Friday, September 19, 2008

Republican economics have FAILED

Republican economic policies have failed, utterly and completely. Free market deregulators like John McCain finally got their wish and for the past eight years Wall Street has been sputtering along completely unfettered by government oversight. We were told that this would allow the economy to grow to new heights of prosperity for everyone. Instead, it ran itself into the ground. Greed, stupidity, mismanagement, or whatever you want to blame it on, it clearly did not work out the way Republicans have said it would all these years.
And now what do the big Wall Street mavens do? Do they trust the free market to right itself and turn things around? Heck no. They go running to the federal government for a bailout.

...much of Washington appears to have decided that government isn’t the problem, it’s the solution. The unthinkable — a government buyout of much of the private sector’s bad debt — has become the inevitable.

And I have to sympathize with John Cole who is really ticked.

I do not ever want to hear another damned word about the free market. I don’t want to hear another thing about letting the market regulate itself. I don’t want to hear about the free flow of capital. I don’t want to hear about government getting out of our lives.
None of it. From superfunds to super-bailouts, I am tired of other people getting rich being irresponsible and then being told I have to pay to clean it up.

Now John McCain wants to fire the SEC chairman, who happens to be rightwing former Republican Congressman Chris Cox, a Bush appointee. But as Obama quickly noted, we shouldn’t stop there. We need to fire the whole team that allowed this disaster to unfold - the entire Republican administration has got to go. And the last thing we would ever want to do at this point, is elect a whole new batch of like-minded Republicans to keep running our economy into the ground for another four years.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

More charts and graphs

Former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt has even more charts and graphs to show Why It Matters: McCain vs. Obama and the Problems of the American Economy

The bottom line for the Bush Administration is that it has not fulfilled its primary purposes: it did not improve the standard of living for most Americans; it was hardly a prudent steward of the taxpayers' money; it did not carefully regulate financially institutions that are important to the well-being of our economy; and it did not suppress foreign terrorism or catch bin Laden.

John McCain would be not just more of the same, but much worse. Of the many concerns about his candidacy, perhaps the most damning is that he does not realize that at a fundamental level the critical trends that underlie the future of our economy and society need to be changed. We are heading in the wrong direction, and yet John McCain thinks it is the right direction, and would have us move faster down the declining path.

Americans earn less than they should, pay more than they should for necessities, and work less than they want or need to do. They have less choice and opportunity to get education after high school. They have too hard a time getting trained for work in the modern economy. They should get, and they don't get, ever better, ever faster and ever cheaper transportation and communications services. They should get, and they don't get, easy, widely available and reasonably priced access on a long term basis to green electricity, high mileage vehicles and energy efficient buildings, including residential housing. They should have reliable and secure health care and pensions and savings plans; they don't.

When the national economy produces more and more, as it does most years, Americans should all see their incomes rise at more or less the same rate that the economy grows. They don't. The Bush economic policies that John McCain wants to continue enable people at the very top of the income ladder to take a disproportionate share of the growth and increase the value of their assets. People in the middle do not get a fair shake.

Click through and check out all the charts and graphs he has to back up what he is saying.

Democrats vs. Republicans, the stats

Everybody fares better under Democratic presidents and Michael Kinsley has the charts to prove it.

On average, in years when the president is a Democrat, the economy grows faster; inflation is lower; fewer people can't find a job; the federal government spends a smaller share of GDP, whether or not you include defense spending; and the deficit is lower (or—sweet Clinton-years memory—the surplus is higher). The one category that Republicans win is, unsurprisingly, federal taxes as a share of GDP. But it is no trick to lower taxes if you don't lower spending.

And over at Daily Kos, we are reminded again why that is. Because Conservatism Is An Utter Failure - or at least the brand of “conservatisim” practiced by Republicans today.

In the meantime, I think we should all be concerned that John McCain just forget where Spain was.
And also disturbing is the fact that Sarah Palin thinks the bailout of insurance giant AIG had something to do with construction bonds.
Are these people for real??? This must be why the McCain campaign won’t let Palin anywhere near a reporter or a microphone without a script.

And then there is McCain’s bizarre effort this week to reinvent himself in the mode of John Edwards and claim that he is going to take on the “Good Ol’ Boy” network in Washington.
Here is Barack Obama’s response:

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Conservative for Obama

This is for my conservative friends. It is from D Magazine

My party has slipped its moorings. It’s time for a true pragmatist to lead the country.
By Wick Allison, Editor In Chief
THE MORE I LISTEN TO AND READ ABOUT “the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate,” the more I like him. Barack Obama strikes a chord with me like no political figure since Ronald Reagan. To explain why, I need to explain why I am a conservative and what it means to me.

