Friday, October 17, 2008

ZOMG! ONOZ! Garrett freaks out over "boogyman"!!

In another sign of Scott Garrett?s priorities, he has now decided to not only go after an organization whose main purpose is to make sure that people who are eligible to vote are registered, but also to go after his opponent?s campaign manager for having the audacity to work for another organization that ?was aligned with? the organization that registers voters.

Got that?

In a time where our nation is facing a financial crisis unlike one we have seen in decades (not to mention Garrett?s own ties to players that caused this crisis), the burning issue of utmost importance is that Shulman?s campaign is being run by someone who ?has ties? to an activist organization that ?has ties? to ACORN, an organization that has followed the law and is guilty of?.wait for it?.trying to help people vote.


I guess the fact that he is even more extreme than Bush (voting close to 90% with him but on the other 10%, Bush was the one who was reasonable), has personal ties to convicted republican felon Jack Abramoff, was not only one of 34 to vote against the stimulus bill but put forth his own stimulus bill that consisted solely of corporate tax breaks and is out of step and out of touch with this district?s voters put him in this predicament.

To see him spend time, his supporters? and donor?s money, and waste the time of his constituents in order to play some twisted (and highly lame) game of guilt by sort of association by sort of association not only had me wondering if we are to find out that Kevin Bacon also ?had ties to? ACORN and the Shulman campaign, but also for doing exactly what McCain is doing in his desperate and losing campaign--

Making up phony strawmen and boogymen to scare voters into forgetting the major problems that we are facing domestically, financially, militarily and on an overall global basis in the name of distraction and desperation.

I don?t know if it is more disingenuous or pathetic.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Palin wants to be "McCain's Cheney"

In all of the mockery, post debate punditry and mocking, there is a very important point that I haven’t seen explored nearly as much as it should – and that is the issue of the unitary executive theory that the Bush/Cheney administration has pushed beyond all levels of reality and legality.

The other night in the debate, Palin basically agreed with the excessive power of the Vice President’s office, and expressed support for continuing these policies under a McCain administration.

Why is this important, other than the basic premise of an Executive Branch running wild and running roughshod over the Legislative Branch – including all of the Executive Orders issued by Bush, the secrecy asserted by the current administration, the signing statements, the “I’ll hold my breath unless I get whatever I want” mentality? Well, we know that Palin just so happens to be under investigation for abusing her power as Governor of Alaska, and has already set a precedent for this dangerous behavior.

Not withstanding the fact that Cheney has a lower favorability rating than the devil himself, it is a dangerous view of the Vice President’s office and the view of how the Legislative Branch is supposed to balance out the Executive Branch (except for the past eight years, of course). Yet, Palin said the following last night (emphasis mine):

IFILL: Governor, you mentioned a moment ago the constitution might give the vice president more power than it has in the past. Do you believe as Vice President Cheney does, that the Executive Branch does not hold complete sway over the office of the vice presidency, that it it is also a member of the Legislative Branch?

PALIN: Well, our founding fathers were very wise there in allowing through the Constitution much flexibility there in the office of the vice president. And we will do what is best for the American people in tapping into that position and ushering in an agenda that is supportive and cooperative with the president's agenda in that position. Yeah, so I do agree with him that we have a lot of flexibility in there, and we'll do what we have to do to administer very appropriately the plans that are needed for this nation. And it is my executive experience that is partly to be attributed to my pick as V.P. with McCain, not only as a governor, but earlier on as a mayor, as an oil and gas regulator, as a business owner. It is those years of experience on an executive level that will be put to good use in the White House also.

To make matters worse, she draws on her abusing power “experience” as Governor to support her position.

Biden, in contrast, indicated that Cheney is the most dangerous Vice President in history, and being one who comes from the Legislative Branch, knows how much meddling and strongarming this current Executive Branch did when it came to neutering the Legislative Branch and process.

We may make fun of Palin – and sometimes it is for very good reason. However, she has had a taste of power; whether it be as Mayor or as Governor, even for a relatively short period of time. And she made it perfectly clear last night what she would intend to do with the power entrusted to the Vice President if McCain was to be elected – or even moreso if she were to become President.

This country couldn’t afford that with a Vice President like Cheney, who at least thought about and planned his actions (no matter how illegal or misguided or dangerous). With Palin, who seems to take pride in being clueless about pesky facts and rules and laws, it would be just as dangerous, if not more so.

Last night, Sarah Palin not only agreed with the unitary executive theory, but all but told the nation that she would wholeheartedly continue it if she were to be the Vice President.

For that, she should be called “McCain’s Cheney”. All of the power and vindictiveness, but with less foresight.

Leaked transcript of Palin giving McCain advice

So in response to questions of whether he would ask Palin for advice on certain matters, especially ones concerning foreign policy, McCain said that he has “turned to her advice many times in the past”.

And luckily, this is a day and age where conversations are overheard, meetings are recorded and the public is able to see or hear many discussions between or comments by high level officials that we never would have been able to have heard a few short years ago.

This is such a time. In a long discussion on various foreign policy matters, we see how McCain and Palin interact, as well as the types of issues that McCain has turned to Palin for advice on, not to mention the advice or wisdom that she has provided to McCain based on her “worldview”. The topics range from nuclear proliferation to the Middle East to Iraq to general strategy, and is quite stunning.

JM: So, we should probably make sure we are on the same page, and even though I have been to every country in the world and you haven’t left the United States until earlier this year, there are some things that I wanted to get your opinion on.

SP: You betcha!!!

JM: Now that the surge in Iraq has proven to be a huge success, we need to figure out what to do in terms of keeping the violence down so that we can declare victory. There are billions of dollars in surplus in Iraq and we need to make sure it doesn’t go into the hands of our enemies. What is the best approach?

SP: Oh gosh, I know that our troops are the bravest and boldest and we will be victorious. And as long as we keep Putin from rearing his head.....

JM: No, Sarah, Putin isn’t be involved in Iraq.

SP: You know that he is real dangerous though. And because they are right next to us, we need to make sure that we stay vigilant against any Russian invasion.

JM: Um, sure. Back to the Middle East.

SP:Okey dokey

JM: Well, the Taliban and al Qaeda are regrouping in Pakistan and are attacking our troops and since I already called Afghanistan a success and told Obama that he shouldn’t be striking targets into Pakistan – or at least not announcing it – I am kind of boxed in. What do you think we need to do here?

SP: Ya, well, first we have to recognize that those who attacked us on 9/11 and who we are fighting for our freedom are now not only in Iraq like they were when they attacked us, but now we have to take the fight to them and show no mercy.

JM: Sarah, that is sort of what Obama had already said, except that the 9/11 attackers were not from Iraq. We need another plan.

SP: Well, since spreading freedom and democracy in places like the Middle East are what we need to keep focusing on, then we need to make sure that the people in these countries can see the fruits of our freedom spreading and how we were able to win in Iraq and avenge the attacks on 9/11...

JM: Iraq didn’t attack us on 9/11.

SP: what about Russia? You know that I know a lot about Russia. I like your idea about kicking them out of the V-8. Then they won’t be invading our NATO allies, and invading a NATO ally is like invading us. Which you know, they can do right in my state of Alaska.

JM: Well, yes, but Georgia isn’t in NATO yet, and it is the G-8, not the V-8. V-8 is a drink and...

SP: Not a good drink though. Unless you have it in a bloody mary, which I always found offensive for 2 reasons. First, it is near blasphemous to say something like that about the Blessed Virgin who gave birth to our dear Lord and second, a bloody mary uses vodka, which is the drink of choice in Russia. And you always have to watch out for the Russians. Which, by the way, I can do right from my window.

JM: OK, let’s move on. Recently, the Queen of Jordan has been in the US recently talking about women’s rights, and since she is a hot piece of ass and you were in beauty pageants, I wanted to see how you can show her that we are serious about women’s rights issues

SP: Well, ya, sure. You know that we are all freedom loving humans and she just needs to know that the most important thing is to make sure that we rid their country of the evil terrorists. Once we do that, women in her country can share in all of the freedoms that you and I believe women should have.

JM: Let’s talk about terrorism in the Middle East. We know that Iran is a state sponsor of Hezbollah, and

SP: God Bless You

JM: What?

SP: You just sneezed.

