Sunday, August 31, 2008

John & Cindy McCain Says VP Palin Executive Experience Include Leading PTA

This is the most incredible proof yet that Republicans think they can sell people anything if you just repeat it enough, with a smile. During a brief interview with NBC’s Brian Williams, McCain smiled and appeared stunned anyone would think Gov. Sarah Palin didn’t have the experience for the VP position. From the NBC transcript:

“Facts are funny things,” McCain said, adding that she's “been in office longer than” Obama. It's “almost ludicrous to compare her experience with his -- it's no contest.”

Williams followed up and asked, though, if she was the best choice.

“Oh sure,” McCain said, “in every way.” He went on to again cite her “executive experience,” citing Palin's experience as governor, mayor and leader of the PTA.

You heard it right. Executive experience includes heading up the PTA. Add to that the PART TIME Mayoral job in Wasilla, a town of around 8000 people. Here we have the Republican candidates promising to clean up politics, their party's corruption, essentially making a bad ideological system less criminal.

Cindy McCain has those talking points down, and then some (Russia's threat to Alaska).

Arrogant S.O.B. Rudy Giuliani Laughs At Obama Qualifications

So how arrogant is Rudy Giuliani? Enought to laugh in the face of the serious question being raised about the readyness of a vice presidential candidate, Gov. Sarah Palin. Before you watch this A--hole, CBS put it this way:

Speaking on Face The Nation Sunday, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani said that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is more qualified to be president than Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.

“You know why? She had to make decisions. All Senator Obama has had to do is talk. That's all he does.”

Palin, who is 44 years old, has been the governor of Alaska for less than two years. Previously, she served two terms as mayor of the town of Wasilla, Alaska, whose population in 2000 was 5,470.

I can't imagine anyone buying into her qualifications, but just keep in mind: Governors don't write budgets, only sign them into law; and taking on big oil in a big oil state is easy when your holding all the cards (the land to drill on).

Doris Kearns Goodwin, Presidential Historian, Sets McCain Straight on Vice Presidents

Presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin takes on John McCain's mistaken view of the vice presidency. Does this cast a shadow on McCain ability to make the kind of decisions we expect from our president? One shocking stat: 1 out of 3 vice presidents end up taking over as president. Think about it.

I'll let the video do the talkin.'

Republicans Now Love Going After Big Oil Profits? VP Palin Put Them On the Spot

In defense of John McCain's ridiculous VP pick of Gov. Sarah Palin, conservatives are turning against their own, meaning energy campaign supporters and the lobbyists of big oil.

Have you noticed how Republicans love the idea of a Republican, like Palin, going after the major American oil companies so she could tax them. Similar to the Democratic proposal of a windfall profits tax, this IS a profit tax on big oil, something Republicans have denounced and blasted liberals for trying to pass.

So what happens now to the old familiar talking point: "The tax on big oil will only be passed along to the costumer at the pump?" Suddenly, the game has changed, because that's all this has been, a game.

And if you've been wondering about Gov. Palin's approval rating, could it have something to do with giving each Alaskan $1,200 to help them cope with high energy costs as a result of that big oil profit tax?

Bill Maher & Gov. Tim Kaine on McCain's VP Palin Ploy

Bill Maher's back again, this time with his take on V.P. candidate Sarah Palin.

Maher also sits back and lets Gov. Tim Kaine of Virginia get some of the biggest laughs, with the truth.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Gov. Doyle’s Big Oil Tax similar to Republican V.P. darling, Gov. Palin....State Rep. Huebsch, Gundrum, Nass and State Sen. Fitzgerald Speechless?

Wisconsin Democrats, tell me if this doesn’t sound familiar? AP reported:
Shortly after becoming governor in 2006, Gov. Sarah Palin pushed new oil taxes through the Alaska Legislature, saying the taxes proposed by her predecessor, Frank Murkowski, were too favorable to the oil companies. She was bucking Exxon Mobil, BP PLC (BP) and ConocoPhillips, which strongly opposed the legislation. The new tax brought in an estimated $6 billion in the last budget year, bulging Alaska's treasury with an expected surplus of as much as $9 billion. That enabled Palin to push a second initiative - giving each Alaskan $1,200 to help them cope with high energy costs.

Let’s be clear, this was a tax increase by a Republcan Govenor in Alaska. She passed, what state of Wisconsin Republicans referred to as, a tax increase on consumers.
And yet according to Reince Priebus, chairman of Wisconsin Republicans, “She energizes the base beyond the imagination. She brings women to the table. She excites the party. She’s conservative. She’s a hunter.”
How soon they forget. When Gov. Doyle introduced the big oil tax, the Capital Times reported:
Gov. Jim Doyle will propose taxing big oil companies more than $270 million over the next two years to help pay for the state's transportation needs. Doyle said the assessment will equate to $1.50 per barrel of oil sold in the state, and the companies would be prohibited from passing the tax on to customers at the pump by raising the price of gas. A longtime critic of big oil companies' profits, Doyle promised aggressive
enforcement of the provision, with any violation carrying a criminal penalty of up to six months in prison.

But that’s a tax increase. An increase that will be passed along to consumers, right? That's when the crying began:

Senate Minority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said the proposed tax on oil companies is illegal because the state can't stop oil companies from passing on the tax to consumers. Similar assessments on oil companies are in place in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Alaska.

Rep. Mark Gundrum, R-New Berlin, also panned the governor's tax hikes. "At the end of the day it's the average citizen who is paying the tax."

Rep. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, said the deal continues to pay for new spending "through gimmicks, targeted tax increases on vulnerable groups ...!

Big oil a “vulnerable group?”

With massive state budget shortfalls, thanks to the Bush economic disaster, that big oil tax money would have come in handy. Just ask the Alaskan’s who received the $1200 energy rebate generated from big oil tax revenue.

Note: Not surprisingly, Gov. Palin goes down the rabbit hole with her argument against the same tax she got for Alaskans. Palin says a national windfall profits tax on oil companies will hinder domestic energy production. Democrats are expected to be quick to ask: If it's good for Alaska, why isn't it good for the country?

Rove's Control Over Low Information Fox News Viewers Continues With VP Palin Pick

As I mentioned in a previous story on V.P. pick Sarah Palin, experience is now not an issue, due to a long list of repeated talking points and intimidation, in the "down the rabbit hole" world of conservatism. To prove that point again, posted this extraordinary example:

Earlier this month, Karl Rove repeatedly argued that Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D) would not be “capable” of being Vice President. He complained that “he’s been a governor for three years” and said Kaine was mayor of only the “the 105th largest city in America,” referring to Kaine’s tenure as mayor of Richmond, VA. “It’s not a big town,” he quipped.

Yesterday, however, Rove argued just the opposite with regard to Alaska Gov.
Sarah Palin (R). He explained on Fox News that Palin was a good choice as McCain’s vice presidential nominee because she was “mayor of the second largest
city in Alaska

Kaine was indeed mayor of the ‘
the 105th largest city in America.’ While there, he governed nearly 200,000 people and managed a bureaucracy of over 8,000 employees. By contrast, Palin was mayor of Wasilla, AK, a town of just over 8,000 people that currently employs just over 100 individuals and — contrary to Rove’s claim — didn’t even make it into the 10 largest cities in AK while she was mayor.

NOTE: Keep in mind that this misinformation is the eventual firewall that will protect Palin later in the V.P debates and of legitimate criticism or gaffs later on.

