Friday, October 31, 2008

Defining a Mandate

Sirota on both parties and The Mandate Debate.

In their own ways, they are both telling us that a vote for McCain is a vote for Reaganism and a vote for Obama is a vote for Roosevelt-ism. And so it doesn't matter if Obama wins by one vote, or by a landslide. If a guy billed as a black Muslim socialist/terrorist can win an election in such an ideologically polarized environment, it is a huge rejection of conservatism - one with a mandate for arguably more progressive governance than Obama himself is even proposing.

That's why conservatives are freaking out - they realize that under such circumstances, a McCain loss isn't just a loss for one candidate in one election, but a much more far-reaching rejection of an entire ideology. That's not to say that conservatism won't make a comeback, should Obama win. But it is to say that an Obama win would deal a much deeper blow to the conservative movement than had this race ended on less ideological terms.

To be sure, the fight to define this mandate will be fierce.

People Power

What are you doing tomorrow?

Volunteer for Morgan Bowen

Volunteer for Bennion Spencer

The final Saturday is going to be a battleground day, and while it's not too late to give (even ActBlue monies received after the election can go a long ways to paying off a candidates debt after a hard fought win), local Democrats can make huge gains with the help of even 10 volunteers to make calls, knock on doors, distribute literature, etc. Many of our Democratic candidates have a strong message this cycle that has resounded well with voters. Getting out the vote for these candidates is now the most important objective, and anyone with even two hours to spare can make a real difference.

Find some time to fight for better representation. The leaves in the rain gutter will wait.

Utah Clinton Supporter, Dem Delegate Campaigns for Chris Buttars

I met Jordan in Denver. I didn't care for his (and other's) refusal to let go of Hillary's campaign in light of the importance of this presidential election. It made me question how and who we place in the delegate positions, and how effective they are or are not.

This week, it got worse. A nice catch by Bob from the SL Trib:

Two months ago, 19-year-old Utahn Apollo Pazell was in the national spotlight, giving a nominating speech for Sen. Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Convention.

He caught the party's attention again this week when campaign reports showed that Pazell, who had been Democrat John Rendell's campaign manager until July, received $1,000 from Rendell's opponent, Republican Sen. Chris Buttars.

Buttars said Pazell called him about two months ago, saying he had left the Rendell campaign because he was disgusted with Rendell's use of the satirical play "Saturday's Voyeur," which skewered Buttars mercilessly, for a campaign event.
Buttars said Pazell put up lawn signs and organized community meetings in Copperton, where Pazell lives, and was paid $1,000.
Now that's the kind of leadership our state party needs, huh? More of this please. It makes us look so good!

You can help offset Apollo's efforts by contributing some time and/or money to John Rendell's campaign against uber-xenophobe Chris Buttars, here.

The New New Deal. They Hate It.

A little Militant Progressive.

Aside from the whole “historical transcendence of a black man” blather that does, in my opinion, little more than showcase how startled Americans are at their apparent lack of racism (yeah, right), this race (presidential, not ethnic) is has historical implications of the F.D.R. flavor.

The only people still pissed off at how well the New Deal worked at reversing the overwhelming poverty of our entire nation are Republicans. They hate it. While they’ll happily wrap themselves in the flag draped imagery of WWII, they refuse to see how lower and middle class programs that basically reinvented the middle class, as part of the New Deal, made the American victory in WWII possible.

This could easily be one of those hard turning points for us as well. America isn’t quite at the level where a New Deal is needed, but, unless some serious changes are made, we will be.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Reason to Vote #401: Vote to Cancel Out Your Crazy Neighbor

From The Daily Show alumni, with video.

(h/t RawStory)

Pew: 46% Can't Correctly Identify Obama as Christian

I hate the infusion of religion (which is private) into our politics (which are public), but even more, I am disgusted at the effect misinformation can have on voters, and the politicians and activists all too eager to spread it around. From Pew Research:

Nearly half of Americans (46%) are unable to correctly identify Barack Obama as a Christian including 13% who still maintain that he is a Muslim and another 16% who say they have heard different things about his religion. In addition, 11% say they don't know because they have not heard enough about Obama's religion. The percentage of voters continuing to say that Obama is a Muslim is largely unchanged from June (12%) and March (10%), when the controversy over Obama's former pastor at Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ was fresh in many people's minds. In the current survey, nearly one-in-five McCain supporters (19%) say that Obama is a Muslim, up from 14% in March
The report also states that nearly 25% of Texans still identify Obama as a Muslim. At the same time, these people find the statements of his Christian Pastor cause for concern over his associations, as he was "a member of Wright's church for a long time." Huh?

Press Release: Law Enforcement Used to Suppress the Vote

Press release from Project Vote:

From: Michael Slater, Executive Director

Contact: Sarah Massey: 202.445.1169

Date: October 30, 2008

Law Enforcement Used to Suppress the Vote:
It happened in 2004 and 2006, and it may be happening in 2008

In the 2008 election Americans may once again be seeing law enforcement turned into a tool of voter suppression.

It is illegal for law enforcement agents to use their authority to attempt to intimidate or suppress the vote. Section 11(b) of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965 states that no person “ whether acting under color of law or otherwise,” shall intimidate, threaten, or coerce any individual for voting or attempting to vote, or for attempting to assist others to vote. Section 12 of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) of 1993 provides for criminal penalties against any person who intimidates or attempts to intimidate any person for registering to vote, voting, or attempting to register or vote.

In the past few weeks, however, partisan forces have manufactured hysteria around the myth of “voter fraud” that they have used to help goad law-enforcement into intimidation and politically motivated investigations into eligible voters. As the election approaches Project Vote and other voting rights organizations are seeing law enforcement officials inserting themselves into election administration, and partisan pressure to coerce law enforcement agents into overreaching investigations into the eligibility of legal voters.

This climate of suppression and intimidation is all the more troubling because Americans have seen this happen before. In 2006 inquiries into the firings of nine U.S. Attorneys exposed the politicalization of the Justice Department, in which law enforcement’s traditional role of protecting citizen rights was perverted to serve a partisan agenda of voter suppression. The resulting investigation and scandal revealed how trumped-up charges of “voter fraud” were used in 2004 and 2006 to pursue a cynical strategy of intimidation by law enforcement that was designed to hamper voter registration efforts and suppress turnout at the polls.

New Mexico GOP Reportedly Investigating New Latino Voters

The day after Republican presidential candidate John McCain attempted to link his opponent to wild allegations about voter registration fraud, members of the New Mexico Republican Party held a press conference in which they presented voter registration cards for ten voters they claimed cast ballots illegally in the New Mexico primaries. Nine of the ten voters were Latino, all identified as Democratic, and most were 18-19 years old. One of them was a new citizen naturalized in 2007 who was voting for the first time.

Following the press conference ACORN made contact with eight of the ten voters named, and discovered that they were all legitimate voters who were eligible to vote and had no problems with their registrations.

As reported in an Associated Press story last week, two of the voters named have also reportedly been harassed by private investigators. Guadalupe Bojorquez of Albuquerque spoke out Thursday about a private investigator who came to her home to question her family about their right to vote, claiming to be working for the law firm of Pat Rogers. Rogers is a GOP attorney who is conspicuously mentioned in the DOJ Office of the Inspector General’s report on the Attorneygate investigation as one of the key players in New Mexico who put pressure on U.S. Attorney David Iglesias to investigate alleged “voter fraud” cases.

