Monday, September 29, 2008

Go ahead. You don't need that tax exempt status.

Amato at Crooks and Liars has a good point.

There has been a move by a certain group of religious leaders to remove the shackles of the law when it comes to them backing candidates from the pulpit, or any other spot of authority. There has been talk for awhile, and a plan to have a mass of civil disobedience. The hope is to force the Supreme Court to strip the expectation that tax exempt organizations cannot be political backers of candidates (though I wonder how they feel about exempt organizations on the other side acting). They hope the court will back them up. Now they have had 33 ministers take the step and back John McCain. I had thought they had wanted to be bipartisan in this move.

But I agree with Amato.

They want this to be an issue. Just remove their tax free status (preceded by a lengthy, expensive audit) and be done with it for all those that break the law.

I have been all for taken away the status from these groups. But the audit...hadn't thought of that.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Polls and Credit

Reaction to McCain's plan is not so rosey.

SurveyUSA has just completed a snap poll on response to John McCain's request to cancel or postpone the presidential debate.

Several questions. But two key ones.

What to do about debates?

Hold as Scheduled 50%
Hold with Econ Focus 36%
Postpone 10%

Suspend Campaigns?

Suspend 14%
Continue 31%
Refocus on Fin. Crisis 48%

Would canceling the debates be good for America? 14% say

Even FOX News results are not supportive.

And as was noted by insiders, via TPM:
A plugged in reader who's a Democratic lobbyist writes in with a good point:
The deal on the "bail out" is 98% done. Treasury has capitulated on almost every point. A draft is circulating on the Hill now. No one needs McCain to help do the remaining 2%....except the White House who has no standing on this matter on the Hill with either Democrats or Republicans.
So he may try and swoop in at the end and grab credit. And then avoid questions about how he helped get this trouble started. Stay classy.

McCain wants to step back...for America...right.

McCain seems to want to suspend campaigning and also the coming debate. He apparently wants to lead his party in talks. Of course, until now he hasn't particularly felt the urge to lead, last month, last week, yesterday...

Could it be the coming debate?
What's changed today in the financial crisis other than John McCain's poll numbers tanking? Isn't this the campaign equivalent of faking an injury when you're down late in the 4th quarter? Note too that McCain was in the midst of debate prep when he made this decision.

Look at what appears to have happened. Obama reached out to McCain privately to agree to a shared set of bailout principles. McCain went off the handle again and tried to use the crisis as a way to call off the debates.


And as AMERICAblog notes, "McCain "suspends" campaign only after he finishes his campaign events tomorrow." Yeah, he'll stop for the rest of the week, after he finishes campaigning midday Thursday. Then all the rest of Thursday is off, and Friday...oh, gosh and he won't have to debate...Shoot. Why call for this later on Wednesday? And why an emergency...go one campaigning into the next day. Would it be rude not to? It smacks so soundly of a PR stunt.

And AMERICAblog also notes, "McCain to Osama bin Laden: I'm really busy, tired, a bit confused of late, and down in the polls, so please postpone your attacks for a while." Obama also just noted this. As president you actually have to multitask.

Can't help that their is traction on the story of his campaign manager's business getting a nice monthly check from Frannie and Frannie up to August. For what is unclear. But it doesn't look all that clean.

Plus the polls are turning on McCain. People are not feeling as sure about him.

Guess it was just time for a patented John McCain gut check and pivot.

Econ Woe

This situation is serious. So it is hard to read governmental reaction. It is particularly hard in a crisis, to read hyperbole as legit or not. And it is hard for the people. How many times do you face hyperbole that backs lies and misinformation and still buy it. The distrust people have now is almost heartening, as I wondered if all the Palin-McCain lies would have impact. But it is important to be clear. This is a crisis.

But what does the White House want? No questions. No accountability. Again, that sounds uncomfortably familiar to those of us with a memory that goes back at least 6 years.

Crooks and Liars:

Don’t you find it interesting that Paulson asks for this huge government bail out as Bush’s term winds down? We all know Paulson and Bernanke just didn’t stumble onto this problem. If Congress was informed of this months ago, the fat cats wouldn’t have it so easy and there could have been enough time for a real debate to take place. Now, the sky is failing and you better sign off or we’re all doomed. We heard it during the run up to the Iraq war too.


