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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Economy, Palin chaperoned, advisers, etc

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/29/AR2008092902049.html

The majority of House Republicans were against the bailout and McCain’s blaming Democrats- principally Obama and Pelosi- for the failure. Politics ahead of country? That’s reaching. I guess they need to create a little controversy to deflect attention away from the Palin interviews. McCain sat in on yesterday’s. She didn’t do as bad this time, but with McCain sitting there policing, it sent the message that she couldn’t handle the situation or wasn’t trusted to do so (maybe for good reason). There was the question about the voter asking about Pakistan…again McCain tried to divert attention away from the issue (reminiscent of Bush when under fire for a variety of questionable actions in his Presidency) with the “Gotcha Journalism” (another Bush tactic-give everything a catchy nickname so people remember the diversion, rather than the issue of concern) commentary. It was a “gotcha” moment. Palin gave an answer like the one McCain criticized from Obama. It’s a legit “gotcha”! Palin’s allowed to tell the terrorists our general plan, but Obama’s supposed to not let anyone know what he thinks should be done on foreign policy issues. Doesn’t really make sense.

Obama didn’t blame anyone for the crisis, but is talking about McCain’s deregulation history. McCain did say “ Fundamentals of the economy are strong.” And that he’s “fundamentally a deregualtor”.

I have heard some in conservative circles about McCain’s bill and warning of the financial crisis. If McCain did cosponsor something to fix Fannie and Freddie in 2003 or 2005, why is he not talking more about that? It seems like that would be ripe for disputing Obama’s digs…unless it is not as it seems. The bill never made it out of Republican committee, to Senate floor. His economic plan is more like Gramm’s, not this bill. Gramm left the campaign as chief economic advisor after the whiner comment this summer, but still assists the campaign, which is frightening.

On the one hand you’ve got that and on the other you’ve got different things McCain has said. "The issue of economics is not something I've understood as well as I should," McCain said. "I've got Greenspan's book."
http://www.boston.com/news/politics/politicalintelligence/2007/12/mccain_its_abou.html
(It was at this point he looked to Gramm for advice-yikes!)

This is a sore point for both campaigns. Both candidates have connections to Fannie and Freddie- McCain’s got Phil Gramm and Rick Davis, among others.
http://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/election2008/2008-09-18-econteams_N.htm

Here’s a different view:
It wasn’t Fannie and Freddie
http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2008/09/once-again-it-w.html


Old McCain foreign policy adviser list:
http://wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/2008/03/17/mccain-advisers/

More recent list:
http://www.connectusfund.org/mccain

Economic adviser list:
http://econ4obama.blogspot.com/2008/06/other-list-mccains-economists.html


Voting record
http://www.411mania.com/politics/columns/69733

http://projects.washingtonpost.com/congress/members/


This could be an interesting site. I didn’t have a chance to peruse it for long…
http://www.procon.org


Two oft repeated McCain quotes that make me chuckle:
(He repeated them in the debate, though he rushed through the delivery of the veto pen one so it wasn’t as dramatic as at stump speeches)
*veto pen; “ I will make them famous and you will know their names”
*”snatch defeat from the jaws of victory”- talking about Obama’s plan

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Debate #1 Obama-McCain

First in debate business is I am surprised that there was one at all! I really thought since McCain thought the financial crisis grounds for suspending the campaign, canceling the debate, returning to Washington (to do who knows what), and urging Obama to do the same that he wouldn’t show. It was really a lose-lose situation. If he goes, he has to flip flop, if he stays in Washington, he lets Obama have the forum unopposed at a time when he’s really not serving a critical function or doing anything constructive at all. I guess this just goes to show that McCain’s big announcement and effort to look presidential and take charge really was as crazy as I thought it was. The McCain response to the debate, released about a minute after it, said McCain was presidential and Obama was political. McCain’s actions clearly show that at best, both are political! If this is true, this is also rather political- an ad was placed announcing McCain won the debate before it was known if he’d go or not. I hope the ad thing is some kind of joke the media picked up thinking it was real because that is really lame if it is in fact real. I was going to say it wasn’t presidential, but actually damage control and false information has become presidential, so that’s up in the air.

A second observation is how mad McCain appeared at the beginning to even be there. Or was it embarrassment?

I was disappointed that Obama didn’t focus on McCain’s history of pushing deregulation when talking about the current financial crisis. I think it was mentioned in voting with Bush or very briefly. McCain took the opportunity to mention a Fannie or Freddie tie with Obama’s campaign, but Obama didn’t return the favor by pointing out how many were/are working for McCain. Sometimes I think the time and format were to blame for either candidate not getting in a last dig.

Obama’s “John is right”…will we see this again? If not by comedians or Fox commentators, then in another McCain ad filled with half truths and lies (like the Messiah and sex ed ads).

McCain claims that Pakistan was a failed state before Musharraf. Not true. Ouch. Not looking good if foreign policy is supposed to be his strong point.
http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics/AP/story/703847.html

McCain also said he warned us about the financial crisis, but in November 2007 he said he hadn’t seen it coming.

