Monday, September 29, 2008

McCain was wrong about Iraq from day one!

Jack Stebbins

Jack Stebbins, a retired professor of mathematics at UWM, a neighborhood leader, fighter for social justice, and a loving husband, father and grandfather, passed away on Friday, September 26 at 11:22 am.

Jack Stebbins dedicated his life to improving the lives of those around him. But when people asked him what he did for a living, this loving husband, father and grandfather, replied "I have three kids.”

Jack was an excellent teacher and a strong supporter of public education, Milwaukee's public schools, and MATC.

He joined the American Federation of Teachers at UWM in the 1970s even though UW faculty did not have the right to organize. He believed that teachers had the right to fair treatment and representation and looked forward to UW faculty winning the right to organize. As recently as this summer, he met with a new generation of UWM faculty to encourage their efforts to organize a faculty union.

Jack was involved in the struggles for peace and justice, which he viewed as inseparable, for his entire adult life.

He and Mary Lou were close friends with Father Groppi and marched by his side in Milwaukee's Open Housing marches in the 1960s. They also started the meal program for the poor at St. Benedict the Moor Parish and volunteered there for more than 40 years.

In the late sixties, Jack organized faculty support for UWM students who were protesting the War in Vietnam. His activities prompted the denial of tenure. But Jack never doubted that he had done the right thing.

Jack was also instrumental in creating the Gordon Zahn Peace Prize given yearly to a Riverside High School student who works for Peace and Justice and the Mariners Neighborhood Association. He was the organization's secretary at the time of his death. Only two weeks ago he told me that he planned to run for re-election.

Jack, a graduate of Holy Cross University in Boston, claimed to have played pick up ball with former Celtic great, Tommy "Gun Gun" Heinsohn. Although Milwaukee was his adopted city, his love for his hometown Celtics never waned. He was thrilled to see them capture another championship last year.

Jack was an accomplished athlete in his own right, twice winning the National Handball Championship. His passion and love for athletics were reflected in the fact that he was teaching handball at UWM as late as last Monday.

Jack was a good and decent man. He will be remembered by all of us for his devotion to his family, his adopted city and to justice. He will be missed by his family, neighbors and friends, and by the thousands of people whose lives he touched.

Everything changes. You can make
A fresh start with your latest breath.
But what has happened has happened. And the water You once poured into the wine cannot be Drained off again.

What has happened has happened. The water You once poured into the wine cannot be Drained off again, but Everything changes. You can make A fresh start with your latest breath.
(Bertolt Brecht)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

McCain defends deregulation of Wall Street!

In last night's debate, John McCain called for more regulation and oversight of Wall Street, despite the fact that he led the effort to pass many of the deregulatory reforms that led to the current crisis.

Interviewed on CBS only a few days before the debate, however, McCain said he did not“regret” championing the deregulation of Wall Street, that it was good for the economy:

Q: In 1999, you were one of the senators who helped pass deregulation of Wall Street. Do you regret that now?

McCAIN: No. I think the deregulation was probably helpful to the growth of our economy.

Watch it:

Post debate polls give round one to Obama

Post debate polls indicate that Barack Obama won the debate.

It appears most viewers found Obama more personable than McCain, knowledgeable about the issues and more focused on their economic problems.

CBS Insta Poll showed Barack Obama won 39% to John McCain's 25% with 36% saying the debate was a draw. According to CBS:

Nearly half of those uncommitted voters who watched the debate said that their image of Obama changed for the better as a result. Just eight percent say their opinion of Obama got worse, and 46 percent reported no change in their opinions.

McCain saw less improvement in his image. Thirty-two percent have improved their image of McCain as a result of the debate, but 21 percent said their views of him are now worse than before.

Why did voters' image of Obama improve? Many volunteered that they were impressed by his poise and knowledge about the issues, that he was more knowledgeable about the issues than they thought previously. When it came to McCain, those same voters said he "didn’t control himself well under pressure," that he was "angry and bad-tempered," and that he "talked too much about the past."