The White House was dealing with this crisis for months. They knew, they stalled bringing the debate to the rest of government. And once the dam burst, they dropped their plan into Congress' lap and want them to just take it and pass it.

Even with Section 8. Which gives Paulson absolute control and no accountability. Again, echoes of Iraq. Can they try a new play book, please.

It is also troubling that the deal is such a sweetheart one for Wall Street. They will get paid for losses at a premium. No they won't be asked to take losses. That would be unfair. And more...

These crooks are the most unpatriotic, America-hating people we've
seen. They are sending their friends and lobbyists to Washington to ask for what
could be a $1.8 TRILLION bailout to save the problems they created, yet no,
they're not willing to cut back one single penny. Not one. They still want their
hundreds of millions in annual bonus money and they still want their elite
lifestyle as though none of this ever happened. For Wall Street as well as Bush,
Paulson and Bernanke, it's perfectly acceptable that middle class Americans foot
the bill in terms of cut backs and higher taxes so America's royalty on Wall
Street can live well. Yep, they want you to pay for their mistakes as if they
had nothing to do with it.


So this plan as it, is poor. Dodd has some good idea, like he did at the tail end of his presidential run. I hope they use his ideas as a framework.

But remember, action is needed.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Obama's response


The Obama campaign's response to Sarah Palin's speech, from spokesperson Bill Burton, acknowledges its clearly successful delivery but seeks to highlight its slashing and partisan nature in hopes of taking the gloss off her a bit:
""The speech that Governor Palin gave was well delivered, but it was written by George Bush's speechwriter and sounds exactly like the same divisive, partisan attacks we've heard from George Bush for the last eight years. If Governor Palin and John McCain want to define 'change' as voting with George Bush 90% of the time, that's their choice, but we don't think the American people are ready to take a 10% chance on change."
The speech was harsh and negative but we highly doubt that it'll be received this way, and this suggests one reason she was chosen. McCain needed someone who could go on the attack while simultaneously striking an every-mom pose that might galvanize Republican women and perhaps appeal to aging white female Hillary voters while reinforcing McCain's efforts to cast himself as far more culturally in touch with ordinary Americans than Obama is.


I have to agree with Josh Marshall's thoughts on what is next.

... Not only has their party been in power for 8 years. But every policy pushed by John McCain is the one embraced by George Bush. Economic policy, tax policy, Iraq policy, social issues, Bush style politicking, everything. I'm not sure how many people agree with me. ...

... And they say they're bringing reform? Smack it with ridicule and an undertone of contempt and it will fall right apart.

Obama has it right. Agreeing 90% of the time with Bush is the way to change? He seems pretty happy with so much of the current state of things. Sounds like status quo to me.

Palin analysis

Some moment by moment analysis of Palin's speech.


Andrew Sullivan

Is Sarah Palin really comparing herself to Harry Truman since he only served as vice president for a few months?


... I've seen political events that I totally got and others that I thought I got but was totally wrong about. So who knows? But take this as a sign that the McCain campaign has abandoned an effort to compete for swing voters and go back to the base energizing strategy that worked for President Bush in 2004. ...

And just to remind you of the blatant and disproved garbage she was tossing about, a picture of her promoting the bridge to nowhere.

Slashing away...

She is mentioning she slashed at the wasteful helping teen moms. Should I mention she has a line item veto. That means she has the power to take a bill, and cut only parts out, not just veto the whole thing.

So she went into a bill saw this aid to young girls, pregnant and in need of help, and thought...screw 'em.


You know, the one she campaigned for to win the governorship. That she was happy with, until the ethics issues arose. Then she took all the money she could keep to use, and not return to the Feds. The money she couldn't keep she spent under the rules and law. So it is that brave stand.

Man I thought she would just let it slide...but she put it there for us all to point at and call her a liar. THANKS, Sarah! Your the best.

How dare they!

Talk on Palin's family is juvenile. Particularly when her records, thinking, and claims give one a vast arsenal, especially when cross tabbed with McCain, his records, thinking, and claims.