The candidates argued over Kissinger’s position. Obama said Kissinger agrees that there should be talks without preconditions. McCain said Kissinger said there should be talks with low level officials and that he’s always supported that. Obama’s point was the preconditions issue, not high level vs. low level and McCain hasn’t supported talks with Iran. McCain did say that Kissinger doesn’t support high level, only low level talks and it appears he supports high level talks after all. I don’t know if McCain considers Secretary of State low level, though…

Kissinger’s position:
"Well, I am in favor of negotiating with Iran. And one utility of negotiation is to put before Iran our vision of a Middle East, of a stable Middle East, and our notion on nuclear proliferation at a high enough level so that they have to study it. And, therefore, I actually have preferred doing it at the secretary of state level so that we -- we know we're dealing with authentic..." Sesno: "Put at a very high level right out of the box?" Kissinger: "Initially, yes. And I always believed that the best way to begin a negotiation is to tell the other side exactly what you have in mind and what you are -- what the outcome is that you're trying to achieve so that they have something that they can react to. Now, the permanent members of the Security Council, plus Japan and Germany, have all said nuclear weapons in Iran are unacceptable. They've never explained what they mean by this. So if we go into a negotiation, we ought to have a clear understanding of what is it we're trying to prevent. What is it going to do if we can't achieve what we're talking about? But I do not believe that we can make conditions for the opening of negotiations. We ought, however, to be very clear about the content of negotiations and work it out with other countries and with our own government." (CNN's "Live Event," 9/20/08)

McCain: "And I -- and I honestly don't believe that Senator Obama has the knowledge or experience and has made the wrong judgments in a number of areas, including his initial reaction to Russian invasion -- aggression in Georgia, to his -- you know, we've seen this stubbornness before in this administration to cling to a belief that somehow the surge has not succeeded and failing to acknowledge that he was wrong about the surge is -- shows to me that we -- that -- that we need more flexibility in a president of the United States than that."
*OK, McCain tries again to compare Obama to Bush. Still funny. Especially since McCain repeats the false statement about Obama’s initial statement about Russia and Georgia and the campaign let Palin repeat the bridge to nowhere half truth, etc. The whole thing about the surge working is not the whole truth in the first place, so Obama has nothing to “admit”. It is a little more involved than McCain would like to lead us to believe. There were apparently several factors independent of the surge that contributed to a “success”.


MCCAIN: "It's well-known that I have not been elected Miss Congeniality in the United States Senate nor with the administration. I have opposed the president on spending, on climate change, on torture of prisoner, on - on Guantanamo Bay. On a -- on the way that the Iraq War was conducted. I have a long record and the American people know me very well and that is independent and a maverick of the Senate and I'm happy to say that I've got a partner that's a good maverick along with me now."
*Obama was talking about tax plans and how McCain voted with Bush and wants to keep his tax cuts and McCain used the time to bring up his legendary maverick label and how he picked another maverick as a running mate. Not the reply with the most substance. But staying on topic would mean convincing us that voting with Bush on budgets, increased spending and tax cuts has helped our economy. Instead, lets talk about how he didn’t vote with Bush on climate change and torture. Bravo, McCain! You don’t agree with torture! Way to reach across the aisle!


Speaking of reaching across the aisle, one example McCain gave was working with Leiberman. I’d argure that Leiberman was the one reaching…

McCain managed, for good measure, to work this into talk about the possibility of another 9/11- “And I want to tell you that one of the things I'm most proud of, among others, because I have worked across the aisle. I have a long record on that, on a long series of reforms.”

Kudos to McCain for only saying "my friends" once or so! Maybe that was due to the fact that they were supposed to be talking to each other in this format?


Here's factcheck's summary:
http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/factchecking_debate_no_1.html

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Unbelievable Couric interview with Palin

Palin and Gibson, Couric - her coming out party has not been great so far, even though she is shielded fom the press. She may have peaked at the convention. She looked absolutely lost- I could feel the panic- both when Gibson asked her certain foreign policy questions (Bush doctrine) and when Couric asked her about Rick Davis, Freddie Mac . Palin couldn't cite any examples of McCain reforming "the way Wall Street does business" except the one Couric gave. She floundered and brought up the maverick slogan (when all else fails...) and then said she'd have to look it up and get back to her. McCain's got the Davis connection, among others, and he's trying to call Obama out for Raines, whom someone on the campaign apparently spoke to for a few minutes once. McCain should tread carefully when it comes to lobbyist/financial crisis ties. I think that is a losing contest for him, as there are so many and his record is not exactly clean or like that of a maverick.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abicOUTn6v0&NR=1huffingtonpost.com/2008/09/11/sarah-palins-charlie-gibs_n_125772.html

More on Palin...
I guess the good news from her recent interviews is, Palin can now answer yes (without hesitation and clarification) to Gibson's question about meeting foreign leaders after her adventures at the UN. I still don't think that photo ops,no matterhow many you cram into 2 days, qualify as foreign policy experience any more than seeing Russia from an island in your state. I wonder if they will try and squeeze in an impressive number so that they can put in an ad that she "knows" more foreign leaders than Obama, never mind she doesn't know the issues, her party's position, at times her candidate's position, hasn't worked with foreign leaders or on foreign affairs in any official capacity. We will have to wait and see.

