Gotta love Wedge Issues

This election was not about turning things around. It was about uninformed voters responding to a deluge of wedge issues, none of which had anything to do with their most pressing problems: rampant/terminal unemployment, shrinking wages, higher taxes for the poor and middle class, possible elimination of Social Security and Medicare. The Republicans won a majority in the House, but almost everyone of them ran away from or refused to talk about any of those issues in any meaningful way. Most of them took advantage of fear, like the senseless fear of muslims or not-so-senseless fear of illegal immigrants, to make themselves seem the lesser of two (or three) evils. 



Last night on Anderson Cooper's show on CNN, Michele Bachman (R-Minnesota) spewed out the Republicans' latest wedge issue in response to Cooper asking whether she would support cuts to Social Security and Medicare. She slammed the White House for the "over-the-top" cost of President Obama's upcoming trip to India. The message to voters: Republicans are all about eliminating overspending on presidential trips. Uninformed voters don't always make the connection that the Republicans are also about eliminating Social Security and Medicare, programs most of them rely on or will at some point in their lives. They understand the senseless, baseless fear of "Muslims are going to kill us all!" But, they don't always realize that Republicans want to eliminate unemployment compensation.

When will the Democrats Learn?

The other day, Senator Mitch McConnell (R - Kentucky) on Meet the Press said that if Obama would move to the political center (whatever the hell that is), he'd "probably" find a lot more Republican support. But today, one of CNN's senior, Republican political contributors, Ed Rollins, after being asked if Republicans were interested in bipartisanship, said quickly and decisively "No."

There's more...

Our Health Care System isn't broken....yea right!

Everyone in this country should be able to get health care......not care. I agree with Kennedy that it shouldn't matter where you work, how much money you've got, or pre-existing conditions. If you're sick, you should be able to get care. Right now, millions of people do not see a doctor because they do not have insurance. But, many of those that do get sick end up in emergency rooms, which drives up costs for everyone who is covered. The people who are lucky enough to have the right job are just a layoff away from not having their comfortable insurance coverage. Finally, Republicans say we don't need a system like Canada's. They say you'll lose your rights and have long waits for health care.  If that's the case, then the United States already has a Canadian style system. I have the "right" job with health care insurance, but I have to wait 4 months to see an ophthalmologist! That's because my insurance plan, United Healthcare, only has one "approved" physician on their plan in a city with over 20 such specialists. I should stop complaining because the Republicans say I could just suck it up and go "out of network" but that wouldn't work because I don't have the financial resources to pay for it. I guess I'll just go to the emergency room.....HAHA!! Our system is broken....nope, not at all.

There's more...

Sense of foreboding in America

This morning, I found the following stories "above the fold" on CNN:

Christians flee Iraqi city after killings, threats, officials say

At least 900 Christian families have fled Mosul in the past week, terrified by a series of killings and threats by Muslim extremists ordering them to convert to Islam or face possible death, officials said Saturday.

Speaker at McCain rally says non-Christians want an Obama win

A minister delivering the invocation at John McCain's rally in Davenport, Iowa Saturday told the crowd non-Christian religions around the world were praying for Barack Obama to win the U.S. presidential election.

I have a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach over the deep divide John McCain and Sarah Palin are creating in the electorate. Considering the ravenous, Obama-hating monster unleashed by John and Sarah over the past week or so, I'm beginning to fear the things to come. The other day, even John McCain had to step back in the face of an almost overwhelming and hostile crowd of his own supporters! When he tried to calm their fears, he was booed. How long before it's totally out of his control?

In fact, I believe we are almost at the point of no return. Rational, intelligent Americans know that Barack Obama is a Christian. Actually, most of us don't care what religion he follows. The point is, we don't fear him. We see him as Presidential. However, it's very clear that, from recent video reports shot before and after recent McCain/Palin events, too many Americans are indeed extremely irrational, and deeply fearful of Barack Obama. Many of them already believe Obama is no different than the Muslim extemists in Mosul. I'm an agnostic, and don't go to church, but I wouldn't mind being a fly on the wall in some of our local Pentecostal or Baptist churches. I'll "betcha" (thanks for that, Sarah) there will be a lot of sermons pitting "them" (Muslim) against "us" (Christian) over the course of the next few days and weeks. Of course, it would be unsuprising when they include Obama in the "them" column.

