Saturday, October 18, 2008

Especially In Florida, McCain Laments Picking Palin

With election day rapidly closing in, John McCain's chances of winning this race are quickly disappearing. There are only so many states in play and he needs to do is best to hold onto the red states of 2004 that are still in contention. While his running mate is clarifying her "pro-America" remarks (albeit badly) her VP opponent is Joe Biden is taking full advantage of the callous statement. McCain sat down with the St. Petersburg Times and they got a glimpse into what the former maverick thinks of how things turned out.

From The St. Petersburg Times:

MELBOURNE — Sen. John McCain acknowledged in an exclusive interview Friday that he probably would be better positioned in must-win Florida if he had picked Gov. Charlie Crist as his running mate.

The Republican presidential nominee expressed no regrets for choosing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and said Florida was sure to be a hard-fought state with almost any vice presidential pick — besides Crist.

"Charlie, because he's so popular, he probably would have made a significant difference,'' McCain said in an interview with the St. Petersburg Times and Bay News 9.

"I think this would have been a battleground state, except for obviously (with) a popular governor as Charlie Crist is,'' McCain said. "Look, this is a tough decision that we made with Sarah Palin. But I also saw Sarah Palin come down here and energize crowds in a way that's pretty remarkable, too."

Despite the upbeat statements about Palin, the negative ones say much more about what he is thinking. If Palin was all positive for the campaign, there would be no need to mention Charlie Crist or the fact that the Palin pick was a tough decision.

The real problem isn't skipping past Crist or picking Palin though. The core of the McCain campaign has been about playing by the rules of the 24hr news cycle and not having a consistent message. Palin was a one-hit wonder in late August, now she's the "Disasta from Alaska." McCain hammered Obama about experience all summer and taking the political neophyte from the north obliterated that talking point. Even in the debates the choppiness comes through. McCain always got in lots of little jabs, but Obama stuck to his message of change and hope versus a third term of George Bush. This article is just the latest reminder of a campaign on the ropes and clearly way off message.

A Nightmare Of A Neighbor, Regardless Of Who You Support

Presidential politics is getting heated all across the country, especially in the heavily targeted swing states. Sometimes though, people just go way too far and expose more about their feelings toward their fellow men than just their political ideologies. Mike Lunsford's neighbors in Ohio see him much differently after this heinous stunt:

Bloomberg Brings In Non Profits To Support Term Limit Extension

As you can see on this nifty map made by the Times, as of right now the Council has more confirmed opposition to the term limit extension than for it. That has to have the Mayor worried about his chances to remain in office past 2009 and he is fighting vigorously for the Council to take the bait and pass his bill. Though there are many ways to influence the Council, there are a few things like getting your favorite non profits to give you an assist at the hearings that are not considered very ethical.

From The NY Daily News:

Thursday night, DN City Hall Bureau Chief Adam Lisberg saw three Ready, Willing and Able vans parked on Broadway outside City Hall. A driver said they brought about two dozen people from its Brooklyn and Manhattan shelters to attend the term limits hearing.

Inside, Doe Fund President George McDonald testified strongly in favor of Bloomberg getting another term in office, saying:

“As a voter, I want the ability to choose leaders who I think will keep it that way," he said. "...There’s a reason Mayor Bloomberg is at 70 percent popularity, because he acts in the best interests of the city of New York, and so should you.”

The Doe Fund has done well when it comes to city discretionary funding. It received $333,250 in City Council aid this year (See P. 91-92 of the FY2009 Schedule C).

As a voter Mr. McDonald can do or say whatever he wants, but disclosing the fact that he owes much of his organization's existence to the Mayor might be interesting to the rest of us. Not only that, by bringing van loads of people that benefit from the program doesn't only smell funny, it is highly inappropriate and possibly illegal.

The Doe Fund is a tax-exempt, non-profit 501(c)(3) charity, which means it is barred from most political activity.

"A charity's resources need to be directed toward its charitable purposes. A charity's not supposed to use its resources for political activities," Daniel Borochoff, president of the American Institute of Philanthropy, told the DN.

"If they're a (c)(3), they're not supposed to be involved in any politics. That's the price that you pay to be tax-exempt and be able to give tax deductions on your contributions."

When the DN called the Doe Fund for comment, they got a very nasty response and the spokesman was extremely defensive. Of course, if someone was about to write a story showing that my non profit was engaging in activity that could strip it of 501 (c) 3 status, I'd act just as angrily on the phone as he did. Perhaps they should have thought of that before going to bat for the Mayor in exchange for all of his financial help.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Chicago Tribune Makes History By Endorsing Barack Obama!

For those that know, the Chicago Tribune is very much a conservative newspaper, editorially speaking. In fact, they have never endorsed a Democratic nominee for President in the history of their publication. Keep in mind for those that do not read it or live outside of Chicago, this is no upstart paper. The Tribune made its first Presidential endorsement for Horace Greeley, who ran against Ulysses S. Grant in his re-election campaign of 1872. In fact, the founders of the paper fought the Democrats as Whigs and Free Soil members, before the Republican party got off the ground.

Now of course, they have good reason to stand behind Obama, because McCain is so far off kilter they cannot stand him to be the leader of the free world in good conscience.

From The Chicago Tribune:

Many Americans say they're uneasy about Obama. He's pretty new to them.

We can provide some assurance. We have known Obama since he entered politics a dozen years ago. We have watched him, worked with him, argued with him as he rose from an effective state senator to an inspiring U.S. senator to the Democratic Party's nominee for president.

We have tremendous confidence in his intellectual rigor, his moral compass and his ability to make sound, thoughtful, careful decisions. He is ready.

The change that Obama talks about so much is not simply a change in this policy or that one. It is not fundamentally about lobbyists or Washington insiders. Obama envisions a change in the way we deal with one another in politics and government. His opponents may say this is empty, abstract rhetoric. In fact, it is hard to imagine how we are going to deal with the grave domestic and foreign crises we face without an end to the savagery and a return to civility in politics.
So why in their opinion is McCain not up to fulfilling the promises (cough, cough) of conservatism?

We might have counted on John McCain to correct his party's course. We like McCain. We endorsed him in the Republican primary in Illinois. In part because of his persuasion and resolve, the U.S. stands to win an unconditional victory in Iraq.

It is, though, hard to figure John McCain these days. He argued that President Bush's tax cuts were fiscally irresponsible, but he now supports them. He promises a balanced budget by the end of his first term, but his tax cut plan would add an estimated $4.2 trillion in debt over 10 years. He has responded to the economic crisis with an angry, populist message and a misguided, $300 billion proposal to buy up bad mortgages.

McCain failed in his most important executive decision. Give him credit for choosing a female running mate--but he passed up any number of supremely qualified Republican women who could have served. Having called Obama not ready to lead, McCain chose Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. His campaign has tried to stage-manage Palin's exposure to the public. But it's clear she is not prepared to step in at a moment's notice and serve as president. McCain put his campaign before his country.

Liberals may not agree with the editorial ranks of the Tribune in many respects, but on the crucial matter of who will be our next President, we are united as one.

Why Women Should Vote For McCain

Ah, so many good reasons to vote for McCain, right?

When McCain and Palin say "Country First" it really means putting women's rights dead last.

Sarah Palin Spiraling Out Of Control

Many conservative pundits have jumped on the anti-Sarah bandwagon, calling either for her ouster or just plain lamenting her as the VP nominee choice. From the Katie Couric interviews to the scandals that cloud her self-imagined reformer image, it seems that she is hiding away from the bad news because it "depresses" her. Like Obama said at the debate, this isn't about the hurt feelings of politicians but Palin clearly doesn't get it. Instead, she uses her rallies to stir up hatred among her base filled with racists and bigots. Today things got really bad on the trail.

From Joe Killian:

I sidled up to one of the Obama supporters and asked why they were there, what they were trying to accomplish.