VP Palin a Political Ploy, say Stewart & Colbert. News Networks Missed Obvious

It's a political ploy! Am I the only one who can see what John McCain is doing by putting a woman in as his VP choice? I watched the extensive coverage on the major news networks, and not one person stuck to the story that this was a political ploy, a rip-off of the TV series "Commander-in-Chief."

So you can imagine my surprise when the Daily Show and Colbert Report picked up on the VP scam and exposed it for what it is, a political ploy. Gov. Sarah Palin is nothing to the Republican Party but a move on the chess board. Here's a little Colbert and Stewart:

Palin Has More Experience than Obama AND McCain. Next Question Please

Barack Obama has been fighting the "inexperienced" label for nearly a year, and hasn't had much success.

In less than 10 hours, the Republicans have not only claimed that Gov. Sarah Palin has more experienced than Obama (executive experience that is), but have essentially taken the issue off the table. Now that's marketing.

MSNBC's David Schuster did ask one question that unfortunately never got answered, due to Fmr. Rep. Susan Molinar's Republican techinique of talking over the host, and ignoring the tough question. Schuster asked: Since "she has executive experience and Barack Obama doesn't, isn't it also true that she has more executive experience than John McCain?"

Good one David. That should put an end to the discussion, and an end to the lie.

Not quite yet ... as Craig Crawford settled the dispute by saying "I think we just heard 'the experience argument' is now a wash."

There you have it. In less than a half day, the Republicans successfully badgered the press into submission with the most ridiculous argument about "executive experience."

Friday, August 29, 2008

Political YouTube for Cable Viewers-"Elections '08 On Demand"

For guys like me that search and probe new sites for material and video, the cable box in your home is now a possible source. Now, if you can find it, your all set. Here’s the lowdown according to the NY Times:

The channel, called Elections ’08 On Demand, lets people watch videos whenever they want, much the way they can on YouTube or the Web sites of television networks. People can tune into the channel to see an infomercial for Barack Obama, coverage of the Democratic National Convention, or historical clips like Lyndon B. Johnson’s “Daisy” ad.
So far the nascent channel offers only about eight hours of programming. The channel is available by the six partners of Canoe Ventures: Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Cablevision Systems, Charter Communications, Cox Communications and Bright House Networks.

The most polished pieces on Elections ’08 are short documentaries produced by the History Channel. One tells of how Theodore Roosevelt’s third-party run in 1912 earned his party the nickname “Bull Moose”; another spotlights the well-known tank ride by Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis in 1988. There are items about Richard M. Nixon’s Checkers speech, John F. Kennedy’s speech on Catholicism in politics, and Lloyd Bentsen’s line to Dan Quayle in a 1988 vice-presidential debate: “Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.”

Film: Will I Be Next, Exposes Teen Fear of Gun Violence

There’s not much I can say about this short 8 minute student film about senseless gun violence, “Will I Be Next” except, thanks to an activist Supreme Court, we can now all wonder if we’ll be next. Here’s a short description from the Chicago Tribune:

"Gun violence affects me so much that I believe I will be the next person to die," says a teen girl in the short film "Will I Be Next?" The film was produced by Free Spirit Media, a non-profit founded by Illinois native Jeff McCarter, winner of a Chicago/Midwest Emmy for his work in public television.
"Our students have produced quite a number of pieces related to violence, because it's ever present in their lives," McCarter says. "When we ask, 'Who knows someone who has been killed?'—every hand goes up."

Judicial Culture Changing, Money and Politics Corrupt Law. Big Surprise

I am encouraged to see the Government Accountability Board overseeing elections take on the issue of a corrupt election system, as orchestrated by those “law and order” Republicans, where money, politics and muddy waters obscure the judicial election process.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote:

Members of the state's elections watchdog said they would like to find a way to regulate the nasty, anonymous political ads that have cropped up in recent Supreme Court races. Government Accountability Board Chairman Thomas Cane said of the recent round of Supreme Court ads. “It also called into question the
character of judges. . . . One of the concerns you have is, are you going to have judges who are elected because of their political views instead of being independent judges?

“It’s changing the whole (judicial) culture right before my eyes,” said board member Michael Brennan.

What I found laughable was this response from Mr. partisan and right wing crazy WMC Vice President James Buchen, (who)told the board it should refrain from any limits so groups can educate the public about issues as they see fit.”

Is there anyone who thinks these special interest groups are really out to educate the public, or manipulated it?

VP Palin Low Information Supporter Apparently Didn't Know About the Democratic Convention

Here's a response from another Republican "low information" voter on John McCain's VP pick Gov. Sarah Palin. Our country could be in their hands if they succeed in electing McCain. You'll love this. Ed Schulz's response is right on.

McCain VP Pick Palin Same as TV Show "Commander In Chief" Big Thumbs Up From Low Information Voters

Gov. Sarah Palin is the VP pick for John McCain, and this comment from a McCain campaign advisor should be a reference point in some future discussion.

NY Times: Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska? As reports circulated on television and cable networks on Friday morning that Senator John McCain might have selected Ms. Palin as his running mate, McCain advisers expressed bewilderment. One adviser said that while Mr. McCain thinks highly of Ms. Palin, who is opposed to abortion rights and would be welcomed by Christian conservatives, her less than two years in office would undercut one of the McCain campaign’s central criticisms of Senator Barack Obama — that he is too inexperienced to be commander-in-chief.

“While it’s a dramatic and interesting choice, it would make the argument he’s making difficult to make,” said one McCain adviser.

Stranger than TV?: The now defunct television series "Commander-In-Chief" starring Geena Davis was premised on a Republican presidential candidate picking Davis as VP, for political purposes only, to win womens votes.

Were there other more qualified women in the Republican Party? Of course. The bigger question: Is McCain saying that women are interchangable? Experience vs no experience is not an issue for McCain, because she's just another pretty face, a political calculation that is a heart beat away from the presidency.
According to Fox News:

Palin’s presence adds youth to a McCain ticket, but it is her gender that could help sway women, especially the “security moms” who helped President Bush win re-election in 2004, to vote GOP."

Of Palin, former White House political svengali Karl Rove said this morning on Fox News Channel: "It would be a clear sign from the McCain campaign that they were going to be making a very strong bid for the women whom they see up for grabs -- both the traditional, swing independent suburbanites and then the Hillary Clinton supporters who remain disillusioned."

In an interview just a month ago, she dissed the job, saying it didn’t seem “productive.” In fact, she said she doesn’t know what the vice president does. “As for that VP talk all the time, I’ll tell you, I still can’t answer that question until somebody answers for me what is it exactly that the VP does every day?"

Palin appeared in the December 2007 issue of Vogue. A picture here is from that "celebrity" spread.

Obama spokesman Bill Burton seized immediately on the experience issue, saying McCain has put "the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency." A Democratic operative unaffiliated with the Obama campaign dismissed Palin as "Geraldine Quayle." Palin herself has been the subject of a probe involving the firing of her former brother in law, a state trooper who was fighting over child custody with Palin’s sister.

According to the Anchorage Daily News, Alaska Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan has said he felt pressure from the governor’s office to fire the trooper. A Palin aide reportedly raised the governor’s concerns about the trooper in a phone call with Monegan; Palin has put the aide on leave pending a legislative investigation.
A former high school basketball star and beauty queen, Palin has limited experience in elected office: She served for four years as a member of the Wasilla City Council and four more years as the mayor of Wasilla, and she hasn’t yet completed her second full year as governor of Alaska.

