Friday, October 31, 2008

We've been seeing a lot of demagoguery in the last 8 years

dem·a·gogue: One who will preach doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots — H.L. Mencken

Restoring our Constitution

In the wake of 9-11, the Bush Administration exploited our justifiable fear of terrorists to both squelch American dissent over their agenda, and to strong-arm Congress into approving all the legislation they enacted (e.g., the Patriot Act, FISA, extraordinary rendition and related torture laws, discontinuance of habeas corpus), all of which were designed to sidestep both the spirit and letter of Constitutional law. Over the past 7 years this legislation has, word by word, dismantled our U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. These documents have yet to be restored to the former integrity they held for over two centuries. While these fundamental changes to our democracy affect each and every American, we’ve fortunately been spared, thus far, some of the worst outcomes potential to this legislation, even as this potential will continue to loom over us until our Constitution and Bill of Rights are restored to their pre-Bush Administration integrity. So far most of us have been fortunate. Some, such as Maher Arar, have not been so fortunate.

For more about the Maher Arar travesty of justice, see the full Congressional hearing (1 hour, 28 minutes) on this case, held in October 2007, here, which includes Maher Arar’s testimony. Also, see footage here (7 minutes) from a related hearing, in which an outraged Sen. Patrick Leahy demands answers from Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales regarding the extraordinary rendition and torture-outsourcing in the Maher Arar case.

From the canarypapers site


Racism is alive and well in our country--UNFORTUNATELY!

FL GOP Chair Sends Out Racist E-mail: Beware Of The Car Loads Of Blacks

By Logan Murphy Friday Oct 31, 2008

From TampaBays10:

The head of the Hillsborough GOP, David Storck, distributed an email from a Republican Party volunteer saying the voters are a threat.

That's because, as the volunteer says in the email, he sees "car loads of black Obama supporters coming from the inner city to cast their votes for Obama."

It goes on to say, "This is their chance to get a black president and they seem to care little that he is at minimum a socialist and probably Marxist in his core beliefs." The Republican volunteer says that is because, "After all he is black- no experience or accomplishments but he is black." Read on...

If the McCain/Palin campaign has done anything, it has exposed the worst in our society. Couple that with the hate talk that infests the once-public airwaves from the likes of Rush Limbaugh and the xenophobic, racist rants of the right wing blogs and this is what you get.

Crooks and Liars


John Dean's warning to the nation

The Evidence Establishes, Without Question, that Republican Rule Is Dangerous
by John Dean
Findlaw Oct. 31, 2008

Why It Is High Time to Fix This Situation, For the Good of the Nation

— from FindLaw

Occasionally, during the past eight years of writing this column, I have addressed the remarkably dangerous manner in which Republican Party officials rule the nation when they control one or more of the three branches of the federal government. Over the same period, I've also made this argument, even more directly and loudly, in three books on the subject.

In this column, I will be more pointed on this subject than I have ever been, while also repeating a few key facts that I have raised earlier -- because Election Day 2008 now provides the only clear remedy for the ills of Republican rule.

The Republican Approach to Government: Authoritarian Rule

Republicans rule, rather than govern, when they are in power by imposing their authoritarian conservative philosophy on everyone, as their answer for everything. This works for them because their interest is in power, and in what it can do for those who think as they do. Ruling, of course, must be distinguished from governing, which is a more nuanced process that entails give-and-take and the kind of compromises that are often necessary to find a consensus and solutions that will best serve the interests of all Americans.

Republicans' authoritarian rule can also be characterized by its striking incivility and intolerance toward those who do not view the world as Republicans do. Their insufferable attitude is not dangerous in itself, but it is employed to accomplish what they want, which is to take care of themselves and of those who work to keep them in power.

Authoritarian conservatives are primarily anti-government, except where they believe the government can be useful to impose moral or social order (for example, with respect to matters like abortion, prayer in schools, or prohibiting sexually-explicit information from public view). Similarly, Republicans' limited-government attitude does not apply regarding national security, where they feel there can never be too much government activity - nor are the rights and liberties of individuals respected when national security is involved. Authoritarian Republicans do oppose the government interfering with markets and the economy, however -- and generally oppose the government's doing anything to help anyone they feel should be able to help themselves.

In my book Broken Government: How Republican Rule Destroyed the Legislative, Executive and Judicial Branches, I set forth the facts regarding the consequences of the Republicans' controlling government for too many years. No Republican -- nor anyone else, for that matter -- has refuted these facts, and for good reason: They are irrefutable.

The McCain/Palin Ticket Perfectly Fits the Authoritarian Conservative Mold

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin, the Republican candidates, have shown themselves to be unapologetic and archetypical authoritarian conservatives. Indeed, their campaign has warmed the hearts of fellow authoritarians, who applaud them for their negativity, nastiness, and dishonest ploys and only criticize them for not offering more of the same.

The McCain/Palin campaign has assumed a typical authoritarian posture: The candidates provide no true, specific proposals to address America's needs. Rather, they simply ask voters to "trust us" and suggest that their opponents - Senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden - are not "real Americans" like McCain, Palin, and the voters they are seeking to court. Accordingly, McCain and Plain have called Obama "a socialist," "a redistributionist," "a Marxist," and "a communist" - without a shred of evidence to support their name-calling, for these terms are pejorative, rather than in any manner descriptive. This is the way authoritarian leaders operate.

In my book Conservatives Without Conscience, I set forth the traits of authoritarian leaders and followers, which have been distilled from a half-century of empirical research, during which thousands of people have voluntarily been interviewed by social scientists. The touch points in these somewhat-overlapping lists of character traits provide a clear picture of the characters of both John McCain and Sarah Palin.

McCain, especially, fits perfectly as an authoritarian leader. Such leaders possess most, if not all, of these traits:

  • dominating
  • opposes equality
  • desirous of personal power
  • amoral
  • intimidating and bullying
  • faintly hedonistic
  • vengeful
  • pitiless
  • exploitive
  • manipulative
  • dishonest
  • cheats to win
  • highly prejudiced (racist, sexist, homophobic
  • mean-spirited
  • militant
  • nationalistic
  • tells others what they want to hear
  • takes advantage of "suckers"
  • specializes in creating false images to sell self
  • may or may not be religious
  • usually politically and economically conservative/Republican

Incidentally, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney also can be described by these well-defined and typical traits -- which is why a McCain presidency is so likely to be nearly identical to a Bush presidency.

Clearly, Sarah Palin also has some qualities typical of authoritarian leaders, not to mention almost all of the traits found among authoritarian followers. Specifically, such followers can be described as follows:

  • submissive to authority
  • aggressive on behalf of authority
  • highly conventional in their behavior
  • highly religious
  • possessing moderate to little education
  • trusting of untrustworthy authorities
  • prejudiced (particularly against homosexuals and followers of religions other than their own)
  • mean-spirited
  • narrow-minded
  • intolerant
  • bullying
  • zealous
  • dogmatic
  • uncritical toward chosen authority
  • hypocritical
  • inconsistent and contradictory
  • prone to panic easily
  • highly self-righteous
  • moralistic
  • strict disciplinarians
  • severely punitive
  • demanding loyalty and returning it
  • possessing little self-awareness
  • usually politically and economically conservative/Republican

The leading authority on right-wing authoritarianism, a man who devoted his career to developing hard empirical data about these people and their beliefs, is Robert Altemeyer. Altemeyer, a social scientist based in Canada, flushed out these typical character traits in decades of testing.