As he was telling me a large, bearded man in full McCain-Palin campaign regalia got in his face to yell at him.

"Hey, hey, " I said. "I'm trying to interview him. Just a minute, okay? "

The man began to say something about how of course I was interviewing the Obama people when suddenly, from behind us, the sound of a pro-Obama rap song came blaring out of the windows of a dorm building. We all turned our heads to see Obama signs in the windows.

This was met with curses, screams and chants of "U.S.A" by McCain-Palin folks who crowded under the windows trying to drown it out and yell at the person playing the stereo.

It was a moment of levity in an otherwise very tense situation and so I let out a gentle chuckle and shook my head.

"Oh, you think that 's funny?! " the large bearded man said. His face was turning red. "Yeah, that 's real funny…" he said.

And then he kicked the back of leg, buckling my right knee and sending me sprawling onto the ground.

Screams and shouts are turning into violence now. Perhaps it is sporadic, but the evidence of it is scary enough. This doesn't happen at Obama rallies and Barack nor Joe Biden would stand for it. They have class and dignity unlike the Alaskan that stands at the helm of this right-wing ship.

Speaking of Alaskans, the Beluga whale population that lives in the waters off of Anchorage scored a major victory against the Governor today. See, Sarah Palin cares more about oil and gas than saving a species of whales. She tried blocking their endangered status but fortunately the NOAA determined that the whiles deserved the protected status despite the Governor's attempts let the whales fend for themselves. Perhaps the area that they live in, Cook Inlet isn't a pro-America part of the country that Palin loves so much.

Hopefully this one victory against Palin along with the all important one on November 4th.

GOP Loses To democracy In Supreme Court Decision

After the election intimidation of Ohio's voters four years ago partially perpetrated by then Secretary of State Blackwell (R-Of course) this year's election officials sought to do better. In order to handle the massive amount of people wanting to exercise their right to vote, Ohio made the process easier by allowing for early voting. In response, the GOP decided to fight it with all their might because to the Republican party, the more people vote, the worse the results get for them. Court after court (except for one) sided with the voters and the new Secretary of State. Finally today that battle is over, as the Supreme Court handed down their decision.


WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court sided Friday with Ohio's top elections official in a dispute with the state Republican Party over voter registrations.

The justices overruled a federal appeals court that had ordered Ohio's top elections official to do more to help counties verify voter eligibility.[...]

Ohio Republicans contended the information for counties would help prevent fraud. Brunner said the GOP is trying to disenfranchise voters.

In a brief unsigned opinion, the justices said they were not commenting on whether Ohio is complying with a provision of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 that lays out requirements for verifying voter eligibility.

It isn't a slam dunk decision, but it is good enough to enfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters that were denied that right four years ago. Instead of long lines that lasted into the night, now people can vote with ease and not have to deal with roadblocks put between them and the polls.

Rachel Trachtenburg Won't Forget Mr. Mayor

She may not be able to vote, but Rachel Trachtenburg's parents certainly can and so will their friends. Many New Yorkers are starting to realize the disaster that the Mayor has been for New Yorkers being pushed out of their old neighborhoods. Rachel knows all too well, as you can see by her testimony yesterday in front of the Council. Bloomberg may be popular with a majority of people now, but as they get to know him beyond the media mogul veneer and pro-environment positions, they'll see just how he has, is and will change the New York City we love so much.

Mayor Assures Council That Voters Have Memory Loss

Mayor Bloomberg certainly did not expect the amount of opposition to his political trickery while the focus is on the 2008 elections. He wants to run again in 2009, but did not want to ask the people to rescind term limits and instead is offering the Council a deal to stay another term as long as he can too. Now that the public outcry is growing ever louder, he is trying to get enough of the Council to support his backroom deal. According to one source, Bloomberg is putting down the intelligence and the memory skill of the voters in order to get the twelve votes he needs to pass this.

From The NY Times:

Mr. Bloomberg, who usually delegates the details of the legislative process to aides, personally tried to corral the 26 votes needed in the 51-member Council to pass the measure. He has started calling wavering members to press his case, arguing that the economic trouble requires “continuity of government.” A person who was briefed on one of the conversations said the mayor told members fearful of a backlash that if they voted to allow themselves a third term, “people do forget about things like this.”
As one of those people Mr. Bloomberg, I'd like to personally say "Go Cheney yourself!" I, among many will most certainly remember this "thing" and will make it my personal mission to tell as many people as possible. If you can trick and cajole the Council into passing this shameful piece of legislation, the fight will just have begun.

There are so many hurdles from the Assembly, the soon to be Democratic State Senate, the Justice Dept (under an Obama Administration hopefully at that point) and as of a couple days ago even Senator Clinton will be against you Mr. Mayor. You may think you're smarter than the rest of us with all of those billions you've made (many of them while in office, thanks to boom and bust Wall St.) but that pride and ego has blinded any good sense you have left.

Term Limits Hearings: Round Two

Yesterday the Council chambers were in session for a little more than ten and a half hours. I was privileged to sit in the room for about an hour and half of it in the afternoon. Like any good New York political showdown, there was astroturfing by the Mayor, boos and cheers from the audience that elicited Chairman Felder's gavel and a few instances of kicking people out of City Hall and good ol' fashion public forum fun. The NYT's City Room covered it all, with many choice moments to remember, like that of a fourteen year old girl.

From The NYT City Room:

A member of the third panel of witnesses, Miss Trachtenberg gave pithy and powerful testimony in her allotted two minutes. She testified that her family moved to Bushwick, Brooklyn, recently after they were “priced out” of the East Village, said “Mayor Bloomberg is the worst mayor ever.” She added that “he gave tons of money to the Bush family and the Republicans” and deserves some of the blame for the war in Iraq and for incompetence in Washington.

“He had to spend $100 million to keep and buy his first two elections and he will spend another $80 million to buy the next one,” she said. “I hope you will choose honesty over bribery and keep term limits as they are.”

The chamber — or at least the balcony, which is packed with opponents of Mayor Bloomberg — burst into cheers. Even Councilman Simcha Felder, who is leading the hearings, said Miss Trachtenberg “deserves a round of applause.” And Councilman Alan J. Gerson predicted that the teenager just might be a future politician. (For the moment, she is focusing on her musical career with her family.)
I was lucky enough to be in there for that and am proud to say I was one that burst out into applause from the balcony. She was simply brilliant. There was a little more to her speech, especially her well-timed repetition of the phrase "Mayor Bloomberg is the worst Mayor ever!"

Everyone had either spoken or left by the end at 11:32 at night and now it starts up again in the Committee room just adjacent to the Council's hearing room. Will it last as long as yesterdays? That is anyone's guess but it should be going on for weeks, not two days as the Council is speeding this bill through with lightening quickness. Ominously, Quinn didn't show up at all yesterday, which can only mean one thing, she thinks she has the votes.

I certainly hope that is not the case. There are plenty of people working on the undecided members to ensure they do the right thing. I'd be down there myself speaking, but unfortunately my chest cold went from bad to worse, so I'll have to testify in writing instead. If you can't get down there, make sure to write a letter yourself. The more pressure we put on our Council, the more likely it is that we defeat the Mayor's end run around democracy.

Letterman Excoriates John McCain

After McCain ditched David Letterman last month, McCain's comeback to the show was not one to be missed. Dave was ready for the Senator and did not let him get away with short non-answers at all. Kudos to Letterman last night!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

McCain Hearts Iraq War Profiteers

John McCain lost his maverick image long ago, and his character followed shortly thereafter. With morals and decency out of the way, the Republican nominee can do anything he chooses without taking into account the ethics of any relationship or money that comes from that. Harry Sargeant has made the news before with his interesting fundraising ideas but this story harms more than just his representation and that of his friend McCain.