Insider Advantage reports those polled Obama won 42% to McCain's 41% with Undecided 17%

CNN reports voter opinions that Obama "did better" 51%, McCain "did better" 38%
The CNN poll showed men were evenly split, but women gave Obama higher marks 59% to 41% for McCain.

Check out this interesting video where Republican pollster Frank Lutze interviews formally undecided voters immediately after the debate ended.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Sarah Palin's primetime meltdown

McCain tries to bury campaign manager scandal

Michael Tomasky writes:

Wednesday was the worst day of the campaign for McCain. The revelations about Rick Davis' firm doing lobbying work for Freddie Mac had the potential, and still may have the potential, to cost Davis his job. Certainly the story had the potential to eat up a lot of cable television time over the next two days. Over the long term, and most importantly, the story has the power, if used properly by the Democrats, to dissolve any morsel of credibility McCain had on the subject of dealing with the current fiscal crisis.

Tomasky suggests convincingly that McCain's dramatic announcement to suspend his campaign, which by last night was revealed as more public relations than reality, was an attempt to bury the Davis story.

Tomasky's blog is worth the read.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

American People Deserve Warren Buffet's Deal

The Associated Press reports:

In 2007, Wall Street's five biggest firms -- Bear Stearns, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, and Morgan Stanley -- paid a record $39 billion in bonuses to themselves.

That's $10 billion more than the $29 billion loan taxpayers are making to J.P. Morgan to save Bear Stearns.

Richard Fuld, the chairman and chief executive of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc, which filed for bankruptcy protection last week, was awarded $22 million in fiscal 2007, for instance.

Those 2007 bonuses were paid, even though the shareholders in those firms last year collectively lost about $74 billion in stock declines -- their worst year since 2002.
If split equally among the approximately 186,000 workers at the former Big Five Houses, that bonus money means an average of $201,500 per person -- more than four times the $48,201 median household income in the U.S. last year.

If split equally among the approximately 186,000 workers at the former Big Five Houses, that bonus money means an average of $201,500 per person -- more than four times the $48,201 median household income in the U.S. last year.

A billion here, a billion there. Pretty soon you are talking about real money!

The proposed $700 billion bailout of Wall Street investment firms, is a heads I win, tails you lose proposition for the country's large investment firms and their top executives.

Before Congress is stampeded into passing the proposed bailout bill that will buy what may be worthless assets with hard earned taxpayer dollars, it ought to:

1) Mandate Congressional oversight and an equity stake in bailedout firms. The American taxpayer should get the same deal as Warren Buffet;

2) Include real protections for homeowners faced with losing their homes, including allowing them to renegotiate their ballooning mortgage payments;

3) Ensure that when the investment firms regain profitability the profits are shared with the federal government;

4) Establish limits on CEO salaries and bonuses and prohibit golden parachutes! The astronomical executive salaries never reflected market forces. They were the result of CEO board members rewarding members of their old boys CEO network and justified by executive compensation firms whose work was compromised by their conflict of interest - setting CEO salaries while pursuing other more lucrative corporate work for the CEOs whose salaries they were setting.

5) Pass regulations that establish rules governing lending institutions including the hidden banking system of investment firms, hedge funds and private equity firms and ensure transparency of all financial instruments and transactions.

Bush uses fear to push bailout!

George W. Bush is up to his old tricks.

Last night he warned us that the economy is in danger and said there's no time to examine the $700 billion bailout's fine print. We have to act immediately.

Haven't we heard this before?

In 2001 President Bush used the same argument to get a $1.3 trillion tax cut, 50% of which went to the richest 1 % of income earners averaging $1.5 million a year.

He got his tax cuts, the economy tanked, inequality soared and our $5.2 trillion surplus evaporated.

He used the same line about immediate danger from Iraq in 2002 and 2003.

He got his war, but no weapons of mass destruction or nuclear capacity were found. There were no flowers for liberators or oil revenues to pay for the war either. But Iran got a new ally next door. More than 4,000 U.S, soldiers lost their lives and more than 30,000 have been wounded. And we ended up with one heck of a bill... which is still growing.

He used the same line earlier this year to seek a new round of tax rebates. We've lost 660,000 jobs and the financial markets have collapsed.