So why, in the quest for privacy, is her daughter and son-in-law to being used as props? As TPM notes, they both got dragged to a meet and greet at the Minneapolis airport, where McCain got to lay hands on the guy and approve of him...just weird. And it points to the truth of this. The pregnancy and the ignominy are just grand tools to be used by McCain. Most of these mean stories on Palin are coming from Alaska and from Republicans. Yet McCain's campaign want to play these garbage as dirty tricks from Obama. How is this not desperation?

So for the real arsenal. TPM notes a good, physical, example of the earmarks Palin sought, got and bragged about. Then there is Palin's old church, which looks to have just wiped all the old sermons from their websites. Guess the antisemitic stuff might have come off ass...I don't know...negative?

Better still, because it has McCain going out to spout this garbage, is her foreign policy skills. He has followed his campaign's, and wife's, lead in declaring the proximity to Russia as proof over know how. Is that how desperate he is? It is sad.

So how about saying how dare her eagerness for earmarks be pointed out, or the sad grab for claims of experience be noted?


Almost not forget about Ron Paul. I don't care much for him. But he is running a counter convention in the Twin Cities. He's rallying his supporters. It looks like Bob Barr hopes to grab some of them. So when it is claimed Reps are unified, they are as a rule, but the cracks are there, and a number in key states look tempted to make a point. McCain is embracing the Religious Right and the Neocons, for some Republicans that may just be too much. Of course the Log Cabin has just seen the Religious Right write the parties platform, and then endorsed McCain and it, so who knows how or when they start thinking for a second on their own.

Convention night

Another night of RNC with the RNC.

TPM notes the Mittmentum.

Massachusetts venture capitalist and governor Mitt Romney is lashing out
against the "eastern elite".
Now demanding change from the liberalism of the last eight years.
Calls Democrats party of Big Brother after embracing torture and domestic spying.
"Tyrannosaurus appetite of government unions" ... rolls off the tongue.

So, among other things, the last 8 years is because...of the liberals. Those years of a conservative prez and congress...nothing? And Dems are the big brother party...Huckabee also hit on big gov't = Dem as well. So the guys who want expanded powers for the FBI, to peek into your life, who want say over reproduction...they aren't the ones seeking absolute power...right...

As noted on AMERICAblog:

Well, hope you're all enjoying the rerun of the 1988 Republican convention - is there a single speech that you've seen tonight that couldn't have been given back in 1988?


Party of change and new ideas? Who really believes that?

I'll tell some who don't the Conservative punditry. Look what they accidentally said on open mics.

Peggy Noonan and Mike Murphey (Mike was making smug comments at the DNC last week, like after the Clinton speeches he said that both would be voting McCain, then he sat back hoping to provoke a fight and disrupt the analysis.) show just how much they are loathing the state of things. Delicious!

Here is the transcript from TPM:

And if you're interested, the transcript ...
Chuck Todd: Mike Murphy, lots of free advice, we'll see if Steve Schmidt and the boys were watching. We'll find out on your blackberry. Tonight voters will get their chance to hear from Sarah Palin and she will get the chance to show voters she's the right woman for the job Up next, one man who's already convinced and he'll us why Gov. Jon Huntsman.

(cut away)

Peggy Noonan: Yeah.

Mike Murphy: You know, because I come out of the blue swing state governor world: Engler, Whitman, Tommy Thompson, Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush. I mean, these guys -- this is how you win a Texas race, just run it up. And it's not gonna work. And --

PN: It's over.

MM: Still McCain can give a version of the Lieberman speech to do himself some good.

CT: I also think the Palin pick is insulting to Kay Bailey Hutchinson, too.

PN: Saw Kay this morning.

CT: Yeah, she's never looked comfortable about this --

MM: They're all bummed out.

CT: Yeah, I mean is she really the most qualified woman they could have turned to?

PN: The most qualified? No! I think they went for this -- excuse me-- political bullshit about narratives --

CT: Yeah they went to a narrative.

MM: I totally agree.

PN: Every time the Republicans do that, because that's not where they live and it's not what they're good at, they blow it.

MM: You know what's really the worst thing about it? The greatness of McCain is no cynicism, and this is cynical.

CT: This is cynical, and as you called it, gimmicky.