On October 27 Project Vote joined a class action lawsuit filed by the ACLU alleging that members of the GOP illegally used private social security numbers to do background checks of these legal voters and illegally disseminated their confidential voter information to the press. The lawsuit also names the private investigator, Al Romero, for using voter registration information to locate voters and question them about the legitimacy of their registrations.

Overreaching Sheriff’s Department Investigation in Greene County, Ohio

In Ohio, Greene County sheriff Gene Fischer announced two weeks ago that he was “seeking information” about hundreds of people who registered to vote and cast a ballot during Ohio’s five-day window of same day registration and voting.

Despite recent rulings from four different federal and state courts upholding the lawfulness of Ohio’s five-day window, from September 30 to October 5, in which voters could register and cast an absentee ballot on the same day, the County announced they were attempting to “determine whether there was any voter fraud or not," according a quote in an Associated Press story from Tom Miller, chief of the prosecutor’s civil liberty division. Fischer claimed to have been “flooded” with phone calls about alleged voter fraud, yet no actual evidence for an investigation was given. “No one is alleging voter fraud was occurring,” Miller admitted.

Following public outcry and media attention, the Greene County prosecutor’s office announced that that investigation had been cancelled.

Overreaching Prosecutor’s Investigation in Hamilton County, Ohio

Also in Ohio, county prosecutor Joe Deters initiated a grand jury investigation and issued subpoenas for unredacted personal information on 40% of the 671 new voters who cast ballots during Ohio’s five-day window of same-day registration and voting. Deters—citing unspecified allegations of “voter fraud”—launched the investigation and took it upon himself to conduct some attempt to match these voters to government databases and investigate those he determined had problems .

The Hamilton County election board says the complaints of fraud did not come from local election officials, and a spokesman for the Secretary of State’s office says they are “unaware of any specific allegations of illegal voting out of that county.”

"I can't get past the feeling that this is just a partisan thing,'' Tim Burke, a member of the Hamilton County Board of Elections told the Cincinnati Enquirer.”I just don't believe this is anything but partisan politics."

Deters, who also serves as Southwest Ohio chair of the McCain-Palin campaign, removed his office from the investigation amid accusations that the investigation was partisan in nature, and asked that a special prosecutor, O’Neill, be appointed. O’Neill, a Republican, formerly worked for Deters, according to the Enquirer.

Wisconsin Attorney General Sues Government Accountability Board

Last month, the Republican Attorney General of Wisconsin, J.B. Van Hollen—who is also co-chair of that state’s McCain-Palin campaign—filed a lawsuit against the state's Government Accountability Board to force them to cross-check more than 240,000 voter registrations against driver's license records. The impact of the lawsuit would have been to force the voters to use provisional ballots, calling their votes into question and tying up the polls on Election Day.

A judge ruled against Van Hollen's lawsuit, but he and the Wisconsin Republican Party intend to appeal.

Wisconsin GOP Issues a Call for Intimidating Poll Watchers

Also in Wisconsin, the GOP issued a call to policemen, security personnel, and firefighters to serve as “volunteer poll watchers “in inner city precincts. According to the Washington Post “Jonathan Waclawski, the party's election day operations, wrote in a Sept. 8 e-mail that he needed contact information for people "who would potentially be willing to volunteer ... at inner city (more intimidating) polling places. Particularly, I am interested in names of Milwaukee area veterans, policemen, security personnel, firefighters etc. ... If you have any connections with such organizations, please pass that information on."

The move is reminiscent of a disturbing history of attempts to intimidate voters in predominantly minority precincts. In a 2004 report to the Center for Voting Rights and Protection entitled “Republican Ballot Security Programs: Vote Protection or Minority Vote Suppression—Or Both?”, scholars from Rice University discuss the history of what they call “ballot security programs gone bad” which, in the name of protecting against vote fraud, are intended to have a chilling effect on voting in “almost exclusively target heavily black, Latino, or Indian voting precincts.” During the gubernatorial race in Kentucky in 2003, for example, the GOP issued a "Gubernatorial Election Integrity Call to Arms,” very similar to Waclawski’s, calling for 300 monitors to challenge voters in African-American and low-income Louisville precincts. In Orange County, California in 1988, for example, private uniformed security personnel were hired by the GOP to monitor heavily Latino precincts; according to the report, their presence “created a firestorm of protest and set in motion a year-long federal investigation, a civil lawsuit, and new legislation making the hiring of uniformed guards at polling places in California on Election Day a felony.”

More Partisan Politics from the DOJ?

On October 16 an Associate Press story appeared in which anonymous “senior law enforcement officials” leaked news of an FBI investigation into the voter registration fraud allegations surrounding the community organization ACORN. The timing of the FBI leak and investigation—following less than 24 hours after the last presidential debate, in which the Republican presidential candidate John McCain—were viewed with suspicion by many, including the chair of the House judiciary committee, Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI).

That same day Conyers sent a letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey and FBI Director Robert Mueller, expressing “shock and disappointment” that the FBI has opened and leaked an investigation into ACORN, “a longstanding and well-regarded organization that fights for the poor and working class.” Conyers pointed out that both the investigation and the leak contradict longstanding DOJ policy about the “need for cautious and sensitive handling of election-related matters during the run up to voting,” and cited a traditional principle requiring that prosecutors “must refrain from any conduct which has the possibility of affecting the election itself.”

“In the wake of recent controversies regarding the intrusion of partisan politics into Department business,” Conyers wrote in a second letter to Mukasey and Mueller on October, “it is troubling to repeatedly learn of repeated federal involvement in apparently dubious investigations against Democratic-affiliated or liberal organizations, but to see no sign of federal concern over an apparently legitimate and serious matter of true fraud that risks concrete electoral impact.”


Project Vote is a national nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that promotes voting in historically underrepresented communities. Project Vote takes a leadership role in nationwide voting rights and election administration issues, working through research, legal services, and advocacy to ensure that our constituencies are not prevented from registering and voting

Are Chaffetz Supporters the New Ron Paul Movement?

I haven't had much time this week until today to go through the Utah interwebs the way I normally like too, but having done so, I'm noticing this trend.

On many blogs, more so those of official media organizations, I'm noticing an uptick in anonymous Jason Chaffetz supporters, all complaining about how poor Jason is getting named called, and never said the word "Tent Cities" and how everything is just all unfair for an irrational xenophobe in today's politics, and the grand conspiracy that intends to malign the mini-Neo-con's good name, etc, ad nasuem.

They're always anonymous, and I haven't seen so much cut-and-pasting since the "Chris Buttars is Super" defend-the-racist campaign several months ago. Is this where all the Utah Ron Paul supporters have gone?

I'm just wondering if others have noticed it as well.

Will the Real America Please Stand Up?

CQ Politics:

There might have been a time when Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin could talk about “the real America” without causing a big uproar, or when Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota could get away with questioning the patriotism of the Democratic presidential nominee. But not this year, and not the way they did it.