There have been an awful lot of emergencies on GW's watch! And his solutions just haven't turned out as advertised, although the Haliburtons of the world have prospered from Bagdad to New Orleans.

We've had almost eight full years of the politics of fear.

Let's call the President's bluff and not act in haste.

Congress needs to take the time to make sure that its rescue plan protects taxpayers, homeowners, retirees and citizens. It needs to safeguard the long term economic interests of the nation and not simply those of the Wall Street buccaneers who gambled with the all of our money and lost!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

McCain lobbyist was on Freddie Mac payroll. Taxpayers pay the bill.

John McCain's campaign manager, Rick Davis and his firm, was paid $15,000 a month by Freddie Mac, one of the mortgage firms bailed out by the federal government. The payments didn't end until the Freddie Mac was bailed out earlier this month.

McCain who originally campaigned as the more experienced Presidential candidate, has recently reframed his campaign as a movement for change. He has attacked lobbyists and the Washington establishment. Now we learn his camapign manger was a highly compensated lobbyist!

In an interview with CNBC and The New York Times on Sunday, McCain responded to a question about Mr. Davis’s role as a lobbyist for Freddie Mac by saying that his campaign manager “has had nothing to do with it since (2005), and I’ll be glad to have his record examined by anybody who wants to look at it.”

Well, the record was examined and it reveals that Rick Davis was on the Freddie Mac payroll until last month.

Not only that. Mr Davis didn't do anything for his $180,000 a year.

Freddie Mac officials said they can''t recall Mr. Davis’s doing any work for the company. They said Mr. Davis’s firm, Davis & Manafort, had been kept on the payroll because of Mr. Davis’s close ties to Mr. McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, who by 2006 was widely expected to run again for the White House.

So McCain lied about his campaign manager getting paid by Freddie Mac who was getting paid to provide Freddie Mac executives access to McCain. Taxpayers are now picking up the bill.

And we're suppose to believe that a McCain administration wouldn't be for sale?

Read the breaking news.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Community leaders apply double standard to MPS!

Declining state aid, a $625 million voucher experiment, and growing property taxes led a committee of the MPS Board to suggest dissolving the state's largest school district.

Did the board members who voted to supported this measure consider its impact on MPS' students? Or the teachers and staff who educate the city's children while holding our beleaguered public schools together?

There's a double standard when it comes to the education of Milwaukee's children and MPS.

Poverty has grown in Milwaukee and become more extreme, but no one suggests that we dissolve the city!

In response to increased crime, no one suggests that we dissolve the Milwaukee Police Department. Rather, we invest in more officers and better equipment and technology!

When our professional baseball team that had not won in years threatened to leave, we didn't wave good bye. We built them a billion dollar stadium!

When Bear Stearns, Freddie Mac, Frannie Mae, Lehman Brothers, the American International Group and others threaten to dissolve, we don't let them fail. We bail them out with taxpayers money.

But when it comes to Miwaukee's children, we don't hire more teachers or bail out the district, we threaten them, the adults who care for and work with them, and their schools.

Have we no shame!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

McCain wants health care deregulated

John McCain can't help himself.

Not only did he say that the economy was fundamentally sound just as Wall Street was unraveling, But he also thinks that health care reform should be modeled after the deregulated and collapsing financial sector.

Here is exactly what he wrote in Better Health Care at Lower Cost for Every American, in the Sept./Oct. issue of Contingencies, the magazine of the American Academy of Actuaries magazine:

Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation.

McCain is a serial deregulator!

And Barack Obama's response:

Friday, September 19, 2008

McCain to Green Bay-trickle down economics works

Senator John McCain claims he's an agent of change and a maverick.

But McCain hasn't changed his faith in trickle down economics.

In Green Bay on Thursday, McCain sang the same old supply side song that Republicans have always sung when he claimed Obama "...will tax the country into a recession."

Earth to John McCain!

We are already in a recession that you and advisers like former campaign chair Senator Phil Gramm created through your blind commitment to financial deregulation!