From ThinkProgress:

International Oil Trading Company, which ships oil into Iraq for use by U.S. forces, “appears to have engaged in a reprehensible form of war profiteering,” according to the House Oversight Committee. The company is run by Florida businessman Harry Sargeant, who has raised at least $500,000 for Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). From Rep. Henry Waxman’s (D-CA) letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates:

[T]he prices IOTC has charged the government are not “fair and reasonable.” A “price negotiation memorandum” assessing the company’s June 2004 contract concluded that the price charged by IOTC, $2.10 per gallon of jet fuel, was at least 36 cents per gallon too high. … Of the $210 million in profits received by the company, at least one third — $70 million — appears to have benefited a single individual: Mr. Sargeant.

This corrupt bastard, who makes money from Bush's failed war is simultaneously robbing our treasury and paying a small percentage back to politicians like McCain to ensure his blood money keeps flowing in. Republicans can talk all about what Ayers did forty years ago when Obama was in grade school, but this corrupt fuel sale arrangement is going down right now and no one is doing anything about it, least of all John McCain.

Another Racist Moment From The GOP

With Barack Obama running against an ailing Republican Party this year, the scoundrels that are about to lose power are ready to go out in spectacular fashion. That isn't just for the people at the top like McCain trying to connect ACORN and Ayers to him, the hate is through and through the GOP system. The latest incident of racist behavior was reported in Inland, CA, where a group of Republican women thought they'd come up with a funny joke about Obama.

From The Press-Enterprise:

The latest newsletter by an Inland Republican women's group depicts Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama surrounded by a watermelon, ribs and a bucket of fried chicken, prompting outrage in political circles.

The October newsletter by the Chaffey Community Republican Women, Federated says if Obama is elected his image will appear on food stamps -- instead of dollar bills like other presidents. The statement is followed by an illustration of "Obama Bucks" -- a phony $10 bill featuring Obama's face on a donkey's body, labeled "United States Food Stamps."

The GOP newsletter, which was sent to about 200 members and associates of the group by e-mail and regular mail last week, is drawing harsh criticism from members of the political group, elected leaders, party officials and others as racist.

Yep, just some innocent fun those GOP gals were having. Of course, now the group leader Ms. Fedele will "apologize" at the behest of those above her on the food chain for being so outlandish about how most of them feel secretly. Here's the heartfelt statement from Fedele.

"I didn't see it the way that it's being taken. I never connected," she said. "It was just food to me. It didn't mean anything else."

She said she also wasn't trying to make a statement linking Obama and food stamps, although her introductory text to the illustration connects the two: "Obama talks about all those presidents that got their names on bills. If elected, what bill would he be on????? Food Stamps, what else!"

Right Ms. Fedele, we believe you. How could you know that pictures of watermelon, fried chicken and the rest have to do with stereotypical images of African-Americans? You're probably just one of those many ignorant conservatives that have lived in a cave your whole life. It is also likely that you are completely blind to the ways your party has utilized the issue of race to get ahead of minorities. Yet, most of us know better, and can easily call you out for that shit, you racist schmuck.

John McCain Needs Anger Management

Forget the White House, this man needs a class on how to cool that temper of his:

Gov. Crist Calls McCain An Exaggerator That Enjoys Chaos

Governor Charlie Crist of Florida may not have directly attacked John McCain, but he certainly painted a broad stroke across many Republicans who have tried to over-hype ACORN as the creator of a voter fraud nightmare. John McCain has spent millions in ads and plenty of precious time to attack Obama for ACORN's terrible activities meant to register voters. Too bad for John, his main man in Florida tore the talking point to shreds yesterday.

From The Miami Herald:

Florida's governor says his fellow Republicans may be exaggerating claims of voter fraud in the state.

Gov. Charlie Crist said Wednesday that he has confidence in Secretary of State Kurt Browning, who says there's only been a scattering of isolated incidents.

Crist said in the closing days of any campaign "there are some who sort of enjoy chaos." There may be more of that going on than fraud, he said.

Oh John McCain enjoys chaos alright, his face said it quite clearly last night during the debate. Since he clearly loses on the issues, he is doing whatever it takes to distract the country from what truly matters. The problem with his ACORN-ranting is that his claims are unfounded. Just because some people turn in fraudulent voter registration cards doesn't mean that people can vote more than once. There are mechanisms in place to prevent that and no GOP henchman has yet to prove that there has been one case of voter fraud due to this. Of course, lying about everything and anything is John's style, so no one should expect anything different.

Bloomberg's Term Limit Hypocrisy, False Pretenses For Running And Other Shenanigans

Mayor Bloomberg is certainly a very busy man and as we can see, quite the crafty politician. The Independent Mayor started the week off with a fundraiser for Republican Congressman Chris Shays and then jetted over to California to see Arnold. While there, he addressed the a voter referenda on how people get California. In a blatantly hypocritical move, he endorsed Californians will to let the people decide while styming democracy here in New York.

Back on the homestead, good government groups are going up against the billionaire Mayor with avengence. Yesterday a Freedom of Information request was filed by NYPIRG and Common Cause to see what the Mayor did not know and when did he not know it. Or in a nutshell, seeing when Bloomberg started stirring up the term limit waters in order to disprove his central argument for re-election, namely that because he can fiscally manage his own money that he should be given the right to do it for NYC until 2013.

And then to wrap it up yesterday, none other than Hillary Clinton voiced her strong opinion against the Mayor. She thinks that the Mayor's move is 'disturbing' to say the least and that she'll be keeping a close eye on how the situation develops. Obviously she has heard a lot from New York residents that do not trust the Council to do the right thing and as the Times suspects, two of them are probably close Clinton allies Rep. Anthony Weiner and Councilman Bill de Blasio.

As for today, the Council is holding its public forum here at City Hall this afternoon, going straight through until tomorrow. The forum gives each side to show their strength and allow for New Yorkers to make the Council know where the people stand on this important issue.

A Defining Moment From Last Night's Debate

Out of the ninety minutes that were televised, this twenty-six second bit spoke volumes about the candidates. John McCain delivered a jab and laughed, Obama denied him his alternate reality and countered with the truth. McCain looked flabbergasted that he'd receive such a response and came across completely out of touch. Of course, McCain is out of touch and Obama acts cool, calm and collected in addition to knowing what he's talking about.

NY-13: The Other Debate In NY Last Night

While we were all getting for the rumble on Long Island, the candidates running for Staten Island's Congressional seat geared up for a debate of their own. McMahon, Straniere, Cochrane and Morano all had a chance to say what they had to offer as one of them will ultimately replace the current and toxic Congressman Fossella. McMahon showed his strength even before it got started with a rally outside the event. It has been quite an interesting road getting here, as CQ Politics shows us in this recap video. Now we are finally getting to the end of the line and things are as heated as ever.

Here's the responses from one question last night:

Q. Mayor Bloomberg has thrust the issue of term limits back into the spotlight. What is your position on limiting the terms of elected officials at any and all levels of government?

Bob Straniere tells the audience he supports going to voters and letting them decide if there should be term limits for city officials. "If they're going to revisit this issue, they should go back to the voters. We are not some dictatorship," he says. The Republican says that the idea that only one person can lead the city now is "elitist. It's a terrible idea."

Carmine Morano chimes in: "I'm going to say something I never thought I would say: I gotta agree with bob on this." The Independence candidate says he will not seek more than three terms if elected.

Tim Cochrane tells his opponent, "Carmine, you think you have it hard. I have to agree with both of you." Cochrane says that the Bloomberg plan undermines democracy and the will of the people. "Everybody gets stale, folks. It's the way of the world."

Michael McMahon responds last: "I do not believe in term limits."

The Democrat wonders why Straniere didn't call for term limits while he was serving in the Assembly for 24 years. In a pointed dig, McMahon tells the crowd that when voters turned Straniere out of office... "THAT was term limits."