She also successfully took on the oil industry, leading to a tax increase on oil company profits that has swelled the state's treasury. Her husband, Todd, is a North Slope oil worker who competes in the Iron Dog, a 1,900-mile snowmobile race. She did a stint as head of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, currently headed by a former oil industry scientist.

No Quarter USA,
an online hub for anti-Obama Hillary supporters, had this comment from Danny in Alaska, a disaffected Hillary Democrat who had pledged not to vote for Obama, on a news post. He called Palin an independent and said a "vote for MCCAIN IS NO LONGER A PROTEST VOTE! I want bumper stickers."

Two senior Republican officials close to Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty said they had both been rudely strung along and now "feel manipulated.""They now know that they were used as decoys, well after McCain had decided not to pick them," one Republican involved in the process said.

Democrats quickly absorbed the Obama talking points. Democratic Sen. Ken Salazar, of Colorado, said it demonstrated a "lack of judgment" on McCain's part.

Even some former Clinton supporters said Palin would not automatically draw disenchanted women voters -- and would face fierce pushback from the Obama campaign over her conservative social views.

"I know Hillary Clinton, and Sarah Palin is no Hillary Clinton," Debbie Wasserman Schultz said in a phone interview with NBC.

MSNBC's Matthews Nails Mike Murphy Over Dumb Comment About Clinton's

I'm beginning to see a pattern here! Hardball's Chris Matthews seems to love calling out the empty rhetoric spewing out of the mouths of Republicans who love to say utter fiction like it's well thought out fact.

This time, it's Republican strategist Mike Murphy, who moronically predicted after Bill Clinton's speech that he and Hillary will actually vote for McCain in the privacy of the voting booth. Matthews couldn't help but force this numskull to put his credibility on the line and say it again. Of course he did say it again because he didn't really have a reputation to lose to begin with.

If only reporters would start asking the same questions of these thugs, and not let them get away with acting like bully blowhard know it alls.

Obama Bio Film Parody

The Daily Show found humor in the Democratic nominating process, and put together this touching Barack Obama bio film, shown prior to his exceptance speech. It would appear their version didn't make the final cut.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hillary Support Groups "PUMA" and "Just Say No Deal" Get Therapy

The support Hillary groups PUMA and Just Say No Deal are back, but this time in a more appropriate venue, getting lampooned on the Daily Show. What can you do with these incessant Hillary Clinton idol worshippers, whiners and political victims of the DNC? Offer them therapy. John Oliver does them justice.

Drill Now and Often ad for Panicky Majority of Knee Jerk Citizens

API Energy has tapped into the U.S. fear of higher gas prices with this ridiculous ad.

Facts are facts, and drilling now will have little effect on prices 15 to 20 years from now, if any. Shameless and classy, API’s show of corporate power should give Americans a good idea who is really calling the shots in Congress, and the show boaters who want a vote now. If you like this ad there’s more at Here's how they are selling the ad:

Americans say “Tap OUR Energy Resources”We need more energy from all sources, including oil and natural gas. But Congress keeps U.S. energy resources off-limits. Americans say it’s time for that to change.

I'm hoping people aren't this stupid.

Republican October Surprise a Recession?

There really isn’t much to add to this, except to say that Republican economics have brought us to this point.

According to Reuters:
The U.S. economy will likely slip into a recession by the end of the year, but the woes in the housing market are close to bottoming out, the top economist for a leading U.S. business group said. "I see possibly a recession by the end of the year, but it will be a relatively short recession and a relatively mild recession," said Martin Regalia, vice president for economic policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

He also said the government's economic stimulus package helped head off a recession during the second and third quarters of this year, but that a second such package would not be worthwhile.

"Some of the problems in the economy are a little more fundamental than consumption." Regalia said he expects moderate third-quarter growth, at a 1 percent annual rate, and zero or slightly negative growth in the fourth quarter.

Hartmann Takes on Sham Statewide Universal Health Care Plans

Air America's Thom Hartmann featured an interview from's Benjamin Day, an action group advocating a single payer health care plan for all.

The problem with state universal health plans: universal coverage written in part by the insurance industry and their inclusion in any plan, eventual capping of enrollment and lack of cost controls.

The solution, again, is single payer health care and the complete removal of the insurance industry as the middleman. Just to confuse us all, and to present an alternative view, here's a recent NY Times Story on the success of the Massachusettes plan, despite escalating costs.

Texans Get What they Wished For: a Fence and Privatized Government. And They Aren't Happy?

Strangely absent from the blogospher are the in depth stories seen on “NOW on PBS.” This shortened story about the construction of our southern border fence presents a couple of ideological issues I’ve stressed here on Democurmudgeon: The conservative preoccupation with illegal immigrants, a problem yes, but the unintended consequences of putting up the fence flies in the face of many Texas Republicans. Homeland Security is not only taking property away, but they’re putting peoples farm acreage and homes on the wrong side of the fence, making access for food and medical care impossible to obtain without searches and access to special border gates.

I also found it interesting how their privatization mantra is suddenly used against them at a time when they want answers from their government. Instead of talking to a government representative, they have to meet with a private firm dealing with public complaints, with no obligation to answer questions or provide help.

It’s an old saying, but it fits this situation. “Be careful of what you wish for.”

Here' how NOW described the program: Congress authorized the Secure Fence Act - a multi-billion dollar plan to build hundreds of miles of fencing along the southern border of the United States to stem the flow of undocumented immigrants and provide security from potential terrorism. But what was built to fight illegal immigration has turned into a nightmare for many Americans living along the U.S.-Mexico border. The fence, which will cover less than half of the actual border, inexplicably cuts through the middle of some properties, while leaving others untouched. Many question if it can keep people from sneaking in at all.

The Food Shortage And How Corporate Greed Has Gamed the System

I saved this clip from a PBS show discussing the world food crisis so long ago, that I can’t recall what show to give attribution to. It’s important to note in this short clip, how much of the food aid dollar is going to supply other countries with U.S. commodities. According to the GAO, two thirds of every dollar spent goes to administrative overhead. The crisis is exacerbated by a system that creates foreign food dependence, while discouraging farming of home grown supplies.

Republicans Continue to Get Press Over Phony Voter Fraud Myth. How About the Facts!

To show how extreme Republicans are about perpetuating the myth of voter fraud, they actually asked the State elections officials to have those who have failed ID checks to cast a provisional ballot. That would have resulted in disenfranchising 22% of the voters who registered but had some mismatch in their driver records.

According to the Wisconsin State Journal, “Many of those matches are likely typos or other problems, such as someone appearing under a name and a nickname - David and Dave, for instance - in different state databases, transposed numbers, missing middle initials.”

The Government Accountability Board rejected the idiotic Republican request
That didn’t stop one party member from issuing this fear laden hyperbolic warning about voter fraud.
"This is really unbelievable — let everyone vote and see what happens," said Bob Spindell, election commissioner for the city of Milwaukee and chairman of the GOP's 4th Congressional District. "This could be the presidency of the United States on the line here."

