Saturday, October 18, 2008

Tampa Tribune Endorses John McCain?

   The title is not an actual question, because the Tribune in Tampa did endorse John McCain for President yesterday. This is no surprise to anyone who has ever read this trashy newspaper for any length of time, as we know that the Tribune is a Republican leaning rag anyway.

   What is surprising is that just last week, the paper was questioning McCain and his policies that he has been spouting about during his campaign for the White House.

Tampa Tribune, Oct. 9, 2008

McCain has lost ground to Sen. Barack Obama not because Obama's ideas are superior, but because Obama believes in what he's trying to sell.

McCain is less convincing. On the economy, he promises to spend billions to keep overextended homeowners in homes they might not be able to afford. That leaves us wondering where McCain would send the bill - to the majority of homeowners who aren't in financial trouble or to our children?

   On his VP pick Sarah Palin, and her tactics on the campaign trail, they wrote...

McCain has either lost control of the campaign or endorses her rough campaign tactics. With the ticket trailing in the polls, Palin's role is to excite the base, not dangerously incite it.

At a time when a mere nine percent of us tell pollsters we think the country is heading in the right direction, America needs the old McCain to lead us back on course. We need the one who appealed to our common sense and conservative instincts.

The way for McCain to win this election is to convince us he is unafraid to lose. To the old McCain, it would have come naturally.

   Contrast the previous statement with yesterday's endorsement.

Hard economic times, a disappointing Republican administration and the seductive promises of a master orator are pushing America toward a European-style social democracy.

If you don't want that to happen, vote for Republican Sen. John McCain.

Obama's vision of hope shines like a rainbow, appealing but just out of reach. McCain's call to freedom and responsibility is less exciting, but you know it works.

The Tribune encourages voters to vote what they believe, not what they wish were true. The nation needs a stable leader in these unpredictable times.

   So let me get this straight. The Tampa Tribune is now endorsing the man that just last week they were pretty much calling erratic and unable to control his campaign? They are now claiming that John McCain is a stable leader who is fit to be President? LMFAO!!

  The better choice for a newspaper in the Tampa Bay area is the St. Petersburg Times.  This paper does news right.

Obama Going After Fake GOP Election Fraud Claims


by drational   Fri Oct 17, 2008

Per Josh Marshall:

The General Counsel of the Obama campaign is currently holding a media conference call to "Announce Major Action Taken Today To Address Illegal Conduct and Improprieties in the Sham "Anti-Fraud" Campaign Orchestrated By McCain-Palin and the RNC."

Remember Todd Graves getting replaced by Brad Schlozman in Missouri when Graves failed to aggressively prosecute ACORN in 2006?

Remember Attorney General Gonzales changing the DOJ rules on starting investigations before elections?

Remember FOX news harping on ACORN and "Voter Fraud" for the past week?

Now we come to the last ditch plan of the GOP to try to salvage this election for McCain.  The AP announced yesterday the DOJ was orchestrating an FBI nationwide investigation of ACORN.

In past elections, the GOP would continue to push this issue unopposed up until the election, while their well-organized lawyers and superior finances kept the Democrats a step behind in the courts.


On the heels of today's Democratic Supreme Court Victory, Obama is bringing forth the clear link between the US Attorney Scandal and the present election shenanigans of the GOP, especially their use of the FBI to go after ACORN:
More Details at TPMmuckraker:

"With this voter fraud [investigation], we're seeing an unholy alliance of law enforcement and the ugliest form of partisan politics," Bob Bauer, an elections lawyer with the Obama camp, said on a conference call with reporters just now. Bauer compared the decision to launch the investigation with the US attorneys scandal, in which several US attorneys were fired for their unwillingess to pursue politically charged cases, including voter fraud, with sufficient aggression to satisfy the Bush administration.

Be sure to check out the 7 page Obama letter to Attorney General Mukasey- it is a work of art, and a strong attack on the GOP dirty tricks.


  The GOP will not give this up easily, as I believe vote suppression is their only hope of beating Obama next month.  I would direct all readers to the superb coverage of vote suppression that Josh Marshall and the whole team over at TPM have done in the past 2 years.  There is a lot of bacground to help you prepare to rebut the thugs out there.

Update 2:
One of the beautiful aspects of this move by Obama (IMHO) is that it brings the ugliness of the US Attorney scandal to fresh light in this election cycle.
The US Attorney scandal was ONLY moved forward because of Dem electoral victory in 2006, and it very much hurt Bush...  He lost his Attorney General (Gonzo) and most of the top brass of the DOJ, as well as part of his legal/political team (Rove, Miers, Taylor).  McCain was relatively unscathed by the scandal, but by making ACORN be a dominant part of his strategy, he is now subject to guilt by association with the vote suppression-obsessed republicans who directed the scandal.

As Marcy Wheeler summarizes the Obama letter:

Shorter Obama campaign: Republicans are already under criminal investigation for this stuff. Don't let them get away with the same kind of criminal conduct again.

In retrospect, I believe the Obama camp has been sitting on this move for weeks to let the GOP get deeper and deeper invested in crying "vote fraud".
Just brilliant.
Update #3
This issue was featured on MSNBC Countdown with Keith Olberman.  None other than Bob Bauer, Barack's general counsel and the author of the Obama attack on GOP fraud, was present to define the facts.  There is no doubt that the democrats are synched here.
Stay tuned folks, we got some live wires fighting for us.

West Virginia Voters Using Corrupted Voting Machines?

   We all knew that it would not be long before the stories about machines picking the wrong candidate would surface.


At least three early voters in Jackson County had a hard time voting for candidates they want to win.

