Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Bottom-up Bailouts instead of Top-down

We need more proposals like Tom Evslin's suggesting that a better way to help the auto makers is to have the US govt. replace their fleet:

The US government should order a complete replacement for its vehicle fleet to be delivered over the next four years. The new vehicles must be either plugin electric hybrid, pure electric, or possibly natural gas. Obviously retooling both at the manufacturers and suppliers is required to deliver this order so the government should be willing to prepay a significant part of it as it does for new weapons systems. That gets money into the system fast and creates/saves jobs almost immediately.


We need more of these bottom-up ideas. We need them to get more support and coverage in the press and media.

Our congresspeople ignored us and went ahead and voted for the bailout even in the middle of an election, but they have to keep hearing from us on these things. Write to them and suggest that they work on more Bottom-up solutions instead of dropping money at the top.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Who's next in line for bailouts?

It's Bailout, Baby, Bailout.

First we saw $168 billion stimulus package giving tax rebates, then $29 billion to J.P. Morgan Chase, a $300 billion "housing rescue" in July, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac taken over in September, the AIG $85 billion bailout, then finally the enormous $850B "stimulus package". Now we have the auto makers snuggling up to the government teet.

These have been called only the tip of the iceberg. So who's next on this list? Here's a few of my guesses:

  1. Telecommunications companies: These are totally debt-based businesses. And if the politicians can argue that GM is "too big to fail" they certainly won't let the phones go dead (or the Internet stop working). They will fork over the cash when told by the new Ma Bell.
  2. Commercial real estate: The focus so far has been on residential real estate and to be fair, it probably is the primary culprit behind the banking mess. However, the amount of commercial properties taken over by banks through foreclosures is up and banks are becoming more aware of the magnitude of the trouble in commercial real estate loans.
  3. Insurance companies: AIG is not the only insurance company in trouble. The entire industry is imploding. Questions continue over capital adequacy, credit downgrades, uncertainty on future portfolio write-downs, and potential cash calls on CDS and other obligations.
  4. States: With big budget shortfalls, some states (such as California looking at a $22 billion dollar shortfall) will certainly try to play the "too big to fail" card and take their seat at the federal trough.
  5. Satellite radio: Hey why not. This is of course a terrible idea. But when has that ever stopped politicians? And as long as Uncle Sam is handing out cash...

There are probably countless other industries that will try to get while the getting is good and jump on the bailout bandwagon. Who knows how far it will go? Who can blame them for not wanting a share of the bailout pie?

It's like paying off one credit card with another credit card. And of course propping up failing companies like GM and Ford who can't compete naturally, shows the world how strong America is, right?

We need to put an end to it, but you already knew I was going say that. The far better strategy is to let them fail (or recover) on their own.

Friday, November 7, 2008

GOP Job Number one: address hypocrisy

Republicans obviously have not cornered the market on cynicism and hypocrisy in politics. I certainly wouldn't be foolish enough to state that Democrats or liberals or other parties are perfect. But over the last couple of decades the GOP has simply gone over the deep end.

A couple of examples include the "Patriot Act" and probably the most insidious "No child left behind." A few other examples follow:

Support the Troops: They embrace slogans like "Support the Troops" and then treat soldiers like crap in reality, failing to provide adequate armor, facilities, food, and so on. Remember Walter Reed, keeping troops in IRAQ indefinitely (in violation of both the 2008 Defense Appropriations Act and the 2008 Defense Authorization Act), inadequate help and support for soldiers suffering from war-related psychological injuries, the whole Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch affairs, and the list goes on.

Big Government: This is a good one. Republicans tell us they are against "Big Government" and against "Government Spending" - things that sound really good to a lot of Americans. But Republicans have become the party of big government now. Government grew faster in two years of Bush than it did in all eight of Clinton. Spending has been out of control under Republican leadership. They want to insinuate the federal government in all manner of peoples lives. It's Republicans who want to tell us all how to live, who to marry, who to sleep with, what to do with our bodies, and what god we should pray to. How can they cry for less government control and then insist on enforcing control in areas of peoples' lives the government should have no part of?

