Saturday, September 27, 2008

Obama: McCain had nothing to say about the middle class.

You have probably already read and heard a lot of opinions on last night's debate. Here is Barack Obama's take on it, in a speech today at Greensboro, North Carolina:

The truth is, through ninety minutes of debating, John McCain had a lot to say about me, but he had nothing to say about you. He didn't even say the words "middle class." Not once.

You see, I think Senator McCain just doesn't get it – he doesn't get that this crisis on Wall Street hit Main Street a long time ago. That's why his first response to the greatest fiscal meltdown in generations was to say that the "fundamentals of the economy are strong." That's why he's been shifting positions these last two weeks, looking for a photo-op, and trying to figure out what to say and what to do.

See a transcription of the entire speech here.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Breaking news – McCain’s proposing a tax increase on the middle class

Almost all of John McCain's supporters and defenders in the Main-Stream Media have now deserted him. The latest defector is the Associated Press, which until recently had been consistently putting a pro-McCain slant on all its coverage of the campaign. The incredible events of the last few days must have been the straw that broke the camel's back over at the A.P. Check out this A.P. story that just appeared in the latest news headline stories on the 'My Yahoo' website.

Voters whose bottom line is taxes can use a new online tool to calculate what their own bottom line would be with the IRS under a Barack Obama or John McCain administration. ….

For example, the model indicates that a couple with two children earning $100,000 with $20,000 in itemized deductions would have a net tax bill for 2009 of $9,555 under McCain and $9,002 under Obama. That compares with a $9,505 tax bill for this couple under current law, the site says. In another example, a single taxpayer making $50,000 and using the standard deduction would pay $6,867 under McCain and $6,325 under Obama, compared with $6,827 under current law.
Read entire article.

It is hard to imagine anything more damaging to McCain's chances of winning the votes of still undecided voters with yearly incomes less than $200,000 than to point out that their taxes would be lower under Barack Obama's tax plan than they would under John McCain's. In fact, for most taxpayers McCain's plan would be a tax increase over what they are currently paying while Obama's would be a tax cut. These facts contradict everything McCain has been saying in his television ads about his and Obama's tax plans so this story efficiently and effectively demonstrates that not only does McCain favor the rich at the expense of the middle class but his entire campaign is built on lies.

Since neither McCain nor Obama have changed their tax plans recently one can wonder what about this story is "breaking news." My guess is that A.P.'s sudden realization of what their former hero John McCain has become is the breaking news being announced in this story.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A rash and impulsive conservative?

The idea that the economic situation facing the country was so grave that presidential candidates should not campaign probably did not even occur to either Herbert Hoover or Franklin Roosevelt in 1932 at the beginning of the Great Depression. Yet John McCain, a man who calls himself a conservative, is taking the radical, non-cautious, non-prudent, unprecedented step of suspending his campaign and calling for candidate's debates to be delayed or canceled. When are true conservatives going to emerge to denounce this imposter?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Quaker Lobby

The Iranian President Mahmoud Ahamdinejad is currently in New York to address the United Nations. On Thursday, the Iranian president will be the honored guest at an Iftar dinner--the ceremonial breaking of the Ramadan fast--at the New York Grand Hyatt Hotel. That meal is sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee, the Mennonite Central Committee, Quaker United Nations Office, Religions for Peace, and the World Council of Churches-United Nations Liaison Office According to the invitation, the assembled guests--including Miguel D'Escoto Brockmann, President of the General Assembly of the United Nations and the Rev. Kjell Bondevik, former Prime Minister of Norway and President of the Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights--will hold a "conversation about the role of religions in tackling global challenges and building peaceful societies."