JM: No, I was talking about Hezbollah, the terr...

SP: See, ya just sneezed again.

JM: You know what, just forget it. We’re done here.

The press blackout on McCain's medical records and cancer

We are all aware of the fact that John McCain is a survivor of melanoma – at least 2, if not 4 times, actually. And we also know that McCain, someone who was tortured (and there is ample evidence of the long term effects of torture, both physically and mentally) is not the shining example of someone in top physical shape.

And yet, when McCain, someone whose medical records are well over 1,100 pages and has a history of cancer, takes medication to sleep (not to mention whatever other medications he is currently taking for high cholesterol, arthritis and whatever else) not only released his records to a limited group of reporters for a three hour period of time with no ability for anyone to take notes or other documentation but also declined to release any further information, the press sits on its’ hands.

Here is someone whose health situation is more precarious than any other Presidential candidate (with the possible exception of Reagan in his 2nd term or Paul Tsongas), yet when 2,500 doctors call on him to release his medical records and answer questions about his cancer history, there is not a peep.

Oh wait, there WAS a peep. Matt Stoller wrote a long post about melanoma not too long ago. Americablog had a number of posts, including this one. Also, Brave New Films put together a must see video, which I have embedded below:

And an advertisement was put together talking about McCain’s age and health history - questions that not only should be answered completely and truthfully but also verified by independent doctors. Yet, after CNN declined to run the ad, MSNBC ran this ad a few times, only to stop under pressure from Fox News and Bill O’Reilly.

With a job as stressful as that of President, and with the poor health history of John McCain, it is simply baffling why there isn’t complete outrage with it comes to what McCain is hiding in his health records. I would think that if there were no major health issues with McCain, then he would be happy to put these questions to rest once and for all. Since he is refusing to open up his medical records, we do not know if he is dying of cancer. We do not know what medications he is taking. We do not know what other ailments he has. We do not know if he has been tested for Alzheimer’s, whether he has PTSD, or whether he has a hangnail.

This leaves not one but two main questions in my mind:

  • What is John McCain hiding in his health records with respect to his cancer and other potential health issues?

  • Why is the corporate media covering for him, when over 2,500 physicians have weighed in on their concern as well?

While we can all guess as to the answers here, I think that it is imperative that we keep asking these questions. We probably won’t get any answers, but at least we can keep this very important story out there - even more so with the growing concern over his running mate.

If not for Biden, she (and many other women) may be dead

It is well documented how much of a horrific record John McCain has when it comes to his views and votes and policies towards women. And while some people know about the Violence Against Women Act that Joe Biden was nearly singlehandedly responsible for drafting and getting passed, the stark contrast between how the two tickets approach issues important to women is not getting nearly enough attention.

Hopefully the following story will help change that.

I will keep the identity of this individual anonymous, but it is the story of someone who I have been corresponding with for the past couple of years on many issues, including voting rights, other political issues and more recently, some personal matters and discussions. She is someone in the progressive community, and has asked if I would help tell her story - a story that could very well have ended with her losing her life as well as her 2 daughters - if it wasn’t for this landmark legislation that Joe Biden was responsible for.

Although Biden’s legislation wasn’t passed until the 1990’s, she is certain that she and her daughters would still be running and hiding from her ex-husband, wondering if they would have the relevant protection from him if not for the provisions contained in the Violence Against Women Act.

I have received copies of the divorce papers, which included a lifetime order of protection, and her story includes a name change, numerous threats with guns and knives and her family’s fleeing 1,000 miles to get away from his stalking. The story includes her being dismissed from her job at a law firm because he was waiting in the lobby for her 2 days after he beat her, and the Firm “didn’t want any trouble”. At the time, there was no law against a husband merely “waiting for his wife”, despite what I am about to share with you. The divorce decree noted that he was guilty “without cause or provocation...of extreme and repeated physical cruelty”, and she “established by competent, material and relevant proof all of the allegations and charges” against him, some of which are noted below.

She was married around 1970, and here is a brief summary of some things that she had to endure before fleeing for her life in 1979 (it is in her exact words, so that is why it is in the first person):

  • One day I tried to defend myself while he was beating me and grabbed a steak knife and threatened him with it. He took it away from me and stabbed me with it. I carry that scar to this day.

  • As he was beating me he would always point his finger in my face and say "I don't try to leave me, because I find you and kill you and the kids."

  • Or Christmas Eve, 1974. I was 3 months pregnant with my 2nd child and his brothers were late for dinner. He beat me and choked me until I passed out. But before that, he threw the christmas tree and all the gifts out the 2nd floor window of our apartment.

  • In 1975, the cops pointed their finger at my husband and basically said we know she's your property, but don't get us called out here again.

  • In 1979, the cops hunted him down, escorted us out of the county when they didn't know where he was, escorted us to the hospital and stood guard the whole time we were there, and a judge signed a warrant for his arrest.

  • In 1979, the DA said it was my word against him that he even HAD a gun, much less tried to kill me and his daughters (4 and 8 yrs. old) because the girls were too young to testify. Even the neighbor child who was spending the night at my house was "too young to testify."

I am putting the rest in blockquotes because it shows how bad it got, and how little was done for years for it to get to this point.

[After moving out and hiding for a few months] one night he broke my door down in a drunken rage at 2:00 in the morning.

And he held us at gunpoint for 2 hours. Simultaneously, he was threatening all 3 of us, pistol whipping me, trying to convince myoldest daughter to come live with him (in his car). At one point, he put the gun in his 3 yr. old daughter's mouth (who was screaming at the top of her lungs on my hips) and told me "shut her up or I will."

When he came in, he threw the phone out the plate glass window, then the sofa.

Finally, I got all 3 kids between him and the only exit out of the apartment. I grabbed their hands and ran out the door and down the stairs. I was headed for the local 7-11 because they were open 24 hours. I figured someone would call the cops for me there.

As we ran down the street - me beaten and bloody - a woman and 3 kids, he got in his car and came up on the sidewalk. He shouted "bye kids" as he gunned it and tried to run us all down.

I ran into an apartment building, locked the door and just started shouting "Help me, someone help me. He's trying to kill us."

He, by the way was stopped by the cops shortly afterwards and was arrested for pulling a gun on the cop. After three days, she had to go back to work, because she had to support the children (he didn’t work for the past few years), and that is where he was “waiting in the lobby” for her. With no domestic violence laws, and despite the arrests, the beatings and everything else, not only was nothing done to stop him from threatening her, but her firm dismissed her (as stated above) because they didn’t “want trouble”.

This is when she fled 1,000 miles away to a city she never lived in, knew nothing about and knew nobody in. Her story has a good ending - she got counseling for the kids, changed their names, enrolled them in school and got a job.

But the hell that she had to endure would have been very different, and many women today would have to endure the same “do nothing until he tries to kill you again” mentality that existed at the time, if it wasn’t for the landmark legislation that Joe Biden was responsible for.

Because of that legislation, there are now shelters that battered women can turn to, there are hotlines and thousands of lawyers available and there is coordination between states and localities with respect to responding to domestic violence and rape - literally hundreds of new laws.

No woman should have to go through what she did. Not even close. Thankfully, she was able to start her life anew - to whatever extent someone that had to deal with years of such severe abuse can “start anew”. But at least she is alive.

It could have ended very differently if she didn’t get lucky and didn’t flee the way she did. And for millions of other women today, they don’t have to endure the living hell that she went through.

Joe Biden is a large reason why.

Scott Garrett: on the wrong side of the financial crisis.

Back in April, Scott Garrett lamented the end of deregulation:
“It’s disconcerting to see the end of deregulation, more so because it’s coming from our own administration,” said Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.), a member of the Republican Study Committee, a panel of about 100 House conservatives. “As conservatives, we need to get our Republican, conservative brand back. … I can tell you we’re not going to get that brand back by embracing Democratic economic regulations.”

Not only is this in line with Garrett’s so-called “free market” approach which has resulted in predatory lending practices and the massive tax breaks for corporate America at the expense of the middle class, but is also in line with his campaign pledge in 2002 when he talked about deregulation being the answer to help businesses.

Make no mistake – Scott Garrett’s views on business are not taxpayer friendly (as evidenced by his very own stimulus plan that was entirely business tax breaks and his earlier votes on a bill regarding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac).