Altemeyer believes about 25 percent of the adult population in the United States is solidly authoritarian (with that group mostly composed of followers, and a small percentage of potential leaders). It is in these ranks of some 70 million that we find the core of the McCain/Palin supporters. They are people who are, in Altemeyer's words, are "so self-righteous, so ill-informed, and so dogmatic that nothing you can say or do will change their minds."

The Problem with Electing Authoritarian Conservatives

What is wrong with being an authoritarian conservative? Well, if you want to take the country where they do, nothing. "They would march America into a dictatorship and probably feel that things had improved as a result," Altemeyer told me. "The problem is that these authoritarian followers are much more active than the rest of the country. They have the mentality of 'old-time religion' on a crusade, and they generously give money, time and effort to the cause. They proselytize; they lick stamps; they put pressure on loved ones; and they revel in being loyal to a cohesive group of like thinkers. And they are so submissive to their leaders that they will believe and do virtually anything they are told. They are not going to let up and they are not going to go away."

I would nominate McCain's "Joe the Plumber" as a new poster-boy of the authoritarian followers. He is a believer, and he has signed on. On November 4, 2008, we will learn how many more Americans will join the ranks of the authoritarians.

Frankly, the fact that the pre-election polls are close - after eight years of authoritarian leadership from Bush and Cheney, and given its disastrous results -- shows that many Americans either do not realize where a McCain/Palin presidency might take us, or they are happy to go there. Frankly, it scares the hell out of me, for there is only one way to deal with these conservative zealots: Keep them out of power.

This election should be a slam dunk for Barack Obama, who has run a masterful campaign. It was no small undertaking winning the nomination from Hillary Clinton, and in doing so, he has shown without any doubt (in my mind anyway) that he is not only qualified to be president, but that he might be a once-in-a-lifetime leader who can forever change the nation and the world for the better.

If Obama is rejected on November 4th for another authoritarian conservative like McCain, I must ask if Americans are sufficiently intelligent to competently govern themselves. I can understand authoritarian conservatives voting for McCain, for they know no better. It is well-understood that most everyone votes with his or her heart, not his or her head. Polls show that 81 percent of Americans "feel" (in their hearts and their heads) that our country is going the wrong way. How could anyone with such thoughts and feelings vote for more authoritarian conservatism, which has done so much to take the nation in the wrong direction?

We will all find out on (or about) November 5th.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

A GREAT Daily Show! Don't miss this one!

Jon Stewart mocks McCain's forgetfulness, condescending air quotes

icon Download | Play icon Download | Play

Last night on The Daily Show, Jon Stewart went to town on John McCain's Meet the Press "senior moment" and his increasing use of condescending air quotes, or as Stewart calls them, "d*ck fingers."

"I can't believe I've gone on Meet the Press and stumped myself!"

"The nice thing for McCain is that he hasn't let his exasperation turn into bitterness. He's merely turned it into sarcasm."

Check out the Daily Show website for more hilarious videos.

Crooks and Liars


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

McCain Aides Say Palin Knew Nothing about National or International Affairs

Just the kind of vice presidential candidate you want when the presidential candidate is 72 years old and has had 4 bouts with cancer--WHAT was McCain thinking? And now she is turning on him....

McCain Aides Say Palin Knew Nothing about National or International Affairs

The McCain campaign continues to snipe at each other over the handling, and subsequent effect, of Sarah Palin on the campaign trail. According to Nicole Wallace, a senior McCain aide who is one of Palin's handlers and helped to orchestrate her initial rollout, there is an 'organized campaign to lay blame' for things at her feet. Robert Draper, however, offers a defense of Wallace, saying she's kept quiet about things that a couple of McCain higher-ups have leaked to him, and that Wallace was in a very unenviable position:

I'm sympathetic to Eskew and Wallace, and not just because they're decent people. They've held their tongue from leaking what a couple of McCain higher-ups have told me--namely, that Palin simply knew nothing about national and international issues. Which meant, as one such adviser said to me: "Letting Sarah be Sarah may not be such a good thing." It's a grim binary choice, but apparently it came down to whether to make Palin look like a scripted robot or an unscripted ignoramus. I was told that Palin chafed at being defined by her discomfiting performances in the Couric, Charlie Gibson, and Sean Hannity interviews. She wanted to get back out there and do more. Well, if you're Eskew and Wallace, what do you say to that? Your responsibility isn't the care and feeding of Sarah Palin's ego; it's the furtherance of John McCain's quest for the presidency.
Draper also reports that McCain snubbed Palin during a long ride on the Straight Talk Express

McCain Didn't Get It -- New Politics passed him by

Readers' Comments

"In the final days of this election, even with MapQuest, the Republican Party cannot get to the High Road."
Bill Hirsch, Michigan

A Choice and an Echo

Published: October 27, 2008

It seems to have taken forever (the seasons have changed, and changed and changed again), but this long presidential campaign is finally coming to an end. In January, with snow blanketing the trail in Iowa and New Hampshire, I wrote of the Barack Obama phenomenon: “Shake hands with tomorrow. It’s here.”

I didn’t mean that Senator Obama would win the election. He still seemed like a long shot to me. But it was clear that the message, style and strategy of his campaign pointed to a new direction for American politics, and that a new generation of voters — younger, smarter, more diverse, more open-minded — was anxious to follow his lead.

I remember talking with a voter named Debra Gable, who had driven from central Vermont to attend an Obama rally in Derry, N.H. “I dislike politics,” she told me, “because we focus on our differences even though we have so many more commonalities. That’s what I think I’m hearing from Obama, so I want to see how he is in person.”

Ms. Gable had not made up her mind, and the other candidate she was seriously considering — in a Republican field that was still wide open — was John McCain.

This election is hardly over, despite the impulse of the pundits to write the McCain campaign’s obituary. But Senator McCain has diminished his chances of winning the presidency in many ways, the most important of which was his failure to grasp the most significant new trend in American politics.

With the country facing enormous problems (even before the meltdown of the credit and financial markets in recent months), the voters wanted more substance from their candidates. They wanted a greater sense of maturity and a more civil approach to campaigning. They were tired of the politics of personal destruction and the playbook that counseled “attack, attack, attack.”

Senator Obama was perfectly suited to this new approach. He told the crowd that trekked through the cold and snow to hear his victory speech at the Iowa caucuses:

“You said the time has come to move beyond the bitterness and pettiness and anger that’s consumed Washington. To end the political strategy that’s been all about division, and instead make it about addition. To build a coalition for change that stretches through red states and blue states.”

John McCain didn’t get it. He seemed as baffled by the new politics as an Al Jolson aficionado trying to make sense of the Beatles.

He answered the desire for a higher tone in politics with ads that likened Senator Obama to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton and with attacks that questioned Mr. Obama’s patriotism, blamed him for high gasoline prices and all-but-accused him of being a socialist.

Mr. Obama, said Mr. McCain, would convert the Internal Revenue Service into “a giant welfare agency.”

Get it?

Whether this is admirable or honorable is not the question here. In the current political and economic atmosphere, it seems very much like a roadmap to defeat.

