Friday, September 26, 2008


In a disgusting partisan display yesterday, when Senate Democrats, Senate Republicans and President Bush had all gone on the record in the media as saying they were close to an accord on how the financial crisis could be managed, John McCain flew into town and injected himself and his campaign hopes into the mix, blowing up whatever agreements had been reached. Democrats were once again left on the hook when, while trying to fix a mess that was created by Republican policies, previous Republican control of the congress and a Republican administration, the Republicans first made it look like they would agree to a plan and then bailed out and pretended they never agreed in the first place. And their next step will surely be to label the Democrats as big spenders on the hook to Wall Street and make it look like they had the interests of the little guy at heart the whole time.

It became fairly obvious what the campaign was up to when Sarah Palin charged that Barack Obama was checking the political winds before taking action, but John McCain was supposedly taking the bull by the horn. The McCain campaign has set a pattern of transmitting the tact they they are about take by first accusing Obama of doing the exact same thing. So, McCain flew in to what was by most accounts a close-to-done deal to make it look like he was taking matters firmly in hand, so that he can take measure of the political winds. After polling showed the Americans had serious doubts and concerns about he bailout, he decided to pander to those fears (Hey, it worked before!). He carefully did not show support for any plan, or publicly propose his own plan. He poses for a smiling but fidgety photo op and the next thing we know, the whole thing suddenly blows up.

Since Democrats were begged not to disclose what happened when the cameras were turned off, the Republican party gets to spin the whole thing any way they want. And, since Obama had been summoned to witness this pathetic political theatre, the blame game will start today and he will somehow be in the thick of why things blew up. Look for the smears to be coming from Sarah Palin. If she deigns to make any kind of statement to the media today, watch what she says because it will tell you what new spin the campaign is trying to use to make it look like they are doing something and Obama is either not doing anything or is not doing the right thing.

From MSNBC this morning:

“..leading Democrats on Capitol Hill were shocked by the level of divisiveness that surfaced at Thursday’s extraordinary White House meeting, leaving six days of intensive efforts to agree on a bailout plan in tatters only hours after key congressional players of both parties had declared they were in accord on the outlines of a $700 billion bill.”

Then this morning Lindsey Graham sits on a morning show and pretends that he knew nothing about any agreement and found out only at lunchtime. He was busy meeting with Republican congress members. What the hell was he doing there if there was no deal yet? Let me guess; figuring out how to derail the whole thing so that they could use this financial crisis to McCain’s advantage somehow.

This also from MSNBC this morning:

Schumer said…’Before Sen. McCain made his announcement, we were making progress.’ Schumer was referring to McCain’s announcement earlier in the week that he was suspending his campaign to return to Washington for the negotiations on the financial industry crisis.

McCain met briefly Friday morning with House Republican Leader John Boehner.”

How strange that Boehner meets with McCain, while Lindsey Graham is busy meeting with Republican House Members then all of a sudden the whole plan is derailed. They pretend it was derailed by the House Republicans so that the Senate Republicans don’t appear to be going back on their word or as though they had anything to do with the shenanigans. And suddenly, McCain has his own ideas for how to solve the mess, which he supposedly put forth in the meeting at the White House, though NOBODY has reported on any details of that plan.

The new plan being advanced by Republicans this morning is RIFE with problems. I am no Wall Street insider, but anyone with a small amount of knowledge about the current problems there will tell you that part of the problem now is that those who are holding a lot of this bad debt are hesitant to step up and be known because their stock value and credit rating will drop immediately, to their possible ruin. This is part of what is freezing the market. The Republican plan put forth this morning would force these firms to show their hands, as it were, in the highest-stakes poker game in the world. That is no answer, but a recipe for disaster if you are really trying to constructively fix the problem. Yet, that does not seem to be the aim of the McCain campaign or the Republican party right now. Obviously, Party is coming before the needs of country.

This also from MSNBC this morning:

“The White House summit meeting had been called for the purpose of sealing the deal that Bush has argued is indispensable to stabilizing frenzied markets and reassuring the nervous American public. But it quickly revealed that Bush’s proposal had been suddenly sidetracked by fellow Republicans in the House, who refused to embrace a plan that appeared close to acceptance by the Senate and most House Democrats.

Paulson begged Democratic participants not to disclose how badly the meeting had gone, dropping to one knee in a teasing way to make his point according to witnesses.
And when Paulson hastily tried to revive talks in a nighttime meeting near the Senate chamber, the House’s top Republican refused to send a negotiator.”

Watch today for Sarah Palin to make the claim that it is the Democrats playing politics with the financial crisis. The spin will most likely be that she and John are the ones that are keeping the small-town people’s needs first, but the evil liberal Democrats are just trying to throw their money at Wall Street in a desperate bid for the White House. It is as predictable as it could possibly be.

Unfortunately, it is quite possible that an uninformed electorate will not see it coming and perhaps may even fall for it.

McCain’s new slogan should read:


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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Truth About Republicans

For most of my life I have heard the term “Tax and Spend Liberals” hurled about by conservative republicans. They have convinced the populace that all Democrats are liberals and that all liberals want to do is take money out of your pockets and spend it on unnecessary things.

The problem with this myth is that, in my lifetime, I have seen that when Democrats spend, they invest in our country and its people. They invest in education, healthcare and technologies that help to create jobs. They invest in infrastructure and support family farms. They invest money in the people of this country in order to give them the opportunity to lift themselves up and experience the American Dream.

For most of my life I have witnessed how republicans manage the federal budget. They gin up some phony or semi-plausible threat, then spend the budget and borrow more to buy weapons. Every republican administration in my lifetime has run up ever larger budget deficits. They mortgage the financial futures of our children and grandchildren to enrich their friends in the military-industrial complex. Yet they have anointed themselves the “fiscally responsible” party.

Occasionally, in order to justify their massive military spending, they send the military into war in some small nation, or, as is the case with the current administration, embroil us in unending occupations in hostile places fueling hatred of foreign people towards our country. They never advocate for better veterans benefits, but they have anointed themselves the party that “supports” the troops.

They support and advocate policies that aid multinational corporations in making virtual slaves out of the people in poor countries and advocate and abet the destruction of labor unions that protect worker’s rights in this country. They wink and look the other way as companies hire illegal immigrants at low wages, effectively lowering wages for all citizens and then demonize the immigrants who have come here to take those jobs and do nothing to punish the companies that hire them. Then they claim to be the only party with answers to our immigration problems.

There has been a drumbeat of deregulation coming from the conservative republican branch for decades and when they were able to achieve power, they sold out the taxpayers to special interests for power and prestige, neglected the populace and infrastructure and pulled apart the framework of laws that kept our economy balanced. This has resulted in the current financial crisis that threatens to destroy our banking industry, taking businesses, jobs, savings and homes down with it. They got what they wanted, did what they told us was best, reaped the financial rewards and now the bill has come due. They say they believe in personal accountability and small government. Then why are they now expecting the taxpayer to pay the price for their mistakes and failures?

One of the republican party’s most favorite lines has been, “whenever there’s a problem, liberals think you can just throw money at it and it will go away.” Liberals and Democrats want to “throw money” at things like the rising cost of a college education, the rising cost of healthcare, environmental concerns, alternative energy sources, aging roads and bridges, feeding the hungry, housing the poor, keeping jobs in America, daycare for working parents, and funding social security for the aged and disabled. How ironic now that the republicans are so eager to throw $700 Billion in taxpayer money at Wall Street, with little to no discernable oversight as to how it will be spent. Kind of the same way that the Bush administration sent millions of dollars in cash over to Iraq at the beginning of the occupation, supposedly to help rebuild the country and cannot account for where the money went. They sell themselves as the only party that can be trusted with our money, but they act like money grows on trees and everything is free.