Regardless of the term limits aspect, McMahon took the opportunity to land a punch on Straniere's lapel and it connected. So as Vito leaves office (but before he goes to court today) the residents of New York's 13th got to see the candidates up close and personal and help the undecideds decide. Of course, that may not matter so much, since this race is looking so good for a Democratic pickup.

Barack "Cool And Collected" Obama Vs. John "McCrabby" McCain

Last night the esteemed Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY had the two Presidential candidates spar at their campus. The format allowed for them to ask questions and brought out a highly interactive format. It was also great for McCain because they were sitting and no one had to endure his "townhall" pacing. They both put on great performances (in different respects) but ultimately only came out the winner. John McCain could hit Obama with as many cheap shots as he wanted to but Obama's responses only made him look more Presidential.

First off, the other man in the room besides Schieffer was obviously Joe "The Plumber" Wurzelbacher. He was made out to be an undecided voter due to the question he asked Obama (see one post below) about his plumbing business. The networks swarmed to him afterwards and as we listened to his one and half cents, it was clear that Joe leaned to the right and heavily to the racist.

With all of the different issues addressed no one scored any knockout blows and for Obama, that gave him the victory because he already has the momentum (and 50%+ approval ratings). Ultimately, as TPM says, this things is over. With nineteen days to go, McCain is running short of precious time to sway the voters that he can change the country and all they are seeing is another George Bush (note that McCain tried to combat that in the debate).

The key to the debate wasn't so much the issues. We already know by and large what the candidates stand for, despite McCain's hemming and hawing on everything under the sun. What truly mattered last night was each man's temperment. Barack Obama set out to show that McCain is a mean, nasty old man and John's myriad facial expressions certainly made the case. With every attack on Obama, Barack seemed to shrug each one off with a laugh and delivered his answers to the American people and not back in John's face (for the most part of course, no one is perfect).

One thing I'd like to note is that if you watched it on CNN, the men and women were certainly skewed in different directions. Men favored McCain's responses and women were in Obama's corner. No other time showed that so clearly like when McCain mocked the fact that the health of the mother matters when discussing pro-abortion rights. That was just sick and you could see women dialing McCain down for the callous remark.

So as Colin Powell comes out for Obama shortly and the rest of the nation solidifies their choice in under three weeks, McCain must be getting more and more nervous. Not even the remaining pundits in his corner will save him, especially with the use of snap polls that kill the opportunity to insert media narratives worth less than a certificate of stock from Lehman Bros. With so few days left in the campaign, he is running out of wings and prayers because his ideas and his recent lack of character isn't going to get him back in this race.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Meet Joe The Plumber

The unknown star of the debate is now before our very eyes:

Of course most plumbers make far less than Joe, and in fact the Plumbers and Pipe-Fitters union (as part of the AFL-CIO) has endorsed Barack Obama because his vision for America is much more in line with them than it is with McCain.

"Joe The Plumber" Makes More Than 95% Of America

McCain keeps coming back to Joe the Plumber (so much for Joe SixPack, perhaps Palin trademarked that?) and Obama plays along to a degree. Joe Wurzelbacher makes over $250,000. Most people that are hurting in today's economy make far less. In addition, they've been hurting long before Wall Street went haywire and fell below 12,000 11,000 10,000 9,000 points. So enough about Joe, alright?

This has been quite an interesting debate, with Bob Schieffer helping to cause lots of contention between the candidates. Unfortunately, most of it was about small issues that have nothing to do with the concerns of the American people. Bill Ayers means nothing to the family that can not afford to feed their family or pay for health insurance. What the candidate's roles with ACORN mean nothing and the hurt feelings of McCain and Obama mean squat.

From time to time the issues came up and yet again, McCain lied his ass off. Everything from health care to economic stimuli and talking about his VP choice Sarah "Reformer" "Ethics abuser" Palin was complete garbage. The truth of what he wants to do utterly disgusts people and is exactly why he hates Obama for comparing him to George Bush. He is Bush's third term at the very least. With Sarah Palin a heartbeat away from the Presidency, the situation is that much scarier.

There was plenty more in there and I'll revisit it tomorrow. With the minutes ticking down on the last debate a few miles down the I-495 from here, Obama and McCain had no problem holding onto their supporters tonight. For Barack Obama, that is great news, as the polls clearly show. For John McCain, it is just one more event in a campaign where his ideas have fallen on deaf ears. It is one more stage to show his temper and condescension for Obama that is extremely distasteful to most Americans. McCain can chuckle all he wants, but all the fake smiles in the world aren't going to win over the remaining undecideds.

One Good Thing About The Economic Meltdown

Countless lives are being devastated by the mess on Wall Street as the shockwaves are being felt across the world. The impact is incredibly great here in New York City, since as we all know, Wall Street is in Lower Manhattan. A quick trip on the 4/5 can get you over to Brooklyn and a massive disaster that is the Atlantic Yards project, and that is giving its greatest news since Bruce Ratner decided to develop destroy a large chunk of Downtown Brooklyn.

From The Gothamist:

The Associated Press is responsible for the latest skeptical report on the future of developer Bruce Ratner's embattled $4 billion plan to build a Nets arena, office towers and thousands of apartments in Brooklyn. The article paints a bleak picture of the project, noting that in addition to the two ongoing lawsuits Ratner has been fighting off for years, the Wall Street bust has made investors just a wee bit apprehensive. The arena's groundbreaking was recently pushed back again, and the stadium—if it's ever built—will cost more than triple what Ratner paid for the entire franchise. "It's got more of an economic stall than a political or a legal stall," says Michael Rowe, former president of the Nets. "I think he missed the curve on when that project was financially viable and now he has to wait for it to come back." Longtime opponent Daniel Goldstein of Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn puts it more bluntly: "This is just merely a fantasy that they're going to build this project. Yet they're moving forward as if everything's fine."
So Ratner can talk all he wants about how great things are the reality is far different. The credit market is terrible for all of us and Ratner is no exception. So while we all collectively suffer, keep in mind the man that wanted to take away people's homes via eminent domain; just so he could build a basketball arena with expensive shops and condos is becoming more a wistful dream of his and less of a nightmare for those he wanted to kick out of the neighborhood.

WFP On Term Limits: "Its Our Decision"

The Working Families Party has come out on the side of the voters who passed term limits. Whether you agree on the merits of term limits, it is wrong for the Mayor to push this through in the manner that he is. As the ad shows and people know, it was our decision to enact term limits and it is ours to take away, not the Council's.

PBS Withdrew Torture Story Under Threats From Bush

Freedom of the press is more of a joke than ever. Although this isn't the first time PBS has been threatened with funding cuts for airing damaging stories of Bush, it is always sad to see the government cracking down on dissenters. Covering up the torture allowed by the current Administration is pertinent to escape any possible war crimes trials. For neo-cons, cutting their funding is a no-brainer and they could care less about how it looks. So PBS saved their own ass by retreating.

From ThinkProgress:

Scott Horton reports today that PBS may have refused to nationally air a controversial documentary on the use of torture by the U.S. government in order to protect its funding. Previously, the Bush administration threatened to cut PBS’s funding after it aired Bush’s War, a Frontline special critical of the war in Iraq:

On Thursday evening WNET in New York will air an important new documentary by Emmy and Dupont Award winning producer Sherry Jones entitled “Torturing Democracy.” It appears on WNET and several other affiliates independently because PBS would not run the show. […]

According to producer Sherry Jones, PBS told her that “no time slot could be found for the documentary before January 21, 2009″ — the day after George W. Bush and Dick Cheney leave office.

Watch a clip from Torturing Democracy here.

Another reminder of your tax dollars at work....working against you. An informed citizenry is the last thing the President wants and he'll do anything to keep us as ignorant as possible. Hopefully starting in late January, we can start anew with a President that actually cares about a free press. It would be a substantial improvement over the current one that snubs it and the potential successor that once embraced it and now attacks the Fourth Estate on a daily basis.

Sarah Palin Wears A Polar Bear Pin?!?