As you would expect, given the current United States political climate, something so civilized and decent as religious groups reaching out to a Muslim leader to discuss peace has drawn some criticism. One of the funniest things I have read lately was an article at The New Republic website by James Kirchick which actually uses the phrase "the Quaker lobby" to describe a force in our society the writer feels needs to be opposed. Be sure to read the comments to the article. Here is one of the best comments:

The worst part is the Quaker Lobby is so influential. It's so bad these days that a politician can't even call for a war for fear of the Quaker Lobby. Even a hint of war-mongering and they start yelling about "anti-Quakerism." It's too bad they so skew the debate that we can't even talk about war rationally any more. I mean, what if there is a genuine threat to our national security, shouldn't we at least be able to consider the use of force? But no. Our Congressmen and women are reduced to banal pro-Quaker sentiments on the floor of the House and Senate. It's kind of sad. I'm glad you are calling them out on it though Jamie. Keep up the good fight!

And this one:

It's well known that the Quaker lobby has many members of the United States government in their back pockets. The U.S. gives more monetary and military aid to Quakerstan than to any other nation. Their super-secret Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations--the Oatmen--routinely carries out assassinations all over the world, and has frequently been found to be spying on the United States government and military.

Don't misunderstand me. Many of my best friends are Friends. Quakers are often skilled, learned professionals. The fact that many of those currently playing hacky-sack with the U.S. financial system are Quakers is sheer coincidence, and more a testament to their hard work, intelligence, and respect for education. Quaker families and traditions are a model for us all.

However, American foreign policy suffers when any one group possesses undue influence. Thus it behooves us to follow Mr. Kirchick's lead and keep a close watch on the nefarious Quaker lobby.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Who is to blame?

According to what the U.S. Treasury Secretary has been telling everyone the world banking system will collapse unless immediate and unprecedented action is taken. This crisis has as its basis securities being held by the banks that turn out to be worth much less than was expected because a much higher percentage of the home mortgages upon which the securities were based are turning out to be bad than was anticipated. Apparently this situation is going to cost the taxpayers billions of dollars. Who should be blamed?

Judging by the comments my last few blog entries have received many people think the primary responsibility rests with the home buyer.

Assume we are talking about the majority of mortgages which were taken out by home buyers who were not real estate or finance professionals. When every one of those bad mortgages were created there were a number of people in the room, everyone of whom other than the borrower was a professional with a responsibility, either to the bank that would end up holding the mortgage or to the home buyer, to help write a mortgage that would be successfully repaid. Everyone in that room, except the borrower, got paid in full at that time for their contribution to that process. How in God's name can the primary blame for their failure to write a good mortgage rest with the home buyer?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Banks, but not homeowners, to be rescued

U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson was just interviewed by George Stephanopoulos on ABC's "This Week." One of the most amazing, at least to me, things he said was in answer to Stephanopoulos' queries about foreclosure relief. He was asked what the American public would get in return for the billions of taxpayer dollars being given to the banks? Could individual Americans facing home foreclosure receive any relief as part of this package?

In reply the Treasury secretary said that the vast majority of Americans facing foreclosure were in that position because they had bought more house than they could afford. Although they paid more for the house than it is now worth that, according to the secretary, is not why they are facing foreclosure. Although they got a higher interest loan, a variable rate loan, a balloon loan that was not the best loan then available that, according to the secretary, has nothing to do with it. Nothing could possibly be done to keep them in their homes because, even if as part of this package they were refinanced at the current market value of their house with a 30 year mortgage at a fixed rate that is the best now available for them, they could not make those payments because they simply bought more house than they could afford. The housing bubble had nothing to do with it. The fact that loan agents were incentivized to steer borrowers to higher rate, variable rate, riskier loans had nothing to do with it.

Do you find that believable?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Obama described as the ideal conservative candidate

John McCain and his supporters constantly describe Barack Obama as the "most liberal member of the U.S. Senate." This claim has not received as much attention from the fact-checkers and debunkers as McCain's charge that Obama wants to teach kids about sex before they can read or that Obama called Palin a pig, but that is not because it is any less untrue.

Like Diogenes looking in vain for an honest man I have been waiting for an honest conservative to admit what is obvious to me -- that in many very important ways Barack Obama is much more conservative than either George W. Bush or John McCain. He is much less reckless and impulsive and much more thoughtful, careful, realistic and family, community and church-oriented than any Republican currently on the national stage.

