Friday, October 31, 2008
God (any God will do) help us all.
Oh my god, are we talking about voter suppression at home?
That puts them in the drivers seat. If there is no one to turn to, because no one can be trusted, citizen insecurity will produce a compliant populace. Wasn't that easy?
In the video clip below, the Daily Show takes a look at ACORN and its Republican detractors, and a CBS report on ACORN and the Republican unsupported rhetoric over voter fraud (registration fraud really).
But there’s one big problem: If people don’t trust government (and want to make it smaller), who’s going to make things better? Can we ask business, the ones who created this crisis, or rely on our vilified and incompetent government to rescue our country? Sorry, there are only two choices, unless you think we should all just fend for ourselves. The following researcher from the University of Wisconsin looked into these very questions.
UW Badger Poll on health care and the economy
Katherine Cramer Walsh, a University of Wisconsin-Madison political science professor, an expert in how people form political opinions, has spent some of her time the last 18 months traveling the state and listening to Wisconsinites talking casually in their own terms, in their favorite spots and among people they usually meet. "Health care was one of the top three concerns for every group I spent time with," says Walsh, who is the faculty director of the University of Wisconsin Badger Poll. "When we talked about the changes people would like to see in the health care system, almost every group expressed skepticism toward state and federal government."
Walsh says that even those who supported a government organized, single-payer health care system expressed doubts about the government's ability to deliver and maintain such a system. Walsh used the responses to help craft questions in the latest UW Badger Poll on health care and the economy. "Among people on the lower end of the income scale, skepticism toward government was expressed as part of a worldview in which they were skeptical of a broad array of institutions of authority," she says, noting their wariness also extended to health maintenance organizations (HMOs), corporations and the university.
"Among upper-income people, however, skepticism toward government was voiced in terms of particular people," she adds. She encountered a "stark feeling of distance" from state government across many types of people. "It is clear that many Wisconsin citizens feel left out of the policy process," she says. "Even local public officials whom I listened to expressed skepticism toward the government. Those attitudes, often expressed over a cruller and washed down with coffee, Walsh says, "stand as a major challenge to support for government-centered health care reform."
I agree with the research, but lament the lack of reasons for the public perception of government.
Through a massive conservative ad campaign, starting with Reagan, government is the unwelcome guest at the table even though it represents the people. The Joe averages out there have been convinced, through the constant drumbeat of waste and corrupt government officials, that it can't do a good job of managing our money. Instead of holding their representatives to a higher standard, they blame the supposed separate entity, "government," as responsible.
This negative campaign has succeeded in making people wary of government, just like the campaign of voter fraud is being pushed to call into question the results of our elections.
It's a marketing ploy used by other governments in the past, to create suspicion and division.
The proof, that a single payer system of health care can work, is ignored because of the negative influences of big business and small government advocates. The fact that all systems have flaws and weaknesses is no reason to believe that tweaks aren't ever necessary.
It appears the other side needs to convince people responsible government officials can get the job done. That's true representation.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Sarah Palin's chief of staff blasted the press for distorting her comments during an ABC News interview.
ABC News had posted a partial transcript of Palin's interview with "20/20" anchor Elizabeth Vargas, in which Vargas asked the Alaska governor whether she had political aspirations in 2012 -- a question Palin deflected -- and whether she had been sufficiently demoralized by the attacks she had experienced that she would consider retreating from the national stage once the election was over.
"I think that, if I were to give up and wave a white flag of surrender against some of the political shots that we've taken, that... that would... bring this whole... I'm not doin' this for naught," Palin said in the interview.
Eskew said "ABC News made a mistake" in characterizing Palin's comments as a hint that she would consider running in 2012 -- an interpretation shared by other news organizations, such as CNN, which reported on her remarks as having stunned the McCain campaign.
Yes, the whole world of media is wrong about her actual words, and as usual, the Republican candidate is a victim. Like all Republicans are victims, of a bad economic policy and failed ideology, as well as being victimized by their own statements of fact. They are so misunderstood, aren’t they?
Republicans don’t even believe their own self criticisms.
Eskew went on to question the press coverage, saying the media is invested in promoting a narrative that brands Palin as running "a rogue campaign." That phrase originated with an anonymous "senior Republican who speaks to Palin," who told the Politico in a Saturday story, "I think she'd like to go more rogue."
Eskew said Palin remained "unbowed" by the media criticism of her personal life. "She has proven she can take some really hard shots."
Proving you can take hard shots does not discount the reality of those shots, or absolve her of her misstatements and ignorance of the issues.
The Senate race in N. Carolina is getting ugly, not because of the Democratic candidate Kay Hagan, but because of the incumbent Republican Elizabeth Dole. Doles ad ties Hagan to Godless in America, and implies she is an atheist and an enemy of "our Christian nation."
The ad includes a woman's voice shouting "there is no God," giving the impression that it was Hagan's actual audio (I fell for it myself), and not some hired production talent.