Last week, Palin apologized for praising “the real America” and “pro-America areas of this great nation” at a North Carolina fundraiser. And Bachmann put her re-election in jeopardy after an appearance on MSNBC’s “Hardball” in which she pondered the possibility that Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama “may have anti-American views” and challenged the news media to produce an “expose” of whether members of Congress are “pro-America or anti-America.”

Palin and Bachmann got the most attention for their remarks, but many Republicans on the trail have recently invoked the notion that they stood for genuine American values while the Democratic opposition scorned such things. Nancy Pfotenhauer, a top adviser to Republican presidential nominee John McCain , claimed that “real Virginia” would support him even if he didn’t gain traction in the Democratic-dominated northern part of the commonwealth. Rep. Robin Hayes of North Carolina claimed that “liberals hate real Americans that work and accomplish and achieve and believe in God,” and Rep. John R. “Randy” Kuhl Jr. of New York said Democrats want Americans to “suffer” for their own political gain.

Their comments fueled a backlash that seemed unusually strong, given that Republicans have drawn more public support in past years with only slightly milder appeals to patriotism and the virtues of small-town America. Even Palin drew praise, not jeers, for noting in her convention speech that “we grow good people in our small towns” who “do some of the hardest work” and are “always proud of America” (though a chorus of liberal jeers eventually rose when the lines were attributed to the late extreme-right columnist Westbrook Pegler).

The difference this time, say some GOP strategists, is that these Republicans went overboard with their rhetoric and actively shut out large groups of people. Others, however, believe the significance of the controversy goes beyond rhetorical excess. Democratic strategists see the backlash as a sign of broader damage to the credibility of the Republican Party, while outside analysts think the party has misjudged the public’s appetite for such attacks at a time of widespread economic anxiety.

I think it's more than that. I think we're finally seeing the end of the Culture Wars.

Michele Bachmann

Michele McCarthy Bachmann.

(thanks Misty)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Joe Biden is Cool.

Very cool.

"Let's get real."

Welcome to the New World of Machine Politics


In politics, what’s important isn’t always what you can see. And compared with television ads and campaign events, field organizing is invisible — reporters on the campaign bus can only see the end result, which is the crowd that turns out. Today’s Wall Street Journal illuminates this critical corner of the campaign less than a week before it could help swing traditionally Red states to Obama. Here’s the core takeaway: the internet has revived the art of voter-to-voter contact, which had atrophied during the broadcast television era of politics. Let’s hear it from a guy who knows:

“Ironically, it took the Internet to get us back to the old-fashioned way of doing politics,” says Mark Sullivan, the founder of a start-up called Voter Activation Network Inc., or VAN, which runs the Web-based database for the Democratic National Committee

The Journal’s Christopher Rhoads profiles the competing turnout operations, providing great details about how volunteers are trained and coordinated by paid staff, as well as how political databases play into the entire process. Note that the ‘net plays into all kinds of traditional campaign activities — from phone-banking to block-walking — and that it’s usually sitting there in the background. The internet FACILITATES face-to-face connection rather than replaces it, getting each volunteer the information he or she needs to be effective and then collecting the data they gather as they go door-to-door or dial-for-support. As my friend Nate Wilcox has been pointing out for years, welcome to the new world of machine politics.

From Incompetent to Crazy

Six more days...

"There he was talking about the need for quote 'redistributive change,'" Palin said on the campus of Shippensburg University Tuesday night. “Sen. Obama said that he regretted that the Supreme Court hadn't been more radical. And he described the Court's refusal to take up the issues of redistribution of wealth as a tragedy. And he said he also regretted that the Supreme Court didn't break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers there in the Constitution”

Obama had in fact argued the opposite in the 2001 interview, saying that the civil rights movement had become too focused on making change through the judicial system, rather than from the ground up through community organizations.

But Palin used Obama's words to follow an argument Sen. John McCain has made this week that Obama has long-advocated for "spreading the wealth." "Obama says that he wants to spread the wealth," Palin said to boos from the crowd. "In other words he thinks that it's your job to earn the wealth and it's his job to spread it."

But Palin then went beyond any argument McCain has made, using the 2001 interview to insinuate that Obama wants to re-write the U.S. Constitution and appoint radical Supreme Court justices, while also suggesting that under Obama, judges would confiscate the property of American citizens.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"I Don't Want to Sound Racist but...."

McCain Rally, Pennsylvania. With Video. Emphasis mine.

"Bomb Obama!" he said repeatedly. "Get rid of him," he told the cameraman. "I've had a number of people in the...when he gets in the White House...(mimicks the sound of a gun firing)." The exchange was reported to Pottsville police and the Secret Service. Pottsville Police Captain Richard Wojciechowsky reportedly said it "did not sound serious."

"I'd never vote for a black man," said a Democratic McCain supporter. "[I don't] want to sound racist here," said another participant, "but I do not want a black man running my country."

"Catholics must not vote for Obama," a protest sign read. "They will be ex-communicated from the Catholic Church."

Various rally participants, while waiting to greet Senator McCain's "Straight Talk Express" tour bus, called Senator Obama a communist, claimed his stances and connections were "un-American," and one said that Obama was born in Kenya. (He was actually born in Hawaii.) One referred to him as "President Hussein."
Looks like Murtha had a point.


Wisdom in humor from Indecision Blog:

The McCain campaign is calling Barack Obama a socialist, but when Sarah Palin gets asked if she's a feminist, she says labels are annoying to the voters.

The McCain-Palin team knows that labeling voters is demeaning and simplistic -- people like Joe the Plumber don't like it. Are any of these names sticking?

The First Question Any Voter Should Ask

JMBell discovers electoral wisdom in the pages of the Trib public forum:

The first question any voter should ask of a candidate who knocks on their door and asks for their vote is: “What are you going to do about getting a meaningful, enforceable ethics law passed - one with teeth?” If they so much as stutter, vote for someone else.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Politicizing the DOJ (Again)

I've never been so thankful for term limits. He's been quiet for a while, but let this serve as a reminder of the dangers of electing the guy "everyone wants to have a beer with." From the inbox:

This year, there are over 600,000 newly registered Ohio voters, but President Bush has asked Attorney General Mukasey to investigate as many as 200,000 of them. Why? Because Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner won't let voters be disenfranchised simply because of a typo in a state database.

Secretary Brunner has refused to challenge voters based on faulty database matching because it would erroneously deprive tens or even hundreds of thousands of Ohioans of their right to vote.

Now, President Bush is trying to end-run the Supreme Court by getting the Department of Justice to intervene. On Friday, October 24th, Bush reportedly asked Attorney General Mukasey to investigate whether as many as 200,000 voters need to reconfirm their registrations before November 4th.

This is hugely problematic, and we need to fight back.

President Bush is doing his best to politicize the Department of Justice and suppress the rights of Ohio's voters, but Attorney General Mukasey doesn't have to bend to this insidious tactic. With the election only days away, the time to act is short.
Get involved here.

Standard Examiner Stumbles Over Endorsement

I've got little to say about this than that it is quite possibly the most poorly informed and directionless endorsement I have read in my lifetime.