I have found such a conservative - Wick Allison, a former publisher of the National Review. This is what Allison had to say in a recent editorial:

But I now see that Obama is almost the ideal candidate for this moment in American history. I disagree with him on many issues. But those don’t matter as much as what Obama offers, which is a deeply conservative view of the world. Nobody can read Obama’s books (which, it is worth noting, he wrote himself) or listen to him speak without realizing that this is a thoughtful, pragmatic, and prudent man. It gives me comfort just to think that after eight years of George W. Bush we will have a president who has actually read the Federalist Papers.

Most important, Obama will be a realist. I doubt he will taunt Russia, as McCain has, at the very moment when our national interest requires it as an ally. The crucial distinction in my mind is that, unlike John McCain, I am convinced he will not impulsively take us into another war unless American national interests are directly threatened.
Read entire article.

If the government is going to buy up those bad mortgages…

Yesterday the Dow jumped 410 points on news that the federal government was talking about a plan to use taxpayer money to buy hundreds of billions of dollars of bad mortgages. According to the New York Times:

While details remain to be worked out, the plan is likely to authorize the government to buy distressed mortgages at deep discounts from banks and other institutions. The proposal could result in the most direct commitment of taxpayer funds so far in the financial crisis that Fed and Treasury officials say is the worst they have ever seen.

I would like to pass on some suggestions from someone I know who has been trying to help people in danger of losing their homes through foreclosure. Many of these mortgages are bad (the borrower cannot make the payments) not because the borrower bought a more expensive house than they could afford but because the terms of the loan were so unfavorable. If these mortgages were converted to fixed rate, 30 year loans at a reasonable interest rate that alone would transform them from problem mortgages into loans that could and would be repaid.

In situations in which the mortgage is for more than the house is now worth and the borrower cannot afford the current payments but could afford a mortgage for what the house is now worth why not have the government forgive the portion of the mortgage above the current market value? If the government bought the mortgage at a "deep discount" then it would likely still be worth more than the government paid for it. It would not be to anyone's advantage for the government to foreclose on a mortgage, leaving a family homeless and the government owning an empty house.

Perhaps there would be reasons why these things could not be done, but they sure seem reasonable to me.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The rain in Spain falls mainly on McCain

In a story that does not yet seem to getting much play in the United States but is a very big story in Spain, in an interview with a Spanish television network John McCain amazed the interviewer by appearing to not know whether the Spanish prime minister Zapatero was an anti-American leader like Hugo Chavez that he would refuse to meet with or a pro-American leader with whom he would consult.

As reported in the Talking Points Memo blog:

…In the interview, McCain is asked about Hugo Chavez, the situation in Bolivia and then about Raul Castro. He responds to each of these with expected answers about standing up to America's enemies, etc. Then the interviewer switches gears and asks about Zapatero, the Spanish Prime Minister. And McCain replies -- very loose translation -- that he'll establish close relations with our friends and stand up to those who want to do us harm. The interviewer has a double take and seems to think McCain might be confused. So she asks it again. But McCain sticks to the same evasive answer.

The people of Spain are saying that if McCain thinks it is possible that the Spanish prime minister might be an anti-American leader similar to Hugo Chavez that he must not know that Spain is a country in Europe. Spain and all the other European NATO countries rightly consider themselves to be staunch American allies and apparently assume that Americans feel the same way. They must not fully comprehend how stupid Republicans have been lately about Europe. This is somewhat good news because it means that President Obama might have an easier job of repairing relations between the United States and our European allies than would otherwise be the case.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Is the future of political commentary at stake?

Several commentators (see here and here) have pointed out that the McCain/Palin campaign is a trailblazer in prevarication. It is quite common for the media to fact-check claims made by political candidates and find that some of them fall short of the truth. Always before when this happened the campaign dropped the statement once it had been widely reported in the media to be untrue. Not this time. The McCain/Palin campaign continues to say that Sarah Palin opposed the bridge-to-nowhere and said "No thanks" to the Congressional earmark for that project even after that was widely reported to be a lie. McCain continues to describe Palin as someone who fought against earmarks as mayor and governor and continues to claim that Obama called Palin a pig – claims that have been widely debunked.