Candidate Kay Hagan has asked for a cease and desist order, and rightly so, but Dole refuses the pull the misleading ad voluntarily. After all, if you can't beat somebody on your positions, at least you can paint them as godless.
Republicans are desperately sick people (at least the ones running for office and/or attend McCain/Palin rallies).
You might remember one of the more vocal war mongers, Frank Gaffney, the former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy, who was a regular guest promoting war on CNN's canceled show "Crossfire" during the run-up to Iraq's invasion.
He has since turned up here and there, warning us how dangerous the world is, and how we must start wars before someone else does. In the video ad below, Gaffney's "non-partisan" views are enlisted by the zanily named nationalistic group "Let Freedom Ring USA," to convey this message:
Gaffney's trascripted message:
Gaffney: When we see candidates taking positions that unmistakedly convey a determination neither to use military power...they are conveying to our enemies-WEAKNESS. Weakness invites aggression."
If that were true, then I guess when George W. Bush took power, his weakness invited 9/11? Bush invited this act of "aggression" right Frank?
Gaffney never really got the concept of the double edged sword.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz smacks down the "hammer" with his disgraceful exit from the hill and his corrupting influence of the political system in Congress.
You mean, like the dumb undecided voters that still don't know what the candidates stand for?
Think about it. Not one of these group members thought to go to the candidates web site to read up on their positions and vision for the country. Not one of these people can differentiate between Republicans and Democrats yet? SARAH PALIN FOR VP for Gods sake? By the end of this clip, you might want to get drunk. Thank you Fox News for stories that only dumb voters can understand.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Failed Republican Ideologue Ed Rogers on Hardball: (Obama) He's Never Done One Hard Thing in His Life!
Here are just a few of my favorite exchanges:
Rogers: ...we nee to cut the corporate income tax..
Matthews: Is it better to borrow more money from China or raise taxes, you have to do one or the other.
Rogers: You can grow your way out of it.
Matthews: (Bush)he cut taxes, he did everything you said a Republican should do and this is where we're at.
Rogers: How Philosophical do you want to get?
Matthews: I'm just saying we're where we are at because of Republican policies. He (McCain) supports the Bush tax cuts..
Rogers: PLUS SOME! Plus some!
This is where Bob Shrum takes Rogers to task for throwing in a good old boy racial stereotype about Obama. I'm with Shrum on this.
Rogers: He's (Obama) never done one hard thing in his life.
Shrum: Somebody from the South shouldn't say that a black person running for president hasn't done a hard thing in their life.
Rogers: Come on, don't you even go there. Obama's never done one hard thing in his life and you know it. (angrily) WHAT?
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Joe thinks a Barack Obama presidency will mean the death of Israel. Off the charts.
But, Saturday Night Live was able to get me to laugh at their vision of the infomercial, while reminding me Obama can do any worse than this surreal presentation.
Drum roll please...
The American taxpayers are now suddenly expected to dole out the bucks to private and public industries that made big marketing and management mistakes so they can keep employing us.
Reuters: General Motors and Cerberus Capital Management, which owns Chrysler, have asked the U.S. government for around $10 billion US in an unprecedented rescue package to support a merger between the two car companies.
Separately, Canadian auto parts makers have asked the federal and Ontario governments for "immediate, short-term, low-interest loans" to survive the credit crunch. "Assistance is required immediately if our country has any hope of salvaging a once vibrant and prosperous industry," said the president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association Canad.
In Washington, the White House reiterated Tuesday that U.S. automakers may be eligible for the Treasury's $700 billion US financial rescue package.
Separately, the Associated Press reported that the $700 billion US financial bailout has become the biggest lobbying target in the U.S. capital.
Automakers, insurers, securities dealers and American subsidiaries of foreign banks all want the Treasury to cut them a piece of the largest government rescue in U.S. history, and the betting is that many will be successful amid faltering financial markets and predictions that the economy is heading into a deep recession, AP said.
A decision by the Bush administration to provide the government's first funding for the auto sector since the $1.5 billion US bailout of Chrysler in 1980 has been widely seen as the merger's best chance for success.
Now, in addition to taking a stake in what would be the world's largest automaker by volume, the U.S. government is also being asked to provide support by taking over some $3 billion in pension obligations, the first source said.
The final component of the proposed support would be a credit line that could include U.S. government purchases of commercial paper to relieve short-term pressure on liquidity.
The sad fact is, all the informtion in the ad was true. After watching this, don't you wish Democrats had a little of Emily's courage?
To show how “down the rabbit hole” this concept is, take a look at this pathetic partisan just elected to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, as told by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
At issue is an ad by Gableman that said: "Louis Butler worked to put criminals on the street. Like Reuben Lee Mitchell, who raped an 11-year-old girl with learning disabilities. Butler found a loophole. Mitchell went on to molest another child." As a public defender, Butler won an appeal for Mitchell, but the state Supreme Court ruled that Mitchell had to stay in prison. He did not commit the subsequent crime until after he was paroled.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Obama, get rid of the Bush hug, this is a gift that dissolves their socialist rhetoric.