She responded to the notion that she viewed having Russia and Canada as neighbors "enhanced" (or made) her foreign policy experience. Some were saying she wasn't exactly saying that proximity was experience, but in speaking to Couric, she definitely equated proximity with experience (Her answer being, "Well it certainly does...") and dodged the question a bit with the trade delegation side note. And what she said about Putin!? "As Putin rears his head?!" I don't think you want to be talking that way about someone you hope to negotiate with, keep on friendly terms with, or want any sort of favors from in the near future. I guess that pales in comparison to McCain's talk of Russia. Not exactly your diplomatic dream team. Yikes.

Palin on Israel. Wow. She knows or cares even less than Bush about this foreign policy centerpiece. We can't second guess Israel because of the Holocaust??!! Our government (+Palin) is way more supportive (unconditionally and obsequeously so) of the Israeli regime, occupation, and collective punishment of Palestinians than a lot of people in Israel! Expressing concerns and discussing options isn't second guessing...hmm. She los tme there, but I am a bit tired... When all else fails, oversimplify and frame it as good versus evil. I'm kinda glad she elaborated, 'cause I was having a hard time figuring out who the good guys were. The history of extra-judicial assassinations, collective punishment, settlement existence/ building, disproportionate force, and suspicious evidence regarding targeting of civilians. Israel's multiple counts and decades of defying international law warrant a close watch or even sanctions. She toed the Zionist line that Israel is under an existential threat; that any threat is in fact existential. They have one of the most powerful militaries in the world and maybe the most powerful for its size. They don't need us (except maybe to steal classified info from). I don't know how their military would fair without our money pouring in, though.


McCain was worried that Obama was exploiting the financial situation for his own gain (when all the pundits were saying Obama boost in polls was due to the economy), but it seems he himself has put himself before his country in calling for debates and campaigning to stop so he can go to Washington and pace around and wait on the negotiations he and Obama aren't a part of to conclude. McCain and Obama's presence in Washington won't help the situation- they aren't on the committees as far as I know. So, debate away. Maybe I'd suggest moving the debate closer to Washington in case they need to vote or something, but cancelling it so they can sit around or pace like expectant fathers in old movies just seems like a political play to put off a debate that would highlight McCain's record of support for deregulation at a time when these actions are exposed as not serving us well- or in fact causing the whole mess. Perhaps McCain would like to postpone the debates until after another major terrorist attack?

Interesting in Bush's explanation of the mess was the absence of talk about deregulation which helped or caused the situation. He also said this situation transpired over the course of years, not overnight, yet in March- just 6 months ago- he was saying (along with McCain's advisor Phil Gramm) that our economy is strong. I don't know what to believe when Bush speaks anymore. I guess expect the opposite of truth.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

symbolism and trash/ endangered words!

Much like California efforts to get a sewage plant named after W, Israel has gotten a permit to dump it's trash in Nablus. We all knew this was the attitude of the Israeli government toward Palestinians, but I guess this just adds another layer. The rest of the world doesn't think of Palestinians in this way. The recent archaeological discovery near the site of the dump proves that the Palestinian Territories have a rich history that needs to be preserved and protected. If only someone could convince Israel of value of the land and people it has been trying to suppress, silence, and generally "disappear".
http://www.imemc.org/article/57034


http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7630934.stm
The Jihad and weddings subtitle made me laugh. What could be more romantic than killing?
Anyway, the idea of Bin Laden as a poet is pretty funny, too. It would be intriguing to look at some of this stuff. I mean, how did he go from so unpolished to revered and feared? He's still no more qualified to issue a fatwa than I am--it makes no sense.


In less political news, there is a save the words campaign going on. Anyone want to adopt a word?
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/3046488/Collins-dictionary-asks-public-to-rescue-outdated-words.html
The BBC and other British organizations have adopted an obscure, endangered word in hopes that it won't be excluded from the dictionary. As I was listening to this on the radio, I was thinking of a political blurb using a bunch of them, but it seems someone beat me to it if you read the comments on the article, so I won't bother. Funny stuff.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Election notes

I'll fix these links and edit soon...

Reading List:
Angler- Cheney VP book. I think I want to read it. It may give me nightmares, though, so maybe not.


More election notes:

McCain criticized the Obama campaign recently for saying the economic trouble and bailouts will help him politically . McCain accused Obama of exploitation. (I don't think just the Obama campaign is saying that-seems everyone knows it.) This sounds familiar…wait a sec… McCain’s campaign had the same to say about McCain and another terrorist attack…how it would help them or something like that…
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7470399.stm


At least in Obama’s case, this is just a generally acknowledged fact. The crisis is here. In McCain’s case, I think the guy was caught implying that he was hoping for another attack. Since this was not said in the immediate aftermath of an actual attack, this came off sounding rather more sinister than (I hope) it was meant.

Palin said this recently of Obama… 'He likes to point the finger of blame,' she said of the Democratic candidate 'But has he ever really lifted a finger to help?'
The much ridiculed community organizing comes to mind, among other things...

Palin talks about experience as a mom, but no one can criticize or ask about balancing a 5 month old with Down’s Syndrome, pregnant teen, and other family issues with her very demanding, very public jobs.
Also, people say no one would talk ask about family obligations/balance for a man, so we shouldn’t of Palin. BUT, the men generally don’t stand up and talk about being a dad as though it qualifies them for public office. Maybe this is unique to her or maybe it speaks to the unique role of the woman in the home. I’m not one to say women should stay home, but in considering a job of this magnitude and the fact that she has made being a mother into a resume item, I think it’s legit to ask about the work/family balance and related issues.