In 1964, at the age of 16, I organized the Dallas County Youth for Goldwater. My senior thesis at the University of Texas was on the conservative intellectual revival in America. Twenty years later, I was invited by William F. Buckley Jr. to join the board of National Review. I later became its publisher.

Conservatism to me is less a political philosophy than a stance, a recognition of the fallibility of man and of man’s institutions. Conservatives respect the past not for its antiquity but because it represents, as G.K. Chesterton said, the democracy of the dead; it gives the benefit of the doubt to customs and laws tried and tested in the crucible of time. Conservatives are skeptical of abstract theories and utopian schemes, doubtful that government is wiser than its citizens, and always ready to test any political program against actual results.

Liberalism always seemed to me to be a system of “oughts.” We ought to do this or that because it’s the right thing to do, regardless of whether it works or not. It is a doctrine based on intentions, not results, on feeling good rather than doing good.

But today it is so-called conservatives who are cemented to political programs when they clearly don’t work. The Bush tax cuts—a solution for which there was no real problem and which he refused to end even when the nation went to war—led to huge deficit spending and a $3 trillion growth in the federal debt. Facing this, John McCain pumps his “conservative” credentials by proposing even bigger tax cuts. Meanwhile, a movement that once fought for limited government has presided over the greatest growth of government in our history. That is not conservatism; it is profligacy using conservatism as a mask.

Today it is conservatives, not liberals, who talk with alarming bellicosity about making the world “safe for democracy.” It is John McCain who says America’s job is to “defeat evil,” a theological expansion of the nation’s mission that would make George Washington cough out his wooden teeth.

This kind of conservatism, which is not conservative at all, has produced financial mismanagement, the waste of human lives, the loss of moral authority, and the wreckage of our economy that McCain now threatens to make worse.

Barack Obama is not my ideal candidate for president. (In fact, I made the maximum donation to John McCain during the primaries, when there was still hope he might come to his senses.) 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.

“Every great cause,” Eric Hoffer wrote, “begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.” As a cause, conservatism may be dead. But as a stance, as a way of making judgments in a complex and difficult world, I believe it is very much alive in the instincts and predispositions of a liberal named Barack Obama.

The Palin coverup

Shadowy forces are at work trying to undermine the investigation into Sarah Palin’s abuse of power scandal in Alaska. The latest word is that some loopy wingnut legal outfit from Texas called Liberty Legal Institute has gone north to try and intimidate the lawmakers who are looking into this scandal.
Steve Benen has a good rundown but thinks the media should be paying more attention.
I think the timing on this couldn’t be better. It is turning into a really nasty, first-rate cover-up scandal with Palin’s spokesperson now viciously attacking the former top police officer in Alaska:

You really can't experience the full effect of Monday's news conference featuring Palin spokeswoman Meghan Stapleton unless you hear it for yourself. Stapleton passionately attacked former Commissioner of Public Safety Walt Monegan. Her rhetoric was plain, desperate, and obvious. Her tone, pure shrill.
With intensity, urgency, and alarm in her voice, Stapleton described Monegan's behavior as commissioner as egregious insubordination, full of obstructionist conduct and a brazen refusal to follow instructions.
Did Walt Monegan, former Marine, and lifetime crime fighter deserve this? Of course not.
But history has proven, get in the way of Sarah Barracuda's political ambition, and you won't know what hit you.

The question now is whether they truly believe that this kind of heavy-handed obstructionism and nasty politics is going to make this scandal go away before election day? More likely, it will just exacerbate it. They want to keep the report from coming out before election day? Go ahead. That will just make everyone assume the worst. The more effort they put into squelching the investigation, the more attention will be drawn toward it. It’s a vicious circle and one that is partly of their own making.

Meanwhile, the shine has come off of Palin’s candidacy and her approval rating is dropping like a rock. She had a brief window of time to get a bounce out of an appealing personal story and a mostly-made-up professional one. Now that the truth is starting to leak out and penetrate the electorate’s conscience she is not as appealing as she once was. It is the same thing that Obama already went through, except he ultimately had more substance and more promise once the initial hype faded away.

