Friday, September 19, 2008

The Lame Duck Still Working Hard....To Destroy America

With all the attention being given to the two guys who want to be POTUS it is easy to forget about the recovering alcoholic, born-again, mentally disabled guy that is still there.

Well he has been hard at work trying to push through his agenda to make America a lot more like Saudi Arabia.

Something that has been a little under the radar because of the focus on the election campaigns is a new rule Bush is proposing at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, wrote a nice op-ed piece about it today in the New York Times that explains it better than I can.

But it basically comes down to two main things.

First, any health care service that receives any federal financing, which would be almost all of them since a good majority of doctors and hospitals see Medicaid and Medicare patients, would have to certify in writing that none of their employees are required to participate in any sort of medical service that they find morally objectionable.

What this means is that the $10-an-hour, born-again Christian nurses assistant a doctor has on staff will be able to refuse to go to the medicine cabinet to grab a supply of morning after pills for the rape victim sitting in the office, or a supply of birth control pills for a teenager, to get the pamphlets on safe sex and even refuse to assist with a patient if it is a gay person.

Basically, doctors would be barred from firing crazy wackos who refuse to do the job they were hired to do, putting the welfare of patients at risk and raising the cost of health care (doctors will have to spend a lot of time doing the work of nurses, nurse assistants and lab techs)

The second thing is that it allows health care providers to refuse to participate in any medical procedure that goes against their religious belief. There are a lot of things that could fall under this, but we all know that the effect of this will be that women and young girls who want birth control or information on abortions will be denied both services and information if they walk in to the wrong doctor's office or live in an area where there is only one option.

Combined with another provision of providing federal funding to the so-called "crisis pregnancy centers" - clinics run by anti-choice fanatics whose goal is to prevent women from getting information about birth control and reproductive health - it is obvious what this misogynistic, anti-reproductive bill is all about.

He's doing his best to chip away at the rights of women and just about the rest of us in the four months he's got left.

Let's not forget he's still there.

Read more about the proposed rule at Planned Parenthood and then take time to submit a comment letter to the Department of Health and Human Services. Planned Parenthood has one already set up that you can personalize and then submit through them right to the DHHS.

Take Action Now - Send a comment

Blocking Care for Women

Bush's Attack on Women’s Health Is Bad Medicine

Ad: Patriotic Act, & Why I don't want Biden's job

It didn't take the McCain long to jump on Biden's Good Morning America comments on tax increases for those making $250,000+/year and release this ad:

Deni handles well the underlying problem with McCain's attacks in the previous entry (how is paying taxes not patriotic, especially when fighting a war? - just because it isn't on the budget doesn't mean it ain't tax dollars feeding and clothing the military), and the independent Tax Policy Center has already done a better job of debunking the claims made than I could ever do. I just want to talk for a moment about this ad as an ad.

Because the first word that comes to mind is "slapdash." Seriously, this ad could be created on my 3+ year old Mac laptop in an hour. It isn't meant to have a long life, except to be passed among party faithful. It's the photocopied flyer version of a television ad.

Which I take as a recognition, somewhere down in the reptilian brain of the McCain campaign (how you like that illiteration?), that these kind of attack ads are nothing more than jabs, meant to keep the opponent off-balance and reactive while accepting that none of them will be a knock-out punch.

(I think that's why I didn't like this ad much - it seems like a cheap jab, when the opponent actually dropped the hands far enough to be taken out with roundhouse.)

All it took was one moment, one perhaps-not-ideal choice of phrase, by Biden to open up the attack.

And this is why I don't want Biden's job. Because he has to debate Palin.

Do I think Palin will "beat" Biden? The very idea made me spit-take tea all over the aforementioned laptop. No, that's not the problem.

I can't imagine being in his position, knowing you can mop the floor with this clueless, inexperienced candidate, and yet having to do it so carefully knowing that anything that can be spun into a misstep will be all over the campaign ads the next day. If he so much as smirks at one of Palin's ditzy non-answers, he'll be crucified. Hell, if he holds back, he'll still be crucified.

If something so benign as referring to the paying of taxes as a patriotic journey unleashes a flurry of jabs, how much of a minefield will it be to step into the ring with that intellectual flyweight?

Good luck, Joe. My best advice? Ignore the jabs, don't jab yourself, but take that uppercut opening when it comes, then walk quietly back to your corner for the standing eight. Then do it again.