83 Wall Street Lobbyists Among McCain Aides, Donors
Meanwhile, a new analysis of his donors and advisers has found McCain has extensive ties to eighty-three lobbyists of the financial industry he’s been criticizing. According to Mother Jones magazine, the eighty-three include McCain’s chief political adviser, Charlie Black; his national finance co-chairman, Wayne Berman; and his vice-presidential search director, Arthur Culvahouse.
From Democracy Now 9/19/08
http://www.motherjones.com/mojoblog/archives/2008/09/9753_mccain_campaign_lobbyists_wall_street_aig.html


It is odd to hear Obama talking about corruption in Wall Street, etc, and making the populist appeal when he had a fund-raising event that was $28,000 per ticket!


"The congressional leaders who give him his marching orders now say this mess isn't their fault and they aren't going to take any action on this crisis until after this election. What?" (audience booed)
"That's the kind of 'Me First, Country Second' politics that's broken in Washington.”
*He makes it sound like Obama is Washigton’s robot and this “brain” is responsible for the whole enchilada. McCain’s been there longer and supported deregualtion, which actually did lead to this mess! McCain trying to paint Obama as the elitist establishment candidate is always good for a laugh.

All that being said, either of the two candidates effecting real change in Washington is equally unbelievable.


Three funny quotes:
'I could walk [100 miles] from here to Lansing and I wouldn't run into a single person who thought our economy was doing well, unless I ran into John McCain.'
Joe Biden, Monday

'The fundamentals of our economy are strong. But these are very, very difficult times.'
John McCain, Monday

'Yesterday, John McCain actually said that if he's President he'll take on, and I quote, "the old boys' network in Washington" ... The old boys' network? In the McCain campaign that's called a staff meeting.'
Barack Obama, Wednesday

Monday, September 15, 2008

more campaign comparisons and observations...

Candidate profiles are interesting. You can compare foreign policy experience with 3 of the 4 candidates on the tickets. They are probably about equal in experience, though what makes it up is different for each. McCain and Biden have long careers and resumes. McCain was in the Navy, but Biden has a focus on foreign relations specifically and is chair of that Senate committee. Obama has a shorter career, but with personal overseas experience. His resume is impressive and pretty serious for someone not long in Washington- he’s proven he can reach across the aisle and he’s familiar with a wide array of important issues, and has visited a handful of countries in an official capacity. Palin definitely trails behind these three, though she has a couple of years of executive experience. If she (and Giuliani and other assorted conservatives) laughs/smirks/ at Obama’s community organizing as a resume item, then I definitely don’t think “living next to Russia” (you can see it from an Alaskan island) should count as foreign policy experience!
http://usforeignpolicy.about.com/od/2008presidentialrace/2008_Presidential_Candidates_and_US_Foreign_Policy.htm


In the past, McCain has tended to be more independent (“pro” column) and has said more things that make sense than other Republicans, so I didn’t feel like it was so bad that he was going to win the nomination. BUT he doesn’t always vote the way that makes sense and for several years he’s been getting more conservative, perhaps in preparation for the nomination.
Anyway, here are some McCain foreign policy “cons”:
http://usforeignpolicy.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi=1/XJ&sdn=usforeignpolicy&cdn=newsissues&tm=8&f=00&su=p649.3.336.ip_&tt=2&bt=0&bts=0&zu=http%3A//hnn.us/articles/50983.html

When the issue of McCain not being such a maverick or of Palin accepting a boatload of earmarks while claiming to have refused them, their supporters always point out how Obama hasn’t stood up to his party or how he participates in the earmark game as well rather than addressing the fact that McCain’s not a maverick or Palin’s earmark successes. Obama isn’t running on a platform of standing up to his party and trying to win independents and or democrats. He may be guilty on the earmark thing if you look at the whole issue of reform, though.

Another thing that bothers me about McCain are his adviser choices. I don’t think he chooses wisely- he’s picked some infamously controversial ones as well as ones that don’t make sense. Bolton as a foreign policy adviser?? There are few more controversial than that. If Bush chose this person for anything, you don’t want him! That and his record. Some say he spins intelligence, isn’t too diplomatic, hates the UN, and generally isn’t someone you want involved in diplomacy.

McCain himself has said some rather odd things foreign policy wise. Maybe some view it as revolutionary or reform minded, but I’m going to go with crazytalk or schizophrenic. He is very antagonistc toward Russia, which I don’t think will help a anyone or anything. He has said something about leaving them out of the G8 and or creating an alternative to the UN and not allowing Russia to join. And, he wants an arms control treaty with Russia and more transparency. Doubt that’s going to happen if he excludes them from all the clubs.

Phil Gramm was an economic adviser to McCain. He’s the Enron guy who said we should stop whining; the economy’s fine or something like that. I think scandal has caused some distance here, but I doubt McCain’s judgment on many of his choices of advisers. This proved to be an indicator of how the Bush presidency turned out, so we’ve got to look into these things. Bush surrounded himself with neoconservative war hawks who ended up pushing us into a war we had no right to start.