Virginia Matheney and Calvin Thomas said touch-screen machines in the county clerk's office in Ripley kept switching their votes from Democratic to Republican candidates.

"When I touched the screen for Barack Obama, the check mark moved from his box to the box indicating a vote for John McCain," said Matheney, who lives in Kenna.

Calvin Thomas, 81, who retired from Kaiser Aluminum in Ravenswood in 1983 and now lives in Ripley, experienced the same problem.

"When I pushed Obama, it jumped to McCain. When I went down to governor's office and punched [Gov. Joe] Manchin, it went to the other dude. When I went to Karen Facemyer [the incumbent Republican state senator], I pushed the Democrat, but it jumped again.

"The rest of them were OK, but the machine sent my votes for those top three offices from the Democrat to the Republican," Thomas said.

Deputy Secretary of State Sarah Bailey said, "When we received a call about this, we immediately called the county and told them to recalibrate the machines to make sure the finger-touch [area] lines up with the ballot.

   This my friends is what I call election fraud made possible by both the Republican Party and the makers of the electronic voting machines. You will soon hear such bullshit as " software glitch " or whatever, but that is not true.

   Remember the last two Presidential elections? All of these software glitches always favor the Republicans and never the Democrats.  That is not a glitch, that is theft. Only two options with the software. The stuff has been hacked and programmed to switch votes to the Republicans, or the machines are programmed to switch votes in the first place.

    Keep an eye on your vote, people. Take a camera phone with you and get a picture of your vote (s). We cannot allow another theft in a Presidential election, especially this one.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Obama Gets Endorsement From Chicago Tribune

   This is a rather surprising and a very big endorsement coming from the Tribune as they have never endorsed a Democrat for President of the United States.

Chicago Tribune

On Nov. 4 we're going to elect a president to lead us through a perilous time and restore in us a common sense of national purpose.
The strongest candidate to do that is Sen. Barack Obama. The Tribune is proud to endorse him today for president of the United States.

We can provide some assurance. We have known Obama since he entered politics a dozen years ago. We have watched him, worked with him, argued with him as he rose from an effective state senator to an inspiring U.S. senator to the Democratic Party's nominee for president.

We have tremendous confidence in his intellectual rigor, his moral compass and his ability to make sound, thoughtful, careful decisions. He is ready.

  That is three great endorsement for Friday, the first one being from The           Washington Post, and then from the...


We need a leader who demonstrates thoughtful calm and grace under pressure, one not prone to volatile gesture or capricious pronouncement. We need a leader well-grounded in the intellectual and legal foundations of American freedom. Yet we ask that the same person also possess the spark and passion to inspire the best within us: creativity, generosity and a fierce defense of justice and liberty.

The Times without hesitation endorses Barack Obama for president.
Our nation has never before had a candidate like Obama, a man born in the 1960s, of black African and white heritage, raised and educated abroad as well as in the United States, and bringing with him a personal narrative that encompasses much of the American story but that, until now, has been reflected in little of its elected leadership. The excitement of Obama's early campaign was amplified by that newness. But as the presidential race draws to its conclusion, it is Obama's character and temperament that come to the fore. It is his steadiness. His maturity.

  The Tribune endorsement is surprising especially since they endorsed John McCain back in the primaries.

UPDATE:  Obama has also been endorsed by the Chicago Sun-Times

Our endorsement for president of the United States goes to Sen. Barack Obama, Chicago’s adopted son. He has the unique background, superior intellect, sound judgment and first-rate temperament to lead our nation in difficult times.

  In all fairness, I should note that John McCain was endorsed by.......NOBODY

President Barack Obama?

   If you listen to or even read the latest comments from the bigger newspapers or the cable news shows, except for FOX, then you know that most are saying that after the last debate, John McCain might as well go home to Arizona.

   I feel the same way myself, but, I've watched these elections still be lost do to some crap such as " the Bradley Effect " and whatever. I think that the Bradley effect is just a lame cover for Republican election left, so don't celebrate the Obama victory yet people. It ain't over till it's over.

  That said, here are a few words from Ruben Navarrette Jr. from CNN. He's basically talking about how Obama beat McCain like he was his bitch in the last debate.

  Make no mistake, Barack Obama is one cool customer. Now, after the last debate, it seems all but certain that the Iceman cometh to the White House.

In this week's match-up, Obama snatched the gloves out of McCain's hands and slapped him silly with them. I suppose the hope was that Obama would get rattled and make a mistake. But Obama doesn't get rattled or make many mistakes.

Obviously, it takes a lot to get under Obama's skin. McCain sure tried. Maybe this is the guy we want negotiating with world leaders. Maybe after eight years of George W. Bush stubbornness, on the heels of eight years of Clinton emotiveness, we need to send out for ice.

  So how did the voters who watched the debate like McCain?

In the CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll, 70 percent of debate watchers found Obama more likable. Only 22 percent said that about McCain.

  I really do hope that Senator McCain's White House hopes are dashed to no end. The man is not likable and he has no honor, as we've since since he was nominated by the Republicans. John McCain took the drastic step of selling all that he was in order to be the next President and this country does not need someone as low as McCain in the White House. George Bush was enough for us and so too are the rest of the Republicans.


" Joe The Plumber " Says He'd Get Tax Cut With Obama's Plan

   Even this far right Republican had to finally admit that he would get a tax break under Barack Obama's tax plan.  I'm betting that the McCain campaign is now wishing that they had never introduced this plumber guy. McCain might have done better if he had gone with " Hanna the Hooker " or someone like that. But then again, maybe he has.