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel from Feb. 27, 2008,
A Milwaukee police investigation of a badly managed general election in 2004 describes a litany of, well, bad management. The report blames shoddy recordkeeping by city election officials and error-prone poll workers for flaws that allowed illegal and improper voting in 2004. One irony: While the state Republican Party touted the report, investigators found almost no evidence supporting the GOP's claims of double voting and invalid addresses in the election. The report indicates the Election Commission did three separate counts of votes. Each resulted in a different total, none of which matched the official totals reported to the state. In the UWM’s campus area, It found 2,101 ballots cast at the ward but only 1,887 people recorded as voting, part of the unexplained voting gap. Homeless voters: The report notes homeless residents are eligible to vote, but found cases where some are registered in multiple locations.

In the end, U.S. Attorney Steve Biskupic said there had been no findings of widespread fraud. About a dozen cases were pursued, to mixed results. One problem Biskupic cited was the flawed Election Commission records.

An April 12, 2007 NY Times article wrote:
Five years after the Bush administration began a crackdown on voter fraud, the Justice Department has turned up virtually no evidence of any organized effort to skew federal elections, according to court records and interviews. Although Republican activists have repeatedly said fraud is so widespread that it has corrupted the political process and, possibly, cost the party election victories, about 120 people have been charged and 86 convicted as of last year.

Many of those charged by the Justice Department appear to have mistakenly filled out registration forms or misunderstood eligibility rules, a review of court records and interviews with prosecutors and defense lawyers show. In Miami, an assistant United States attorney said many cases there involved what were apparently mistakes by immigrants, not fraud.

Take a look at the above chart. Be affraid, be very affraid.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

22% of Voters Fraudulent, Republicans Surrounded By Evil

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported a few problems with voter information and drivers license information. This brought out the voter fraud sharks, generally frightened Republicans, calling for tossing the bums out.

One in five voters who registered to vote this month do not match driver's license records, state officials said today. Between Aug. 6 and Tuesday, 22% of voters who registered did not match driver records.
So that prompted a call to disqualify 22% of the voters. Fraud apparently is rampant.

“Republicans urged the board to take a harder line to make sure they prevent
fraud. Democrats argued such a stance would prevent legitimate voters from
casting ballots.

It’s so simple to these knuckleheads. If the records don’t match, you don’t get to vote. It’s like living in a perfect world where nothing can ever go wrong: the Republican economy, the Iraq war, Cheney’s energy plan, deregulation and health care. Oh sure, Wisconsin Republicans might have been told that:

“Many of those matches are likely typos or other problems, such as someone
appearing under a name and a nickname - David and Dave, for instance - in
different state databases, transposed numbers, missing middle initials.”

but that’s not the point. You should have anticipated the database problems by getting a state ID. Fortunately, smarter heads prevailed.

The Government Accountability Board couldn't agree on what to do about voters
whose information doesn't match other records, and so decided, 5-1, not to
require voters to show ID at the polls if they don't correct that information.
Creating Wisconsin's voter database faced significant delays and wasn't fully
functional until earlier this month.

It’s funny the GOP wants smaller government and no gun owner data base, but salivate over a public data base where everyone’s personal information can be tapped instantly by Homeland Security without a warrant. Why am I trying to make sense out of all this? Maybe they just want to drive us crazy with inconsistencies?

Voter fraud lives on to thwart the poor and picked on Republican Party again.

McCain Sells War in "Tiny" ad Pulling Obama Words Out of Context

According to the Washington Post:

Sen. John McCain's campaign unveiled a new attack ad questioning Sen. Barack Obama's (D-Ill.) foreign policy credentials, which starts today on national cable, in Denver and in scattered markets throughout the country.

The ad, which takes selected phrases from remarks the presumptive Democratic nominee made on May 18 in Pendelton, Ore., implies that Obama doesn't take Iran seriously.
"Iran. Radical Islamic government. Known sponsors of terrorism," the narrator intones. "Developing nuclear capabilities to 'generate power' but threatening to eliminate Israel." "Obama says Iran is a 'tiny' country, 'doesn't pose a serious threat,'" he continues. "Terrorism, destroying Israel, those aren't 'serious threats'? Obama -- dangerously unprepared to be president."

The ad clearly takes what Obama was saying out of context, since the Democrat was not addressing Iran's policy on Israel or nuclear weapons when made the comments. Instead, he was defending his controversial proposal to personally meet with Iran's leaders, comparing the situation to how President Kennedy met with then-Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev during the height of the Cold War.

Obama said at the time, "I mean think about it. Iran, Cuba, Venezuela -- these countries are tiny compared to the Soviet Union. They don't pose a serious threat to us the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us. And yet we were willing to talk to the Soviet Union at the time when they were saying we're going to wipe you off the planet."

Liberals are already criticizing the commercial as unfounded: Ilan Goldenberg, policy director of the National Security Network, posted a blog entry on his group's website noting that McCain has spoken of bombing Iran and taking a more confrontational approach to Russia.
"I think it's time to take the gloves off and paint McCain as the reckless and dangerous overeager warrior that he is," Goldenberg wrote.

The Obama campaign responded with a "a fact check of the false claims" in the ad.

Sadly, Obama doesn't counter with equally effective ads. His fact check of false claims video are boring and a weak response.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Ousted Wisconsin Clinton Delegate “in campaign just for me” in New McCain Ad

I’ve been following the former Clinton delegate and now McCain idol worshiper Debra Bartoshevich for some time now, and it came as no surprise the John McCain campaign convinced her to do an ad. She did a good job too. Give it to McCain, they are proactive and in it to win, no holds barred. It looks like Debra answered Hillary Clinton’s question, “Were you in the campaign just for me?”

From the Nation Magazine and the Capital Times, John Nichols wrote:
McCain campaign is touting the decision of Debra Bartoshevich, an ousted Wisconsin delegate, to jump across the partisan line.

A new McCain advertisement, coming just after one that highlights Clinton's primary season criticisms of Obama, features Bartoshevich.

Here's the script of the 30-second ad, which will air in battleground states -- including, presumably, Wisconsin:

DEBRA BARTOSHEVICH: I'm a proud Hillary Clinton Democrat. She had the experience and judgment to be president. Now, in a first for me, I'm supporting a Republican, John McCain.
I respect his maverick and independent streak, and now he's the one with the experience and judgment. A lot of Democrats will vote McCain. It's OK, really!

WMC's Buchen Is Partisan, But Doesn't Really Know It?

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce's (WMC) VP for Government Relations (lobbyist), James Buchen, acted surprised and a little sarcastic on a recent WPR morning show appearance. Outgoing U.W. Chancellor John Wiley said, "..WMC has been taken hostage by partisan ideologues," in the most recent issue of Madison Magazine. Listen to his feigned innocence and then read the following post I made about an editorial he wrote with every Republican cliche you can think of.

WMC’s Buchen isn’t shy about expressing his elitist arrogance toward the people of this state and the ruthless corporate lust for power. His recent comment in the Wisconsin State Journal provides a glimpse into the ethically bankrupt mind of the man leading Wisconsin’s business leaders. Keep in mind; he is the VP of an organization whose members have millions to spend swaying the courts and legislative races in the state.

Buchen feels picked on by “an organized campaign involving misinformation, intimidation and threats of boycott.” After buying the last two Wisconsin Supreme Court Justices with misinformation and public intimidation, this statement is absurdly hypocritical. What other way does the public have to “speak to power” except through a boycott of their businesses? The power of money, withholding consumer spending, can come back to bite them.

Buchen falsely believes that his stereotypical list of bogymen i.e. unions, politicos and interest groups are out to get them. Sorry James, I’m unaffiliated, as are all the other citizens voicing their opinions in the daily papers and in blogs.