Over the course of my life, conservatives have successfully demonized lawyers, teachers, the poor, patriotic Americans, journalists, whistle-blowers, and the American worker. They demonized lawyers and journalists so that when they started deregulating business, breaking laws, marginalizing minority populations, caging votes, destabilizing the middle class economy, waging unilateral wars, taking away our constitutional rights and freedoms and undermining the constitution with their notion of the “unitary executive,” there would be no credible way to fight them. If you are a lawyer and you don’t like what they are doing, you are communist, anti-American, weak, liberal. If you are a journalist that tries to report what they are doing; same smear tactic. If you are a concerned citizen that feels a duty to object to these tactics, you are a subversive, or perhaps even a terrorist and are spied on, threatened and intimidated. Republicans have brought a new level of secrecy and insidious vindictiveness to government while they systematically did away with democratic practices. But the republican party has anointed itself as the “real patriots.”

The republican party has claimed to be the party of law and order. They support mandatory sentencing and the death penalty. They have enacted increased sentencing guidelines for drug crimes and when the prisons were full to overflowing, supported the privatization of the correctional system. Now private companies are profiting off of taxpayer dollars and the more criminals they have, the more money they make. Yet the “war on drugs” and mandatory sentencing have done nothing to curb drug use or deter drug crimes and violence. The republican party has only served to make prison companies richer.

And if republicans are the party of law and order, why do they hold themselves above the law by trying to wiggle out of convictions, refusing to cooperate in investigations, and ignoring legally issued subpoenas? Why do they insist on secrecy and why have they politicized the federal justice system by firing impartial judges and appointing cronies and party operatives? That’s not equal justice, that is double-standard and despotic rule.

Republicans reached out to Christian groups, convinced them that they were being oppressed in a majority-Christian society and promised to institute Christian-based laws and programs. As soon as they achieved office, they forgot about all of these promises and engaged in behavior most unChristian. They have used Christianity as a wedge to divide us. Their only success was in the funneling of taxpayer funds to favored non-profit and presumably faith-based organizations with no oversight as to where and how it was used and causing resentment and division among people of differing faiths and denominations.

It is PAST TIME for this nonsense to end. It is time for every citizen in this nation to examine the facts, the evidence, the record and the recent history of the republican party and to question their claims. It is time for us to see the realities of our situation and to stop living in denial. This particular “conservative” movement has proven itself a failure in every possible way. This is NOT your parents’ Republican Party; we can’t trust these people.

These republicans are not tax and spend, but they ARE borrow and spend. Which is worse?

These republicans create programs ONLY to funnel taxpayer money to enrich their friends and gain power. They do nothing to invest in the American people. Would you rather have your money used to make the enrich the wealthy or to fund education and create jobs for working people?

These republicans DO NOT have the answers to solve our current problems because their policies have CAUSED the current crises. They deregulated the banking and financial services industry and now they refuse to take responsibility, but point the finger of blame at the working poor. John McCain wants to deregulate the health insurance industry next. Are you willing to take that gamble?

These republicans have had their way for the past twelve years in Congress. They made a promise to all of us in 1994 that, if elected, they would clean up the government, restore accountability, cut wasteful spending, eliminate pork, and create jobs and opportunity for working people. They did the EXACT opposite.

These republicans have presided over a new version of the Do-Nothing Congress, convening only two days per week, involving themselves in bribery scandals, handing out government money to special interests, taking gifts and free trips from lobbyists and removing rules and regulations to further enrich bankers and Wall Street CEOs. These republicans expanded presidential powers in unconstitutional ways, neglected their duties of oversight, and drove our nation into massive debt to Communist China.

Who has suffered? Our military men and women and their families, working class people, children, small businesses, homeowners, future generations of taxpayers and now it has started to affect our whole society. Rising prices, lower wage jobs, war, rising education and healthcare costs, limits on lending, a housing market crash, a banking crisis and a stockmarket crash along with failure to respond properly to two natural disasters, a global environmental crisis and global terrorism are the legacy of these republicans.

It is time to vote these republicans out of every office at both state and federal levels and reject their failed policies and philosophies. These republicans are not the “values” party; they have no values.

The American people still have values. We are patriotic, spiritual, hard-working, intelligent, willing to fight and ready for change. Let's tell these republicans to hit the road and never come back.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

McCain’t Nothing Gonna Change Under This Supposed Maverick’s Watch

The NY Times has a great editorial by Frank Rich today. If you click on the title of this blog, you can read it for yourself. Along with everything I saw and heard over the weekend, it made me think and thinking made me despise the Republican party all over again. It also lessened my opinion of John McCain AGAIN. (It's like a Limbo refrain; How low can it go?)

Check out this article that traces more of the revolving door type political and financial ties that have completely corrupted our government and turned it into nothing more than a power and money trough for corporate special interests. And John McCain is the star.

McCain's campaign continually tries to sell us on the idea that he is not a part of the corruption in Washington and never has been. But, those who don't remember, or are too young to remember, McCain started out his career embroiled in scandal and allegations of corruption. The media hasn’t seen fit to bring up John McCain’s questionable past regarding the Savings and Loan fiasco. That may be changing now that this country is dealing with the fruits of McCain and Co’s deregulation labors. If you haven’t ever heard about his involvement in the Savings & Loan scandal, back when he was a Washington nubie, there is a story at this link:

The Sunday morning political shows this weekend were all about the Market Meltdown and how each candidate handled themselves. It was shocking to hear the conservative pundits on the Sunday morning shows openly question whether McCain possesses the leadership qualities that are necessary for the Presidency. And equally shocking to hear them commend Barack Obama on his leadership skills.

But I do wonder if talking heads are too late to undo the disgusting falsehoods that conservatives and Republican operatives have been planting in the fertile minds of the fearful, racist, wantonly ignorant portion of our society that is wholesale behind a Palin/McCain presidency. Check out this editorial which I believe smacks the nail on the head:

It is frighteningly familiar and disgustingly believable that bigoted people who refuse to claim their racism would go to such great lengths to try to demonize Obama so they have an excuse (besides “the black thing”) not to vote for him and to publicly encourage others to vote against him as well. When I first heard the claim that Obama could be the anti-christ coming from a co-worker who is not politically savvy, but is educated and intelligent, I could NOT believe my ears. It is beyond repulsive to admit that I live in a society where the following article appeared in TIME magazine.,8599,1830590,00.html

That a major news magazine felt the need to address this notion is absolutely unbelievable in our modern world. And now, because I would not want to inadvertently add to this ridiculous slur, I must publish the Snopes website’s debunking of this pathetic myth:

And John McCain may not have come right out and said, Obama could be the anti-Christ, but this "message" that he approved was intended to speak to those true believers in a coded language that they understood only too well.

No wonder even the conservative pundits are turning away from him. What a disgusting individual. What slimy immoral lows will McCain not stoop to in order to attain the power of the Presidency? And he charges that Obama has only personal ambitions at heart. I know this much is true: Whenever a Republican makes an accusation against an opponent, he is actually talking about himself.

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Ms. Palin Takes a Field Trip

This is the last one today, I promise:

Sarah Palin has canceled her trip to the San Francisco Bay area that was scheduled for next week. Instead, she is taking a field trip to the U.N. to get a little primer on some things she might need to know. Or it's just a photop so that she can look "Vice Presidential." You decide.

(Click on the Blog title to see the full story.)

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Brother Can You Spare A (Million) Dime(s)?

There are still displaced people from Hurricane Katrina and folks standing in line for food and water after Hurricane Ike, but look how quickly the Bush Administration rides to the rescue of Wall Street in an election year. Amazing how Government can work when it sees a real need. Anybody got a trillion dollars to help pay down the budget deficit?