There is nothing out of the ordinary for a politician to wear a pin on their lapel, especially with the American flag nowadays. It is meant to show your patriotism (how it translates into the real world, I still haven't figured that out) and that you care about our country. Other pins have a similar affect, such as those to address AIDS, breast cancer and so on. That it is extremely curious that Sarah Palin would wear a polar bear pin, especially when she is so callously trying to let them go extinct.

Climate Progress tries to answer the question:

A1: She wants to help people remember what they looked like before her policies render them extinct.

A2: She likes sticking it to the bears.

A3. She couldn’t find a wolf-cub pin.

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is famously fighting the Bush administration liberals who designated the polar bears a threatened species, and her global warming denial, if enshrined into law, would finish off the bear’s habitat (see “McCain VP Palin is a global-warming-denying, polar-bear-dissing, Pat Buchanan acolyte“).

Notwithstanding Palin’s faux pas of wearing white (with a white pin!) after Labor Day, her pin is clearly missing either a bull’s-eye or a red circle with a slash through it. I wonder what Polar bears against Palin think of this.

I am really trying to stay away from the "she's pure evil" explanation. Therfore I'm going to go with the fact that she is looking to show that she cares about the things that get in the way of more oil exploration, so ultimately it comes down to a simple cover-up of her greed for petroleum.

Olbermann Calls On McCain To "Suspend" His Campaign

No, not the actual campaign for President. We are talking about the hateful rhetoric and allowance of the nasty comments from their crowds. Americans as a whole are sick of this negativity and Olbermann expresses it in brilliant fashion.

Bloomberg Is Busy In Connecticut Too

Mayor Bloomberg has been very busy ramrodding his term limits extension through the Council in the last couple of weeks. However, he's had some extra time to go campaigning for his favorite candidates running in other races that will be decided this year. The ex-Democrat, ex-Republican and now "Independent" Mayor Mike tends to favor Republicans, especially those that like to give lots of money to the rich (a favorite hobby of our Mayor). So no wonder that Monday night he showed up in Fairfield County, Connecticut for the lone Republican Congressman in New England, Christopher Shays.

From The Huffington Post:

Westport, Conn. -- "I will say it's nice to know that all of his constituents live well, have great views, good food. I had a beer inside, it was very good. Thank you. A number of you I've met, actually. I've met a number of people here I used to work with years and years ago, so it was fun to catch up with some old acquaintances and people I met at the last event for Chris -- and people I will meet again two years from now at the next fundraiser for Chris Shays." New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's opening remarks to the laughter and amusement of the crowd at a Westport fundraiser for U.S. Congressman Christopher Shays.[...]

The setting of the fundraiser was classic New England: cocktails by the pool overlooking a great expanse of manicured lawn and the Long Island Sound. The attendees supped on a dinner of Grilled Salmon, Lemon Chicken, Roasted Butternut Squash, Orzo Salad and cookies for dessert served to 200 attendees who paid between $250 to $2,300 per person. The Shays camp expects to raise more than $100,000 to help fund its race against the Democratic Candidate Jim Himes.
Wow that sounds delicious, though not worth one single penny that goes to helping Shays. Though there is something important here to notice.

Christopher Shays' judgment is Rock Solid, said Bloomberg. "Chris works across the aisle in a non-partisan way and is well equipped to deal with the financial problems of today. With the Wall Street crisis we will not be able to get out of this crisis easily, it will be hard work and non-partisans have been able to appeal on the facts and reason, instead of partisan politics. Some days I don't always agree with everything that is said or sometimes anything that is said..." Bloomberg waxed philosophical about expecting people to fail. He expects his own employees to fail, and learn, and wants people who are able to take risks. He spoke of Shays not always voting the party line, how Shays looks out for his constituents and voted with Bush only 52% of the time (the Himes Campaign has it more like 80% with Republicans, but who is quibbling with Mike).

Christopher Shays stated that if New York City doesn't do well, Connecticut won't do well either, referring to the Tri-State NYC area that is dependent on the stability of the financial markets. After the podium speeches, the New York press corps asked about Bloomberg's attempt to extend the term limits set by the voters.

This evening had some jarring differences from a press event recently held by Shays' Congressional competitor, Jim Himes. He and US Congressional Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi hosted an event with a family which was struggling financially with a job loss and high medical bills. They focused on the difficulties of living paycheck to paycheck, and how Obama and Democratic legislators would work in particular for people without health insurance.

I'm picking this great article apart (so go read it in full) for good reason. You see, Chris Shays and Mike Bloomberg have a lot in common. Both give generously to the wealthy despite only one being a billionaire. Both favor economic policies that pull the rich and the poor further apart. Both think that their way of doing things is going to help Americans, while both New Yorkers and the country at large is hurting ever more so as the pro-corporate agenda is religiously followed (Fairfield County is a different matter altogether). And most importantly, both are completely full of shit.

Barack Obama Wins Scholastic Election!

The actual election is less than three weeks away from now, but we do have a winner in this year's Scholastic election among our nation's students. Every four years since the beginning of FDR's third term, kids from across the nation vote in the mock election. All except for two of them the future voters cast their ballots just as the country would shortly thereafter. In 2008, the results weren't even close.

From USA Today:

In a large straw poll taken every four years, the readers of Scholastic magazines spent weeks filling in presidential ballots, snipping them out and turning them in.

Today the results are official:

• 57% chose Democratic Sen. Barack Obama.

• 39% chose Republican Sen. John McCain.

The student voters — about 250,000 this year — have an 88% prediction rate. Only twice since 1940 have their results been at odds with the nation's: in 1948, when Harry Truman defeated Thomas Dewey, and in 1960, when John F. Kennedy beat Richard Nixon. (To students' credit, their balloting closed before the televised Nixon-Kennedy debates that historians consider a game-changer.)

That my friends is a blowout victory. Kids may not have much experience but they are very well in tune with Presidential politics with non-stop coverage nearly everywhere you go. And of course, this follows the trend in the electorate as well, with more likely voters supporting Obama over McCain. The ratio becomes more even as the age range goes up. All in all, it portends well for our country's future, like when the 14-17 year olds vote in the 2012 race.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The People Sarah Palin Attracts

Forget about hope and change from this "hockey mom." When you go to a Sarah Palin rally, expect only the lowest common denominator to be culled from the audience, like this fine fellow who takes the "terrorist" cue from the VP nominee:

Debate At Baruch, The Pros And Cons Of Term Limits

While the NYC Bar Association condemned the Mayor today for trying to overturn term limits by legislative fiat, the term limit debate itself is being revived across the city. Here at Baruch College, several esteemed citizens of New York have come together to talk about the current situation and the issue as a whole. The public forum was put together by Common Cause of New York, Citizens Union and NYPIRG. All three organizations are against the Mayor's way of doing things but the panelists are sitting in the room representing many different perspectives on the matter.

Professor Richard Briffault started things off and brings his "Professor of Legislation" at Columbia to the table, as well as his consultancy work to the Charter Revision nearly twenty years ago. He addresses many issues concerning term limits and that there are pros and cons to both sides of the matter.

Councilwoman Reyna spoke to how a legislator works within the system. As Chair of the Rules Committee, she's a powerful member on the Council and has been a strong advocate for the low to middle class constituents in her district (34th - Queens/Brooklyn). She says that the Mayor is using the Council as a "punching bag" to hammer this through even though he could have sought a referenda before 2008.

Randy Mastro went next and as Deputy Mayor under Giuliani, has a working knowledge of the city's Executive branch. He says whether or not you agree with term limits, the process matters and that this action by Bloomberg will be found to be illegal. He advocates for a public referendum that could be on the ballot by early 2009, long before candidates must petition to get on the ballot. Mastro is worried that Bloomberg's push for this legislation is being rushed with no good reason other than, what seems to be pure politics. He even goes as far to say that Bloomberg owes his own tenure as Mayor to term limits. Mastro is passionately against hizzoner's plan, but at least in the opening round he does not address the question of term limits sans Bloomberg.