Ethics and Corruption: There are plenty of individual cases of corruption and illegal activies from all sides. The big difference is, it always seems to be the Republicans who love to sanctimoniously lecture everyone else about ethics and morality. They tell us they are the party to fix corruption in government, but then overlook some of the worst offenders from their own party. The list here is so long, there's no way I can put it in a single blog post. You might want to check out this site. Perhaps a good proxy for this category of hypocrisy would be the Department of Justice's partisan abuses of power:

Attorney General Michael Mukasey named a prosecutor yesterday [Septempber 29, 2008] to investigate whether former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, other Bush administration officials or Republicans in Congress should face criminal charges in the firings of nine U.S. attorneys.


The above are just a few examples, but this is I think one of the biggest areas the GOP must address. Here's what Forbes writer Tom Coburn says in an article today:

The election also was a measure not just of the excellence of Obama's field operation but of the level of disgust with a decade of Republican hypocrisy. Voters expect Democrats to talk the conservative talk and backtrack, but they expect Republicans to do what they say in terms of enacting conservative policies. In many respects, the 2008 election was a continuation of the 2006 punishment voters exacted on Republicans who were saying one thing but doing another.


Republicans recently are all about do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do. They often live in the biggest glass house, yet throw the largest stones. This kind of "kissing babies" politics is nothing new, but the GOP needs to clean it up. They need to have their actions match their words much more closely if they expect anyone but the hardcore to listen to them and, more importantly for them, to vote for them. The Republican brand rests in the balance.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Long GOP knives for Palin are distressing

So today we're told that McCain staffers were concerned about Sarah Palin's lacking the "degree of knowledgeability necessary to be a running mate, a vice president, and a heartbeat away from the presidency," or so they told Fox News Chief White House Correspondent Carl Cameron.

She didn't know what countries that were in NAFTA (US, Canada, and Mexico) nor did she understand that Africa is a continent and not a country in itself.

Cameron told Bill O'Reilly that McCain aides were truly "shocked" at the lack of knowledge Sarah Palin displayed. She did not know many of the basics of civics and local/state/national duties. Beyond being so ignorant, she also utterly lacked self-awareness and wanted to be allowed to speak out freely despite her knowledge limitations. They say she refused coaching before the Katie Couric interviews.

They also speak of temper tanrums and tirades, although I doubt she would be the first candidate with that particular habit:

in the closing week or so... she took to yelling and screaming at aides over her press clippings, even "tossing papers" around.


So the truth appears to be that she was not "attacked by the liberal media" but in fact is what she appears to be. This is not coming from the "liberal media" - this is Fox News throwing her under the bus. That might say something about her chances for 2012.

Steve Schmidt (who reportedly picked Palin as VP) would not let her speak on election night.


For Sarah Palin haters, this is going to be fun to watch. However, what's really disturbing about this is that John McCain and his campaign, and the RNC, apparently knew Palin was clueless, but did nothing about it. So much for "Country First." To think that up until 24 hours ago, she was within striking distance of the white house. It's an absolute outrage! Even Republicans should be angry about it.

UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan on this same topic:

You know: I took a lot of grief for my pretty instant realization back in August that the Palin candidacy was a total farce. But when you cop to the fact that the McCain peeps knew most of that too very early on after their world-historical screw-up, you've got to respect and be terrified by their cynicism. I mean: country first?

And they only lost by a few points?

Does this election signal a "mandate" - fall of the Republican party?

If Democrats interpret this election as a mandate for Democratic policies, they will be in for a surprise.

Before the election was even over, people were already recalling how the Clinton administration's overreach on health care played a large role in a Republican majority in Congress just two years later.