The heyday of Lee Atwater and Karl Rove is over. Yet Senator McCain handed the reins of his campaign to Rove’s worshipful acolytes. With the nation in a high state of anxiety over the conflagration in the credit and financial markets, Senator McCain traveled the country ranting Rovelike about Bill Ayers, trying to instill a bogus belief that the onetime ’60s radical and Senator Obama were good buddies and perhaps involved in some nefarious doings together. Senator Obama was about 8 years old when Mr. Ayers was engaged in his nefarious doings.

It was the classic fear card that the Republicans have played to such brilliant effect for years. But times have changed. (Lately Senator McCain has been obsessively invoking the name of “Joe the Plumber” at his campaign appearances, as if that might be the phrase that finally sways the electorate in a way that the Bill Ayers mantra did not.)

Senator Hillary Clinton helped define the new political atmosphere with her own historic run for the White House. Senator McCain, demonstrating again his tone-deafness to the new reality, tried to capitalize on Mrs. Clinton’s remarkable achievement by cynically selecting Sarah Palin, the anti-Hillary, as his running mate.

Mr. McCain must never have noticed that the public turned overwhelmingly against the Bush administration because of its repeatedly demonstrated incompetence. Now here is Senator McCain, in the midst of a national crisis, with a running mate who is demonstrably incompetent to serve the nation as its president.

Ms. Palin is a walking affront to the many Republican women (not to mention women in general) who are, in fact, qualified to hold the highest office in the land.

John McCain could have traveled a higher road. He chose not to. He bet instead on one last gasping triumph of the politics of the past.

Monday, October 27, 2008

AlQaeda wants McCain to win

Not an endorsement McCain is proud of....

The Endorsement from Hell




This story happened a while ago in Dublin, and even though it sounds
like an Alfred Hitchcock tale, it's true!!!!!

John Bradford, a Dublin University student, was on the side of the road
hitchhiking on a very dark night and in the midst of a big storm. The night
was rolling on and no car went by. The storm was so strong he could
hardly see a few feet ahead of him. Suddenly, he saw a car slowly coming towards
him and stopped. John, desperate for shelter and without thinking about
it, got into the car and closed the door only to realize there was nobody behind
the wheel and the engine wasn't on.

The car started moving slowly. John looked at the road ahead and saw a
curve approaching. Scared, he started to pray, begging for his life. Then,
just before the car hit the curve, a hand appeared out of nowhere through the
window, and turned the wheel. John, paralyzed with terror, watched as the
hand came through the window, but never touched or harmed him.

Shortly thereafter, John saw the lights of a pub appear down the road, so,
gathering strength, he jumped out of the car and ran to it. Wet and out of
breath, he rushed inside and started telling everybody about the horrible
experience he had just had. A silence enveloped the pub when everybody
realized he was crying and....wasn't drunk.

Suddenly, the door opened, and two other people walked in from the dark and
stormy night. They, like John, were also soaked and out of breath. Looking
around, and seeing John Bradford sobbing at the bar, one said to the

"Look, Paddy! There's that fooking idiot that got in the car while we were pushing it!"


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Most Inspiring--don't miss this one! --THE POWER OF MUSIC

Appealing to the heart:
Playing for Change --Peace through Music

The following short video is a real keeper! Music is a connector of all people, around the entire world. This inspiring music brought tears to my eyes and a lift to my heart. (~.~) The video is one I will play over and over. The story from the documentary maker is a wonderful one. This music should be played on election day and Inauguration Day, no matter who is elected -- in my mind, it is a perfect companion to the "audacity of hope." As the film maker says, "The only choice we have is to come together and to inspire each other. A lot of people are living in fear. We don't even know how long we're going to be in this world, so there's no reason to fear anything -- the important thing is that, while we're here, let's make a difference together."

In Defense of White Americans -- Frank Rich column

Excellent column by Frank Rich today:

In Defense of White Americans

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Palin going "rogue" in the campaign

In the McCain campaign these days, it looks like it's every man (and woman) for themselves. Forget "teamwork." Palin is out to salvage her own image (as if that were possible) in hopes of running for president in 2012. If she is all the Republicans have in their back pocket (along with Joe/Sam the Plumber) for the 2012 election, they have a very bumpy road ahead. Another thought: maybe she can save some of those outfits that cost the RNC $150,000 and pray they will still be in style 4 years from now.

Read all about it at:

From the UK Telegraph

How the UK is seeing our election:

Republican fears of historic Obama landslide unleash civil war for the future of the party

The Best Cancer-Fighting Foods

A Doctor Changes His Diet after Diagnosis of Brain Cancer

16 years later, he's still going strong....

Slideshow of pics on body language

These photos show the difference in the McCain's marriage and the Obamas' marriage....

Interesting article also, about the body language between the McCains:

Friday, October 24, 2008

Another great SNL skit -- with Bush, McCain, and Palin

This one is side-splitting...(of course, depending on whose "side" you're on (~.~)).

Just what we need - another Republican idiot in Congress

Joe the Plumber wants to run for Congress! Here's a guy who lied during his questioning of Obama -- saying he is a plumber and was going to buy a business that is "worth $250,000, perhaps $270,000" -- when he is not even a licensed plumber, when he makes less than $40,000 a year, and was NOT going to buy a business at all--plus, his name is not even Joe--it's Sam. And he owes back taxes! He was obviously padding his questions with lies, trying to trip up Obama and get his own moment in the public eye. Some say he was a McCain plant, which wouldn't be hard to believe. His interchange with Obama actually showed Obama to be empathetic, caring, and knowledgeable--and nowhere in that interaction was there anything but kindness and concern shown for Joe/Sam. Now this lying man, because of the fame/infamy he acquired through pushing his way to the front of a crowd and lying to Obama, has been taken up by McCain and Palin as "Everyman"--and is now thinking of running for office. Oh, PUH-LEEZE, give us a break! Sarah will probably want him as her vice presidential pick when she runs for president in 2012. This is so typically Republican. And so typically ridiculous. They are scraping the bottom of the barrel for candidates -- but their "base" will think it's wonderful. Here's another guy to have a beer with at the corner bar -- exactly who we need to help us lead our country into more years of ruin.

'Joe the Plumber' Mulling Run for Congress

Joe Wurzelbacher, a.k.a. "Joe the Plumber," said Friday he may consider running for Congress in 2010, challenging longtime Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D) in the Toledo-area district.

"I'll tell you what, we'd definitely be in one heck of a fight," Wurzelbacher said during an appearance on the Laura Ingraham show Friday, "but, you know, I'd be up for it."

"There is a movement afoot to draft you to run for Congress," Ingraham said. "Joe, let me tell you something: you decide to run for Congress, and I'll help you with your PR, I'll help you do your ads, I mean, I'll volunteer to help you."

Ingraham's producer, Brian Feldman, said that during the break after the segment, Wurzelbacher told Ingraham that his statements today represent the first time he has acknowledged considering a bid for Congress in public.

Wurzelbacher said he did agree with Kaptur's vote against the bailout, and touted his support for a flat tax on income.

A Springfield, Ohio native, Wurzelbacher became a target of fame and scrutiny after Republican candidate John Mccain referenced the plumber during his third presidential debate against Barack Obama. Wurzelbacher confronted Obama during a campaign spot in northwest Ohio preceding the debate to ask Obama about his tax plan.