  Listen to Joe...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Barack Obama Gets Washington Post Endorsement

      I do not care for the Post all that much, but endorsing Barack Obama for the President of the United States is big coming from them. The paper does give valid reasoning behind their choice, and they also point out why they believe that John McCain is not fit to be our next President.

          Washington Post

Barack Obama for President

Friday, October 17, 2008; A24

THE NOMINATING process this year produced two unusually talented and qualified presidential candidates. There are few public figures we have respected more over the years than Sen. John McCain. Yet it is without ambivalence that we endorse Sen. Barack Obama for president.

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. It is made easy in larger part, though, because of our admiration for Mr. Obama and the impressive qualities he has shown during this long race. Yes, we have reservations and concerns, almost inevitably, given Mr. Obama's relatively brief experience in national politics. But we also have enormous hopes.

Mr. Obama is a man of supple intelligence, with a nuanced grasp of complex issues and evident skill at conciliation and consensus-building. At home, we believe, he would respond to the economic crisis with a healthy respect for markets tempered by justified dismay over rising inequality and an understanding of the need for focused regulation. Abroad, the best evidence suggests that he would seek to maintain U.S. leadership and engagement, continue the fight against terrorists, and wage vigorous diplomacy on behalf of U.S. values and interests. Mr. Obama has the potential to become a great president. Given the enormous problems he would confront from his first day in office, and the damage wrought over the past eight years, we would settle for very good.

The first question, in fact, might be why either man wants the job. Start with two ongoing wars, both far from being won; an unstable, nuclear-armed Pakistan; a resurgent Russia menacing its neighbors; a terrorist-supporting Iran racing toward nuclear status; a roiling Middle East; a rising China seeking its place in the world. Stir in the threat of nuclear or biological terrorism, the burdens of global poverty and disease, and accelerating climate change. Domestically, wages have stagnated while public education is failing a generation of urban, mostly minority children. Now add the possibility of the deepest economic trough since the Great Depression.

Not even his fiercest critics would blame President Bush for all of these problems, and we are far from being his fiercest critic. But for the past eight years, his administration, while pursuing some worthy policies (accountability in education, homeland security, the promotion of freedom abroad), has also championed some stunningly wrongheaded ones (fiscal recklessness, torture, utter disregard for the planet's ecological health) and has acted too often with incompetence, arrogance or both. A McCain presidency would not equal four more years, but outside of his inner circle, Mr. McCain would draw on many of the same policymakers who have brought us to our current state. We believe they have richly earned, and might even benefit from, some years in the political wilderness.

  I am somewhat saddened that the Post did not mention Bush's wrongheaded policies of illegal wiretaps and the screwed up Protect America Act.  The paper did make the correct endorsement in choosing Barack Obama!

  One more piece of the article.

  OF COURSE, Mr. Obama offers a great deal more than being not a Republican. There are two sets of issues that matter most in judging these candidacies. The first has to do with restoring and promoting prosperity and sharing its fruits more evenly in a globalizing era that has suppressed wages and heightened inequality. Here the choice is not a close call. Mr. McCain has little interest in economics and no apparent feel for the topic. His principal proposal, doubling down on the Bush tax cuts, would exacerbate the fiscal wreckage and the inequality simultaneously. Mr. Obama's economic plan contains its share of unaffordable promises, but it pushes more in the direction of fairness and fiscal health. Both men have pledged to tackle climate change.

  One very important difference between the two candidates...

The next president is apt to have the chance to nominate one or more Supreme Court justices. Given the court's current precarious balance, we think Obama appointees could have a positive impact on issues from detention policy and executive power to privacy protections and civil rights.     Read More...

  McCain will not concern himself with our privacy rights or our civil rights if he is allowed to choose members to the Supreme Court.

Barack Obama: Does He See The Full Picture?

  Most of the time I usually have an article with either nothing but praise for Barack Obama or I am dissing John McCain and the rest of the Republican group.

  Something a little bit different for you from TomDispatch.

   Original Article

Tomgram: Mike Davis, Casino Capitalism, Obama, and Us

Recently, while traveling in the West, I had lunch at a modest-sized casino set in a wild, barren-looking, craggy landscape. On the hills above it spun giant, ivory white, modernistic windmills, looking for all the world like Martian invaders from War of the Worlds. I hadn't been inside a casino since the 1970s -- my mistake -- and the experience was eye-poppingly wild. Venturing into its vast room of one-armed bandits and other games was like suddenly finding oneself inside a giant pinball machine for the digital age, everything gaudily lit, blinking, pinging, flashing, accompanied, of course, by a soundscape to match.

It was (as it was undoubtedly meant to be) strangely exhilarating, riveting, totally distracting, and a curious reminder right now of just how distracting "casino capitalism" -- as Mike Davis calls it in today's post -- really has been. For years, with all the economic bells and whistles, all the mansions and yachts, all those arcane derivatives, all the high-tech glamour and glory, with Americans pouring into the stock market (or at least their pension plans and mutual funds doing it for them), you could almost not notice the increasingly barren, rocky world outside the American casino. You could almost not notice the shrinking of real value, of actual productivity in this country. These last weeks, Americans -- those who weren't already outside, at least -- have been rudely shoved into the real world to assess what their value (personal, national, global) actually is.

The next president will look out over a new, far less dazzling, far more forbidding landscape. Mike Davis, author most recently of In Praise of Barbarians: Essays Against Empire, who is little short of a national treasure, offers his own incandescent view of the landscape, presidential, economic, and otherwise, from the ledge at the edge of the canyon. (While you're at it, check out a podcast of Davis discussing why the New Deal isn't relevant as a soluton today by clicking here.) Tom

Can Obama See the Grand Canyon?