No one can deny that McCain, Palin, and surrogates are stoking the flames of fear and hatred. I believe things are reaching critical mass. Very soon, McCain will have to put America first, and calm the fears. Hopefully, he will realize that, what he and Sarah are doing, is destroying our country, the same country he allegedly loves. Otherwise, it will not be long before Palin starts to suggest that, in her own little homey way, an Obama presidency will force good Christians, such as herself, to convert to Islam or die. When that happens, if that happens, it'll be too late for John and Sarah to turn things back. In fact, by then, they may have to run for their own lives.

McCain's Real VP: Todd Palin

Deception and tricks are nothing new coming from the Republicans. However, it's perfectly clear, at least to me, that we've all been duped, again, by John McCain and the Republicans. Alaskans have been fooled as well. After reading all 263 pages of the publicly released, Sarah/Todd Palin abuse-of-power report, and taking into account all that we now know of Sarah and Todd since McCain put her front and center in his presidential campaign, I've come to some frightening conclusions. The real Governor of Alaska is not Sara Palin. Furthermore, Sarah Palin is not McCain's real candidate for vice-president.

The real Governor of Alaska and John McCain's candidate for vice-president is Todd Palin.

I know it's far fetched. But, I believe Sarah is little more than the cute public face with hair extensions, facial ticks, and over-priced eyewear. According to comments made by Sarah's debate coaches, the woman's attention span is only good for about 30 minutes. Maybe her inability to concentrate explains the 5 or 6 universities she attended before earning a degree.

After she took office in 2006, Todd Palin attended 4 out of 13 cabinet meetings (maybe more). This is the same man who spent half of his time in the Governor's office. That's highly unusual given the fact that previous Alaskan First Ladies never spent that much time in their husbands' office. Instead, they put their energies into more traditional work like charities and such. From the report, it seems the First Gentleman of Alaska had almost as much interaction with the Governor's staff as did the Governor. I guess since Sarah's attention span is so poor, and it takes a lot of her time to be cute, somebody had to pick up the slack and it looks like it's been Todd Palin.

So, it may be far fetched, but it looks to me like Todd Palin is the real Governor of Alaska and Republican candidate for vice-president. Sarah's just the public face. This concept is nothing new. After all, we already have a figure head President, George W. Bush. Everybody knows the real President is Dick Cheney.

If John McCain is a true maverick.......

Yesterday, a co-worker, a Republican for McCain, expressed his deep, profound concern over Obama's past. He was concerned about the fact that we don't have any of Obama's school records, from when he attended schools outside the United States. My friend was deeply (I'm talking "deeply") concerned about 30 or so private cell phone calls supposedly placed by Obama to the former President of Kenya. He was sincerely worried that we know so little about Obama (yea, right).

My co-worker is normally known to be an intelligent, open-minded individual, so I was a bit shocked at his deep, and seemingly profound, almost philosophical concern over such trivial matters. I pointed out that Americans, for the most part, are not concerned about Obama's so-called "connection" to Ayers (or Wright), or his past youthful indiscretions involving drug use. I pointed out to my astute colleague that Americans are acutely aware of the real problems we all face. I'm talking about providing for themselves and their families, losing their jobs, and/or their homes. My brilliant, deeply troubled, philosophical, and seemingly sincere colleague just laughed and said "That's the problem with the Democrats. They think the ship's going down." Well, guess what, my friend, the ship is sinking!

If John McCain is a true maverick, he would suspend his campaign today, for real, permanently. He should tell Palin to go back to Alaska and keep watching for the Russians from her house. The country, and the world, needs to know now that we are going to have a level-headed, thoughtful President on January 20, 2009. They need to know now that the time for Republican ineptitude will come to an end. Maybe then the markets, which also react based on sentiment, would stabilize a little more. John McCain needs to end this race now, and show the country that he really does put America first!

Palin scared the *@%( out of me last night!

Last night, we had the big vice-president debate, and the least I can say about it is it didn't disappoint. The best I can say is that it showcased Joe Biden's extraordinary abilities, the ones that would make him a great Vice-President and/or President, should the need arise.

As far as Sara Phalin's performance is concerned, I have one thing to ask. When did America take the wrong turn? When did it become acceptable for a vice-presidential candidate to "win" a debate simply because she didn't disappoint? She offered no substance. She made several glaring mistakes. When things get tough, the tough uses her cuteness ("See how cute I am!").