Supporters launched a website following Wurzelbacher's rise to prominence encouraging him to run for the seat.

Kaptur has represented Ohio's 9th congressional district since being elected in 1982, and has easily secured reelection in years since. She is expected to easily defeat Republican opponent Bradley Leavitt next month.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Ron Howard, Andy Griffith, and the Fonz

Check out this fun video! It's an important one, too.

Palin Betrays Base On Immigration Amnesty

sarah-palin-1_fe11a_0.jpgWith 12 days to go until the election, today was the wrong time for Sarah Palin to shoot herself in the foot and alienate her base. But that's what she has done, in style, on Univision.

Interviewer: To clarify, so you support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants?

Palin: I do because I understand why people would want to be in America. To seek the safety and prosperity, the opportunities, the health that is here. It is so important that yes, people follow the rules so that people can be treated equally and fairly in this country.

Needless to say, the wingnuts, those few mentioning it so far, are not at all happy.

The Corner leads the charge:

What Palin's response shows is that, first, she's completely open to whatever kool-aid they want her to drink — i.e., she has no innate resistance to amnesty for illegals that would cause her to look for less-unappealing ways of saying what the campaign wants her to say. And second, it shows what the campaign is telling her about McCain's views on the issue — if McCain's talk of "border security first" were anything but boob bait for Bubba, his operatives would have made it clear that Palin was supposed to include that in her discussion of immigration, but she didn't even make a passing reference to it.

Daniel Larison:

I have given up trying to understand what Palinites see in their favorite candidate. If this does not drive home how malleable and unacquainted with the relevant policy options she is, I’m not sure what would.

Michelle Malkin simply says "We're Screwed, '08!"

With twelve days to go, this is going to hurt the McCain/Palin camp even worse than the $150k blown on Sarah's make-over. Immigrants are the "barbarians at the gate" that folks like Neo-Roman elitist Andy McCarthy are so afraid of.

Originally posted in a different form at Newshoggers

Palin Betrays Base On Immigration Amnesty | Crooks and Liars


The NY Times Endorsement of Obama

The NY Times has written an important endorsement of Obama, giving excellent reasons for their choice.


Under Mr. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the justice system and the separation of powers have come under relentless attack. Mr. Bush chose to exploit the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001, the moment in which he looked like the president of a unified nation, to try to place himself above the law.

Mr. Bush has arrogated the power to imprison men without charges and browbeat Congress into granting an unfettered authority to spy on Americans. He has created untold numbers of “black” programs, including secret prisons and outsourced torture. The president has issued hundreds, if not thousands, of secret orders. We fear it will take years of forensic research to discover how many basic rights have been violated.

Obama makes you proud to be an American

Barack Obama in Richmond, VA: "There are no 'real' parts of the country and 'fake' parts of the country"

By Nicole Belle from

Won't it be amazing to have a president in this country that doesn't make you cringe when he speaks? Obama spoke yesterday before a crowd of 12,900 in Richmond, Virginia.

There are no real or fake parts of this country. We are not separated by the pro-America and anti-America parts of this nation – we all love this country, no matter where we live or where we come from. There are patriots who supported this war in Iraq and patriots who opposed it; patriots who believe in Democratic policies and those who believe in Republican policies. The men and women from Virginia and all across America who serve on our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America – they have served the United States of America.

We have always been at our best when we've had leadership that called us to look past our differences and come together as one nation, as one people; leadership that rallied this entire country to a common purpose – to a higher purpose. And I am running for President of the United States of America because that is the country we need to be right now.

This country and the dream it represents are being tested in a way that we haven't seen in nearly a century. And future generations will judge ours by how we respond to this test. Will they say that this was a time when America lost its way and its purpose? When we allowed the same divisions and fear tactics and our own petty differences to plunge this country into a dark and painful recession?

Or will they say that this was another one of those moments when America overcame? When we battled back from adversity by recognizing that common stake that we have in each other's success?

This is one of those moments. I realize you're cynical and fed up with politics. I understand that you're disappointed and even angry with your leaders. You have every right to be. But despite all of this, I ask of you what's been asked of the American people in times of trial and turmoil throughout our history. I ask you to believe – to believe in yourselves, in each other, and in the future we can build together.

That's the nicest smackdown of McCain's Rovian tactics I've ever heard.


Palin Fashion Includes Scarf That Encourages Voting...For Democrats

From Huffington Post

The news of Sarah Palin's colossal, RNC-funded shopping haul has placed the Alaskan governor back squarely in her role as being the main source of drag on the McCain ticket, as critics lampoon the candidate's overtures to America's Plumbing Joes while decked out in $150,000 worth of new high-end gear. According to MSNBC's Chuck Todd, things are said to be "tense" between McCain and his running mate, and, if you take a look at this picture, from Jezebel, I think it's pretty easy to see why!

OH NO! Why on earth is Sarah Palin wearing a Democratic Party scarf, festooned with donkeys and the word "Vote?" Why won't McCain question her on her ties to radical leftist accessories?

So, yeah. I'd say that this is money well spent by the RNC! In my imaginings, this scarf cost Palin $15,000, and all proceeds went directly to ACORN.

Palin Fashion Includes Scarf That Encourages Voting...For Democrats


Barry Goldwater's granddaughter speaks up

Goldwater Republicans might want to consider this...

Why We Goldwaters are Voting for Obama

by CC Goldwater

Being Barry Goldwater's granddaughter and living in Arizona, one would assume that I would be voting for our state's senator, John McCain. I am still struck by certain 'dyed in the wool' Republicans who are on the fence this election, as it seems like a no-brainer to me.

I myself, along with my siblings and a few cousins, will not be supporting the Republican presidential candidates this year. We believe strongly in what our grandfather stood for: honesty, integrity, and personal freedom, free from political maneuvering and fear tactics. I learned a lot about my grandfather while producing the documentary, Mr. Conservative Goldwater on Goldwater. Our generation of Goldwaters expects government to provide for constitutional protections. We reject the constant intrusion into our personal lives, along with other crucial policy issues of the McCain/Palin ticket.

My grandfather (Paka) would never suggest denying a woman's right to choose. My grandmother co-founded Planned Parenthood in Arizona in the 1930's, a cause my grandfather supported. I'm not sure about how he would feel about marriage rights based on same-sex orientation. I think he would feel that love and respect for ones privacy is what matters most and not the intolerance and poor judgment displayed by McCain over the years. Paka respected our civil liberties and passed on the message that that we should conduct our lives standing up for the basic freedoms we hold so dear.

For a while, there were several candidates who aligned themselves with the Goldwater version of Conservative thought. My grandfather had undying respect for the U.S. Constitution, and an understanding of its true meanings.

There always have been a glimmer of hope that someday, someone would "race through the gate" full steam in Goldwater style. Unfortunately, this hasn't happened, and the Republican brand has been tarnished in a shameless effort to gain votes and appeal to the lowest emotion, fear. Nothing about McCain, except for maybe a uniform, compares to the same ideology of what Goldwater stood for as a politician. The McCain/Palin plan is to appear diverse and inclusive, using women and minorities to push an agenda that makes us all financially vulnerable, fearful, and less safe.

When you see the candidate's in political ads, you can't help but be reminded of the 1964 presidential campaign of Johnson/Goldwater, the 'origin of spin', that twists the truth and obscures what really matters. Nothing about the Republican ticket offers the hope America needs to regain it's standing in the world, that's why we're going to support Barack Obama. I think that Obama has shown his ability and integrity.