But let’s look a bit deeper into Garrett’s actions when they directly related to companies like Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Countrywide Insurance and Washington Mutual.

Garrett is on the House Financial Services Committee, and is therefore in a direct position to help taxpayers when it comes to the financial crisis. Yet, his votes have been on the side of the same corporate entities that have donated over $800,000 to Garrett over the years, including Countrywide and AIG.

His Chief of Staff, Amy Smith has longstanding ties to lobbying for the financial industry, including almost $400,000 in lobbying fees paid to her firm by disgraced mortgage giant Countrywide Financial over a 2 year period

A new ad was released by Dennis Shulman’s campaign that hits Garrett hard on his conflict of interest and cluelessness when it comes to the problems in the financial services industry. In a press release earlier today, Shulman said the following:

"Scott Garrett has been one of Washington's greatest advocates for deregulation while scooping up enormous amounts of campaign cash from predatory lenders seeking to avoid reasonable regulation," said Dennis Shulman, the Democratic nominee in New Jersey's Fifth Congressional District. "Scott Garrett has literally entrusted his taxpayer-funded office to a former lobbyist for one of his major donors, Countrywide Financial, while arguing that it is `disconcerting to see the end of deregulation.' I believe it is disconcerting to see a member of Congress continue to embrace the agenda of the corrupt predatory lenders who created the financial crisis that has destabilized the entire economy."

"Garrett consistently plays the corrupt Washington DC special interest game, building his campaign war chest by courting the special interests that he is supposed to be regulating. I have made a solemn pledge to refuse campaign contributions from any corporation I would oversee in Congress."

Let’s help Dennis send Scott back to NJ-5 for good. Here is where you can donate.

Friday, September 26, 2008

McCain should have won this debate handily. And he didn't.

Here is the most important thing that I took away from the debate tonight, and it is very basic and should be remembered and repeated as much as necessary.

While we dissect every aspect of this debate, including whether McCain was too angry, too grumpy or was able to hammer home phrases such as “doesn’t understand” or “naive” and whether Obama looked Presidential, agreed with him too much or was right on point when it comes to the issues, even if he didn’t have any memorable moments, there is one very important thing to take away from tonight’s debate.

This is supposed to be the one point that McCain is the strongest on, and Obama at a minimum held his own.

Sure, I thought that there were times that Obama could have landed a killer punch or that he should have been more forceful on McCain’s many lies. But there is one thing that we need to keep in mind, as the post-debate pundits talk and the McCain campaign trots out ads that show how much Obama agreed with certain points that McCain made. And that is on the issues of foreign policy, McCain did not blow away Obama.

Obama should have been crushed in this debate. McCain’s entire campaign is based on his supposed command of foreign policy issues, and Obama showed that he had a strong grasp of the issues (as we already knew) - all while looking Presidential. McCain may have gotten in a few digs, but the bottom line is that McCain should have won this debate handily, and he didn’t.

If McCain can’t show that he is that much better on foreign policy issues, and I am sure that there will be many fact checks indicating the numerous lies that McCain uttered (or mispronouncing the names of Pakistan and Iran’s leaders), then how can he claim that he is better suited to be Commander in Chief?

Make no mistake, the debate outcome was pretty close to an outside observer. Obama (I think) won on facts and substance. But McCain did very well in messaging and obviously knew what he was talking about - even if much of it wasn’t actually true. And the most important thing to remember is that we should be happy that Obama did as well as he did against McCain on McCain’s home turf.

John McCain should have won this debate handily. And he didn’t. That is the takeaway from tonight’s debate.

Monday, September 15, 2008

This is the McCain/republican economy

Frankly, anyone could have seen something like this coming – at least to some degree. The housing bubble, just like the internet bubble before it, had to come crashing down at some point. Either people couldn’t afford to continue buying houses at increasingly escalating prices, or some form of shenanigans in the form of interest-only loans or sub prime loans (just like junk bonds before them) or something that involved (1) an enormous amount of risk taken by financial institutions for short term profit, (2) deceptive lending practices aimed to confuse the average American home buyer and (3) a “don’t worry about paying now” mentality that only served to make more people pay much more later would be undertaken – only to fall like a house of cards when it came time to pay the piper.

This, while part of it, was the grand design all along. It was part of the “Bush ownership society” that promised everyone their own American dream. It was not meant to serve most of Americans, however – as all too many are finding out in horrific ways. None other than Alan Greenspan has called it “the worst economy he has ever seen”.

And, as I said above, this is exactly what Bush, McCain and the republican party wanted all along. As noted by the AFL-CIO’s web site, McCain still wants to privatize social security, all while raising the retirement age, cutting cost of living adjustments and voted against protecting social security.

McCain himself admitted to not understanding economics, and his top economic advisor (don’t think that Gramm isn’t still connected to McCain, or that he won’t be if McCain wins) called this a mental recession and the nation a bunch of whiners.

McCain’s tax plan is even worse in this economy. Greenspan said that this country couldn’t afford McCain’s tax cuts, and his current tax plan will continue shifting the wealth to the upper echelon of the uber wealthy, while 95% of households get a tax cut under Obama’s plan.

To strike a contrast, households making under $112,000 will get a bigger tax cut under the Obama plan than the McCain plan, with households making under $160,000 are pretty much a wash between the 2 plans. And oh, by the way, the stock markets do better under Democrats than under republicans.

In addressing the housing crisis, McCain’s comments included the following:

“Of those 80 million homeowners, only 55 million have a mortgage at all, and 51 million are doing what is necessary – working a second job, skipping a vacation, and managing their budgets – to make their payments on time. That leaves us with a puzzling situation: how could 4 million mortgages cause this much trouble for us all?


“I have always been committed to the principle that it is not the duty of government to bail out and reward those who act irresponsibly, whether they are big banks or small borrowers.”

McCain also skipped the vote on the economic stimulus package which would have been the deciding vote as the bill got 59 votes. While McCain’s campaign said he would have voted against the package, he showed a lack of honor, because:
By missing the vote, however, he didn’t have to go on record denying benefits to 20 million seniors and 250,000 disabled vets — both key blocs of support for his campaign.

The Bush tax cuts that went to the most wealthy – the ones that could have helped tens of millions of families and that McCain once was against, are now a cornerstone of his tax policy - further denying hardworking American families any small bit of relief that would be not just welcomed, but necessary.

And just as a little nugget - the McCain’s would have close to a $400,000 tax cut under his own plan.

When you look at how we got to this point – a stacked deck in favor of big business, tax cuts for the ultra wealthy, lower real wages, trade policies that do not favor the American worker or consumer, bailouts of major financial institutions instead of help for the working family trying to put food on their table, cuts to any government programs that helped the working class, unnecessary tax breaks to the oil companies and an ill-planned (not to mention illegal) invasion where wealthy and connected companies received millions of dollars in no-bid deals – this is the blueprint of the republican economic plan. This is “trickle down economics” on steroids. The only thing connecting this to the “ownership society” is that the American taxpayer is on his or her own..

These plans were reckless. They were designed to benefit the few – not the many. Even the tax rebates were a total farce that was designed as little more than a boon to the oil, credit card and retail industries. Even the freepers noted that the rebates didn’t boost the economy.

The worst part of this all is that the people who brought you the “worst economy in Alan Greenspan’s lifetime are ALL connected to the McCain campaign. Lobbyist after lobbyist after lobbyist (close to 200 in all) who worked on behalf of Big Oil, mortgage lenders (many lobbyists representing many mortgage lenders), insurance companies, telecom companies and energy companies that benefited tremendously from the Bush/Cheney energy policies.

Make no mistake - this is precisely the economy that Bush, Cheney, McCain and their republican party cohorts wanted, envisioned and willfully brought to the American people. And this is precisely the economy that McCain will continue bringing to America.

As none other than Pat Buchanan and Joe Scarborough said, it is an economy of “less jobs and more wars”.