Likewise, those counting out the Republican party and policies as a whole are overstating it. The party may have some real concerns, in particular that younger people, and non-whites, the fastest growing segments of the electorate, are not going their way. At the end of the day, however, things can turn fast. We saw George HW Bush help usher in Clinton, who then sparked a Republican sweep into Congress and eventually George W. Bush, who eventually led to Democrats sweeping back into Congress in 2006 and who played a major part in Barack Obama winning the presidency last night.

However, only dyed in the wool Republicans can rationalize how IRAQ, Guantanamo, Spying on Americans without warrants, or a $9.1 trillion National Debt on their watch is somehow the fault of the Democrats. Just as these election swings toward Democrats were driven in large part by these and other failings attributed to Republicans, the Democrats will be judged not by winning the election, but by how they now govern - if there is to be any "mandate" for the Democrats, it must be earned.

Barack Obama turned a number of red states blue and with that one may argue "mandate" - but if indeed there is a mandate, it is Obama's alone, and not that of the Democratic party, and Nancy Pelosi had better bear that in mind.

McCain Campaign Quick Takes

Pundits and others will be analyzing John McCain's campaign to death over the next weeks and months. Here are my quick takes, before being influenced by any of them.

First, I think he did an amazing job. I was surprised it was as close as it was. It tells you how much people dislike Democrats. Sure, there are die-hard Democratic supporters, but a lot of this loss has to do with repudiation of George W. Bush mostly, and the Republican leadership to a lesser degree.

"McCain Version 2008" was not a very powerful candidate, so it is pretty impressive he did as well as he did, especially after being counted out back in the primaries. I'm personally repulsed by the almost exclusive focus on negative campaigning that he did, but looking at the numbers only, we have to say he did pretty well, given the cards he drew. It's unlikely any other Republican candidate would have done any better. This election was probably more the democrat's to lose, and with Barack Obama's skillful campaign, they were able to stay out of their own way.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Beware Exit Polls- VOTE

Exit polls are notoriously inaccurate at predicting the winner of elections, as devastated Democrats know from the 2004 and 2000 elections. In 2004, exit polling showed John Kerry winning. In 2000, networks first announced Al Gore the winner, then Bush, and then at 4 a.m. then declared it was “too close to call” all based on exit polls.

There are many reasons for it, but one of the main ones is that, for some reason, Republicans are at least twice as likely as Democrats to refuse to be surveyed for an exit poll. One of those in charge of the 2004 polling fiasco later claimed that the discrepancy was because “Kerry voters were more anxious to participate in our exit polls than the Bush voters.” I could see the same thing happening this election.

So we have to do our best to wait until tomorrow morning to see where things stand. And, for heavens sake, do not let any early exit poll reports dissuade you from voting - GET OUT THERE AND CAST YOUR VOTE, regardless of who you're voting for.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Yet another leading conservative endorses Obama

Francis Fukuyama has jumped on the Obama bandwagon. From The American Conservative:

McCain’s appeal was always that he could think for himself, but as the campaign has progressed, he has seemed simply erratic and hotheaded. His choice of Sarah Palin as a running mate was highly irresponsible; we have suffered under the current president who entered office without much knowledge of the world and was easily captured by the wrong advisers. McCain’s lurching from Reaganite free- marketer to populist tribune makes one wonder whether he has any underlying principles at all.


Amazing stuff. I don't remember a case where so many significant people and organizations have been so openly critical of their candidate - usually, especially in recent elections, you can count on the Republicans to tow the line. It's usually the Democrats that suffer the wrath of their own party brothers and sisters.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Talk of filibuster-proof majority hurts Obama

Now that Journalists have named the 44th President, relegating next week's election a formality, the discussion has shifted to concerns (or hopes) of a filibuster-proof 60-40 margin in the Senate.

Ignoring for the moment that voters may find it offensive when journalists skip over the event the voters are supposed to be taking part in, namely voting, we find the GOP in damage control and dealing with massive infighting and finger-pointing. The discussion has turned to shifting dollars away from the McCain campaign to senatorial campaigns, including this advice from conservative David Frum: "Republicans need to give up on the happy talk about how McCain has Obama just where he wants him, take off their game faces." Frum in Sorry, Senator. Let's Salvage What We Can says they need to change the message to accept the fate of a Democratic White House and shift the focus to "balance in Washington."