Mitchell Moss is an Urban Policy Professor at NYU and says at the outset he'll address the issue. He's clearly against them, mentioning that only consultants and campaign fundraising benefits from term limits. Elected officials need time in office to learn how government works. Also that in special elections low turnouts produce motivated voters that can affect great change if certain groups are mobilized to do so. Due to that, he argues that the Council's determination to vote on the current term limit legislation is at least as representative as a referenda. As for the third point, he really didn't get to it, but his message was clear, we should get rid of term limits, period.

Now Councilman Fidler gets his five minutes. He starts off addressing the fiscal crisis and how this is more important than term limits (I agree). He takes pride in opposing Bloomberg repeatedly and even endorsing Freddy Ferrer. He is sick of the billionaire's involvement in this and how the debate was presented by the Mayor. However, he's been against term limits throughout and will vote to change the charter by a Council vote regardless. Term limits give too much power to lobbyists, bureaucrats and staff members. "This isn't Poli Sci 101, this is the real world," says Fidler. As passionately as Randy Mastro is against the change, Fidler is for it. The Councilman then smacked Mastro's arguments and brought up his advocacy for pay raises to counter the Conflicts of Interest Board petition against the current legislation.

Esmeralda Simmons rounds out the panel. Her experience as a civil rights and a voting rights attorney leads her to believe that Bloomberg is using the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to protest a special election is "baloney." Ultimately the Justice Department rules on this but her faith in the current Administration (on the Federal level) isn't so strong in meting out a fair decision. She is most ashamed about this being a controlled act. She does not want the voters to be duped and does not believe the Mayor is being truthful about the process. She prefers a referenda over the Council's vote but in a perfect world a general election should ask this question.

Now back to the questions. Councilman Bill de Blasio stood up and addressed the members of the panel, praising all of them. He is a well known opponent of Bloomberg's legislation but says it is a "democracy question." He "honestly feels that our democracy is threatened" due to the Mayor's extreme power and ability to undermine public debate on the issue. Ultimately Bloomberg's wealth gives him immense power in an election against those who aren't billionaires.

Gene Russianoff asks the second question about why this is such an important issue. Councilman Fidler says this is a political question and that those who have the most to gain or lose are speaking with greatest volume. Funny enough, as Fidler mentions this, a member of the audience shouted out that the Councilman's term is up next year (makes you wonder about what Fidler has to lose, eh?). Moss backs him up and adds that it isn't like 2001 in that people can vote to re-elect Bloomberg and not keep him longer like Giuliani had wanted. Mastro is still shocked at the speed of the legislation going into the Council and again reaffirms the will of the voters. Councilwoman Reyna favors legislative action and seems to go off from her "undecided" stance, claiming that the people can decide things in next year's election. Fidler follows her up with more theater. Simmons then wonders if any of the Councilmembers have polled their district to see how the public feels.

Finally a new question is segmented in, Gene and Susan ask why can't the people have more of a say? Fidler quotes a poll that people want term limits rescinded for Bloomberg and he's only gotten 24 calls about the matter. He doesn't legislate by poll and that's that, even though he mentions lots of numbers. Mastro then follows up by saying that people are generally opposed to career politicians and institutions but no so much the individuals that fill those seats. He counters that legislative responsibility is also about being willing to respond to your constituents and that it has happened before where the Council asked the people to vote on an issue.

Now Susan Lerner turns it over to the audience's questions, only thirty-five minutes after the schedule says it'll start.

The first guy is against term limits, but against Bloomberg's plan and disappointed in the Council not being able to reframe the debate and that he wants an education debate and not a soundbite tidal wave financed by billionaires like Bloomberg, Lauder and (most likely) Golisano. Reyna whines about the situation and everyone tells her to propose a bill to change the debate and then Fidler breaks in to continue his pro-term limit theater. Professor Briffault calls for more time so that the issue can be better studied and digested by the people.

Council candidate Yetta (inaudible) for the 3rd District gets up next and wonders how the current Council rationalizes their vote when most New Yorkers are in favor of keeping term limits. Moss goes back to the argument that the Council has the power to change the charter regardless of previous referenda as well as the fact that seventy-five people showed up for this forum.

PDA and DFNYC member Scott (inaudible) rails on Quinn and says that we as voters have no representation, so will they vote against Quinn if she is re-elected to a third term to Speaker again. Reyna promptly gives him a "no."

Many questioners will follow but I wonder if the debate over term limits got anywhere tonight. A lot of words were said but mostly about the current situation and not the philosophical question on having term limits. Fidler answered that best, saying no, no, no. Most of the panel was against term limits but solidly opposed to what Bloomberg was doing. One thing that wasn't answered was about the good things of term limits. Does it help democracy or not? The power of incumbency was rarely addressed by the panel and perhaps a sit down with Professor Briffault would answer that better. The theater was certainly great and I loved de Blasio's entrance in the middle of it. If the fireworks here were any indication of what will go down at the Council meeting on Thursday and Friday, then that will be an even greater show.

Ah, well my battery is in the red and it is time for dinner outside this very spacious conference room at Baruch.

McCain's "New" Economic Plan Is Simply More Of The Same

John McCain shocked conservatives last week with his $300 billion dollar plan to help homeowners, but outrage from the right made that disappear quickly. Now with the campaign falling apart, he is going back to the tried and definitely untrue conservative path of cutting more taxes for the rich via capital gains tax cuts. Will it be enough to appease his RNC overlords (who just redirected campaign funds to the Senate slate) and the GOP faithful?

From ThinkProgress:

On Monday, Barack Obama announced “a new economic rescue plan Monday geared toward middle-class voters.” McCain didn’t announce anything, which “caused some head scratching.”

And now, on Tuesday, McCain is unveiling his new proposals, going back to the well of tax cuts for the rich. McCain will announce plans to “cut the capital gains tax on stock profits in half, from 15 percent now on stocks held a year or longer to 7.5 percent — a $10 billion proposal.” The Wonk Room’s James Kvaal noted the impact of cutting capital gains:

Households earning less than $50,000 a year collected a mere 2.5 percent of capital gains in 2005, according to the Tax Policy Center. Families earning more than $1 million a year collected 59 percent of capital gains. Moreover, most middle-class families with capital gains hold their investments in retirement accounts shielded against capital gains taxes.

For a candidate already promising $175 billion tax cut for corporations, including $4 billion for oil companies, handing out a new tax cut for millionaires and calling it a “Pension And Family Security” plan is oddly appropriate.

Now that is the Republican I know! Cutting taxes for those that already have tons of money and nothing for those that don't is the only thing they know on the right. Of course when it comes to talking to the public about it, his spokeswoman hasn't a clue about how much it'll cost the rest of us. The confusion for Nancy has to be hard to handle, since her man continues to flip and flop about nearly every issue including economics.

An Egg Is To A Voter, As Christine Quinn Is To That Frying Pan

Speaker Quinn has changed her mind about term limits twice in the last three years. Now that it suits her political ambitions, she is in cahoots with the Mayor to help give him another term as Mayor despite the will of the people that term limits all New York City elected officials. So try not to get fried like this egg down below and fight back against Bloomberg, Quinn and the fourteen others on the Council that are trying to extend term limits.

Lehman Execs Tried To Give Themselves Huge Payout Just Before Ship Sank

In an emergency you always know the way out of a building because all the rats are headed in the direction of the exit. That scenario is no different from that of the Lehman Bros. bankruptcy where top executives wrote themselves huge checks just before the S.S. Lehman sank into the sea of greed. If I were on a sinking ship, I'd want a nice life raft with supplies to last for at least a few days. At Lehman's, they went a step beyond and the five guys at the top tried to gold-plate their raft with more than $100 million dollars.

