Friday, September 12, 2008

Moose in headlights

Sarah “Quayle” Palin was totally stumped in her first big media interview when asked whether or not she supports the Bush Doctrine.
Following is the type of ad that Republicans would put out if a Democrat ever demonstrated that level of cluelessness about a major foreign policy position.

But, but, but.... They said that Palin has all this foreign policy experience because Alaska is next to Russia!!
Has she ever been to Russia? Nooooo.
Has she ever met with any Russian government officials? Nooooooo.
Or ANY foreign leaders for that matter? Nooooooo.
Does Russia give a rat’s ass who the governor of Alaska is? Noooooo.

Uppity and disrespectful

The McCain campaign ads just keep getting worse and worse. I'm just waiting for the equivalent of the infamous "Willie Horton" ad to hit the air.
The lastest ad comes very close in my opinion.
I call it the "Uppity Black Man Disrespects a White Woman" ad.
It is a complete crock. Obama has never said anything remotely disrespectful of Palin. What this ad is clearly trying to do is appeal to the deeply embedded racial animosities of the electorate by raising the specter of an "uppity" black man trying to rise above his place who commits what was once considered a lynching offense in the South - "disrespecting" a white woman.
This is truly sickening. John McCain has forfeited any and all sense of decency in this race and is no longer morally fit to be president of the United States.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Political Slugfest

It’s going to be a slugfest from here on out. The Republicans have demonstrated once again that they have no scruples when it comes to political campaigns. John McCain’s most recent attack ads against Obama have been nothing short of despicable. And their recent effort to gin up a phony controversy over a completely innocent remark made by Obama is just the tip of the Rovian iceberg.
So while Obama has done well at defending himself against these attacks, he can’t sit back and restrict himself to running an exclusively positive, issue-based campaign. He is going to have to hit back hard. That doesn’t mean that he should lie and lie and lie like Sarah Palin does. And it doesn’t mean that he should just make stuff up like John McCain does. We Democrats have to maintain some standards. But he will need to go on the offensive and not let up until election day.
He doesn’t get any credit whatsoever for playing nice. The average uninformed voter just assumes that both sides play dirty anyway. So he might as well get his hands dirty, he just doesn’t have to swim around in the raw sewage like the other side.

Today is the 7th anniversary of 9/11 and so there will be no campaign attacks launched today. But starting tomorrow expect the gloves to come off.
I want to see some pro-Obama 527 groups unleashed to go after McCain/Palin. There is no shortage of fair-game targets right now.

How about an add highlighting Sarah Palin’s close ties and affiliation with a radical, America-hating seccessionist group in Alaska?

Let’s see a series of adds on the TrooperGate scandal that the Republicans are desperately trying to cover up now.

Let’s highlight all the endless lies about the Bridge to Nowhere and Palin’s earmark record, and all of McCain’s flip-flops and lockstep support of Bush’s policies.

It is a shame that it has to come to this, but the sad truth is that so many people are so blithely ignorant of what is really going on and how it will effect them that the only way to reach them is with hard-hitting attack ads.

A really bad Disney movie

Matt Damon gets it right.

Oh, and now it turns out that Palin’s claim to fame that she sold the governor’s plane on eBay wasn’t even her idea to begin with. The state government had been routinely selling big ticket items on eBay long before Palin came to office.
And, of course, Palin’s plane didn’t sell on eBay and had to be pawned off by an aviation broker at a loss to the state government.
Lies, Lies, Lies, Lies.

The "socialist" canard

Your campaign issues are pretty well covered in the writings of Karl Marx and most have been pretty well refuted. the one basic issue which Marx and Obama total agree on "From each according to his ability to each according to his needs", which your guys calls "neighborliness" is the only issue your guy is running on. That is what a "community organizer" does, spread the socialist word.