"Otherwise, you're going to wake up two years from now and find a Democratic president, a Democratic Senate and a Democratic House... Divided government is the best precaution you can have."

This message does hit home with people and probably will swing some votes to McCain and Republicans in general.

Today's SF Chronicle has a story with the headline Senate Dems aim for filibuster-proof majority. Meanwhile, Sen. Hillary Clinton went to Minnesota to endorse Al Franken to the Senate, saying that he could be that key 60th Democratic senator.

I think this kind of thing will just fire up people to vote against Democrats. People do fear an unconstrained Democratic leadership. They fear that it will lead to unlimited "taxing and spending" (despite the fact that the worst deficits have come under their hero Reagan and the two Bush's).

The message it sends is one of arrogance - it may be taken by many voters as a signal that Obama and Democrats are so cocky about the presidential election that they can now start to focus on this filibuster-proof "dream" - or "nightmare" to many voters. While, like Sarah Palin for the right, it may inspire the base, it will turn off many moderates and independents.

There is still plenty of time to lose this election.

Richard Dreyfus Calls For Teaching Civics in Public Schools

The Huffington Post has fun with their story about Richard Dreyfus' appearance on The View today, including video, showing the Academy Award winning actor railing about the Oliver Stone "W" movie (wherein Dreyfus lays down an excellent performance of Dick Cheney, BTW). They decided to make a big deal about Dreyfus being critical of Stone and the film being too soft on Bush - their headline includes the flame bait "Calls Oliver Stone A Fascist." Such is good for getting clicks to your page I guess, but it leaves out the best part of the segment.

Dreyfus goes on to explain, with some eloquence, the necessity in a democratic republic, to teach civics in public schools. The Huffington Post video cuts off before that point, but the video below includes his passionate plea (starting about 5:45 into the clip).

About

I don't fit the conventional labels. Frankly, I don't think I'm alone in that, which is why I think we need new labels and why the alternative "third-parties", aren't going anywhere.

On the Political Compass™, (take the test yourself HERE), I fall as shown below:



Okay, so I'm a little "left-ish" and a good bit "libertarian" (mostly with respect to liberties and freedom from tyranny). Fine.


I strongly support our civil liberties protected under the U.S. Constitution, INCLUDING the "evil right-wing" 2nd Amendment and the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (RKBA), which is why I support BOTH the American Civil Liberties Union AND the National Rifle Association, even though I disagree with both organizations on many specific issues. I also support the Electronic Frontier Foundation in this fight.

When it comes to conventional partisan politics, I'm left in the cold. The GOP is controlled by a bunch hypocrites who use double-talk and double standards to push their political agenda.

The Republicans are Pro-Second Amendment but Anti-4th Amendment. They talk smaller government but practice Big-Government.

On the other hand, the Democrats are Anti-2nd Amendment but Pro-4th Amendment.

In both cases, they are made up of Career Politicians who must be Loyal to their Party in order to keep their political careers. Both parties are Anti-Constitution, Pro Big-Government, and Anti-States Rights. Their loyalty lies with the highest bidder.



And then, we have the third parties, such as the Libertarians, who I agree with in terms of personal privacy and individual liberty, but then they just go too far, with their "no government, ever, at any price" policies. They won't accept that some amount of regulation of Capitalism might just make some sense. We've seen where letting the market go its own way gets us. (The market seems to have a preference for useless financial instruments and insane compensation packages.) That's why I'll continue to use the lower-case "L" when referring to my libertarian-leanings.

This 1890's populist cartoon captures my thoughts quite succinctly:



Populists claimed that Democratic and Republican politicians agitated meaningless issues, such as tariff revision, in demagogic attempts to divert people’s attention from the real problems that producers faced. Notice where the politician’s right hands are located.