The congressman also has a sound energy policy that includes support for alternative fuels. In fact, he would like to see alternative fuel use increased over 10 years from 6 percent to 15 percent or more. But he is not an ideologue. Bishop understand that it is critical for the United States to achieve energy independence. He supports efforts to tap oil shale in Utah and elsewhere, and also backs increased drilling. He wants all energy options to be on the table. He knows that energy success drives our economy. Bishop further understands that the energy crisis is connected to military issues. It's critical to meet future energy needs to keep America and its allies safe from terror threats, he says.
Apparently they missed his very ideologue-like posturing during the offshore-drilling "protest" on the Hill. I'm not saying there isn't a reason to support Bishop. Many straight-ticket voters seem to. But oil shale, his energy policy, and his "not being an ideologue"? Really?

Apparently the Examiner has been too busy selling newspapers to pay attention.

How to Get Your Own Congressional Earmark

Video, via Miah at Morgan Bowen's Eight Bowen Blog.

Donate: Bowen on ActBlue.

Tribune Thumbs Nose at Mr. Tent Cities

Congrats, Bennion.

Very well written. Guess it would've looked unprofessional to just write: Jason Chaffetz is crrrrrazy!

Which he is.

UPDATE: Interesting comment left here. Someone got dirt on Tent City boy?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Greenspan: Crisis Not Caused by CRA, Low-Income Borrowers

Finally. Washington Independent:

Headlines noted that Greenspan acknowledged his misplaced faith in the ability of free markets to correct themselves. But he also did something else — he didn’t point to the Community Reinvestment Act as the cause of the foreclosure crisis, a belief widely embraced by many conservatives.

According to the New York Times, Greenspan told Congress that “excess demand from securitizers” fueled the subprime bubble. He didn’t contend that civil- rights activists had overrun the administrations of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush to force the government to make loans to poor borrowers.

So now it’s all on the record. Let’s put the whole blame-the-CRA thing to rest. Greenspan’s credibility might not be what it once was, but he’s hardly a bleeding heart, either. And even he’s not blaming low-income borrowers.

Or, as Morris put it:

“As the sportscasters say, ‘Put it in the books.’”

Anger, Fear, and Racism

John and Sarah must be dumbfounded that these troglodites crawl out of the wood work at every rally. With video.

Palin: Abortion Clinic Bombers Not Terrorists


Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who has accused Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama of "palling around with terrorists," has refused to call people who bomb abortion clinics by the same name.

When asked Thursday night by NBC television presenter Brian Williams whether an abortion clinic bomber was a terrorist, Palin heaved a sigh and, at first, circumvented the question.

"There's no question that Bill Ayers by his own admittance was one who sought to destroy our US Capitol and our Pentagon. That is a domestic terrorist," Palin said, referring to a 1960s leftist who founded a radical violent gang dubbed the "Weathermen" -- and who years later supported Obama's first run for public office in the state of Illinois.

"Now, others who would want to engage in harming innocent Americans or facilities that it would be unacceptable to... I don't know if you're gonna use the word 'terrorist' there," the ardently pro-life running mate of John McCain said.

No Excuse

For not voting. Via Jesse at Coolest Family Ever:

Here's a neat tip: in Utah, you can take time off of work to vote and be paid for it. Per Utah Code Section 20A-3-103, you can notify your employer in advance to take two paid hours for voting at the beginning or end of your normal workday without financial penalty. You have to make arrangements ahead of time and you aren't eligible if there's at least 3 hours of voting time outside of your normal working hours. Now you really have no excuse for not voting!

Conservatives for Change.

Rats, sinking ship. Etc. May be one of the biggest protest vote potentials we have or will ever see.

  • Why McCain Lost Our Vote, By CC Goldwater. Huffington Post. October 23, 2008
  • Buckley Bows Out of National Review, By Christopher Buckley. The Daily Beast. October 14, 2008
  • Sorry, Dad, I'm Voting for Obama, The Daily Beast. October 10, 2008
  • National Review Founder Says It's Time to Leave Stage, By David Kirkpatrick. The New York Times. June 29, 2004
  • Thinking about Obama. By David Brooks. The New York Times.October 17, 2008
  • David Brooks - Republicans Will Vote For Obama. YouTube. January 12, 2008
  • Powell endorses Obama for president. Meet the Press. Sunday, October 19, 2008
  • McCain Loses His Head, By George Will. Washington Post. September 23, 2008
  • Hail Mary vs. Cool Barry, By Charles Krauthammer. Washington Post. 
Friday, October 3, 2008; A23
  • Obamacans: Prominent Republicans Line Up Behind Obama, By Susan Davis. The Wall Street Journal. October 24, 2008
  • Weld Back Obama. Boston Globe. October 24, 2009
  • Carlson endorses Obama, spurred by Bachmann remarks. Star Tribune. October 23, 2008
  • First Colin Powell, Now . . ., By George Packer. The New Yorker. October 20, 2008
  • Friday, October 24, 2008

    Economic Re-Allignment

    An argument that the refutation of John McCain is also a refutation of conservative economic policy.

    John McCain is doing what no progressive political leader has been able to do in at least a generation, if not more: He's creating a New Deal mandate for the next Democratic president. Indeed, in tacking to the hard economic right and focusing the presidential debate on "socialism" and "wealth redistribution," he is creating a very clear decision for our country: Either we reject his neo-Reaganism and the regressive redistribution machine that I describe in my new newspaper column this week. Or, we vote to preserve the regressive redistribution machine that has created the most economically unequal America since the Great Depression.

    Indeed, in this economic drama, McCain - not Barack Obama - is really in the starring role. That's because while Obama has offered up a progressive-though-moderate agenda slightly to the left of Clinton-ish neoliberalism, McCain has gone totally ideological. In doing that, he has polarized the argument and turned the election into a referendum on the economic Darwinism of the conservative movement - a Darwinism that, as my column shows, has built a machine that confiscates middle-class wealth and sends it up the income ladder.

    The opportunity to make a dramatic shift in public perception regarding tax and economic ideologies has never been greater for progressives. As I argue here, we are seeing an abject failure of what conservatives have been much more successful at selling to the American public than progressives have: the "irrefutable" nobility of Reaganomics and free markets.

    It's hard to be excited about the financial crisis, as it will hurt millions of Americans, and is probably far from hitting bottom, but it is also directly tied to McCain's crash-and-burn campaign, and an Obama win coupled with a Democrat house majority. Looking beyond just winning elections, I think it's time we have a long conversation - as a country - about coming this close to a second depression, and what we need to do avoid the ease with which we reached this point.

    30 Days, Every Four Years

    My favorite part of every presidential race is the final month. In the last 30 days, the desperation of the campaigns elevates the Bat-Shit Crazy to a level we rarely see outside of professional wrestling and Utah legislature ethics investigations. Many are offended by the ugliness of it, but I say sit back and enjoy. It's been a long time since Democrats were on the receiving end of attacks from those frustrated by imminent loss. And it's been a long cycle already. The Jerry Springer potential of the next 12 days is astronomical, and something to be fully enjoyed, not discouraged. Let me get you started...

