Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Two Faces of John McCain

Seriously, You Think This Guy Could Be President?

McCain Making Dubya Look Like an Economic Genius

Could it be that when he says that the fundamentals of the economy are strong he's only referring to his and Cindy's situation? Maybe he's looking for beer sales to go up as people struggle to drown their sorrows.

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Gone Zo But Not Forgotten

Former A.G. A. G. Back In The Headlines

It's been a long time since we've heard about former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. The little worm probably thought he wriggled off the various hooks he'd impaled himself on in service to his idol Führer President George W. Bush. Think again. From The Atlantic (via Crooks and Liars):
In March 2004, White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales made a now-famous late-night visit to the hospital room of Attorney General John Ashcroft, seeking to get Ashcroft to sign a certification stating that the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program was legal. According to people familiar with statements recently made by Gonzales to federal investigators, Gonzales is now saying that George Bush personally directed him to make that hospital visit.
This incident is one of the worst examples of abuse of power in an administration rife with - indeed characterized by - abuse of power. We blogged about this dramatic story back in May of 2007 when the testimony of James Comey revealed the incident in front of a Senate Judiciary Committee. We lamented a day later that it had been virtually ignored by the Lamestream Media (abbreviated LaMe) - in stark defiance of the journalistic rule, "if it bleeds, it leads."

My opinion then, to which I still adhere, was that if the American public knew what went on in John Ashcroft's hospital room it would have led to Bush and Cheney's being lynched impeached. So I think one correction needs to be made to Murray Waas's otherwise excellent article about these new developments. The 'now-famous' visit to Ashcroft's hotel room is nothing of the sort. I would bet that it's only famous to the denizens of Greater Left BlogSylvania, because a) the LaMe have kept schtum about it, so 70% of the public have never heard the story and b) the complicit House and Senate chose not to make an issue of this political dynamite, that could well have put Bush, Cheney, and Gonzo in the dock defending against treason charges.

For a more thorough understanding of the issues surrounding this incident I urge you to read the entire Waas article and/or my own post from May of last year (links will open in new windows.) There are two new stories here, the first the revelation above, from Gonzo's own lips, that George Bush personally directed him to make that hospital visit. That's big. There's been speculation about this, Gonzo testified that he was acting 'on the authority of the White House' but until now that left the possibility open that he was under Cheney's direction. (TPM Muckraker has archive YouTube footage of Gonzo's testimony that goes to this issue.) This new revelation, if true, puts Dubya's skinny neck right on the chopping block. The deliberate and underhanded effort to subvert the Constitution and the rule of law in a naked grab for power is undeniable.

I just have to insert a reminder here. When this hospital room incident happened, Gonzales was still White House Counsel, John Ashcroft was the titular Attorney General but was not actively carrying out the duties of that office, and James Comey was the acting Attorney General. It's important to know that to understand the level of impropriety of Gone-Zo's actions.

The second aspect of the story that's new is the information "that in another instance the President asked [Gonzales] to fabricate fictitious notes." Parts of that story appear in the Murray Waas article linked above. Waas has a separate article here about the fabricated notes aspect of the story. This one puts Gone-z0's neck on the block, and I have to comment that it is simply shocking to see how compliant AGAG is with the most outrageous requests from his president.
President Bush reauthorized the surveillance program on March 11, 2004, one day after the hospitalized Attorney General John Ashcroft refused to sign a certification saying that the program was legal and could therefore continue.

In reauthorizing the surveillance program over the objections of his own Justice Department, President Bush later claimed to have relied on notes made by Gonzales about a meeting that had taken place the day before (March 10), in which Gonzales and Vice President Cheney had met with eight congressional leaders—also known as the “Gang of Eight”—who receive briefings about covert intelligence programs. According to Gonzales’s notes, the congressional leaders had said in the meeting that they wanted the surveillance program to continue despite the attorney general’s refusal to certify that it was legal.

But four of the congressional leaders present at the meeting say that’s not true; they never encouraged the White House to sidestep the objections of the attorney general and continue the program without his approval.

Investigators are skeptical of the notes because Gonzales did not write them until days after the meeting with the congressional leaders, and he wrote them after both Bush and Gonzales had together signed a reauthorization of the surveillance program.

Gonzales, who was White House counsel at the time he met with the congressional leaders, has told investigators working for the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General that President Bush personally directed him to write the notes so that he could “memorialize” what the legislators had told him, according to a report made public by the Inspector General’s Office on September 2 and sources close to the investigation.

The timing of when Bush directed Gonzales to write the notes is important: investigators say the fact that they were written after both the meeting and the reauthorization of the program might indicate that they were written in order to provide an after-the-fact justification for the signing of the reauthorization—and that that timing might have given Gonzales a motive to lie in the notes.
For the sake of clarity and brevity I'll try to sketch this out in bullet-point form.
  • The Bush/Cheney crime syndicate wanted desperately to be able to wiretap whomever they wanted to, whenever they wanted to, without oversight.
  • They knew damn well that this was illegal, as the FISA statutes had made this particular insult on the Fourth Amendment a FELONY - specifically emphasizing that the President himself was not only not exempt from the law, but after Nixon's transgressions was the very target of the law
  • The Department of Justice seems to have initially certified the surveillance program on good faith, but significantly had done so without the White House really having disclosed what it was they were signing off on.
  • When the DoJ got details (probably not full details) of what Bush/Cheney were actually doing with the initial authorization, they declared the program to be illegal, and vehemently declared that the certification would not be renewed.
  • By the time the initial certification was to expire, Attorney General John Ashcroft lay in Intensive Care in the hospital, was recovering from surgery and under heavy sedation.
  • Alberto Gonzales and White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card were dispatched to Ashcroft's hospital room with a manila envelope containing the renewal of the DoJ certification that the surveillance program was legal.
  • James Comey had already refused to sign this document. Ashcroft, Comey and other chief officials at DoJ as well as Robert Mueller, director of the FBI had all threatened to resign if the illegal wiretapping program continued.
  • The President personally phoned ahead to advise Ashcroft's wife that Gonzales and Card were on their way. This led Ashcrofts Chief of Staff to call Comey and Mueller to advise them of what was about to go down.
  • Comey sped to the scene to prevent Ashcroft from being pressured while he was in no condition to defy a two-on-one play to subvert justice. Mueller called the FBI agents assigned to guard Ashcroft and order that under no circumstances was Comey to be removed from the room.
  • Ashcroft, to his credit, refused to be steamrolled, telling Gonzales and Card, "I'm not even the Attorney General right now, he (Comey) is." Thus the illegal attempt to obtain the illegal certification of an illegal program was thwarted.
  • Phase Two begins. Having failed to subvert the Justice Department, the White House turned their efforts to the Legislative Branch. Gonzales and Dick Cheney met later the same day (Mar. 10, 2004.) with the so-called Gang of Eight.
  • The next day President Bush re-authorized the surveillance program HIMSELF!! through an executive order - exerting a dictatorial power that he did NOT have under any interpretation of the Constitution of the United States of America.
  • At some point AFTER this bogus 'reauthorization' Gonzales cobbles up notes giving a false account of the meeting with the Gang of Eight - an account wherein the Gang of Eight said they wanted the surveillance program to continue.
  • The Congressmen who attended the meeting said that they did NOT express such desire.
In the shortest summation I can distill this to - the President of the United States committed fraud in order to usurp the powers of both the Judicial and Legislative branches, in order to commit a large number of serious felonies. More alarming, nobody tried to stop him in the face of these patent High Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Glenn Greenwald discussed these related stories with Murray Waas in Friday's Salon Radio segment. If this isn't Shock and Awe directed against the very foundations of the country I don't know what would be.