The above is a comment from my conservative friend jimmyk who blogs at but, that's just my opinion. I find it interesting and perturbing at the same time, this sentiment that Democrats in general are “socialists.” Most people who level that charge don’t even know what socialism is and just equate it with any and all government welfare programs.
At least jimmyk can accurately identify the quote “From each according to his ability to each according to his needs" as coming from Marx. In past surveys, most people have assumed the quote comes directly from the U.S. Constitution. So should those people be aghast that it actually comes from Marx?
No, not really. Not if you know what the real inspiration for the quote was (which didn’t even originate with Marx). It might upset jimmyk to learn this, but the quote was inspired by a couple of passages from the New Testament:
…the inspiration for this slogan lies in Christianity. An earlier exposition of the idea is found in the Bible, in Acts of the Apostles. Luke describes the organization of the first Christian congregations following the death of Jesus:
And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. (Acts 2:44-45)
Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. (Acts 4:34-35)

Oh my! I guess this means that Jesus' disciples were all a bunch of Communists!!!
But that doesn’t mean that Obama and the Democrats are proposing anything of this sort. In fact, Obama’s economic plan and tax proposal recently got a thumbs up from Business Week Magazine in a head-to-head comparison with John McCain’s plan.

According to a new analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, a joint venture between the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, two Washington think tanks, this round goes to Obama. The TPC took a look at the various tax proposals put forth by the two candidates and estimated that Obama's plan would lead to a boost in aftertax income for all but the highest earners, while taking a smaller bite out of government tax revenues than would McCain's plans.
Len Burman, a former Treasury tax official who is now a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, says if Obama's proposals—which include plans to rescind the Bush tax cuts on couples making more than $250,000, close corporate tax loopholes, and tax private equity earnings known as "carried interest" as ordinary income—were adopted in 2009, for example, married couples with earnings in the lowest quintile of the population would see their aftertax income rise 5.8%. Those in the next quintile would see an increase of 4%. Those breaks would be paid for by those with high incomes: the top 1% of taxpayers would see aftertax income fall 8.4%.
Under McCain's proposals, by contrast—including an extension of the Bush tax cuts for all taxpayers, a corporate tax cut, and a larger reduction in estate taxes than Obama would support—far more of the benefits would go to the top. If his plans went into effect in 2009, married couples in the bottom fifth of the population would see aftertax income go up just 0.2%, while those in the next quintile would see a 0.7% hike. But those in the top quintile would see a bump up in aftertax income of 2.7%.
"It's just flat wrong" to say people would do worse under Obama, says Burman. "Most lower- and middle-class people would pay less taxes under Obama than they would under the proposals being put forth by McCain."

So, most people would end up paying LESS in taxes under Barack Obama than they would under John McCain. Let that sink in for a minute.
If you are planning to vote strictly out of self interest, then unless you make more than $250,000 per year, you are better off voting for Obama.

Now let’s look at some of the other things Obama is proposing to do.

* Provide a "Making Work Pay" Tax Cut for America's Working Families: Obama will restore fairness to the tax code and provide 150 million workers the tax relief they need. Obama will create a new "Making Work Pay" tax credit of up to $500 per person, or $1,000 per working family.

There’s a $1,000 tax credit I will be eligible for. That should help make up for the disparity in the way Social Security taxes are paid. Social Security taxes are capped at $102,000. That means if you make less than $100,000 per year, then 100 percent of your income is taxed for Social Security. But if you are rich like Donald Trump or John McCain, then you only have a tiny smidgen of your total income taxed for Social Security.
* Expand the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit: The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit provides too little relief to families that struggle to afford child care expenses. Barack Obama will reform the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit by making it refundable and allowing low-income families to receive up to a 50 percent credit for their child care expenses.

Another tax credit I would be eligible for. Making child care more affordable is one of the best ways to help struggling two-income families during these hard times (i.e. the Bush years).
* Make College More Affordable: Barack Obama will make college affordable for all Americans by creating a new American Opportunity Tax Credit. This universal and fully refundable credit will ensure that the first $4,000 of a college education is completely free for most Americans, and will cover two-thirds the cost of tuition at the average public college or university. Recipients of this credit will be required to conduct 100 hours of public service a year.