    Conservative radio hosts Michael Savage and Rush Limbaugh and Obama Nation author Jerome Corsi -- who appeared as a guest on G. Gordon Liddy's radio show -- suggested or asserted that the true purpose of Sen. Barack Obama's current trip to Hawaii is not to visit his ailing grandmother, as Obama claims, but rather to address rumors -- widely debunked -- that Obama has failed to produce a valid U.S. birth certificate. However, as Media Matters for America has documented, the Obama campaign posted a copy of Obama's birth certificate on its "Fight the Smears" website and reportedly provided the original document to, whose staff concluded in an August 21 post that it "meets all of the requirements from the State Department for proving U.S. citizenship." A Hawaiian Health Department official also reportedly confirmed to that Obama's birth certificate is valid, and even Corsi's employer, the right-wing website WorldNetDaily, reported in an August 23 article that a "WND investigation into Obama's birth certificate utilizing forgery experts also found the document to be authentic."
    Forget the travesty that is anyone inviting Corsi on as a guest, and appreciate the fact that they are just desperate enough to allow such a fool a microphone.

    That's entertainment.

    McCain Hasn't Changed


    One of the most inaccurate narratives out there in our elite press corps is how John McCain 'changed' since his honorable campaign in 2000, and that his campaign right now, with its racism, dishonesty, and sheer lunatic anger, is a McCain who has let Republican operatives take over. There have been attempts to debunk this myth, including Rolling Stone's Make Believe Maverick and the Phoenix Times Postmodern John McCain: the presidential candidate some Arizonans know - and loathe.

    I have a friend who worked for McCain in 2000, and we used to talk about McCain's style of campaigning against Bush. He would note that all the hallmarks you see now - the racism, the random flashes of anger, the melodramatic pledges to stop doing something he's doing, the conservatism, the vicious rumors - it was all there. It's just that the elite press chose not to care until this year, and so, to cover up their egos, they invented this pretense that McCain 'changed'. But he didn't. He's always been a Republican.
    It's nice to hear there is at least one aspect of the GOP's nominee that's consistent.

    Space Limitations

    McCain is done. (h/t JMBell)

    [T]he Republican presidential nominee plans to address another group of supporters and a small group of reporters on the hotel lawn; his remarks will be simultaneously piped electronically to the party inside and other reporters in a media filing center, aides said.

    Aides said Thursday that the arrangement was the result of space limitations and that McCain might drop by the election watch party at some other point.

    Only a small press “pool” — mostly those who have traveled regularly with the candidate on his campaign plane, plus a few local Arizona reporters and other guests — will be physically present when McCain speaks.
    I said when Palin was chosen that if I had been an activist or donor for the McCain campaign, I'd be upset he wasn't taking the campaign more seriously.

    With this, I'm just saying McCain is a jackass. It's one thing to know you're toast, and another to thumb your nose at every person who has given money or time to try to get your 72 year old, integrity challenged ass elected.

    The Payback Voter's Guide

    Courtesy of Salt Blog:

    Think back to 2007, when a bunch of out-of-state nutjobs decided that Utah was the perfect test laboratory for their experimental plan to kill the "socialistic" public-school system by diverting our meager school funds toward wacky, private religious schools.

    Remember how we resoundingly defeated their crazy plan? Remember how we vowed to get back at the legislators who tried to shove the voucher program down our throats?

    Well, it's time for payback, baby! [...]
    Payback's a Bitch: Vote Against These Pro-voucher Candidates
    • Sen. Curt Bramble, Provo
    • Rep. David Clark, Santa Clara
    • Rep. Greg Curtis, Sandy
    • Rep. John Dougall, Highland
    • Rep. Keith Grover, Provo
    • Rep. Greg Hughes, Draper
    • Rep. Eric Hutchings, Kearns
    • Rep. Brad Last, St. George
    • Rep. Becky Lockhart, Provo
    • Rep. Stephen Sandstrom, Orem
    • Sen. Howard Stephenson, Draper
    • Rep. Steve Urquhart, St. George
    • Sen. Mike Waddoups, Taylorsville
    • Sen. Carlene Walker, Cottonwood Heights
    • Rep. Mark Walker, Sandy
    • Rep. Carl Wimmer, Herriman

    Wednesday, October 22, 2008

    Bishop and ES3, A Tale Of Mutual Back Scratching

    It's a story we've all heard before, congressman gets earmarks for a company, and the company kicks in a few bucks to get the congressman reelected. This time the characters in the story are ES3, a government military contractor, and Rob Bishop, congressman from Utah's 1st district.

    ES3 holds a fundraiser for Bishop each August, normally after the Utah Republican has inserted an earmark in legislation but before its final passage.

    In the past five years, Bishop has helped SELDI, and therefore ES3, gain about $9.8 million in earmarks, which are pet projects requested by individual members that benefit their state or district. During that time, ES3 brass kicked in nearly $90,000 to Bishop's campaign account. .
    Seems like a good deal for everyone involved right? But the rest of Utah's delegation isn't seeing the same love from ES3.
    In this campaign cycle, ES3 donations account for one of every $6 Bishop raised. Utah Sens. Orrin Hatch and Bob Bennett helped Bishop get the SELDI earmark. ES3 did not donate to either of them.
    Someone should let Hatch and Bennett know, I mean this company's giving Bishop over 15% of his overall fundraising in exchange for a little pork while the senators aren't getting any.

    Consumer Confidence Crisis: Lowest on Record.


    NEW YORK - Consumer confidence suffered its steepest monthly drop on record in October and construction starts on new homes fell to a 17-1/2 year low the previous month, as the financial crisis sent shock waves through the economy.The fall in consumer confidence came as a sharp deterioration in credit markets punished stocks and wiped out large chunks of savings held in retirement accounts.

    The sentiment drop erased a recovery in previous months that was inspired by a retreat in oil prices that had been at record highs."Confidence is collapsing so that's not good even as you have gas prices falling," said Doug Smith, chief economist for the Americas at Standard Chartered in New York.

    read more | digg story

    So, How Do You Know if You're a Socialist?

    Is he or isn't he? Hear from local communists, rarely tapped as campaign pundits, and their stance on claims that Sen. Barack Obama is veering towards socialism.These are hard times to be a socialist in America. And not just because there's a bourgeois-bloated Starbucks on every other corner, thumbing its capitalist nose at the proletariat.No, it's tough these days because you've got politicians on the right, the same guys who just helped nationalize the banking system, derisively and inaccurately calling the presidential candidate on the left a socialist. That's enough to make Karl Marx harumph in his grave.

    read more | digg story

    Tuesday, October 21, 2008

    Take Palin Seriously

    I dare you.

    Voter Fraud

    Not so much.

    So on Friday afternoon, the Obama campaign hit back, calling on U.S. Atty. Gen. Michael Mukasey to appoint a special prosecutor to look into the Republicans’ apparent attempt to use the Justice Dept., once again, to accomplish its political aims.

    Special Prosecutor Nora Dannehy is already investigating charges that the DOJ engaged in a partisan witch-hunt in the mass firing of U.S. attorneys. Obama’s lawyer asked Mukasey to expand that investigation to see if the problem is continuing.