Dr. Alan J. Lipman’s “Maverick Personality Disorder 400.00 (Cluster B)”
Maverick Personality Disorder is defined by a tendency to make rash, impulsive decisions that are regarded as both bold and correct--even if the decision directly contradicts another "bold" and "correct" decision that has been made only moments before. This impulsively is to be distinguished from that seen in Borderline Personality Disorder in that in the latter disorder, self-destructive behavior is overt and intentional, whereas in Maverick Personality Disorder, the impulsive behavior is largely self-destructive, but the individual is rarely aware of it, instead thinking that they are acting "from their gut" in a reasonable fashion.
Sharp mood swings, dramatic gestures, and statements that reflect poor judgment and at times reduced perception of reality (e.g. "the fundamentals of the economy are sound") often occur in the disorder.
A. Three of the following symptoms, displayed in a persistent fashion over a period of 1 year, are necessary for the disorder:
a) Impulsive, rash thoughts and decision-making … The impulsive decisions are often justified by such statements as being a "courageous thinker", and by disavowing thought and deliberation as negative characteristics. Notably, despite repeated negative outcomes of this impulsive decision making, the individual still maintains that this behavioral style is correct … Ideas that are entirely at odds with each other may be seen concurrently, and such contradictions may be presented by the individual as entirely rational.
3) Extreme mood swings or changes in affect, from apparently happy, to extreme anger and rage. Often these emotions will occur simultaneously, as in the "angry grimacing smile."
5) "Going Rogue": The tendency to stray from previous professional, social and personal commitments in an effort to protect the self.
6) Dissociative Speech Disturbances: The marked tendency to speak for extensive period of time without any apparent linkage between speech centers and centers of actual thought. The individual may appear entirely confident in what they are saying, speaking at length without pause, without displaying any deliberation, cerebration, contemplation or any other forms of thought whatsoever. With these speech disturbances may occur various accompanying behaviors, such as winking, thumb-raising, etc.
7) Dissociative Changes in Ideation: The individual may disavow major aspects of what they claimed to be the center of their beliefs--e.g., the viability of major tax cuts for the wealthy.
8) Verbal Echolalia: The seemingly uncontrollable repetition of certain words and phrases, even when they appear to have ritualistic meaning or have little or no purpose, remaining utility, or underlying truth. E.g., "My friends", "Socialist", "Joe the Plumber".
B. These behaviors must cause marked impairment in one's professional activities or campaign, and are obsessively maintained even when their destructive impact is clear.
Who is Alan Lipman: I am a doctor, who over the past 20 years has practiced clinical psychology in Georgetown, as well as serving as a professor, author (represented by Dupree/Miller), & commentator on CNN, the BBC & NBC News. Also, as a graduate of Georgetown Law, I comment, teach, lecture & expert witness on issues that bear on both psychology & law
John and Marge Jacoby are 40 year residents in Madison, who have never raised an election officials eye brow, until now.
According to AP: They went online earlier this month to verify their voter registrations, and they couldn't.
When Marge called the city clerk to investigate, she learned her problem was the records didn't include her date of birth. The problem with her husband's? He was listed as deceased.
John said, "They didn't have her birthday recorded, and with me, I was dead. They said it happens with common names, except I don't think I have a common name."
The City Clerk explained that computer access to the registration list requires the date of birth — even though people like the Jacobys who registered years ago weren't required to give that information.
This comment said it all for me:
A Fool says: Clearly this is why we need stricter voting restrictions. We cannot have all of these dead people rising from the grave and voting for Obama.
This video from the Onion may not be so far off.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
An in-depth article from the Portland Press Herald on Oct. 23rd reported that a citizen in New Gloucester, Maine erected a large sign depicting Sen. Obama in a traditional Somali dress compared to an image of Sen. McCain in a Navy flight suit, on the right.
Below, as posted in Newsweek on Oct. 23rd, FactCheck.org skewered the NRA's grossly misleading and blatantly false ad:
The new ad shows a terrified woman grabbing a gun after an intruder smashes his way into her home. It accuses Obama of voting repeatedly for a measure that would "make you the criminal" in such cases, and voting to "deny citizens the right of self-protection."
The NRA says the incident depicted is "a true story." Not quite.
The actual 2003 burglary didn't involve a woman, and it didn't become violent until the male homeowner went downstairs and started firing before calling police.
The ad fails to mention that the issue was a local handgun ban that made the homeowner's gun illegal to keep in the house.
What Obama voted for was not any general repeal of the right of self-defense, but to uphold enforcement of the local gun ban, a "petty offense" that carried a maximum penalty of a $750 fine.