Biggest Bailout Ever: Did the Government Go Too Far? (Yahoo Financial)

Posted Sep 19, 2008 10:39am EDT by Henry Blodget in Newsmakers, Recession, Banking
After a few weeks of trying to stand tough in the face of demands for a wholesale rescue, Hank Paulson apparently couldn't take it anymore. So now we'll have the biggest bailout in history, including:
A huge RTC-like government garbage can that banks can throw all their toxic balance-sheet waste into. (This time, the transfer will be made before they go bankrupt, unlike the case with the first RTC -a.k.a. the Resolution Trust Corp., a government agency created in the late 1980s to liquidate the assets of failed Savings & Loans)
A temporary ban on shortselling.

A federal guarantee on money-market accounts. (Including non-recourse loans to banks to buy high-quality commercial paper and meet money-market obligations.)
Not surprisingly, the market's up huge on this news. The moves should head off a run on money-market funds, restore liquidity to the financial system, and, create a general "time out" for the panic to recede.

So what are the costs? Almost certainly:

Higher taxes

Higher interest rates on government debt

Bigger government deficits

When the alternative is the entire financial system going bankrupt, we guess these costs are acceptable. But we're not convinced that that was the alternative.

Stocks Soar as Investors Look to Gov't Rescue Plan (Associated Press)
A plan to help financial companies excise bad mortgage debt from their ledgers likely would alleviate much of Wall Street's uncertainty about credit worthiness that has been sending the markets into tumult over the past week. Lending grinded to a virtual standstill in the wake of this week's bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and the bailout of teetering insurer American International Group Inc.

The government took other steps Friday to restore stability to the financial system. The Federal Reserve said it will expand its emergency lending and let commercial banks finance purchases of asset-backed paper from money market funds. The Fed injected another $20 billion in temporary reserves into the U.S. financial system. The central bank also will buy short-term debt obligations issued by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks.

And to help calm investors' anxieties, the Treasury Department has decided to use a Depression-era fund to provide guarantees for U.S. money market mutual funds. Money market mutual funds are typically considered safe, but many investors have been fleeing them due to worries about the funds' exposure to souring corporate debt.
To help limit the freefall in financial stocks, the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday enacted a temporary ban on the short-selling of nearly 800 financial stocks.

"The federal government has been petitioned by Wall Street to take evasive action in the money markets, the stock and bond markets, to avoid a complete meltdown of the credit system," said Battipaglia. "Once the credit system melts down, the economy falls. We can hand-ring about if this is the proper thing for the government to do, or if Wall Street pulled the panic button too soon, but that's something for the historians to sort out."

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Qualified/Not Qualified: It's All in Your Perspective

I did not write this: I received this in an email, hunted down what I believe to be the original post and am just reposting here. (Please see the link associated with this post for what I hope is the original author. You are supposed to be able to click on the title of this post and get there. If not, here it is:

I'm a little confused. Let me see if I have this straight.....

* If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you're "exotic, different."

* Grow up in Alaska eating mooseburgers, a quintessential American story.

* If your name is Barack you're a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.

* Name your kids Willow, Trig and Track, you're a maverick.

* Graduate from Harvard law School and you are unstable.

* Attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, you're well grounded.

* If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs committees, you don't have any real leadership experience.

* If your total resume is: local weather girl, 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you're qualified to become the country's second highest ranking executive.

* If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising 2 beautiful daughters, all within Protestant churches, you're not a real Christian.

* If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a Christian.

* If you teach children about sexual predators, you are irresponsible and eroding the fiber of society.

* If, while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no other option in sex education in your state's school system while your unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant, you're very responsible.

* If your wife is a Harvard graduate laywer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family's values don't represent America 's.

* If your husband is nicknamed "First Dude", with at least one DWI conviction and no college education, who didn't register to vote until age 25 and once was a member of a group that hates America and advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable.

OK, much clearer now.

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The upcoming Presidential election may be one of the most important elections of our lifetime. For many years, people said that it did not matter who was running the White House and that there was no difference between the two parties. So much has occurred in the past eight years that has proven that this is not the case. There are stark differences between the platforms of the two parties and what their nominees for President are promising for our future.

The basis for the Republican Party’s political platform is that government and taxes are bad; rules and regulations on business are bad, but strict rules and regulations on individuals are necessary to maintain a decent society; “free market” forces will solve societal problems if government stays out of the way; and government programs (including education, healthcare, or social security) are bad; we don’t need a “nanny” government. Republicans support removing regulations from industry, and so deregulated the banking, insurance and financial services industries, resulting in our current economic recession and market crash. Republicans advocate eradication of all taxpayer-funded social safety nets. They support privatization of social security, see no use for welfare programs, believe healthcare is a commodity to be bought and sold, have privatized our national defense (resulting in huge profits for a handful of large corporations, even to the detriment of our troops and military strategy) and would like to either privatize or eradicate public education. They have established a record of being pro-corporate “rights” and anti-individual rights, and claim to be the party of law and order but appear to believe that the law does not apply to them and refuse to honor court-ordered subpoenas. The past three Republican Presidential administrations have established a record of war, huge budget deficits, and increased unemployment, homelessness and poverty. The current administration has destroyed our reputation abroad by use of illegal, unilateral military action, exhibiting a complete disdain for diplomacy and making arrogant foreign policy statements. It has advanced the radical idea of the “unitary executive” which gives broader powers to the executive branch OVER the other two branches of government in direct conflict with the US Constitution.

John McCain wants to make tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans permanent and give small tax cuts to working families. He is a believer in the “trickle-down theory” of economics which advocates policies to enrich the wealthiest portion of society in the hopes that some of that wealth will trickle down to the working class. He wants to tax your employer-provided health insurance benefits as income that would be applied as a payroll tax on your paycheck. To make up for the extra tax burden, he offers a “tax credit” ($2500 for individuals, $5000 for families) that is payable directly to your insurance provider. He has a record of advocating for and participating in the deregulation of banking, financial services and insurance because he believes that rules are an unnecessary hindrance to the free market. He has supported school vouchers to publicly subsidize the cost of private school education. He has stated that he is willing to allow our military to remain in Iraq for one hundred years and has advocated “pre-emptive military strikes” on Iran and Pakistan. Though he experienced torture firsthand as a prisoner of war, he has advocated our government’s use of torture and “extraordinary rendition” (kidnapping). John McCain calls himself a “maverick” but has staunchly supported the current administration’s policies and has completely changed his stand on many political issues in the past eight years so that he is now in lock-step with the Party he says he stood up against. He states that he is against special interests and wants to change Washington, but he has surrounded himself with special interest lobbyists and revolving door insiders and he chose a running mate that would appeal to certain voting blocks instead of someone who would be a knowledgeable, strong contributor to his administration.

The basis for the Democratic Party’s political platform is that government has an obligation to provide necessary services and protections for the people of the country and funds these services by taxes; common-sense rules and regulations on individuals and commerce are necessary to maintain a balance of power and a stable society and economy; national security can be maintained without sacrificing individual civil rights; fair market policies will create a stable economy and better foreign policy and promote a strong middle class which is the backbone of our economy and society ; and healthcare is not a commodity, but a right of all people. They support increased benefits for veterans and military families; equality; civil rights; healthcare for all, regardless of income; and will not privatize or do away with social security because they understand that this is a necessary program. They have established a record of policies that lift up the middle class, use our military as a last resort, utilize diplomacy to avoid conflict in foreign policy, fund education and healthcare for children and the elderly and create policies to assist with the costs of college education and the American dream of home ownership. The most recent Democratic Presidential administration took a budget deficit and turned it into a surplus while still managing to fund education, healthcare, and social safety net programs; overhauled a social security system that Republicans insisted was broken beyond repair; stimulated the economy, providing jobs that decreased unemployment; maintained our moral standing abroad; lifted the hopes and means of the working class and left behind decreased poverty and a budget surplus.