After the last eight years, there's a lot of clean up do. Roll up your sleeves, Senators Obama and Biden, and we Goldwaters will roll ours up with you.


Sarah Palin might not know what a platform is

By Chris Kelly

Yesterday Sarah Palin did a phone interview with James Dobson of Focus on the Family. Most of it went pretty well . . . but there was one ugly gotcha question:


The Republican Platform is the strongest pro-life, pro-family document to come out of a political party, even more so than the platforms during the campaigns of Ronald Reagan. There are principles there that I've been fighting for for thirty, forty years and you are trying to articulate those same principles, aren't you?

Oh jeez.

See, the problem here, for most Republican politicians, is that the platform is horrifying. A catalogue of revenge dreams and power fantasies, impossible and illegal, most of them involving women and scourging. It's the portrait in the attic of what Republican rule would look like, if the zealot half took over and pushed out the half who are just in it for the money.

It's not what you'd call a moderate document. Bob Dole, famously, claimed he never even read it.

That's what makes it a gotcha question, for most candidates. How to get around it. For Sarah Palin, what makes it a gotcha question is that I'm pretty sure she doesn't know that her party has a platform, or what one is.

He might as well be asking her the atomic weight of unbinilium.

So she goes into Palin bluff mode. What words does she have to work with from the question? "Platform." Good. We know that word. It's like a deck. "Pro-life." We heard about that at church. "Reagan." He was sort of like a young John McCain. Got it. Go.


Absolutely, and Dr. Dobson thank you so much for recognizing that. This is a strong platform around the planks in this platform that respect life and respect the entrepreneurial spirit of this great country and those things, back to the social issues that are what Republicans, at least in the past, had articulated and tried to stand on.

Pause. Did that do it? Wait for next question. Darn it, he's not saying anything. That's okay, we can do this. Deep breath.


Now, finally, we have very solid planks in the platform that will allow us to build an even stronger foundation for our country. It's all good and it's encouraging. You would maybe have assumed that we would have gotten further away from those strong planks. But no, they're there, they're solid, we stand on them and again I believe that it is the right agenda for the country at this time. Very, very clear and contrasted tickets in this election November 4th. People are going to see the clear contrasts, you just go to the planks in our platforms and that's where you see them.

And... done. Teacher, is that clock slow?

But Dobson isn't finished. He has a follow up. This must be what hell feels like.


In your private conversations with Senator McCain, it is your impression that he also strongly supports those views? I know that he did not oppose that platform when it was written. Do you think he will implement it?

I just remembered, I have an early out for band. Gotta go! No? Okay. Could you repeat the question?

What are the new words? "McCain" and "implement." Implement means "do."


I do, from the bottom of my heart. I am such a strong believer that McCain believes in those strong planks and we do have good conversations about some of the details of the different planks and what they represent. I'm very heartened that John McCain ... he doesn't want a Vice President who will check the opinions ... of me at the door and we talk about some of these and they're very important. It's most important though, as you're suggesting, that Americans know that John McCain is solidly there on those solid planks in our platform that build the right agenda for America.

Nailed it! Pencils down.

She's such a desperate doofus. I'm glad she has nice clothes.

I think we might actually miss Sarah Palin. But we won't know until she goes away.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I'm sitting here shaking my head at how far we still have to go in this country on the consciousness level. Ignorance mixed with bigotry is a very dangerous combination--and incredibly ugly to see. The people in the video below really believe they have the truth about Obama. They have fallen for every nasty lie put out by the right wing propagandists. It is disheartening to know that Rove, McCain and Palin are able to have so much influence over those who can be driven by hatred and fear--and willingly believe what they are told--without question, without investigation, without curiosity or intent to find the truth. It is easy to see how the German people were whipped into a frenzy against the Jews (and homosexuals and the mentally disabled) in the '30s and '40s Nazi-dominated Germany. We have that same kind of consciousness here in America--70 years later!!! Just watch the following video:

What a tragedy. I wonder what intelligent Republicans are thinking about all of this. They must be terribly embarrassed and disgusted with their party, its leaders--and its ignorant members. Many prominent conservative Republicans are following Colin Powell's lead and are crossing over to the Democrats in this election.


This video tells the story:

The video from that Sarah Palin rally in Ohio last week probably said it all -- that not only are racists herding in John McCain's direction, but that previously obscured racism among mainstream conservatives is now bubbling up at an increasing rate.

A New York Observer report from Florida tells a similar kind of story:

“I don’t believe these polls,” said America Blanca, a 44-year-old small business owner from Miami who wore a red dress and was visibly pumped up by the rally. “Not one of them. Because it’s the kids answering the polls on the computers. Their parents are not home and they are answering and they will not be voting. I think if he is losing, it is only by a little spread. Very little.” She held the tip of her pointer finger about two inches from the tip of her thumb.

Asked if her business made more than $250,000 a year, the cap under which Obama has proposed cutting taxes, she said it did. Told about Obama’s proposal, she answered, “I don’t give a shit. I will never vote for a black man.”

I half-expected to hear the same thing from "Joe the Plumber" last week when it was pointed out to him that he would actually get a tax cut under Obama's plan.

It's clear that the campaign to defeat Barack Obama -- which is what the McCain campaign has rapidly devolved into, ever since it became self-evident that McCain himself couldn't give us a single good reason to vote for him, beyond his moose-in-the-headlights running mate -- is in fact creating an environment in which these kinds of sentiments not only are encouraged, but are now considered normal.

Sure enough, the neo-Nazis and white supremacists are reporting that they're making big inroads these days:

Jeff Schoep, head of the National Socialist Movement, says the government classifies his group as a domestic group of interest, not domestic terrorists. The FBI would not comment.

Interest in the group "has really spiked up," says Schoep, who would not say by how much.

"Historically, when times get tough in our nation, that's how movements like ours gain a foothold," he says. "When the economy suffers, people are looking for answers. … We are the answer for white people.

"And now this immigrant thing in the past couple of years has been the biggest boon to us," Schoep says. "The immigration issue is the biggest problem we're facing because it's changing the face of our country. We see stuff in English and Spanish. … They are turning our country into a Third World ghetto."


Cell phone dermatitis?

Plastics Chemical Linked to Disease in Adults

Doctors baffled by an unexplained rash on people's ears or cheeks should be on alert for a skin allergy caused by too much mobile phone use, the British Association of Dermatologists said on Thursday.

Citing published studies, the group said a red or itchy rash, known as "mobile phone dermatitis," affects people who develop an allergic reaction to the nickel surface on mobile phones after spending long periods of time on the devices.

"It is worth doctors bearing this condition in mind if they see a patient with a rash on the cheek or ear that cannot otherwise be explained," it said.

The British group said many doctors were unaware mobile phones could cause the condition.

Safety concerns over mobile phones has grown as more people rely on them for everyday communication, although the evidence to date has given the technology a clean bill of health when it comes to serious conditions like brain cancer.

"In mobile phone dermatitis, the rash would typically occur on the cheek or ear, depending on where the metal part of the phone comes into contact with the skin," the group said in a statement.

"In theory it could even occur on the fingers if you spend a lot of time texting on metal menu buttons."

