being suppressed or mutilated by Liberals, they are being ignored or humiliated by a great many of those of the well-fed Right, whose ignorance and amorality have never been exaggerated for the same reason that one cannot exaggerate infinity."
But today, Parker points out, "The truth few wish to utter is that the GOP has abandoned many conservatives, who mostly nurse their angst in private. Those chickens we keep hearing about have indeed come home to roost. Years of pandering to the extreme wing -- the 'kooks' the senior Buckley tried to separate from the right -- have created a party no longer attentive to its principles.
"Instead, as Christopher Buckley pointed out in a blog post on thedailybeast.com explaining his departure from National Review, eight years of 'conservatism' have brought us 'a doubled national debt, ruinous expansion of entitlement programs, bridges to nowhere, poster boy Jack Abramoff and an ill-premised, ill-waged war conducted by politicians of breathtaking arrogance.' "
Paraphrasing Ronald Reagan, Christopher said: "I haven't left the Republican Party. It left me." ... so he set sail for more hopeful seas.
Regardless of whether it is the son of liberal old-guard Jesse Jackson.... Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr..... who publicly rejected his father's divisive remarks and hanging-on politics in favor of Obama's; or, Christopher who recognized the Republican party no longer represented conservatism and endorsed Obama.... the change that is here is a changing of the guard to the next generation.... to Obama's "working together" can-do discarding-of-old-failed-ideas generation.
It makes one hopeful.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
When the media checked out the peg on which John McCain hung Wednesday's debate.... Joe the Plumber.... well, he didn't. Check out, that is.
Turns out Joe is Sam.... Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher of Springfield Township, Ohio. He is a registered Republican. Joe isn't licensed or registered as a plumber anywhere in Ohio, so.... he isn't a plumber.
Joe doesn't own a plumbing business, and it doesn't seem like he might any time soon since his divorce papers show he earned $40,000 in 2006 according to an article in today's Toledo Blade.
So, how did the myth that is Joe the Plumber come about?
Joe was playing football in his front yard with his son, Joey, on Sunday afternoon when Barack Obama made an unscheduled stop to go door to door greeting voters and asking for their support.
In his conversation with Joe, Obama tried explained his plan for tax breaks to 95 percent of Americans while raising taxes on incomes above $250,000.
Obama said his plan would improve the economy for people trying to get a start in small business, and "spread the wealth".... meaning to give a break to the middle class for a change, not those at the top of the heap like the GOP's trickle-down Reaganomics benefited.
The "spread the wealth" phrase was quickly picked up by conservative bloggers, commentators and then the McCain campaign... and, McCain seized on Joe the Plumber as his debate catch-phrase, gleefully accusing Obama in their debate of wanting to "redistribute" Joe's wealth.
It seems Joe doesn't worry too much about sharing the tax load anyway, there is a lien of $1,183 on his modest home for nonpayment of personal property taxes.
While Joe didn't say who he was going to vote for in November, he did say he liked McCain's other unvetted campaign gimmick, Sarah Palin.
Note to McCain: Someone in your campaign needs to learn how to Google-check basic facts before launch.
Note to Joe: You're exactly the type of middle-class American that Obama's tax policies would benefit. Think about it.
Note to voters: November 4!
Obama's measured response was to "largely refuse to return fire even as McCain taunted him, defending himself against the Republican's accusations but repeatedly trying to turn the conversation back to the economy and the country's bleak financial situation."
McCain's debate performance was.... unsettling. For someone who likes to crow about how he has reached across the aisle to get things done, McCain seemed intolerant and disdainful of Obama's views, barely able to control his impatience and seething anger.
Regardless of what he tells you about his putting country first, he's still the self-centered controlling toddler McCain recounts in his autobiography, "Faith of My Fathers,".... "At the smallest provocation," he wrote, he would hold his breath until he passed out. As McCain describes his tantrums.... "I would go off in a mad frenzy, and then, suddenly, crash to the floor unconscious."
He took this habit of or-else temperament to the school yard, admitting, "My small stature motivated me to.... fight the first kid who provoked me."
Riding on his daddy and granddaddy's coattails, he was accepted, and tolerated, at the Naval Academy despite infamous "McNasty"-flaunting of the code of conduct. ("McNasty" was an actual McCain nickname at the Naval Academy.)
"When McCain was not shown the pampering to which he was accustomed, he grew petulant - even abusive. He repeatedly blew up in the face of his commanding officer..... Midway through his final year, McCain faced expulsion, about to 'bilge out' because of his excessive demerits" but his mother went straight to the top, and the academy's commandant stepped in to save him. (RS)
Insofar as his "top gun" image goes, McCain writes "I enjoyed the off-duty life of a navy flier more than I enjoyed the actual flying.... I drove a Corvette, dated a lot, spent all my free hours at bars and beach parties." McCain finished fifth from the bottom of his graduating class.... 894 of 899.
McCain shamelessly used his famous military name to absolve him of his reckless behavior... including crashing planes and self-described "daredevil clowning".... once on a run at McCain field, when ground control put him in a holding pattern, lieutenant commander McCain demanded on his radio.... "Let me land, or I'll take my field and go home."
McCain admits to an "immature and unprofessional reaction to slights" that followed him to the Senate where he has "very few friends" according to GOP Sen. Bob Smith.
As examples of the many occasions McCain was unable to control his volcanic temper.... he called Iowa's Sen. Grassley a "f---ing jerk," and when being called out-of-line for barging into an immigration legislation meeting at the 11th hour to seize the reins and claim credit for the negotiations he exploded "F---- you! I know more about this than anyone in the room."
"Three of McCain's GOP colleagues have gone on record to say that they consider him temperamentally unsuited to be commander in chief" including "Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi who weighed in that 'the thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine. He is erratic. He is hotheaded.' " (RS)
There is no better indication of McCain's impulsive approach to governing than his barely-vetted, spit-in-the-country's-face selection of running mate Sarah Palin... "a born-again moose hunter whose only qualification for office is her ability to electrify Rove's base."
The country has suffered through eight years of a shoot-from-the-hip, gut-deciding, incurious president better suited to lead frat-party hijinks's.
McCain has discarded his promise to "treat my opponents with respect and demand that they treat me with respect." While Obama lived up to McCain's pledge last night, an eye-rolling, scoffing McCain didn't even try.
Most telling, perhaps, was McCain's self-centered final two-minute statement in the debate where he invoked his sense of entitlement to be president because of his family tradition of military service.
Well.... this time McCain is facing something he must earn. Being a spoiled, barely-in-control "McCain" isn't enough.