No smirking. And watch your footwork.

AP via Yahoo!: Biden: Paying higher taxes patriotic for wealthy

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Country First?

During an interview on Good Morning America, while explaining the Obama plan to cut taxes on 95% of Americans while raising them on people making over $250,000, Joe Biden said, “It’s time to be patriotic. Time to jump in. Time to be part of the deal. Time to help get America out of the rut.”

Of course the shameless people from the other ticket took that opportunity to slam Biden.

To the rest of America that’s not patriotism. Raising taxes is about killing jobs and hurting small businesses and making things worse,” said faux hockey mom Ms. Pit Bull Lipstick.

Let's forget for a minute that that is not quite what Joe Biden said and also forget that Obama's tax plan will cut most people's taxes. Basically what Biden was saying was that it is time for the wealthy to step up and pay their fair share in this time of crises, but that wouldn't be attack-able enough for the shameless duo.

But let's address their slam anyway. Why isn't it patriotic? Isn't paying taxes an incredibly patriotic thing to do? Contributing to your country so it can function, so that we can have fire fighters, police officers, school systems, transportation and a national defense seems to me to be an incredibly patriotic thing to do.

And as Jonathan Cohn points out, paying higher taxes during a time of war has always been seen as the patriotic thing to do.

We are at war, are we not Mr. McCain and Mrs. Palin?

When exactly did "every man and family for themselves" become the patriotic thing, and helping your country survive and not pass on a huge debt to our children, the unpatriotic thing?

What McCain-Palin are doing is not even shameless.

It's shameful.

Read - Biden and Palin Tussle Over Taxes from the NYT politics blog
Read - Patriotism from Joe Klein at Time

Waiting For The Re-Up

When the best HuffPo has to offer are whispers (really, a rehash of the week so far) and Palin placing herself above McCain on the ticket, well, it's a scant day for the political junkie. You find yourself playing with clever widgets in order to pass the time. (Clever widget via those nice boys at BATP.)

Still a few notable entries out there:

- The roving spotlight landed on a couple of items regarding Palin's Evangelical religion. The first, an article in Salon by Sarah Posner, explores the implications of La Palin's turning Wasilla into a City of Character(tm), should be of interest to those who are worried about the erosion of the separation of Church and State. The second is a bit more...from the fringes; the item is an email sent by Jim Bramlett, former head of the Christian Broadcasting Network. To give you an idea of the tone of the email, Mr. Bramlett explains Obama's appeal and rise to prominence as follows:

" invisible factor [in his rise] may be a strong spiritual force behind him, causing some people to actually swoon in his presence."

- Salon's Glenn Greenwald has some fun poking at those who had no problem allowing the White House/NSA to invade US citizens' privacy, yet are yowling about the hacking into Palin's Yahoo email account for the action's illegality and invasion of privacy.

- Hey, Nader's on the ballot in 45 states and DC. Perhaps we should have the inevitable discussion of multiple political parties at some point. I'm all for it, the system's rigged against it, but I still feel that aspiring parties need to further establish themselves in state governance and in the national legislature for their presidential candidates to be taken seriously. Just my 2¢.

- Being beige, this next item is interesting to me; James Hannaham's OpEd piece, in Salon (again), regarding the MSM's and the general populace's desire to see Obama get angry at the Republicans.

He may have a point, it may be buried within the melanin-challenged psyche a desire to see the Opressed Black Man Rise Up And Humble The Opressors With Righteous Indignation, instead of the cool headed man of reason Obama is. Personally, my desire to feel (not necessarily see or hear) some heat has more to do with my own desire for catharsis.

I've been presented with bowl of shit after bowl of shit for me to eat during these last eight years, starting with Florida '00, all the way through to whatever clownish nonsense they've managed to get away with today. I've got bile backed up here, and the motherfuckers responsible are lying again, making promises they intend to break, and they're doing it using the same deplorable tactics that appeal to the same willfully thickheaded rubes who insist on thinking "well, shit, maybe this time they really will take care of me and mine" instead of looking at the reality around them.

I think Angry Black Man should be avoided, because the middle will run to Grumpy Incontinent and Crazy White Grandpa for security; also I love rational Obama, he's exactly what's needed in the larger scheme of things and will hopefully appeal to the independent voters who appreciate thought. I just think that in order to get people going "YEAH! DAMN RIGHT!" behind Obama, there should be some sense that there is finally some sticking it to the Man going on.