On Presidential Blindness and Economic Catastrophe
By Mike Davis

Let me begin, very obliquely, with the Grand Canyon and the paradox of trying to see beyond cultural or historical precedent.

The first European to look into the depths of the great gorge was the conquistador Garcia Lopez de Cardenas in 1540. He was horrified by the sight and quickly retreated from the South Rim. More than three centuries passed before Lieutenant Joseph Christmas Ives of the U.S. Army Corps of Topographical Engineers led the second major expedition to the rim. Like Garcia Lopez, he recorded an "awe that was almost painful to behold." Ives's expedition included a well-known German artist, but his sketch of the Canyon was wildly distorted, almost hysterical.

Neither the conquistadors nor the Army engineers, in other words, could make sense of what they saw; they were simply overwhelmed by unexpected revelation. In a fundamental sense, they were blind because they lacked the concepts necessary to organize a coherent vision of an utterly new landscape.

Accurate portrayal of the Canyon only arrived a generation later when the Colorado River became the obsession of the one-armed Civil War hero John Wesley Powell and his celebrated teams of geologists and artists. They were like Victorian astronauts reconnoitering another planet. It took years of brilliant fieldwork to construct a conceptual framework for taking in the canyon. With "deep time" added as the critical dimension, it was finally possible for raw perception to be transformed into consistent vision.

The result of their work, The Tertiary History of the Grand Canyon District, published in 1882, is illustrated by masterpieces of draftsmanship that, as Powell's biographer Wallace Stegner once pointed out, "are more accurate than any photograph." That is because they reproduce details of stratigraphy usually obscured in camera images. When we visit one of the famous viewpoints today, most of us are oblivious to how profoundly our eyes have been trained by these iconic images or how much we have been influenced by the idea, popularized by Powell, of the Canyon as a museum of geological time.

But why am I talking about geology? Because, like the Grand Canyon's first explorers, we are looking into an unprecedented abyss of economic and social turmoil that confounds our previous perceptions of historical risk. Our vertigo is intensified by our ignorance of the depth of the crisis or any sense of how far we might ultimately fall.

Weimar Returns in Limbaughland

Let me confess that, as an aging socialist, I suddenly find myself like the Jehovah's Witness who opens his window to see the stars actually falling out of the sky. Although I've been studying Marxist crisis theory for decades, I never believed I'd actually live to see financial capitalism commit suicide. Or hear the International Monetary Fund warn of imminent "systemic meltdown."

Thus, my initial reaction to Wall Street's infamous 777.7 point plunge a few weeks ago was a very sixties retro elation. "Right on, Karl!" I shouted. "Eat your derivatives and die, Wall Street swine!" Like the Grand Canyon, the fall of the banks can be a terrifying but sublime spectacle.

But the real culprits, of course, are not being trundled off to the guillotine; they're gently floating to earth in golden parachutes. The rest of us may be trapped on the burning plane without a pilot, but the despicable Richard Fuld, who used Lehman Brothers to loot pension funds and retirement accounts, merely sulks on his yacht.

Out in the stucco deserts of Limbaughland, moreover, fear is already being distilled into a good ol' boy version of the "stab in the back" myth that rallied the ruined German petite bourgeoisie to the swastika. If you listen to the rage on commute AM, you'll know that ‘socialism' has already taken a lien on America, Barack Hussein Obama is terrorism's Manchurian candidate, the collapse of Wall Street was caused by elderly black people with Fannie Mae loans, and ACORN in its voter registration drives has long been padding the voting rolls with illegal brown hordes.

In other times, Sarah Palin's imitation of Father Charles Coughlin -- the priest who preached an American Reich in the 1930s -- in drag might be hilarious camp, but with the American way of life in sudden freefall, the specter of star-spangled fascism doesn't seem quite so far-fetched. The Right may lose the election, but it already possesses a sinister, historically-proven blueprint for rapid recovery.

Progressives have no time to waste. In the face of a new depression that promises folks from Wasilla to Timbuktu an unknown world of pain, how do we reconstruct our understanding of the globalized economy? To what extent can we look to either Obama or any of the Democrats to help us analyze the crisis and then act effectively to resolve it?

Is Obama FDR?

If the Nashville "town hall" debate is any guide, we will soon have another blind president. Neither candidate had the guts or information to answer the simple questions posed by the anxious audience: What will happen to our jobs? How bad will it get? What urgent steps should be taken?

Instead, the candidates stuck like flypaper to their obsolete talking points. McCain's only surprise was yet another innovation in deceit: a mortgage relief plan that would reward banks and investors without necessarily saving homeowners.

Obama recited his four-point program, infinitely better in principle than his opponent's preferential option for the rich, but abstract and lacking in detail. It remains more a rhetorical promise than the blueprint for the actual machinery of reform. He made only passing reference to the next phase of the crisis: the slump of the real economy and likely mass unemployment on a scale not seen for 70 years.

With baffling courtesy to the Bush administration, he failed to highlight any of the other weak links in the economic system: the dangerous overhang of credit-default swap obligations left over from the fall of Lehman Brothers; the trillion-dollar black hole of consumer credit-card debt that may threaten the solvency of JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America; the implacable decline of General Motors and the American auto industry; the crumbling foundations of municipal and state finance; the massacre of tech equity and venture capital in Silicon Valley; and, most unexpectedly, sudden fissures in the financial solidity of even General Electric.

In addition, both Obama and his vice presidential partner Joe Biden, in their support for Secretary of the Treasury Paulson's plan, avoid any discussion of the inevitable result of cataclysmic restructuring and government bailouts: not "socialism," but ultra-capitalism -- one that is likely to concentrate control of credit in a few leviathan banks, controlled in large part by sovereign wealth funds but subsidized by generations of public debt and domestic austerity.