My kids are only 5 and 2, but I am already worried about how I am going to pay for them to go to college. It would be nice if the country wasn’t swamped in debt by the time they are ready to go off to school. But John McCain wants to keep flushing billions of tax dollars away in Iraq while also trying to start a new war in Iran.

* Create a Universal Mortgage Credit: The current mortgage interest deduction excludes nearly two-thirds of Americans who do not itemize their taxes. Barack Obama will ensure that anyone with a mortgage, not just the well-off, can take advantage of this tax incentive for homeownership by creating a universal mortgage credit. This 10 percent credit will benefit an additional 10 million homeowners, the majority of whom earn less than $50,000 per year. Non-itemizers will be eligible for this refundable credit, which will provide the average recipient with approximately $500 per year in tax savings.

I’ve got a mortgage, so I can get another tax credit.

Enact a Windfall Profits Tax to Provide a $1,000 Emergency Energy Rebate to American Families:Barack Obama will enact a windfall profits tax on excessive oil company profits to give American families an immediate $1,000 emergency energy rebate to help families pay rising bills. This relief would be a down payment on Obama's long-term plan to provide middle-class families with at least $1,000 per year in permanent tax relief.

Ooooh! A $1,000 rebate from the robber baron oil companies! Count me in. It’s just like what Sarah Palin did in Alaska, except it will be for the whole country.

OK, so I must have missed all the “socialism” in there. All I saw was that I will personally be doing much better under an Obama administration than I would under a McCain one. What about you, jimmyk?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Don’t cross Sarah Palin

Or else she will FIRE you!!

So it seems that there really is something to the story of Palin wanting to ban books and firing the librarian who got in her way.
Meanwhile, keep in mind that Wasilla, Alaska has (or had at the time that Palin was Mayor) a population equivalent to Boerne, Texas.

Meanwhile, John McCain has decided to run a vicious, mean-spirited, despicable campaign devoid of serious issues.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Sarah Palin’s sweet deal

John McCain can’t keep track of how many homes he owns. Now we find that his running mate Sarah Palin bills the state of Alaska for nights she spends at home.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has billed taxpayers for 312 nights spent in her own home during her first 19 months in office, charging a "per diem" allowance intended to cover meals and incidental expenses while traveling on state business.

What a sweet deal! Not only does the state pay her a salary and reimburse her for all travel and business expenses, but she even gets to charge a per diem for living at home. That is the mark of someone who knows how to game the system! But I’m sure Palin is not concerned about this because Alaska can afford it...

Sarah Palin’s Alaskonomics

Of the 50 states, Alaska ranks No. 1 in taxes per resident and No. 1 in spending per resident. Its tax burden per resident is 21/2 times the national average; its spending, more than double. The trick is that Alaska's government spends money on its own citizens and taxes the rest of us to pay for it. Although Palin, like McCain, talks about liberating ourselves from dependence on foreign oil, there is no evidence that being dependent on Alaskan oil would be any more pleasant to the pocketbook.

Alaska is, in essence, an adjunct member of OPEC. It has four different taxes on oil, which produce more than 89% of the state's unrestricted revenue. On average, three-quarters of the value of a barrel of oil is taken by the state government before that oil is permitted to leave the state. Alaska residents each get a yearly check for about $2,000 from oil revenues, plus an additional $1,200 pushed through by Palin last year to take advantage of rising oil prices. Any sympathy the governor of Alaska expresses for folks in the lower 48 who are suffering from high gas prices or can't afford to heat their homes is strictly crocodile tears.

As if it couldn't support itself, Alaska also ranks No. 1, year after year, in money it sucks in from Washington. In 2005 (the most recent figures), according to the Tax Foundation, Alaska ranked 18th in federal taxes paid per resident ($5,434) but first in federal spending received per resident ($13,950). Its ratio of federal spending received to federal taxes paid ranks third among the 50 states, and in the absolute amount it receives from Washington over and above the amount it sends to Washington, Alaska ranks No. 1.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Yeah!! What he said!