Geez Louise. Could it get any worse for the beleaguered Gonzales? It appears so. TPM Muckraker reports that the DoJ is going to release a report on Monday about the Prosecutors' Purge scandal. In that short report TPM recalls a predicition made by David Iglesias, who was one of the US Attorney's dismissed under questionable circumstances:
I expect them to conclude that there is sufficient evidence to show that former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and former Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty committed perjury in their statements before Congressional committees and investigators.
Seems like Alberto's got a whole lot of 'splainin' to do.

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Red Thread

thread, originally uploaded by lovelypetal.


As in, "McCain's eternal devotion to Bush policy makes me see Red!"

What Dear John just doesn't understand is that Bush's policies have brought about one catastrophic failure after then next, bringing US WHERE WE ARE NOW.

Thread. This one is Red. And OPEN...


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Why McCain Ditched Letterman Show

"The Campaign is in Suspense"

I was watching this Countdown segment last night about Yawn McCain's defection from Friday's presidential debate when Olbermann mentioned that the Caveman had also cancelled an appearance on Late Night with David Letterman at the last minute. Olbermann knew this because Letterman had called him as an emergency replacement when Letterman received the call from McCain's peeps after he had actually begun taping the show. A McCain spokesperson had just told Letterman he was flying to Washington immediately to 'deal with the financial crisis.' One must assume that the studios of MSNBC and CBS's Ed Sullivan Theater are adjacent or very close to one another.

Here's the Olbermann clip:

The clip from the Letterman show (which was uploaded to YouTube even before Letterman's broadcast at 11:30 EDT) can be seen in this post at Ice Station Tango. As Olbermann notes, Letterman was PISSED about being slagged like that. Did I mention he'd already begun taping when McCain informed him that he would be a no-show? I should also mention that Letterman is not someone who readily puts up with right-wing bullshit, as his famous confrontation with Bill O'Reilly proves.

It wasn't too far into Olbermann's appearance on Letterman that Dave was informed about where McCain was - in another CBS studio doing an interview with Katy Couric. It's safe to say that Letterman went from PISSED! to PISSED!!! at that point, yelling at the on-set screen that he and Keith were watching Couric on, "I've got a question for you John - You want a ride to the airport?"

As Letterman repeated through his show with increasing vehemence, something about this scenario stunk to high heaven, and this EXCELLENT post from The Anonymous Liberal nails the true motives of the Senior Citizen Senior Senator from Arizona. It was a desperate attempt at damage control, as McCain ran the unscheduled interview with Couric in an attempt to push another earlier interview of Sarah Palin off the primetime airwaves.
In that interview, Palin did two things that hurt the McCain campaign and, but for McCain's late afternoon shenanigans, would have garnered much more attention. First, buying into the premise of one of Couric's questions, she all but stated that if no bailout legislation is passed, we'll be headed into the next Great Depression. Even if true, that's not a very smart thing for a politician to say and, importantly, it all but foreclosed any possibility of McCain voting against the bailout.
I think the McCain campaign knew the Couric interview would be a disaster as soon as it was done taping and spent much of the day frantically trying to think of a way to push it out of the headlines. The clincher for me is the fact that McCain cancelled his Letterman appearance at the last second and instead sat down for an impromptu interview with, of all people, Katie Couric. The hope was to bump the Palin interview even on the CBS Evening News, which otherwise would have hyped and teased the Palin interview all afternoon and used it to lead the broadcast. Instead, CBS devoted most of its coverage to McCain and played segments of the Palin interview almost as an afterthought. Mission accomplished.
Palin looked like a moose in the headlights in the interview. The entire clip is available on YouTube, you can see it in the aforementioned post from The Anonymous Liberal. She really falls flat on her face. This video HAD TO be kept out of the public eye as much as it was in McCain's power to do so.

The Palin bounce has fallen flat, especially now that it has become obvious to even the Lamestream Media that she has been trying to shut them out. She is forced by the reality of her inexperience, her extremism, her lying, her bizarre religious affiliations, to hide from any meaningful scrutiny of her policy positions. In the absence of any input from the candidate it's only natural that the media fill the vacuum by examining her brief political history of the Governor of Alaska and before that the Mayor of Wasilla, even her family life. She is trying very hard to be judged solely on her looks and her self-description as an agent of change. It isn't working. She is simply incapable of opening her mouth without jumping in with both feet. On the other hand the more she hides from the public the more people wonder what she has to hide. In mining terms, the preliminary dig has produced enough paydirt to finance further exploration.

Palin's attempt to look presidential by visiting several world leaders at the UN the other day was the last straw for the media. She set unprecedented rules that simply stated said, 'pictures, but no sound.' Reporters were expected to provide a photo opportunity with no questions as to the content or depth of her talks. This rubbed everyone the wrong way, bringing negative comments from everybody in the news media. And I mean everybody. (Countdown video: Palin vs. the Press) "You know when FOX "news" complains it's bad."

I can hardly wait for Letterman tonight. I'm sure by taping time today someone at CBS has told Dave about this post at Anonymous Liberal. It should make for some interesting late night TV. And as a parting note, I don't believe that the McCain campaign is in suspense at all. It's circling the bowl.

UPDATE: In this post from Glenn Greenwald, Glenn describes Palin's performance in the Couric interview as being so bad that he felt sorry for her. That's not good. And as John Aravosis points out, the Republican party is in such disarray that even their seasoned operatives are finding it hard to advance the agenda anymore.

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The Palin Predicament

And I couldn't be happier for surely this paves the way for the ordination of women in evangelical and conservative churches across the nation. After all, didn't the GOP evangelical base spontaneously break into the Hallelujah Chorus at the news of her nomination as John McCain's running mate? If a woman could serve a heart beat away from the presidency, couldn't a woman be ordained to serve - at the very least - as an associate pastor? David P. Gushee asks some very procative question of the evangelical leadership:

Is it now your view that God can call a woman to serve as president of the United States? Are you prepared to renounce publicly any further claim that God's plan is for men rather than women to exercise leadership in society, the workplace and public life? Do you acknowledge having become full-fledged egalitarians in this sphere at least?