Sound familiar? My sentiment is that Democratic and Republican politicians agitate meaningless issues in demagogic attempts to divert people’s attention from the real problems the country faces - all the while ripping off the public for their own personal and political gain. As long as we the people are fighting each other and blaming the other side, Democrat or Republican, for everything, the politicians win.

So that might explain why, on this site, you'll see that I question ALL crooked and hypocritical politicians, regardless of their party affiliations. I try to highlight all attacks on our freedoms, no matter where they originate.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Anchorage Daily News Endorses Obama

Alaska’s largest newspaper has endorsed a candidate for president. We keep being told that Sarah Palin is so popular in Alaska, so of course they must have gone with the McCain/Palin ticket. Nope.

Despite [Palin's] formidable gifts, few who have worked closely with the governor would argue she is truly ready to assume command of the most important, powerful nation on earth. To step in and juggle the demands of an economic meltdown, two deadly wars and a deteriorating climate crisis would stretch the governor beyond her range. Like picking Sen. McCain for president, putting her one 72-year-old heartbeat from the leadership of the free world is just too risky at this time.


Wow. Perhaps we should listen to the people that know her best.

Military Deployment Within US Borders

The ACLU has put in a Freedom of Information request to the Army with respect to their recent report that the Army has deployed an active military unit inside the United States, the 3rd Infantry Division of the 1st Brigade Combat Team (BCT) for the first time on our soil.

The ACLU press release, dated October 21, 2008 states:

According to a report in the Army Times, the Army recently deployed an active military unit inside the United States under Northern Command, which was established in 2002 to assist federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities. This deployment marks the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to Northern Command.

"This is a radical departure from separation of civilian law enforcement and military authority, and could, quite possibly, represent a violation of law," said Mike German, ACLU national security policy counsel and former FBI Agent. "Our Founding Fathers understood the threat that a standing army could pose to American liberty. While future generations recognized the need for a strong military to defend against increasingly capable foreign threats, they also passed statutory protections to ensure that the Army could not be turned against the American people. The erosion of these protections should concern every American."

A copy of the ACLU's information request is available online at: www.aclu.org/safefree/general/37272lgl20081021.html

This is some serious stuff.

UPDATE: an interview by Democracy Now's Amy Goodman with Army Col. Michael Boatner, future operations division chief of USNORTHCOM, and Matthew Rothschild, editor of The Progressive magazine, contains some very good insights, here: www.democracynow.org/2008/10/7/us_army_denies_unit_will_be

I love the comment from the Army guy that says, in essence, trust us "American citizens can be confident that there will be no abuses." Unfortunately, that's not the way the framers wrote it up, Colonel, that the citizenry should simply "trust" that the army won't be turned against the American people.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

McCain advisers suggest Palin is deliberately sabotaging campaign

As reported at CNN Palin's 'going rogue,' McCain aide says

Several McCain advisers have suggested to CNN that they have become increasingly frustrated with what one aide described as Palin "going rogue."
McCain sources say Palin has gone off-message several times, and they privately wonder whether the incidents were deliberate.
And get this:

"She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone," said this McCain adviser. "She does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else.

"Also, she is playing for her own future and sees herself as the next leader of the party. Remember: Divas trust only unto themselves, as they see themselves as the beginning and end of all wisdom."

Pretty strong stuff, and from the McCain camp too.

McCain advisers Nicolle Wallace, who Palin blames for her Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric bluders went so far as to say: "If people want to throw me under the bus, my personal belief is that the most honorable thing to do is to lie there."

Friday, October 24, 2008

The US doesn't make anything

My brother, a really smart guy, has long chided that by shipping jobs and manufacturing overseas over the recent decades, the US "no longer makes anything," or, in other words, doesn't contribute but only consumes. While this is of course not 100% true, (we produce a huge portion of the world's food, for instance), there is something to it. He has always said this would lead to a massive depression, if not the ruin of the US.