Buchen has contempt for liberals (which means he has a neo-conservative vision of a corporate state) with statements like, “…this faction has failed to convince the public to embrace its liberal agenda…Alice in Wonderland world of Madison politics … no room for (a) policy perspective that strays from liberal orthodoxy … true and correct policy perspective of WEAC … committed to ensuring that the public debate (is) not reduced to a monologue of left wing rhetoric.”

How can Buchen represent all corporate interests if he has such contempt for anything that is; Liberal, left wing, WEAC and Madison politics. As I recall, the Republican Party had right wing control of evil “Madison” and it's state capital for some time. Ah, those were the days.

Buchen still hasn’t connected the dots between the last 14 years of deregulation and free trade agreements to the Republican rule in Congress, and with a little help of our own state legislature. Buchen states, “Our economy sags and we continue to bleed manufacturing jobs

Democratic Quandary: How Hard Do We Attack McCain. Democurmudgeon Quandry: Are they Kidding? 3 A.M. ad Again

Democrats bickered among themselves Tuesday about how hard to attack John McCain.

Am I hallucinating? The floundering Democrats are trying to figure out how hard they should attack McCain?

All the while McCain is asking “how” many attack ads can I put out in one week to draw attention away from the Denver conference. Oh, you will like the new one.

According to CBS/AP:

Republicans brought out a new ad pointedly invoking her past criticism that Obama wasn't ready to lead. McCain's latest TV ad played reprises her primary campaign spot featuring sleeping children and a 3 a.m. phone call portending a crisis. In the new ad Clinton is shown saying: "I know Sen. McCain has a lifetime of experience that he will bring to the White House. And, Sen. Obama has a speech he gave in 2002."

Obama Death Threat In Denver...Never Mind? says U.S. Attorney

Was there a threat to Sen. Barack Obama in Denver? Apparently not, despite the included facts here in this AP story that seem to contradict the lowered charges.
Three men who authorities initially feared were plotting to assassinate Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention are facing only gun charges — signaling they never posed a real threat, (and will not be) charged with making threatening statements, conspiracy or other national security-related crimes. One of the men was arrested near Denver with two rifles, ammunition, walkie-talkies and suspected drugs. Federal officials say two other men and a woman were apprehended a few hours later.

Incredibly, the U.S. Attorney made this statement: "We're absolutely confident there is no credible threat to the candidate, the Democratic National Convention, or the people of Colorado."

After all, this was a threat to a traitorous liberal left wing Democrat, right? It gets worse.

One of the men arrested told a TV station in Denver that others involved in the case had made racist statements regarding Obama and had discussed killing Obama on the day of the speech. When asked if he felt there was a plot to kill Obama, Nathan Johnson said, "Looking back at it, I don't want to say yes, but I don't want to say no." Johnson was interviewed while being held in jail on felony drug possession. Three senior FBI officials said it's unclear whether any of them were serious about carrying out threats. A fourth federal official familiar with the investigation said an assassination attempt was unlikely. "The capability and their opportunity and what they had for their weaponry — I don't see that they would have been able to carry it out.” 33-year-old Shawn Robert Adolf had a handcuff key in one hand and a swastika ring on the other when he was arrested, a senior FBI official said.

So “an attempt was unlikely,”I don’t see how they would have carried it out,” suspect Robert Adolf’s swastika ring and the fact they discussed killing Obama aren’t reasons enough to suspect them of an attempted assassination?

For a government that arrested street bums for terrorist threats, they don’t seem to concerned about a death threat to Barack Obama in Denver? I can see now the justice department isn’t at all politicized.

McCain POW Gibberish on Jay Leno Explains Lost House Count

This is one of the most shameless performances yet by Mr. Desperation himself, John McCain, who is willing to say and do anything to get into the White House.

Jay Leno did ask McCain how many houses he had, and got this disjointed response:

McCain: "I've been five and a half years in a prison cell, I didn't have a house, I didn't have a kitchen table, I didn't have a chair. And I spent those five and a half years, not because I wanted to get a house when I got out...You know I'm very proud of Cindy's father..."

He never made sense. It would be interesting if someone forced him to honestly answer the question again, but after all, this is Leno.

The Easy Corporate Answer: Alien Work Force Waiting at Our Shores

After reading “The View from India,” an article at, my suspicions about the intentions of the corporate elite were answered. It’s a revealing story about outsourcing Indian workers INTO the U.S., for the growing IT market. Here are some interesting passages:

The people reaping the really big profits in India (not the employees themselves, but their bosses) are no fools. They know that the U.S. is a democracy, and that an election is right around the corner. Are they afraid that working Americans will assert themselves at the polls, and elect candidates who might attempt to rein in the permanent elimination of American jobs through outsourcing? Apparently not. They know how our political system works, and that our ruling elites have no intention whatsoever of standing in the way of globalization. But they’ve expressed resentment that when hired as consultants inside the U.S., they sometimes have no choice but to hire American workers for American jobs.

As, an Indian site reports, the IT industry in India isn’t worried about major shakeups, only “protectionist hiccups”—the usual little bumps on the road. Still there aren’t enough H1B visas (which allow alien workers to come into the U.S. and compete with Americans for jobs) to completely suit the outsourcers’ wishes. This is cause for some concern. Here’s a direct quote:

“Last year, out of every three (H1B) visas applied for by a company, only one was issued. This year also the ratio was the same. The professional visa would have taken care of this irritant [sic!],” said Nasscom chairman Ganesh Natarajan. This visa restriction has forced IT firms to hire more American workers for onsite jobs. This pushes up their labour cost.

Clearer words are rarely spoken. To Indian outsourcing pros, the need to hire Americans in America is an “irritant” that pushes up costs. Some firms have resorted to drastic measures: Indian readers are probably shaking their heads at the unfairness of it all. Visa rules in the U.S. may become too “restrictive.” So Indian firms may be forced to resort to extreme measures in order to “protect” themselves—like hiring a few Americans to do the jobs that have, unfortunately, remained in the United States.

The next time you hear a story about increasing visa quotas, remember this story and the impact of the corporate “easy answer” to their problems.

Note: Thanks to carriesnation for finding

Monday, August 25, 2008

We’re Spending More On Health Care Because We’re All Richer Now?

I’ve written a lot about health care, believing that if we solve this one problem, we will free up incredible amounts of money and advance a new age of entrepreneurship. We won’t have to worry about starting a new business and losing our current health care plan through our employer. Costs will be held down dramatically through a national buying plan, and people will forgo huge insurance bills for long term care and costly riders. Spreading the costs with everyone, healthy and sick, will finally realize the true nature of insurance.

So imagine my surprise when a Nobel Prize winning economist told a German crowd (one that enjoys a national health plan) that the increased spending on health care in the U.S. isn't pricing people out of health care but enticing them to spend more, because people are getting richer. A strange concept when actual buying power has gone down for the majority of Americans. But in Robert Fogel's world, rising medical costs is good thing. The Wall Street Journal continues it’s downward slide with this.

82 year old Robert Fogel, a Nobel Prize winning economist from the University of Chicago, says rising spending on health care in developed countries reflects rising income of consumers with strong appetites for health care and squelching that demand ought not to be a primary goal of governments.Predicting that health care spending is likely to rise from roughly 15% of gross domestic product today to between 21% and 29%, Fogel argued: “As people get richer, they want to spend a larger share of their income on health. Is that bad? Should such a development be
arrested? Should government seek to thwart consumer demand for health care?” he asked. His answer: No! “Public policy ought not be aimed at depressing demand
for health.”