And that would be true no matter the color of the presidential candidate. Just ask Kerry, Gore, Dukakis and Mondale.

The Wheels Are Coming Off The Bus

This isn't good, particularly if you combine it with McCain's consistent Sunni/Shiite gaffes earlier in the year.

Spain, if you recall, was a member of the Coalition of the Willing back when that was the thing to do. They wisely backed out when it became obvious that a) the Spanish people were against the war in Iraq, b) Spain became a major target for terrorists and c) the war in Iraq wasn't going anywhere good.

For this, Spain earned the enmity of W.

Fast forward a few years, and you get John McCain campaigning in the States, saying it was time to put that business with Spain behind us and move forward.

Then this interview (which can be heard via the link provided above) took place.

It's one thing to confuse Spain's Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero* with his counterparts in Latin America, some of whom have taken Hugo Chavez' lead and created anti-US stands when talking to their people and the world at large. It's another thing to repeatedly ignore your interviewer's prompting that you may have your leaders mixed up geographically.

It is still yet another thing to not admit that you've made a mistake, and instead claim that you are moving forward with strained relations with a nation that has been an ally in the past.

This is an example of the kind of experienced foreign policy leadership we'd get with this guy, which only figures to improve with stress and age.

*Zapatero is just two syllables away from Zapatista, the Mexican insurgent movement, who take their name from Emiliano Zapata, the anarchist heavily involved in the Mexican Revolution, after all.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Still Percolating

We are 10 days away from the first Presidential debate, and the air is starting to feel positively charged. There’s a certain manic hellzapopping energy to the various narrative threads that are out there right now:

- Representative Les Gara, from Anchorage, AK provides a ground level view of the latest Troopergate shenanigans. After initially welcoming the bipartisan decision by the Alaskan Legislature to investigate the firing of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan, the Palin people have taken to obfuscation and stonewalling the process, not realizing that the more they do so, the shadier they look while doing it.

- Bob Cesca addresses how the media generally responds to nuance, what the Right's noise machine is doing, and how that is reflected in the polls.

- See if you can tell me who said the following:

"Obama is now stoking racism in the country. Obama is a disgrace -- he wants the public to think he is Mr. Nice Guy while his thugs are in Alaska looking for dirt on Palin and he runs race-baiting ads and lies about what he has done and what McCain has done."

Give up? It was Rush “Where’s Mah Goddamn Pills, Ma?” Limbaugh, who said this while claiming that he was misquoted in a recent Spanish-language Obama ad aimed at Latino voters. The quotes? "Mexicans are stupid and unqualified" and "shut your mouth and get out."

Yeah, I can see how that could look bad when taken out of context. Oh, wait, what was the context? It was either said during a parody of NAFTA or what happened was that Limbaugh read from a list of stringent rules and statements then revealed that it was came from Mexico’s own guidelines on dealing with immigrants or something.

Given the nature of Limbaugh’s listeners, I am sure this parody, or whatever it was, was taken in exactly the right vein.

Yessir, Obama is a disgrace all right.

- On a related note, former “Hillraiser” Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild decided to stop supporting the Democrats and switched to the McCain/Palin ticket because she feels the alternative is someone she deems detached and elitist.

- Sarah Palin will be facing another tough interviewer, but not tonight, as her interview with Sean Hannity airs on FOXNews.

- Her ticket partner is continuing to twist in the media wind: After flip-flopping on the Fed’s bailout of AIG earlier today, then starting to hear rumblings of the Keating 5 and his medical records being brought up, McCain retaliates by returning to the “celebrity” meme that’s been inert since he made his VP choice.

- One of the positives that Obama brought to the Democratic party was taking the lessons learned from Howard Dean’s grassroots campaign and used them to regularly enervate the base. Here’s the latest example of what they’re doing with that.

(Via Sera

Pot, Kettle & The Moron Masses

With all of the crazy, slimy, slanderous lies that the right-wing smear machine is saying about Obama, I've often thought to myself that this shit is just too unbelievable for anyone to buy.

Then I spoke to my mother today.

A card carrying member of the moron masses, my mother is exactly the kind of red state (Florida) dimwit that the right-lunatic fringe is counting on to sway the election with their lies and distortions.

And it appears to be working.

My mother called me today to ask about my wife's OB appointment yesterday (the downside of breeding, I have to talk to my mother a hell of a lot more often) and somehow the conversation turned to my brother and his new job or something.