On the defensive across the country and staring down an election that could see them reduced to an ineffective minority in the House and the Senate, congressional Republicans are offering a new argument to voters: the danger of single-party rule in the nation's capital.
"If I lose this seat and one party has control across the board, then you'll see changes," Sen. Norm Coleman told voters last week in Minnesota. In North Carolina, imperiled Sen. Elizabeth Dole warns in a new television spot that Democrats will "get a blank check" if challenger Kay Hagan wins.
My critical eye is hopeful, but ready hold them accountable as well.
Colbert dares to ask the obscure question to the Chancelor of Patrick Henry College, Michael Farris.
Pennsylvania Republicans are disavowing an e-mail sent to Jewish voters that likens a vote for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama to events that led up to the Holocaust. "Jewish Americans cannot afford to make the wrong decision on Tuesday, November 4th, 2008," the e-mail reads. "Many of our ancestors ignored the warning signs in the 1930s and 1940s and made a tragic mistake. Let's not make a similar one this year!"
A copy of the e-mail, provided by Democratic officials, says it was "Paid for by the Republican Federal Committee of PA - Victory 2008." The e-mail was sent Thursday morning to 75,000 Jewish voters.
Political consultant Bryan Rudnick was identified as the person responsible for it. Rudnick, reached Saturday night, confirmed that he no longer works for the party, which employed him a few weeks ago as a consultant to do outreach to Jewish voters. "I had authorization from party officials" to send the e-mail, Rudnick said, but he declined to say who had signed off on it. "I'm not looking to drag anyone else through the mud, so I'm not naming names right now," he said.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
In the video clip below, the Huffington Post writes that "The Illinois Democrat, she hysterically suggested, would, through his proposals, create a country "where the people are not free." That's right, Obama wants to make the U.S. into a communist country were you don't own anything. She actually says that in her speech featured here. I follow Palin rant with Florida's WFTV anchor Barbara West, who must have pulled here questions right off a Republican push poll, by quoting Karl Marx and suggesting to Joe Biden that some think Obama will turn us into a socialist country like Sweden.
Note: Sweden is often mentioned by Republicans as the country the U.S. should most be like when it comes to the use of school vouchers for everyone. Damn it's hard to be consistent, isn't it?
Biden canceled the stations scheduled interview with his wife. After watching this Barbara West deliver some pretty accusatory, and less policy driven questions, you'll may think there really is now bar low enough for these foul dislikable people.
We had a similar situation in Wisconsin from a few Republican legislators who wanted to withdraw funding from the University of Wisconsin because of frivolous research on how students play video games. A statement released by those very researchers explained the importance of observing game playing, in order to develop video LEARNING software that students would enjoy using, while gaining vast amounts of information.
These people just don't get it.
I loved Joe's answer, "You've got a couple of hundred economist out there, and they don't know what to think. And you guys are asking a plumber what he thinks!"
Neil's comeback is so Republican.
Or so says former Palin staffer Larry Parsily, who exposes her and all the other Republican phonies, by openly admitting that she is "can really get people behind her without dealing with the facts." Chris Matthews follows that with the question "You're talking about a demagogue?"
Parsily agrees, "Yea, maybe a small d on demagogue. There's a bit there."
Here's Keith Olberman with the McCain campaign ties and Christopher Hitchens follow up opinion from Hardball.
Almost from the start, Pittsburgh police were skeptical about a young woman's claim that she had been mugged and a "B" carved into her cheek by an attacker who was provoked by the sight of a John McCain bumper sticker on her car. Ashley Todd quoted him as saying "You are going to be a Barack supporter," as he sat on her chest, pinning both of her hands down, and scratched the letter "B" on her right cheek. Her story quickly became political fodder, fueled by the presidential campaign and Ms. Todd's political connections as a field representative for the College Republican National Committee and McCain volunteer.
How thought out was this...
The day after the purported attack, both Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin called Ms. Todd, offering words of comfort.
On her MySpace profile, she references the title of a song by the group Panic at the Disco: "Lying is the most fun a girl can have without taking her cloths (sic) off," but adds to it "but its (sic) better if you do."
About a month earlier, he said, Ms. Todd sent an e-mail to the Ron Paul group saying her tires were slashed and that campaign paraphernalia had been stolen from her car because she supported Mr. Paul.
In a letter to the editor printed Tuesday in the Alamogordo Daily News titled "Why I'm a Republican," Marcia Stirman, chairwoman of an Otero County Republican women's group, hits all the major (and some minor) talking points -- she believes in the death penalty, small government, spanking kids, gun rights, winning wars, etc. -- before calling out the "Muslim socialist" heading the Democratic party ticket.
In another case:
Bernalillo County Republican Party chairman Fernando C De Baca was forced to resign after saying "Hispanics consider themselves above blacks" and wouldn't vote for a black presidential candidate.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Instead of stopping the outflow of jobs, Eakin wants to train the next generation, re-do unemployement and displaced worker programs.
That's retrain, not retain.
