McCain and his Budget Whopper

John McCain wants desperately to preside over George Bush’s third term. And Hillraisers consider supporting this schmuck? That’s nothing but a spit in the eye to one of Bill Clinton’s undeniably positive legacies – balanced budgets and budget surpluses. Clinton’s former Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich, writes:

George W. Bush took the largest budget surplus in history and transformed it into a giant deficit. McCain’s economic plan, announced today, will to even worse. McCain says he’s going to balance the budget by the end of his first term (actually, he didn’t literally say that – he just “demanded” it – implying that a Democratically-controlled Congress would be ultimately responsible if it didn’t happen). And then McCain came up with numbers that will blow the deficit into the stratosphere.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office projects that the budget deficit will be $443 billion in 2013, the end of the next president’s first term, if Bush’s tax cuts are made permanent (which McCain pledges to do). So start with this $443 billion hole. Now add in McCain’s promise to cut corporate taxes by a hundred billion a year ($4 billion of this for American oil companies, more than a billion for Exxon-Mobile alone). Then add in McCain’s promise to get rid of the Alternative Minimum Tax, designed to ensure that the very rich pay at least a minimum percent of their income in tax. Obama would properly index it to inflation but McCain will let the rich pay as little as they can get away with. Non-partisan tax experts put the ten year cost of this at $1 trillion. All told, McCain promises more than $650 billion of new tax cuts per year. (That doesn’t even include McCain’s promise to allow corporations to immediately expense all their investments – which, he asserts, would add nothing to the budget deficit at all!)

Who gets all these cuts? Mostly, the very rich and big corporations. The non- partisan Tax Policy Center estimates that 25 percent of McCain’s cuts would go to people earning over $2.8 million a year (the top one-tenth of one percent). Each would get an average tax cut of $269,000, over and above what George Bush gave them.

[Click to read the rest of Robert Reich’s Blog: McCain’s Budget Whopper]

John McCain’s base (the national media) wring their hands re: Obama and tax increases, but John McSame is proudly an economic idiot, willing to destroy the American government any way possible, taking the rest of us with him.

Hillraisers Still Toxic

There continues to be rumbling from certain high profile Hillary Clinton supporters that they would rather put a Republican in the White House (an anti-choice, anti-environment, pro-war Republican at that) than support the presumptive Democratic nominee. I haven’t decided if there are real delusions among the Hillraisers, or if this is a propaganda ploy promulgated by the McCain/Murdoch/Rove Axis of Evils, and given prominent space by the Wall Street Journal.

the effort involves dozens of the roughly 300 Clinton “Hillraisers,” individuals who raised at least $100,000 apiece for her campaign.

The Clinton holdouts are typically most angry about what they say was the media’s sexist treatment of Sen. Clinton during the campaign. And though few, if any, blame Sen. Obama directly, they fault the Illinois senator and other party leaders for what they say was failing to do enough to stop it.

Susie Tompkins Buell, a Hillraiser from San Francisco, said, “What really hurt women the most was to look back and see all this gender bias.” Ms. Buell said she hasn’t decided whether to vote for Sen. Obama and plans to skip the August Democratic convention.

[From Obama Faces Resistance From Top Supporters of Clinton –]

Why is Obama being blamed for the media coverage of the primaries? Don’t the Hillraisers realize the corporate media is Republican, by and large, and the national media is geared towards supporting their candidate, John McCain? The coverage was often sexist, sure, but it also was quite ridiculous towards the Obama campaign1.

The McCain campaign is pressing its case with former Clinton donors. Roughly two dozen big Clinton backers are looking to meet soon with Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard Co. chief executive who is avidly supporting Sen. McCain. The idea, said one person familiar with the campaign’s plans, is to pluck disaffected independents, and especially women, from the ranks of former Clinton supporters. A similar meeting occurred last month in Ohio between Ms. Fiorina and Clinton supporters, the McCain campaign said.

The Democratic fissures come as evidence is mounting that Clinton supporters aren’t falling easily into the Obama camp. A poll released Friday by CNN and Opinion Research Corp. found that nearly a third of those who voted for Sen. Clinton in the primaries said they would stay home in November rather than vote for Sen. Obama. A similar poll taken by the two organizations in early June found only 22% expressing that sentiment. In the latest poll, only 54% of Clinton voters said they were planning to back Sen. Obama.