Earlier this year Lionel Bercovitch of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island and colleagues tested 22 popular handsets from eight different manufacturers and found nickel in 10 of the devices.

Copyright Reuters



Limbaugh's racial fixation embodies why Republicans are losing

By David Neiwert, Tuesday Oct 21, 2008

Rush Limbaugh, somewhat predictably, isn't backing down from his claim that Colin Powell's endorsement of Barack Obama was a product of their both being black men -- that is, that it was about race, not policy;

"I thought it should be about race," he said. "I thought you liberals thought this was a historic candidacy because finally we are going to elect a black guy…why hide behind this, why act like it's not about race?"

"This was all about Powell and race, nothing about the nation and its welfare," Limbaugh added.

Limbaugh simply doesn't get it. Obama's candidacy is historic, yes -- but what has made it possible all along is that his campaign has been about transcending race, not wallowing in it.

Obama has carefully eschewed identity politics throughout this campaign. Meanwhile, the Republican campaign has been about nothing but. And it has its most transparent mouthpiece in Limbaugh.

Limbaugh is the guy at the sports bar who carefully tabulates the racial composition of every team on the screen and roots accordingly. If a team has a black quarterback, he predicts they're going to lose. Heaven forfend that any black player demonstrate too much enthusiasm over a touchdown or a dunk or a home run, or that any black linebacker should level a white quarterback, because then the "thug" and "jungle" references come out. He hates Tiger Woods with an inexplicable venom (mostly because he's too uppity "full of himself").

We all know that guy. (Some of them are in our families.) And anyone who's even moderately serious about sports, and moderately knowledgeable about them, knows that that guy is completely and hopelessly full of shit.

Continue reading »

Crooks and Liars


Oops! McCain's campaign asks for contribution from Russian envoy

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – John McCain's presidential election campaign has solicited a financial contribution from an unlikely source -- Russia's U.N. envoy -- but a McCain spokesman said on Monday it was a mistake.

In the letter, McCain urged Russia's U.N. Ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, to contribute anywhere from $35 (20 pounds) to $5,000 (2,912 pounds) to help ensure McCain's victory over Democratic rival Sen. Barack Obama, currently ahead in voter preference polls.

"If I have the honor of continuing to serve you, I make you this promise: We will always put America -- her strength, her ideals, her future -- before every other consideration," McCain assured Churkin.

Moscow's mission to the United Nations issued a terse statement on the Republican presidential candidate's letter, saying that the Russian government and its officials "do not finance political activity in foreign countries."

A spokesman for McCain, a long-time critic of Russia, had a simple explanation for the fundraising letter's arrival at the Russian mission in New York: "It was an error in the mailing list."

The letter was addressed to Churkin and sported a McCain signature near the bottom.

Earlier this month, both McCain and Obama harshly criticized Russia for invading Georgia two months ago, but neither was willing to say yes when asked if Russia under Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was the "evil empire."

It is illegal for U.S. presidential candidates to accept funds from foreign sources. The McCain campaign accused Obama earlier this month of not doing enough to screen for illegal contributors and asked U.S. election officials to investigate.

McCain has agreed to public financing for his campaign and therefore cannot accept funds from private donors.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Palin Thinks Humans and Dinosaurs Co-existed

I have no further comment other than the video...what more could one say?

See 3-minute video:

Why America is Broken

Watch this "Christian" woman give her opinion on Obama (a short clip from the NOW program on PBS). Her righteous sneering arrogance is difficult for broader minds to watch, but she represents a good portion of the evangelical "Christian" population. I feel sorry for her husband, who is an independent voter trying to make the right decision for himself and his family. It's a good thing for him that the voting booths are private or he could be a dead man on election day should he make a different decision than his wife.

OMG! Joe the Plumber is loved by Republicans...

...and they'd like him to run for office. Can't you just visualize the Republican ticket for 2012? -- Sarah the Pit Bull and Joe (oops...his real name is Sam) the Plumber. A perfect pair to run us straight into the ground. Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse. PLEASE BEAM ME UP, SCOTTY!



Sunday, October 19, 2008

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Touching adoption video

Copied from The Kim Komando Cool Site of the Day web site. The video is worth watching.
Video of the Day: If you're looking for a touching story, you've found it. It's about a hard-fought adoption on the other side of the world.



In his efforts to attack Barack Obama, John McCain appears to have turned to the same political consulting firm that was responsible for spreading vicious smears about the Senator during the 2000 South Carolina GOP primary.

In recent days, the Huffington Post and other outlets have reported on the McCain-funded nationwide robocall campaign charging that Barack Obama "worked closely with" former 60s radical William Ayers. Another RNC/McCain campaign call states that Obama is a "celebrity" politician who was fundraising in Hollywood during the financial crisis.

BRILLIANT tactics. Polls show your campaign losing traction as your "pitbull with lipstick" running mate goes negative out on the campaign trail, so what do you do? Stay negative, and use the company that perpetuated the "John McCain fathered an illegitimate black baby" story that sank your campaign. That's putting country first, Johnny.

But wait, there's more:

There's more to this story than just a fishy and misplaced robocall. FLS-Connect is owned by political operative and lobbyist Jeff Larson, a close ally of Minnesota Republican Senator Norm Coleman. Coleman not only put Larson in charge of the Republican Convention in St. Paul, he rents the basement apartment in Larson's Washington townhouse for below market value. And two of Larson's clients, the US Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business, have spent thousands of dollars running ads against Coleman's Senate challenger, Democrat Al Franken.


Ten Tips for the Next Vice President from Dick Cheney

VERY Interesting Article!


By Barton Gellman
Washington Post

Imagining Palin as "Cheney: The Sequel" is now fodder for cable television news. When I was asked the other day whether Palin could reprise Cheney's role, I gave a quick TV reply: Ambition and capability are two different things. Palin lacks Cheney's Washington savvy and policy depth. But that's not the end of the story. Anyone can learn Cheney's methods. For busy aspirants, I offer an executive summary of the Cheney Rules.

Friday, October 17, 2008

McCain's War Record is Being Researched by Historian Mary Hershberger

A reader's comment on this article is right to the point:

The really shocking thing is that the media give McCain a pass, while Obama is "fair" game. Think of it this way:

What if things were switched around?.....Ask yourself the following questions.

Would the citizens of this country view the Obamas the same if they had engaged in the following actions as did the McCains?

Ponder the following:

What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his graduating class?

What if Obama was a divorcee?

What if Obama was the candidate who left his first wife after a severe disfiguring car accident, when she no longer measured up to his standards?

What if Obama had met his second wife in a bar and had a long affair while he was still married?

What if Obama couldn't read from a teleprompter?

What if Obama was the one who had military experience that included discipline problems and a record of crashing seven planes?

What if Obama was the one who was known to display publicly, on many occasions, a serious anger management problem, including calling his wife, in front of journalistic witnesses, a disgusting term against women?

What if the Obamas had paraded five children across the stage, including a three-month-old infant and an unwed, pregnant teenage daughter, as Sarah Palin did?

What if Michelle Obama's family had made their money from beer distribution?

What if Michelle Obama was the wife who not only became addicted to pain killers but also acquired them illegally through her charitable organization as Cindy McCain did?

Would the Obamas have made it this far with any of these things in their background?

Education isn't everything, but this is about the two highest offices in the land as well as our standing in the world. You make the call.