Barack Obama wants to work within the current employer and government provided healthcare system to expand healthcare and insurance to all citizens regardless of income. He wants to cut taxes to everyone making less than $265,000 a year and repeal the Bush taxcuts for the wealthiest portion of society. He wants to fund education and programs that will make college education possible for all. He advocates the use of regulations to protect consumers from bad products, fraudulent practices in banking and lending, and promotes policies that reward corporations for keeping jobs in the United States. He has a record of working with and for America’s working classes, supporting our troops, supporting equality and working in government in a bi-partisan fashion to solve problems. He has promised to bring an end to the Iraq occupation in a safe and responsible manner and go after Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan. He promotes raising the minimum wage, affordable housing, equal pay for women and wants to create policies that will support the growth of “Green” industries, providing more jobs. He supports increased consumer protection, farm programs and policies that support family farms instead of corporate farms, upgrading rural infrastructure, and increased access to healthcare in rural communities. He promises to bring change to Washington and backed that statement up by refusing to take campaign funds from Political Action Committees and special interest lobbyists. He has proven that he can stand up against unwarranted personal attacks on his character and patriotism, dirty whisper and smear campaigns questioning his religious beliefs and family origins, and a steady stream of outright lies about him promoted by the McCain campaign. And he chose as his running mate a qualified, knowledgeable, experienced person who will not act as a "Yes man" but will contribute fresh and differing points of view to his administration.

There are obvious philosophical, ethical and economic differences between the two political parties. What you have to decide is which party’s philosophies and which candidate’s policies will best serve the interests of this country and her people for the next four years and beyond. If you prefer candidates and policies that will continue the “trickle-down” theories, divisiveness, souring economy and endless war that has been the hallmark of the Republican party, McCain/Palin is your ticket. If you believe that this country is on the wrong track, are ready for logical economic policies that create jobs and promise hope for the future and that we can all act NOW to change the system and get things working for the citizens again, Obama/Biden is your ticket. That’s the choice we are all faced with on November 4th.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008


There are a lot of politicians talking about change lately. However, there ARE stark differences between the changes that each party is offering in the upcoming election.

John McCain and Sarah Palin are planning radical changes for the nation’s health insurance system. An independent study to be released on Tuesday by scholars at Columbia, Harvard, Purdue and Michigan projects that 20 million Americans who have employment-based health insurance would lose it under the McCain-Palin plan.

The McCain-Palin health plan would treat employer-paid health benefits as income that employees would have to pay taxes on. Your employer will estimate the value of the benefits that you currently receive and this will be reported as income on each paycheck and you will have payroll taxes withheld.

Senator McCain says that he will offset this missing income by offering all taxpayers a refundable tax credit of $2,500 for a single worker and $5,000 per family. (Of course, for those who are barely scraping by already, no tax credit will make up for missing money from a paycheck. And for some, the $2500 will not compensate for the value of the health insurance they will be taxed on.)

The philosophy behind the McCain-Palin plan is that, if families opt out of employer-paid health coverage and enter into the health insurance marketplace, free market forces will fix the problems we are currently facing in healthcare. This free market philosophy underscores all republican platforms and the economic policies that have been in place for the past eight to ten years have all been based on it. Unfortunately, we are seeing (and feeling) the ill-effects of the free-market philosophy in the current mortgage/banking/financial markets crisis.

Some foreseeable results of this plan are that younger, healthier workers will opt out of the employer-based plans — either to buy cheaper insurance on their own or to go without coverage; some older, wealthier workers will opt out for financial reasons; leaving employers with a pool of older, (and poorer) less-healthy workers to cover. Their coverage will then be more expensive, which will encourage more and more employers to give up on the idea of providing coverage at all. This will also force those who can least afford it to pay more or drop their coverage completely, worsening the crisis of the uninsured.

These changes will leave millions more Americans on their own in the bewildering and often treacherous health insurance marketplace, because Senator McCain states that “the key to real reform is to restore control over our health care system to the patients themselves.” Meanwhile the plan also undermines state regulation of the insurance industry because McCain says he is committed to ridding the market of these “needless and costly” insurance regulations.

The McCain-Palin campaign says that by allowing consumers to buy insurance from sellers anywhere in the country, they are offering patients more “choices.” However, current requirements in your state that force insurers to cover vaccinations, annual physicals, regular testing, breast examinations, or prostate examinations would essentially be meaningless. Their offer of "choice" effectively destroys local control and supervision of insurance company policies by state insurance commissioners without replacing it with any kind of control or supervision, leaving us to trust the insurance companies to do the right thing.

The findings of the study being released on Tuesday (9-17-08) are being published on the Web site of the policy journal, Health Affairs. I urge you to read this and decide for yourself.

Alternatively, the Obama-Biden plan moves in a different direction. Their plan aims to modernize and increase the efficiency of our current system of employer- and government-provided health care by use of technological advances that will identify the best providers, treatments and patient management strategies.

The Obama-Biden plan retains the current income-tax exclusion on benefits for those currently receiving employer-paid benefits and offers households (including those still unable to afford private coverage) a refundable tax credit.

Employers not offering coverage or making ‘meaningful’ contribution to the cost of insurance for their employees would be required to pay a 4 percent payroll tax to help subsidize coverage for low- and moderate-income families. However, the plan would also give small firms the option of joining large insurance pools, decreasing the cost for them to provide coverage. Larger patient pools spread risk over a larger group, keeping premiums can be kept down and controlling cost volatility.

The Obama-Biden plan would offer individuals the option to buy in to the federal government's benefits system, ensuring that all individuals have access to an affordable, portable alternative at a price they can afford. SCHIP and Medicaid would be expanded and insurance coverage would be mandated for children.

Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements to hospitals and doctors will be based on patient outcomes (lower cholesterol readings, made and kept follow-up appointments) in order to focus the entire payment system around better health, not just more care. Their plan will also guarantee patient access to preventive services, improving overall health and in turn saving money.

The reforms included in the Obama-Biden plan are intended to lower premiums by $2,500 for the typical family, allowing millions previously priced out of the market to afford insurance, motivate employers to provide affordable coverage, extend coverage to the working poor, alleviate the current cost burden on employers, and eliminate the crisis of uninsured and underinsured patients in the current system.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Lies, Lies and More Lies Courtesy the McAin't Campaign

Todays News: More lies from the McCain campaign.

What a shocker.

Yesterday I read an article about how lying in political campaigns is some kind of time-honored tradition and that Americans actually admire politicians who lie. If that is true, we deserve exactly what we have gotten from the republicans for the last ten years. Since the republicans came up with the contract on America scam, they have played the same game in every single congressional and presidential campaign;

· republicans run on supposed moral superiority, but their behavior has often been immoral.
· republicans run against crime and support robust punishment of criminals, but their actions have been increasingly criminal and they have either gone unpunished or received slaps on the wrist.
· republicans run on their alleged moral character, but the number of Republicans that actually possess any character has become fewer and fewer.
· republicans ran on bringing “faith” into government, and then almost immediately broke faith with the Christian conservatives that worked so hard to put them there.
· republicans run on honesty and integrity…PLEASE!

It stretches the bounds of credulity that anyone would sell themselves as a maverick and a reformer after 25 years of going along with the status quo. If McCain is America’s Knight in Shining Armor, where the hell has he been while the country has been run into the ground? Voting with the ones who were driving us there! You might even say he was a co-pilot.

On what issues does he differ from the current regime? Zero, zilch, nada, bupkiss. He KNOWS what it means to be tortured and he wouldn’t even stand up to his own party about that, but he’ll use his experiences to garner sympathy. How disgusting.

How much more of this self-righteous hypocrisy, self-serving mendacity and delusional dishonesty are the American people going to stand for?

The McCain campaign lies so much, I have started calling him John McAin’t. (He McAin’t no maverick, he McAin’t no reformer and he McAin’t fit to be President).
The arguments that republicans make for their candidates would not even fly with a ten-year-old.

Today on The View, he actually made the case that Sarah Palin is qualified to be Vice President because of Alaska’s proximity to Russia. And in an interview with Charlie Gibson, Palin made the same argument, saying “"They're our next door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska." Great news for those of you who have ever seen a foreign country; you now have the foreign policy qualifications to be Vice President!