Palin also appeared to be a rather hasty choice. Rove wanted Romney. McCain wanted Lieberman. Palin was chosen. Palin, with no foreign policy experience (except that Russia is next door) and little to no economic experience (we can’t all balance our budget with Big Oil money). Palin, with a rather interesting personal “situation”- a pregnant teen daughter. On the surface, it seems like a reckless choice, though I’d like to think she’s more vetted than it looks. It doesn’t make much sense, unless he was looking to make ultra conservatives happy, which it did. They may have been trying to “steal” some bitter Hillary fans, but that’s probably not going to be very successful, unless those supporters didn’t care about any issue except the gender of the candidate.

Gas prices. Yikes!

Gas went up from $3.60 in my area to $4.25 ($3.99 for the 2 other stations on the road) on Friday. This was before Ike hit. Some people reported it and it went “down” to $3.99 the next day, the equivalent of some other stations down the road. Saturday, the same day I noticed it was “down”, it went back up to $4.25 by the end of the day.

Now, I had looked into the whole gas price thing, read stuff by people who said oil companies were profiting, some said it was the market and nothing’s wrong, some said it’s because soon there won’t be any resources left and oil companies are trying to recoup losses now. I was kind of leaning toward the latter two explanations. Until now. I really think there’s something fishy going on. The refineries weren’t hardly damaged and the high price ahead of the storm still holds. Somebody’s raking in some serious profits.

If McCain puts Palin on the economy or energy or anything related to that, then we won’t get any relief or results. Oil companies will continue to take advantage. She is governor of a state that doesn’t really need to worry much about budget, so her experience there is going to be limited as well. Alaska’s economy is driven by oil, oil pays the bills, so she will see no need to investigate them. She hasn’t lived where gas is $4.00 and up per gallon and citizens don't get money back from oil. I think she even worked to get more money to people in this way and so Alaskans got paid more at the rest of the country's expense.

Palin or Fey? Can you tell the difference??

You have to see Tina Fey as Sarah Palin if you haven't already. There couldn't be a better impersonation. It was great. I guess this would go under my "pro" column for McCain if good TV were more important in the scheme of things than foreign policy, the economy and health care. I could deal with 4 to 16 years of Tina Fey. As with Bushisms, though, the funny's probably not actually worth the overall pain.

http://www.nbc.com/Saturday_Night_Live/video/clips/palin-hillary-open/656281/


Update to pro/con list:
Charlie Gibson's interview with Palin- she very clearly didn't know what the Bush doctrine was and really gave legs to the concerns of a foreign policy void on her resume. McCain can't really help her, either. He spent time saying Giuliani and Romney's executive experience didn't count... and their time in office is longer than Palin's!

An interesting blog also has the transcript. I'll have to have a closer look at this one...
http://therebeller.blogspot.com/2008/09/palin-abcgibson-interview-tanscript-9.html

Another account- this claims that some was edited out of the interview. I remember hearing some of the underlined, "left out" stuff, though. I'd have to go back and check it out...
http://www.brutallyhonest.org/brutally_honest/2008/09/the-un-edited-g.html

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Mudslinging

I guess I should say something about the mudslide of late.

Lipstick on a pig. I've heard that before. Yes, McCain used it, but I had heard it before that. It's a common saying and he was reportedly in a rural area, so it was relevant. What's the big deal? Palin compared or called, as some would say, a pit bull. Is that any better? Had Obama said or repeated that, he'd be accused of calling her a female dog. The context was not women, Palin, weight, women who stink, etc. The context was the McCain campaign saying the same things, but changing their slogan to change. The whole change thing sounds a lot more evil and hokey when Democrats used it, I guess. Now it's cool.


What looks more like mud is:

"Messiah complex" ad tops McCain's accusation of Obama would put himself first, not country first:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6ah7Zsqh6M

sex ed ad:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NxioiwqufU

9/16/08 edit: The McCain campaign released a Web ad Wednesday that plays Obama's lipstick comments, then asks, "Ready to lead? No. Ready to smear? Yes."
McCain needs to watch it on that one, given the ads cited above. But then again, they're still repeating Sarah Palin said thanks but no thanks to the Bridge to Nowhere, when that has been well proven to be a half truth at best.
Facts don't really matter sometimes. Like when the line's as catchy as that one is. It sounds good, over and over and over and over and over... and over again.

Some say to ignore the mud and get back to the issues. I'd say yes and no. Yes, it can be petty and we should pay more attention to the issues and sort fact from fiction, but I think Obama should respond to the mudslinging. If he ignores it, he'll end up like Kerry. If he gets too flustered, that won't look good and it's not necessary since they are lies anyway. And why not talk about the mud? As long as we are talking about the issues too. An issue to me is how the candidates act under the pressure and mudslinging and who do they surround themselves with-bloodthirsty, dasterdly Karl Roves or composed, civilized individuals? I guess the mud serves some purpose.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Conventions- no, of course there's nothing else going on in the world... :)

This isn't a comprehensive list of pros and cons. Some I haven't written (and may never, as is my blog track record!) yet and some items I've already written about in other posts.

I want to look at other candidates, too. Nader, McKinney, and Kucinich (so he's not a candidate...) are interesting to me for various reasons, but I can't say I agree with them 100% or even 75%.