Really, there are stark differences between Obama and McCain. There are only minor policy differences between Obama’s platform and Clinton’s platform, why would any sane person make such a leap? Maybe this is a simply a Democratic version of Rush Limbaugh’s Operation Chaos?

[Non-WSJ subscribers use this link to read the entire article)

  1. Rev. Wright, fist bumps, yadda yadda. []

Ass Press for a reason

The Associated Press is known as the Ass Press for a reason1

Yesterday we flagged the AP’s Jennifer Loven’s ‘analysis’ piece flogging the McCain/RNC spin on Obama’s run to the center. Well, as every crack communication operation knows, message repetition is the key to success. And so today we have another ‘analysis’ piece, this time by the AP’s Steven Hurst. And it’s practically the same piece. Hurst and Loven actually both use the identical quote from RNC spinmeister Alex Conant.

Says Conant: “There appears to be no issue that Barack Obama is not willing to reverse himself on for the sake of political expedience.”

The identical quote appears in both pieces. If the pieces weren’t bylined I think I might have assumed one was a rewrite of the other. But they actually appear to be two completely original articles, just mouthing the identical McCain/RNC line.

[From Talking Points Memo | AP On the Case!]

Really is disgusting how deeply the majority of the US news media is in the tank for John McCain. No wonder McSame hates bloggers2 .

  1. well, besides the juvenile reason that saying the word ass celebrates George Carlin and his Seven Naughty Words bit []
  2. I’m sure I’m too obscure to appear on McCain’s radar, but I’ll take the compliment nevertheless. []

McCain the Dick

Part the 3244th. Eric Martin notes the ridiculous John McCain voting against Jim Webb’s GI Bill for the 21st Century (or whatever the frack it was called), then turning around and claiming credit for passing it.

That temptation would lead one astray, however, as McCain shamelessly set about taking credit for the bill’s passage at a recent campaign event:

I’m happy to tell you that we probably agreed to an increase in educational benefits for our veterans that not only gives them an increase in their educational benefits, but if they stay in for a certain period of time than they can transfer those educational benefits to their spouses and or children. That’s a very important aspect I think of incentivizing people of staying in the military.

“We”? Stay classy John. And keep up the straight talk.

Suffice it to say, Obama voted in favor of the bill (and signed on early as a co-sponsor). Which makes this McCain cheap shot even cheaper:

Unlike Senator Obama, my admiration, respect and deep gratitude for America’s veterans is something more than a convenient campaign pledge. I think I have earned the right to make that claim.

Talk is cheap, and tuition is expensive. You earn that “right” by backing up your lofty rhetoric with actual votes. Otherwise, your advocacy is little more than a campaign expedient.

[From Obsidian Wings: Coopt the Vote]

Bob Herbert wrote about the surprisingly dickish John McCain, on May 6th, 2008:

Who wouldn’t support an effort to pay for college for G.I.’s who have willingly suited up and put their lives on the line, who in many cases have served multiple tours in combat zones and in some cases have been wounded?

We did it for those who served in World War II. Why not now?

Well, you might be surprised at who is not supporting this effort. The Bush administration opposes it, and so does Senator John McCain.


This is not exactly first-class treatment of the nation’s warriors.

The Bush administration opposes the new G.I. bill primarily on the grounds that it is too generous, would be difficult to administer and would adversely affect retention.

This is bogus. The estimated $2.5 billion to $4 billion annual cost of the Webb proposal is dwarfed by the hundreds of billions being spent on the wars we’re asking service members to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. What’s important to keep in mind is that the money that goes to bolstering the education of returning veterans is an investment, in both the lives of the veterans themselves and the future of the nation.

The notion that expanding educational benefits will have a negative effect on retention seems silly. The Webb bill would cover tuition at a rate comparable to the highest tuition at a state school in the state in which the veteran would be enrolled. That kind of solid benefit would draw talented individuals into the military in large numbers.

Senator Webb, a former secretary of the Navy who specialized in manpower issues, said he has seen no evidence that G.I.’s would opt out of the service in significantly higher numbers because of such benefits.

Senator McCain’s office said on Monday that it was following the Pentagon’s lead on this matter, getting guidance from Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Under pressure because of his unwillingness to support Senator Webb’s effort, Senator McCain introduced legislation with substantially fewer co-sponsors last week that expands some educational benefits for G.I.’s, but far less robustly than Senator Webb’s bill.