This has to be a bad dream! We haven't always been this "lax" in deciding whether a candidate has the right abilities to be President or Vice-President. Nowadays, too many Americans want someone who's just like them. Hell, I don't want somebody like me in the highest or second highest ranking jobs in government. I want somebody much smarter than me! Last night, an undecided voter said Palin:

...seemed like someone I could sit across a table from and have a conversation with....she's feisty....I like that!"
I know George W. Bush was elected, at least in part, because he came across as someone you could have a beer with, and look how that turned out. But, is this thing permanent? Do Americans really want someone just like them as President and/or Vice-President? Jeez, I hope not.

The only reason Palin didn't disappoint, the only reason she didn't "trip up" (actually, I think she did) is because she recited talking points as answers to questions NO MODERATOR ASKED! She told us as much:

"I may not answer the question the way that either the moderator, or you wanna hear."

Imagine you are interviewing for a job that requires a certain skill set (such as using Microsoft Excel or Word) and you're asked about those skills. In what world could you answer:

"I'm not going to answer that question, but let me tell you about my skills at using Google."

Do you think you'd get the job?

As I said before, the debate didn't disappoint, and I believe Biden won, but Sara Palin also won the debate because, apparently, she didn't disappoint her supporters or the media. America, you are beginning to disappoint me, big time! OH, and Gwynn Ifill, what happened to you last night?

"AIG came along and the house of cards was bigger"

Turns out that there's a lot of interlinks throughout the financial system....and then obviously AIG came along and you know Lehman came along and it was declared bankruptcy, then AIG came along and the house of cards was much bigger...and so, when one card started to go we worried about the whole deck going first instinct wasn't ya know to lay out a huge government first instinct was to let the market work until I realized upon being briefed by the experts how significant this problem became....
Here's a challenge. Which braniac Republican made the preceding comments during a very recent press conference? More importantly, why is John McCain STILL in the race for President?

Section 8 - Dirty Secret of Bailout Plan

Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

The preceding is from Section 8 of the Bush administration's original bailout proposal. Since, it was leaked, there's been hardly any mention by the press of the thirty-two words. To me, the lack of coverage of Section 8 by the press is the most astounding part of the whole situation.

ABCNews is reporting tonight that Barney Frank and the administration have agreed on an oversight board to review how the $700 billion would be spent. Yet, the Bush administration wouldn't go for it unless Congress agreed to let the bailout begin immediately. Congress would create the oversight board later (love the specifics). Isn't it possible that Bush could dole out all of the money to his cronies before Congress gets a chance to create it's little oversight board? In other words, by the time Congress gets it's shit together, Bush and friends will be $700 billion richer AND he'll be out of office.

Also, there's no indication whether or not there will be judicial review. So, the press has failed us once again by hardly mentioning Bush's thirty-two words, and Congress is rolling over.

How sound is our economy?

With the debate raging over whether or not the fundamentals of our economy are strong, the question on many minds is:

What are the fundamentals of our economy?

I'm not an economist, far from it, but, I see the signs on the wall. Unemployment is at a five-year high. I read somewhere that the U.S. needs to create about 150,000 jobs per month just to keep pace with the growing population. I don't see that happening under John McCain's proposed plans. Inflation has ran at 5.4 percent for the last 12 months, twice the level with which central bankers are comfortable. Foreclosures are running at record rates and housing prices have fallen nearly 16 percent year over year. Our nation's three major automobile manufacturers report sales declines by over 20 percent. Some of the nation's oldest financial firms are failing. Industrial production is down. Personal incomes are down.

John "I don't know what I think" McCain seems to think fundamentals are worker productivity, or at least that's what he was saying yesterday. Michael Bloomberg thinks the fundamentals are strong, but doesn't identify which ones are sound. In fact, most of the pro-McCain pundits claim we have sound fundamentals, but fail to identify them.

Which fundamentals are sound? Gross domestic product, the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States, has grown at a 3.3 percent annual rate. Inflation may be showing signs of moderating. Exports rise 20 percent from year-ago levels. $3.5 trillion is parked in money market mutual funds and corporations have vast piles of cash sitting on their balance sheets, which some say is an indication that money remains available for investment and consumption.

As I said, I'm not an economist. However, it wasn't that difficult to find at least 4 economic fundamentals that are showing signs of being sound. Why can't the Republicans do that? It's because they know the "good news" of our economy is insufficient to balance out the litany of bad news.

Obama seems to be the only Presidential candidate who actually has the nerve to list some of the fundamentals that are not sound. I just wish he and Biden would be more specific on how he would fix them.

I'll close with one of the worst Depression-era attempts to calm Americans. It came from plutocratic Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon, in early 1930:

"I see nothing in the present situation that is either menacing or warrants pessimism."


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