Friday, September 26, 2008

And all the things leading up to tonight's debate

...there's a couple of things I wanna go over.

  • Since my post about Gov. Palin's selection to be McCain's veep, I have gone from underwhelmed by her choice to utterly horrified. Her Troopergate scandal has blown up with stonewalling, contempt for subpoenas, and outright lying. She compares so well now to the current Veep and his contempt for the rule of law. More shocking, she's supposed to have spent at least a week or two with high-level 'experienced' tutors covering need-to-know topics such as foreign policy, national and global economics, what have you. All that tutoring and she turns in three interviews in a row with Gibson, Hannity and Couric that progressively show WORSE performances than the last. And the polls are reflecting that: she's dropped from the high 60s approval to around the mid-40s. She's obviously wowed the GOP base, which helped McCain's convention bounce, but now she's killing him among the Indys and Undecideds who, you know, actually grade people by performance. From what I've seen of Palin's interviews... trust me, she makes Dan Quayle look like a MENSA member.
  • I'm still upset with McCain, but this week just made things worse. His reactions to the Wall Street meltdown and to the Sh-tpile Bailout Sec. Paulson was trying to sell to Congress since last Friday have been haphazard and ill-informed to say the least. Then, Wednesday, McCain pulls a huge stunt (and it was a stunt) by 'suspending' his campaign so that he could go back to DC and make himself look important at the bailout deals the Congressional Ds and Rs were already close to completing. And what happens? He shows up, says little, and inside of 40 minutes the deals fell apart and everyone walked away pissed.
  • AND McCAIN DOESN'T EVEN PULL OFF THE SUSPENDING BIT! He lies to David Letterman to cancel out his Wednesday night appearance by claiming he had to hurry right away to the airport and to DC: Letterman finds out McCain had sneaked off to interview with Couric instead (AND CAUGHT HIM LIVE ON CAMERA DOING IT! Watch the video up to 7:32 on the timer, you can tell how pissed off Dave is by then) All day Thursday, by the way, McCain was busy meeting people, pressing palms, working the fundraisers, what have you, up until the White House session to hammer out a deal that got squashed instead. And as part of the 'suspending' the campaign, he tried to worm his way out of tonight's scheduled debate, trying to move it back to the Oct. 5th date scheduled for the Veep debate (which was becoming more and more apparent to observers to be a looming disaster for Palin: rumors that McCain's maneuvering was really to cancel her debate altogether). The attempt to cancel the debate failed: now McCain looks more desperate and unwilling to face voters than ever before.
For myself, I'm not watching the debate. My mind's made up. I know you're not supposed to vote AGAINST people, you're supposed to vote FOR people. But let's be honest. There is right now so much I hate about McCain and what he's done to himself. There is so much I hate about the Republican Party. Whereas any qualms I have about Obama's lack of experience or the Democrats' tendencies to be just as hypocritical as the GOP pale by comparison.

One other thing: McCain, you really shouldn't have pissed off Letterman like that. He's got a history of carrying grudges. And his fans vote.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

It's not just me... it's nearly every other American

I'm not the only one bugging about the hideous new Bush plan to waste $700 billion (at least) on a Wall Street bailout that a growing number of economists are saying isn't even needed:

The Flick Filosopher - my Matron Saint of the Movies - is pretty pissed about it too.

She compares the current fiscal crisis to her own personal financial crisis of a few years back. Like the banks and investment firms had, she had put too much on credit and was facing massive debt. Bankruptcy loomed, she considered credit consolidators, and finally went with Option Three to knuckle down, work extra jobs, pay off her loans as best she could and stop living the high life on money she didn't have.