“It’s not even close to the Webb bill,” said Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, an advocacy group.

Wesley Clark versus McCain

I’m sure the Republican-controlled media1 is going to attempt their damnedest to make this the topic de jour.

On the June 30 edition of MSNBC Live, anchor Monica Novotny falsely claimed that retired Gen. Wesley Clark “blasted [Sen. John] McCain’s military record” during an appearance on the June 29 edition of CBS’ Face the Nation. In fact, Clark did not “blast” McCain’s military record. Rather, he praised McCain as “a hero” and stated, “I certainly honor his service as a prisoner of war,” but argued that McCain’s military record does not make him qualified to be president.

[From Media Matters – MSNBC’s Novotny falsely claimed Clark “blasted McCain’s military record” ]

What did Clark actually say to Bob Schieffer?

CLARK: Because in the matters of national security policy-making, it’s a matter of understanding risk. It’s a matter of gauging your opponents, and it’s a matter of being held accountable. John McCain’s never done any of that in his official positions. I certainly honor his service as a prisoner of war. He was a hero to me and to hundreds of thousands of millions of others in the Armed Forces as a prisoner of war. He has been a voice on the Senate Armed Services Committee, and he has traveled all over the world. But he hasn’t held executive responsibility. That large squadron in the Air — in the Navy that he commanded, it wasn’t a wartime squadron. He hasn’t been there and ordered the bombs to fall. He hasn’t seen what it’s like when diplomats come in and say, “I don’t know whether we’re going to be able to get this point through or not. Do you want to take the risk? What about your reputation? How do we handle it” —


CLARK: — “publicly?” He hasn’t made those calls, Bob.

SCHIEFFER: Well — well, General, maybe he —


SCHIEFFER: Could I just interrupt you? If —

CLARK: Sure.

SCHIEFFER: I have to say, Barack Obama has not had any of those experiences either, nor has he ridden in a fighter plane and gotten shot down. I mean —

CLARK: Well, I don’t think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president.

Doesn’t sound so horrible to me. The Republican mouthpieces will all need fainting couches this week, of course, because they believe harsh language should only be spoken by Republicans. I actually think Wesley Clark should be part of President Obama’s cabinet in some form, especially if he could learn to blink his eyes while on camera once and a while2.

–update:Josh Marshall has more:

The McCain campaign is now launching an attack with its ‘truth squad’ about the Clark ‘controversy’ and pushing Obama to “denounce” Clark, etc. It’ll be interesting to watch what happens here. The McCain campaign’s angle here is to not to prevent attacks on the integrity of McCain’s war record (which Clark explicitly did not do) but to make it off limits for anyone to question that his war-time experience means he has the temperament and experience which make him the better qualified candidate to be president.

The McCain campaign’s claim that there’s any attack here on McCain’s war record is simply a lie — a simple attempt to fool people. This is an essential point to this entire campaign — does McCain’s military record mean that even the Democrats have to concede the point that he’s more qualified to be commander-in-chief of the US armed forces, that his foreign and national security policy judgment is superior to Obama’s? It’s simply a fact that McCain has a record of really poor judgment on a whole list of key foreign policy and national security questions.

This is one of those moments in the campaign where the nonsense from the chief DC press sachems is so palpable and overwhelming that everyone who cares about this contest needs to jump into the breach and demand that they answer why no one can question whether McCain’s war record makes him more qualified to be president and whether he has good foreign policy and national security judgment.

Here’s the video

  1. which, as any astute consumer of the news is aware, includes nearly all of the corporate media []
  2. haven’t seen any footage recently, but we’ve always laughed at how infrequently General Clark blinks his eyes []

Twin Towers

Frank Rich covers the twin towers of Republican vote-winning orthodoxy: terrorism and gays, but questions how effective these issues will really be. Karl Rove is no evil genius, or the Rethuglicans would have won in 2006 as well.

Since 2002, it’s been a Beltway axiom akin to E=mc2 that Bomb in American City=G.O.P. Landslide.

That equation was the creation of Karl Rove. Among the only durable legacies of the Bush presidency are the twin fears that Mr. Rove relentlessly pushed on his client’s behalf: fear of terrorism and fear of gays. But these pillars are disintegrating too. They’re propped up mainly by political operatives like Mr. Black and their journalistic camp followers — the last Washington insiders who are still in Mr. Rove’s sway and are still refighting the last political war.