This has caused a number of commentators (see here and here) to wonder what the effect would be if after continuing to repeat things exposed as lies in the media the Republicans went on to win the presidency in November. In addition to all the other negative effects this would have it would conclusively demonstrate that political commentary in the media is totally irrelevant and can safely be ignored.

Have the media political commentators, as well as other political professionals, contemplated the implications of that scenario? Is the future of their profession now at stake in this election?

The conservatives have been claiming for a long time that the media was "liberal" and against them, but up until now that claim was untrue and was just a tactic for intimidating the media. It would be interesting to see the how the conservatives react if the media now really turned against them - (for eample see here and here).

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Former McCain lapdogs in media turn on him

Check out Richard Cohen's column scheduled to be published tomorrow in the Washington Post but available now online.

I am one of the journalists accused over the years of being in the tank for McCain. Guilty. Those doing the accusing usually attributed my feelings to McCain being accessible. This is the journalist-as-puppy school of thought: Give us a treat, and we will leap into a politician's lap.

Not so. What impressed me most about McCain was the effect he had on his audiences, particularly young people. When he talked about service to a cause greater than oneself, he struck a chord. He expressed his message in words, but he packaged it in the McCain story -- that man, beaten to a pulp, who chose honor over freedom. This had nothing to do with access. It had to do with integrity.

McCain has soiled all that. His opportunistic and irresponsible choice of Sarah Palin as his political heir -- the person in whose hands he would leave the country -- is a form of personal treason, a betrayal of all he once stood for. Palin, no matter what her other attributes, is shockingly unprepared to become president. McCain knows that. He means to win, which is all right; he means to win at all costs, which is not.

Read entire column.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

If elected what would be McCain’s mandate?

Thomas Friedman has an interesting column in today's New York Times. I usually try to ignore Friedman because I so dislike his amorality. (He supported invading Iraq even though he knew they had nothing to do with 9/11 and posed no threat to us. He thought a U.S military invasion of some random Muslim country as a demonstration of our might would make an impression on the Arab psyche that would be beneficial to us.) Thomas Friedman is appalled by what the McCain campaign has been saying, not because of what the blatant lies that continue to be repeated even after they have been thoroughly debunked by the media reveal about McCain's and Palin's honesty and character – being amoral , Friedman cares not a whit about that – but because the Republican emphasis on fossil fuels and wedge issues is making the American public stupid and unprepared to deal effectively with the problems we face.

….an America that is focused first and foremost on drilling for oil is an America more focused on feeding its oil habit than kicking it.

Why would Republicans, the party of business, want to focus our country on breathing life into a 19th-century technology — fossil fuels — rather than giving birth to a 21st-century technology — renewable energy? As I have argued before, it reminds me of someone who, on the eve of the I.T. revolution — on the eve of PCs and the Internet — is pounding the table for America to make more I.B.M. typewriters and carbon paper. "Typewriters, baby, typewriters."
Read the entire article.

I don't think the McCain campaign willingly chose such a low-road approach to winning the election – I think they were forced into it --they had nothing else. But insofar as their campaign is effective it poses a serious challenge to America. If McCain and Palin are elected after a campaign in which they mocked not only renewable fuels, fighting global warming and community organizing, but honesty and integrity themselves what will we have mandated them to accomplish in office?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

McCain says it’s Obama’s fault

At the ServiceNation Presidential Forum at Columbia University on Thursday, John McCain had the following exchange with CNN's Judy Woodruff:

WOODRUFF: Senator, at the Republican convention, a couple of speakers, most notably your running mate, vice presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, made somewhat derisive comments about Senator Obama's experience as a community organizer. I've heard you say you haven't taken that tone. So I guess my question is, are you saying to others in your campaign and your supporters that that's not the kind of language you want to hear?

MCCAIN: Well …

WOODRUFF: How do you — how are you approaching that?

MCCAIN: First of all, this is a tough business. Second of all, I think the tone of this whole campaign would have been very different if Senator Obama had accepted my request for us to appear in town hall meetings all over America, the same way Jack Kennedy and Barry Goldwater had agreed to do so. I know that, because I've been in enough campaigns.