America is facing the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Trillions have been pledged to ensure that the system doesn't collapse entirely. We have lost 660,000 jobs since January. In the past year, Wisconsin alone has shed 23,000 private sector jobs.

The deficit, over $400 billion this year, will pass a half a trillion next! And these deficit projections don't include the money pledged by the Fed and the Treasury to bail out Wall Street!
McCain is wrong, dead wrong, about Obama's economic plan. It will provide a tax break to 95% of Americans, while increasing marginal tax rates on those making over $250,000.

McCain admits he knows little about economics. He apparently also has problems with history.

Shortly after Bill Clinton was elected President in 1992, he proposed and Congress added two marginal tax rates on high income earners, 35% and 39.6%. Much like McCain's doom and gloom projections in Green Bay, Republicans screamed that this would lead to economic ruin. Instead the US economy boomed during the Clinton years, creating 22 million jobs, more than four times the Bush record. Real hourly wages rose between 1997 and 2000 for the first time since the 1970s. And rather than operating at a deficit, the federal government actually ran budget surpluses from 1997-2000.

The Clinton era surpluses were so great, a projected $5.2 trillion, that when George Bush became President he felt the country could afford a tax cut and, like McCain today, that high income tax cuts would lead to investment, growth and prosperity. So he proposed and Congress agreed to cut taxes by $1.3 trillion, a fourth of the projected surplus. Fifty-two percent of these cuts went to the richest 1%, earning over $1.5 million. The result-the most anemic growth, only 5 million total jobs and falling, of any post-World War II recovery, but growing inequality and economic hardship for working Americans.

McCain's Green Bay critique of Obama is the same old, tired trickle down economic orthodoxy that Republicans have always peddled. The message is the same-no change at all. The only thing that has changed is that McCain whom opposed the Bush tax cuts is now the messenger.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Barack Obama on McCain & the old boys network

In a speech yesterday Barack Obama said:

Yesterday, John McCain actually said that if he's president that he'll take on, and I quote, 'the old boys network in Washington.'

Now I'm not making this up. This is somebody who's been in Congress for twenty-six years, who put seven of the most powerful Washington lobbyists in charge of his campaign.

And now he tells us that he's the one who's gonna' to take on the old boys network. The old boys network? In the McCain campaign that's called a staff meeting. Come, on!

Alaskan women criticize Palin

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

McCain attacks economic critics

In response to Republican nominee John McCain's assertion that the economies fundamentals are sound the New York Times editors wrote:

John McCain spent Monday claiming as he had countless times before — that the economy was fundamentally sound. Had he missed the collapse of Lehman Brothers or the sale of Merrill Lynch, which were announced the day before? Did he not notice the agonies of the American Insurance Group? Was he unaware of the impending layoffs of tens of thousands of Wall Street employees on top of the growing numbers of unemployed workers throughout the United States?

On Tuesday, he clarified his remarks. The clarification was far more worrisome than his initial comments.

He said that by calling the economy fundamentally sound, what he really meant was that American workers are the best in the world. In the best Karl Rovian fashion, he implied that if you dispute his statement about the economy’s firm foundation, you are, in effect, insulting American workers. “I believe in American workers, and someone who disagrees with that — it’s fine,” he told NBC’s Matt Lauer.

Let’s get a few things straight. First, no one who is currently running for president does not “believe in American workers.”

More to the point, the economy is stressed to the breaking point by fundamental problems — in housing, finance, credit, employment, health care and the federal budget — that have been at best neglected, at worst exacerbated during the Bush years. And as a result, American workers have taken a beating.

In clarifying his comments, Mr. McCain lavished praise on workers, but ignored their problems.

That is the real insult.

Read the rest.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

As financial crisis deepens McCain declares the economy strong

Fearing a worldwide financial crisis, the Federal Reserve reversed course on Tuesday and agreed to an $85 billion bailout that would give the government control of the troubled insurance giant American International Group.

The decision, only two weeks after the Treasury took over the federally chartered mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, is the most radical intervention in private business in the central bank’s history.

Despite these developments, Republican Presidential candidate John McCain declared the "fundamentals of the economy are strong."

In response, Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama asked:"How can you (McCain) fix the economy, when you don't think there is anything wrong?"