McCain

He attacks Obama for being "me first," rather than "country first" like McCain says he is, which is unsubstantiated especially given is many, many references to his handling of his POW experience.
http://newsbusters.org/blogs/matthew-balan/2008/08/15/cnn-forwards-idea-mccain-ad-hints-obama-antichrist

He and others say he's a maverick and lobbyists' enemy- over 150 run his campaign or are big contributors
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/21/us/politics/21bundlers.html

Votes against his party less often than others, maverick is more like an empty campaign slogan; he votes with Bush most of the time. I don't know how he got the maverick nickname, except maybe the times he did go with the Democrats, it was covered by the media (yes, the same one that is so out to get Palin!)

Conservatives bashed the hope/change theme of Democrats and now they’re trying to steal it. Guess it wasn’t such a bad idea after all. Maybe they realized that all running for office are putting country first, so they’d better change it up.

Said to be reluctant to talk about POW experience, yet he talks about it every campaign and it seems to be substitute for record in foreign policy/veterans
http://www.veteransforcommonsense.org/articleid/9559

Said he voted for the troop surge when it was unpopular, right thing to do
-BUT surge didn't cause decrease in violence
* http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/04/AR2008090403160.html?hpid=topnews
He was wrong to support the Iraq invasion and is in opposition to Iraqi and our interests in keeping troops there.

Supposedly wants to get rid of pork barrel spending, yet chose Palin?

Values candidate married to his mistress?? No one cares, apparently. This sort of thing destroys Democratic campaigns. So would teenage pregnancy, but when on the Republican side, it makes them more real, they live out their pro-life values, etc. Doesn’t say much for abstinence only, though. There is a double standard where Republicans' sins make them more real or are needless attacks on their private life, but Democrats' sins are grounds for dumping from public service, impeaching, banning, etc. Another example of the double standard is the Bush/ Clinton drug use- Republicans react by saying don’t listen to vicious attacks, however true they are; this ruins reputations/campaigns for Democrats. Also, the wealth of Cindy McCain isn’t really emphasized the way Kerry’s wife’s was (except for the “how many houses do you own” debacle)- may or may not matter, but it is part of the double standard. Another is Bristol's teen pregnancy, though we can only speculate on the Democrat side.

Less government spending? See Palin

Chose Phil Graham of Enron troubles for economic advice- ouch. He may have since distanced himself from that.

Didn’t take Rove’s suggestion on VP (Romney); distance from Rove is good news for bringing integrity back to the Presidency

Age and health-PTSD- which leads us to take a closer than usual look at the VP pick-and there is a lot to look at since her name really wasn’t floated like some others were.



Palin

The fact that she has governed for 2 years longer than the 2 Dems and even McCain counts for something, but there are a lot of “cons” compared with that “pro”.

troopergate, though touted as tough on corruption

Pregnant daughter- if Palin were democrat, this would be issue number one for Republicans; it would probably be said “if you can’t lead your house, you can’t lead the country; family values would be made the centerpiece without specifically mentioning the daughter so as to subtly make a contrast-me, good; them, bad.

Alaskan Independence Party- Palin spoke at its 2008 convention and spoke about Alaska’s self-sufficiency. If she means economic, then her earmark history (bridge to nowhere story, increasing them for zero to $27,000, hiring the first lobbyist, asking Ted Stevens for $200,000 in earmarks) proves that wrong. If she means secession, then what about country first? This would be more serious than a flag pin, IMO.

Book banning effort-need more info on that... will she be like Bush and feel a need for more control than is good for the office?

Earmarks- bridge to nowhere, good at pork barrel

Foreign policy- her state borders Canada and Russia (qualification given by Cindy McCain and John Bolton)

Mayor-Wasilla didn't have a budget, left town with $22 million deficit

Iraq- Soldiers sent on task "from God", former minister's other fundamentalist views.
Yes, we should talk about it as it could affect the way she would govern or lobby McCain (is she worse than Bush??). If anyone at all entertained the “Obama’s a Muslim” rumor, then we should definitely talk about this. Since we talked about Wright, then we should talk about what her preacher preaches and what she said in a speech to her former congregation (praying for a pipeline, etc).

She’s a woman-I like to think she can bring something new to the table that men can't-BUT in her speech and Cindy's intro, rather male qualities are emphasized and valued listed sports played, hunting, fishing, etc.

Will she address mom issues- more paid leave, vacation time- how else are value voters supposed to pass on the values but to be given more time to spend with children- or will she adopt the rich WASP issues.

Some things from moveon.org (I’m not a huge fan, but they made some good points here):

She was elected Alaska's governor a little over a year and a half ago. Her previous office was mayor of Wasilla, a small town outside Anchorage. She has no foreign policy experience.1
Valid concern.

Palin is strongly anti-choice, opposing abortion even in the case of rape or incest.2
I agree with her on this, but don't know about a total ban- mother vs. baby's life?

She supported right-wing extremist Pat Buchanan for president in 2000. 3
Scary.

Palin thinks creationism should be taught in public schools.4
I think it should be taught that evolution, big bang, etc is not absolutely true, discuss holes in the theory, even alternatives. I'm not sure about creationism specifically, unless it is a private institution, not getting state funding. The parents need to step up and teach the truth in matters relating to religion.