As I promised DKos member LNK, here are some takeaways and talking points:

  • This economy is a direct result of the implementation of republican policies that McCain favored, and continues to favor;

  • Even Greenspan said it was the worst economy he has ever seen, and that we can’t afford McCain’s tax cuts;

  • McCain’s tax cuts overwhelmingly favor the wealthy, while families earning under $112,000 will fare better under Obama’s tax plan;

  • The stock market historically does better under Democrats than it does under republicans;

  • McCain still wants to privatize social security and reduce benefits;

  • McCain’s closest and top economic advisors have consistently put big business before the American people – working for the very financial institutions, oil companies and energy companies that benefited at the expense of American families; and

  • Under his own tax plan McCain would receive a tax cut that is over 7 times the average household’s entire income.

Friday, September 12, 2008

McLobbyist transition team head was ultimate Nixon insider

There has been a bit of eye rolling and amusement at “presumptuous” McCain picking the ultimate Washington insider lobbyist to head his transition team. But (hat tip to Rick Perlstein) there is a deeper and more sinister connection and bit of news about one William E. Timmons, Sr. that hasn’t gotten mentioned much, if at all.

That is - Timmons was Nixon’s chief congressional liaison and was known as Nixon’s congressional lobbyist.

OK, fine, so he was only lobbying Congress on behalf of a President who resigned in shame after impeachment was hanging over his head.

Or not. Seems as though a conversation between Timmons and Nixon was part of the “White House Tapes” that was noted in the book, Abuse of Power - and the discussion focused on Timmons and Nixon strategizing on how to push members of Congress (and who to push) with respect to conducting “investigations” .

In one conversation on July 2, 1971, Nixon and Timmons talked about the House Internal Security Committee, its members, and who Timmons should contact in order for the committee to “resuscitate itself” and conduct a half assed investigation with its’ Senate counterpart instead of having people convicted of conspiracy in the leak of hte Pentagon Papers.

Audio clip of this discussion is here, and a partial transcript is below:

President Nixon: Yeah. Well, now, how would that committee be, you think, to conduct an investigation of this conspiracy. You know what I mean?

Timmons: Mm-hmm.

President Nixon: Far better than having these people indicted and so forth, is really to call them before a committee and say, “Now look, did you do this or that or the other thing.” You know?

Timmons: Yeah.


President Nixon: Do you think Ichord would be—now, he’s running for governor, I understand, isn’t he?

Timmons: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

President Nixon: Don’t you think he ought to be willing to take a thing like this.

Timmons: I would think so. It’d be some headlines for him.


Timmons: You want me to set that in motion or . . .

President Nixon: Well, why don’t you—

Timmons: [Unclear.]

President Nixon: —yeah, why don’t you do a little . . . do a little sniffing around or something to see whether they’d like to . . . . Well, look, first of all, it can’t be from me, of course.

Timmons: Sure.

President Nixon: But what I’m getting at is, it would seem to me that this is an opportunity for that committee to resuscitate itself.4 You know what I mean?

Timmons: Mm-hmm.

President Nixon: It can become a very valuable committee now. They just call them up there.

Timmons: Mm-hmm.


President Nixon: What do you think?

Timmons: I think it’s a great idea. I had talked to [White House Political Operative] Chuck Colson just briefly about this—

President Nixon: Yeah. Yeah.

Timmons: —a week or so ago. I think it’s tremendous. In the Senate, you know, on the Government Operations Committee there’s a subcommittee on national security and international operations.

President Nixon: Yeah. Who’s that?

Timmons: It’s chaired by [Senator Henry M.] Scoop Jackson [D-Washington].

President Nixon: Yeah, but do you think Scoop would be willing to go—?

Timmons: I don’t. I doubt it. I just don’t know.

President Nixon: I don’t think he would. I wouldn’t rec—

Timmons: Messing around with the Senate, you know?

President Nixon: —get—Ichord’s people should step in and preempt this field.

Timmons: Mm-hmm.

Now, obviously there is a lot here, and we don’t need to repeat all that was said or get into a lengthy explanation into the relationship between Timmons and Nixon, or how Timmons became a lobbyist or who he lobbies for (although FireDogLake has an excellent post on that) or that he has been involved in pretty much every republican administration since Nixon.

But when McCain has tossed aside campaign themes as he has with his ex-wife or his honor when he returned from Vietnam, having gone from “experience”, to “country first” to “I’m not really that out of touch with everything” to “even though I’ve been around the same Washington establishment that brought failed conservatism, corporate favors being given out like candy and aggressive foreign policy, I’m really about change”, he picks someone to head up his transition team that:

  • Is known as the Washington insider in the republican establishment;

  • Has been involved with the Washington insider establishment for close to 40 years;

  • Knew of Nixon’s trying to improperly influence Congress to whitewash an investigation into the Pentagon Papers case;

  • Was involved in the plans to improperly influence Congress to whitewash the investigation; and

  • Headed Nixon’s legislative affairs office and lobbied Congress to not impeach Nixon (even toasting Nixon on the day he resigned).

This is the type of person that John McCain wants in charge of his transition team. In fact, this is the person that John McCain wants in charge of his transition team.

Clearly, McCain has left his honor in Vietnam.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

FLASHBACK: McCain's "secret plan" to get bin Laden

Back in January, John McCain talked about having a secret plan to get bin Laden:
“One thing I will not do is telegraph my punches. Osama bin Laden will be the last to know,” he said today while riding on the back of his bus between Florida events. In other words: he’s not telling. Why not share his strategy with the current occupant of the White House? “Because I have my own ideas and it would require implementation of certain policies and procedures that only as the president of the United States can be taken.”

Last night, Keith Olbermann had a special comment regarding the politicization of 9/11 by the republican party. Of course, the one thing that the republican party is very good at is politicizing national tragedies, as we saw from the death porn “tribute” at the republican National Convention a few days ago.

But this is about more than mere politicizing bin Laden or 9/11 or national tragedies (as the republicans tried to do again at the outset of the republican convention with respect to the hurricanes. It is about yet another example of reckless and dangerous behavior by John McCain and his playing politics with national security..

Why on earth would anyone, ANYONE who had an idea or a strategy to capture or take out the man who was responsible for the worst attack on American soil – an attack that was used as a pretext for pretty much everything that has been done to the people of this country, the people of Iraq and our allies around the world by the administration and its enablers in Congress over the past seven years - willfully hide and keep those ideas and strategies from those who have the ability to capture or take out that man?

Just as McCain has turned his POW experience into the latest version of “noun-verb-9/11” and excuse for everything he has ever said or done, he has done the same here in politicizing the 9/11 attack. McCain’s comments were on the heels of news that Pakistan was losing its battle against the Taliban and al Qaeda, and since McCain’s comment, attacks in Afghanistan have risen to record levels.

Unless there is something to the contrary, McCain should explain why he is purposely and willfully withholding what could be very valuable information as to bin Laden’s whereabouts, as well as the means to capture or kill him. To shamelessly use bin Laden or 9/11 for personal political gain, or to silence anyone who dares to question obvious lies or inconsistencies is the very definition of dishonorable behavior.

And if McCain does not have a “special super secret plan” to capture or kill bin Laden, he should explain why he feels the need to politicize a national tragedy as well as a national security issue for his own personal and political gain. Interestingly, this is also the very definition of dishonorable behavior.

On a day where our entire nation’s thoughts turn to that horrific day seven years ago, McCain owes it to the people of America - the people he wants to represent to share just how he plans to capture bin Laden – if not with the world, then certainly with those who have the ability to do so.

Or, he has the obligation to explain why he has obviously left his honor in Vietnam – as even something as sacred as a national tragedy and something as important as taking out those who were responsible for attacking us seven years ago is not off limits for politicization by a once-honorable man.

Too bad that once-honorable man is not the one running for President today.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

...and now for some messed up foreign policy news

Just in case everyone forgot that we have an overstretched and overburdened and overstressed military fighting in Iraq where there has been little political progress despite the “fact” (and I use the term loosely) that the escalation has been a resounding success, while the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan is getting worse, I want to point out three pieces of news that hopefully Obama or (gasp) McCain will have to deal with.

None of which are good, by the way.

First up is a report that the rate of Army suicides has gone up so drastically that it may surpass the rate of suicide for civilians.

Let that sink in, because this would be the first time that the military suicide rate exceeds that for the civilian population since the Vietnam War.

As of August, 62 Army soldiers have committed suicide, and 31 cases of possible suicide remain under investigation, according to Army statistics. Last year, the Army recorded 115 suicides among its ranks, which was also higher than the previous year.