That the old Rove mojo still commands any respect is rather amazing given how blindsided he was by 2006. Two weeks before that year’s midterms, he condescendingly lectured an NPR interviewer about how he devoured “68 polls a week” — not a mere 67, mind you — and predicted unequivocally that Election Day would yield “a Republican Senate and a Republican House.” These nights you can still find Mr. Rove hawking his numbers as he peddles similar G.O.P. happy talk to credulous bloviators at Fox News.

But let’s put ourselves in Mr. Black’s shoes and try out the Rove playbook at home — though not in front of the children — by thinking the unthinkable. If a terrorist bomb did detonate in an American city before Election Day, would that automatically be to the Republican ticket’s benefit?

Not necessarily. Some might instead ask why the Bush White House didn’t replace Michael Chertoff as secretary of homeland security after a House report condemned his bungling of Katrina. The man didn’t know what was happening in the New Orleans Convention Center even when it was broadcast on national television.

Next, voters might take a hard look at the antiterrorism warriors of the McCain campaign (and of a potential McCain administration). This is the band of advisers and surrogates that surfaced to attack Mr. Obama two weeks ago for being “naïve” and “delusional” and guilty of a “Sept. 10th mind-set” after he had the gall to agree with the Supreme Court decision on Gitmo detainees. The McCain team’s track record is hardly sterling. It might make America more vulnerable to terrorist attack, not less, were it in power.

[From Op-Ed Columnist – If Terrorists Rock the Vote in 2008 – Op-Ed –]

Rich also discusses everyone’s favorite clowns, Rudy Giuliani, James Dobson, as well as a few other lesser clowns. Worth a read.

Barr Happy as Spoiler

Ron Paul Revolution

I noticed several visits to a previous Bob Barr post from browsers in Georgia, maybe his supporters in Georgia are larger than we think. Or his campaign can afford a couple of computers1

ATLANTA — He has been called a spoiler. A would-be Ralph Nader. A thorn in the side of Senator John McCain and the Republican establishment.

None of it bothers Bob Barr, the former Republican congressman from Georgia turned Libertarian Party candidate for president, who gleefully recounted what he says a group of Republicans told him at a recent meeting in Washington: Don’t run.

“ ‘Well, gee, you might take votes from Senator McCain,’ ” Mr. Barr said this week, mimicking one of the complainers, as he sat sipping Coca-Cola in his plush corner office, 12 stories above Atlanta. “They all said, ‘Look, we understand why you’re doing this. We agree with why you’re doing it. But please don’t do it.’ ”

But with the Libertarian nomination in hand, Mr. Barr hopes to follow in the footsteps of Ross Perot and Mr. Nader, whose third-party presidential bids wreaked general-election havoc.

For one, he is hoping to hitch his wagon to the enormous grass-roots movement behind Representative Ron Paul, the libertarian-minded Republican from Texas who recently abandoned his own presidential bid.

[From A Candidate Runs to a G.O.P. Chorus of ‘Don’t’ –]

Barr’s problem is that not very long ago that he was the kind of Republican busy-body that the Libertarians hate. How much does he really believe in core Libertarian principles?2

While libertarian philosophy generally bows to the rights of the individual — and against government intervention — Representative Barr voted for the USA Patriot Act; voted to authorize the war in Iraq in 2002; led the impeachment charge against President Bill Clinton in 1998; and introduced the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996.

After joining the Libertarian Party two years ago, Mr. Barr declared his intention to run for the 2008 presidential nomination only 10 days before the party’s convention in May. (Mr. Barr is also remembered for an incident in 2002, while preparing a Senate bid on a gun-rights platform, when he accidentally fired an antique .38-caliber pistol during a fund-raiser, shattering a sliding glass door.)

But Mr. Barr has largely disavowed his record in Congress as a Republican, a turnaround his campaign manager, Russell Verney, sunnily referred to as “the journey that Bob went through.”

Now, on the war in Iraq, he advocates for a speedy and complete withdrawal of troops, with no permanent bases; on same-sex marriage, he believes that states should make their own laws; and on wiretaps without warrants, he is fiercely opposed, arguing that the bill that would legalize searches without warrants violates an individual’s constitutional rights.