See the entire transcript here.

So John McCain is trying to claim that the negative tone of his own campaign is Barack Obama's fault?! If McCain's has so little control over his own campaign what sort of leader is he? How much control would he have over the federal government as president?

President Truman had a sign on his desk "The buck stops here." I wonder if John McCain as president would have a sign on his desk reading, "Don't blame me. You brought it on yourself."

Friday, September 12, 2008

It’s not a generational thing.

When I heard Sarah Palin tell ABC's Charles Gibson that the United States should go to war with Russia if they invade Georgia again I could not believe it. How could anyone suggest that the United States go to war with Russia?

Sarah Palin is of a younger generation. Maybe young people today are not as aware as we baby boomers are of the consequences of a thermo-nuclear war. So I asked my 18 year old daughter, "How do you think going to war with Russia would compare to our current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?" "Russia," she exclaimed, eyes wide with astonishment and concern. "They have nuclear bombs! We would all die!"

So no, I guess it's not a generational thing.


A local conservative blog is suggesting that the only reason anyone might think that Sarah Palin had breezily said that we might have to go to war with Russia if they have another border skirmish with any of their neighbors is because of unfair framing of the issue by that bastion of liberalism - ABC News. I watching the interview and got my impression of what Ms. Palin said directly from her. The fact that John McCain said something similar does nothing to detract from the provocative and disturbing nature of their position on this.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Morally Unfit to be President

"I am John McCain and I approved this message."

Almost everything coming out of John McCain's mouth these days is an absolute, black-is-white lie – not just the normal half-truth, favorable spin that politicians usually engage in – but flat-out lies.

A bill that Barack Obama voted for (not authored or sponsored) in the Illinois Senate intended to protect kindergarteners by having them taught about inappropriate touching in a McCain television ad becomes Obama promoting kindergarten sex.

Obama's tax plan that all the experts agree would provide more tax relief for the middle class than McCain's proposals is described by John McCain as tax hikes.

In McCain's telling Sarah Palin opposed the "Bridge to Nowhere" and Congressional earmarks when she actually did the exact opposite.

John McCain, who abandoned all his maverick positions over the last few years in order to get the nomination and voted with President Bush 95% of the time is running television ads portraying himself as a maverick who often opposes his own party.

Has America, whose first president was George "I cannot tell a lie" Washington, fallen so far from our founding principles that we will elect a president who apparently cannot tell the truth?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Another example of conservative dishonesty

From CNN

The Florida Federation of Republican Women made the decision to boycott the Oprah Winfrey Show Saturday, after the media mogul refused to have Gov. Sarah Palin as a guest on her show until after the election wraps up.

"Women in Florida helped build Oprah into the icon she is today," Linda Ivell, President of the FFRW said in a statement. "We are deeply disappointed in Ms. Winfrey's decision to sit out the greatest political moment in the history of women since suffrage."

That statement is thoroughly dishonest on many levels. Since Oprah has had a stated policy of having no candidate who is currently campaigning on her show no one could have had reasonable expectations that she would invite Sarah Palin. For Oprah to invite Palin on her show would be unfair to all the other candidates. How could the Republican women then be "deeply disappointed" that Oprah is sticking to her policy? Also how can they claim that a woman being nominated for vice president is "the greatest political moment" since suffrage when the Democrats had a woman vice presidential candidate over 20 years ago? The women of the Florida Federation of Republican Women are putting on a show of faux outrage in an attempt to bully Oprah.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Dishonest conservatives

I know there used to be honorable, honest conservatives. Barry Goldwater was one. But being in power seems to have corrupted conservatism itself. Take the conservatives' choice for vice president as an example:

As Josh Marshall writes at the Talking Points Memo blog

The McCain camp has made her signature issue shutting down the Bridge to Nowhere. But as The New Republic
put it today that's just "a naked lie." And pretty much the same thing has been written today in Newsweek, the Washington Post, the AP, the Wall Street Journal. Yesterday even Fox's Chris Wallace called out Rick Davis on it.