When Eakin said McCain laments losing jobs to India and China because of corporate tax rates, retirement benefits and health care, that's code for doing away with each of these employee safety nets. That's the McCain vision of America. Good luck suckers.
I wonder how many Republican voters are also waiting? I guess they should have thought of that.
Oh yeah, we've got a few problems, according to CNN:
Forty-two percent of those surveyed in a recent CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll said they were not confident that their votes could be "accurately cast and counted." That number is up 15 percentage points from a similar poll conducted four years ago.
In Broward County, 17 of approximately 300 polling places are open for early voting, which ends November 2. On Monday night, one Broward County polling site closed at 10:30 p.m., three hours past the scheduled time.
In West Virginia's Jackson County, there were some reports that voting machines were accidentally recording the wrong vote. "I went in there and pushed the Democrat ticket, and it jumped to the Republican ticket for president of the United States," said Calvin Thomas, an 81-year-old West Virginian.
The same thing happened to his daughter, Micki Clendenin, when she cast her ballot. In both cases, poll workers at the site had them touch the screen a few more times, and the voting machine changed their ballot to their candidate choice.
CNN's Brian Todd reported that at least five voters in two West Virginia counties said they encountered the same problem. State and local officials said that they were isolated cases and that poll workers fixed the problems so the correct vote was cast.
McCain is So Wrong About Socialism and "Spreading the Wealth." Cato Institute and Adam Smith Chime In
This section of speech taking a poke at Barack Obama’s statement about spreading the wealth, has so many flaws, a simple google search turned up a number of good arguments refuting McCain’s biggest issue. McCain talks about getting rid of the AMT. One problem: An opening for nlimited tax dodges for the wealthy, the very reason the AMT was established in the first place. How many people in the audience could have been affected by the alernative minimum tax. I doubt many.
Let’s start with author and the father of market capitalism Adam Smith:
The necessaries of life occasion the great expense of the poor. . . . The luxuries and vanities of life occasion the principal expense of the rich, and a magnificent house embellishes and sets off to the best advantage all the other luxuries and vanities which they possess. . . . It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.
AP: John McCain is pouncing on Barack Obama's call for shifting more wealth from richer Americans to poorer ones, likening it to socialism. His remarks win applause at campaign events. But they ignore the nation's long tradition of redistributing huge amounts of wealth through tax-and-spending policies. Placing a heavier burden on the wealthy has been a cornerstone of the federal income tax since its inception in 1913. Under its "progressive" formula, in which the wealthy pay higher tax rates, the richest 5 percent of Americans now pay well over half of all federal income taxes.
For most Americans, the biggest tax burden is the payroll tax that funds Social Security and Medicare. The tax rates are the same for everyone, and the Social Security levy does not apply to incomes above $102,000, a boon to the wealthy.
Moreover, Social Security benefits go to rich and poor retirees alike. That means low-income workers' payroll taxes are partly shifted to wealthier people, a reverse of the income tax's topdown construct.
Federal excise taxes on products including gasoline and cigarettes are more regressive still, as are sales taxes levied by many states.
For several years, a strong economy and social safety net programs helped many families avoid poverty.
Gov. Sarah Palin increased the tax on big oils profits and redistributed that wealth back to the citizens of Alaska.
American Public Radio: Commentator Will Wilkinson (The Cato Institute) said this in an interview:
Joe the plumber, did you, like John McCain but unlike Barack Obama, support the invasion and occupation of Iraq? Well, that's cost taxpayers over a trillion dollars so far, and has, like it or not, spread a whole lot of wealth to defense contractors.
What do you think of McCain's proposed $5,000 family health care tax credit? It might be a great idea, but it's not a way of not spreading wealth.
And if you're sniffing around for socialism, why not try Gov. Sarah Palin's Alaska, where every year the state pays residents equal shares of state-owned oil revenues? The one thing McCain and Obama seem enthusiastically to agree on, "energy independence," would spread wealth from consumers and taxpayers to politically favored energy firms. The big difference is which companies gets the subsidies.
One commentor added: Did farmers enjoy farm subsidies, or wealth redistribution?
At aflcio.org, this opinion by Tula Connell
Last week, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson mailed $150 billion in checks to the big banks. From that point forward, the CEOs and all the other top executives of these banks are now our dependents. They are living off the tax dollars of schoolteachers in Iowa, truck drivers in Montana and even Joe the Plumber. But, if redistribution from the rich to the rest of the country is socialist, what do you call the upward redistribution that Congress approved in the bailout package? It’s hard to justify taxing people who make $40,000 a year to benefit bankers who make more than 100 times as much.
Spreading the wealth—our wealth as taxpayers—through Wall Street socialism, means exacerbating the nation’s massive income inequality. Which, in turn, means an end to the American Dream of economic mobility. Just like in socialist countries.