What are Barr’s bona-fides, in other words. A glib “journey he went through” doesn’t cut it. I’m also skeptical that many Ron Paul supporters will transfer their loyalties to Barr.

  1. donated from former Ron Paul supporters, or not. []
  2. I am not a member of the Libertarian party, or any party for that matter, but I do strongly enjoy the idea that the government should never be involved in moral discussions, should never bother with policy regarding drugs, sexual preference, and so on, nor should the government spy upon its citizens. []

Obama and Big Donors

Beer Money at the MCA

Actually, a sort of non-story if you ask me. Since Obama opted out of public financing for the general election (as opposed to John McCain who opted in to public financing when his finances were in disarray, then opted out when his finances improved, and is subsequently being investigated by the FEC for this apparently illegal act), Obama has to raise money from somewhere. Obama wants to win the election, not conduct a Nader-esque run solely on principles and garner zero electoral votes.

– A fund-raiser for Barack Obama here this week drew some of the cream of the entertainment industry, including recording artist Seal. He serenaded the crowd under crystal chandeliers at a downtown arts center just before the Democratic presidential contender took the stage.

But the headline of the evening was whispered by a campaign operative in the back of the room: The event raised more than $4 million from 700 guests who paid between $2,300 and $28,000 each to attend.

Sen. Obama’s disclosure last week that he will forgo public campaign financing — and the spending limits that go with it — appears to be turning his campaign from a reliance on small donors to a well-worn political fund-raising path: the quest for soft money.

This wasn’t the crowd of small donors that the Obama campaign often mentions to show the breadth of its common-man support. Instead, it was a crowd of big-money donors, many well-versed in federal campaign-finance laws that allowed them to give Sen. Obama more than 10 times the amount of money they normally are allowed to give a candidate.

Like his Republican rival, Sen. John McCain, Sen. Obama has established a joint fund-raising committee with his national party. Such a committee allows him to co-sponsor fund-raising events in which donors can give as much as $28,000 — the limit they are allowed to give a national party — coupled with the standard $2,300 anyone can give an individual candidate running for federal office during a single campaign season.

The Los Angeles event Tuesday illustrated the twin perils Sen. Obama faces by opting to forgo $84.5 million in taxpayer money.

While he is exempt from the $1.2 million daily spending limit under campaign-finance laws, he must work for the money he raises, taking time away from the campaign trail. Sen. Obama also could open himself up to charges that he is beholden to big-money people and standard Washington interests.

[From Democrat Steps Up Push for Big Donors –]

Notice the subtle phrasing: “could open himself up to charges.” Who exactly is making these charges, other than Chris Cooper of the Wall Street Journal? The implication being Democrats won’t vote for Obama because of how his campaign is funded. I call bullshit. Again, Obama wants to win the presidential election, not run a holier-than-thou campaign eschewing the tools that would help ensure victory in some misguided attempt at purity. Also, how exactly is John McCain collecting his dollars? Holding a tin cup on K Street?

McCain’s Driller Instinct

Wrong Bus
[Wrong Bus, Juneau, Alaska.]

Paul Krugman piles on to McCain’s stupid energy policy pronouncements.

In his Monday speech on energy, Mr. McCain tried to touch all the bases. He talked about conservation. He denounced the evils of speculation: “While a few reckless speculators are counting their paper profits, most Americans are coming up on the short end.” A weird aspect of the current energy debate, incidentally, is the fact that many of the same market-worshipping conservatives who first denied that there was a dot-com bubble, then denied that there was a housing bubble, are utterly convinced that nasty speculators are responsible for high oil prices.

The item that made news, however, was Mr. McCain’s call for more offshore drilling. On Tuesday, he made this more explicit, calling for exploration and development of the currently protected outer continental shelf. This was a reversal of his previous position, and it went a long way toward aligning his energy policy with that of the Bush administration.

That’s not a good thing.

As many reports have noted, the McCain/Bush policy on offshore drilling doesn’t make sense as a response to $4-a-gallon gas: the White House’s own Energy Information Administration says that exploiting the outer shelf wouldn’t yield noticeable amounts of oil until the 2020s, and even at peak production its impact on oil prices would be “insignificant.”

But what I haven’t seen emphasized is the broader picture: Mr. McCain has now aligned himself with an administration that, even aside from its blame-the-environmental-movement tendencies, has established an extensive track record as the gang that couldn’t think straight about energy policy.