Army officials said that if the trend continues this year, it will pass the nation's suicide rate of 19.5 people per 100,000, a 2005 figure considered the most recent by the government.

The rate is higher for military men than for civilian men, and is higher for younger people than for older troops. Not only that, but the cause is the multiple deployments, the stress on families and the higher exposure to combat:
"Army leaders are fully aware that repeated deployments have led to increased distress and anxiety for both soldiers and their families," Secretary of the Army Pete Geren said. "This stress on the force is validated by recent studies of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans reporting symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder or major depression."

I’m sure that the cut in veterans’ benefits and health services has nothing to do with that – which, by the way, McCain voted against increased benefits for veterans.

The second piece of news deals with the resounding success of the so-called “surge”, as we all know that there was a ton of political progress as a result of the decreased violence, right?

Or not.

A basic stalemate and “gridlock” on provincial elections, where nobody wants anyone else to have too much sway, therefore resulting in nothing.

Iraqi lawmakers returned from their summer recess Tuesday, still gridlocked over the critical law on provincial elections and with no new vote in sight.

A premature vote, warned Ali Adib, of the ruling Dawaa Party, could lead to another veto by the Kurdish leadership. "It means we'll go into crisis and the positions of the blocs will freeze and get more and more complicated," he said.

Elections in Iraq's 18 provinces are seen as crucial for national reconciliation and safeguarding the security gains of recent months. They would be the country's first since 2005 and would enfranchise many Sunnis who boycotted that round.

Good thing that it is a foregone conclusion that Saint McCain was right about the surge working as we see free and fair elections in Iraq, as well as all of the other political benchmarks being met. Long live freedom. And purple fingers.

And lastly, just as McCain was saying how much of a success Afghanistan was, and that is why we don’t hear about it anymore (despite the record number of troop deaths and attacks, or the fact that al Qaeda and the Taliban are running free between Pakistan and Afghanistan), there is the America hating Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff saying that we are not winning in Afghanistan and we can’t “kill our way to victory”.

But but but, I thought that Afghanistan was a resounding success....

He (Navy Adm. Mike Mullen) also warned that time was running out on the ability of the West to provide Afghanistan with vital nonmilitary assistance for Afghanistan including roads, schools, alternative crops for farmers and the rule of law.

"These are the keys to success in Afghanistan. We cannot kill our way to victory and no armed force anywhere, no matter how good, can deliver these keys alone," Mullen said.

Mullen acknowledged that President Bush's announced troop increase in Afghanistan — one Army brigade and one Marine battalion, about 5,000 troops — will not adequately meet the request of three brigades announced by the ground commander in Afghanistan.

While Mullen talked about Afghanistan and Pakistan being “inextricably linked”, coupled with the recent attacks that the US was conducting within Pakistan that kind of sort of really pissed off a lot of Pakistanis (regardless of the fact that he is right), it sets up a dangerous situation that is caused by the complete lack of planning and understanding by the current administration, coupled with and supported by McCain, things are on the bubble of exploding at any given moment.

The fact that McCain wants to ignore Pakistan and Afghanistan to continue the folly in Iraq, bully Iran and threaten Russia shows that he is completely out of touch and has no clue as to how to deal with the rapidly deteriorating situation on the Iraq Pakistan/Afghanistan border.

How, may I ask, does he plan on dealing with this crisis? Does he have a plan or an idea to diffuse the situation in Afghanistan? To have a long term plan in Pakistan in order to confront those who actually did attack us AND are in a country that currently has nuclear weapons?

Oh wait, I think that I heard of another manufactured controversy that requires 24/7 attention. Never mind this apologies.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Please stop using "maverick" - even "not a maverick"

I know this will probably receive more than a few jeers around here, but I firmly believe that it isn’t just a matter of how forcefully you say something, or even how hard you hit (or hit back), but it is also a matter of what you say that is just as, if not more important.

And while I am thrilled that Obama has an ad that directly hits McCain at the core issue of his judgment, behavior and “persona”, it fails on a very large point - and that is it plays right into the theme of “maverick”, which is what will be reinforced - even moreso than the fact that Obama is saying McCain is NOT a maverick.

I know that many progressives frown upon the concept of framing, and feel that since “we have the issues, why can’t we just win by telling people that they really really do agree with us”. But I also know that a McCain presidency is unacceptable on so many levels, and I am willing to use any tools that are available to get whatever little advantage we can get - because every advantage, no matter how minor, means changing perceptions and votes. And in a perfect world, just talking about issues alone would be enough. But this isn’t nearly a perfect world, and by being aware of the impact that words and ads and attacks have - not just that they are words or ads or attacks - we have a better chance of doing a number of things:

  • Convincing people of what we want to convince them of;

  • Talking about it on OUR terms, not the other side’s terms; and

  • Remaining true to our ideals and core values.

The new ad is great in that it calls McCain out for what he really is, as opposed to what people used to think he once was. But in all actuality, the idea of McCain = maverick is already so ingrained in people’s heads that even adding the word “not” in between the two will not do much more than fire up the choir that he is (or we are) already preaching to.

Now, I don’t expect the Obama campaign to be reading this, but I would hope that any of you who are reading this will take note and try to talk on our terms for the remainder of the campaign. That means not having to answer a question that you feel is unfairly posed - turn the question around or answer one that is more in line with the accurate interpretation of whatever misleading or false choice question is being posed. That means using words that we want to use, not denying words that the other side is using.

Saying “Obama is not a Muslim” is very true, but all it does is reinforce Obama = Muslim, even though there is a definitive denial in there. I happen to be a fan of George Lakoff, whose book Don’t Think of an Elephant is a must read for those who want to understand how the right has injected things such as “pro-life” and “death tax” into what is now pretty much acceptable frames by many. And the basic gist is that when you talk about things in the other side’s words or terms, even if you are fighting it, even if you are right and the other side is wrong, it is the frame and term itself that lives on, not the argument.

As Lakoff recently said:

“Facts don’t matter. The framing is what’s important,” Lakoff reminded, adding that the left recoils at this concept, considering it manipulation. But it’s not; everything is framed. “Every single word we use invokes a frame in our brains, and the only question involved is if you’re using those frames honestly and if you’re protecting yourself against fraudulent framing.”

Lakoff’s convinced that the reason progressive ideas haven’t done as well at the ballot box in recent years is because the language used to describe those ideas is stuck in the Age of Enlightenment. For instance, when progressives talk about universal health care, the discussion often gets caught up in facts and figures—how many people are uninsured, how much of the money goes to administrative costs. This causes people to drift off; their eyes glaze over. The message is lost. Meanwhile, conservatives, who use emotionally laden narratives—remember “Harry and Louise”?—end up dominating political debate.

And this is something that is so easy to follow, without even losing one shred of our core values. Instead of saying that “McCain is no maverick - he is more of the same”, why not leave the first part off, or better yet, just McSame. Same point, no reinforcement of McCain = maverick.

This theory holds true in a number of ways - not even political. There was at least one study dealing with perceptions between reality and “negative labels”. In this study, adults wouldn’t drink from a bottle that was clearly labeled “not poison” (emphasis mine):

In accord with both the sympathetic magical law of similarity and the principle of nominal realism, previous research has shown that American adults have difficulty in ignoring a label indicating toxicity on a food, even though they know the label is false. This study confirms the finding, and shows that there is some reluctance to choose or consume a food entity if it is labelled explicitly as being nontoxic (a label of not sodium cyanide or not poison). Hence this type of magical thinking seems to ignore negatives.

While I hope that Obama continues to hit hard at McCain for all of the things that he is (and even all of the things that he claims to be but is not), I sincerely hope that the use of “not” with whatever McCain’s (or the republicans’) term or frame is will be avoided. On a similar note, when fighting the smears that keep coming out, we should all try very hard not to deny the smear or allegation using the same frame and term, just in the negative. That will more likely just reinforce it.

Change the frame. Use the words that you (or we) want to use. Claim the debate on our terms as well as our positions (since many people agree with our positions on a number of things as is). We have a tough enough battle as is - and just by being careful about how we talk to our neighbors, our friends, potential (Obama) voters and even likely McCain voters, we can make it a bit easier or a lot tougher to make the case for Obama and the case against McCain.