Educational Background:

Barack Obama:
Columbia University - B.A. Political Science with a
Specialization in International Relations.
Harvard - Juris Doctor (J.D.) Magna Cum Laude

Joseph Biden:
University of Delaware - B.A. in History and B.A. in
Political Science.
Syracuse University College of Law - Juris Doctor


John McCain:
United States Naval Academy - Class rank: 894 of 899

Sarah Palin:
Hawaii Pacific University - 1 semester
North Idaho College - 2 semesters - general study
University of Idaho - 2 semesters - journalism
Matanuska-Susitna College - 1 semester
University of Idaho - 3 semesters - B.A. in Journalism

This is what racism in our society (media) does. It covers up, rationalizes and minimizes negative qualities in one candidate (McCain) while minimizing the positive qualities in another (Obama). All due to a difference in race.

Now read an article from Findlaw by John Dean, which tells about what may be a big media cover up of McCain's true war record.

McCain's War Record is Being Researched by Historian Mary Hershberger
By John Dean

Presidential candidate John McCain has made his military experience and record the centerpiece of his campaign for the presidency. Yet we know little more than what the McCain campaign has told us about that record. Rolling Stone offered an overview that raised a few questions, and the Los Angeles Times published a fleeting (albeit partially erroneous) glance that went beyond McCain's campaign literature. However, no serious and hard investigative examinations have been made to determine if McCain's claims about his "heroic" record are true.

Mainstream news organizations such as CBS, NBC and ABC News, the AP and major daily newspapers are probably concerned about embarking on such an inquiry because of what happened during 2004 presidential race: "Swift Boat" veterans from the Vietnam War circulated brutal, dishonest and disgusting smears, falsely attacking John Kerry's war record, largely because they were unhappy with his anti-war activities after he completed his military service. Kerry, it seems, thought the charges were so patently untrue and outrageous that he did not bother to respond to the charges. He also lost that election by a close margin which many attribute to his being "swift-boated."

Much of the mainstream news media was complicit in the attacks against Kerry by the Swift Boat veterans. They treated this bogus assault as news, not feeling it was their task to sort fact from fiction. After Kerry lost, many news organizations realized that they had been effectively manipulated and used by Kerry's opponents. So sleazy were the Swift Boat attacks, that now, in 2008, not only have news organization shied away from any such coverage, but journalists have also largely given John McCain a pass on his war record. They doubtless fear they will be seen as Swift Boaters in this year's contest if they even attempt to dig out the truth.

Fortunately, however, a few historians who are familiar with McCain's true record - and the one-sided distortion of that record by his campaign - do not believe it serves democracy for them to remain silent. One such historian is Mary Hershberger, who has spent many years examining what did and did not occur in North Vietnam during and after the war with the United States. Her research caused her to read all of the published accounts of the American POWs' experiences, which shed light directly and indirectly on McCain's POW experience.

The Questions Raised By Mary Hershberger About McCain's Record - and a Q&A with Her to Follow Up on Them

Mary recognized, as a result of her research, that John McCain's account was deeply flawed. A few of her observations, particularly regarding the often-overlooked parts of McCain's record, were recently published by Truthdig. I am familiar with Mary's work because I met her many years ago at a lunch with Jane Fonda, when Mary was working on her biography of Jane, which included Fonda's activities in Vietnam. I am now calling attention to Mary's work because I know that she is a solid researcher, and she has raised troubling and fundamental questions about McCain's record.

Her research establishes that McCain has not been honest about his war record, a fact which speaks volumes: McCain is a man who so desperately wants to become president that he is deceiving Americans about his true record, and himself. Here are my questions to Mary, and her responses:

A Few Background Questions and Answers

QUESTION: What prompted you to undertake this devastating examination of the historical truth of McCain's war record?

ANSWER: I was interested as soon as I read his Faith of My Fathers and found it to be a chronological mess. As a historian who believes that it's important to know whether one thing happened before another, I established a time line that, in turn, revealed numerous internal contradictions and discrepancies. So I set out to find reliable documents and sources to help figure things out: newspaper accounts, official reports, interviews with other POWs, and news film. McCain's accounts are, as he might put it, "festooned" with embellishments, and many stories are exaggerated or just made up. For example, it's incomprehensible why he made up the story about Robert Zwerlein, his plane captain on the USS Forrestal, dying before his eyes or why he said that he didn't know who "the kid" was. Zwerlein didn't die that afternoon but lived three more days and died only after McCain skipped off the still-burning Forrestal for what he called "some R&R" in Saigon. How is McCain honoring the memory of his plane captain by turning him into an anonymous prop in a melodramatic tale? And why has he claimed that the Zuni rocket knocked the bomb off his plane when the Navy report and film show that the rocket hit Fred White's plane? Does he realize the significance of insisting that the bomb dropped from his plane when, absent the Zuni strike, it suggests catastrophic pilot error? It takes effort to come up with odd stories like that and after a while you just can't ignore it.

QUESTION: Why is McCain's war record relevant to his potential service as President of the United States?

ANSWER: McCain has made it relevant by presenting it to the voting public as a measure of his readiness to be elected president and "commander in chief," as he is fond of saying. Since he references his military record to establish that he's presidential timber, we ought to examine it so that we can decide for ourselves if that record demonstrates what he says it does: honesty, courage in times of crisis, and steadfast commitment to his fellow servicemen and country above himself.

QUESTION: Has anyone accused you of "Swift Boating" McCain, and if they have, what is your response?

ANSWER: People who read the piece haven't responded that way. There's a big difference between the use of standard research methods and "Swift Boat" tactics that rely on shoddy research, unsupported claims, false assertions, and outright smears. The longer impact of the 2004 "swift boating" of John Kerry is dismaying; for fear of being labeled "Swift Boaters," the press now shies away from ordinary investigation into McCain's military record. It astonishes me that large swathes of the media appear convinced that they can't do that fairly anymore, at least not for Republican candidates. If their attitude lasts, then the Swift Boaters win. Maybe that was their goal all along.

QUESTION: I understand you tried to place this essay with several mainstream media pieces. Who turned it down and, if you know, why?

ANSWER: It was turned down at a number of places, including The Nation and the Huffington Post. They obviously can't use everything they're offered so I don't want to make too much of that, but there were concerns raised about publishing something that could be construed as an attack on McCain's military record.

QUESTION: When your piece was published by Truthdig, it drew a wide range of responses. What did you think of the comments, and did you learn anything from them?

ANSWER: Some comments came from those who are confused about what happened on the Forrestal because of false rumors that the fire was caused by a "wet start" from McCain's plane. Add to that McCain's own misleading stories, and you have a tangle of conflicting claims so dense that people are tempted to throw up their hands and say that we can't ever know what happened. I don't believe that. We can sort through these details and find out what happened. There were also objections to bringing up things that happened years ago, an objection to which I'm sympathetic. In this case, though, unraveling what happened on the Forrestal years ago is relevant because McCain repeatedly points to his navy record as showing that he is strong under pressure and knows how to respond, as he put it recently, "when a crisis calls for all hands on deck." Since he left his stricken ship under what seem to be questionable circumstances, and because his account differs dramatically from official and other credible reports, it becomes a legitimate point of inquiry.

QUESTION: Have you examined other aspects of McCain's war record, and found any similar discrepancies?