Remember, they didn’t just insist that the Iraqis would welcome us as liberators; on the eve of the Iraq war, administration officials were also adamant that regime change in Iraq would add millions of barrels a day to the world oil supply, driving oil prices way down. (In fact, Iraq’s oil output took five years just to recover to preinvasion levels.)

[From Paul Krugman – Driller Instinct – Op-Ed –]

Krugman also points out the energy companies aren’t so keen to drill in the frozen tundra of Alaska in any case.

McCain Lobbys for French Company

moon over boeing

Poor McCain, can’t seem to evade all the lobbyist landmines that keep cropping up in his path.

Democrats are taking fresh aim at Sen. John McCain’s role in the Air Force’s $40 billion tanker contract, saying he jeopardized thousands of U.S. jobs by helping steer the huge award to a European-designed competitor to Boeing Co.


Now Democrats are armed with a surprising development: a government audit released Wednesday that has thrown another wrench into the already long-running saga of replacing the Air Force’s aging fleet of aerial refueling tankers. The report by the Government Accountability Office found that the Air Force’s process in granting the contract to a partnership between Northrop Grumman Corp. and its European supplier, European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co., was riddled with errors.

The GAO didn’t mention politics, but the sweeping problems identified by the oversight group are sure to make the report a touchstone for Sen. McCain’s critics. The Democrats contend Sen. McCain pressured the Air Force to favor Northrop and EADS.

Senator McCain helped steer a tanker contract to a European company for which seven of his campaign advisors and fundraisers then lobbied — a bidding process the GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, is now saying was full of errors,” the Democratic National Committee said Thursday.

[From Democrats Press McCain on Defense Deal –]

McCain’s alleged quest for accountability in government contracts is really about who pays John McCain most (or pays his friends and cronies most). In this instance, it seems as if Northrop Grumman paid more than Boeing did, or at least sooner.

More recently, he worked behind the scenes to press the Air Force to keep the bidding for the tanker fleet open to Boeing’s European rival. That’s given the issue bumper-sticker clarity for the Democrats: Sen. McCain tried to sell out an iconic American company, handing thousands jobs to France just as the U.S. economy was entering a tailspin.

The battle between the powerful senator and the world’s largest aircraft maker also shows why Sen. McCain is looked upon with suspicion by big business. The war with Boeing has raged since 2002, when executives first circulated a confidential congressional battle plan, calling in an email for “counter-battery fire, every time Sen. McCain attacks.”

Outside groups and Democratic-leaning unions have gotten into the act as well. An online ad made by an independent Democratic group, the Campaign for America’s Future, opens with a banner on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, hailing “John McCain, hero of France.” In French, with English subtitles, it thanks him “for helping the U.S. military choose a French company, Airbus. Tens of thousands of jobs for the French and thousands fewer for Americans.”

The real truth is there is a problem with government/military contracting procedures, and there is a ton of corruption, and a crap-load of no-bid contracts. However, McCain and his phony anti-corruption stance is laughable.

Rainbow over Boeing Building
[view image large on black here: ]

Iraqis Do NOT support McCain

When the token Libertarian columnist for the Chicago Tribune mocks you, that probably means your column is pretty stupid.

The headline on today’s Wall Street Journal opinion page is “Why Iraqis Back McCain.” After interviewing four Iraqi leaders, columnist Bret Stephens says that they, “without actually endorsing McCain–made their views abundantly clear.” He admits, facetiously, that he didn’t have time to interview 1,000 Iraqis to gauge overall public sentiment. What he doesn’t mention is that other people have done polls in Iraq (see page 49), and in the latest one, 73 percent of Iraqis oppose the presence of American and other coalition forces in their country. How does that translate into support for someone who wants to keep U.S. troops in Iraq indefinitely?

[From Steve Chapman |Iraqis support McCain]

I wonder how many times this false construct will be presented as fact, without questioning its premise? I’d guess, “too fracking much”, if you asked me.

Obama and 9-11

Steel, Ice and death

More like this please! From prepared remarks Obama delivered June 18th, 2008 on the topic of Detainees and Afghanistan.

I have made the same arguments as Republicans like Arlen Specter, countless Generals and national security experts, and the largely Republican-appointed Supreme Court of the United States of America – which is that we need not throw away 200 years of American jurisprudence while we fight terrorism. We do not need to choose between our most deeply held values, and keeping this nation safe. That’s a false choice, and I completely reject it.