And now, she looks at these financial wizards, these CEOs and Captains of Industry who have created a massive Sh-tpile on Wall Street... and has no sympathy for them, and I completely agree with what she says:

I'm a good citizen. I literally help old ladies cross the street. I call police officers "sir" even when they look like they're 12 years old and I wonder if their mothers know they're out on the street playing with guns... and even when they're violating my civil rights with their warrantless, no-cause searches of my belongings in the subway. I replaced all the bad old-fashioned lightbulbs in my apartment with green low-wattage fluorescent ones. I recycle. I use mass transit, even though the fares keep going up and the service keeps getting worse and the trains keep getting more crowded.
I've adopted homeless animals, for Christ's sake.
And now, George W. Fucking Bush, after spending the last seven years wiping his ass with the Constitution, wants to finish his simultaneous looting of the American economy for his pals by taking $700 billion $1.8 trillion of money we never had for universal health care, better schools, researching new forms of low-carbon-emitting energy, cleaning up our environment, giving body armor to our soldiers and taking care of them once they come home, finding Osama Bin Laden, rebuilding Lower Manhattan, evacuating poor people from New Orleans, shoring up levees so New Orleans wouldn't have needed to be evacuated in the first place, curing AIDS and cancer, making college affordable for whomever wants to attend, creating an intercity train network that actually works, and a million other progressive things that would make life better for everyone, and give it to people who lied, cheated, stole, exercised poor judgment, and bitched about paying taxes on the small percentage of their ill-gotten gains that they weren't already hiding -- legally and illegally -- from the IRS. And he wants to give them this money with no oversight, no transparency, not even any demands that it be used in any particular way.
It's not just me. And it's not just her. The last two days at the library where I work, nearly every patron has griped about the bailout, griped about the corporate overlords who are about to take more money they didn't earn, griped about how unfair the whole scam is turning out to be.

The best thing I can tell people, I can tell you: stay angry. Please contact every elected official you have. Please rant to them that you want accountability. Please remind them that these people they're about to give money to are crooks and liars and incompetents. Please remind them that you have the power to vote their lazy asses out of office if they fail to hold Bush and his Wall Street buddies accountable for what has happened these past 8 years.


Friday, September 19, 2008

Yet Another Bailout... and Yet Another... and Yet Another...

Sigh. I've said it before I'm saying it again... this sucks.

We bore witness this week to Lehman Brothers collapsing, Merrill Lynch getting bought by Bank of America, and then AIG (American International Group, a major player in the insurance racket) getting taken over by the U.S. government in an unprecedented act that effectively nationalized the company (something free-market capitalists like the Republicans in charge would consider a supreme act of evil... if a Democrat did it).

Pile this all on top of the previous government actions involving Bear Sterns, and total in about ten other large-scale banks failing inside of one year which is more than the total number of failed banks we've seen from 2000 to 2006. Let's be blunt, we are witnessing the biggest financial crisis since the Savings and Loans scandals of the 1980s. Only this is waaaaay bigger, where the S&L mess cost us $150 billion this subprime mess is going to cost $1 TRILLION! We're talking, yes we are, a Depression-level economic collapse, especially as you can throw in the high gas prices affecting inflation, the rising unemployment, and about fifty more economic factors that scream DISASTER.

I said it then, I say it now:

Why do we keep doing this? Why do we keep letting these financial institutions ramp up the greed and corruption until they choke on their own disasters, only to have US, the people who got ripped off in the process, to pay the damn bills? They get us coming and going.

I'll tell you why. Because these financial fat cats buy off the politicians on both sides of the aisle - Republicans and Democrats both - to do nothing until it's too late. Freaking legalized bribery.

Nothing this week has convinced me otherwise. From all that I've read, most of this current disaster points back to one law: the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999. It allowed disparate economic institutions - banks, insurers, investing firms - to merge, compete, merge, make back-alley deals, develop questionable investing practices, perform acts of creative accounting, and allow themselves free parking at all the football games. It repealed an earlier law that had been introduced in 1933, Glass-Steagall, which had placed regulations and restrictions on banking and investing to curb the excesses of the 1920s that had led to the Great Depression. Now we see why. Thank you Phil Gramm.

The politicos are bending over backward now, especially regarding AIG, to make sure the entire stack of cards for our economy doesn't completely collapse, by stabilizing the top-end of the economy. Those of us at the bottom-end of the economy - the workers, the taxpayers, the people who played by the rules and the people who got played by the con artists running our markets - are going to get stuck paying the bill. AGAIN.