He noted that Americans in 1875 spent 74% of the income of food, clothing, shelter and consumer durables. Today, thanks in part to rising incomes and rising productivity in the production of those necessities, such spending accounts for only 13% of American incomes. The result has been a rising share of income devoted to leisure — including working fewer hours than earlier generations did — and to health. Health care spending, which accounted for just 1% of consumers’ incomes in 1875, today accounts for about 9%, he said.

Who is Fogel talking about when he says were working fewer hours and devoting more time to leisure?

Fogel only makes sense when he includes this caveat: “Pressure to restrain costs comes from employers and governments who pay the bill. The solution is to offer a universal package of basic-health care services and then require consumers to pay for additional services — including private hospital rooms, shorter waiting times, expensive elective surgery, he said. “There are large luxury aspects to health care that are not necessary for basic health….Rich countries want a lot of convenience with their health care.”

Except for paying for shorter waiting times (crazy), I can see holding the line on costs by putting some of his idea’s into play, but only after all attempts to hold down costs have failed. And as a last resort.

He then goes crazy again with this:

He predicted that developed countries will move to private health-care accounts funded by forced savings, i.e. contributions that workers are required to make.

Like health savings accounts? It’s not a solution. I have one, and each year, the price goes up $1200. Forever. I also don’t put money into the account because I can’t afford it.
The answer again is simple: a single payer system.

Jon Stewart Must Have Been Reading My Mind About News Networks

It might be just a comedy show, but Daily Show host Jon Stewart has done more to criticize and “show up” the major news networks in 30 minutes than anyone in recent memory.
The Daily Show makes it look easy to just pull clips from archived news stories and juxtapose them with current clips to show the hypocrisy of politics, something CNN, MSNBC, CBS and ABC forgot to do with this amazing new technology called digital video. Stewart single handedly brought down CNN’s Crossfire after making an appearance and blasting both Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson, calling the show a train wreck.

So you’ve got to love Stewart’s latest left hook.

Howard Kurtz wrote this in an article about recent comments from Jon Stewart:
Jon Stewart ripped the cable news networks Monday as a "brutish, slow-witted beast" and castigated Fox News as "an appendage of the Republican Party." The "Daily Show" host told reporters that Fox's fair-and-balanced slogan is "(expletive) you to people with brains" and that only "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace "saves that network from slapping on a bumper sticker . . . Barack Obama could cure cancer and they'd figure out a way to frame it as an economic disaster." "I'm stunned to see Karl Rove on a news network as an analyst," he said of the Bush White House aide-turned Fox commentator.”
Thanks Jon, for say it for most of us (excluding Republicans).

McCain Misses Irony In Scorched Earth Campaign appearance On Jay Leno to Call Obama A Celebrity

Sometimes NPR just isn't thinking. Just listen to this brief story about the Democratic National convention in Denver, and how John McCain is going to take advantage of the media coverage to paint Obama as a celebrity, on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Ironic?

Fox News Angers Denver Crowd with "Do you not believe in Free speech" and Tries to Incite Riot

Here's is our first classic video moment from the Democratic convention in Denver, thanks to the rantings of a Fox News reporter and his attempt to induce a riot. But first Glen Greenwald makes this sad observation about our now distorted political system, resulting from the last eight years of a corrupt Republican Congress and a lawless Bush administration. Strangely, former Clinton pollster Mark Penn unintentionally confirms our biggest fear...

Glen Greenwald at

Writing in a New York Times blog yesterday, Clinton pollster Mark Penn hails the selection of Joe Biden as "a smart and successful choice" and says this:
From Al Gore on, the role of the vice president seems to have fundamentally
changed. It used to be where the winner parked the loser or some other figure
that he wanted to neutralize. Now, with the centralization of government power in the White House, the vice president has become essentially a Cabinet head. Indeed, the last two vice presidents have had real portfolios and responsibilities, second only to the president.

That we live in a country characterized by "the centralization of government power in the White House" -- exactly what the Constitution was designed to prevent -- is now so self-evident that it's not even debated or contested any longer. A virtually omnipotent President is just an assumed fact of American political life, and the reason that there is such a fixation on the personality and "character" traits of the presidential candidates is because Our President is now, in essence, our Emperor, empowered unilaterally to do everything from attacking other countries to acting outside of and above the law. As Penn's analysis illustrates, our political establishment isn't bothered by that at all, but instead, just tacitly accepts it as the natural and desired state of things.

Fox News tries to create some trite, inane, melodramatic storyline to feed their mindless viewers -- "The Angry Radical Far Left is in Denver!" -- and the "reporter" they sent, Griff Jenkins, receives a less than respectful welcome:

Florida and Michigan Vote Restored! Well Worth the Whining?

I proudly never got into the Michigan/Florida delegate vote discussion. It was such an incredible waste of time and controled from the powers within. Voters replaced the issues facing this country with an endless stream of whining, on blogs, radio and television, from Democrats sounding oddly similar to the right wing zanies. So what ended up happening?

Washington Post: The Democratic National Committee's Rules and Bylaws Committee today voted to restore full voting rights to the convention delegates from Florida and Michigan, capping a tumultuous year that saw them stripped of all voting rights, then awarded a half a vote each, only to be forgiven on the eve of the party's national convention.

You can argue that without the public protest, these voters might never have been reinstated, but I personally don't buy into that.

The bottom line: after all the talk ... never mind.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Barack in A Box one of Obama Art Contest Finalist

I thought this was an interesting diversion.

"Here are the 31 finalists, chosen from over 1000 pieces of art submitted to the Manifest Hope Gallery Contest by members and other grassroots artists. These artists have volunteered their time and their incredible talents to help spread the word about Barack Obama and the inspirational themes of his candidacy. The five winners are on display this week at the Manifest Hope Gallery in Denver." Heather Courtney came up with this Barack in a Box.

Hey Democrats, Start Marketing and Stop Congratulating Yourselves

What the hell are the Democrats doing right now? McCain is smoking with positioning ads showing Joe Biden calling into question Obama's readiness, and asking why Clinton was passed over for the VP spot, all within the first few moments of the VP announcement. It was an immediate and powerful response by the McCain camp. I've seen nothing from Obama.

McCain's web site lays out a simple page filled with every ad they've run so far. Obama's does not.

Again, what the hell is wrong with the Democratic marketing machine? No message, no response and no clue.

Democrats Hand McCain Additional Material to Win Presidency with "Pass Over" ad

We all knew it was coming when we saw the Democratic candidates in the primary act and say things like Republicans in criticizing their fellow party members. Magically, the golden moments of liberal political stupidity have now turned up again, in John McCain’s campaign ad for president.

Keep in mind, these ads appeal to low information voters, and work amazingly well. According to the Washington Post:

A new television ad by Sen. John McCain aims to tap into anger at Sen. Barack Obama among the legions of Hillary Clinton supporters by suggesting that the Democratic nominee dissed his one-time rival. Erasing any doubt that McCain has his sights set on Clinton voters, the new ad uses Clinton's own words to suggest that Obama passed her over because of the tough campaign she waged.
The ad is titled "Passed Over." "She won millions of votes. But isn't on his
ticket," an announcer says. "Why? For speaking the truth."