My brother is a bible-thumping, born-again (like our mother), free market Republican with a big house and four kids in the upper limits of rural northern Illinois. He's a guy who completely believes that the bible is the "truth" (he actually said it that way to me one time), gets his news from FOX, thinks Ronald Reagan is the greatest person who ever lived and parrots silly GOP talking points about things like socialized medicine. He once told me that it was a "fact" that all the rich people in England come to the U.S. for their health care and that people are dying in the streets of countries with national health care.

In other words, he's a huge ass hole.

Anyway, I said something to my mother about wondering how much he'll like it when McCain starts taxing his health care insurance for his family of six (that's got to have a value of over $20,000).

My mother said, "And Obama's plan isn't any better. Let me tell ya, this election is just choosing between two bad candidates."

Oh brother.

I tried to tell her that there was a big difference between the lying, crazy, right-wing agenda of McCain-Palin and Obama.

My mother said, "that guy (Obama) talks out both sides of his mouth" and brought up Reverend Wright.

"Don't tell me he sat in that church for 20 years with that racist preacher and doesn't agree with him."

She claimed to have heard the tapes herself where he (Wright) made racist comments.

And this is where the bigots on the right have become successful in calling Wright, and by extension Obama, a bigot. My mother didn't hear racist comments. She heard some snippets of something that sounded provocative and then a commentator proclaimed them to be racist.

The conservatives, creators of the"southern strategy," have the stones to accuse Obama of being a racist.

And unfortunately, there are people out there like my mother, soft racists who "have lots of black friends" (meaning a guy they work with) and are looking for a reason to vote against Obama so they can tell themselves its not because they are racist.

So my my mother, who once referred to Martin Luther King as an ass hole, can claim she doesn't trust Barack Obama because he's a bigot.

I thought we were done with this not trusting Obama thing after my sister spent a good hour or so explaining to our mother that Obama was not a Muslim, which she was convinced was true.

Why does it always come to this? Why does the direction of this country always get decided by several idiots in a just a few places?

When Ethics and Integrity Get In The Way

Maybe it’s the legacy of Jayson Blair, maybe the fifth season of The Wire has made me more vigilant for abuses of the free press…Whatever the reason, I can’t fully stand behind posting a link to David Talbot’s piece on Sarah Palin in today’s Salon without writing some kind of preface for it.

Before I get too far, and people start telling me that my concerns, which are coming in a moment, would not stop those on the Right from blasting a similar story through the media stratosphere, let me just say that I know. Trust me on this, this isn’t about beating the Republicans at their own game, this isn’t about fighting back with the same fervor they do; this is about journalistic integrity.

In the course of attaining my useless degree, I ended up having to take a couple of courses on Ethics in Journalism, and the lessons learned there have stuck with me.

First problem I have with this story is the number of unnamed sources found within, with “fear of retribution” used as the reason for anonymity. Couple this with a particularly egregious example of someone losing valuable evidence, and you have the basis for an easily deniable story for the opposition.

Second problem I have is that without those necessary items, this story becomes, in essence, a story about Palin’s personality, and not about policy. As such, it can read as a hatchet job on Sarah Palin, which is welcome in the sense that their party needs to taste some of their own medicine – a bit of quid pro quo, if you will; but it’s also pretty close to a smear job, which, naturally, is something to steer clear from.

With that evidence in place, you wouldn’t be reading this little prattle of mine. So, why am I posting it in spite of all that?

Two reasons. For all of the talk about the goodness that comes out of small town ‘Merica, there’s a lot left unsaid of the sort of petty politics that can ruin the small town gestalt. People aren’t vindictive in small towns? People don’t ostracize others in small towns? Lives can’t be made living hells in small towns? Plenty of evidence to put that dross to bed.

Imagine a person of the stature, personality and profile of Sarah Palin coming back to your small town with a vendetta against you. It may be cowardly, but going anonymous would make some sense.

The more pertinent reason is one of David Talbot’s pedigree; it’s not just impressive, it’s pretty impeccable. Does this put him above suspicion? No, but it lends him credibility; if he’s willing to put his considerable reputation on the line, which he’s doing by placing his name in the byline, then there must be something here.

It’s still risky, and with the various holes found here, it may have been better run as an OpEd, but they didn’t do that, for reasons I’m not familiar with.