She has also cited a less-than-one-year stint as chairman of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission as “expertise” that would help her to bring about energy independence. And my one-year stint as Fundraising Chairman of the PTA makes me qualified to run a bank. (Makes just about as much sense).

Sarah Palin has been marketed by the campaign as a maverick and a straight-shooter. They say she reformed Alaskan government.

After spending weeks in seclusion from the press and media and repeating the same tired lies at campaign stop after campaign stop, the straight-shooter sure was SQUIRMING during her first press interview on ABC. It looked more like a game of dodgeball! After repeatedly attempting not to answer questions by repeating the same drivel she had been spouting at campaign stops, she finally had to answer some real questions and her answers were disturbingly enlightening.

Her foreign policy might be called “Leave No War Behind.”

· If Israel felt threatened, as Vice President, she would support them in a nuclear attack on Iran.
· As Vice President, she would welcome Georgia and Ukraine into NATO and be prepared to defend them in future “disagreements” with Russia.
· She is four-square behind McAin’t in leaving troops in Iraq (in the past he has stated that they may stay there for as much as one-hundred years).

It sounds like she thinks that we have an unending supply of troops. She is seemingly unconcerned about sending her “own troop” into endless war. Perhaps she is planning to repopulate the military with more of her “own troop(s).”

Meanwhile, the McAin’t campaign has surrounded her with veteran Bushies and special interest lobbyists. For the full run-down, check out “Palin Team Stocked with Bush Veterans.” On;_ylt=AtUbbBhgiu6p2n8m7uYex9Jh24cA

It looks as though McAin’t a maverick and Sarah Squirmin are planning to reform our government by adding more lobbyists and corporate insiders.

Hey, they said, “change,” but they never really explained what that change would be!

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Thursday, September 11, 2008


Today the Obama and McCain campaigns are exercising a pre-arranged cease-fire in honor of memorializing the victims of 9/11. But that did not stop John McCain’s camp from getting off a couple of good below-the-belt salvos yesterday in preparation for this day of feigned-decency on their part.

First they fabricated a supposed incident where they purported that Barack Obama called Sarah Palin a pig. Obama, clearly describing McCain’s economic policy used the old saw that you can put lipstick on a pig but it’s still a pig. The same old saw repeated in the past by Cheney and McCain and there is video to back it up on YouTube. For some reason, when they heard this phrase, the Republicans immediately thought of Palin and accused Obama of sexism.

Now, either the republican party is twisting things to level a charge of sexism against a father of two daughters who campaigns for equal pay for women or they really think that Sarah Palin is a pig with lipstick on. Surely the McCain campaign would never be so cynical or arrogant to believe that they could convince the public that the party that voted AGAINST equal pay for women is the victim of sexism by the man that is trying to make equal pay the law. That would be an insult to the intelligence of the American people and specifically women. No, obviously when they think of pigs with lipstick, they picture Sarah Palin. I think republicans owe Sarah Palin an apology. (How embarrassing!)

Aside from this embarrassing blunder by the McCain campaign and the republican party, McCain/Palin also unleashed a smear campaign containing racist and sexist undertones of their own. They claim that Barack Obama wrote legislation in Illinois designed to teach kindergarteners all about sex before they even learn how to read.” [They would like to conjure the image of the black man lurking about waiting to have sex with your daughters]

But, wait; is this true?!

No, it isn’t. The truth is that Barack Obama voted, but did not sponsor, legislation that would have provided funds to develop “age-appropriate” sex education curriculum for children, including the kind of stranger-danger/good touch-bad touch-type programs that would be appropriate for children of kindergarten age. A McCain campaign ad calls it "legislation to teach comprehensive sex education to kindergartners."

Good touch/bad touch is comprehensive sex education? No offense, but could this be why so many teenaged girls from republican households end up pregnant??? I mean, really, who’s out of touch? Or are republicans just being purposefully obtuse?

The details of this two-pronged attack are laid out in this Washington Post article: “McCain Camp Hits Obama On More Than One Front,” writing “The McCain campaign, meanwhile, sought to portray itself as the victim of unfair smears and sexist attacks against Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin even as it pursued its own assaults on Obama. The rhetoric was echoed yesterday on conservative talk radio, the Internet and in the House, where Republican women decried Obama's alleged sexism. “

According to the article, “On a campaign conference call last night, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.)… denounce(d) what (she) call(ed) a pattern of sexism.”

What a bunch of hypocrites!

Where does the republican party stand on the issues that matter to women?

Are your kids getting a decent education or have the republicans slashed education spending?

Are your kids getting the proper healthcare or have republican policies fueled record profits for the pharmaceutical and health care industries to the point where you can’t even afford to go to the doctor?

Do you have the choice to stay home and raise your kids for those first few critical years (at least) or have republican policies helped corporations cut wages, jobs and benefits for workers while exploding inflation raised the price on food, clothing, shelter and energy, forcing nearly every family to require two incomes?

Are you making the same amount of money as a man would in your position or did the republican party refuse to enact laws that would force your employer to pay an equal wage?

Do you have a right to make healthcare choices for yourself and your family without government interference or is it getting harder and harder to simply get affordable birth control because the republican party has been hijacked by extremists who think they know what is best for you?

On women’s issues, the republican party FAILS every test on where they stand on these issues. They are historically sexist and regressive. They employed every possible sexist and personal attack against Hillary Clinton due to their irrational hatred of strong, independent, educated women and now they want to cry sexism about manufactured issues they are relating to Sarah Palin?

McCain/Palin stand for the Woman-Hater’s Club and have vowed to continue their woman-hating policies, but now they want to cry “sexism.” And they expect that the American public will eat it up?

Don’t count on it. In the red state where I live, even with the media trying to sensationalize the whole issue and despite the slanted coverage the non-story received, all of the polls that I checked showed that folks were overwhelmingly NOT falling for this insulting garbage.

Kansans and Missourians are telling the republican party, “NO THANKS,” on this manufactured smear tactic, and they’re not just saying it to be popular. (Sorry, Sarah!)

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Not Mavericks-That's For Sure

Main Entry: mav·er·ick
Function: noun
Etymology: Samuel A. Maverick died 1870 American pioneer who did not brand his calves
Date: 1867
2: an independent individual who does not go along with a group or party

The McCain Campaign has adopted the label of “Maverick” for themselves. They put out a commercial labeling themselves as such and repeated the label over and over again at the Republican National Convention. The crowd at the convention ate it up, but the label left many of us scratching our heads.

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines the word “maverick” as “an independent individual who does not go along with a group or party.” How can you be a maverick when you are not only going along with your political party, but you have changed your stance on just about every issue so that it matches a faction of your party that you used to disdain? The answer is you can’t-unless you are misrepresenting yourself. And this is exactly what the campaign is doing.

The campaign was running on “Experience” as McCain’s advantage over Obama or Hillary, until they realized just how motivated the people of this country are to get things back to the way they were before the Republican party took over and destroyed the economy, our standing in the world, our military and our hope for the future. So, changing with the political winds, as McCain has a record of doing, the campaign adopted the successful message that Obama has run on and supported long before he even announced his candidacy. Suddenly, they were the “Change” party.
How can you be the “change” party when it’s your party that has screwed things up so badly? You can pretend you are an outsider and describe yourself as a maverick. And repeat it over and over again and hope that people believe it. So, that’s what they are doing. Hence the commercial and hence the fact that in every clip of McCain and Palin you will see on the nightly news they will just be repeating the same lies over and over again.