Would Palin be acceptable as vice president because she would still be under the ultimate authority of McCain as president, like the structure of authority that occurs in some of your churches? Have you fully come to grips with the fact that if after his election McCain were to die, Palin would be in authority over every male in the USA as president?

If you agree that God can call a woman to serve as president, does this have any implications for your views on women's leadership in church life? Would you be willing to vote for a qualified woman to serve as pastor of your church? If not, why not?

Do you believe that Palin is under the authority of her husband as head of the family? If so, would this authority spill over into her role as vice president?

Do you believe that women carry primary responsibility for the care of children in the home? If so, does this affect your support for Palin? If not, are you willing to change your position and instead argue for flexibility in the distribution of child care responsibilities according to the needs of the family?

As Gushee concludes, the nomination of Palin offers conservative Christian leaders the chance to rethink an archaic theological vision that wounds millions of devout Christian women and restricts the full exercise of their gifts. Truly this is an unexpected gift from presidential candidate John McCain to evangelical Christianity.

Well a girl can have her fantasies can't she? Too bad even a picture of a woman pastor makes those manly men pastors go limp. Or maybe not. You can purchase this obscene magazine depicting a group of women pastors on its cover at your local Lifeway bookstore, but you won't find it displayed on the rack. Nope, it's been hidden behind the counter like it was some kind of porn.

On a serious note, I am very concerned for Ms. Palin. Earlier this summer, Super Manly Man Pastor Dennis Ware preached the Good Word at the Denton Bible Church in Texas, proclaiming that men have only two options when confronted with a wife who rebels against her husband's God-given authority:
(1) to roll over like a wimp, or
(2) beat some sense into their rebellious woman.
Since Governor Palin apparently consults her husband before conducting state business, she is safe for now and the First Dude's manhood remains intact.

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One Simple God-damned Thing: The Lifetime Ban

The bailout's coming for ya baby. Despite overwhelming disapproval from the American people, Congress is set to roll over for Bush like a tired old dog seeking its owner's approval. So if we have to swallow this bullsh*t, I want one thing, one simple god-damned thing:

Any firm that receives a cash injection from the bailout fund (regardless of what that money purchases, be it distressed assets or whatever-the-f*ck Paulson decides he needs to acquire) must fire all officers of the company, and all those former employees must accept a lifetime ban from working in the financial industry. It works for sports (well sort of). Why not here?

NO BAN - NO FUNDS! Suck on that, Wall Street!

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

What's Really Going On Here?

Wall Street Is Using the "New Sheriff Strategy!"
(Inspired by EdNSted asking the question in comments,
"OK, now explain to me what happens if the government does not bail out these institutions?")

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Biggest Story in Living Memory

"A Crime of the Highest Order"

Glennzilla's post on the 'rescue' of AIG (and by extension Wall Street) is enough to curl your hair, straighten it out again, then make it fall out altogether. He's also posted what 'details' of the plan anyone is likely to see before it's implemented, and probably ratified without even a reading by the feckless Congress.
Here is the current draft for the latest plan. It's elegantly simple. The three key provisions:

(1) The Treasury Secretary is authorized to buy up to $700 billion of any mortgage-related assets (so he can just transfer that amount to any corporations in exchange for their worthless or severely crippled "assets") [Sec. 6];
(2) The ceiling on the national debt is raised to $11.3 trillion to accommodate this scheme [Sec. 10]; and
(3) best of all: "Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency." [Sec. 8].

Put another way, this authorizes Hank Paulson to transfer $700 billion of taxpayer money to private industry in his sole discretion, and nobody has the right or ability to review or challenge any decision he makes.
In one respect this has all the makings of the USA PATRIOT Act - something rushed through because of a 'crisis' (and like the USA PATRIOT Act these 'emergency' measures seem suspiciously well developed, as if this plan had been sitting ready in a man-sized safe somewhere all along.)

It also bears comparison to the Military Commissions Act in its provisions for making secret decisions that fundamentally change the way society operates, then taking steps to put those decisions beyond any scrutiny. I say that's a bunch of bullshit.

Nor does this escape the sharp eyes of Mr. Greenwald. Some gleanings from the aforementioned post:
As Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut and chairman of the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, put it Friday morning on the ABC program "Good Morning America," the congressional leaders were told "that we’re literally maybe days away from a complete meltdown of our financial system, with all the implications here at home and globally."
At least they didn't recycle the 'smoking gun' or 'mushroom cloud' language, although 'complete meltdown' is a suitable substitute I suppose. Why am I calling this the Biggest Story in Living Memory? How could it be bigger for instance than 9/11, the invasion of Iraq, or the devastation of New Orleans when Katrina hit?
...whatever else is true, the events of the last week are the most momentous events of the Bush era in terms of defining what kind of country we are and how we function -- and before this week, the last eight years have been quite momentous, so that is saying a lot. Again, regardless of whether this nationalization/bailout scheme is "necessary" or makes utilitarian sense, it is a crime of the highest order -- not a "crime" in the legal sense but in a more meaningful sense.
..what's probably most amazing of all is the contrast between how gargantuan all of this is and the complete absence of debate or disagreement over what's taking place. It's not just that, as usual, Democrats and Republicans are embracing the same core premises ("this is regrettable but necessary"). It's that there's almost no real discussion of what happened, who is responsible, and what the consequences are.
Glenn laments at length the fact that no-one in the beltway elite, either on the political or the media side of the trough, is questioning this government bailout of America's wealthiest on the back of everyone else. But he makes it plain that that is exactly what is taking place.
We've retroactively created a win-only system where the wealthiest corporations and their shareholders are free to gamble for as long as they win and then force others who have no upside to pay for their losses.
More amazingly, they're free to walk away without having to disgorge their gains; at worst, they're just "forced" to walk away without any further stake in the gamble..
..This is "redistribution of wealth" and "government takeover of industry" on the grandest scale imaginable -- the buzzphrases that have been thrown around for decades to represent all that is evil and bad in the world. That's all this is; it's not an "investment" by the Government in any real sense but just a magical transfer of losses away from those who are responsible for these losses to those who aren't.
Greenwald makes plain not only who benefits from this corporate welfare - the very ones whose greed created the crisis - but to whom the burden is passed:
If there is any "pitchfork moment" -- an episode that understandably would send people into the streets in mass outrage -- it would be this..
..Whatever else is true, generations of Americans are almost certainly going to be severely burdened in untold ways by the events of the last week -- ones that have been carried out largely without any debate and mostly in secret.
Having already loosed numerous hollow-point rounds into the body of the American economy, the thief of the ages now delivers the coup de grace, point blank, right between the eyes. He knows he's going to have to get out of Dodge soon, and is making a final effort to cop as much swag as he possibly can.