    As MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann pointed out on Friday night, the same New Mexico GOP chairman who called for the criminal investigation of ACORN had previously sought the dismissal of New Mexico U.S. Atty. David Iglesias for not initiating prosecutions based on bogus allegations of voter fraud.

    Republicans have been charging for months now that ACORN is trying to steal the vote for Sen Barack Obama by submitting thousands of fake voter registrations, from “people” like, well, Mickey Mouse. Meanwhile, ACORN itself had been notifying authorities of all these false registrations, which in most states it’s required by law to turn in anyway.

    Though Mickey Mouse isn’t likely to show up and vote on election day, ACORN’s annoyed because some workers it paid to sign up new voters apparently signed up a list of Disney characters, or names chosen randomly, instead. Despite the misleading media reports on this, the only real fraud perpetrated appears to have been on ACORN itself.

    Monday, October 20, 2008

    GOP Base vs. Object Reality

    Who cares about "facts"?!

    Damn Liberal Media, with all their question asking and such.

    Conservatives Invent WaPo Reporter to Smear Obama

    Ah, the integrity of the right-wing.

    NEW YORK In recent months, conservatives have been caught red-faced spreading smears about Barack Obama via emails and blogs and Web sites, their sources eventually unmasked as tainted or non-existent people. Now here's another example, but this one is a little different--the source is a Washington Post reporter named Dale Lindsborg.

    Of course, there is no Dale Lindsborg at the Post (or seemingly anywhere) but when did that get in the way of a good smear?

    Even a giveaway line in his alleged account where Obama endorses an old Coke commercial song as our new national anthem did not deter some from believing it and making it "viral."

    For at least two weeks the "Lindsborg" account of an Obama appearance on "Meet the Press" on Sept. 7 has been rocketing around the world and back again via email and the Internet, sometimes showing up at reputable sites -- such as the Post itself -- in their Comments sections. Someone even brought it up on Wednesday in an online chat with Washington Post reporter Ann Kornblut at the paper's site. She said she knew of no Lindsborg but would check on it (hey, put Bob Woodward on the case).

    The charge is the old familiar tale of Obama not believing in honoring the flag, and hating America, with the new twist that he said this on "Meet the Press" a month ago (somehow the world missed this) and that it has been confirmed by the aforementioned Dale Lindsborg.

    It was debunked this week on the site, which traced it back to a satiric entry at an obscure site that was taken seriously and spread widely.

    Palin Objects to Robocalls

    Palin, thinking of her political career.


    Obama, speaking a short time ago on McCain's sleazy robocalls: "You really have to work hard to violate Governor Palin's standards on negative campaigning."

    Freddie Mac Paid Republican Firm $2 Million to Kill Regulation

    More from the Liberal Media:

    WASHINGTON – Freddie Mac secretly paid a Republican consulting firm $2 million to kill legislation that would have regulated and trimmed the mortgage finance giant and its sister company, Fannie Mae, three years before the government took control to prevent their collapse.

    In the cross hairs of the campaign carried out by DCI of Washington were Republican senators and a regulatory overhaul bill sponsored by Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb. DCI's chief executive is Doug Goodyear, whom John McCain's campaign later hired to manage the GOP convention in September.

    Freddie Mac's payments to DCI began shortly after the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee sent Hagel's bill to the then GOP-run Senate on July 28, 2005. All GOP members of the committee supported it; all Democrats opposed it.

    Eighty Six

    Obama's fundraising:

    $150 Million in September.

    Average campaign contribution is $86.

    That's as grassroots as a presidential campaign has gotten in our lifetime.


    Sunday, October 19, 2008

    Bailin' on Palin

    Damned Liberal Media!

    Newspaper presidential-endorsement season is well underway. The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle and Chicago Tribune announced their preferred candidate in the past 24 hours. All four endorsed Sen. Barack Obama.

    Big deal, you may say. It’s no surprise that the liberal media would support its favorite son. However, as the Tribune notes in its editorial, this marks the first time in the newspaper’s history that it has endorsed a Democrat for the nation’s highest office. The Los Angeles Times has not endorsed a candidate in the presidential race since 1972, and it has never supported a Democrat before either.

    The four newspapers all pointed to Sen. John McCain’s running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, as a key reason for endorsing Obama.
    While newspaper endorsements themselves are over-inflated in importance, they do tend to frame the debate, feeding the existent self repeating narrative in a "trickle down" pattern to local forums, where voters are actually influenced.

    I think the most important factor to recognize here is that the endorsements from many admittedly conservative leaning newspapers are not focused on Obama, but rather Palin's lack of qualifications, and what that says - most harshly depicted by the LA Times and Texas GOP rag The Eagle - about McCain's judgement.

    Newspaper editorialists, in their self-aggrandizing nature, take offense at the mockery her nomination embodies in "serious" circles of "serious" people having conversations more "serious" than those uneducated voters without a newspaper column could ever be capable of. It's reaching the right conclusion through the wrong means, and overwhelming that conclusion seems to be: "You can't be serious, Mr. McCain."

    Saturday, October 18, 2008

    I'm a Bully and a Coward

    Someone got their little feelers hurt on the internet.


    Friday, October 17, 2008

    Neo-Con Hawks for Obama

    WaPo's generally war mongering Neo-Con pandering editorial page just endorsed Obama. Why? Sarah.

    There are few public figures we have respected more over the years than Sen. John McCain [but] the choice is made easy in part by Mr. McCain's disappointing campaign, above all his irresponsible selection of a running mate who is not ready to be president.

    Sounds Suspicious

    Hertzberg speaks:

    ACORN has become the 24/7 story on Fox News, too, on account of reports that it has submitted several thousand phony registration forms to local boards of elections. These reports appear to be true. Nevertheless, the “scandal,” as Fox calls it, is itself on its face as phony as Mickey Mouse’s social security number. During this election cycle, the Times reported today, ACORN has deployed thirteen thousand mostly paid workers, who have registered 1.3 million new voters. One or two per cent of these workers turned in sheaves of forms that they filled out themselves with fake names and bogus addresses, and, even though at least a hundred of these workers have already been fired, the forged forms have been submitted to election boards. Sounds suspicious—unless you know that groups like ACORN are required by law to submit them, even if they’re obvious fakes. This is to prevent funny business, such as trashing forms that look like they might be Republican (or Democratic, as the case may be). Sounds suspicious—unless you know that ACORN normally sorts through forms, flags those that look fishy, and submits the fishy ones in a separate pile for the convenience of election officials. Sounds suspicious [...]
    It goes on like that, but you get the point.

    Thursday, October 16, 2008

    K-Talk's Inside Utah Politics Responds

    Apparently represented by a 13 year old...

    Jason -

    First off if you want to enable someone to reopen the comment section of their blog, holier than thou rhetoric isn't going to persuade anyone to do anything. I can't accuse you of anything but let me tell you about this week.

    1. I'm going to pull the poll off because of the "lurkers" or "trolls" that spend all day on the internet with nothing better to do than try and get other people's skin. I checked the page one day and there were about 19 votes for one of the questions and in the span of about 15 minutes it jumped to 37. At that time, there was also a comment to be moderated saying "look at the poll..blah..blah..blah" I'm not an idiot, I know you can delete the internet data & refresh the page and you can control a poll.