Now in their attempt to distort my position, Senator McCain’s campaign has said I want to pursue a law enforcement approach to terrorism. This is demonstrably false, since I have laid out a comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy that includes military force, intelligence operations, financial sanctions and diplomatic action. But the fact that I want to abide by the United States Constitution, they say, shows that I have a “pre-9/11 mindset.”

Well I refuse to be lectured on national security by people who are responsible for the most disastrous set of foreign policy decisions in the recent history of the United States. The other side likes to use 9/11 as a political bludgeon. Well, let’s talk about 9/11.

The people who were responsible for murdering 3,000 Americans on 9/11 have not been brought to justice. They are Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda and their sponsors – the Taliban. They were in Afghanistan. And yet George Bush and John McCain decided in 2002 that we should take our eye off of Afghanistan so that we could invade and occupy a country that had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11. The case for war in Iraq was so thin that George Bush and John McCain had to hype the threat of Saddam Hussein, and make false promises that we’d be greeted as liberators. They misled the American people, and took us into a misguided war.

Here are the results of their policy. Osama bin Laden and his top leadership – the people who murdered 3000 Americans – have a safe-haven in northwest Pakistan, where they operate with such freedom of action that they can still put out hate-filled audiotapes to the outside world. That’s the result of the Bush-McCain approach to the war on terrorism.

[From Obama Remarks on Detainees and Afghanistan – June 18, 2008]

McCain is most vulnerable to this attack: an attack on the 8 years of failed policies of the Bushites, especially as regards to terrorism. McCain will continue the same failed policies in the unlikely event he’s elected.

Click here to read the rest of the speech in its entirety.

Cindy McCain

Neon - NH Ballin Drugs Prescriptions
[NH Ballin Drugs Prescriptions, click image for full view]

Strange that Cindy McCain would be chosen as the messenger to attack Michelle Obama. Ms. McCain has a few decaying bones in her closet to. According to Snopes:

In 1989, following two back surgeries, Cindy McCain became addicted to the painkillers Vicodin and Percocet. To keep up with her daily need of 10 to 15 pills, she used other people’s names for prescriptions and stole drugs from the American Voluntary Medical Team, a mobile surgical unit she’d begun in 1988 to provide emergency medical services around the world. A 1993 DEA audit of the amount of painkillers her charity had obtained quickly uncovered her thefts. She avoided prosecution for those crimes through an agreement with the Justice Department in which she submitted to drug testing, paid a fine, performed community service in a soup kitchen, and joined Narcotics Anonymous. She also closed her medical charity.

Cindy McCain is Senator McCain’s second wife. His infidelities put strain on his first marriage, and he was divorced from Carol McCain, his wife of 15 years, in 1980. (Carol McCain not only waited for five and a half years for her husband to return from Vietnam, but she also endured a horrific automobile accident during that period which broke both her legs and one arm and ruptured her spleen. She nearly lost her left leg, and surgeries left her four inches shorter than she was before her accident. The woman John McCain returned to was far different in appearance from the beautiful former model he’d left behind.)

Cindy Lou Hensley and John McCain began dating in 1979. While the Wall Street Journal article used as the source for the e-mail’s information states “At the time, Sen. McCain was separated from his first wife,” numerous other sources assert he was still living with Carol McCain when he began seeing his future wife, Cindy. John and Cindy wed in 1980, one month after his divorce from Carol became final.

[From Cindy McCain]

But hey, what’s a little drug theft for an heiress? I’m sure if you or I stole narcotics from a charity, the DEA would laughingly slap our wrists too. As far as screwing around with a man still married to another woman? Who really cares, besides the evangelical Republicans, and apparently they don’t care too much since McCain won the nomination anyway.

Obama Rejects Public Financing

Nickles Not Pickles

The internets are apparently good for something…

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama announced Thursday that he would become the first presidential candidate to forgo public financing of his general election campaign since the system was established three decades ago.

In a video emailed to supporters, he said that “it’s not an easy decision, especially because I support a robust system for public financing of elections.”

The move was widely expected, following the Illinois senator’s record-shattering fundraising during the nominating contest, and his proven ability to raise unprecedented sums from big donors and small Internet donors alike.