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Friday, September 19, 2008

We're All Leningrad Cowboys Now

Let's just change out "loving" for "money" and we've got a FABOO Socialist Song For Today's Wall Street!

Товарищ, дайте мне все ваши деньги!
(Comrade, give me all your money!)

Discuss our newfound and proud ownership in this open thread.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Poll Reading for Dummies

Dang, I've been waiting a long time for this one....

In the New York Times/CBS News poll released today, Obama leads McCain by 48% - 43%, a margin they point out is within the poll's sampling error. Many journalists are quick to call this a "statistical dead heat". They're wrong. Here's why.

(If you're a mathophobe, stop reading. We're going to talk statistics here.) To begin with, what they're calling "sampling error" is what's called a confidence interval. A poll uses a technique called sampling - you can't very well ask the entire electorate what they think so you can use a randomly selected group to do the same thing, with a reasonable degree of certainty. The generally accepted certainty range is usually 95%, or about two sample statistical deviations either side of the mean (the published poll result - I warned you, there is math in here). I dug really deeply into the poll and found the sampling error to be 3%. So if you're Obama, there's a 95% chance that somewhere between 45% and 52% of the electorate will vote for you. If you're McCain with his result at 43%, the margin is between 40% and 46%

So, again a warning to Mathophobes, that's really a bell curve there. The Mean in this case is the result of the survey. The 95% line is at 1.9 standard deviations, or sigmas (σ ). To see what the poll is actually telling us, we draw two of these, one centered at 43% (McCain's results) and one centered at 48% (Obama's results)

The gap between Obama and McCain is 5%. The standard deviation of the poll is 1.5%. The midpoint between Obama and McCain is 2.5 points, or 1.667 standard deviations.

90% of Obama's winning outcomes lie within plus or minus 1.69 standard deviations of his mean, or 48%. Since we're not worried at all about the plus side, the right side of the curve (he still wins), 95% of all the outcomes of the election based on this poll make Obama the winner. Even if I give McCain the right side of his curve, Obama wins 90% of the time in this polling scenario.

Doesn't sound like a dead heat to me. So next time you hear "statistical dead heat," unless the race is tied, if you know the margin of error, you can call "bullshit." Not to mention the fact that a five-point gap in the popular vote is generally an electorial blowout.

Two in one night. Nosy's on a roll.

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Tax Plans Compared

Last I heard, 53% of all Americans still believe Obama will raise their taxes.

After yesterday's$85 billion "loan" to AIG to keep yet another failed business afloat, this chart may be a moot point. In the last couple weeks, we've added $5 trillion - yes, with a "t" to the national debt through the acquisition of Fannie and Freddie. We just added another $85 billion. There's a chance the AIG bailout may actually make us a couple billion. I just want to know if I can get an owner discount on my insurance through them.

So here's the part that may be useless. You've probably all seen this chart - it shows the tax plans supported by each of the candidates. It shows in pretty good detail how McCain would cut taxes for everyone but, in classic Republican style, the rich get richer. If you make $2.87 million per year, still middle class by McCain's estimate, you'd get an additional $269,364 off your tax bill. I don't know about you but that would pay off my house and leave enough for a pretty good additional investment. Obama's table cuts taxes for people making less than McCain would give back to the very "middle class" ($226,982 per year) and increase taxes above it. Dang, under Obama's plan, that guy I saw getting off the Gulfstream with his hunting rifle might have to pay $702,885 more to cover the Fannie and Freddie bailouts. Gist is there would be an overall tax cut of 0.3% under Obama's plan, a more reckless 2% under McCain's. Either way you slice it, Obama's plan cuts taxes.

It just doesn't benefit the guy with the Gulfstream.

Here's the same data drawn a little differently. Now both axes of the graph are to-scale. So you can see the percentage of the population on the right side and the percentage tax cut on the bottom. A few other numbers are there for reference sake: The median household income (half the incomes are above, half below), median incomes for males, females, individuals (showing the income gap is alive and well). The benefit of this presentation is it shows in very graphical terms just how many more people would benefit under Obama's plan as opposed to McCains and by how much.

Okay, now I'm not in the bracket that would be hit by Obama's plan. Maybe you are and in that case, it would not be rational for you to vote for Obama. But if you aren't, I'd suggest you take a good long look at your own self-interest.

And if you still believe in supply-side economics, stay tuned. A bit of foreshadowing: It doesn't trickle down.

Charts from Chartjunk.

Cross-posted from A Colorado Progressive.

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221 Years Ago Today

221 years ago to the day, America’s founders gathered in Philadelphia to sign one of the most important documents in history. Our Constitution Of The United States.
It is Ours. It doesn't belong to Bush, Cheney, McCain or even Obama. It is unequivocally Ours.
It not only enumerates Our rights, it enshrines them. In my opinion, it is the most important document in my life, in your life in Our life.
My favorite part of the Constitution is the Bill of Rights, the first Ten Amendments to the Constitution. Interestingly, wikipedia says:
" It was thought by the Federalists during this time that there was no need for a bill of rights as they thought that the preamble spelled out the people's rights."
Those people were so used to the day-to-day struggle with the tyranny of kings that they all assumed everybody understood what was meant in the Preamble:
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union,
establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence,
promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves
and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United
States of America."
Wisely, they decided to go ahead and spell out what Justice, Liberty and general Welfare meant.
There are far more astute and gifted observers regarding civil liberties than myself, so I'll let them do the talking from some of their current writings:

On this day in 1787, our founding fathers signed the Constitution, making us a nation of laws, not of men. The basic concepts of justice, liberty, and inherent human rights outlined in that founding document, are at the very foundation of our strength as a nation.

But 221 years later, the United States is facing one of the darkest chapters in its Constitutional history. The Bush administration has treated the Constitution and rule of law with disrespect unparalleled in our nation’s history. The list of this administration’s assaults on the Constitution is breathtaking: it includes the warrantless wiretapping program, its interrogation policy and justifications for the use of torture, its extreme positions on the legal status of detainees that have been repeatedly rejected by the Supreme Court, and its refusal to recognize and cooperate with Congress’ constitutional responsibility to conduct oversight. This is a shameful legacy that must be undone in the years to come.

Glenn Greenwald:

During the last several nominating conventions, the areas outside the convention hall have become increasingly subject to the same degree of micro-control as events on the inside. With each convention, the physical area of extreme control expands to a larger and larger perimeter. Justified by resort to the same rationale used to suppress liberties in general — vague invocations of “security” — both political parties are now able to relegate dissent, protests and disruptions to unseen and highly controlled environments, far removed from the conventions themselves and far out of sight from delegates, political figures, and the establishment media outlets which televises the convention.