Woo Hoo!!

Tracking Polls: Momentum Shifts to Obama
Gallup finally has Obama back on top, catching up with Diageo/Hotline and Research 2000. Only Rasmussen still gives McCain a slim lead, but it is clear that the momentum has Poshifted back to Obama and now with no more conventions and no more surprise VP picks I don’t see how McCain expects to get another bump before election day. His current strategy of lying his tail off is clearly not working.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Not cooperating and not qualified

Sarah Palin has flip-flopped on her promise to cooperate with the investigation into the Troopergate scandal back in Alaska.
I actually think it is unfair to say that Palin flip-flopped on this issue. Now that we know her better, it is obvious that she was just lying when she initially said she would cooperate.
When she was first tapped to be McCain’s runningmate, wingnut bloggers were reassuring everyone that the Troopergate scandal was no big deal and would be quickly resolved. Palin’s promise to cooperate with the investigation seemed to give that particular spin some credibility.
Now it appears that was all B.S. and the scandal is actually much worse for Palin than we were initially led to believe.

In other news, Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard and now a flack for the McCain campaign, doesn’t think that Sarah Palin is qualified to be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

Lyle Larson gets down and dirty with the pigs

I got my first campaign flyer from Republican Lyle Larson’s campaign last week. He is the one trying to unseat Democrat Ciro Rodriguez and reclaim the 22nd Congressional District for the Rs after Henry Bonilla lost it in 2006.
The flyer is little more than a rehash of the stuff that is on his website which I discussed in this post.
But now it seems that Larson is out with a television ad, although he already had to pull it once, temporarily, because he failed to approve it on air as required by federal law.
But the ad itself deserves further comment:

The 30-second TV spot features Larson standing behind several pigs on a farm.
The ad never mentions Rodriguez, D-San Antonio, but it likens Congress to hog farming, with special interests feeding at the trough “on our tax dollars.”
“It's time to put the feed away,” Larson says in the ad.

I guess we should note that one of the biggest hogs at the trough should rightfully be Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, whose state pigs out on more pork-barrell projects per capita than any other state in the union.
But more importantly for San Antonio, what this ad is making explicitly clear is that if he is elected to Congress, Larson WILL NOT fight for the vital federal funding that San Antonio needs to complete work on the San Antonio River channel or to protect Camp Bullis from encroaching development. Nor will he fight for the other earmark projects for San Antonio like funding to expand Brooke Army Medical Center or any of the other military projects so important to the city’s economic future.
In other words, Larson is either lying right now or he would be a major disaster as a congressman once in office. Either way he should not be trusted with your vote.

Wall Street Woes

We need to be very clear about this latest economic catastrophe. The blame falls squarely on the Republican economic policies - practiced by George Bush and advocated by John McCain. For 28 years, Republicans have chanted the deregulation mantra and fought every reasonable effort to reassert any kind of effective government oversight that would have prevented this ongoing travesty.
This is yet another example of the massive and total failure of Republican ideology which, as Joe Biden points out, has led to “fewer jobs, increased foreign debt and skyrocketing oil prices.”
Via, Steve Benen at Political Animal I found this excellent article in the NYTimes by Jackie Calmes, who used to be one of the best reporters at the Wall Street Journal before it was taken over by Rupert Murdoch.
Essentially, if you are concerned about fixing things for the better and preventing these kind of things from happening in the future, you had better not vote for the guy who wants to keep doing the same thing they have been doing all this time. Obama is the only one offering a plan that would keep the country from going even further down the tubes, and he has been making that same case for over a year now while McCain has been totally silent.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Wasilla Hockey Moms for Truth

Yes, this is a parody
But it is funny as all get out.

TPA Roundup 9-15

It's Monday, and that means it is time for yet another edition of the Texas Progressive Alliance Weekly Round-Up.

This week, many bloggers in Houston and in the Gulf Coast region are without power and digging out from Hurricane Ike. We extend our best wishes for a speedy recovery not only to our member bloggers in these regions but to all citizens in the areas hit by Ike. Please consider making a donation to the Red Cross to help relief efforts.

Why does Sarah Palin hate wolves? The Texas Cloverleaf clues us in.

Everybody knows that this year's wedge'em and hate'em issue is Hispanics immigration. CouldBeTrue at South Texas Chisme says Texas leads the way with banning rents in Farmers Branch, denying passports to citizens in the Valley and threatening document checks during an evacuation.