Friday, September 05, 2008

How does Bristol feel about being a campaign prop?

When “children are off limits”, yet John McCain made an unsolicited and outlandish offensive joke about then-teen Chelsea Clinton, that was just fine to republicans. When “family values” are made the issue year after year and election after election by the republicans, and the “liberals” are to blame meme rings more and more hollow as lies are being promoted regarding abstinence-only programs and head-in-the-sanders are blaming movies, books and anything other than their own behavior towards their own teens – that is the conservative republican way.

And amid all of the hoopla surrounding the Palin VP pick and their family “situation”, what is lost in the discussion is the fact that a young pregnant teen (my guess is that she didn’t purposely get pregnant) is being exploited by her family at a time when she needs their understanding and support more than ever.

The issue of Bristol keeping the baby is one that she should make on her own, with the guidance and support of her parents and doctor. The fact that Sarah Palin indicated that she is thrilled that Bristol chose to keep the baby indicates a wee bit of hypocrisy on her part – after all, if Palin is against birth control and condoms (even for married couples), and is against abortion even in the instance of rape, incest or the life of the mother, and is pretty outspoken about that, then (1) what choice did Bristol even really have if she didn’t want to keep the baby and (2) what kind of “choice” does any woman who gets pregnant have – regardless of the circumstances, regardless of the age, ability to support the baby or education level of the mother-to-be?

On top of that, the likelihood of teen marriages succeeding is not all that great – and when you throw an ultra conservative family message and a father who recently admitted that he doesn’t want kids (rightfully so for a teen), the prospects don’t look good.

However, this is all background to the fact that Bristol is being used as a prop for the “family values” train wreck campaign that her mother is a part of.

Now, I don’t have a teenage daughter, but I did have a teenage sister, and knew plenty of teenage girls when I was growing up. And my friends have daughters, some teenage and some younger, so my perspective may not be the same as a mother or a teen or even a father with a teenage daughter. But I am not an idiot, and I know how self conscious teenagers (especially teenage girls) can be about what other people think about them as well as how they look.

The fact that the McCain campaign and the Palin family knew about her pregnancy and still (1) allowed Palin to be part of the ticket knowing that there was no way to hide the pregnancy, (2) leaked word about her pregnancy, (3) announced that she would marry the father and (4) trot them out as “proof” of conservative family values at work is beyond shameless.

To take advantage of a personal family situation (or crisis, which I am sure it was to Bristol) is the height of selfishness and callousness, and is really the antithesis of what family values are all about. They have made their daughter and “son-in-law-to–be” a prop in their campaign and have not only run roughshod over whatever privacy these two teens deserve in this very difficult time in their lives, but have made a spectacle out of them in front of the entire country (and world) to see.

And judge.

Regardless of what happens in this campaign, it is clear that the Palin and McCain families are not thinking about Bristol in any way other than to exploit her and her pregnancy.

Which I guess is also ok if you are a republican, when children are only off limits if you aren't exploiting them for your own political gain.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Blood in the water

I have long said that this should be a 6%-10% popular vote, 320+ electoral vote blowout, but for a number of reasons (many including the complicity and disgraceful behavior of the corporate media), a race that is, in reality, probably not (in reality if the vote were to happen on any given day) nearly as close as it is portrayed to be is still, well, “close”.

And it always seemed like there were so many moments where the McCain campaign and republican party would crash and burn like the 5 planes that McCain himself lost. But every time it was supposed to happen, it didn’t. And nearly every time, it was because of the corporate media burying a story, a gaffe, a verbal assault or a McCain moment for some other conjured up lie about “what some people are worried about with respect to Obama” or a well timed barbecue.

We knew that once the truth about McCain came out, when the sheen of the false persona behind the poor judgment was wiped away, the risky gambles were exposed, the hotheaded outbursts were recounted, the lack of awareness about basic things like the economy, the internet, the Sunnis/Shiites/Iran/al Qaeda was too much to hide, the “prickly” nature was exhibited one too many times and the grudges and the self serving pandering couldn’t be covered up any longer – this race would start to represent what it should have represented.

It’s no secret that many in the corporate media (as well as a good number of Americans) pushed and followed a narrative that ran counter to what the country actually was interested in and what the needs and important issues facing families were. Distractions were pushed to the top of the agenda because corporate media heads decided that “this is what people want to talk about”, while real important issues facing this country were being ignored and sugar coated.

At the same time, a groundswell of new voter registrations, thousands of volunteers, and Americans have decided that it is time for a change. A time to no longer be told what to think, and how to vote, or what issues are important. The text message announcement of Biden as Obama’s VP pick was sheer brilliance as now there is an instant way to rally and reach millions of people before or on Election Day.

The fact that even Pat Buchannan loved Obama’s speech last week, coupled with the media frenzy over the Palin selection has been almost unbelievable to watch and has given a window to completely take advantage, go for the jugular and stomp McCain, Palin and the republican party into the ground on November 4.

That Noonan (Reagan’s speechwriter) and Murphy (one of McCain’s informal advisors) would say the things they are saying about Palin when off mic is nothing short of stunning.

To them, nothing is more important than backing a “winner”. And right now, they are starting to sense that maybe, just maybe, McCain is going to be a big loser.

The very important thing here is that while this is amazing, it is only a window of opportunity that we MUST take advantage of. Noonan’s Wall Street Journal article just today gives a very different picture of her thoughts on Palin. But now that she has been exposed for what she really thinks (ditto for Murphy), this is something that should not only be hung around Noonan’s neck and Palin’s neck but more importantly, around McCain’s neck.

We have to stay on offense - and while it should be as relentless as we can be, it should also follow the same theme about McCain. This is all about McCain and his poor judgment, his self serving advisors as well as his reckless and arrogant decision making. If Palin stays, great – we have a slew of things to keep dripping out that have nothing to do with her daughter. If Palin goes, then that speaks to the poor judgment of McCain, regardless of why she goes.

We can keep this narrative going, keep the McCain camp and the republicans on defense and make them look to America like the losers that we already know they are. But we have to stay on top of this every single day until the election.

How? Pretty simply, actually. The corporate media smells blood in the water. McCain and the republicans have screwed up (whether intentionally or not) so badly that even the shills and hacks can’t completely cover for them all the time. What we need to do is remind everyone of the disaster that the republicans have brought and how the way McCain’s campaign is run is indicative of how he will run the country.

  • By monitoring the corporate media sites and stories, and posting links/comments/narrative frequently, we can force stories and narratives into the “mainstream”;

  • By using social networking like the "Know Your McCain" Facebook group (please join this group), we can distribute this information far and wide;

  • By DIGGing stories and narratives, we can keep them out there;

  • By using YouTube and sending videos around, we can expose the lies passed off by the talking meatsticks;

  • By remembering that this is all about John McCain and his failures, his rush to judgment and his poor decision making and centering everything around that, we can keep his campaign and the republicans on defense; and

  • As Dallasdoc wrote below, WORD OF MOUTH. Tell everyone you know a story or a tidbit about McCain or Palin that they otherwise wouldn't know - something that speaks to judgment and character.

Hat tip to Kossack LNK for challenging me to give action items and talking points

If they are on defense, they aren’t making up lies. If they are explaining or whining, then they are losing. They know they have a big loser on their hands but are still trying to desperately cover up how much of a loser it really is. Their corporate media buddies can only do so much, and even they are starting to show their true feelings.

We have a great opportunity to make this the blowout that it should be. If we can keep another new story out there every week, then we can drive the narrative. And there are more than enough stories to keep us going through the election.

The opening is small, but it is there. And it is getting a bit bigger – but only if we take advantage of it can we shatter this election wide open.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A look at a McCain administration's decision making process

The one thing that should come of this, regardless of whether Palin is dumped from (or “withdraws” from) the VP slot, is that John McCain has horrible judgment and makes rash decisions and relies on people who have a self serving track record..

Whether it be his trusting of the religious right in his non vetting of his “soulmate” Palin, or his ties to Iran double agent Ahmed Chalabi or his lobbyist-filled campaign, or the involvement with Charles Keating or his physically attacking fellow republicans or foreign diplomats - McCain has shown poor judgment time and time again.

And we can look to more of the same under a McCain administration - poor decisions that are not well thought out, lashing out at anyone who dares to question and a reliance on those who are out for themselves even at the expense of America and Americans.