But while Denver was sterilized, St. Paul was overtly militarized. Beginning the weekend before the GOP convention began, many private homes in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area were raided by machine-gun-wielding, inter-agency SWAT teams, who forced everyone in the targeted houses to lay on the floor in handcuffs while the homes were searched, with the agents carting off laptops, journals and political pamphlets. Lawyers and journalists who were already on the scene or sent there were handcuffed. Advocacy groups having nothing to do with any planned protests were plainly targeted for these pre-convention raids — most notably I-Witness, a group of videographers who had videotaped police action during the 2004 GOP Convention in New York and helped to compel the dismissal of many criminal charges against arrested protesters and had traveled to Minneapolis to do the same.

On the Sunday evening before the convention began, downtown St. Paul resembled the Green Zone in Baghdad far more than an American city. Brigades of law enforcement officers were, by design, extremely visible in the entire area near the GOP Convention, and were flamboyantly displaying their array of weapons, marching in military formation, and chanting. The tension and intimidation levels even before the Convention began were palpable, and the results — truly extraordinary even judging by the metrics of how militarized our police forces
have become — were predictable.

What I had called a "fascist shift" in the United States, projections I had warned about as worst-case scenarios, was now surpassing my imagination: in 2008, thousands of terrified, shackled illegal immigrants were rounded up in the mass arrests which always characterize a closing society; news emerged that the 9/11 report had been based on evidence derived from the testimonies of prisoners
who had been tortured -- and the tapes that documented their torture were
missing -- leading the commissioners of the report publicly to disavow their own
findings; the Associated Press reported that the torture of prisoners in U.S.-held facilities had not been the work of "a few bad apples" but had been directed out of the White House; the TSA "watch list," which had contained 45,000 names when I wrote my last book, ballooned to 755,000 names and 20,000 were being added every month; Scott McClellan confirmed that the drive to war in Iraq had been based on administration lies; HR 1955, legislation that would criminalize certain kinds of political thought and speech, passed the House and made it to the Senate; Blackwater, a violent paramilitary force not answerable to the people, established presences in Illinois and North Carolina and sought to get into border patrol activity in San Diego.

The White House has established, no matter who leads the nation in the future, U.S. government spying on the emails and phone calls of Americans -- a permanent violation of the Constitution's Fourth Amendment. The last step of the ten steps to a closed society is the subversion of the rule of law. That is happening now. What critics have called a "paper coup" has already taken place.
So there you go. This is what's happened to Our Constitution in the last eight years. It's proof that We The People can have it, only as long as we keep it. The first step in reclaiming it, and healing it as far as I'm concerned is to deny John McCain the presidency of the United States.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

My First Time

Working for a political campaign.

So I went out last week-end canvassing for Obama in sunny Maineville. My first time to ever actually work for a campaign. We were given specific homes and persons to poll, though I'm not sure how the list was generated.

I was rather surprised at how mean some of the folks were. Just rude. A couple of our fine residents openly omitted they were prejudiced and would never vote for a black man. Seemed rather proud of their bigotry. I smiled and thanked them for their time.

Then we (they sent us out in twos) we pulled into what we thought was a public lot and some guy in a hummer pulls in, parks so that he is halfway blocking us in, then tromps through a flower bed to kindly let us know that this is not a public lot and to politely inform us that Obama is a socialist...a stammer, steam, boil, a black socialist. I probably shouldn't have actually laughed out loud at him because...

A few doors later one of Maineville's finest came by to see us. "Whatchoo girls doing out here today?" As he was informing us that it was illegal for us to canvas (it's not), I moved closer to get a look at his badge (he moved even quicker to cover it up). I asked him if he was afraid to identify himself. He told us to move on. I told him we would walk across the street which is no longer sunny Maineville, but rather Hamilton Township...which really pissed him off. He probably assumed we were from someplace else and not locals. Anyways, I figured the odds were good that he'd just call up a buddy at the township police, so I decided it wasn't worth jail and did move on...but next weekend is, well, another weekend.

To be sure, we met a lot of Obama supporters. We met a high school girl who had just gotten her voter registration card the day before. And now she was being canvassed. We made her day...she really felt like she was somebody. We asked her to spread the word about Obama around school and she enthusiastically replied that alll her friends were voting for him. Hopefully that will play out on elelction day. We also met a physically handicapped young man who lived with his parents. He couldn't believe we were asking to speak to him and not his folks before proudly declaring that the whole family would be voting Obama.

All in all, it was quite a rollercoaster ride for the maybe 45 min. our canvassing lasted. I knew we'd be meeting a lot of closed minded bigots that day, I just didn't think they'd be so darn proud of it. But the police harrassment, well that was icing on the cake. I guess it's no wonder they've elected mean Jean twice.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Economic Disaster: A Primer for Republicans

To start, a graph:

What this shows us is that in the years since Republicans became "Fiscal Conservatives", our national debt has grown by $1 trillion offset by the $200 billion surplus created under the rule of a "Tax-and-Spend Liberal." As my daddy in Kentucky would say, "I don't think we can afford no more of them."

Last week the Bush Regime decided to rescue another pair of failed businesses, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In so doing, he may have averted a global financial meldtown but according to Jim Jubak at MSNBC, the benefits of the bailout accrue to the Chinese, not the American taxpayer. Some of the downers, the bailout:
  • Increases the debt on America's books by $5 trillion.
  • Of that, the government will either have to raise taxes or borrow between $25 billion and $200 billion.
  • This will increase interest rates.
  • Which can increase inflation due to the increase in the money supply.
  • Which could reduce the United States's debt rating, resulting in more interest payments on the debt.
All of which mean low economic growth (given the Government's biased reporting, recession if not depression).

  • The Chinese make out like bandits:
  • The investments they'd made are now secured by the Government of our country.
  • The Yuan is in good shape for a long time.
  • They can now interfere in their financial markets as much as they please citing the United States as an example (financial version of the Russians justifying their invasion of Georgia with the United States's Iraq example).

Invest abroad, the US economy is tanking, helped out by an ill-conceived and badly executed bailout of a struggling business by Bush appointee Paulson. (But wait until the US economy truly tanks, sometime next year, before investing in the foreign stock exchanges).

Zooming back in to focus on the individual, worker confidence is at its lowest level since the 2001 recession. One third of workers report they don't have enough money to make ends meet. And interestingly, workers reported when laid off, the responsibility to help them isn't completely the government's (about a fifth answered this way). The majority said the responsibility lay with the Government, themselves, the companies and other agencies. Sounding more and more like Sozialmarktwirtschaft to me.