During the preparations for Hurricane Ike, Off the Kuff noted yet another lawsuit filed against Farmers Branch for its ongoing war against immigrants and apartment renters.

Sen. John Cornyn claims to be voting "Texas values" when he consistently rubber-stamps Bush in the U. S. Senate. Eye On Williamson asks, since when have torture, spying on Americans and misleading the country on matters of war and peace been Texas values?

PDiddie survived Ike almost exactly as he predicted.

BossKitty at TruthHugger wonders if disaster lessons recently learned, will be used as we watch Hurricane Ike Recovery, Texas Style

Colloquialisms are a wonderful rhetorical device to create an instant sense of commonality within the minds of the voting public. However, they can at times be misconstrued (right, Governor Swift?) which is why McBlogger took some time to offer Sen. Obama (The BEST!) a phrase he could use that can't possibly be interpreted as anything other than an attack on John McCain and his worthless ideas, proposals and suggestions.

North Texas Liberal examines in-depth the Palin pick, comparing and contrasting her with Obama's VP pick of Joe Biden, and dissecting the media's coverage of Sarah Palin.

jobsanger writes about how United States interference into Bolivia's internal affairs have gotten American ambassadors kicked out of two countries in South America, and how some politicians can't refuse even a bad photo op.

Vince at Capitol Annex notes that State Rep. Phil King (R-Waxahachie), chair of the House Regulated Industries Committee, is having a fund-raiser at the home of a lobbyist for telecom giant AT&T. King's committee just happens to regulate telecommunications in Texas.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The McCain/Palin honeymoon is over

There were two highly disturbing portraits of Sarah Palin out today, one in the NY Times and one in the Washington Post.
Both reveal someone who is vindictive and prone to cronyism. Neither are good qualities to have in a national leader.
From the NYT:
an examination of her swift rise and record as mayor of Wasilla and then governor finds that her visceral style and penchant for attacking critics — she sometimes calls local opponents “haters” — contrasts with her carefully crafted public image.
Throughout her political career, she has pursued vendettas, fired officials who crossed her and sometimes blurred the line between government and personal grievance, according to a review of public records and interviews with 60 Republican and Democratic legislators and local officials.

The NYT story provides example after example of Palin's "governing style" by which she avoids interacting with most other government officials who relies on a small coterie of close advisors, led by her husband Todd, when making key budget decisions. Todd, it should be noted, was for seven years a card-carrying member of a radical, right-wing, America-hating secessionist group in Alaska.

The WaPo story gives us more details about Palin's actual responsibilities when she was mayor of tiny Wasilla.

The universe of the mayor of Wasilla is sharply circumscribed even by the standards of small towns, which limited Palin's exposure to issues such as health care, social services, the environment and education.
Firefighting and schools, two of the main elements of local governance, are handled by the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, the regional government for a huge swath of central Alaska. The state has jurisdiction over social services and environmental regulations such as stormwater management for building projects.
With so many government services in the state subsidized by oil revenue, and with no need to provide for local schools, Wasilla has also made do with a very low property tax rate -- cut altogether by Palin's successor -- sparing it from the tax battles that localities elsewhere must deal with. Instead, the city collects a 2 percent sales tax, the bulk of which is paid by people who live outside town and shop at its big-box stores.
The mayor oversees a police department created three years before Palin took office; the public works department; the parks and recreation department; a planning office; a library; and a small history museum. Council meetings are in the low-ceilinged basement of the town hall, a former school, and often the only residents who show up to testify are two gadflies. When Palin was mayor, the population was just 5,500.

And despite the sparcity of responsibilities facing the mayoral position for Wasilla, Palin insisted on hiring a city administrator once she took office to handle all the "day-to-day" chores of the city.
Knowing this, it becomes all the more appalling that she had the gall to stand up at the RNC and belittle Barack Obama's work as a community organizer in Chicago before serving two terms in the Illinois State Senate.

I know of course that all the brainwashed wingnuts will try and dismiss these stories as partisan attacks by the "liberal media", but I know full well that these highly respected establishment papers would have had no problem writing positive puff pieces about Palin if there had been anything positive to puff about. But what they found instead was that nearly her whole story was mostly smoke and blue mirrors.
And as the electorate finally starts to wipe the smoke out of their eyes, they are going to see the McCain/Palin ticket for what it is - a dishonest charade.