“Mavericks” No

“He fights pork barrel spending” Not until recently (In six of his 25 years in Congress, McCain voted for spending bills that included 12,763 pork-barrel earmarks worth more than $144.4 billion, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service)

“Sarah Palin stopped the Bridge to Nowhere” Lie. (She ran for Governor in support of it and supported it until Congress decided not to fund it. Then she gave up on it but kept the funds)

“John McCain reformed Washington” Untrue. (If Washington is so reformed why is he running on “Change”, if he is so against lobbyists, why are there so many lobbyists running his campaign?)

“Palin took on Big Oil” Lie. (Records show that she has collected significant amounts of money in campaign contributions from oil company executives and their family members for years)

This is a campaign trick that has been successfully used in the past AGAINST McCain by Bush. Bush smeared McCain with lies and whisper campaigns. Now McCain is using the same tactics to win—just as he accuses Barack Obama of being the one who will say and do anything to win. The Washington Post has described this strategy as “Untruth Can Become Fact.”

And this does not address the accusations that McCain has leveled at Obama in some of his other television ads where he tries to scare people into believing that Obama will raise their taxes and bring about "years of deficits," "no balanced budgets" and "billions in new government spending." calls this “Another Stitch in a Bad Pattern” and provides facts to dispute every single one of these claims.

As one viewer of that commercial observed “Everything they say about Obama is exactly what the Republicans have done for the past eight years. Obama is trying to fix all that. How can they get away with telling these outright lies?”

The answer is that they can only get away with it if we let them. They can only paint themselves as Mavericks if we believe it and they can only smear Obama with lies if we buy into the strategy.

So, if McCain/Palin aren’t Mavericks, what are they? How do we define them if we know that they aren’t the political outsiders, fighting to change the system as their phony maverick status was employed to make you believe?

What do you call people who lie and twist the facts? What do you call people who use smear tactics to defeat their opponents because they can’t win on the issues? What do you call people who accuse their opponents of caring more about their own ambitions than about the nation when they changed themselves over completely and misrepresented their records in order to win the nomination of their party and have repeatedly shown that there is no low they will not stoop to in order to win?

What do you call a party that constantly wears their Christianity on their sleeves but whose policies promote war, poverty, sickness, despair and hopelessness?

What do you call a party that constantly brings up the troops but refuses to fund benefits for returning veterans, denies their families benefits and steadfastly refuses to end the occupation of Iraq and bring those troops home for a well-deserved rest?

What do you call a party that constantly claims to be fiscally conservative and then every time they get into office they grow government, spending huge amounts of money and leave the country’s budget in historically huge deficits?

Hypocrites. Phonies. Liars.

But you won’t see those labels on your television screen anytime soon.

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Monday, September 8, 2008

Palin: More Anne Baxter than Judy Garland

We don't know a lot about Sarah Palin; that is by design. There isn't much good to know, so the campaign is keeping her hidden as much as they can. This morning it was announced that Charlie Gibson snagged the first official interview and the campaign says that she will be made available for more. Now we can only hope that Charlie Gibson will rise above the kind of inane questions that he posed at the Democratic Debate, refrain from the kind of softball questions he asked of "celebrities" for many years on Good Morning America and get some answers to questions that matter.

In the meantime, I found this excellent email posted on Op Ed News. This is a first-hand (and fairly unbiased) observation of Sarah Palin from someone who has known her for years. If you read the whole thing, she seems to be more Anne Baxter in "All About Eve" than the Judy Garland of "A Star is Born" that starry-eyed conservatives have portrayed her to be. Read on...

Headlined on 9/6/08:
Anne Kilkenny Full Email on Sarah Palin

by Rady Ananda

It's legit; and widely posted. On Sept. 1st, Wasilla resident Anne Kilkenny wrote to about 40 family members and friends who kept asking about Sarah Palin. This is her six-page response that went viral, bringing Kilkenny global attention. She's been interviewed by ABC, NBC and CNN, as well as NPR and mainstream newspapers from around the world. Because this email is widely posted, it's reproduced here. I've left any misspellings intact, but bolded the headings.

From: Anne Kilkenny (email address redacted)
Date: September 1, 2008 12:20:01 AM PDT
Subject: re: SARAH PALIN

Dear friends,

So many people have asked me about what I know about Sarah Palin in the last 2 days that I decided to write something up . . .

Basically, Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton have only 2 things in common: their gender and their good looks. :)

You have my permission to forward this to your friends/email contacts with my name and email address attached, but please do not post it on any websites, as there are too many kooks out there . . .



I am a resident of Wasilla, Alaska. I have known Sarah since 1992. Everyone here knows Sarah, so it is nothing special to say we are on a first-name basis. Our children have attended the same schools. Her father was my child's favorite substitute teacher. I also am on a first name basis with her parents and mother-in-law. I attended more City Council meetings during her administration than about 99% of the residents of the city.

She is enormously popular; in every way she's like the most popular girl in middle school. Even men who think she is a poor choice and won't vote for her can't quit smiling when talking about her because she is a "babe".

It is astonishing and almost scary how well she can keep a secret. She kept her most recent pregnancy a secret from her children and parents for seven months.

She is "pro-life". She recently gave birth to a Down's syndrome baby. There is no cover-up involved, here; Trig is her baby.

She is energetic and hardworking. She regularly worked out at the gym.

She is savvy. She doesn't take positions; she just "puts things out there" and if they prove to be popular, then she takes credit.

Her husband works a union job on the North Slope for BP and is a champion snowmobile racer. Todd Palin's kind of job is highly sought-after because of the schedule and high pay. He arranges his work schedule so he can fish for salmon in Bristol Bay for a month or so in summer, but by no stretch of the imagination is fishing their major source of income. Nor has her life-style ever been anything like that of native Alaskans.

Sarah and her whole family are avid hunters.

She's smart.

Her experience is as mayor of a city with a population of about 5,000 (at the time), and less than 2 years as governor of a state with about 670,000 residents.
During her mayoral administration most of the actual work of running this small city was turned over to an administrator. She had been pushed to hire this administrator by party power-brokers after she had gotten herself into some trouble over precipitous firings which had given rise to a recall campaign.

Sarah campaigned in Wasilla as a "fiscal conservative". During her 6 years as Mayor, she increased general government expenditures by over 33%. During those same 6 years the amount of taxes collected by the City increased by 38%. This was during a period of low inflation (1996-2002). She reduced progressive property taxes and increased a regressive sales tax which taxed even food. The tax cuts that she promoted benefited large corporate property owners way more than they benefited residents.

The huge increases in tax revenues during her mayoral administration weren't enough to fund everything on her wish list though, borrowed money was needed, too. She inherited a city with zero debt, but left it with indebtedness of over $22 million. What did Mayor Palin encourage the voters to borrow money for? Was it the infrastructure that she said she supported? The sewage treatment plant that the city lacked? or a new library? No. $1m for a park. $15m-plus for construction of a multi-use sports complex which she rushed through to build on a piece of property that the City didn't even have clear title to, that was still in litigation 7 yrs later--to the delight of the lawyers involved! The sports complex itself is a nice addition to the community but a huge money pit, not the profit-generator she claimed it would be. She also supported bonds for $5.5m for road projects that could have been done in 5-7 yrs without any borrowing. While Mayor, City Hall was extensively remodeled and her office redecorated more than once.

These are small numbers, but Wasilla is a very small city.

As an oil producer, the high price of oil has created a budget surplus in Alaska. Rather than invest this surplus in technology that will make us energy independent and increase efficiency, as Governor she proposed distribution of this surplus to every individual in the state.

In this time of record state revenues and budget surpluses, she recommended that the state borrow/bond for road projects, even while she proposed distribution of surplus state revenues: spend today's surplus, borrow for needs.

She's not very tolerant of divergent opinions or open to outside ideas or compromise. As Mayor, she fought ideas that weren't generated by her or her staff. Ideas weren't evaluated on their merits, but on the basis of who proposed them.