‘Nuff said.

According to the Washington Post: In a media availability with reporters following the breakfast, Clinton reiterated her opposition to McCain's ads."I don't appreciate having my name or my words or for that matter Sen. Biden's words used. There's nothing I can do about it, except speak out against it, and hope people won't give it any credence."
"If you voted for me, you have much more in common with Senator Obama on every issue I campaigned on, on every cause that I have stood for, than you do with Senator McCain," she said when asked what she thought of her former supporters considering a McCain vote.

Wisconsin Family Values Party Chair Donald Fleischman Plea’s in Child Enticement Case. Was He Just Lending Hand to Runaways?

Another smarmy Republican, county Chairman Donald Fleischman, reflected the deep conservative commitment to recruit early and often-with sex.

According to AP:

A plea deal is in the works for the former chairman of the Brown County Republican Party, Thirty-eight-year-old Donald Fleischman, who's accused of child enticement..

Prosecutors say police went to Fleischman's home in 2006 looking for two runaways. Police say they found a 16-year-old boy hiding in a closet in his underwear and a T-shirt, and he claimed Fleischman gave him beer and marijuana. The case led the state GOP to decertify the county party.

Surprisingly, this story has received almost no press?

That’s right, the liberal media would never think of going after a Republican for child enticement when it had an opportunity like this to make a point.


Why Do Democrats Praise John McCain? And Why Does Liberal Madison Wisconsin Only Have a Conservative Newspaper?

In the Forum section of the Sunday Wisconsin State Journal, a topic is normally presented by two opposing viewpoints. Not this time. In a state where Barack Obama leads McCain by a 7 to 14 points, the State Journal decided to present only the pro-McCain point of view with this leading headline, "Shoo-in? Not so fast; McCain, not Obama, may be best bet in Wisconsin."

The column was written by Chris Lato, former communications director of the Republican Party of Wisconsin. He is also a right wing extremist of the first order.

Oddly, there was no Democratic perspective included. It was no accident. Pretending balance would take up too much paper. I would assume that shortly after McCain is sworn in as president, and the country continues the current failed economic policies, there will be the typical media mea culpa for not being as critical as it could have been to John McCain.

The Democrats have been winners by default, taking control of Congress only after the Republicans screwed things up, thinking they had a public mandate due to some imagined agenda people were made aware of somehow. Sorry, there was never a clear Democratic message or vision simply presented to the American voters. And when Democrats had an opportunity to define the differences between themselves and Republican ideologues, they soft peddled their opponents deficiencies with complements and compromise. Oh yea, that's called reaching across the isle.

No wonder Democrats look weak and undecided. Take for instance the pathetic performance from politicians who should know better. In McCain's case, there must have been some unwritten rule that before you criticized him, Democrats were obligated to praise is military service, paint him as a POW hero and use the word maverick.

The McCain campaign took notice and are now politely honoring those Democrats with this ad:

Instead of the Republican Party being on the endangered species list, it's the Democrats who can't even capitalize on what could be another great depression.

Good night, and good luck.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Losing Credibility: AP's Conservative Bias Takes Down Old Reliable

I don't like borrowing heavily from other web sites or blogs, but this story was just to important to pass up. I recently noticed a blatant conservative bias in an AP story appearing in my own daily paper, the Wisconsin State Journal, that prompted me to call and talk with the editor of the local section. She informed me they did not alter the story in any way, printing it as is from their paid wire service AP. And because there are fewer editors to over see every story, reprinting AP stories is now more the norm than the exception. The editor was also unfamiliar with the new ultra conservative AP DC bureau Chief John Fournier.

Being a news junky myself, I started to notice a strong conservative bias in AP stories over the last few months, peaking when AP sued a blogger for reprinting elements of their stories and posting them, like I do here. It was then that noticed the same thing, and featured a number of examples, the same examples that stood out in my research. Here's the latest from that should end all speculation:

We learned last month that the Associated Press’ DC bureau Chief John Fournier is a huge fan of Karl Rove and the Bush administration and considered taking a job with the McCain campaign so when he stepped up to the plate for the GOP candidate this morning, it came as little surprise. The headline of his article says it all:Analysis: Biden pick shows lack of confidence By RON FOURNIER, Associated Press Writer:
The candidate of change went with the status quo. In picking Sen. Joe Biden to be his running mate, Barack Obama sought to shore up his weakness — inexperience in office and on foreign policy — rather than underscore his strength as a new-generation candidate defying political conventions.

He picked a 35-year veteran of the Senate — the ultimate insider — rather than a candidate from outside Washington, such as Govs. Tim Kaine of Virginia or Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas; or from outside his party, such as Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska; or from outside the mostly white male club of vice presidential candidates. Hillary Rodham Clinton didn't even make his short list.

The picks say something profound about Obama: For all his self-confidence, the 47-year-old Illinois senator worried that he couldn't beat Republican John McCain without help from a seasoned politician willing to attack. The Biden pick is the next logistical step in an Obama campaign that has become more negative — a strategic decision that may be necessary but threatens to run counter to his image.

I know, it's really is incredibly biased. Check out more here...

Who's an Elitist? McCain or Obama?

Thanks to Mike's Blog at for turning me on to this thoughtfully written site I've included their take on elitism in this country. A word wrongly used against Barack Obama in an attempt to redefine it's meaning by the Republican spinmeisters.

Elitism: Cultural or Financial? Straight Talk on McCain’s Out-of-Touch, Warped Understanding of the Economy

Republicans have been banking on the “elitist” label to tar intelligent liberals as “out-of-touch” for at least the past eight years… to the detriment of the Republic. The trick was to link intelligence and deep policy thinking to higher education, and let higher education stand as a proxy for (1) the hated university professor and (2) the money to pay for higher education, drawing on both ideological and class divides. Let Rush Limbaugh do the rest.

Somewhere along the way, though, the term lost touch with its original meaning: “elitism” was, originally, only offensive insofar as it connoted entitlement, and removal from reality. But the “financial” aspect of elitism dropped out somewhere in the Bush years, leaving “elitism” as a purely cultural theme, attributable only to intelligent liberals, confounding its original pejorative nature. Knowledge earned through hard work is hardly elitist; it’s in line with the American ideal of the self-made individual.

Now, talking down to someone who’s lost their house? Misunderstanding the troubles of those with less than 1/1000th of your net worth? Blaming individuals for a market problem? That’s elitist, out of touch, and condescending.

Read on....

Bush, Still Stupid, Blames Democrats Again for High Gas Prices Despite Real Cause: Dollars Value

Another Saturday morning presidential address, another load of bullshit. Reality stepped to the fore in the form of two news stories that offered a glimpse into the real reasons for the high gas prices at the pump.

And it doesn’t take a genius to figure this one out either. The “secrets” out. According to AP:

Oil prices tumbled more than $6 a barrel Friday - the biggest one-day
percentage plunge in nearly four years - after a rebounding dollar and a Russian troop pullback in Georgia sparked another frenzied sell-off. (It) reaffirmed the belief that high energy prices are still cutting into consumer demand for fossil fuels in the U.S. and overseas.