Now that that’s done, give the thing a read. It’s a doozy, and for all of my misgivings, the thing feels like the truth, given what we know of the barracuda. By the time her nickname is explained, my jaw was firmly entrenched on the floor.

Read: Salon - Sarah Palin's Wasteful Ways

Ad: Now THAT"S what I'm tawkin' 'bout

Yes, that title is exactly as ineloquent as this ad is eloquent. Show Obama at his best, lays out a vision, and got me on the gut-level in the final moments.

I believe ads like this can make a difference. I'm a skeptic, and a student of advertising, and can usually approach ad analysis with some detachment. But this ad broke that down.

I want to see more of these, Mr. Obama, because I want to call you Mr. President. You had me at "I approve this message..."

Ad: The fundamentals of our economy...

It didn't take long for the Obama campaign to jump on McCain's comment Monday that "the fundamentals of our economy are strong." Biden started hitting McCain on it later that same day, and this ad has already started airing:

Angela Natividad at AdGabber, from whom I first got word of the ad, called it "dirty press." My first responses to that were a chuckle, as though the dirty card hadn't already been solidly played by the McCain camp, and derision. Personally, I feel McCain is out of touch and likely to do further damage to the economy should he win the White House.

But, the more I think about it, I'm not sure I like this ad. Though not as blatant or laughable as the McCain ad that tried to take mention of a pig and lipstick out of context, I think this too is an example of distorting your opponent's intention.

Look at the whole McCain quote:

"The fundamentals of our economy are strong, but these are very, very difficult times. I promise you we will never put America in this position again. We will clean up Wall Street!"

Now, let me be clear - I don't think McCain will clean up Wall Street and I don't think he has any clue how bad things are for average Americans. But, I also don't think he was saying that economic indicators are positive or that there aren't problems to be addressed. Frankly, I believe he meant "fundamentals" to refer to the people and companies that make up the basis of our economy.

And, he's quite possibly still wrong. I'm one that believes that the fundamental bases of our capitalist economy are fundamentally fucked, that the system has bred a atavistic culture that will eat and eat and eat until it consumes itself.

But that isn't what the ad is inferring. It takes that quote to mean that McCain believes that the economy, right now, is strong, which is obviously not the case.

It isn't a terrific distortion, but it feels like one all the same, and that isn't a tactic I want Obama to adopt. The decontextualized distortion is the oldest trick in the poli-ads book, and that's not change, that's more of the same.

Do I want Obama to go on the offensive? Yes. But I want a good clean fight, and this ad veers awfully close to a rabbit punch. Let the other side be the ones swinging for below the belt.

But maybe I'm a minority voice in this. What say you? Do you like the ad? Do you like these tactics? What do you want to see out of Obama ads?

AdGabber: 'The Fundamentals of Our Economy Are Strong.'

ABC News Blog: Biden Rips McCain for Saying the Fundamentals of Economy are "Strong"

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Massive Goings On

- There's really no other way to put this. Sarah Palin's Tax Problem. Seriously.

- In a similar vein: Oy vey. Turns out a group known as The Republican Jewish Coalition conducted a survey that targeted older Jews and peppered them with questions like the following:

Would it affect your vote if you knew that Obama has had a decade long relationship with pro-Palestinian leaders in Chicago?

...the leader of Hamas, Ahmed Yousef, expressed support for Obama and his hope for Obama's victory?

...the church Barack Obama has attended is known for its anti-Israel and anti-American remarks?

It is groups like this that are responsible for the hard-to-dispel-from-the-minds-of-intractable-middle-state-voter memes like "Obama is a Muslim, he will be sworn in on the Q'uran." This poll is targeting Jews in Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.

- 527 ads came out swinging today (527s are political groups that do not have fundraising limits placed on them, and don’t have to adhere to Federal Election Commission rules; Swift Boat Vets for Truth and Move On are a couple of 527 groups, for example). Two ads in particular, from both sides of the chasm, are garnering attention: Born Alive Truth’s ad on Obama’s abortion record, and Move On’s attack-style ad pointing out that McCain has surrounded himself with lobbyists.

- An update on JJ’s entry regarding voter suppression in Michigan: Obama and the Democrats are filing an injunction that will prevent the GOP from challenging the registrations from voters whose homes have been foreclosed. Republicans countercharge that this is nothing but a diversionary tactic, natch.