While Sarah was Mayor of Wasilla she tried to fire our highly respected City Librarian because the Librarian refused to consider removing from the library some books that Sarah wanted removed. City residents rallied to the defense of the City Librarian and against Palin's attempt at out-and-out censorship, so Palin backed down and withdrew her termination letter. People who fought her attempt to oust the Librarian
are on her enemies list to this day.

Sarah complained about the "old boy's club" when she first ran for Mayor, so what did she bring Wasilla? A new set of "old boys". Palin fired most of the experienced staff she inherited. At the City and as Governor she hired or elevated new, inexperienced, obscure people, creating a staff totally dependent on her for their jobs and eternally grateful and fiercely loyal--loyal to the point of abusing their power to further her personal agenda, as she has acknowledged happened in the case of pressuring the State's top cop (see below).

As Mayor, Sarah fired Wasilla's Police Chief because he "intimidated" her, she told the press. As Governor, her recent firing of Alaska's top cop has the ring of familiarity about it. He served at her pleasure and she had every legal right to fire him, but it's pretty clear that an important factor in her decision to fire him was because he wouldn't fire her sister's ex-husband, a State Trooper. Under investigation for abuse of power, she has had to admit that more than 2 dozen contacts were made between her staff and family to the person that she later fired, pressuring him to fire her ex-brother-in-law. She tried to replace the man she fired with a man who she knew had been reprimanded for sexual harassment; when this caused a public furor, she withdrew her support.

She has bitten the hand of every person who extended theirs to her in help. The City Council person who personally escorted her around town introducing her to voters when she first ran for Wasilla City Council became one of her first targets when she was later elected Mayor. She abruptly fired her loyal City Administrator; even people who didn't like the guy were stunned by this ruthlessness.

Fear of retribution has kept all of these people from saying anything publicly about her.

When then-Governor Murkowski was handing out political plums, Sarah got the best, Chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission: one of the few jobs not in Juneau and one of the best paid. She had no background in oil & gas issues. Within months of scoring this great job which paid $122,400/yr, she was complaining in the press about the high salary. I was told that she hated that job: the commute, the structured hours, the work. Sarah became aware that a member of this Commission (who was also the State Chair of the Republican Party) engaged in unethical behavior on the job. In a gutsy move which some undoubtedly cautioned her could be political suicide, Sarah solved all her problems in one fell swoop: got out of the job she hated and garnered gobs of media attention as the patron saint of ethics and as a gutsy fighter against the "old boys' club" when she dramatically quit, exposing this man's ethics violations (for which he was fined).

As Mayor, she had her hand stuck out as far as anyone for pork from Senator Ted Stevens. Lately, she has castigated his pork-barrel politics and publicly humiliated him. She only opposed the "bridge to nowhere" after it became clear that it would be unwise not to.

As Governor, she gave the Legislature no direction and budget guidelines, then made a big grandstand display of line-item vetoing projects, calling them pork. Public outcry and further legislative action restored most of these projects--which had been vetoed simply because she was not aware of their importance--but with the unobservant she had gained a reputation as "anti-pork".

She is solidly Republican: no political maverick. The State party leaders hate her because she has bit them in the back and humiliated them. Other members of the party object to her self-description as a fiscal conservative.

Around Wasilla there are people who went to high school with Sarah. They call her "Sarah Barracuda" because of her unbridled ambition and predatory ruthlessness. Before she became so powerful, very ugly stories circulated around town about shenanigans she pulled to be made point guard on the high school basketball team. When Sarah's mother-in-law, a highly respected member of the community and experienced manager, ran for Mayor, Sarah refused to endorse her.

As Governor, she stepped outside of the box and put together of package of legislation known as "AGIA" that forced the oil companies to march to the beat of her drum.

Like most Alaskans, she favors drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. She has questioned if the loss of sea ice is linked to global warming. She campaigned "as a private citizen" against a state initiaitive [sic] that would have either a) protected salmon streams from pollution from mines, or b) tied up in the courts all mining in the state (depending on who you listen to). She has pushed the State's lawsuit against the Dept. of the Interior's decision to list polar bears as threatened species.

McCain is the oldest person to ever run for President; Sarah will be a heartbeat away from being President.

There has to be literally millions of Americans who are more knowledgeable and experienced than she.

However, there's a lot of people who have underestimated her and are regretting it.


*"Hockey mom": true for a few years

*"PTA mom": true years ago when her first-born was in elementary school, not since

*"NRA supporter": absolutely true

*social conservative: mixed. Opposes gay marriage, BUT vetoed a bill that would have denied benefits to employees in same-sex relationships
(said she did this because it was unconsitutional). [sic]

*pro-creationism: mixed. Supports it, BUT did nothing as Governor to promote it.

*"Pro-life": mixed. Knowingly gave birth to a Down's syndrome baby BUT declined to call a special legislative session on some pro-life legislation

*"Experienced": Some high schools have more students than Wasilla has residents. Many cities have more residents than the state of Alaska. No legislative experience other than City Council. Little hands-on supervisory or managerial experience; needed help of a city administrator to run town of about 5,000.

*political maverick: not at all
*gutsy: absolutely!
*open & transparent: ??? Good at keeping secrets. Not good at explaining actions.
*has a developed philosophy of public policy: not *"a Greenie": no. Turned Wasilla into a wasteland of big box stores and disconnected parking lots. Is pro-drilling off-shore and in ANWR.

*fiscal conservative: not by my definition!

*pro-infrastructure: No. Promoted a sports complex and park in a city without a sewage treatment plant or storm drainage system. Built streets to early 20th century standards.

*pro-tax relief: Lowered taxes for businesses, increased tax burden on residents

*pro-small government: No. Oversaw greatest expansion of city government in Wasilla's history.

*pro-labor/pro-union. No. Just because her husband works union doesn't make her pro-labor. I have seen nothing to support any claim that she is pro-labor/pro-union.


First, I have long believed in the importance of being an informed voter. I am a voter registrar. For 10 years I put on student voting programs in the schools. If you google my name (Anne Kilkenny + Alaska), you will find references to my participation in local government, education, and PTA/parent organizations.

Secondly, I've always operated in the belief that "Bad things happen when good people stay silent". Few people know as much as I do because few have gone to as many City Council meetings.

Third, I am just a housewife. I don't have a job she can bump me out of. I don't belong to any organization that she can hurt. But, I am no fool; she is immensely popular here, and it is likely that this will cost me somehow in the future: that's life.

Fourth, she has hated me since back in 1996, when I was one of the 100 or so people who rallied to support the City Librarian against Sarah's attempt at censorship.

Fifth, I looked around and realized that everybody else was afraid to say anything because they were somehow vulnerable.


I am not a statistician. I developed the numbers for the increase in spending & taxation 2 years ago (when Palin was running for Governor) from information supplied to me by the Finance Director of the City of Wasilla, and I can't recall exactly what I adjusted for: did I adjust for inflation? for population increases? Right now, it is impossible for a private person to get any info out of City Hall--they are swamped. So I can't verify my numbers.

You may have noticed that there are various numbers circulating for the population of Wasilla, ranging from my "about 5,000", up to 9,000. The day Palin's selection was announced a city official told me that the current population is about 7,000. The official 2000 census count was 5,460. I have used about 5,000 because Palin was Mayor from 1996 to 2002, and the city was growing rapidly in the mid-90's.

Anne Kilkenny
email address redacted
August 31, 2008

The photos that I added to the post are from this website (and they have more):

The t-shirt she is wearing in the first one says "I may be broke, but I'm not flat-busted." But what I want to know is, in the other picture -- What the hell is she doing to that stuffed bear with her other hand? Eeeeewwww...

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Now You See Her...

Sleight of hand is a tool that magicians use to perform magic tricks. They confound us by seemingly making things disappear and reappear right before our eyes. According to Wikipedia, “sleight of hand depends on the use of psychology, (and) misdirection…Misdirection is perhaps the most important component of the art of sleight of hand.”