From The Times of London:

THE Lehman Brothers board signed off on more than $100m (£59m) in payouts to five top executives just three days before the bank went bankrupt leaving thousands of employees out of work in London.

The payoffs, approved on September 12 by the Wall Street giant’s compensation committee, included over $24m in severance packages to the collapsed firm’s top three London executives.[...]

The committee also signed a $41m retention package for Eric Felder, the head of global fixed income in New York, and a $40m two-year deal for Jerry Donini, the US-based head of equities. These are understood to have been voided, replaced by new contracts under Barclays which bought the US business.

The pay deals will further inflame the debate raging about executive pay as the global financial crisis accelerates.

In the two years prior to Lehman’s collapse, the executives were generously remunerated while overseeing forays into risky commercial real-estate investments that helped to bring the company down.

It truly is amazing that this type of behavior isn't criminal. People go to jail for stealing (or attempting to steal) far less than the amount these crooks had hoped to take. More than that, they had already been showered with riches from their risky ventures while they went boom before the inevitable bust. If these executives had any sense of humility or knew what it means to be accountable, they'd have given back the ridiculous amount of money they already had, not take any more.

Conservatives Lament McCain, Yet They Really Should Take A Good Look In The Mirror

An article in the Observer this morning asks if John McCain is a "lemon" for the portion of America that calls themselves conservative. Basically McCain has been a terrible candidate with no true economic vision and a consistent flip-flopper that at times sounds like Barack Obama when it comes to dealing with our fiscal woes. Examples include the $300 billion mortgage buying scheme mention at the last debate and then pulled back, endorsing the bailout by Paulson and his meaningless focus on $3 million dollar earmarks while everyone else is talking about numbers in the hundreds of billions.

Yes, I agree with the fact that McCain is a lemon to those that hold on to their fiscal conservative roots. Yet, he is merely one lemon that hangs on their tree full of sour ideas. The fact is, conservatism (or what Republicans have made of it) is dying a terrible death. For twelve years in Congress and for twenty out of twenty-eight in the White House, conservatives have implemented their schemes as best they could and it failed spectacularly. De-regulation was a disaster, as America had to take in the reality that a "free" market does not police itself and when given more room, greed inevitably takes over.

Now that the situation at Wall Street has exploded and the debris is affecting everyone, the fiscal restraint we've been preaching to other (poorer) nations becomes hypocritical condescension. Paulson, Bush and yes, some Democrats decided that we should embrace a form of corporate socialism that gives these greedy bastards in the financial sector gobs of taxpayer money (borrowed from others of course) in order to fix their mess. To top it off, there are hardly any regulations put in place to prevent a repeat of their derivative-based economy.

McCain, in his lust for power after being robbed of it eight years ago, is stopping at nothing to get elected. He does not care about conservatism, he cares about himself. That selfishness is what ultimately connects him to their tree because when you get down to basics, conservatism is all about "me" and nothing for you. "Me" wants no taxes so I keep my wealth and/or power, "me" could careless if you are sleeping on the street, "me" wants to bomb your oil-rich nation so I can feed my petro-addiction and "me" wants all of it now without any thought of the future.

For John McCain, he wants to be President, and he'll say whatever it takes to satisfy his "me."

South American Leftists Laugh At Bush's Hypocrisy

George Bush's advocacy of the bailout for Wall Street has smacked many across the aisle as a form of socialism. Cenk Uyugr points out some of the reactions from Latin America and those "evil socialists" that have yet another reason to yell "hypocrite" to the bully in the White House.

Prove It Senator McCain!

As Senator McCain's poll numbers have dropped, the negativity of his campaign has increased and so has the level of hate that can be seen in his supporters. The covert racism of his and Palin's statements ("He's not one of us," "Pals around with terrorists," etc) has stoked the overt "Kill Him," "Bomb Obama," and people that bring Curious George dolls with Obama stickers on them to rallies. Hate begets hate and although McCain wished solely for the intensity of his base to increase (it did), it also provoked a negative reaction in the press and for the undecideds that are crucial for him to sway back into his corner. By the end of the week, he had to tell a woman in his crowd that Obama wasn't an Arab (why that would be bad, well, speaks volumes in and of itself) and he got booed for it.

So by the time the Sunday talk shows rolled around, the media that has started falling out of love with " The Maverick" media-hating McCain called him out on all the hate. When he went on CNN yesterday it was still a fancied topic and he was asked point-blank. His excuse for it? Another baseless attack of course!

From Crooks and Liars:

In an interview with CNN's Dana Bash Monday, John McCain actually said the following with a straight face:

BASH: Now, whether or not, since I know you've heard this during your rallies, since you have been talking about Ayers -- and your running mate has, also -- we've heard people in the crowd screaming things like "Terrorist!," "Traitor!," when you talked about Senator Obama -- and worse. When you hear that do you...

MCCAIN: I've heard the same thing, unfortunately, at Senator Obama's rallies being said about me. There's always a fridge element that's in politics in America. The overwhelming majority of the people that come to my rallies are good and decent and patriotic Americans. And if they're worried about this country's future, that's correct.

But to somehow -- to somehow intimate that of the thousands of people -- 17,000 people were just with us in Virginia. And to somehow intimate that the overwhelming majority of those people, with rare exception, are somehow not good Americans or are motivated by anything but the most patriotic motives, is insulting. And I won't accept that insult.

Like everyone else talking about it, no candidate can be responsible for everything being said with thousands of people around them. Yet the tone of the candidate and what they condone plays a major part. Barack Obama goes after McCain, but nothing resembles an ad hominem attack, everything is based on issues and ideas (or lack thereof). Obama inspires hope (he's attacked for that too) and a better way forward. You do not hear McCain being called a terrorist, or for him to be killed, or for camera operators that share his skin color to be screamed at with racial epithets.

It is possible for him to be associated with George Bush. It is possible for him to be called out for screwing the middle class by voting with the President 90% of the time. It is possible for him to be called out for lying about his record. There are many things we can yell out about McCain at an Obama rally. Yet nothing will ever come close to the racism on display at any given McCain or Palin event. Unless someone wants to prove it with actual videotape, no one is going to believe it.

A 3rd Term Bloomberg

Ron Lauder and the other billionaires that want Mike Bloomberg to run for a third term constantly harp that since he's rich, the Mayor's continued presence will help us through tough times. The logic is shaky at best and really the only way that benefits us is the trickle-down effect around his townhouse on the Upper East Side. As for things that matter to New Yorkers such as affordable housing, it looks like he is either worsening the problem (by kowtowing to developers with zoning laws that push lower income residents away from the city) or merely ineffectual, as this bit of news confirms.

From The NY Daily News:

Mayor Bloomberg's campaign to build 165,000 units of desperately needed affordable housing appears to be running into the same economic maelstrom that brought down Wall Street.

A $240 million fund that was a key element of the mayor's housing plan relies on some of the country's most troubled banks and securities firms, records show.

The New York City Acquisition Fund's partners include Washington Mutual, Wachovia and Fannie Mae, strongly suggesting it may become a casualty of the still-evolving credit meltdown.

That would be bad news because the city has a shortage of 100,000 to 300,000 units of affordable housing, the Pratt Center for Community Development says.

And with numbers like that, it is also hard to determine what "affordable" means. According to the Mayor, those who qualify are singles that makes under $32,300 and $46,000 for couples. As the Daily News article mentions, many of us in NYC spend more than half our income in housing. With caps like that, even if the housing gets built, many people are still going to struggle.

Of course, it has to be built first and frankly there is no way to do it now with the markets as nuts as they are now. Bloomberg's supporters say he can walk us through this because he's a billionaire. Yet, even a billionaire is no match for the economic crisis unless....he wants to use his wealth to build some of those homes. And as we all know, that'll be a cold day in hell.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Anthony Weiner Wants You To Speak Up For The Will Of The Voters To Stand

As the opposition grows to Mayor Bloomberg's attempt at a third term, so do the number of websites set up that work to reach New Yorkers and get them mobilized against the anti-democratic efforts of the Mayor. Speaker Quinn and the fourteen other members (currently) of the Council are working on his behalf, so the rest of us need to make sure they do not achieve their quest for more power by making an end-run around the will of the voters.