Hunter at Daily Kos:

We know, for a fact, that Sarah Palin lied about being "against" the infamous Bridge to Nowhere. I don't mean that she flip-flopped. I don't mean she waffled, or equivocated, or mislead, or was disingenuous, or misspoke. I mean she lied outright. Period. She was, in fact, a supporter of the now-mocked symbol of pork and earmarks. She was a supporter during the entire process, up until the now-magical point when the entire thing had devolved into farce, and not even Republicans could attach themselves to such a boondoggle without paying a political price. Then, and only then, did she distance herself from it.

And by "distance herself", we mean "kept the money".

We know, for a fact, that Sarah Palin lied about being "against" earmarks. As mayor of her small Alaskan town, she hired a Team Abramoff lobbyist to squeeze Washington for generous funds, funds far in excess of what the average American small town could expect. The lobbyist delivered nearly $27 million worth of earmarks to the town of less than ten thousand people: a fine haul, indeed. She said so herself, in her own handwriting.

So she lied. Baldly and repeatedly. McCain is now on a multistate tour, repeating the very same lies -- and for Republicans, they are applause lines. Huzzah to the "anti-pork" governor whose state is more dependent on pork than any other state. Hooray for the "anti-earmarks" candidate who made a name for herself as a champion of the earmark.

The question is: what of it?

There is absolutely no penalty for lying, in politics. None. Zip. Nada. Sarah Palin could stand atop a stage and declare herself moon-goddess of Endor, and it wouldn't make a bit of difference. Yes, the papers would correct her. There would be a few cable stories on how there was no prior record of her being declared a moon-goddess. In the end, however, it would not matter, and it would not matter because Republicans have decided that it does not.

For Republicans, there is no longer any moral taboo whatsoever against lying outright. The only relevant question is whether the lie is effective -- not whether it should have been done in the first place. Karl Rove can rail against the inexperienced nature of one vice presidential candidate -- a Democrat -- and without the slightest bit of explanation (or shame), but happily pipe up with praise for an unequivocally, plainly less experienced Republican pick. It is not expected that he be self-consistent in the slightest. Everyone understands from the outset that his role is to say bad things about Democrats, and good things about Republicans, and if the two things conflict spectacularly it is not considered a symbol of his dishonesty or evidence of a histrionic maliciousness towards factual discourse. It is merely spin. He can make a farce of his own prior arguments -- what does it matter? If he is comfortable with it, and the people who look to him for guidance rally behind it, then we can Newspeak our way into and out of any argument as neat as you please.

So what of it, if offshore drilling will not reduce gas prices. It's fine to say it anyway -- it doesn't matter. So what if the President of the United States says "we do not torture", and then we discover that the White House itself authorized acts that are torture under any rational definition of the word. He's the President, he can lie about anything he likes, as long as it has nothing to do with sex. And honestly, even if it does.

So what of it, if Sarah Palin says crooked things with a straight face? Name me one Republican who will object. Name me one -- just ONE -- diehard conservative who will be angry at the lie, instead of praising her for it. To hell with facts, there is another election to be won.

This is why I consider the Republican Party to be, at this point, a wrecked party. There is no self-consistent philosophy other than the acquisition and protection of their own power: there are certainly no moral or ethical boundaries that the party will internally enforce. John Edwards, a Democrat, had his political career effectively terminated when news of an affair came to light; a Republican can visit a prostitute wearing a diaper, and find himself easily forgiven. You can lie, you can staff your government with morons and ideologues, you can give a speech saying one thing while doing the exact opposite (a Bush specialty, in his State of the Union speeches. We bemoan constantly the Democrats' failure to keep a unified front, in order to pass a more meaningful agenda -- but you would be hard pressed to find even a single, lone Republican in Washington willing to buck the moral collapse of their own party. Such people once existed: they were voted out of office. All that remain are "mavericks" like McCain, figures who will countermand every previous belief in order to regain the support of his own party.

Palin may be an unapologetic liar, but there isn't anything even slightly surprising about that.

Lies, Lies, Lies, Yeah!