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Greenspan opposes McCain tax cut proposal as budget buster

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has questioned the affordability of Republican nominee John McCain's tax cut proposals which, like the Bush tax cuts, are based on cutting the taxes of the very wealthiest Americans. (see chart comparing Obama and McCain cuts)

Greenspan told Bloomberg News he was "not in favor of financing tax cuts with borrowed money" when asked if the United States could afford big tax cuts such as those proposed by John McCain. The non partisan Tax Policy Institute projects that McCains's tax cuts will add $5 trillion to the national debt or require major cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Noting that McCain has in the past expressed strong admiration for Greenspan, a fellow Republican whose support helped convince Congress to pass the high income Bush tax cuts, the Obama campaign said the former Fed chief's comments were evidence that McCain's economic plan was fiscally reckless.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

McCain Palin administration would be worse than Bush Cheney!

Paul Krugman, prominent economist and New York Times columnist, writes;

Dishonesty is nothing new in politics. I spent much of 2000 — my first year at The Times — trying to alert readers to the blatant dishonesty of the Bush campaign’s claims about taxes, spending and Social Security.

But I can’t think of any precedent, at least in America, for the blizzard of lies since the Republican convention. The Bush campaign’s lies in 2000 were artful — you needed some grasp of arithmetic to realize that you were being conned. This year, however, the McCain campaign keeps making assertions that anyone with an Internet connection can disprove in a minute, and repeating these assertions over and over again. the team that hopes to form the next administration is running a campaign that makes Bush-Cheney 2000 look like something out of a civics class. What does that say about how that team would run the country?
What it says, I’d argue, is that the Obama campaign is wrong to suggest that a McCain-Palin administration would just be a continuation of Bush-Cheney. If the way John McCain and Sarah Palin are campaigning is any indication, it would be much, much worse.

The column is linked.

Palin hired lobbyist to pursue earmarks!

Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin and her supporters continue to claim she opposed the Bridge to Nowhere when in fact she supported it until it was on its deathbed.

She and John McCain claim she opposed "earmarks" when the truth is as Mayor she hired lobbyists to pursue them even as Joe Klein reports Alaska's oil revenues and federal deficits were soaring.

Palin sought $197 million in so-called "earmarks" for 2009. In the previous budget year, she asked for earmarks worth $256 million.

She claims she sold a state plane on eBay, for a profit. Neither claim is true.

The McCain Palin campaign is the most dishonest in recent memory as the attached CNN report makes clear.

Friday, September 12, 2008

John McCain talks new politics, but runs old school!

John McCain is trying to have it both ways. He talks about change and a bipartisan new politics while his campaign, run by Steve Schmidt, a disciple of Karl Rove, runs old style, dishonest attack ads!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Joe Klein: Republicans appeal to mythical past

Time Magazine's Joe Klein writes that Reagan's " of the future was the past. He offered the temporal pleasures of tax cuts and an unambiguous anticommunism, but his real tug was on the heartstrings — it was "Morning in America." The Republican Party of Wall Street faded before the power of nostalgia for Main least a Main Street that existed before America began losing wars, became ostentatiously sexy and casually interracial. In his presidential debate with Jimmy Carter, Reagan talked about an America that existed "when I was young and when this country didn't even know it had a racial problem." The blinding whiteness and fervent religiosity of the party he created are an enduring testament to the power of the myth of an America that existed before we had all these problems. The power of Sarah Palin is that she is the latest, freshest iteration of that myth. "

It's an interesting take on Palin's appeal.

Workers need jobs and a raise-not a psychiatrist

During the last eight years. almost all of the nation's income growth went to executives and investors. As a result, while the productivity increased and the economy grew to more than $13 trillion a year, most Americans fell further and further behind.

Between 1976 and 2006, the numbers of hours worked by the median two-parent household increased by 400 hours per year.

Productivity increased by 18% between 2000 and 2007 alone. Yet middle-income, working-age households—those headed by someone less than 65—lost ground over these years. Their median income, after adjusting for inflation, fell by $2,000 from $58,500 to $56,500 (2007 dollars).