(AP) Today's global food crisis shows "we all blew it, including me when I was president," by treating food crops as commodities instead of as a vital right of the world's poor, Bill Clinton told a U.N. gathering on Thursday.
The former president also saluted U.S. President George W. Bush - "one thing he got right" - for pushing for a change in U.S. food-aid policy. He chided the bipartisan coalition in the U.S. Congress that killed the idea earlier this year.
Clinton took aim at decades of international policymaking by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and others, encouraged by the U.S. that pressured Africans in particular into dropping government subsidies for fertilizer, improved seed and other farm inputs, in economic "structural adjustments" required to win northern aid. Africa's food self-sufficiency subsequently declined and food imports rose.
Now skyrocketing prices in the international grain trade - on average more than doubling between 2006 and early 2008 - have pushed many in poor countries deeper into poverty.
"Food is not a commodity like others," Clinton said. "We should go back to a policy of maximum food self-sufficiency. It is crazy for us to think we can develop countries around the world without increasing their ability to feed themselves."
Canada, for example, requires that 50 percent of its aid go as cash - not as Canadian grain - to buy crops locally in Africa or other recipient countries. But U.S. law requires that almost all U.S. aid be American-grown food commodities, benefiting U.S. farmers.
Clinton also criticized the heavy U.S. reliance on a food crop, corn, to produce ethanol for fuel, which helped drive up grain prices worldwide. "If we're going to do biofuels, we ought to look at the more efficient kind," he said, referring, for example, to the jatropha shrub, a nonfood source that grows on land not suitable for grain.
The U.N. General Assembly president, Nicaragua's Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, agreed, speaking of the "madness of converting crops into fuel."
Neo-liberal trade policy are about as practical as unregulated free markets.
Voter Fraud Suit Thrown Out of Court, But Partisan McCain co-Chair and AG Ignores Legal Ruling and HAVA Law Anyway
The circuit judges ruling reiterates the meaning of that law and uphold the Federal Supreme Courts decision that he has no standing bringing the suit.
According to the Wisconsin State Journal:
The decision by a Dane County circuit judge Thursday to toss out a lawsuit seeking to force the state to double-check voter registrations going back two years likely means a smoother Election Day, with fewer voters having to re-register at the polls and faster-moving lines, officials said.
But state McCain co-chair Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, who filed the suit against the state Government Accountability Board in September, said not doing the checks raises the odds of voter fraud, and he vowed to appeal. Van Hollen maintained the checks were needed to guard against fraud that could possibly sway the presidential election.
The lawsuit sought to force the accountability board to order local clerks to check hundreds of thousands of voter registrations since January 2006 against state driver, death and felon databases to ensure accuracy. The suit also sought to purge ineligible voters from the rolls.
Ruling 12 days before the election, Judge Maryann Sumi said Van Hollen failed to show that state or federal law was being violated.
1."Nothing in state or federal law requires that there be a data match as a condition on the right to vote.”"We cannot lose sight of the goal of this lawsuit," Van Hollen said in a statement.
2. "HAVA does not supplant Wisconsin's constitutionally protected right to establish its own voter eligibility standards."
3. Van Hollen did not have standing to bring the lawsuit. The U.S. attorney general is charged with enforcing HAVA, she said.
4. Van Hollen failed to show that state or federal law was being violated. "Nothing in state or federal law requires that there be a data match as a condition on the right to vote. HAVA does not supplant Wisconsin's constitutionally protected right to establish its own voter eligibility standards."
5. Sumi also ruled that the state Republican Party has no standing to join the suit.
And that is to discourage worried voters that they might have a problem voting, and support the myth there is such a thing as voter fraud. Of course, that’s not what J.B. Van Hollen said:
"Wisconsin needs an accurate statewide voter list. Wisconsin needs to comply with state and federal laws designed to protect the right to vote. Looking the other way is not an option."
A check by the accountability board of voters who registered between Aug. 6 and Aug. 26 this year showed discrepancies in the information of 22 percent of the registrations. But most of those mismatches were due to transcription errors or names being recorded one way on a driver's license and another way on a voter registration card, officials said.
For voters, it means fewer of them will have to re-register on Election Day, fewer will have their eligibility challenged because of data mismatches, and voting lines will move more smoothly, some said.
To All Staunch Free Market Whiners: “I Still Do not Fully Understand Why It Happened!” Grovels Greenspan
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said a ``once-in-a-century credit tsunami'' has engulfed financial markets and conceded that his free-market ideology shunning regulation was flawed.
``Yes, I found a flaw,'' Greenspan said in response to a grilling from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. ``That is precisely the reason I was shocked because I'd been going for 40 yearsor more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well.'' -Bloomberg News
In May 2005 speech, Greenspan said that ``private regulation generally has proved far better at constraining excessive risk-taking than has government
Greenspan reiterated his ``shocked disbelief'' that financial companies failed to execute sufficient ``surveillance'' on their trading counterparties to prevent surging losses. The ``breakdown'' was clearest in the market where securities firms packaged home mortgages into debt sold on to other investors, he said.