And this ISN'T OVER YET. The economists and political observers are all still muttering that the damage done by the crazy subprime mess and shifting financial trickery by the major institutions hasn't been fully contained yet. There's still a lot of damage yet to occur. There's still also the economic backlash to occur with all this public debt getting bigger.

All because the Republicans wanted to deregulate banking and investing, and all because the Democrats played along because the money was too good. All because of unchecked greed.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Three Reasons I Will Not Vote for McCain

My anger expressed in the last post toward McCain's blatantly false complaint about Obama's use of a common phrase is basically my emotional, gut-level urge to see McCain fail this November. But I feel it is my duty to give at least a few practical reasons why I refuse to vote for McCain:

  1. Obama's going to be better for me on tax cuts. Both parties have tax plans on their platforms, and Obama's is better than McCain's covering my tax bracket: Obama's offering to give me 5 to 6 percent off while McCain is offering 1 to 3 percent. Just check the graph.
    The Tax Policy Center that provided info for that graph has done the review on the two tax plans, and has found Obama's plan is better for the lower- and middle-income classes.
  2. If McCain does indeed win in November, I have to posit: WHERE will he get his candidates to fill key positions in his administration? WHO will make up his Cabinet, his Secretaries of State, Treasury, Defense, Interior, Education, Attorney General? Answer: McCain will fill his Cabinet with people from the Bush Administration. Where else is he going to find people from his party with *any* level of experience in an executive work setting? McCain says he'll put Democrats in his Cabinet, but odds are he's only going with one, his old buddy Lieberman (possibly for State). Everyone else is going to end up coming from a Bush the Lesser administration that has been filled from bottom-up with borderline quacks, unqualified hacks, and cronyist crooks (caveat: current Sec. of Defense Gates has shown some skills, but he was pretty much forced on a Bush team suffering from the 2006 setbacks and political pressure worried about the worsening Iraq occupation). If Obama wins, yes he'll probably add people from the last Democratic admin - the Clintons. But review the Clinton years: other than Housing Secretary Cisneros, what other problems were there with other appointees? Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy went to trial, yes, but that trial was a sham and he was acquitted on all charges. And I'm not going to focus on the conspiracy talks about Commerce Secretary Brown... The biggest scandals with the Clinton White House involved the Clintons themselves, rarely their Cabinet or other appointees. Between the Republican talent pool and the Democratic talent pool, I'll take the Dems to fill the next White House jobs, please!!!
  3. Simply put, McCain is going to continue wars. He's doing too much saber-rattling at Russia and Iran, and not convincing me he's going to do anything about lessening our troop presence in Iraq nor resolving the disaster Afghanistan (and Pakistan) has become.
Those are just three legit reasons I can't vote for McCain. My passionate emotional reason for not voting McCain (HE'S TURNED INTO A GODDAMN LIAR) is the trump card, naturally.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A level of anger that almost makes it too difficult to write


In the past week and a half, since McCain made Palin his Veep choice, the general campaign for the Presidency 2008 has taken a huge turn for the worse.

I had railed before against the levels of mudslinging that contaminate the election process every four years, but now... for the love of God...

Obama went and called McCain's policies the same as George W. Bush's. His exact words were:

OBAMA: Let's just list this for a second. John McCain says he's about change, too. Except -- and so I guess his whole angle is, "Watch out, George Bush, except for economic policy, health-care policy, tax policy, education policy, foreign policy, and Karl Rove-style politics. We're really gonna shake things up in Washington." That's not change. That's just calling some -- the same thing, something different. But you know, you can -- you know, you can put lipstick on a pig; it's still a pig.

Within seconds, the McCain campaign accused Obama of attacking Sarah Palin and calling her a pig. Accusing Obama of being sexist and rude to women. And the media, especially the GOP-friendly spinidiots, bought into the complaint hook line and sucker.


Obama's comments were about MCCAIN. About MCCAIN'S POLICIES being the same as the MOST UNPOPULAR PRESIDENT IN THE HISTORY OF THE KNOWN UNIVERSE. Re-read that paragraph. Palin's name doesn't even show, she's not even hinted at!!!