- A look at the Huffington Post’s front page offers a remarkable sight, one that this political junkie still can’t believe has actually happened: A veritable laundry list of items that show McCain/Palin losing their footing with the media. You have a McCain surrogate saying Palin isn’t qualified to run a company; you have McCain losing his temper (not a tantrum, but still) on MSNBC; you have conservative columnists reacting badly to the ABC News extravaganza (both the Palin interview and McCain’s The View outing); and you have reporters going after McCain over his statement about the fundamentals of the US economy still being strong.

The McCain/Palin camp is being forced to dance right now. There’s no guarantee that things will stay like this for the remainder of the race, anything is possible and the MSM is still easily distracted by shiny things. However, for the moment, things are looking to swing Obama’s way.

- This being the case, everyone is saying that it is important for Obama to strike while the iron is hot. It looks like he’s picking up the cue very well:

"Can you afford to take a chance on someone who's voted against the minimum wage 19 times," Obama asked a crowd of thousands under a blazing sun at a rally in western Colorado at the start of a swing through contested Western states. "When it was $4, he was against it, when it was $5 he was against it, when it was $6 he was against it."
--Obama Slams McCain Over The Economy

“So let's be clear: what we've seen the last few days is nothing less than the final verdict on an economic philosophy that has completely failed.”
--How The World Works: Obama's Economic Plan

- Then there’s the following from today’s bit of recommended reading*, “Why Experience Matters.”

“In the current Weekly Standard, Steven Hayward argues that the nation’s founders wanted uncertified citizens to hold the highest offices in the land…I would have more sympathy for this view if I hadn’t just lived through the last eight years. For if the Bush administration was anything, it was the anti-establishment attitude put into executive practice.”

*By no means is this an endorsement of Mr. Brooks' general opinion, the guy is as conservative as they come, and has said some dumb things in his past. However, as an example of how conservatives are essentially abandoning the campaign, this does make for some enlightening material.--TBO

Shut Up And Pay Your Higher Taxes, You Whiners

Something that the media should be pointing out a lot more than they are is McCain's lie about how Obama is going to raise your taxes and McCain is going to lower them. The media has started to question him a little more on it than they have previously, pointing out that an independent and nonpartisan tax group has said Obama will cut taxes for the majority of Americans and only raise the taxes of the highest wage earners.

But one thing they have not tried to call McCain on is his insane tax increase on health insurance. The big thing he says he wants government to get out of the way of is the very thing that he's going to put a tax on.

What McCain is proposing is not just insanity, it is criminal insanity. Under McCain's plan the health insurance you get from your job would now be taxable income. You read that right.

To make sure I'm clear, we are not talking about just the non-taxed portion of your salary that you contribute to your coverage being taxed. That would be bad enough, that $100 to $300 or whatever per month being taxed when you now enjoy being able to put that into your health insurance as pre-tax money. That saves you a few bucks a year.

No, what McCain's plan would do is put the entire value of your health insurance, meaning the amount that it costs your employer, in the taxable income column.

This means that a President McCain would raise your taxes as if you got a $10,000/year raise (average cost for a family on the cheapest plan) without you being able to actually reap the benefits of a larger income.

He would replace this with a $5,000 tax credit for families, which won't pay for even half of a year's worth of health coverage even if what you get even really equals five grand, which for most people it will not. You can't get the whole amount if you don't make enough money to owe that much in taxes to begin with.

So who would this help, when it is obviously not the working people of America? Well, it sure goes a long way in helping the big corporations. Once people can't afford the extra taxes they have to pay they will drop their health plan at work, saving millions for large companies with thousands of employees. (Wal-Mart would presumably be unaffected, not really having a health insurance plan for the majority of their employees anyway)

John McCain is selling a health care plan that would considerably increase number of people who are uninsured in this country.

Add this slap in the face to the working class to the one his biggest financial advisor, Phil Gramm, already did by calling us a nation of whiners about the economy.

That isn't even the biggest sin of Phil Gramm. As the Princeton economist Paul Krugman points out, Gramm - as the head of the Senate banking committee and the chief writer of banking deregulation bills in the late 90s and early 2000s and as the V.P. and main lobbyist for the investment firm UBS - is the person most responsible for the current economic crises, save for one Alan Greenspan.

It is widely known that McCain will tap Gramm as the Secretary of the Treasury if he is elected.

The United States better get used to the phrase, "Brother can you spare a dime?" again.

I beg you to make sure that every voting age person you know knows about this disastrous plan.