ANSWER: There are a lot of discrepancies, beginning in 1982 when he first ran for public office in a district in Arizona he'd recently moved into. People started calling him a "carpetbagger," so he replied that he'd grown up in a Navy family that moved a lot and didn't have a place to call home, so he just moved to his wife's state. It wasn't a strong answer and his campaign floundered until he added that, "as a matter of fact, when I think about it now, the place that I lived longest in my life was in Hanoi." After that dramatic claim, raising the carpetbagger issue seemed unpatriotic. It worked like magic and he said it showed him that his time as a POW was "a good first story to sell" on the campaign trail. He's been selling it ever since. The problem, of course, is that it's far from the truth, at least if he lived with his parents while growing up. With the exception of two years, from the time that John was nine until he was in his twenties, they lived in Washington, D.C. They had a house on Capitol Hill where Congressional leaders regularly dropped by for meals. When he returned from Vietnam in 1973, he lived and worked in Washington, D.C, four more years. So, when he made his political claim in 1982 about living longest in Hanoi, he surely knew that it wasn't true, but nobody checked it out and he kept saying it. I heard it most recently on August 21, of this year, when his biographer, Robert Timberg, repeated it as fact on NPR's "Talk of the Nation."

QUESTION: I have heard people speculate that McCain became deeply involved in resolving the "missing in action" problems in Vietnam, and the recognition of Vietnam, because he wanted to keep his own records buried. Did you look at this during your research, and is it a legitimate question?

ANSWER: A lot of people have wondered about that. I haven't looked into it yet but it is certainly a fair question to ask because McCain's claims about his medical treatment in Hanoi and his stories about why he criticized the war while he was a POW diverge significantly from reliable sources that we do have access to. If he would allow relevant records to be released, these questions could be answered.

QUESTION: Do McCain's fellow POW from Vietnam see him as the hero he apparently sees himself as?

ANSWER: There are POWs on both sides but only one perspective gets a voice in the mainstream media. For example, David Kirkpatrick of the New York Times wrote a piece about John McCain's POW experience in which McCain singled out two fellow POWs by name and called them "the camp rats." I spoke with them both and they said the story was false. One of them wrote a letter to the editor, but the Times refused to print it.

Some Closing Thoughts

Recently, the mainstream news media has worried (for good reasons) about its dwindling importance. Its treatment of McCain's record provides an excellent example of why its influence is flagging. The mainstream news media is intimidated by candidates like McCain. As a result, it has collectively given McCain a pass, rather than risk irritating him by digging out the truth of his military background.

Fortunately, all Americans can take heart and solace in the growing power of the Internet, where an historian like Mary Hershberger can find a publisher who will check and verify work and then publish it. As newspaper circulation shrinks, and news broadcasting becomes increasingly fragmented and partisan, the Internet is filling the void. Truthdig, like countless other sites, should be recognized for doing what the old Fourth Estate media no longer is willing to do. Do take the time to read what Mary reports in Truthdig, unless you do not care who John McCain has become.

Yet More on "Joe the Plumber"

Joe The Plumber: Social Security Is A 'Joke' And Liberal Conspiracy Theories

By Bonnie Erbe

(US News) Joe Wurzelbacher, the plumber so often referred to by Sen. John McCain in the third and final debate had better learn to shut his mouth. The more he speaks publicly, the more he looks like the GOP plant liberal blogs are starting to claim that he is. Watch him calling Social Security a "joke" on YouTube:

I'm no fan of tax hikes, but even I recognize Social Security is no "joke." It has single-handedly lifted millions of elderly and disabled Americans out of poverty and turned America's elderly from the most impoverished age demographic to one with an income more in line with that of working families.

Joe the Plumber so loves media attention, he's drawing pro-Obama bloggers to question his authenticity as an undecided voter:

Joe has been on so many right wing talk shows it appears pretty obvious that this is a coordinated attempt to pull a last second 'tax and spend' haymaker. Family Security Matters, a wingnut security policy thinktank, has the first interview with Joe after this Obama encounter. Hmmm. What's the chance that a group like this gets the first interview with this alleged 'undecided voter'?

Other blogs say Wurzelbacher may be related to Charles Keating of the Keating Five and that his father is a major Republican donor:

Joe the Plumber, the star of tonight's debate, may have a very interesting connection to John McCain. In fact, Joe the Plumber (Joe Wurzelbacher) of Cincinnati, Ohio may be related to one Robert Wurzelbacher of Cincinnati, Ohio, who happens to be Charles Keating's son-in-law. Robert Wurzelbacher was implicated in the Keating 5 scandal, and sentenced to 40 months in prison in 1993. Wurzelbacher is also a huge Republican donor.

Keep watching this story because if it proves true that "Joe the Plumber" is the wealthy, Republican regular the liberal blogs are claiming he is, the McCain campaign could go down as the most corrupt and inept in history.


Saturday Night Live skit


The SNL skit of the actual woman represents some of the McCain supporters who don't read the papers but take what they are told by FOX News and Rush Limbaugh--and believe it. The real confused lady is included in the video snippet from the actual McCain rally. Poor soul, she is completely brainwashed, without a discriminating thought in her mind. You have to wonder if she is still wandering through the rally hall, looking for the way out. I will be SO glad when this campaign and the election are finally over!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

More facts about "Joe the Plumber"

It turns out Joe is not licensed as a plumber. He makes $40,000 a year and is not buying a business from his employer. Plus, his employer's business is worth only $100,000, not $250,000.

From NBC News:
Legally speaking, Wurzelbacher isn’t a plumber, because he isn’t licensed by Toledo, Lucas County or the state of Ohio. A representative of the Toledo Building Inspection Division said a plumber must be registered with the state and only then can apply for a city plumbing contractor’s license.

Wurzelbacher said he worked under the license held by his boss, Al Newell of Newell Plumbing and Heating Co. of Toledo. Newell is a licensed plumbing contractor in Toledo, records show. But anyone working under Newell should have a journeyman’s plumbing license or an apprenticeship license, officials said.

‘Flash in the pan’
Oct. 16: Joe Wurzelbacher tells reporters he wishes the candidates had talked more about the issues — and less about him.


Building Inspection officials said Newell was responsible for making sure that anyone working under him was licensed. The Toledo Plumbing Board of Control may consider sanctions against Wurzelbacher or Newell, officials told NBC affiliate WNWO of Toledo.

“There’s a lot I’ve got to learn” about the plumbing business, Wurzelbacher said Thursday.

Wurzelbacher also acknowledged that he had no specific plans for buying Newell’s business, saying he and Newell had simply talked about the idea from time to time. He might have difficulty making the purchase: Court records from his divorce show that Wurzelbacher made $40,000 in 2006.

Even if he did buy Newell Plumbing and Heating, Obama’s tax plan wouldn’t affect him. While Wurzelbacher told Obama that he would be taxed at a higher rate because the company grossed more than $250,000 a year, Ohio business records show the company’s estimated total annual revenue as only $100,000. Actual taxable income would be even less than that.

In any event, Obama’s tax plan specifies that the higher rate would apply only to income above the $250,000 threshold. Assuming Wurzelbacher’s income as owner somehow hit $280,000 — the top end of his supposition of the company’s revenue — only the extra $30,000 would be taxed at a higher rate.