Here's Mayoral candidate and Congressman Anthony Weiner's public request to fight back:

I'm thinking about getting my two minutes in front of the Council, how about you?

McCain Manager Plays Grimy And Tired P.O.W. Card To Excuse The Racial Hate Of His Supporters

As John McCain continues to struggle on the campaign trail with a pathetic "comeback" speech today, his campaign manager is using the same P.O.W.erless tricks that have contributed to the candidate's demise. Over the last week, McPalin and Co. have gone more overtly with the most despicable campaign tactics out there. Especially with Sarah Palin, key words are used that incite racial hatred and bigotry towards Barack Obama. They clearly cannot compete when it comes to important issus and solutions, so this is the level that they revert and regress to. When the campaing is asked to defend the hate speech of what is left in McCain's corner, Rick Davis goes for the P.O.W. card yet again. Not only that, but he adds an extra heap of hilarity on top.

From RawStory:

After inflammatory speech at events for Republican presidential candidate John McCain made headlines this weekend, Democratic lawmaker John Lewis compared McCain to 1960s segregationist George Wallace.

Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday asked Davis if McCain and Palin bear any responsibility for their supporters calls of violence when attack ads and stump speeches call Obama a "liar" and a "terrorist."

This is how Davis responded: "Barack Obama should apologize to John McCain directly for the kinds of comments made by Joe Lewis yesterday and that should be the end of this sordid affair."[...]

Davis called Lewis' comparison "outrageous" because McCain was undergoing oppression in a prison camp at the time of Wallace's hateful speeches.

"Where was John McCain when George Wallace was spreading his hate and segregationist policies at that time?" Davis said. "He was in a Vietnam prison camp serving his country with his civil rights also denied. Nobody knows sacrifice like John McCain does."
Well Rick, I'll tell you where John McCain is right now with the hate he is helping to foment, right smack in the middle of it all. At this point, I don't care where John McCain was when Wallace was in power (though by the way his famous segregationist speech was in 1963, before McCain crashed his plane and was taken prisoner by the North Vietnamese). Davis doesn't know his history and is obviously clueless that the talking points that were devised of in the summer are not working with an electorate that is paying attention here in the fall.

McCain Camp Goes After....William "The Bloody" Kristol???

It is common sense that when you smell smoke and feel a hot door in your house, it'd be best to get the hell out and call for help. When John McCain's staff sees none other than arch neo-conservative Bill Kristol scream "fire" in the face of a campaign burning down, it would be smart to take a look at what he was saying (even if he's a pathological liar in most respects). Instead, McCain hack Nancy Pfotenhauer takes a different route and does what Republicans run amok do best, attack their own.

From ThinkProgress:

Yesterday on Fox News Sunday, Bill Kristol said John McCain’s campaign has really become “a pathetic campaign.” In his New York Times op-ed this morning, Kristol went further, suggesting that McCain should “fire his campaign” and “start over.” Asked to respond to Kristol’s criticisms, McCain campaign spokeswoman Nancy Pfotenhauer said on Fox News:

Well, you know Bill is entitled to his perspective. And I used to work for Bill. And I can tell you personally sometimes he’s brilliant and sometimes he’s not. And this is one where it’s the latter category. You know, I think unfortunately he has bought into the Obama campaign’s party line.

Republicans are great at eating their own after the panic buttons have been pressed, but going after Kristol is just lmao hilarious. If Pfotenhauer thinks that Bill "The Bloody" buys anything that comes from the Obama campaign, then she either has a serious mind-altering drug problem or is drinking way too many pitchers of the potent McCain campaign Kool-Aid.

The B.S. Emanating From Bloomberg Is Horrendous

Azi's videos of Bloomberg show how much the Mayor cares about covering his tracks on term limits. The answer he gives here shows just how transparent he is, which unfortunately for him, is giving greater fuel to the movement that is trying to stop his ridiculous power play for a third term.

Oh and rumor has it, he may be paying Christine Quinn off for helping him fight this olgarchic effort for him.

Helping Main Street, Multiple Streets At A Time

The one thing missing from the national debate on reinvigorating the economy has been help for Main Street. Financial service proponents have thought that helping Wall Street trickles down to benefit Main Street but that is clearly not how it works. Finally we have a plan formulating in the Democratic ranks to bring a real stimulus to those that truly need it.

From Yahoo News:

U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, told ABC television he will put together an economic stimulus bill when Congress returns to Washington after the November 4 elections, while a key Republican said he would support an effort that "makes sense."

Rep. Roy Blunt, the Missouri Republican who serves as House minority leader, said he would support a stimulus plan if it did not include massive public works spending and budget bailouts for states that overspent on health care and other social programs.

Frank, despite his failings in the bailout mess is on to something here. Blunt, on the other hand, represents the same old crap emanating from what is left of the GOP. After the elections, when we could see a 100 seat Democratic Majority in the House, he will have to change his thinking on the issue or else be rolled over in the process. Just like in the 1930s, a national agenda that addresses our infrastructure would do wonders for our economy and when adding in alternative energy to the mix, will create green jobs as well as improve the environment.

Robert Rubin clearly gets it:

Former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, who served under President Bill Clinton, told CNN that an infrastructure plan that could quickly pump money into the economy was the most important action that U.S. authorities could take to help deal with the current economic crisis.

"I would put in place an infrastructure piece... bridges, water systems roads, highways, but not new projects that are going to take a long time to set up," Rubin said. "There are a lot of existing projects where states and cities are having a hard time finding a lot of financing where you could funnel that money right into existing activities where you would be able to act very very quickly."

That is great for the short-term, but we must add in projects that will truly make a difference for the future. For far too long, we have been thinking of nothing but what is directly in front of us. The policies that reinforce the failed ideas that got us where we are today need to be thrown to the wayside. Building an infrastructure system meant for the 21st century would be a good start and a great boost for our country.

Quinn Caves For Her Man Bloomberg

So much for representing Chelsea or even guiding the City Council in a respectable, reform-minded fashion, Christine Quinn is officially in the bag for Mayor Bloomberg and his push to make an end-run around democracy. Yesterday she finally decided to stop hemming and hawing over the inevitable and announced she'd support an extension of term limits for the Mayor and the current Council members only.

From The Gothamist:

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is currently holding a press conference declaring her support for the mayor's proposal to extend term limits. Her announcement ends Quinn's remaining mum on her official stance since Mayor Bloomberg announced his intentions to maneuver for a third term bid almost two weeks ago. It also reverses the vow she made last year to uphold the two voter referendums in support of term limits.

Quinn had originally intended to make a run for mayor herself next year, but backed out of the race when her close political ally Bloomberg finally threw his hat in the ring after months of speculation. The mayor's decision to run gave Quinn an easy out of a campaign that looked like it would be an uphill battle after what has been a scandalous year for the Speaker.

Opponents to the mayor's plan are not surprised at Quinn backing it. To them this is just the inevitable next step in what they see as a series of handshake deals and back room agreements, including Ronald Lauder dropping his opposition of extensions and the mayor secretly going to the heads of the Big Three city papers looking for their support. "It's been carefully choreographed from the get-go," said Councilman John Liu.

Quinn probably figured that she didn't have enough support to run for Mayor herself, so perhaps she thinks that this public bow in deference of Bloomberg will give her a leg up in 2013 (that is, if Bloomberg doesn't want another term then). Liu is right, it is all theater for her and nothing about principles or respecting the voters. Another observer that is right on target is Dan Jacoby, who believes we need to impeach Christine Quinn for reneging on multiple promises to New York. All I have to say to that is, "where do I sign up?"