It isn’t too tough to imagine how McCain would react to any number of situations as he has a long trail of bad judgment, fake machismo and being a sucker for those who want to take advantage of him for their own gain if it means a bit of power for him. Let’s look at how a few scenarios would play out:

Major Natural Disaster in the US

President McCain summons Homeland Security Secretary Tim Pawlenty, whose bold experience and willingness to take on liberal Democrats who wanted infrastructure funding for silly things such as rebuilt bridges or roads. Under Pawlenty’s advice, McCain decides to hold a series of fundraisers for his reelection campaign while telling people that things aren’t so bad - and then sends FEMA Head Grover Norquist to examine the region before declaring it a Federal Disaster area. Norquist and McCain decide to raze the entire region and give tax breaks to Halliburton to rebuild the area into a giant John McCain Presidential Library.

International Crisis

After deciding to invade Czechoslovakia before consulting with Secretary of State Joe Lieberman, who talks McCain down by telling him that there is no longer such a country, McCain decides to personally boycott any G8 meeting until that “damn Soviet Union” is kicked out like he wanted. National Security Advisor Doug Feith tells McCain that it is really Iran and Syria working with the “the other Muslims”, and the intelligence linking this plot goes back to an “official document” and was completely vetted as rock solid evidence, despite being mocked by the international community and at least three National Intelligence Estimates.

Stock Market Crash

After blaming the liberal blogs for depressing morale after the twelfth straight month of 250,000 jobs lost and a 1,500 point drop in the Dow over one week, Treasury Secretary Phil Gramm tells Americans to “suck it up” as McCain decides that the only thing that can help the economy is a direct stimulus package that will eliminate the middleman and go directly to Big Oil in the form of $1 billion in direct payments and refundable tax credits.

Domestic Terrorist Attack

Despite the fact that three white southern males blew up an abortion clinic, a community center and a temple and despite the fact that all three males had MySpace pages that proclaimed “death to gays”, “the Holy War is upon us” and “baby killers must die”, McCain appoints a special commission headed by Ralph Reed and Ted Haggard to investigate why the liberal lifestyle is to blame. When it is pointed out that the parents were part of a white supremacist group and had ties to Conservative religious extremists, McCain’s only comment was that for over five years the only religion that McCain practiced was “the religion of American freedom while in prison”.


Sadly, most of the examples here involve people whose judgment and decisions and personal motivations are questionable at best. However, these are all people who have had too much sway over McCain - a man who is already prone to taking extreme risks and high stakes gambling.

The Palin pick is wrong for many reasons - a number of which relate to her background, her husband’s background, their extreme views and abuse of power. However, the pick and the ensuing fiasco (that is so delicious to watch) is just another indication of the poor decision making process, the bad judgment and the questionable people that McCain relies on and surrounds himself with, not to mention shamelessly panders to.

And that is something that will not change, regardless of who the VP pick is or was, or whether the situations are snarky like above or are actual situations or crises.

Hypocrite McCain was fundraising during CA wildfires and midwest floods

Once again, I’ll be brief in what I think is an important tidbit of information regarding hypocrite opportunist selfish self serving panderer John McCain. And if you are on Facebook, please join the "Know Your McCain" Facebook group, so we can distribute this information far and wide.

Mr. “putting America first”, except when it comes to actually putting America and Americans first, is touting how much he wants to be there for America in times of emergency. Never mind the fact that going towards the disaster zone sucks up resources that will have to be used for his protection, and never mind the fact that he didn’t get on Air Force One with Bush three years ago while the very region that he is grandstanding in now was drowning.

But if he was so interested in helping America and the victims of disaster areas, then why did he spend nearly all of June fundraising for his own presidential campaign - three months after he had the nomination sewed up while the Midwest was flooded, California had tremendous wildfires and droughts and both regions were declared “disaster areas”?

The Midwest floods started at the end of May and continued throughout June. According to Wikipedia (and if it is important enough, I will get the backup links), 6 states were impacted, 13 people died and the damage was estimated at more than $6 billion..

The 2008 California wildfires lasted from late May into July, with at least 10 drought or fire proclamations in all areas of the state from late May through late June.

And during all of this, where was pandering hypocrite McCain (certainly not in the Senate, since he missed 100 votes since mid April)?

Fundraising for his own campaign.

It was so important for him to try desperately and shamelessly to pander and make amends for eating cake with Bush while the Gulf Coast drowned in 2005 show that he is “there for America” during this week, yet when it was just as important for leadership and there were more Americans in need - in two areas of the country for an entire month where he had nothing that was pressing to his campaign going on, McCain showed where his priorities really and truly are. By the way, even though Obama and Clinton were just wrapping up a very long and contentious primary season, at a time when the nomination was not yet locked up, Obama helped with sandbagging the midwest disaster areas.

Here is the “calendar of events” for the McCain campaign. He had 36 events scheduled for June. He had one “environmental briefing” in Santa Barbara, which I would give him the benefit of the doubt on if it wasn’t sandwiched around fundraisers in Fresno and a swanky private golf club in Las Vegas.

He did have 23 fundraisers (or “finance receptions”) during the month, including stops in New York, Philadelphia, Virginia, Cincinnati, Chicago, Hartford, Memphis, Nashville, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Miami, Washington DC (although he missed three votes the day after he was in DC so he could be in New York City - for a dinner fundraiser), Houston, San Antonio and Missouri.

Oh yeah, and two more fundraisers in California while the fires raged on.

Of course, this is something so basic that anyone in the corporate media could take less than one hour and actually do some real reporting instead of the disgusting suck up that is being done. But why should we wait for them to actually do their job before pointing out such basic hypocrisy and pandering like this latest one from McCain?

Monday, September 01, 2008

FLASHBACK: McCain voted against Katrina relief multiple times

This will be short, but (I think) important. And if you are on Facebook, please join the "Know Your McCain" Facebook group, so we can distribute this information far and wide.

While the cake pictures are a perfect visual of how much McCain was interested in not partying while a major city drowned helping out three years ago when Katrina hit and devastated the Gulf Coast, there is another typical example of McCain’s shameless pandering and politicizing a potential natural disaster by diverting attention from relief efforts towards himself and his selfish grandstanding (just like the market stroll in Iraq) which I haven’t seen mentioned all that much.

And a hat tip to Bob Geiger for pulling together some real good information regarding McCain’s numerous votes AGAINST Katrina relief in 2005, and helping to strike down Democratic bills and amendments that would bring tax benefits, health care and emergency relief to victims of Katrina, Rita and Wilma.

Oh yeah - both Obama and Biden were either co-sponsors of, voted for or drafted Katrina relief or oversight bills.

Biden was the sponsor of Senate amendment 1661, which was to provide emergency funding to victims of Katrina. The vote failed 41-56, with McCain voting against it.

As Geiger notes:

Biden's legislation would have provided many things including money to purchase interoperable communications equipment to help first-responders dealing with the disaster, $10 million "to find, unite, and transport children impacted by Hurricane Katrina to their parents, legal guardian, or next of kin" and funding to assist victims of domestic violence in affected areas.


"The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has reported that over 1,000 children have been displaced by this storm -- that means they are not with their parents or guardians -- and in this amendment we provide $10 million for that effort," Biden continued. "We also provide $9 million to support domestic violence victims impacted by the storms. We all heard of the reports of sexual assaults in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and we will support those victims who have not been moved to new shelters."

McCain also voted against not one, not two (this one failed by three votes) but three other Democratic-introduced Senate amendments that would have brought much needed relief to Hurricane victims.

And yes, he voted against a bipartisan oversight commission to study the failings and recommend corrective measures to ensure that the next time will be better.

Let’s keep reminding America how much McCain really cares about putting country first.


Thanks to Lauren S for the following video:


Hypocrite McCain was fundraising during CA wildfires and midwest floods

I’ll be brief in what I think is an important tidbit of information regarding hypocrite opportunist selfish self serving panderer John McCain. And if you are on Facebook, please join the "Know Your McCain" Facebook group, so we can distribute this information far and wide.