Never have so many ordinary Americans been nailed to a cross of gold (or derivatives), yet Obama is the most mild-mannered William Jennings Bryan imaginable. Unlike Sarah Palin who masticates the phrase "the working class" with defiant glee, he hews to a party line that acknowledges only the needs of an amorphous "middle class" living on a largely mythical "Main Street."

If we are especially concerned about the fate of the poor or unemployed, we are left to read between the lines, with no help from his talking points that espouse clean coal technology, nuclear power, and a bigger military, but elide the urgency of a renewed war on poverty as championed by John Edwards in his tragically self-destructed primary campaign. But perhaps inside the cautious candidate is a man whose humane passions transcend his own nearsighted centrist campaign. As a close friend, exasperated by my chronic pessimism, chided me the other day, "don't be so unfair. FDR didn't have a nuts and bolts program either in 1933. Nobody did."

What Franklin D. Roosevelt did possess in that year of breadlines and bank failures, according to my friend, was enormous empathy for the common people and a willingness to experiment with government intervention, even in the face of the monolithic hostility of the wealthy classes. In this view, Obama is's re-imagining of our 32nd president: calm, strong, deeply in touch with ordinary needs, and willing to accept the advice of the country's best and brightest.

The Death of Keynesianism

But even if we concede to the Illinois senator a truly Rooseveltian or, even better, Lincolnian strength of character, this hopeful analogy is flawed in at least three principal ways:

First, we can't rely on the Great Depression as analog to the current crisis, nor upon the New Deal as the template for its solution. Certainly, there is a great deal of déjà vu in the frantic attempts to quiet panic and reassure the public that the worst has passed. Many of Paulson's statements, indeed, could have been directly plagiarized from Herbert Hoover's Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon, and both presidential campaigns are frantically cribbing heroic rhetoric from the early New Deal. But just as the business press has been insisting for years, this is not the Old American Economy, but an entirely new-fangled contraption built from outsourced parts and supercharged by instantaneous world markets in everything from dollars and defaults to hog bellies and disaster futures.

We are seeing the consequences of a perverse restructuring that began with the presidency of Ronald Reagan and which has inverted the national income shares of manufacturing (21% in 1980; 12% in 2005) and those of financial services (15% in 1980; 21% in 2005). In 1930, the factories may have been shuttered but the machinery was still intact; it hadn't been auctioned off at five cents on the dollar to China.

On the other hand, we shouldn't disparage the miracles of contemporary market technology. Casino capitalism has proven its mettle by transmitting the deadly virus of Wall Street at unprecedented velocity to every financial center on the planet. What took three years at the beginning of the 1930s -- that is, the full globalization of the crisis -- has taken only three weeks this time around. God help us, if, as seems to be happening, unemployment tops the levees at anything like the same speed.

Second, Obama won't inherit Roosevelt's ultimate situational advantage -- having emergent tools of state intervention and demand management (later to be called "Keynesianism") empowered by an epochal uprising of industrial workers in the world's most productive factories.

If you've been watching the sad parade of economic gurus on McNeil-Lehrer, you know that the intellectual shelves in Washington are now almost bare. Neither major party retains more than a few enigmatic shards of policy traditions different from the neo-liberal consensus on trade and privatization. Indeed, posturing pseudo-populists aside, it is unclear whether anyone inside the Beltway, including Obama's economic advisors, can think clearly beyond the indoctrinated mindset of Goldman Sachs, the source of the two most prominent secretaries of the treasury over the last decade.

Keynes, now suddenly mourned, is actually quite dead. More importantly, the New Deal did not arise spontaneously from the goodwill or imagination of the White House. On the contrary, the social contract for the post-1935 Second New Deal was a complex, adaptive response to the greatest working-class movement in our history, in a period when powerful third parties still roamed the political landscape and Marxism exercised extraordinary influence on American intellectual life.

Even with the greatest optimism of the will, it is difficult to imagine the American labor movement recovering from defeat as dramatically as it did in 1934-1937. The decisive difference is structural rather than ideological. (Indeed, today's union movement is much more progressive than the decrepit, nativist American Federation of Labor in 1930.) The power of labor within a Walmart-ized service economy is simply more dispersed and difficult to mobilize than in the era of giant urban-industrial concentrations and ubiquitous factory neighborhoods.

Is War the Answer?

The third problem with the New Deal analogy is perhaps the most important. Military Keynesianism is no longer an available deus ex machina. Let me explain.

In 1933, when FDR was inaugurated, the United States was in full retreat from foreign entanglements, and there was little controversy about bringing a few hundred Marines home from the occupations of Haiti and Nicaragua. It took two years of world war, the defeat of France, and the near collapse of England to finally win a majority in Congress for rearmament, but when war production finally started up in late 1940 it became a huge engine for the reemployment of the American work force, the real cure for the depressed job markets of the 1930s. Subsequently, American world power and full employment would align in a way that won the loyalty of several generations of working-class voters.

Today, of course, the situation is radically different. A bigger Pentagon budget no longer creates hundreds of thousands of stable factory jobs, since significant parts of its weapons production is now actually outsourced, and the ideological link between high-wage employment and intervention -- good jobs and Old Glory on a foreign shore -- while hardly extinct is structurally weaker than at any time since the early 1940s. Even in the new military (largely a hereditary caste of poor whites, blacks, and Latinos) demoralization is reaching the stage of active discontent and opening up new spaces for alternative ideas.