    2. There were people posting under names that can't be verified and anonymously and I had to not allow some comments that were coming through because obscene and inappropriate and others were purely with the intent of flaming. As an intern I help produce the radio show and set up the blog to help the legislators update info on the show etc.. If I didn't have school, work, internship or a life I still wouldn't want to moderate a forum, and the blog isn't set up to be a forum. So you know Jason I wasn't "cherrypicking" comments, I honestly don't care about people's political opinions enough to slant it one way or the other.

    When I have more time to set up the comments so I don't have to babysit it I will send you an email. I'm sure you're not the type of person that spends all day on the internet trying to tip polls or gives himself a bunch of "dittos" on a message board or post under different names just to annoy someone so I'm sure when I am able to set it up you can contribute & participate.

    I personally think if you cared enough to send an email than you probably are the one trolling and playing with the poll because it was fun to waste someone else's time.

    Incidentally, my comments still do not appear on the post.

    Setting the record straight my ass.

    Pleasing The Base, Or Just Crazy

    From last night's debate

    McCain: Just again, the example of the eloquence of Sen. Obama. He's health for the mother. You know, that's been stretched by the pro-abortion movement in America to mean almost anything.

    That's the extreme pro-abortion position, quote, "health."

    K-Talk's Inside Utah Politics - No Credibility

    From the Sentbox:

    Dear InsideUtahPolitics,

    Two nights ago I posted comments on this blog taking you to task for grandstanding rather than promoting an actual open forum. In response, not only did you refuse - through comment moderation - to post my comments, but you have turned commenting on the blog off entirely.

    Considering that this blog is a companion piece to a radio show, I believe this calls into question the merits of what you offer back to the public. Your focus is obviously not creating a discussion and fostering a healthy debate for a public good, but rather cheerleading and cherrypicking public sentiment to support that which you would like the public to hear or read. How noble.

    Based on this one, simple, reaction to a citizen's thoughts, you have lost all credibility.

    Jason Williams
    Ironic, too, as one of the hosts recently lauded the importance of free speech and public commentary. Thin skin and hypocrisy motivates all too many of our current state leaders and the media who give them a microphone.

    It looks like Rob has had the same experience I have.

    Wednesday, October 15, 2008

    Prop 8 Poll: For/Against?

    Tom asks two intriguing questions everyone should take a minute to ponder and respond to:

    Question 1

    Question 2

    And take the KVNU For the People Prop 8 poll.


    If you haven't already, give Morgan some money! Watch, if you need a reason.

    20 days left, so a $20 contribution would be better leadership at $1 a day. That's cheap!

    Tuesday, October 14, 2008


    "On the edge."

    WASHINGTON — A growing al Qaida-backed insurgency, combined with the Pakistani army's reluctance to launch an all-out crackdown, political infighting and energy and food shortages are plunging America's key ally in the war on terror deeper into turmoil and violence, says a soon-to-be completed U.S. intelligence assessment.

    A U.S. official who participated in drafting the top secret National Intelligence Estimate said it portrays the situation in Pakistan as "very bad." Another official called the draft "very bleak," and said it describes Pakistan as being "on the edge."

    The first official summarized the estimate's conclusions about the state of Pakistan as: "no money, no energy, no government."
    The report cites economic stress, a divided government without central power over the military, and growing anti-US sentiment as the primary reasons for the assessment.

    Appealing to the Base: Issues vs. Personality

    Hitchens speaks:

    >At my old English boarding school, we had a sporting saying that one should "tackle the ball and not the man." I carried on echoing this sort of unexamined nonsense for quite some time—in fact, until the New Hampshire primary of 1992, when it hit me very forcibly that the "personality" of one of the candidates was itself an "issue." In later years, I had little cause to revise my view that Bill Clinton's abysmal character was such as to be a "game changer" in itself, at least as important as his claim to be a "new Democrat." To summarize what little I learned from all this: A candidate may well change his or her position on, say, universal health care or Bosnia. But he or she cannot change the fact—if it happens to be a fact—that he or she is a pathological liar, or a dimwit, or a proud ignoramus. And even in the short run, this must and will tell.

    On "the issues" in these closing weeks, there really isn't a very sharp or highly noticeable distinction to be made between the two nominees, and their "debates" have been cramped and boring affairs as a result. But the difference in character and temperament has become plainer by the day, and there is no decent way of avoiding the fact. Last week's so-called town-hall event showed Sen. John McCain to be someone suffering from an increasingly obvious and embarrassing deficit, both cognitive and physical. And the only public events that have so far featured his absurd choice of running mate have shown her to be a deceiving and unscrupulous woman utterly unversed in any of the needful political discourses but easily trained to utter preposterous lies and to appeal to the basest element of her audience. McCain occasionally remembers to stress matters like honor and to disown innuendoes and slanders, but this only makes him look both more senile and more cynical, since it cannot (can it?) be other than his wish and design that he has engaged a deputy who does the innuendoes and slanders for him.

    I've seen a lot of video from the Palin rallies, and all that I would ad to what Hitchens writes in this op-ed is that the Republican Party has a base problem. The energy at the Palin events implies they like what she is slinging for McCain, but the polls seem to say there are just not enough of them left to make a difference in the election. What does a party do when it's base is shrinking? They change. McCain/Palin have squandered that opportunity, fully, and with zeal.

    Despite my fondness of the campaign structure of the Obama/Biden machine, support of various policies - from tax plan, economics, and health care - that Obama offers, and my personal belief that he is the better choice for the country with a consideration for foreign policy, it's worth acknowledging more objectively that nothing has changed since late August to explain Obama's growing poll lead and projected electoral college advantage, other than McCain's "New Day, New Issue" erratic, disjointed campaign style, and the infusion of Palin into the race. Obama's gains in the past 30 days aren't the result of a successful strategy to pull ahead, but rather the result of sitting back and letting McCain/Palin drive themselves into the ground.

    And it's working.

    Congressional Report: Bush's Use of Executive Power "Inaproppriate"

    Duh, but nice to have an official word.

    Lawmakers from both parties have concluded that President Bush engaged in a "legally unprecedented and inappropriate" use of his executive power authority when he intervened to scuttle a congressional inquiry into the White House's role in outing former CIA agent Valerie Plame.

    At issue is an interview of Vice President Dick Cheney conducted by the FBI during its investigation into the Plame leak. The House Oversight Committee last year requested a copy of Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald's report on that interview, and Bush has invoked executive privilege to justify his refusal to comply.

    In a 10-page draft report released Tuesday, Oversight Committee chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) and ranking member Tom Davis (R-VA) say the president's claim was unjustified.

    Courts have held that presidents can use executive power arguments to protect their ability to receive confidential advice from advisers, but the release of information about FBI interviews would not touch on such advice, the committee report says. Furthermore, neither Bush nor Cheney had any expectation that the interviews would remain confidential.

    McCain Promises to Cite Ayers in Wednesday Debate

    Good news for Obama:

    It appears Sen. John McCain will take Sen. Barack Obama up on his challenge.