Greenspan opposed increasing financial supervision as Fed chairman from August 1987 to January 2006. Policy makers are now struggling to contain a financial crisis marked by record foreclosures, falling asset prices and almost $660 billion in write downs and losses tied to U.S. subprime mortgages.
REST IN PEACE.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
The Capital Times continues:
Madison's minority communities are incensed by a political ad being aired on two local TV stations that they say is "misleading" and "inflammatory."Clearly the group is dredging up racist resentment toward anything that reminds people of welfare, drawing the conclusion that health care for all is the same as “welfare,” and that Wisconsin will fill up with blacks and illegal aliens if everyone gets coverage.
The ad, sponsored by the Coalition for America's Families, depicts a young man standing beside a busy street, holding up a homemade sign with "Free Health Care for Illegal Aliens" written on it. "This is really good news for illegal aliens," the actor says. "They don't even have to live here, and health care is free. This is kind of like that idea of giving Wisconsin welfare checks to people from Illinois, only a lot better."
Deborah Speckmann, a member and officer of the NAACP Madison branch,
said the reference to welfare checks in the ad "hits black people."
The current controversial ad seems to refer to Healthy Wisconsin, which sought to
guarantee health care to residents. It’s the primary target on the Coalition for
America's Families' Web site.
The Coalition for America’s Families is a racist, bigoted hate group of extremists. Maybe their names should be listed as well…
As for the lies about Healthy Wisconsin, CAF writes:
The plan which passed the Wisconsin State Senate last year would cost more than $15 billion dollars in higher taxes. That means an average of $510 a month more for every Wisconsin worker, at a time when families are already hurting.
The first lie: The $510 a month replaces what workers pay now for health care, it is not added onto what workers are now paying in taxes. The deception continues...
In addition to placing an economic hardship on working families, the Healthy Wisconsin plan would provide free health care for non-residents, people who don’t work and even illegal immigrants. And the plan would provide tax payer funding for abortions.
This is just flat out racist. These groups are extremist fringers.
Here's the fake story copy next to the video, along with non-functional "video" stories relating to that lazy none voting John Public.
Obama's Loss Traced To John Public Single Nonvoter Tipped Election To McCain-Palin Ticket Latest News
Gov. Palin: 'Lookit That—I'm The Second-Most Powerful Person In The World'
Neighbor: 'John Always Seemed So Normal'
World: 'Really? Again? Really?!?'
Health Care Advocates Predict Reform By 2034 Don't let any of your friends be that one missing vote on Election Day.
Enter their names and email addresses to send them each a personalized version of this video with their name in it. Paid for by MoveOn.org Political Action, http://pol.moveon.org/.
Harris continues to float the unprovable and forever debatable idea that the founding fathers never intended the "people" to expand government. Her "not what we're founded on" repetition reveals the standard right wing ploy, where if you say it enough, people will start thinking it must be true.
Here's the clip from Hardball:
McCain/Palin: Joe the Plumber, John the Blogger, Sherry the Dairy Farmer, Spot the Dog, Smoky the Bear...
So how would the party of authority, the Republicans, approach the voters in their run for the presidency? Stephen Colbert points out the obvious.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Karl of course is trying to create a new myth that Democrats are the deregulators and small government party. WOW! Nice try.
Politico: The Republican National Committee has spent more than $150,000 to clothe and accessorize vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and her family since her surprise pick by John McCain in late August.
According to financial disclosure records, the accessorizing began in early September and included bills from Saks Fifth Avenue in St. Louis and New York for a combined $49,425.74.
The records also document a couple of big-time shopping trips to Neiman Marcus in Minneapolis, including one $75,062.63 spree in early September.
The RNC also spent $4,716.49 on hair and makeup through September after reporting no such costs in AugustThe business of primping and dressing on the campaign trail has become fraught with political risk in recent years as voters increasingly see an elite Washington out of touch with their values and lifestyles.
In 2000, Democrat Al Gore took heat for changing his clothing hues. And in 2006, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) was ribbed for two hair styling sessions that cost about $3,000.
Then, there was Democrat John Edwards’ $400 hair cuts in 2007 and Republican McCain’s $520 black leather Ferragamo shoes this year.
A review of similar records for the campaign of Democrat Barack Obama and the Democratic National Committee turned up no similar spending.
But all the spending by other candidates pales in comparison to the GOP outlay for the Alaska governor whose expensive, designer outfits have been the topic of fashion pages and magazines.
Thinkprogress.org: AMERICAblog points out the amount is just half of what the RNC spends on makeup for Sen. John McCain: The RNC shelled out $8,672.55 for McCain’s makeup in September, employing celebrity makeup artist Tifanie White.