Although both candidates have endorsed programs, including expansion of Army and Marine combat strength, missile defense (aka "Star Wars"), and an intensified war in Afghanistan, that will enlarge the military-industrial complex, none of this will replenish the supply of decent jobs nor prime a broken national pump. However, in the midst of a deep slump, what a huge military budget can do is obliterate the modest but essential reforms that make up Obama's plans for healthcare, alternative energy, and education.

In other words, Rooseveltian guns and butter have become a contradiction in terms, which means that the Obama campaign is engineering a catastrophic collision between its national security priorities and its domestic policy goals.

The Fate of Obama-ism

Why don't such smart people see the Grand Canyon?

Maybe they do, in which case deception is truly the mother's milk of American politics; or perhaps Obama has become the reluctant prisoner, intellectually as well as politically, of Clintonism: that is say, of a culturally permissive neo-liberalism whose New Deal rhetoric masks the policy spirit of Richard Nixon.

It's worth asking, for instance, what in the actual substance of his foreign policy agenda differentiates the Democratic candidate from the radioactive legacy of the Bush Doctrine? Yes, he would close Guantanamo, talk to the Iranians, and thrill hearts in Europe. He also promises to renew the Global War on Terror (in much the same way that Bush senior and Clinton sustained the core policies of Reaganism, albeit with a "more human face").

In case anyone has missed the debates, let me remind you that the Democratic candidate has chained himself, come hell or high water, to a global strategy in which "victory" in the Middle East (and Central Asia) remains the chief premise of foreign policy, with the Iraqi-style nation-building hubris of Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz repackaged as a "realist" faith in global "stabilization."

True, the enormity of the economic crisis may compel President Obama to renege on some of candidate Obama's ringing promises to support an idiotic missile defense system or provocative NATO memberships for Georgia and Ukraine. Nonetheless, as he emphasizes in almost every speech and in each debate, defeating the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, together with a robust defense of Israel, constitute the keystone of his national security agenda.

Under huge pressure from Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats alike to cut the budget and reduce the exponential increase in the national debt, what choices would President Obama be forced to make early in his administration? More than likely comprehensive health-care will be whittled down to a barebones plan, "alternative energy" will simply mean the fraud of "clean coal," and anything that remains in the Treasury, after Wall Street's finished its looting spree, will buy bombs to pulverize more Pashtun villages, ensuring yet more generations of embittered mujahideen and jihadis.

Am I unduly cynical? Perhaps, but I lived through the Lyndon Johnson years and watched the War on Poverty, the last true New Deal program, destroyed to pay for slaughter in Vietnam.

It is bitterly ironic, but, I suppose, historically predictable that a presidential campaign millions of voters have supported for its promise to end the war in Iraq has now mortgaged itself to a "tougher than McCain" escalation of a hopeless conflict in Afghanistan and the Pakistani tribal frontier. In the best of outcomes, the Democrats will merely trade one brutal, losing war for another. In the worst case, their failed policies may set the stage for the return of Cheney and Rove, or their even more sinister avatars.

Mike Davis is the author of In Praise of Barbarians: Essays Against Empire (Haymarket Books, 2008) and Buda's Wagon: A Brief History of the Car Bomb (Verso, 2007). He is currently working on a book about cities, poverty, and global change. You can listen to a podcast of Davis discussing why the New Deal isn't relevant as a solution today by clicking here.

Copyright 2008 Mike Davis

Is It Over For McCain?

  I missed the debate last night because I was stuck at the border crossing, in line, waiting to get back into the United States. Mexico must have has some kind of a sale going on, who knows.

  But from the videos that I have taken peeks at, it appears that John McCain bit the dust in this debate also. I was amused with McCain's  " dear in headlights " look and a few other facial expressions that he had. I see that he still can't get past the " grumpy old man " attitude.

   That being said...

   Joan Vennochi  of The Boston Globe has an interesting take on McCain's performance and his chances for the White House.

IT'S OVER. John McCain still hasn't told the country why he should be president.

He has talking points. He is against taxes, earmarks, and pork. But he can't knit what he opposes into a coherent economic philosophy that would inspire voters to get behind him in the final days of this presidential campaign.

He has an inspirational life story. But in this campaign, he never connected his biography to his presidential ambition, and he never told voters how it would shape a McCain administration and make him a better president than his opponent.

McCain has long years of political experience, exactly what Democrat Barack Obama lacks. But McCain is unable to explain why his experience makes him better able to lead the country.

Obama grinned; McCain grimaced.

Each knows his destiny. One man is walking to the White House. The other is just a politically dead man walking.

   McCain and the Republican have only one hope left for the White House. That is either to steal this election or the voter disenfranchisement which they have been hard at work on. Get as many Democratic voters off of the voting rolls as possible as we have seen in Ohio and their lame attempt to do so in Montana. This action by the GOP will be spreading to other states at a more rapid pace.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

GOP Trying To Disenfranchise Ohio Voters

   As if this was unexpected from the cowards in the republican Party? These morons cannot win an election fairly and they have no issues to stand on, so the only way for them to gain any traction is by having voters purged from the rolls. The case in Ohio covers some 660,00 voters which the Republicans would clearly love to see taken off of those rolls.

Breaking: GOP Attempts to Disenfranchise 600,000 Voters In Ohio

by Big Blue  @ DKos Tue Oct 14, 2008

With millions of new voters registering nationwide, the GOP has gone on the offensive to prevent as many of these new voters from making it to the polls as possible.  And as of today, they've scored a massive victory in Ohio...


Talking Points Memo has the story:

The full 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati upheld a lower court ruling that Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner must use other government records to check thousands of new voters for registration fraud.

A three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit had disagreed last week, but the full court's ruling overturns that decision.