The country has been victim to sleight of hand in politics many times in the past eight to ten years. Misdirection has been successfully used to distract us from the real issues while we watched in disbelief as our constitution was methodically dismantled, the economy destroyed and were left wondering how in the world we got in this mess. Misdirection is being used again, this time to distract us from the fact that Sarah Palin is unqualified for the office of Vice President (nevermind being a heartbeat away from the Presidency).

Sarah Palin’s seventeen-year-old daughter is pregnant and there will be a forced marriage. So, who cares? Not one soul that I have talked to is the slightest bit interested in discussing this non-issue. The only people who continue to bring it up are the talking heads on television and radio. So obsessed are they with this development that has absolutely no impact on the problems we face in this country or the choice to be made in the upcoming election, there is even some whisper among them that Palin will be “booted from the ticket.” They have taken the bait and are gobbling it up in a frenzy.

Ladies and gentlemen; your attention over here at this flourish of the cape while –abra cadabra—Sarah Palin is magically transformed into a person that is qualified, indeed desirable, for the position of Vice President. “Hey! How’d they do that??”

The whole time you were busy watching the media circus discuss whether this pregnancy is going to hurt John McCain, whether he properly researched his choice of Sarah Palin, whether this somehow reflects on Mrs. Palin’s parenting skills, commitment to family values, on and on ad nauseum, the Republican Party, has dispatched its agents and mouthpieces to repeat the absurd notion that Palin has just as much experience as Barack Obama. They are spreading this propaganda unopposed while the talking heads natter on about the pregnancy non-issue, working the old angle of repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth.

While you are embroiled in the “scandal” of this pregnancy, the Republicans are busy marketing Palin as a political outsider and maverick that “took on the oil industry” and “put the nail in the coffin of the ‘Bridge to Nowhere.’” Nevermind that neither of these assertions is true, the attention of the citizenry is being directed toward sensationalistic nonsense. They are painting a scenario wherein Mrs. Palin (and her family!) is being unfairly attacked by the media (and this will somehow be tied to the Democrats, though they have had, universally, no comment on the whole non-issue) in order to garner sympathy for her so that when she finally takes the stage they can then say, “Wow; she’s a real trooper! Isn’t she spunky? What a gal!” The whole thing was manufactured to make you look in the wrong direction, so you wouldn’t see that she is a frighteningly underqualified candidate.

This also from Wikipedia, “The magician choreographs his actions so that even the critical and observant spectators are likely to look where the magician wants them to. (More importantly, they do not look where they should not.) Two types of misdirection are time and movement. Time is simple; by allowing a small amount of time to pass after an action, events are skewed in the viewer's mind. Movement is a little more complicated. A phrase often used is "A larger action covers a smaller action." But care must be used to not make the larger action so big that it becomes suspicious.”

Did you know that the nominee for Vice President of the United States of America has been involved in an organization that supports Alaska’s secession from the U.S? Have you heard that she is currently under investigation for abuse of office? Are you aware that, although she claims to be against earmarks, she attended the Ted Steven’s School of Earmark Management? (Apparently, she was for earmarks before she was against them.) NO? Because the media is too busy pursuing the red herring and that is all you are going to hear about.

By the time Mrs. Palin hits the stage in Minnesota, the public will have grown so weary of the non-story, and so angry that the media won’t let it go, that they will find themselves rooting for her and the current propaganda will be well on its way to becoming truth.

How do you like that? Fooled again!

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008


The title of the famous movie was also the title of yesterday’s editorial by William Kristol. (If you choose, you can read it here: Unfortunately for Kristol, if one stops long enough to think (which I am sure that his readers do not) about the reference to the oft-remade award-winner, one will recall that the story was one of a movie star with a career in decline and his romance with a star on the rise. Hardly the sort of picture Kristol would want to paint of McCain/Palin.

I don’t know why the NY Times continues to value the opinion of someone with such an exceptional track record of being WRONG on just about every issue. Yet Kristol continues to opine in its employ, so someone must be reading him.
After giving short praise to an Obama speech that was viewed by more people in this country than almost any other televised event aside from the SuperBowl, Kristol joins the conservative love-fest of Sarah Palin, John McCain’s arm candy of a Vice Presidential nominee.

“It’s amazing what a bold vice-presidential pick who gives a sterling performance when she’s introduced will do for a party’s spirits.”

Because that’s what you want out of a Vice Presidential nominee- a performance. Like she’s a trained monkey. Or is he touching back on that movie reference again? But I think he’s right; the kind of person that is still entertaining the idea of voting Republican probably LOVES Palin. Isn’t she pretty?? She sure knows how to accessorize. Love those pearls! Former beauty queen, you know.

This was actually pointed out by Cokie Roberts on the Sunday morning pundit-fest, This Week with George Stephanopolis. She was literally giddy as she pointed out that Ms. Palin was a BONA FIDE Miss Congeniality. Of course, thinking people would perhaps be a little leery of putting their country in the hands of a former beauty pageant contestant—she didn’t even win the thing—but, not our conservative friends. All shallow appearance and no substance, that’s what they like. They still back George W. Bush, after all, the most vacuous leader a country was ever forced to endure.

Then, and this is my favorite thing, Kristol tries to pretend that experience is not that important when choosing a President.

“There are Republicans who are unhappy about John McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin. Many are insiders who highly value — who overly value — ‘experience.’”

As if the whole neo-con assembly of the Republican Party has not been harping endlessly, about how UNEXPERIENCED Barack Obama is. But now that the pretty, shiny lady has stepped into the limelight, that all just floats effortlessly out the window. Experience is JUST not that important. After all, she’s just the No. 2, as Kristol, sounding reasonable enough for the less-analytical reader, goes on to point out.

“…Obama supporters can’t get too indignant about Palin’s inexperience. She’s only running for the No. 2 job, after all, while their inexperienced standard-bearer is the nominee for the top position.”

So, what is the definition of the word “experience,” as applied to any nominee for high office?

Sarah Palin’s glittering resume contains two terms on the city council of Wasilla, AK, and one term as mayor. Wasilla, AK has, according to its website, a population of 6,715 people (per the 2000 census). Maybe that seems like a lot of people where she comes from, but not from where most of us sit. Also on her resume is an unfinished term (less than two years) as Governor, which is not even enough to judge whether she could be considered a SUCCESSFUL governor. But, I am sure that does not bother anyone who voted for George W. Bush, who must stand out as the least-successful “businessman” to ever have been called a businessman.

None of the punditry is comparing Palin’s paltry experience to Joe Biden’s, the Democratic Vice Presidential nominee. THAT would be laughable. No, they are instead comparing her lack of experience to what they claim is Obama’s lack of experience. Here is a look at the new math:

Maybe the reason the Republicans are doing such an abysmal job of running the country is because they can’t even properly perform a simple equation.

And this line of reasoning totally ignores the fact that McCain is 72 years old and has a history of cancer. It is not outside the realm of possibility that he might not last out a full term. Does Kristol genuinely believe that Palin would qualify as a good President?

And the next little gem that Kristol tosses out is actually supposed to be some kind of dig against Obama.

“And McCain doesn’t need a foreign policy expert as vice president to help him out.”

Wasn’t it John McCain that didn’t know the difference between a Sunni and a Shi’ite Muslim? Wasn’t it John McCain who confused Iran with Iraq? Has said that he would consider maintaining a troop presence in Iraq for the next 100 years? Wants to “Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran”? McCain has stumbled on basic facts concerning foreign policy enough times in public that he probably SHOULD have been looking for someone to shore him up.

Kristol at least admits that this choice of Palin is a gamble.

“But of course McCain needs Palin to do well to prove he’s a shrewd and prescient gambler.”

Does William Kristol think that our next President should be a gambler? Because I think most people are of the opinion that this country can’t afford any more gambling at this point. But then again, Kristol has been wrong so many times, perhaps he believes that at some point the odds will catch up with him. More of that poor Republican math.

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