Oil plunged on a rebounding dollar, which had been devalued due to the Bush economic meltdown. When the threats to oil producing countries like Russia subside, the price goes down. Another words, a stronger U.S. economy and a less threatening foreign policy produces a cheaper barrel of oil, with both issues controlled by the numbskull in the oval office. But wait, is there another reason…?
President Bush on Saturday blamed the Democratic-led Congress for the high cost of gasoline and renewed his call for expanded offshore drilling to increase U.S. oil supplies. "They've (Democrats) failed to address the challenge of high gas prices," the president said. "They need to send me a bill next month that I can sign so we can bring relief to drivers, small business owners, farmers and ranchers and every American affected by high prices at the pump." Bush said in his weekly radio address.

No Mr. Bush, just stop threatening other oil producing countries and strengthen the U.S. economy, so we can lower the price of gas at the pump. It wouldn’t hurt to act like an adult and take personal responsibility for the current high prices.

Shifting blame is so…Republican.

Obama Picks Biden

I'm off to bed, but I thought I'd pass this quick important note along from the Washington Post: Barack Obama has chosen Delaware Sen. Joe Biden as his vice presidential running mate, a pick designed to shore up the Illinois senator's foreign policy credentials in advance of the November election against John McCain.

Biden was first elected to the Senate in 1972 at the age of 29. A month after his election, his wife and daughter were killed in a car accident. Biden has not been seriously challenged since that first election -- a reflection of both the Democratic roots of the state and Biden's skillfulness as a politician.
For Obama, the Biden pick is a sign that he and his campaign believe that foreign policy matters will be front and center in the fall election. Biden brings the Democratic ticket immediate gravitas on issues ranging from the war in Iraq to the ongoing conflict between Russia and Georgia.

McCain Hits Celebrity Issue Hard Again, Next Week "Maybe" Economic Plan if there's Time

John McCain is at it again with all the celebrity talk. The only reason I'm posting this, is because it is so laughably pathetic, and it will have to do until something funnier comes along. Like when the Daily Show and Colbert come back next week. Oh yea, the wealthy are going to pay higher taxes if Obama's elected president. I suppose we should feel sorry for them?

FDR Warning about Republicans Should Inspire Democrats Today

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, often referred to by his initials FDR, was the thirty-second President of the United States. Elected to four terms in office, he served from 1933 to 1945. He also ran into the Republican tactic of name calling and division as he helped the nation through the Great Depression. After watching a PBS special on the photographic history of that time, it occured to me that the money interests allowed the country to plunge into that abyss, and lashed out a FDR for trying to help.

FDR came back with this recorded comeback. "A few timid people, who fear progress..."

Don't you wish the Democratic Party would have the courage to say what most people are thinking in the way FDR did?

Olberman gives Republican House Candidate John Gard, Worst Person Award

Wisconsin's John Gard, former state Assembly leader, was the featured idiot in a recent post here ripping into his second run for Congress. Little did I know that Countdown with Keith Olberman had given him a worst person award for the same inane campaign ad at the same time. We even used the same kicker. Just thought I'd give Olberman equal billing here. Enjoy.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Is Rep. Mark Pocan Afraid to take Stand Against Republican School Yard Bullies?

How wrong can the Wisconsin State Journal get it? In its opening paragraph, they frame the conflict between the UW system and the Republican State Legislature as something that has apparently been “reopened.”

In an incendiary parting shot, outgoing UW-Madison Chancellor John Wiley reopened a feud with conservatives in and out of the Capitol by accusing the state's largest business lobby of undermining support for the school in the Legislature.

The Republican public education wrecking crew has never once let up in its assault on the UW. Instead of giving our parting Chancellor John Wiley credit for taking on these partisan thugs, the State Journal paints him as disgruntled.

Wiley's essay in the September 2008 issue of Madison Magazine criticized
Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce for pursuing policies he said limited the flagship public school's growth and presented the biggest roadblock to the state's economic success. "
Our politics has become poisonous swill, and the most influential voice for the business community has been taken hostage by partisan ideologues," he wrote.

It’s all true. In what could be a thriving nationally acclaimed state college “business” with expanding student body enrollments, what we get instead is a Republican legislature that keeps cutting funding and penalizing the system for a few employee problems.

So what do you do about the “school yard bullies” threatening to take away more UW funding, along with plans to break the system up?

According to Democrat Rep. Mark Pocan comments to the State Journal, you leave them alone and let them continue bad mouth the chancellor and “liberal instructors.”

Instead of defining and framing them as the opponents of public education, he would rather let them reinforce the negative stereotype of public higher education. At a time when the outgoing chancellor needs the power of our Democratic leaders to stand behind him in his moment of truth, he gets blamed for angering and challenging the bullies to defend their position.
"This will lead to (conservatives) going on to new university bashing rather than them taking it to heart," said Rep. Mark Pocan, a member of the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee who agrees with the substance of Wiley's remarks. "Sometimes we need to be as smart with who delivers the message as we are with the message itself."

I spoke with Mark about his comments with the State Journal. He reminded me that much of what he told them never made it into the article, and what did, came across a bit weak. What he did tell me : He has been one of the more outspoken defenders of the U.W. system and has done his best not to let the school yard bully get away with the unrelenting attacks on intellectualism. For proof, he provided me this link, and restored my faith to some extent. Still, despite Rep. Pocan's gut feel that John Wiley should stay out of the fight, he's now in the ring, and has provided an opportune moment to define and position the radical right wings agenda to the voting public.

Unfortunately it’s left up to Wiley to defend himself, while the weak kneed Democrats cower in the shadow of the knuckle dragging Republicans and their friendly lobbyist, WMC.

Wiley defended his commentary. "They've (WMC) become for all practical purposes a partisan political lobbying organization instead of a strategically focused business organization," he said.

Jim Pugh, a spokesman for WMC, called Wiley an "excellent" chancellor but said the business group was a "strong supporter of the University of Wisconsin." "We're somewhat mystified by his comments," Pugh said. "They're somewhat uncharacteristic for an outgoing University of Wisconsin chancellor."

And that my friend is a total lie. WMC would love to see tech schools flourish while dismantling the U.W. System. WMC has already poisoned the press coverage of the business climate in the state.

One of the biggest opponents of the U.W., Rep. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, chairman of the Assembly Higher Education Committee, has attempted to blackmail the UW to do his bidding, or else. Think I’m exaggerating? Here’s his “bully” response to Wiley’s comments:

Mike Mikalsen, an aide to Nass, called Wiley an "arrogant elitist" and said
the essay could affect (the new Chancellor Biddy) Martin's relations
with the Legislature. "It's John Wiley stealing the thunder of Biddy Martin, who should have this honeymoon period as she tries to lay out her agenda," Mikalsen said. "What this unfortunately does is it changes the dynamics of what people are going to be talking about."

Don’t you just love the stern authoritarian father figure response from this snake?

(According to) Todd Berry, president of the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, "However you slice it, they've had no real increases in funding from fiscal (year) 2001 to fiscal (year) 2007 and in real terms it's been a decline," Berry said.

Thank god we have a few supporters of the tired old idea of a college educated society, like Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, who “defended Wiley's comments, saying the business lobby's calls for tax cuts hurt programs like higher education."

Some lawmakers, he said, are "hell-bent" to hurt the university. WMC's had their blinders on that the only way to improve the economy is to hand out tax cuts to businesses, which means you have to cut funding elsewhere." Gov. Jim Doyle also defended Wiley. "I have great respect for John Wiley and the job he did at the university, and I agree that extreme ideologies are not the way to move Wisconsin forward."

It’s time to take back the playground from the Republican school yard bullies, and define and clearly identify their destructive behavior as aggressively as possible.