I just love Freakonomics, a New York Times blog on economics but not the old, boring supply-and-demand kind. These guys report on the books of gang members to find that an average gansta makes about $2.00 per hour, not the picture most would like to have painted. Anyway, they had a blog not long ago on income equality, a guest post from William Bernstein. The economics of growth inevitably lead to inequalities in income but when policy encourages it, the results can be devastating. Current income disparities match those of the Robber Baron capitalists of the Gilded Age. And the problem is income is not measured absolutely, but relatively. When I'm eating lunch at the Perfect Landing at Centennial Airport and I see someone getting off a Gulfstream with a hunting rifle in his hand, I don't feel rich, even I'm enjoying a better meal than 99% of the planet can enjoy. Read the rest of the article - there are a number of other disparities that track income disparity: Education, obesity, life expectancy, the list is long but most important is a point I've made a number of times before: There is no correlation between tax rates and economic growth. Get it? There is no correlation between tax rates and economic growth. The best mechanism for decreasing the gap? The inheritance tax.

Now it's time for another chart:
It had been declining, roughly, since 1992. What things happened then? Clinton was elected President and eliminated a number of tax cuts. Poverty began to drop until about 2000. What happened then? Bush was elected and implemented new tax cuts. It would be interesting to see the twelve years prior to 1992 but I can make a prediction: The trend was upward. In short, it seems tax cuts do have an effect on poverty or put another way, there's a correlation between tax cuts and poverty increases. Goes against supply-side economics. There's an article I'll digest later in the week at the Center for American Progress but if you want to read ahead, here's the abstract: There is a nugget of truth to supply-side economics but like most right-wing ideological points, rigid application yields expected consequences, in this case, economic disaster.

Right-wing economics doesn't work. We don't want another minute of them, much less four more years.

Cross-posted from A Colorado Progressive.


Friday, September 12, 2008

Rude Limerick Friday - Stupid Fucking Wingut Edition

"The Great Sara P. Mooselini,
Ashamed that her weenie was teeny,
Threatened Nukular War
With Putin, that bore,
Who shrugged it off with some Vodka and Blini."

Russia, Bitches!


And an Open Thread for Hurricane Ike and whatever other needs to be talked about. For instance, I never realized this bit of irony until today; IKE also stands for Internal Kinetic Energy as an applied measurement to hurricanes, and this bastard aimed at Houston has way more than Katrina.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Year of Jubilee

(These are my comments I will make this morning at the interfaith observance of the 7th anniversry of 9/11 at the Peace Bell in Newport, Kentucky)

Today is the seventh anniversary of 9/11. Seven years of war, seven years of occupation, seven years of sitting and watching as our civil liberties disappear over the horizon. Seven long years.

And if it seems long to me, I can only imagine what these last seven years have felt like for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. Seven years of war and insurgency. Seven years of ethnic cleansing and displacement. Seven years of secret torture prisons. Seven years of screaming bombs silencing the cries of mothers and children.

And so I just had to come by here this morning to say that on this seventh anniversary we need to declare a year of jubilee.

A year of jubilee. In Jewish tradition, a jubilee comes once every seven days, once every seven years and once every seven times seven years. It is a time of Sabbath and of rest. Rest from labor. Rest from life crippling debt. Rest for the land. And freedom for those enslaved. Christians have also adopted this notion of jubilee proclaiming it a time of pardon for sins and for reconciliation.

Friends, we need to come together on this seventh anniversary and proclaim a year of jubilee.

• We need a jubilee of rest from the work of war…of ongoing war…of endless war. How can we have life – abundant life – in a state of never-ending war?

• We need a jubilee of rest from debt. Billions and billions have been spent on the war in Iraq. Much of it lost to corruption or lining the pockets of the war profiteers. And who will be saddled with the growing federal deficit? Our children and their children. Rest from debts was important so that the people could begin their lives anew, walking more closely in the way of the Lord God. It is my audacious prayer that war profiteers will repent and return their blood money and turn their talents towards providing world class educational opportunities and healthcare for our children.

• And we need a jubilee rest for the land. Since 9-11, our land primarily produces bombs and bullets. We’d like for our land to produce more oil and we seem to be willing to do just about anything to accomplish that. But sadly our land is no longer the great bread basket…it’s a great bomb basket…and I’m here to say that just isn’t natural.

• And a jubilee year means freedom from slavery. Freedom from the enslaving ideology that says violence must be matched by more violence. That says you kill 3,000 of ours and we’ll kill 30,000 of yours. A year of jubilee means freedom from fear and hate. A year of jubilee is grounded in God’s love for you and me and – yes – even for our enemies. A jubilee year frees us to love.

• But for me, mostly, a year of jubilee means pardon for my sins. My sins of silence and omission. Pardon for what I have done and what I have failed to do. Forgiveness for when I chose the safe way of political correctness.

This Sunday many of us will sit in our pews at church and hear the preacher read from Matthew’s gospel:

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”

And we will hear Jesus answer: “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

Yes, friends, we need to proclaim this 7th anniversary a year of jubilee. A year of rest and reflection. A year to take seriously Christ's battlecry to take up the arms of forgiveness even as we beg forgiveness for what we have done and what we have failed to do in the wake of this national tragedy. And then, at the end of such a year, we might know true freedom: the freedom to love.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

You Keep Using That Word...

...I Don't Think it Means What You Think it Means -- Maverick Edition
mav·er·ick -- a lone dissenter, as an intellectual, an artist, or a politician, who takes an independent stand apart from his or her associates.

-- Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.
Tom Cruise in Top Gun was a maverick.

And as fantastic as that movie was, it was just a story. In truth, Cruise is a couch-hopping, alien worshiping nutter.

John McCain plays a maverick on the campaign trail. But in reality John McCain is a caddy. John McCain rides in George Bush's sidecar. When it comes to neocon warmongering, money laundering and influence peddling, Bush is the cheese and John McCain is the macaroni.

The character McCain is playing is based on a true story, unlike the maverickification of Sarah Palin, which was generated out of nothing. Indeed, there was a time, long ago, when John McCain fought the power. At the very beginning of his career he fought Reagan's foolish intervention in Lebanon and was vindicated when a truck bomber blew up the Marine barracks in Lebanon, killing 241.

McCain's main claim to Maverick-dom stems from his bi-partisan campaign finance work. This issue defines McCain's Senate career more than any other, because it allowed him to "atone" for the worst scar on his record--his participation in the Keating 5 scandal. And if McCain is to take the credit for being a maverick on campaign finance, doesn't he also take the hit for helping to completely screw that up? There's way more money in politics now than ever before. "Oops, I 'accidentally' helped the lobbyists." What a maverick.

McCain's long push for campaign finance went through a few unique phases. Under George H.W. Bush, McCain pushed hard for it against his own party, knowing that Bush would veto. When Bill Clinton courted McCain's support for nearly identical campaign finance reform, McCain and a few other Republican Senators threatened a filibuster.