It's as though the McCain camp were waiting for Obama to say anything, use any questionable phrase - like 'lipstick on a pig' - to jump all over him and accuse HIM of being a mudslinger. 'Cause let's face it, there's nothing Republicans like more than playing the victim during an election year (on the non-election years, they like to play cowboy and burn everything down around them).

Even though 'lipstick on a pig' is a common political phrase. Ann Richards - a woman, Texan governor by the by - was the one who coined it and used it on a regular basis since the 1990s. MCCAIN HIMSELF USED IT TO DESCRIBE HILLARY CLINTON'S HEALTH CARE PROPOSALS EARLIER THIS YEAR!

What this is, what it needs to be seen as across the whole goddamn country by every voter (but which I know won't happen because there's too many goddamn GOP zombies out there who've already bought the sham), is that this is a contrived invented controversy that shouldn't even be a controversy. Because instead of looking at what Obama really said - that McCain is going to be another Dubya following the same failed policies - people are looking at the perceived slight to Palin's womanhood/motherhood that never happened.

The statement Obama made is not offensive, because he wasn't offending anyone, and he wasn't lying. The actions of McCain, and of his campaign, and of his media sycophants, are offensive, because they're trying to force voters to look away from the things that really matter.

We're losing our jobs. We're losing our homes. Banks are failing. Our military is stretched thin fighting two battlefronts, with troops frayed and veterans unable to get needed health care, emotional support, financial support, everything. And the Bush people are arguing for a THIRD battlefront with Iran. International allies aren't taking our phone calls. Health care costs keep skyrocketing. Schools are losing money, losing students. Gas prices are still too high, and we're not seeing ANY effort to develop effective alternative resources. And the Chinese hold our nation's credit card bills in their hands.

And we're sitting here on Day Three of the Pig Issue and it's not going away. Insert *mother of all facepalms* here.

I want honesty in our public discourse. I want liars punished. I want spin removed from our elections. I want accountability. I want a working functioning government able to maintain a solid working military, able to provide emergency support at all times to all citizens. I want our economic system well-regulated by honest brokers who will get rid of the cronyism and the greed, that would prevent the goddamn con artists from ruining our financial institutions with their quick-rich scams. I want Karl Rove on death row, the bastard. I want Grover Norquist to pay everyone's else taxes and come to the realization that it's not tax cuts we need it's fair taxation. I want my headache to go away, I want my soul back, I want this anger in my heart gone because I don't need it. No one needs this kind of anger in them, despite what the goddamn GOP blowhards think.

And I look at the poll numbers, at how 50 million Americans are still buying the GOP spin-bullshit. God help us.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Florida state amendments off the ballots

In a massive rebuke, a unanimous (do you know how rare that is these days?) Florida Supreme Court rejected three of the possible state amendment referendums yesterday. Jeb Bush reportedly seen clutching a security blanket and sucking his thumb afterward.

The three amendment proposals were:
  • Amendment 5 - which cut property taxes to fund schools, in exchange for a vaguely defined tax swap that could shift the tax burden to higher sales taxes. The amendment was noted for being poorly worded, failing to highlight how the shift could take place, that the revenues generated by the sales tax would still fail to compensate for the lost revenues from the property tax, and that the tax shift wasn't even guaranteed (any law including the word 'might' means it will never happen). It was also noted for being full-out batsh-t EVIL!
  • Amendments 7 and 9 - sideways attempts at re-introducing vouchers (which has become a pet project of social conservatives to get more public money into religious private schools): Amendment 7 was removing the "no aid" language that bars state money from going to religious institutions, number 9 requiring school districts to spend at least 65 percent of their money in classrooms but also eliminating the need for a 'uniform' public school system (meaning private schools could take over). In both amendments' cases, the court ruled that the group who submitted them - Jeb Bush's Taxation and Budget Reform Commission - did not have the authority to shove those two onto the ballot.

All in all, this means two things:
  1. The social cons are going to try even nastier tricks next time, and
  2. Our tax system still won't get the real reform it needs to ensure better school funding

Peace out! I'm off to ride the MIGHTY MOONWORM!