Ohio Republicans had sued Brunner, a Democrat. Her spokesman had no immediate comment Tuesday.

About 666,000 Ohioans have registered to vote since January, with many doing so before the contested Democratic primary election last March between Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Since then, Ohio Republicans have filed a series of challenges to the registrations and Brunner's administration of election rules. They have helped voters file lawsuits against local boards of election over registration rules, absentee ballot requests and a weeklong period that allowed registration and voting on the same day.

Brunner previously said there was no way to set up the system with such speed.

Last week, a three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit had sided with Brunner, but after hearing an appeal the full panel sided with the GOP and U.S. District Judge George C. Smith in Columbus. Smith had ordered Brunner to develop a way to verify voter registration information and make it available to local election boards.

So basically, now we have to trust the always reliable DMV and Social Security Adminstration to have accurate information on all the newly registered voters.  Hmm... who here thinks that citizens are more likely to know how to spell their names and where they live than the DMV is?

We need to promote this story and fight it tooth and nail.  The GOP is intentionally undermining voter confidence in the electoral system despite having not a shred of evidence to prove any conspiracy to commit voter fraud.  In fact, a five year investigation by the Bush Adminstration revealed only 120 prosecutable offenses of voter fraud in a nation where 100 million people turn out for presidential elections.

And now 600,000 people in Ohio could possibly lose their right to vote just so the GOP can "insure the integrity of the voting system."  Just like the Clear Skies Act (which reduced air pollution controls) and the Patriot Act (which undermined the Constitution), we can always be sure that whatever Republicans are claiming to do, they are really doing the exact opposite.

UPDATE: Let me add something here in response to some of the comments that we shouldn't worry about this, or that this is hyperbole.  I agree that the GOP won't succeed at dumping all 600,000 voters off the rolls, but they may very well succeed in dumping several tens of thousands.  There was a story in last week's New York Times that dealt with the issue of voter purges and how tens of thousands were being denied the right to vote because something didn't match up in their Social Security information.

The time to worry about these actions is not after the election, it's right now.  One eligible voter deprived of the right to vote is one too many.

UPDATE II: HungryCoyote asks a good question.  If Social Security files are accurate, then why has the Social Security Administration asked states not to use them to verify voters (unless they simply don't have a valid driver's license)?

UPDATE IV: HungryCoyote points out a good excerpt from that New York Times article:

The six swing states seem to be in violation of federal law in two ways. Michigan and Colorado are removing voters from the rolls within 90 days of a federal election, which is not allowed except when voters die, notify the authorities that they have moved out of state, or have been declared unfit to vote.

So, this seems top to bottom to be a pretty scummy thing for the GOP to be doing.

UPDATE V: On a related note, I covered some of this topic in a blog post the other day dealing with ACORN and the GOP's misleading claims of voter fraud.  I suppose we all have a good bead on that story by now, but if not, you can read more on that here.

UPDATE VI: Some in the comments have wondered just what they can do.  At first I had posted the contact info for a couple of SoS offices so that we could voice our support for Sec. Brunner standing up for voting rights, but some think that this might be counter productive, so I've deleted that and am now simply recommending writing to Ohio newspapers.

If you live in Ohio, then I suggest you take the time to write a letter to the editor of a major Ohio newspaper:

Email The Columbus Dispatch or Visit the Cincinnati Enquirer

Monday, October 13, 2008

Presidential Polls For Monday, October 13, 2008

  As if you do not already know which nominee is leading in these polls. In case you have had a memory lapse, the leader is, STILL, Democratic nominee, Senator Barack Obama!




The Bradley Effect

   I was scouring the Internet at lunch time and I ran across this article which I heard about by way of

   The article is from an individual who once lived in the Caribbean, but who now resides in the United States. The author states that just about everyone is watching our election to see which America will emerge after the votes are counted. The author see's two America's in this election.

  So what about the " Bradley Effect"?

The Bradley effect

Wayne Brown

Sunday, October 12th 2008

By the polls, it should already be over: Obama is leading McCain nationally by a 'washout' six points, and Electoral College vote tallies (EVs) suggest he's unassailable. With 270 EVs required for victory, the two leading aggregate pollsters, RealClearPolitics and, both put him already over the top.

(Between 'Solid' and 'Leaning', RCP gives Obama 277 EVs to McCain's 158. This means that even if McCain were to run the table in the remaining eight toss-up state she'd still fall short.)

Several recent major polls show Obama crossing the 50 per cent threshold: something no Democratic candidate has done since Jimmy Carter, and none as late as this. White women, those 'security moms' who in 2004 went for Bush by 11 points over John Kerry, are currently favouring Obama by three points; and Palin is now losing female voters faster than she attracted them after the Republican National Convention.

Meanwhile, Obama's 21-point disadvantage among white men is roughly no worse than the margin by which every Democratic presidential candidate since Lyndon Johnson has lost that demographic.

Equally telling,Obama is currently attacking McCain in red states where Democrats have long feared to tread. Meanwhile, McCain - with Palin now almost always at his side - has been campaigning exclusively in the reddest districts of states he's visited: a desperation akin to the Titanic's crew trying to bail its flooding bilges with buckets. A candidate still trying to excite (or incite) his base with just three weeks to go is a candidate staring at ruin.

McCain's recent rallies have been degenerate; as one blogger put it,'less political in nature than tribal, primitive anger fests. These are festivals of hate against Obama, Democrats, liberals and the media.' The despair is palpable.

So why has no commentator yet called the election? Why has virtually every Obama supporter this columnist has quizzed - West Indian or American, white or black - responded with a painful mix of hope and dread, a misty-eyed or husky, 'God, I hope so!'- as if affirming belief in an Obama victory were something that lay at the very limit of his/her courage?