One metric for what a country produces might be GDP. Will Hutton of THE OBSERVER, LONDON has an excellent article on How to survive the market meltdown that brings this together very well. Hutton suggests that there isn't enough money in the world to pay for the "dark heart of the global financial system" or the US$55 trillion market in credit derivatives: "This is a market more than twice the size of the combined GDP of the US, Japan and the EU."

Try to imagine that: a $55 trillion market now at risk of complete destruction. Even the derivative debt owed by individual institutions stands at nation-wrecking levels. For example, a single bank in Britain, Barclays again, holds more than $2.4 trillion in credit default swaps. This is more than the entire GDP of Great Britain. If all this paper goes bad, there are not enough assets in the entire country to pay it off. And that's just one bank, in one country.

Hang on. This is going to be a bumpy ride.

The Obama relationships McCain should be talking about, instead of Ayers

Top Contributors to Obama's campaign

Goldman Sachs $739,521
UBS AG $419,550
Lehman Brothers $391,774
Citigroup Inc $492,548
Morgan Stanley $341,380
Latham & Watkins $328,879
Google Inc $487,355
JPMorgan Chase & Co $475,112
Sidley Austin LLP $370,916
Skadden, Arps et al $360,409

This should tell us something about why Obama voted for the bailout with McCain and Pelosi, when he could have taken a stand to show that he really does represent change.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Reuters: Palin is a drag on campaign


Gov. Palin's unfavorable rating has increased dramatically since she first came on the scene and is now net negative. She is also now rated as a bigger drag on John McCain's campaign than George W. Bush according to new Wall Street Journal/NBC poll.

Here's what the Pew Research Center had to say yesterday:

Sarah Palin appears to be a continuing – if not an increasing – drag on the GOP ticket. Currently, 49% of voters express an unfavorable opinion of Palin, while 44% have a favorable view. In mid-September, favorable opinions of Palin outnumbered negative ones by 54% to 32%. Women, especially women under age 50, have become increasingly critical of Palin: 60% now express an unfavorable view of Palin, up from 36% in mid-September. Notably, opinions of Palin have a greater impact on voting intentions than do opinions of Joe Biden, Obama’s running mate.

Protesters dart in front of Palin's car in Colorada

John McCain would veto himself

How Wolf Blitzer let this comment slip by without question, I have no idea:

MCCAIN: I would have vetoed literally every spending bill, even those that I voted for, if I were president of the United States and made them famous the way Ronald Reagan did.
From interview today Oct-22: transcript here or watch the video here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Republican classic conservatives turning on McCain

The list of intellectual republicans either officially endorsing Barack Obama, or expressing criticism of the McCain campaign keeps growing.

Last week we saw two prominent media conservatives endorse Senator Obama: Michael Smerconish, a radio talk show host, and the novelist Christopher Buckley. Buckley is the son of William Buckley, one of the key founders of the modern conservative movement.

Many of them, like Colen Powell, have cited concerns over McCains choice of Sarah Palin for a running mate.

Peggy Noonan, a former speechwriter for Ronald Reagan, was the first of several conservative pundits to say publicly that she felt betrayed by the choice of Sarah Palin.

Kathleen Parker, another National Review columnist, wrote that Mrs Palin was "clearly out of her league" and should step down as the vice-presidential candidate.

George Will, another influential conservative writer, raised questions about whether Mrs. Palin is qualified to be president and compared the "Palin bubble" to the dotcom and housing bubbles.

David Brooks said Sarah Palin "Represents A Fatal Cancer To The Republican Party" and said she is "absolutely not" ready to be president or vice president.

Lifelong conservative Republican Ken Adelman says he will vote for Obama, adding "Not only is Sarah Palin not close to being acceptable in high office—I would not have hired her for even a mid-level post in the arms-control agency."

Can we point to any prominent democrats endorsing McCain/Palin? What does that tell us?