On earmarks she's an even bigger crock. On the trail with McCain they're telling everyone that she's some kind of earmark slayer when actually, when she was mayor and governor, in both offices, she requested and got more earmarks than virtually any city or state in the country.

When you remove the lies there is nothing left. The entire presentation of Sarah Palin as someone who represents change from the corruption of Washington is dishonest.

My previous two blog posts were about a Quad Cities conservative blogger whose entire blogging persona is a lie. She pretends she is non-ideological and non-partisan but somehow ends up only criticizing Democrats and liberals. She writes blog posts in which the main point is a lie – such as a recent post about American flags that Democrats supposedly threw in the garbage and were then rescued from the landfill. (Actually the bags of flags were just left behind at the convention center and a vendor thought they would probably end up being thrown away.)

It makes you wonder whether they are lying because they have nothing truthful to offer, i.e. if they didn't have lies they would have nothing, or if modern conservatives have convinced themselves that lying is a virtue.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Avoid blogs that deal in trivialities

A local conservative blogger wrote a blog post that proclaimed that after the Democratic Convention "12,000 American flags had been tossed in the garbage" and "were rescued from the landfill." When the blogger was informed that in actuality the flags were not so much discarded as possibly left behind she wrote in a comment this was turning out to be a typically overblown campaign issue that turned out to be much more ambiguous than originally portrayed and then said:

Honestly, if I wasn't blogging, I don't think I could stand all the trivial bullsh*t.
As it is, the trivial bullsh*t provides many blogging opportunities.

She has just admitted that writing overblown, over-generalized accusations based on exaggerated trivialities is her concept of political blogging.

I agree that seems to be the essence of conservative political blogging. It is certainly not what I am attempting to do in this blog.

I am blogging in hopes of nudging the thinking of the body politic in a positive direction. I think that we need to vote this November as if our lives depended on it, because they may. John McCain is an impulsive, shoot-from-the-hip, gamble on hunches, trust the gut, war-mongering militarist who appears to want the presidency in order to avenge the Vietnam War loss by winning a war – any war. Since the opponents he seems to be setting his sights on are Iran and Russia this is serious business indeed.

Barak Obama is a very intelligent thoughtful man whose decision-making style is the exact opposite of John McCain's. John McCain seems to like the idea of "bombing Iran." Barack Obama appears to be a man who would react to a suggestion that we should bomb Iran by thinking of the innocent Iranians who would be killed --Iranians he probably sees as people like himself, with families, hopes and dreams.

Electing a president of the United States is very serious business. The whole world is watching us to see what we will do. Don't allow yourself to be distracted by trivialities.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

How Dare You Question Our Patriotism?

A local blogger is passing on lies from the McCain Campaign. After the Democratic convention a local vendor removed some bags of American flags and gave them to the McCain Campaign. They claimed they were found near a dumpster and assumed they were destined to be thrown away. "Not so," says the Democratic National Convention Committee. Quote sourced here.
Stories circulating about flags at the Democratic National Convention are false. We distributed more than 125,000 American made flags at the Convention - the flags removed from Invesco field were intended for other events and taken without permission. It's disappointing that someone would take American flags without authorization and then falsely describe how they were being used. We have the utmost respect for the American flag, and it's sad to see them being used for a cheap political stunt

Of course, there is no way of knowing if the flags would have ended up being discarded if that vendor had not taken them. Even if they had all that would mean was that at most a small handful of people were careless and certainly not that anyone was unpatriotic, especially not Barack Obama or the entire Democratic party.

When asked specifically about it, John McCain always denies that he questions Barack's patriotism, but here he goes again.

(I tried to post comments with the above information on the local blog referenced above but there were deleted. I guess she does not want her readers to hear the truth.)

Friday, September 05, 2008

Fox News is recycling the Kerry smears

Brave New Films has just released a new video and have asked me (and everyone else on their mailing list) to help spread the word about it. It documents how Fox News and the Republicans are using exactly the same attacks on Barack Obama now that they used against John Kerry in 2004. Check it out.