In Wisconsin per capita income has fallen $2500 behind the national average and the gap is growing as Wisconsinites experience the first sustained period of decline in our median wage since the early 1980s.

All real income gains in the last eight years have gone to the richest 5%, those making more than $150,000.

There are several reasons for the growth in economic inequality.

Three of the most important are:

  • the Bush era tax cuts that went almost entirely to the very richest Americans (52% went to the richest 1%, averaging $1.5 million a year);

  • the systematic dismantling of institutions, public and private, that ensured shared prosperity;

  • the Federal Reserve's one-sided focus on fighting inflation which helped keep prices low until recently by maintaining artificially high unemployment particularly in the nation's inner cities.

Republican Presidential candidate John McCain, who acknowledges he knows little about economics, promises to continue these policies. This is not surprising since his chief economic advisor and odds on favorite to be named Secretary of the Treasury, Senator Phil Gramm, recently denied the country was in a recession, arguing that Americans are "a nation of whiners" and that the recession is a figment of their imagination.

Despite McCain and Gramm's assertions, America and Wisconsin's economic problems are real!

Over 600,000 workers have lost their jobs since January. In Wisconsin major employers like Delphi, Midwest Express, GE Medical, General Motors and the New Page Corporation (Kimberly) are laying off thousands.

The nation's 6.1% unemployment rate, the highest since the recession of 1991, actually undercounts the number of unemployed because it does not include those who are working part time because they can't find full time work. If they are included the unemployment jumps to almost 11%.

Nine million Americans have lost their health insurance since President Bush took office. During the first six months of 2008, 343,000 Americans lost their homes, a 136% increase from the year before.

Gasoline, food, college education, heating and health care prices are soaring, increasing 2% faster than wages. The Bush administration's economic policies, including the high income tax cuts which McCain says he will make permanent, are imposing a 2% tax on the nation's working people.

Democratic Presidential nominee, Barack Obama, has proposed an economic program that includes federal aid to state and local governments, public works jobs programs and passing the Employee Free Choice Act. The former would ensure that budget cuts by state and local government, mandated by balanced budget statutes, won't reduce aggregate spending and make the recession worse. The latter would make it easier for workers to form unions which will ensure that productivity gains and economic growth, when they resume, are shared broadly. Public works investment is required to fix the nation's deteriorating infrastructure, a prerequisite to growth and prosperity.

McCain's economic program of more of the same will mean more layoffs, more rising prices, tax breaks for the very wealthy and greater inequality.

American workers and their families, contrary to McCain and Gramm, don't need a psychiatrist, they need jobs and a raise!

Monday, September 8, 2008

John McCain supports shipping jobs overseas

Republican Presidential nominee John McCain admits that "...the issue of economics is not something I’ve understood as well as I should.”

His campaign committee co-chair and chief economic advisor was Phil Gramm who made millions on Enron even as the company went bankrupt and thousands of emploees lost their life savings. Gramm recently claimed that the nation's economic problems are in people's heads as he called Americans a nation of whiners!

So it is not surprising that John McCain continues to defend his support for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Americans were promised that NAFTA would generate large numbers of net new good jobs. Instead, over a million jobs that would otherwise have been created were lost, and wages were pressured downward for a large number of workers with less than a college education. Wisconsin lost 25,403 job s, 0.9% of total employment. Michigan was even harder hit losing 63,000 jobs.

On the issue of jobs and trade McCain promises more of the same- job loss and declining wages!

Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama opposed NATFA from the beginning and has promised to rewrite its rules if elected.

There is a clear difference as this new ad makes clear.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Palin's extremist views are not good for women

Ellen Bravo, author, activist and UWM faculty member, writes in Crossroads today that John McCain's choice of Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate "...was probably the most calculated political move he’s made."

"McCain is trying to pass off Palin as a career mom who knows the difficulties of balancing job and family — hoping women won’t notice the ticket’s opposition to every measure that would ease those difficulties, from expanding family leave to paid sick days to equal pay."

"The real question isn’t why McCain chose Palin, but why the media continues to give them both cover, pasting on the “maverick” and “moderate” labels as if listing these terms were equivalent to listing party affiliation and state."