Read: Journal Disputes McCain’s Health Care Claims.

Read: McCain’s Radical Agenda.


Quick addendum from JJ:

Mother Jones has a nice piece about McCain slamming Wall Street for the failure, and ignoring how much Phil Gramm had to do with it.

Mother Jones - MoJoBlog: McCain Blasts Wall Street Failure, Neglects To Mention His Adviser Helped Cause It

The best part of the whole financial mess is going to be how it forces McCain out of his comfort zone of personality politics (read: bullshitting the voters) and into actual policy conversations, in which he inevitably flounders.

Irony Check: Karl Rove

People seem to miss the point. The whole thing isn't that if Karl Rove says you're out of line, then McCain must be out of line. No, no.

Karl Rove is the main engineer of this line of politics, he took all of the world's previous smear campaigns and perfected the practice to laser like precision.

He claims that both parties have gone too far, but, come on. Give me an Obama smear ad. Not a negative one, but a smear one. "Obama wants to teach sex ed to kindergartners" that's a smear. If such a thing exists coming from the Obama side, I implore you to provide a link.

The whole lipstick thing is ludicrous, so let's ignore it for the moment.

Karl Rove is a McCain campaign adviser, one with such pull that when Johnny Maverick wanted to nominate either Huckabee or Lieberman, Rove had veto power. You mean to tell me he didn't say "put 'Sex Ed' up the flagpole, see if anyone salutes?"


Besides, "Sex Ed" is just as false, and about as reprehensible, an accusation as Swiftboaters for Truth, Karl Rove's 2004 masterstroke, wherein the same bunch of political charlatans who smeared John McCain over his war record in 2000 decided to smear John Kerry for his war record.

So when Rove says that McCain went too far, what he's really saying is that "Sex Ed" was too obvious a lie to pull off, while selling the previous object of his derision down the river.

Monday, September 15, 2008

It’s The Economy Again, Charlie Brown…At Least For This Week

The economy figures to dominate this week’s news cycle, what with the imminent collapse of Wall Street, or, as HuffPo dubbed it in their inimitable style, “Black Monday” has arrived.

The news could not be worse for McCain, especially on the heels of having Alan “I’m Still Here” Greenspan say that the country can’t afford McCain’s proposed tax cuts on Friday. So, after the “government-should-not-be-interfering-in-business” Republicans bailed out Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, we now have the Lehman Bros. going bankrupt, Merrill Lynch selling itself to Bank of America, with AIG and Washington Mutual on the bubble; grim doesn’t even begin to cover it.

The McCain camp’s response? “The fundamentals of our economy are strong,” oh, and Tina Fey was being sexist in SNL’s parody of Palin.

In other words, expect for Obama/Biden to make hay this week--hey, look! Here's Obama, and here's Biden doing just that.

It’s really too bad for McCain that his campaign blew their credibility wad on Operation: Maybelline last week. If there ever was a time for diversionary tactics, this would’ve been it.

Not that they won’t try it, anyway.
Update: Special shout out to One Boring Old Man for saving me the hassle of writing a particularly rambling entry.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

End of The Week

To think that a week ago some were thinking that the Republican convention bounce woulnd't be too big, and that the McCain/Palin phenomenon would blow over fairly quickly...Okay, not a lot of people were saying that convincingly, mostly because there was too much in the air, far too many uncertainties hanging about.

A week later, after panicking about that bounce, we've seen the Karl Rove playbook jump the lipsticked-shark (one hopes), Obama rolling with the punches and taking control again, and the week ended with women leading the way, appropriately enough; with the women from The View showing the press how to properly grill a candidate, and the women from Saturday Night Live telling the press to grow a pair.

Speaking of pairs, Karl Rove has a couple of brass ones, the size of melons, and in dire need of kicking...This group needs watching, and the New York Times helped us out on that score with their Saturday front page piece about Palin's tenure in Alaska.

Lastly, a reminder for all of us that we, the people, are the ones in the driver's seat. It's easy to get cynical in the face of manufactured outrage, manipulated talking points and fictionalized news stories; just as these things unify those on the Right, we should use them as our battle cry.

Which is why it is particularly encouraging that two Alaskan Democrats, who happen to be female, organized a protest in Anchorage in spite of facing ridicule and harassment. It turned out to be one of the biggest protests in the history of Alaska. Congratulations, ladies!

Now, let's see what next week brings.