She's doesn't think humans are the cause of climate change.5
That's a bold statement and perhaps not informed. I don't know that climate change is solely human's fault or that it's as bad as Gore would have us believe. I'm open to the idea that the changes may be cyclical and that we haven't been recording data long enough to see a cycle or enough cycles to determine the cause, but that's not to say we shouldn't reduce, reuse and recycle and look for alternative energy sources.

She's solidly in line with John McCain's "Big Oil first" energy policy. She's pushed hard for more oil drilling and says renewables won't be ready for years. She also sued the Bush administration for listing polar bears as an endangered species—she was worried it would interfere with more oil drilling in Alaska.6
Well here we can say she has experience--in protecting big oil in Alaska. On the national scene, big oil isn't our interest like it is Alakans'. Her husband is or was in big oil and her inauguration was sponsored by BP.


How closely did John McCain vet this choice? He met Sarah Palin once at a meeting. They spoke a second time, last Sunday, when he called her about being vice-president. Then he offered her the position.7
I think he vetted her more than it appears, but I’ve got concerns that he chose her to grab Hillary’s fans, pump up the Evangelical or Conservative base and because she’d be more popular than Lieberman or someone that would have made more sense. It seems to be a political choice rather than one based on experience (foreign policy, economy).

Palin opposes comprehensive sex-ed in public schools. She's said she will only support abstinence-only approaches.
I'm all for abstinence, but not abstinence only. I think it’s fair to think about this in light of Palin’s daughter’s situation.

RNC observations:

Protestor arrests for no reason

Several at RNC poke fun at Obama's community organizing; yet "service" placards held by fans.

Giuliani was appalled that 9/11 wasn't mentioned much at the DNC?? Our biggest threat??
Why?? Shall we let fear rule us? We were scared into attacking Iraq for no reason the last time the 9/11 attacks were invoked on the national stage.
He’s known for handling it well and doesn’t want us to forget it!
We had support after than and blew it, so revisiting it isn’t going to bring that back in this country or others. 9/11 is now inextricably linked with how the administration handled it, which is very badly.



Obama

Either he or Biden originally supported an amendment to the Iraq invasion bill that would have added a second UN discussion among other things to further assess the actual threat Iraq posed. This was the sensible thing to do and shows good judgment.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee-worked on many issues, visited several hot spot regions, bipartisan work

More familiarity with Islam than other candidates, which would be helpful since we are entangled in a region where a knowledge (respect, etc) of this would be a big help.

Civil rights experience-personal and as a lawyer does bring something to the table.

Constitutional scholar and community organizing are belittled or overlooked, but I think it is worth a mention.

The community organizing is really an interesting background for a politician and presidential candidate. It's democracy at work and the opposite of Washington's way-sort of. People organizing to take unjust laws off the books, protect workers, or any other thing that government has failed to accomplish. I think this is a helpful thing for a politician to have been involved in. If Palin's daughter keeping her baby conceived out of wedlock is proof of her family's strong moral fiber, then community organizing is definitely proof that Obama stands for and can mobilize people and make positive changes and contributions. It's not something to be belittled at all.

Background could bring unique view of things the way Palin's being a woman may.

Emphasis on diplomacy I still like and think is important for a President.

Raise taxes for rich, lower for poor, instead of cuts for everyone but esp. the rich and big business.

Wants to be seen as not a part of the establishment, yet chooses Biden. To add experience, I guess?

Talks about diplomacy, freedom and rights yet chooses Biden, who thinks our interests and Israel's are the same and takes the neocon stance. Biden called a bus bombing where ten or so Israelis died a massacre and issued a statement, but said /says nothing when hundreds of innocent Palestinians are killed, arrested without cause, collectively punished.



Biden

He’s not all bad.
He does have good ties with many on both sides, Democrat and Republican
He’s been a long time member of the Foreign Relations Committee and has chaired it.
He was a part of several committees that stuck it to the President on several issues relating to (+ or-) Iraq, detentions, Wolfowitz, Gonzales, etc, which I appreciate.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

DNC blues

I wrote this around the tim eof the DNC...I emailed it to myself to finish, but forgot about it!


I was excited for Obama to be running at one time. With Biden as runningmate, I am significantly less enthused. Biden the proponent for war. Biden the guy who thinks it’s ok we’re not an honest, unbiased broker for peace in the Middle East and who thinks ours and Israel’s interests are one and the same.


Also troubling was the sponsorship of AT&T for the DNC. This not long after immunity was given to telecoms. Obama said he’d filibuster any bill that gave immunity and he suddenly changes his tune. Sounds a little suspicious.

Also, Obama has done some talking about the economy and has tried his best to identify with the shrinking middle class. I remember this as I watch coverage of the DNC and see the huge amount of money wasted on extravagant decorations, security, and lavish parties.

Rather than giving millions to campaigns so that they can use the money to make attack ads and ride around to campaign stops in gas guzzlers I’d rather they use the money to design a program, help education, or healthcare in this country. I know they’d figure out a way to use that for their gain or to buy votes or something, but it’d be nice to see all that cash go to something useful and beneficial rather than horrible campaign ads, conventions and parties that don’t do us ordinary Americans a bit of good.

Obama and McCain, the same but different

Where is a good 3rd party candidate when you need him/her??