I have linked the entire piece.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Republicans turn reality upside down

Republican Party national convention activists spent most of last week attacking a fictional enemy-the liberal federal government.

Mitt Romney even had the audacity to rail against "liberal Washington."

The Republican Party is either delusional or shockingly dishonest.

Republicans have controlled the Executive Branch for the last eight years and most of the last forty. U.S. economic policy has been dominated by a slavish devotion to the Republican holy trinity of free markets, privatization and deregulation.

Bob Herbert, The New York Time columnist, writes that: "If there was one pre-eminent characteristic of the Republican convention this week, it was the quality of deception. Words completely lost their meaning. Reality was turned upside down.

From the faux populist gibberish mouthed by speaker after speaker, you would never have known that the Republicans have been in power over the past several years and used that titanic power to lead the country to its present sorry state.

His piece is linked here.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Republicans' Forked Tongues and the Gender Card

Palin mocks community organziers; defends the status quo!

Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin ridiculed Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama and community organizers in her speech Wednesday evening.

Reacting to legitimate questions that her political experience as the part-time Mayor in a town of only 5700 people had not equipped her to be a heart-beat away from the Presidency, she said: " I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a "community organizer," except that you have actual responsibilities."

The response, which brought down the Republican house, is instructive.

First, contrary to McCain's repeated assertions last night that he would "end partisan rancor," Palin's response was a highly personal and partisan attack on Barack Obama and his experience as a community organizer.

It doesn't take a great memory to recall that George W. Bush also ran as a "uniter, not a divider. But once elected he became one of the most divisive and partisan Presidents in U.S. history.

The country is more polarized politically today than at any time in recent memory. Economic inequality, the divide between the very richest and the bottom 95 or even 99% is greater, wider, than at any time since immediately before the Great Depression.

The Republican Party and its current candidates may talk bipartisanship, but they do not walk the walk!

Sarah "Barracuda" Palin ridiculed community organizers.

Has she forgotten the contributions of Tom Paine, the Knights of Labor, the abolitionists and suffragettes, the Congress for Industrial Organization (CIO) labor organizers, the the Student Non Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the United Farm Workers and more?

These organizations and the social movements they gave leadership to were not led by small town mayors, who more often than not opposed them, but by organizers like Tom Paine, Daniel Shay, A. Phillip Randolph, Nathaniel Bacon, Martin Luther King Jr. (the "non-partisan" John McCain opposed making his birthday a national holiday), Cesar Chavez, Saul Alinsky, Harriet Tubman, Susan B. Anthony, Paul Robeson, Father Groppi, Mother Jones, Sojourner Truth, David Walker, Jane Adams, Big Bill Haywood, and John L. Lewis.

Organizers and the social movements they led are responsible for expanding the democratic rights of citizenship from a small, elite group of wealthy white male property owners to almost all of Americans. They are responsible for winning the right to vote, regardless of race or gender, the elimination of slavery and child labor, Social Security and Medicare (opposed by the Republican Party of McCain and Palin), the Occupational Health and Safety Act, unemployment compensation, workers compensation, environmental protection, unions, and much, much more.

These social movements not only created this country, but have ensured that it live up to its promise that "all men (and women) are created equal and are endowed by their creator with the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

McCain and Palin, whose party has been in power for the last eight years and most of the last forty, have tried to position themselves as agents of change. But in attacking the real agents of change and progress, they have tipped their hand. They will do anything to protect the power of the status quo.

McCain, Palin and their party have adopted the rhetoric of change and reform because they know the American people are dissatisfied with the state of the country after eight years of Republican Party leadership.

Don't be fooled by their rhetoric. Change is nothing more than a marketing tool to McCain and Palin.

If you liked the last eight years, you will love a McCain, Palin administration!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Palin selection raises serious questions about McCain's qualifications!

Today's New York Times editorial concludes that: " Choosing Ms. Palin raises serious questions about Mr. McCain’s qualifications."