The answer, of course, is 'the Bradley effect': the suspicion that, whatever white Americans tell the pollsters, in the privacy of the voting booth enough will vengefully cast their vote against the black man to throw the election to McCain, after all. American racism has been such a chronic obscenity in the eyes of the world (including millions of Americans) that it's hardly conceivable that a society that has so festered morally for so long could 'suddenly' turn around and elect a black president.

Reports Politico: 'A racial backlash that is not visible in today's polls is increasingly the subject of obsessive interest in the nonstop, not-for-attribution conversation that takes place between reporters, political analysts and campaign sources in the heat of an election. There's the assumption that racial antagonisms are an unexploded bomb in this contest.'

One day last week on MSNBC, the prospect of 'Bradley' confounding the polls so traumatised Democratic activist James Carville that he began, 'If Obama goes into the election with a five-point lead and loses'- and couldn't finish the sentence.

The Bradley effect will occur, of course - no society shed sits cunning knuckle-draggers in one fell swoop. The question is on what scale. In the Democratic primaries, it appeared most virulently in New Hampshire ('the most racist state north of Mason-Dixie,' a white American colleague who'd lived there confided to this columnist), confounding a 17-point Obama lead in the polls - though the CW preferred to ascribe the turnaround to women's sympathy at Hillary's sudden tears when facing the prospect of her peremptory ejection from the race. And in states like Massachusetts and California, it was probably 'Bradley' that gave Clinton her bigger-than-predicted wins.

Among Hispanics, the phenomenon apparently functioned in Nevada and Texas, which, by the polls, Obama should narrowly have won but narrowly lost. But one expects this factor to be much muted this time: Mexican-Americans' most urgent concerns (the Florida Cubans are a different matter) are the economy, health care, education and immigration; and McCain's suspect credentials in these arenas suggests that, by and large, they'll come home to the Democrat.

In fact, with the first generation of Cuban exiles dying off, Obama is currently almost splitting the Cuban vote in southeast Florida. He needs to make only small further gains with that demographic to clinch a state where he's already leading - and which by itself would give him the presidency.

Elsewhere in the primaries, 'Bradley' was not apparent at all: in the northwest (Oregon, Washington), or the 'white' Midwestern states of Iowa and Wisconsin, or the Chesapeake states - as well as, surprisingly, Indiana. These were all states where Obama's results either matched or exceeded the polls' predictions.

The Bradley effect seems likeliest to function in the Rust Belt, in Ohio and Pennsylvania. It's worth noting that while, in the primaries, it didn't operate in either, something closely related to it did.

What happened was that, in both states, Obama actually overtook Clinton in the polls - until, in the very last days, the Undecideds broke heavily for Clinton, giving her each by ten points. 'Undecided' was clearly the self-ascription by which 'Reagan democrats' in these states fended off the pollsters, until the last minute. Since they did, however, announce for Clinton before entering the voting booth, theirs wasn't an example of 'Bradley'.

Perhaps crucially, the percentages of Undecideds at this point are much smaller than they were in the primaries; but the polls in Ohio (where Obama leads by 4 points) and Pennsylvania (by 12) must remain suspect. Skeptical Obama supporters will be watching these states closely in the first three days of November. A sudden tightening of the polls in either at that point would not bode well for Obama in them.

But Obama is currently attacking-and leading-in so many red states-Colorado, Ohio, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Missouri, Nevada, Indiana, New Hampshire - that, even without blue Pennsylvania, he has all manner of different routes to 270 EVs. By contrast, McCain would need to hold all the above-mentioned states, as well as grab Pennsylvania: the Bradley effect, in other words,would have to operate powerfully in all of them.

But Bradley was 26 years ago; and the US has changed greatly since then. For the first time, young voters seem likely to come out in their numbers on election day. Most are genuinely 'post-racial', and most support Obama. Being largely cell phone users, they have been consistently under-represented in the polls: a fact that at least partially counters the potential of 'Bradley'.

Additionally, Obama reportedly has the best ground game and get-out-the-vote outfit in US presidential elections' history.

And finally - and we in the Caribbean intuitively know this -African-American turnout in this election is a tsunami about to happen.

In fact, it's already happening. In Georgia, where early voting began last week, lines to the polling stations stretched several blocks; and eyewitnesses reported they were almost wholly comprised of African-Americans.

And what those startlingly precocious queues were saying, in effect, was: 'Closet racists, bring it on! We'll see your 'Bradley' and raise it with ourselves.'

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The McCain/Palin Hate Rhetoric Not Well Liked

   ABC News

The McCain campaign’s more aggressive tone is prompting pushback from the public: Registered voters by a broad margin now believe John McCain is more focused on attacking his opponent than on addressing the issues in the 2008 presidential election.

Barack Obama, by contrast, is perceived even more widely as sticking to the issues, this new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds – a striking point of differentiation between the two.

  It would seem that John McCain has underestimated the mood of the general public. Are we surprised?

 Candidate is mainly:
            Addressing    Attacking
            the issues   his opponent
McCain        35%           59
Obama         68            26


McCain                  45%                      48

Obama                   64                        29

The important question here is, what about those coveted Independent voters.

   The deciding factor, as ever in presidential politics, is independents. They see McCain as mainly attacking his opponent, by 61-33 percent, but Obama as mainly addressing the issues, by 68 -26 percent.

  McCain does not poll very well with anyone other than Republicans, which is no surprise. The old man and the P have nothing to run on. Let's face it shall we? McCain and the Republican's are afraid of the issues which confront both you and I.