This is the real McCain. The one who takes refuge within his party when it benefits him and he takes on his party when that benefits him. A classic example of this is when McCain prepared to jump ship to the democrats in 2001, which would give the Democrats control of the Senate, but McCain was beaten to the punch by Jim Jeffords. Without the political capital that comes as the reward for swinging the Senate, McCain decided he wouldn't gain enough by jumping, so he stayed where he was and waited.

After his 2000 primary battle with President Bush, McCain displayed a willingness to break with Bush on safe issues he could not win, like fighting the Bush tax cuts, while taking the lead pushing Bush's horrendous foreign policy.

McCain's pseudo-Mavericky ways ended in 2004 when John Kerry chose John Edwards to be his running mate, rather than McCain, who pushed for the spot. With no chance to take his revenge on Bush for the down and dirty 2000 primary battle, McCain set his sights on 2008. Knowing that Bush was poison, it had to be obvious to McCain that he would have to run against the Republican Party. So he forged an alliance with Joe Lieberman. They would be the perfect team for 2008. Two renegades fighting both political parties.

First, McCain would have to get by his primary opponents--a group of sycophantic company men (and Ron Paul) who all decided (except Ron Paul) that the only way to win the Republican Party nomination was to make it into a Bush hugging contest. And they were right. The shrinking base of the Republican party meant that the base controlled the nomination. So McCain got out there and out-Bush-hugged them all. McCain reversed himself on numerous issues in an effort to walk back all the damage his play at being a maverick caused within the base. The Bush tax cuts were suddenly a great idea. Torture was okay. The "agents of intolerance" were now his "spiritual advisers". Drilling became a good way to alleviate our energy problems.

Now, with the base passified and the nomination securely in his pocket, McCain is Mavericking up a storm. Except, that pesky base of his wouldn't let McCain follow through on his instincts and name Joe Lieberman his running mate. So he turned to his political Svengali--the guy trained and hand picked by former mortal enemy Karl Rove--and let him do it his way. The Rove-Bush way. They installed the embodiment of a political narrative into the Vice Presidential slot on McCain's ticket. They took a blank slate and created one myth for each of the constituencies to which they wanted to reach out. For the Pumas--she's a woman. For the base--she's a hard core holy roller. For the press--she's a maverick, baby!

That's not very maverick-like on John McCain's part though. That sounds downright cynical. And that is exactly why this off-camera accidental punditry by Peggy Noonan and Mike Murphy was so spot on. Noonan said, "I think they went for this -- excuse me-- political bullshit about narratives." Then Murphy said, "You know what's really the worst thing about it? The greatness of McCain is no cynicism, and this is cynical."

Well, Murphy is partially right. McCain is most effective politically when his ever-present cynicism is invisible, and this move left his cynicism plain to see, even to Mike Murphy. And even Mike Murphy knows that there's one thing that a Maverick is not and that is cynical and that is why McCain and Palin's house of cards is utterly, wait for it...

And it will fall apart.


Sunday, September 07, 2008

The New Chicago Eight

..."The RNC Eight" Charged as Terrorists

A disturbing story from Information Clearing House explains why the RNC was held in Minnesota, and why the police there acted as if war had been declared on America's population.
In what appears to be the first use of criminal charges under the 2002 Minnesota version of the Federal Patriot Act, Ramsey County Prosecutors have formally charged 8 alleged leaders of the RNC Welcoming Committee with Conspiracy to Riot in Furtherance of Terrorism. Monica Bicking, Eryn Trimmer, Luce Guillen Givins, Erik Oseland, Nathanael Secor, Robert Czernik, Garrett Fitzgerald, and Max Spector, face up to 7 1/2 years in prison under the terrorism enhancement charge which allows for a 50% increase in the maximum penalty.

Affidavits released by law enforcement which were filed in support of the search warrants used in raids over the weekend, and used to support probable cause for the arrest warrants, are based on paid, confidential informants who infiltrated the RNCWC on behalf of law enforcement. They allege that members of the group sought to kidnap delegates to the RNC, assault police officers with firebombs and explosives, and sabotage airports in St. Paul. Evidence released to date does not corroborate these allegations with physical evidence or provide any other evidence for these allegations than the claims of the informants. Based on past abuses of such informants by law enforcement, the National Lawyers Guild is concerned that such police informants have incentives to lie and exaggerate threats of violence and to also act as provocateurs in raising and urging support for acts of violence.
WHAT?!? Minnesota has its own version of the constitutionally dubious USA PATRIOT Act? What folly is this? It does explain how and why the modern-day version of the 1968 'police riots' at the DNC in Chicago occurred in Minnesota. The sonsabitches want to establish a test case that equates protest, dissent, or simply thinking for yourself as TERRORISM.

They also want to send a message to legitimate political dissidents - STFU!! It's like Bill O'Reilly became the the head of DHS or something (shudder at the thought.) This is the government trying to cut off everyone's microphone at once.

I've already made my comparisons of the violence in 2008 with that in Chicago in 1968 in my recent post Police State 101 - but this development brings them into high relief. This is a nakedly aggressive crackdown designed to suppress people's constitutionally protected rights of assembly and expression. If you still want more background on the DNC riots of 1968, or the Chicago Eight (Later Chicago Seven) trials, consult Wikipedia. There's also a good article here at History and Education blog.

The evidence that the authorities are relying on in these cases seems to be paper-thin, and one wonders if they intend to use the dubious 'rules of evidence' established for the Guantanamo Bay military 'trials' as a precedent. None of this passes either the laugh test or the smell test.
The criminal complaints filed by the Ramsey County Attorney do not allege that any of the defendants personally have engaged in any act of violence or damage to property. The complaints list all of alleged violations of law during the last few days of the RNC — other than violations of human rights carried out by law enforcement — and seeks to hold the 8 defendants responsible for acts committed by other individuals. None of the defendants have any prior criminal history involving acts of violence. Searches conducted in connection with the raids failed to turn up any physical evidence to support the allegations of organized attacks on law enforcement. Although claiming probable cause to believe that gunpowder, acids, and assembled incendiary devices would be found, no such items were seized by police. As a result, police sought to claim that the seizure of common household items such as glass bottles, charcoal lighter, nails, a rusty machete, and two hatchets, supported the allegations of the confidential informants.
One has to assume that TPTB (the powers that be) really don't care about getting convictions in these cases. It will suffice for them if a pall of fear is cast over any act of political independence, and even if it doesn't they've got at least eight people who might question their 'patriotic' motives locked up at least until after the elections are over.

Anyone with two functioning synapses could have seen this coming from a long way off. The USA PATRIOT Act and its successors clearly were written in such a way that they sound like they are directed against foreign terrorists, but conveniently can be applied against domestic political opponents and critics of the government. "We'll try these draconian methods out on brown people for a while at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. If we get away with that we're clear to bring them home to Peoria, Bakersfield, Des Moines and St. Paul Minnesota." That's how I perceive their thinking.