It's linked here and worth the read.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Governor Sarah Palin: Iraq Invasion decreed by God

The Huffington Post reports that on June 8, Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) addressed the graduating class of commission students at the Wasilla Assembly of God church. During that address, Palin portrayed the U.S. invasion of Iraq as a quest decreed by God, and said that U.S. soldiers were carrying out “God’s plan”:

" Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending [U.S. soldiers] out on a task that is from God. That’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God’s plan."

During that speech, Palin also promoted a $30-billion natural gas pipeline project, stating, “God’s will has to be done in unifying people and companies to get that gas line built.”

Republican try to hide their Hurricane Katrina failures!

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports today that Republican spokesman are criticizing Barack Obama for continuing to campaign while New Orleans was threatened by Hurricane Gustav.

Do these guys think the American people are that gullible?

When Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf three years ago, Republican President George W. Bush and his appointees ignored the unfolding tragedy while hundreds died on their rooftops and thousands were turned into domestic refugees.

Do the Republican PR flaks really think that by attacking Barack Obama they will make people forget that their presumptive Presidential nominee, John McCain, was safely celebrating his birthday in Arizona with none other than "You're doing a hell of a job Brownie" President George W. Bush while hundreds were dying and 30,000 occupied the Superdome?

Or that the President's mother, Barbara Bush actually declared the Katrina was beneficial when she declared: " What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them."

McCain and his handlers are feigning sensitivity and compassion for the folks in the Gulf Coast because when Katrina hit they exhibited neither.

While some Republican simply ignored the plight of the mainly black and poor victims of Katrina, others, like 10-term Republican Rep. Richard H. Baker from Baton Rouge, celebrated the devastation when he told to a room of lobbyists: "We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn't do it, but God did."

Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), who cynically attempted to use the tragedy to privatize the National Weather Service, went so far as to suggest punishing people who had ignored pre-storm evacuation orders.

The Republican Party's criticism of Barack Obama is a none to transparent attempt to bury their failure to humanely respond when Katrina devastated the people and the Gulf Coast region.

Have they no shame?

McCain VP pick-"worst vetting ever!"

The Washington Monthly's Steve Benen writes that Republican Presidential nominee John McCain's selection of Sarah Palin was the "WORST VETTING EVER."

He writes: "

The Washington Post had an item yesterday quoting multiple McCain campaign aides who insisted that thorough vetting had been done on Sarah Palin. "Nobody was vetted less or more than anyone in the final stages, and John had access to all that information and made the decision," Rick Davis said.

If that's true, John McCain is overseeing the most incompetent political operation in recent memory. These guys had very little idea who Sarah Palin was before putting her on the national Republican ticket.

They've bragged that Palin opposed the famous "Bridge to Nowhere," only to learn that Palin supported the project and even told residents of Ketchikan that they weren't "nowhere" to her.... Likewise, though she cut taxes as mayor of Wassila, she raised the sales tax, making her hardly a tax cutter. [...]

McCain's campaign seemed unaware that she supported a windfalls profits tax on oil companies and that she is more skeptical about human contributions to global warming than McCain is.

They did not know that she took trips as the mayor of Wasilla to beg for earmarks.

They did not know that she told a television interviewer this summer that she did not fully understand what it is that a vice president does.

That last one was just a couple of months old. A 30-second search on Lexis-Nexis would have turned it up.

To reiterate a point from the weekend, the fact that Sarah Palin shouldn't be one heartbeat from leading the free world is obvious, but beside the point. The problem here is that John McCain's judgment is so comically flawed, the prospect of his presidency is starting to become quite literally frightening.

Even cursory vetting would have turned up some of these basic details of Palin's record. Indeed, her career in public office is so brief, this should have been extremely easy for even incompetent researchers. McCain, one assumes, would have demanded extensive background information before making a decision of this magnitude. Except, he didn't.

So, what are we left with here? John McCain met Sarah Palin in person once, for 15 minutes. Months later, he then talked to her on the phone for five minutes. Four days later, without a thorough background check, he invited her to be vice presidential nominee of the Republican Party.

Sensible people of sound mind and character simply don't do things like this. Leaders don't do things like this. Those fundamentally unsuited for the presidency do things like this.