NRA members for Obama



I'm an NRA member and I support the NRA-ILA because there is nobody else supporting the Second Amendment. I also support the ACLU.

The NRA is a one-issue organization so I suppose it makes sense that they endorese candidates based on that single issue. However, the NRA leaders appear to me to have become too entrenched in partisan politics. They think because members are interested in guns, they must also be on the right on all issues, and in particular, republican.

Even as an NRA member, I can't vote against my economic and social self-interest based on a single issue, especially with all the issues before us.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Colin Powell Endorses Obama

Colin Powell, President Bush’s former secretary of state and a former chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, said on Meet the Press that he is voting for Obama.

Beyond endorsing Barack Obama, Powell also said, with regard to Sarah Palin, "I don't believe she is ready to be President of the United States, which is the job of the Vice President."



He also said Obama would Be A "Transformational President."

In the meantime, Obama's lead in the polls is shrinking, with some polls showing almost a dead heat.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Rolling Stone paints sorry picture of McCain

The rolling stone article "Make-Believe Maverick" hits hard. The subtitle gives a hint of their conclusion:

A closer look at the life and career of John McCain reveals a disturbing record of recklessness and dishonesty


A companion of McCain's who was also taken prisoner (but never cracked), is quoted:

"McCain says his life changed while he was in Vietnam, and he is now a different man. But he's still the undisciplined, spoiled brat that he was when he went in."


It paints a picture of a selfish person:

This is the story of the real John McCain, the one who has been hiding in plain sight. It is the story of a man who has consistently put his own advancement above all else, a man willing to say and do anything to achieve his ultimate ambition: to become commander in chief, ascending to the one position that would finally enable him to outrank his four-star father and grandfather.

McCain has become the kind of politician he ran against in 2000. He has embraced those he once denounced as "agents of intolerance.

In the end, the essential facts of John McCain's life and career — the pivotal experiences in which he demonstrated his true character — are important because of what they tell us about how he would govern as president. Far from the portrayal he presents of himself as an unflinching maverick with a consistent and reliable record, McCain has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to taking whatever position will advance his own career.


It questions his character on many levels:


Indeed, many leading Republicans who once admired McCain see his recent contortions to appease the GOP base as the undoing of a maverick. "John McCain's ambition overrode his basic character," says Rita Hauser, who served on the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board from 2001 to 2004. But the truth of the matter is that ambition is John McCain's basic character. Seen in the sweep of his seven-decade personal history, his pandering to the right is consistent with the only constant in his life: doing what's best for himself. To put the matter squarely: John McCain is his own special interest.


Calls him a "brat":

McCain's admittance to Annapolis was preordained by his bloodline. But martial discipline did not seem to have much of an impact on his character. By his own account, McCain was a lazy, incurious student

When McCain was not shown the pampering to which he was accustomed, he grew petulant — even abusive. He repeatedly blew up in the face of his commanding officer. It was the kind of insubordination that would have gotten any other midshipman kicked out of Annapolis. But his classmates soon realized that McCain was untouchable. Midway though his final year, McCain faced expulsion, about to "bilge out" because of excessive demerits. After his mother intervened, however, the academy's commandant stepped in. Calling McCain "spoiled" to his face, he nonetheless issued a reprieve, scaling back the demerits. McCain dodged expulsion a second time by convincing another midshipman to take the fall after McCain was caught with contraband.

A hothead:

Over the years, John McCain has demonstrated a streak of anger so nasty that even his former flacks make no effort to spin it away.

At least three of McCain's GOP colleagues have gone on record to say that they consider him temperamentally unsuited to be commander in chief.


Read the whole 10-page article here.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

We see what we want to see

Stacy in PA writes in her "smart girl politics blog" about the current Democratic leadership:

"What have they accomplished in the last two years? Not much. It's not surprising that they have a 13% approval rating, 9% at it's low."

This, I cannot disagree with. They have been a tremendous disappointment. For starters, they should have impeached Bush. Of course, their excuse is they have a weak majority.