Mr. “putting America first”, except when it comes to actually putting America and Americans first, is touting how much he wants to be there for America in times of emergency. Never mind the fact that going towards the disaster zone sucks up resources that will have to be used for his protection, and never mind the fact that he didn’t get on Air Force One with Bush three years ago while the very region that he is grandstanding in now was drowning.

But if he was so interested in helping America and the victims of disaster areas, then why did he spend nearly all of June fundraising for his own presidential campaign - three months after he had the nomination sewed up while the Midwest was flooded, California had tremendous wildfires and droughts and both regions were declared “disaster areas”?

The Midwest floods started at the end of May and continued throughout June. According to Wikipedia (and if it is important enough, I will get the backup links), 6 states were impacted, 13 people died and the damage was estimated at more than $6 billion..

The 2008 California wildfires lasted from late May into July, with at least 10 drought or fire proclamations in all areas of the state from late May through late June.

And during all of this, where was pandering hypocrite McCain (certainly not in the Senate, since he missed 100 votes since mid April)?

Fundraising for his own campaign.

It was so important for him to try desperately and shamelessly to pander and make amends for eating cake with Bush while the Gulf Coast drowned in 2005 show that he is “there for America” during this week, yet when it was just as important for leadership and there were more Americans in need - in two areas of the country for an entire month where he had nothing that was pressing to his campaign going on, McCain showed where his priorities really and truly are. By the way, even though Obama and Clinton were just wrapping up a very long and contentious primary season, at a time when the nomination was not yet locked up, Obama helped with sandbagging the midwest disaster areas.

Here is the “calendar of events” for the McCain campaign. He had 36 events scheduled for June. He had one “environmental briefing” in Santa Barbara, which I would give him the benefit of the doubt on if it wasn’t sandwiched around fundraisers in Fresno and a swanky private golf club in Las Vegas.

He did have 23 fundraisers (or “finance receptions”) during the month, including stops in New York, Philadelphia, Virginia, Cincinnati, Chicago, Hartford, Memphis, Nashville, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Miami, Washington DC (although he missed three votes the day after he was in DC so he could be in New York City - for a dinner fundraiser), Houston, San Antonio and Missouri.

Oh yeah, and two more fundraisers in California while the fires raged on.

Of course, this is something so basic that anyone in the corporate media could take less than one hour and actually do some real reporting instead of the disgusting suck up that is being done. But why should we wait for them to actually do their job before pointing out such basic hypocrisy and pandering like this latest one from McCain?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Can we now talk about McCain's age and health?

On a few occasions over the past couple of weeks, I have mentioned an initiative with respect to going on the attack against John McCain. With that, I have created a Google Group called "Know Your McCain" and we are looking to gather information (old and new), create viral videos, write blog posts and use social networking to spread the message about how dangerous John McCain is.

You can look for diaries with the tag "Know Your McCain", and some diaries will have the "Know Your McCain" in the title as well. If you are interested in joining the Google Group or helping out with the Facebook group, please send me an email (address is in my profile).


This has been something that seems to have been kept (relatively) in the background over the past year or so, even though it most certainly should not have been. But now, with a selection of someone that has a very light resume, is being investigated (and will likely be deposed) in an abuse of power scandal, a passing interest in Iraq, fundamentalist credentials and no clue as to what a VP does, it calls into question McCain’s age, health, judgment, and decision making process.

And it is all his own doing.

While there have been many themes to the campaign so far, a new one should now be emerging - one that supports all of the underlying questions that even fellow republicans have (and had) about McCain. There are questions as to whether he will make similar snap decisions without proper thought, input and debate when it comes to matters of national security or in a time of crisis. Make no mistake - he has failed his first big test, regardless of how anyone tries to spin this choice.

As part of this should be about Palin - it really should be more about McCain, as this is more indicative of the whole “putting country first” nonsense and sham that his campaign has been all along. Her shortcomings are now his. He is 72 years old, and certainly not a young 72. He was, as he will remind you at every turn, a POW for over 5 years, and was tortured. He is forgetful when it comes to basic foreign policy matters, and snaps at reporters even more than he has in the past. When challenged, he goes on the attack as opposed to thinking calmly under pressure. He likely suffers from some form of PTSD. He has survived cancer at least two times, and will not release his full medical records, let alone any mental fitness or psychiatric testing.

While it is not something that is comfortable to think about, he is a prime candidate to lose his mental capacity over the next few years - or at least slow down substantially. There is a greater likelihood that he could die in office than any other President, with the possible exception of Reagan. The stresses of the Presidency are well documented and can significantly age someone due to the rigorous schedule, the pressure and decision making, the crisis after crisis and even more so now with all that this country is facing.

Again, this is uncomfortable to think about and even less comfortable to talk about, but it is there. And it is real. He has slowed down significantly since January. He admitted to not thinking clearly after a few long days in a row. He takes Ambien to sleep better (not good for that “3AM phone call”).

McCain opened the door to question what happens if the unthinkable happens.

Can Palin stare down Putin or a dictator? Can she make an informed decision about the devolving political situation in Iraq? Does she have the ability to understand the complexity of the Georgia/Russia situation? Can she navigate through the Israel/Palestine situation with the respect that someone with years of experience and knowledge can? Will she be equipped to “reform” Washington when she is under investigation herself? How will she deal with the Taliban and al Qaeda? Is she less equipped to deal with a 9/11-type scenario than Bush was?

All of this has nothing to do with her being a woman - with the possible exception of the feeling that if she weren’t a woman, she would never have been the choice with a resume and background and inexperience on a major level that she has. oh, and before anyone calls that statement sexist, I will say that it is sexist that McCain passed up a good number of very qualified women to make this snap decision. Personally, I view this as no different from CBS hiring Katie Couric - an unqualified woman - over more qualified women.

This decision is being called “bold”, if nothing else. But “bold” also can mean stupid and rash. And in a situation where McCain’s age and health and past is what it is, coupled with the rigors and stress (both physical and mental) of being President, this is more about him than it is about Palin. This was not a “bold” or “maverick” choice. This was a pander to the fundies and a decision made with little to no vetting or thought.

It makes you question whether he has the mental capacity to have the good judgment and deliberate thought process to be President, and it puts the issue of his age and health front and center. And with those questions looming large now, it should, as Thad Cochran said, send a cold chill down everyone’s spine.

As Joe Biden said, this is the time for a “wise leader”. And this decision by McCain was not wise, nor was it indicative of what a leader would really do.

Palin is just more of the same

The time is now to frame this choice, and to define Palin for what she really stands for - before the republicans lie and do it themselves.

It is crucial now in the first few days to set the tone and the narrative with respect to what is really the latest major decision by the McCain campaign questioned by both the left and right. And once everyone gets past the surface, and once anyone looks beyond her inexperience, her personal story, how “desperate” this may or may not look, the fact that she is the first woman VP candidate on the republican side, her “not-being ready for prime time” when it comes to foreign policy matters, the comparisons to Quayle or Agnew (both of whom were on winning tickets, by the way) and whatever else is said about McCain’s choice (inappropriate or not), there is one thing that still shines through:

Palin is really just more of the same.

More of the same belief in the failed republican and conservative policies that got this country to were we are now. More of the flippant remarks about the importance of high level Administration positions. More of Bush. More of Dobson and the fundamentalists. More “out of touch with America”.

Her positions and views will come trickling out over the next few weeks. Some of them will likely be obscured, while others (both good and bad) will be covered more. This could very well turn out to be dismissed and ridiculed as the Harriet Miers debacle was, or it could be played up based on her family and background.

But all of this should be tied to one overarching theme - her choice as running mate may be unprecedented for the republicans, but she is a typical republican on most of the important issues.

This has to be about ISSUES and her extreme republican views.

There is already a desperate attempt by republicans to play up her “life experience” to offset the lack of any foreign policy or major executive experience (less than 2 years of a first term Governorship hardly qualifies). This is what the right will try to do in order to make up for her lack of a resume.

And with all that, the inexperience, the opportunity to define not just Palin but more importantly, McCain’s judgment and hypocrisy and shameless pandering is a short window. Her stances, positions and views will come out in time. And all of them should tie into one overall theme:

There is no difference between Palin and McCain and Bush and the failed republican policies. And what’s worse, Palin would be in way over her head if anything were to happen to the 72 year old man who is not in the best of health for his age at the top of the ticket.

More of the same. But with less experience.