Cavuto unintentionally lays bare Laffer's twisted logic and convoluted vision. Without ever asking Laffer about how Reaganomics brought about our current crisis, Cavuto cheers on his blantant denial of reality, completely ignoring the actual loss of middle class income over the last 25 years. Laugher says, "Taxing rich people and give the money to poor people your going to have lots and lots of poor people and very few rich people." Watch the crazy man:
Cavuto: ...The Brains, the heart if you will, behind the Reagan tax cuts..
Arthur Laffer: If you tax rich people and give the money to poor people you're going to have lots and lots of poor people and very few rich people...
...the last 25 years we've had all groups who've increased their incomes substancialy, including the poor-the lowest group. Now it's true, the rich have gotten a lot richer, that's very true, but if you try to redistribute income, you'll just make the poor poorer...
...why don't you take the $700 billion package, which is about half of the personal income taxes for one year, and just say, anyone who works and produces over the next year, your taxes are cut in half.
Cavuto: ...you knoow, the wrong guy won the Nobel prize for economics...
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Rachel Maddow presented a little piece of the article that should surprise a lot of voters out there, voters who may not have thought about the issue much, but would be wise to be aware. It's short and surreal, so I've included it here.
The reason why I've included it here was Olberman's inclusion of every other time she gave pretty much the same answer, four times altogether, and how incredibly strange it is think she's really a part of the presidential ticket.
I've been saying all along that Republicans are the biggest freeloader, who want it all, but don't want to pay for it. Matthews asked Ridge about the last eight years of Republican borrowing and spending, and how we would ever pay our bills if taxes were cut even more. Yeah, how about that?
The following clip is a roller coaster ride of emotions, starting with a disillusioned Republican who's had enough of the spreading hopelessness.
This Daily Show story from Jason Jones and Samantha Bee, proves we weren't nuts to think there was something really wrong with "undecided voters," and that they're walking among us in a state of constant confusion.
That would include Colin Powell, who had a few things to say about the insane thought process of a Bachmann, an actual Congressperson who should know better.
He takes aim at Rush Limbaugh this time, and singles him out for declaring loudly into the microphone about Powell's decision to vote for Obama, "It's totally about race." Come on Chris, you can say it...!
What the hell, I'll say it, Rush Limbaugh is a racist.
Like the convoluted Bizarro World of Republican illogic, Gross looks at the financial meltdown is a detailed way that would make even them flush with envy.
Remember Thomas Friedman's McDonald's theory of international relations? The thinking was that if two countries had evolved into prosperous, mass-consumer societies, with middle classes able to afford Big Macs, they would generally find peaceful means of adjudicating disputes. They'd sit down over a Happy Meal to resolve issues rather than use mortars. In the same spirit, I propose the Starbucks theory of international economics. The higher the concentration of expensive, nautically themed, faux-Italian-branded Frappuccino joints in a country's financial capital, the more likely the country is to have suffered catastrophic financial losses.
It may sound doppio, but work with me. This recent crisis has its roots in the unhappy coupling of a frenzied nationwide real-estate market centered in California, Las Vegas, and Florida, and a nationwide credit mania centered in New York. If you could pick one brand name that personified these twin bubbles, it was Starbucks.
Starbucks' frothy treats provided the fuel for the boom, the caffeine that enabled deal jockeys to stay up all hours putting together offering papers for CDOs, and helped mortgage brokers work overtime processing dubious loan documents. Starbucks strategically located many of its outlets on the ground floors of big investment banks. (The one around the corner from the former Bear Stearns headquarters has already closed.)
Like American financial capitalism, Starbucks, fueled by the capital markets, took a great idea too far (quality coffee for Starbucks, securitization for Wall Street) and diluted the experience unnecessarily (subprime food such as egg-and-sausage sandwiches for Starbucks, subprime loans for Wall Street).
Well, when you start poking around Starbucks' international store locator, some interesting patterns emerge. At first blush, there's a pretty close correlation between a country having a significant Starbucks presence, especially in its financial capital, and major financial cock-ups, from Australia (big blowups in finance, hedge funds, and asset management companies; 23 stores) to the United Kingdom (nationalization of its largest banks). In many ways, London in recent years has been a more concentrated version of New York—the wellspring of many toxic innovations, a hedge-fund haven. It sports 256 Starbucks. In Spain, which is now grappling with the bursting of a speculative coastal real-estate bubble (sound familiar?), the financial capital, Madrid, has 48 outlets. In crazy Dubai, 48 Starbucks outlets serve a population of 1.4 million. And so on: South Korea, which is bailing outs its banks big time, has 253; Paris, the locus of several embarrassing debacles, has 35.
We haven't heard much about bailouts in Central America, where Starbucks has no presence. My tentative theory: Having a significant Starbucks presence is a pretty significant indicator of the degree of connectedness to the form of highly caffeinated, free-spending capitalism that got us into this mess.
I'm just wondering if American families have to worry about the presence of the not so innocent drip coffee machines in our kitchens. I don't even wanna get started on the stealth cappiccino makers affects on my own family income.