Then she goes on to say, with respect to fears of an Obama victory:
"There have only been a handful of times in our history where one party has had this much power in government."

Yeah, for example, the prior 6 years to the 2 mentioned above, the first 6 years of the G. W. Bush presidency. A what did they accomplish together, Bush and Congress, under that Republican majority leadership? Oh yeah:
  1. Abu Ghraib
  2. IRAQ
  3. Missing WMDs
  4. Hurricane Katrina
  5. Guantanamo
  6. Extraordinary Rendition
  7. Spying on Americans without warrants
  8. Continued failure to recognize Global Warming as a threat
  9. Torture justified and legalized
  10. Alberto Gonzales
  11. Donald Rumsfeld
  12. $9.1 trillion National Debt, up from $5.6 trillion
  13. Taking a budget surplus to the worst budget deficits in history
Yeah, good times. Good times.

Most disappointed American public yet

A new Gallup poll finds that only 9% of Americans are satisfied with the way things are going in the United States, which is the lowest such reading in Gallup Poll history, easily beating the 12% recorded in 1979.

The reason is simple: the economy. Almost 7 in 10 Americans mentioned some aspect of the economy as the most important problem facing the country today.

McCain Republicans "stunned" they are losing election

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Civil rights icon says McCain and Palin 'playing with fire'

Georgia congressman and hero of Selma, John Lewis, said today:

“As public figures with the power to influence and persuade, Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are playing with fire, and if they are not careful, that fire will consume us all.

They are playing a very dangerous game that disregards the value of the political process and cheapens our entire democracy.”


In the past, McCain has praised Lewis, including naming him as one of "three wise men" he would consult as president.

Now Lewis was invoking George Wallace in reference to John McCain:

"George Wallace never threw a bomb. He never fired a gun, but he created the climate and the conditions that encouraged vicious attacks...

What I am seeing reminds me too much of another destructive period in American history. Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are sowing the seeds of hatred and division, and there is no need for this hostility in our political discourse."


Lewis closed with: "We can do better. The American people deserve better."

Amen.

McCain's latest appeal to racism

The McCain campaign continues to lower the bar of decency. Their latest 90 second web video is targeted to the extreme right (majority of the base these days I guess), sending the message that not only are the scary blacks stealing the election, but they also caused the economic crisis. Don't blame Wall Street. Blame the n-----s.

McCain knows he's going to lose and he's prepping the base to take the position that Republicans didn't really lose the election, but that it was stolen by Barack Omaba and his army of black street thugs.

Daily KOS accuses GOP of sabotaging ACORN

from Daily KOS:

How do Republicans get on this so quickly and hammer until it is now spreading to other media outlets besides fox?

The answer, They did it. Republicans are the party of dirty tricks, of putting up billboards in 2004 in black neighborhoods telling people to vote on teh wrong day. They put police near voting places to scare of many. They have sent out fliers listing the wrong polling places. I could go on, but I'm already sick to my stomach.

The idea is to cast suspicions over ALL new voters, who are overwhelmingly Democratic. Then, when McCain loses, to start the lawsuits, attacking the legitimacy of lower income, minority, and ACORN gathered voters.

I wouldn't put it past them. We have seen such things, and worse, from Republicans in the past.

Alaska Panel Finds Palin Abused Power

via the AssociatedPress

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Dems and Reps

I'm sick of being accused of being a Democrat just because I seldom support a Republican candidate or a given Republican cause. In many races, I've voted for the Democratic candidate because of the "lessor of two evils" situation - anything to ensure that a certain inane Republican candidate doesn't get the office. The worst example was Gore 2000. I was not a Gore fan, but I think we now can be pretty sure there is no way he could have been worse than Bush/Cheney - so I'm proud of that vote. Unfortunately, that particular inane Republican candidate did get the office - and now the country and world is far worse off because of it.

The Democrats are incompetent and the Republicans are criminals. What are we supposed to do?