Sen. Obama’s Republican opponent, John McCain, has been much less successful at raising money and the move sets up the likelihood of a big mismatch in money heading into the fall campaign. If Sen. McCain stays in the public financing system, as is expected, he would have about $80 million to spend between the Republican nominating convention in September and the Nov. 4 election. Sen. Obama is expected to be able to raise $200 million for that contest.

Sen. Obama said he felt compelled to make the move because “we face opponents who’ve become masters at gaming this broken system.”

“John McCain’s campaign and the Republican National Committee are fueled by contributions from Washington lobbyists and special interest PACs,” he said. “And we’ve already seen that he’s not going to stop the smears and attacks from his allies running so-called 527 groups, who will spend millions and millions of dollars in unlimited donations.”

[From Obama Rejects Public Financing –]

McCain predictably is whining about Obama’s decision, because McCain’s fundraising has been so anemic in comparison to the Obama juggernaut. Don’t forget that McCain gamed the system in the primary, so any whining has to be put in context.

McCain’s Secret Record

McCain is similar to Bush in one more dimension: his dad pulled some strings to help him out too. Elite, indeed.

All of the evidence, indications and comments that the New York Times published a flattering lie about McCain’s career on its front page are easy for John McCain to refute. All he needs to do is sign Standard Form 180, which authorizes the Navy to send an undeleted copy of McCain’s naval file to news organizations. A long paper trail about McCain’s pending promotion to admiral would be prominent in his file. To date, McCain’s advisers have released snippets from his file, but under constrained viewing circumstances. There’s no reason McCain’s full file shouldn’t be released immediately. There’s also a recent precedent for McCain signing the simple form that leads to full disclosure: Senator John Kerry signed the 180 waiver, which made his entire naval file public.

The Navy may claim that it already released McCain’s record to the Associated Press on May 7, 2008 in response to the AP’s Freedom of Information Act request. But the McCain file the Navy released contained 19 pages — a two-page overview and 17 pages detailing Awards and Decorations. Each of these 17 pages is stamped with a number. These numbers range from 0069 to 0636. When arranged in ascending order, they precisely track the chronology of McCain’s career. It seems reasonable to ask the Navy whether there are at least 636 pages in McCain’s file, of which 617 weren’t released to the Associated Press.

Some of the unreleased pages in McCain’s Navy file may not reflect well upon his qualifications for the presidency. From day one in the Navy, McCain screwed-up again and again, only to be forgiven because his father and grandfather were four-star admirals. McCain’s sense of entitlement to privileged treatment bears an eerie resemblance to George W. Bush’s.

Despite graduating in the bottom 1 percent of his Annapolis class, McCain was offered the most sought-after Navy assignment — to become an aircraft carrier pilot. According to military historian John Karaagac, “‘the Airdales,’ the air wing of the Navy, acted and still do, as if unrivaled atop the naval pyramid. They acted as if they owned, not only the Navy, but the entire swath of blue water on the earth’s surface.” The most accomplished midshipmen compete furiously for the few carrier pilot openings. After four abysmal academic years at Annapolis distinguished only by his misdeeds and malfeasance, no one with a record resembling McCain’s would have been offered such a prized career path. The justification for this and subsequent plum assignments should be documented in McCain’s naval file.

[Click to read much more of Jeffrey Klein: McCain’s Secret, Questionable Record – Politics on The Huffington Post]

Jeffrey Klein also wonders why McCain won’t release his entire Naval record:

Is McCain now getting away with more by hiding his official history and by having his national security adviser inflate McCain’s resume with a bogus promotion to admiral humbly declined? If so, McCain may be attempting to hide why the Navy was in fact slow to promote him upwards despite his suffering as a POW and his distinguished naval heritage.

One possible reason: After McCain had returned from Vietnam as a war hero and was physically rehabilitated, he was urged by his medical caretakers and military colleagues never to fly again. But McCain insisted on going up. As Carl Bernstein reported in Vanity Fair, [McCain] piloted an ultra-light, single propeller plane — and crashed another time. His fifth loss of a plane has vanished from public records, but should be a subject of discussion in his Navy file. It wouldn’t be surprising if his naval superiors worried that McCain was just too defiant, too reckless and too crash prone.

Regardless, McCain owes it to the country to release his complete naval records so that American voters can see his documented history and make an informed decision.

I don’t want to stoop to “Swift Boating” McCain, but since his military experience is going to be played up as a campaign theme, his full record should be made available for perusal.