Sorry for sticking that Thompson Twins song in your head, but it’s the first thing that comes to mind when I consider the McCain campaign strategy with regards to Sarah Palin’s involvement with the boondoggle “Bridge to Nowhere.”

How is it that Palin got away with telling a blatant lie about her support for the “Bridge to Nowhere” during her first appearance with McCain shortly after being tapped to be his runningmate? And then, even after her claim was exposed as a lie, she repeated it during her speech to the convention. And now, despite all evidence to the contrary, the McCain campaign is making the same fallacious claim in its latest TV ad.

Obviously, the truth does not matter to them. But how can they get away with it?
I think, as Greenwald points out today, they can get by with this because the wingnutsphere controls our national media:

The single dumbest claim in our political culture is that the huge corporations which own our establishment media outlets promote a "liberal" ideology. Why would General Electric ever use NBC and its other media assets to promote political liberalism? They lavishly benefit from the whole panoply of right-wing policies -- from endlessly expanding defense spending to deregulation. Their multiple businesses depend upon maintaining good relations with the right-wing ideologues who run our Government. Even ignoring all of the above-documented empirical facts, the very idea that a corporation like GE -- or Viacom (CBS), Disney (ABC) and Time Warner (CNN) -- would actively promote a left-wing agenda in its news divisions and undermine the very Government power centers on which they rely has been the most self-evidently moronic premise one can imagine. And yet that myth persists, and even intensifies.

When people get all their news from Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck and all the other professional progagandists working for and on behalf of the corporate power structure, they become easy to manipulate and are easy to lie to. Gullible and easily duped, these are the people who sway with the prevailing breeze and the media’s corporate masters make sure it always comes from a rightward direction.

What I’m wondering now is how they expect to deal with this during the vice presidential debates. Do they hope to get the format such that Biden will not have an opportunity to make hay out of the issue? Will she repeat the lie, proffer a lame excuse or just ignore it? Or, more likely, she will take the preferred Republican method and just “attack, attack, attack”, ignoring her own hypocrisy and leveling charge after charge at the opposition.

TPA Roundup 9-8

It's Monday, and that means it is time for another edition of the Texas Progressive Alliance weekly round-up. This week's round-up is compiled by Vince from Capitol Annex.

Two Bartonville (or is it Argyle?) Republicans are indicted for voter fraud, a 3rd degree felony. The Texas Cloverleaf follows the story.

Vince at Capitol Annex notes that right-wing Republican, anti-immigrant, 14th Amendment-hating State Rep. Leo Berman (R-Tyler) is taking steps to launch a campaign for governor in 2010.

jobsanger points out that McCain may not want to use the "P" word but still wants to privatize social security, and tells us the investigation into Palin's ethics is getting messy (and weird).

Harry Balczak has another Reminder to You People over at McBlogger. In this edition, Joementum Loserman, disrespectful Republicans and their hatred of Veterans.

Off the Kuff looks at some polling data and suggests there isn't much room for a Palin bounce, especially in Texas.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme sees Republican love/hate over the Hispanic vote. Meanwhile, some Hispanics say a pox on both your houses.

Texas Liberal asks just how is it the government could come and take you gun.

BossKitty at TruthHugger is suspicious, What Is Condeleeza Rice REALLY Doing Over There?, and why the media puts this on the back page.

nytexan at BlueBloggin points out the recent activity with the McCain Palin team in Alaska is the continuation of the Bush administration corruption in McCain Palin Troopergate Stonewall Is Bush Cheney 2.0

dembones at Eye On Williamson posts a synopsis of this week's candidate forum in HD-52, Maldonado and Daniel make their case before Hutto EDC.

Harris County Commissioner Jerry Eversole declares himself a dead man walking, and PDiddie at
Brains and Eggs notes his pending exit with a heartfelt "so long, and thanks for all the fish".

refinish69 at Doing My Part For The Left tells everyone who is who's fired up.

North Texas Liberal listens in on Republican commentators Peggy Noonan and Mike Murphy as they tell us how they really feel about McCain's VP pick Sarah Palin when they think the cameras are off.