The Politics of Resentment

Once again Paul Krugman, in his column in today's New York Times, gets to the heart of the matter:

What struck me as I watched the convention speeches, however, is how much of the anger on the right is based not on the claim that Democrats have done bad things, but on the perception — generally based on no evidence whatsoever — that Democrats look down their noses at regular people.

Thus Mr. Giuliani asserted that Wasilla, Alaska, isn't "flashy enough" for Mr. Obama, who never said any such thing. And Ms. Palin asserted that Democrats "look down" on small-town mayors — again, without any evidence.

What the G.O.P. is selling, in other words, is the pure politics of resentment; you're supposed to vote Republican to stick it to an elite that thinks it's better than you. Or to put it another way, the G.O.P. is still the party of Nixon.

Read the entire article.

Of course, the fact that the Republicans have selected the politics of resentment, left-over hatreds of the of cool and popular cliques in high school, as the focus of their convention and campaign does not necessarily mean that their analysis, polls and focus groups tell them that is a winning strategy this year. They may be going with it because it is all they have.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Did Sarah Palin read the entire prepared text?

Did you listen to Sarah Palin's speech last night? I listened to it and one of the things that stuck out for me was that she talked a bit about drilling for oil, laying pipelines, building more nuclear plants and "clean coal," but not about alternative energy sources such as solar, wind, geothermal -- you know, things we won't run out of. And, of course, nothing was said about energy conservation – trying to use less energy. I read what another blogger wrote about the speech and he said the same thing. But when I looked at the speech text, which was released before she spoke, I found this:

To confront the threat that Iran might seek to cut off nearly a fifth of world energy supplies … or that terrorists might strike again at the Abqaiq facility in Saudi Arabia … or that Venezuela might shut off its oil deliveries … we Americans need to produce more of our own oil and gas.
And take it from a gal who knows the North Slope of Alaska: we've got lots of both.
Our opponents say, again and again, that drilling will not solve all of America's energy problems - as if we all didn't know that already.
But the fact that drilling won't solve every problem is no excuse to do nothing at all.
Starting in January, in a McCain-Palin administration, we're going to lay more pipelines … build more new-clear plants … create jobs with clean coal … and move forward on solar, wind, geothermal, and other alternative sources.

It looks like something of an afterthought but there is the mention. But I did not hear those last 10 words. Did you hear her mention alternative sources of energy?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The perspective of a mother of a special needs child

Apparently John McCain and only a small circle of advisers selected Sarah Palin as his choice for vice president. I wonder how many women were part of that decision. I suspect not very many. At least some women feel very different about Sarah Palin's situation and behavior than any of the men I have heard opine on the matter. This is famous female blogger Blue Gal's take:

I think Sarah Palin is a bad mother.

I hate even thinking that about anyone. Palin is an idiot. I don't care how many people want me to paint her as 'smart'. She's also a compulsive liar, and has obviously lied to herself that she can do the job of helping McCain to get elected, too.

As the mother of a special needs kid, I can tell you that at the time of his diagnosis I would have cut off my own limb before taking ANY job that took me away from his care.
Read the entire blog post.

I wonder what percentage of woman voters share the above opinion, or will come around to that pont of view after seeing Ms. Palin on the campaign trail for the next 60 days. After all she will either leave her 5 children, including her 4 month old special needs baby and pregnant 17 year old, at home or drag them along with her as she campaigns. Judging from the last 2 presidential elections something that would cause just 5% of the voters who would otherwise vote Republican to stay home or vote Democratic would sink John McCain's chances.

Michael Moore Responds to Joe Lieberman

Last night, during his primetime speech from the podium at the Republican National Convention, Senator Joe Lieberman made the following statement: "... if John McCain is just another partisan Republican, then I'm Michael Moore's favorite Democrat. And I'm not. And I think you know that I'm not.") Michael Moore wrote the following open letter in response.