This is a "Presidential Report Card" I was sent by a relative. I come from a conservative background, so I see a lot of this sort of thing. While I agree with some points "value voter" Republicans make, I don't see it quite the way they do. Some of them say they pick the candidate based on what the Bible says and that's good, but when you conclude that Christians can only vote for the pro-life, gay marriage banning (Republican) candidate, I just don't agree. My disagreement isn't about what the Bible says. I'm right there with them on that. I believe that a Christian's duty is to teach and put the information out there. People have to decide for themselves. We can't legislate them into heaven.

There aren't just two issues to be considered. There is a moral aspect to just about all the issues. I think abortion and gay marriage have been over-politicized and too much weight given to them.


Click here to see the original document:
www.savecalifornia.com/PresidentialReportCard.pdf


Interesting how out of all the issues, 8 are chosen and 5 or 6 of them are abortion/gay marriage related. If they’d asked about supporting Roe v. Wade repeal, both candidates would say no, so I guess we have to dig a bit deeper to find the pro-lifer in McCain.

Human life is said to be valued with the abortion issue, but there is dead silence on the Iraq invasion, how we rushed to war without a credible threat so that we were proven WRONG in our reasons for going. In taking this course of action, Bush and his supporters didn’t sufficiently value our soldiers who are being sent to Iraq and come home changed and usually not for the better- physically or mentally. Then there’s the whole issue of abuse and torture of detainees, do they have rights as POWs or shall we revoke human rights as they are actually illegal combatants, etc. This is a problem for me as a pro-lifer, yet I never hear pro-life Republicans talk about this. You apparently can’t be for human rights, against the Iraq invasion, and against abortion in this country.


Support Partial-Birth Abortions
Obama: YES
McCain: NO
*This is one of those issues that McCain can use to define himself as pro-choice and so the Democrat must be pro-choice to pick up the other votes. Obama doesn’t so much say that he supports abortion, but that he thinks doctors and women should make the decision rather than the courts. Not quite the same thing. He seems to question a ban more than support abortion rights, which I think is something to consider. I am pro-life, but a total ban concerns me, so I lean Democrat. And the Republican rape and incest exception might as well be pro-choice, so I don’t think they have the moral market cornered, either.

Support Parental Notification
of Abortion
Obama: NO
McCain: YES

McCain’s abortion position clarified:
Abortion OK if raped; and no testing for rape. (Jan 2000)
Overturn Roe v. Wade, but keep incest & rape exceptions. (Jan 2000)
Concerned if women undergo illegal dangerous operations. (May 2007)

Sounds like he’s essentially pro-choice, but trying to keep those further right happy.
McCain sounds more pro-choice than he votes and Obama sounds more pro-life than he votes, so both are involved in pandering to the extremes of their parties and taking polar opposite positions to get a certain sector’s votes. That’s something that really annoys me about the Republicans and Democrats. The other is that they are pretty much the same while being polar opposites. Politicians!
And if McCain’s going to be making exceptions, the only morally questionable area would be life of the mother (ectopic pregnancy, etc-whose life to save, etc). If he’s going to exclude rape and incest, he is pro-choice in my opinion.

Protect Man-Woman Marriage on the Ballot
Obama: NO
McCain: YES

I don’t even think this should be on the ballot. People have the right to choose how to live. I believe homosexuality is a sin, but I also believe people have the right to decide how to live-to choose Christ or to reject him. Christians have the right and duty to teach, but I think legislation goes too far. It is a step toward forcing people to live by the Bible even where it doesn’t infringe on others’ life, liberty, etc.

Require Schoolchildren to Think Favorably About Homosexuality
Obama: YES
McCain: NO

The comments cited don't really say that Obama wants to require schoolchildren to think favorably about abortion. He says that he'd be ok with the story being read to his kids so they know about that possibility. I think being educated about it is fine. It is the parents' job to further teach the child that it is a sin. That's not the teacher's job. I hope as a parent that I will keep up with the school curriculum to further teach my kids, but I don't expect the teachers to do my job if I don't have the time or energy at a given time.

Support Adoption of Children by Homosexuals
Obama: YES
McCain: NO

Of course my opinion is that it is best if Christians adopt children so that they will get the opportunity to be taught the gospel; that’s why Agape of NC is great. BUT- if children need a home, they shouldn’t be denied that because of homosexuality. As the children grow up, they will think for themselves and they will be able to see if their parents/guardians are living according to the Bible or not. Again, Christians are to teach and put the information out there. It is up to the individual to act on it or not. Forcing compliance is not the Christian’s job. I can understand the point of view that Christians take when they support banning homosexuals from adopting and marriage, i.e., standing up for Biblical principles, but I have a different take because I disagree with what action to take, I guess.


Allow Local Governments to Ban Gun Ownership
Obama: YES
McCain: NO
I really don’t care about this issue, myself. I don’t want to own or shoot guns. I don’t think there should be a ban, but wouldn’t care if there were. I don’t think it would help with crime prevention. I do have an opinion on one aspect, though. I do think local governments should be able to decide what’s best for their community- Washington isn’t going to know what’s going on in each city and state.

Nominate Strict Constructionist Judges
Obama: NO
McCain: YES


Raise Taxes
Obama: YES
McCain: NO
*This is a bit misleading. Obama will decrease taxes on lower incomes and increase on higher incomes. It’s about time those with the ability to pay actually paid, instead of received all the breaks.
*http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2008/06/09/ST2008060900950.html



So many thoughts, so little time...