    In an interview on a St. Louis radio station, McCain said Obama's comments that "I didn't have the guts" to talk about William Ayers in the last presidential debate have "probably ensured" that the former 1960s radical will come up in Wednesday's debate.
    Again, McCain seems to be campaigning against himself.

    The challenge from Obama and Biden ("Say it to my face!") is strong political strategy. If McCain doesn't, he looks week, if he does, they have an opportunity to let loose a response they've now had nearly two weeks to work on. Voters have short memories, but Ayers talk dominated the political landscape for a week or more last spring, and voters didn't care. (This is the benefit of a contested primary, another advantage for Obama) Negative attacks from McCain using Ayers to assert Obama himself is a terrorist have driven independents to Obama, and reinforced Obama's lead in national polls. McCain/Palin, it seems, still think this is a good idea. Advantage Obama/Biden. And this happens far enough out still that we can get back to discussing real issues... you know... the ones voters actually care about. The Subprime Solution

    Robert Wright and Robert Shiller on rational and irrational decisions, and reforming the mortgage market.

    Twisted Sense of Nationalism


    Part of the whole "Drill, Baby, Drill" ethic is a twisted sense of nationalism, as though the most important part of the phrase "reduce our dependence on foreign oil" is the word "foreign." You know, cuz whatever fossil fuels we get out of the ground are just fine as long as they come from American groud! So it's smart for Clinton to turn the chant on its head, into an economic call to action, not that it's divorced entirely from energy, of course. One of both Clinton's and Obama's plans for returning jobs to America has been to create a whole green economy where people will be put to work developing/installing/maintaining/repairing, etc. renewable alternative energy sources. As both Bill and Hillary Clinton have often said on the stump this year, solar panel installer is one job that can not be outsourced.
    Jobs, Baby, Jobs.

    Monday, October 13, 2008

    Got Them Where We Want Them

    SurveyUSA, Missouri: Obama (D) 51%, McCain (R) 43%

    McCain, this morning: "We've got them just where we want them!"

    Sunday, October 12, 2008

    Housing Data: 84 Percent of Subprime Mortgages Issued by Private Lenders

    There has been a flurried onslaught from Republicans, perpetuated by talk radio, pundits, surrogates, and gullible bloggers hoping to pin the lending meltdown and economic downturn on Fannie and Freddie Mac, the Community Reinvestment Act, and by proxy, Bill Clinton. Once again, those meddling facts are getting in their way. McClatchy:

    WASHINGTON — As the economy worsens and Election Day approaches, a conservative campaign that blames the global financial crisis on a government push to make housing more affordable to lower-class Americans has taken off on talk radio and e-mail. [...]

    Federal housing data reveal that the charges aren't true, and that the private sector, not the government or government-backed companies, was behind the soaring subprime lending at the core of the crisis. [...]

    Federal Reserve Board data show that:

    _ More than 84 percent of the subprime mortgages in 2006 were issued by private lending institutions.

    _ Private firms made nearly 83 percent of the subprime loans to low- and moderate-income borrowers that year.

    _ Only one of the top 25 subprime lenders in 2006 was directly subject to the housing law that's being lambasted by conservative critics.
    One in 25 operated under the Community Reinvestment Act. One. In 25.

    (h/t Sirotablog)

    Saturday, October 11, 2008

    McCain/Palin Making History Too

    Not to be outdone by Obama or Clinton or ACORN or melting icecaps, John McCain and Sarah Palin proudly own a little piece of historic firsts themselves (emphasis mine):

    The McCain/Palin ticket is the first in American history in which both candidates were found to have violated ethics standards before a national election.

    McCain, of course, was admonished by Senate Ethics Committee "for exercising 'poor judgment' for intervening" with federal regulators on behalf of Charles Keating, as part of the infamous Keating Five scandal.

    And now McCain's running mate has also been found to have violated state ethics laws and abused the powers of her office, as part of the "Troopergate" scandal.
    Way to go, guys!

    A Snake, Lobbying Itself

    The epistemic questions this raises are mind bending and creepy.

    With an emphasis on the creepy.

    Friday, October 10, 2008

    Iraq a Diversion for Al Qaeda?

    Ackerman, still on tour:

    Ken Timmerman of NewsMax asks the panel what Al Qaeda would look like if the surge in Iraq never happened “and Al Qaeda was allowed to take over Iraq” — which would be news to the 60 percent of Iraq that’s Shiite and never ever would have permitted such a thing.

    Bruce Hoffmann, unsurprisingly, disagrees with the entire premise of Timmerman’s question. The Anbar Awakening, which started before the surge, was more important than the surge, Hoffman says, though he adds that the “surge clearly mattered.” More centrally, “Al Qaeda has always seen Iraq as a diversion,” he adds, to buy time for Al Qaeda to regroup in Pakistan.

    Steve Coll, who wrote “Ghost Wars” and “The Bin Ladens,” agrees, and adds that the victory over Al Qaeda in Iraq is more properly seen as a victory for Iraqis.

    And if I can add: Timmerman should be happy that’s the case! Regardless of the immediate politics of the moment, it’s unquestionably better for the long-term war against Al Qaeda if Muslims defeat Al Qaeda. That’s the truest strategic victory there is: an indigenous, authentic, irrefutable setback for the jihadist entity, emanating precisely from the people it’s playing for.

    For Americans to claim credit for it is truly to commit a counterproductive category error. (Well, that is, unless the true goal here is to sanctify George W. Bush instead of defeating bin Laden.) Focus, right-wingers, focus!

    Signs You're Winning an Election

    #347: The Opposition Goes Bat-Shit.

    Examples from our local winger corps:

    This is the sorry state of the Republican base, and reality hasn't touched these folks for many a moon.

    George Bush's legacy, in all it's glory.

    Low Information Voters

    Gone Wild. (h/t JMBell)

    Thursday, October 9, 2008

    Sub-Prime Humor

    Funny. And Poigniant.

    (h/t P.M.)

    The Market Killed McCain

    Via The Washington Independent.

    The Surge (Still) Worked


    U.S. officials familiar with the new National Intelligence Estimate said they were unsure when the top-secret report would be completed and whether it would be published before the Nov. 4 presidential election.

    More than a half-dozen officials spoke to McClatchy on condition of anonymity because NIE's, the most authoritative analyses produced by the U.S. intelligence community, are restricted to the president, his senior aides and members of Congress except in rare instances when just the key findings are made public.

    The new NIE, which reflects the consensus of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, has significant implications for Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama, whose differences over the Iraq war are a major issue in the presidential campaign.

    The findings seem to cast doubts on McCain's frequent assertions that the United States is "on a path to victory" in Iraq by underscoring the deep uncertainties of the situation despite the 30,000-strong U.S. troop surge for which he was the leading congressional advocate.
    The surge troops have been withdrawn at this point, and violence is down to a low similar to 2004. But we've achieved this by literally buying an army with the 'Sons of Baghdad' coalitions - an organization not trusted the Iraqi government - at a fee of $25million a month ($300 per "soldier). Obviously the money pit isn't infinite, nor is this a sturdy coalition with a prominent future in peace keeping in the region. So what's next?

    No answers so far. But for perspective, these were the same questions we were asking ourselves pre-Surge, mid-Surge, and now post-Surge.

    So the surge worked...