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008
Dear Joe:
John McCain IS just another partisan Republican -- so that must mean you ARE my favorite Democrat!
But how can you be my favorite Democrat when you are no longer a Democrat? This is very confusing. I was in the middle of taking out the garbage and, all of a
sudden, there you were, trash-talking me in front of thousands of cheering (mostly) white people on TV.
What is it with you and your Republican friends always bringing me up? Can't you stop thinking about me? It's starting to sound like a fetish! Stop it! Four years ago at the last Republican Convention, John McCain, in his convention speech, also trashed me, calling me a "disingenuous filmmaker" because I called all of you out in "Fahrenheit 9/11." The crowd at Madison Square Garden went berserk. McCain didn't know I was sitting above him in the press box, and the crowd wouldn't stop screaming at me, so I flashed them the "Big L" loser sign and, well, nine of New York's finest had to help me get out of there alive.
With all the problems facing the world, why is valuable time being wasted reviewing a movie and attacking a filmmaker? And now you, Joe, tonight. Do you think you're energizing the "base" by attacking me? Better take a look at the scoreboard. While your side has spent years trying to make me the boogeyman, let's see how it's worked:
** 2006 Congressional elections: Republicans lose 30 seats in the House and 6 seats in the Senate;
** States That Have Lost a Republican Governor (and elected a Democrat) since 2002: Kansas, Montana, Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Tennessee -- EACH ONE OF THEM A RED STATE!;
** Latest Gallup Poll: Obama hit 50% yesterday for the first time for either candidate, 8 points ahead of McCain!
Do you see the trend?
Putting me in your convention speeches, attacking me nonstop on talk radio and Fox News -- and thinking that this helps you -- shows just how out of touch you all are.
Two-thirds of the country agree with my position on the war, two-thirds of the country agree with my position on a single-payer universal health care system, two-thirds believe in some form of gun control -- name the documentary, pick the issue, and the American public agrees with Michael Moore. So get over me, will ya? You're only hurting yourself. And I've got to finish taking out the garbage.
"... if John McCain is just another partisan Republican, then I'm Michael Moore's favorite Democrat. And I'm not. And I think you know that I'm not." Now click your heels together and say, "There's no place like home on the Republican minority side of the aisle."
Michael Moore

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Families “Off Limits”

As John McCain now proclaims, with Barack Obama's complete agreement, that the children of the candidates should be "off limits" it would be good for everyone to remember how the Republicans treated Chelsea Clinton back in the 1990s.

From the Crooks and Liars blog:

John McCain made this odious joke about Chelsea Clinton back in '98.

Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because her father is Janet Reno."

Sen. John McCain, speaking to a Republican dinner, June 1998.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Solidarity Forever!

Labor Day, September 1, 2008

Solidarity Forever sung by Pete Seeger & The Weavers, with old photographs of the labor movement in US History.This is a tribute to all the workers who sacrificed to make a better world for their children and grand children.

Solidarity forever! by Ralph Chaplin (1915) (modified slightly by Pete Seeger)

When the union's inspiration
Through the worker's blood shall run
There can be no power greater
Anywhere beneath the sun.
Yet what force on earth is weaker
Than the feeble strength of one?
But the union makes us strong.

Solidarity forever!
Solidarity forever!
Solidarity forever!
For the union makes us strong.

It is we who plowed the prairies,
Built the cities where they trade,
Dug the mines and built the workshops,
Endless miles of railroad laid.
Now we stand outcast and starving
'Mid the wonders we have made.
But the union makes us strong.

Solidarity forever!
Solidarity forever!
Solidarity forever!
For the union makes us strong.

They have taken untold millions
That they never toiled to earn,
But without our brain and muscle
Not a single wheel can turn.
We can break their haughty power
Gain our freedom when we learn
That the union makes us strong.

Solidarity forever!
Solidarity forever!
Solidarity forever!
For the union makes us strong.

In our hands is placed a power
Greater than their hoarded gold,
Greater than the might of atoms
Magnified a thousand fold.
We can bring to birth a new world
From the ashes of the old,
For the union makes us strong.

Don't let the capitalists trick you into thinking that intellectuals and college professors are the haughty elitists. As Pete Seeger & The Weavers tell us in this song the true enemy of the working woman and man are those who do not toil themselves and yet make millions off of your labor.