What worries me the most about this is not what the government is doing, but what I fear the Lamestream Media won't do - report this as a major story, which it surely is. It's after all an indication of a fundamental shift in society, the breaking of a covenant between the government and the people that has endured since the American Revolution. And ultimately I fear that the American people themselves won't respond with the energy required to put a stop to this, and turn back the judicial clock to a time when fairness mattered.

A little voice in the corner of my mind asks, "is it fascism yet?" I don’t know, but as a rule I’d say that if you can actually smell the polish on the stormtrooper’s boot, it’s probably too close to your neck.
UPDATE: Firedoglake has this post, with the video below about how Americans were tortured Guantanamo style after being arrested in Minnesota.
The shocking thing is that it would be very unusual for any of these thugs cops to face discipline over these various crimes of assault and failure to recognize the rights of their fellow citizens.

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Saturday, September 06, 2008

New Theme For VP Candidate

Two items: first up, from Huffington Post:
A John McCain campaign aide tells Jay Carney that she sees no reason why Sarah Palin should have to answer reporters' queries:

According to Nicole Wallace of the McCain campaign, the American people don't care whether Sarah Palin can answer specific questions about foreign and domestic policy. According to Wallace -- in an appearance I did with her this morning on Joe Scarborough's show -- the American people will learn all they need to know (and all they deserve to know) from Palin's scripted speeches and choreographed appearances on the campaign trail and in campaign ads.
Now I ask you, how appropriate is that for a candidate who 1)was virtually unknown to Americans outside of Alaska prior to her being picked as John McCaveman's running mate and 2)seems to have a lot of questionable baggage that the voting public have a right to know about. You know, questions about;
You know, the 'getting to know you' stuff that any come-out-of-nowhere candidate should expect to be asked. And considering the lies that were made both by Palin and about her at the RNC, shouldn't the public be allowed some follow-up?

Item the second: With Sarah 'Barracuda' under fire for using the Heart song of the same name without permission (a habitual disregard of intellectual property has become a habit of the RNC) maybe the Governor of Alaska should consider a new theme song. I propose this terrific Graham Parker tune from the late 1970s.

Don't Ask Me Questions - Graham Parker and the Rumor
Parker might welcome some exposure in North America. He was pretty big in England, but may not mind a little career-boosting exposure right now. Royalties are royalties after all. On the other hand he may not want to be associated with such a loser, and such a liar. Not for any amount of free publicity.

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Friday, September 05, 2008

Compassionate Conservative Hockey Mom

OMG!! If the Democrats can't use this to sink Sarah Palin's political career they're not trying. Turns out that Governor Sarah 'Barracuda' Palin Made a huge gaffe in her RNC speech on Wednesday.

From Booman Tribune:
In last night's speech, Governor Palin characterized herself as a pit-bull with lipstick.
GOV. PALIN: I had the privilege of living most of my life in a small town. I was just your average hockey mom and signed up for the PTA. (Cheers, applause.)

AUDIENCE: (Chanting.) Hockey moms! Hockey moms! Hockey moms! GOV. PALIN: (Laughs.) I love those hockey moms. You know, they say the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull: lipstick. (Laughter, cheers, applause.)
...my dog BooMan and I were once attacked and hospitalized by a pit-bull, so I'm probably the wrong person to ask for a dispassionate assessment of this self-characterization. For me, a pit-bull is an animal with the raw jaw-power of a leopard who will attack unprovoked and kill innocents. Don't believe me? The people of Anchorage, Alaska do. This is from the August 18th, 2008 edition of the Anchorage Daily News:
The 6-year-old girl attacked by a family pit bull last week was taken off of life support and died after she went into an irreversible vegetative state, according to Anchorage police and the girl's family. Isis Krieger was fatally injured in the attack while playing with Dozer in her East Anchorage mobile home last Tuesday. The dog bit her neck, breaking it and ultimately leaving her brain dead, said the girl's great-grandmother, Wanda Injasoulian...
There's no way to put lipstick on that.
Isis Krieger died on Aug. 18th when she was taken off life support, but the actual attack was on Aug. 12, as reported here. So both Palin and the Republican party had plenty of time to learn of this story.

And for anyone who's wondering, Wasilla Alaska is a suburb of Anchorage. This not only highlights Palin's callousness, but also exposes the incompetence of the McCain campaign for having so poorly vetted what every day is looking to be a choice based on impulse and desperation. On that note see this recent article at Huffington Post:

McCain Camp Didn't Search Palin's Hometown Paper Archives


Never Forget November 2nd

What follows should be read in a hushed, solemn tone, not unlike the voice used by the late Don LaFontaine when he voiced emotional movie trailers in that sad, kinda heavy tone he was so good at.

Everyone remembers where they were on Tuesday, November 2, 2004. That was the day that an extremist madman masquerading as a populist patriot was... re-elected* president. Using the politics of fear Bush managed to create enough doubts about a war hero to win**, then, the next day, Bush went back to governing. The carnage was wide spread. New Orleans drowned. Iraq burned. The middle class shrank. Everyone had to listen to his stupid speeches. And now another politician is using the politics of fear so that he can rise to power and fuck up America even more. He's been working hard, in the shadows, to use the politics of fear to become President for decades. He even put together this gruesome video, the most fearsome use of the politics of fear ever known:

Thankfully we have a leader who will not use the power of the politics of fear. That leader is Barack Obama. And if we never forget the lessons of that faithful day, November 2nd, we will go forward, unafraid, and do what is necessary to save America from the incompetent fuck-ups. Never forget!

* By "re-elected" I mean "steal the election".
**By "win" I mean "steal the election".


Thursday, September 04, 2008

Unrulies Get Your Rage ON!!

Rage Against the Machine Performs at RNC

How could we NOT post this at Les Enragés.org? This is the kind of in-your-face activism that we live and breathe for.
From Crooks & Liars:
The Guardian UK: (h/t uglycasonova)

After police banned them from playing a political rally in Minnesota yesterday, Rage Against the Machine whipped out the loudspeaker and went a cappella.

The band’s original plan was to play an impromptu gig at left-wing rally Ripple Effect. Sadly, the police had other ideas, leaving Zack de la Rocha to address some angry fans.

Rage Against the Machine is a band that has never, ever advocated violence,” he, er, rages. “We’ve always advocated a direct opposition to unjust wars like the one started by John McCain and the Republicans and Bush and all of them.”

He continues: “Why the F@#% are these cops so afraid of us? Are they afraid of us?”

Rage Against the Machine RNC - 09.02.08

C & L omits De La Rocha's closer. "They're not afraid of four musicians. They're afraid of YOU!"

HUGE tip of the tin-foil headgear to Above The Fold Blog. Nice going guys!