MM: Yeah.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


It seems McCain very little time into vetting Palin. Let us see the troubles that have arisen.



* The news that Palin once backed the Bridge to Nowhere went national.

* It emerged that Palin has links to the bizarro Alaska Independence Party, which harbors the goal of seceding from the union that McCain and Palin seek to lead.

* The news broke that as governor, Palin relied on an earmark system she now opposes. Taken along with the Bridge to Nowhere stuff, this threatens to undercut her reformist image, something that was key to her selection as McCain's Veep candidate.

* The news broke that Palin's 17-year-old daughter became pregnant out of wedlock at a time when the conservative base had finally started rallying behind McCain's candidacy.

* Barely moments after McCain advisers put out word that McCain had known of Bristol Palin's pregnancy, the Anchorage Daily News revealed that Palin's own spokesperson hadn't known about it only two days ago.

* A senior McCain adviser at the Republican convention was forced into the rather embarrassing position of arguing that McCain had known about the pregnancy "last week" -- without saying what day last week he knew about it.

* It came out that Republican lawyers are up in Alaska vetting Palin -- now, more than 72 hours after it was announced that she'd been picked.

* Palin lawyered up in relation to the trooper-gate probe in Alaska -- a move that ensures far more serious attention to the story from the major news orgs.


Add to that that she ran a 527 group to back up Ted Stevens (You know, the guy she has routed out...sure.). Plus she has left huge debts in her wake and also grabbed up huge earmarks from the federal government. How great was that "Bridge to No Where"? She eventually did block it...taking the money anyway to use. Yet it is not noted that she did finish part of the bridge project. A road to the water. Why? The government was going to take that cash from her anyway if it wasn't used as expected, so she used it. Reformer?

And ties to Secessionist? How is that good?

Here is her friendly welcome to a group, that at least her husband was a member of.

And I do not care for getting into her families business.

It is hard to deal with surprise pregnancy. It is a personal issue.

The only trouble I have not commenting comes from the issue as it goes back a year or so now. Back to Jamie Lynn Spears. Remember her? Got pregnant, family said she was keeping it and getting married. And the Religious Right cheered.

Like now they talked of the brave and wonderful decision and choice. Decision. Choice. Gosh, ain't it nice when you get to choose? When you can decide? It must also be nice when your wealthy and well placed, makes it all the easier to handle.

With that I no longer care about her family, I only care about Sarah Palin's and the RNC's politics. Choice. The mutual goal here is to strip away the choice. Their is also talk of privacy, yet that is also to be striped away for the government to be involved. And if this absolutism of law were not enough, we have abstinence only. The charming idea of just telling kids to not have sex. Along with that you lie to them about how unsafe safer sex is and try to scare them. Guess what? It don't work. It just doesn't. Fails horribly. But has that stopped the Religious Right? Hell no. So there will be no recourse if a young girl or women becomes pregnant, and be sure emergency contraceptives will be out damn quick as well. So no options. And before that no education. Warning of the risks of sex, but also how to avoid illness or pregnancy.

Ignorance and Intolerance I believe they are both planks for the RNC aren't they?

So sure celebrate the wonderful choice, until you can strip all women of it. That is was the RNC is all about, outside of POW stories, 9/11, and fear?


Sorry I forgot a bit of crap irony from Palin I was going to add.

Andrew Sullivan:

She cut funding for a group that helps teen mothers.

Nice to rich, huh? I guess, as conservatives often think, it is something for the Church to handle.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Goodman arrested.

Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now!, was arrested in St. Paul this afternoon.

PZ Myers:
Events are off to a great start at the RNC: Amy Goodman, host of the TV/radio program Democracy Now! and a well-known activist for peace and human rights, has been arrested in St Paul by our power-mad authoritarian servants of the Rethuglican Party. Apparently, she was defending two radio producers who were being arrested on the charge of "suspicion of rioting", which sounds dubious right there. She has been charged with "conspiracy to incite a riot".


This is truly horrid! (The following is a release from Democracy Now!)

Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman was unlawfully arrested in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota at approximately 5 p.m. local time. Police violently manhandled Goodman, yanking her arm, as they arrested her. ...

Apparently now she has been released, as have her people. I guess, maybe they weren't rioting...ya think?