Dedicated to seeking out the misinformation of the right wing machine.
Main Entry: 1lib·er·al
1. Liberal -- Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.
2. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
John McCain is Hurt By Being Compared to George McGovern, but claims he's "proud" of the people that come to Palin Rallies?
It was kind of strange, dintcha think, that John McCain came to the defense of his supporters last night after Barack Obama pointed out that people at McCain/Palin rallies were shouting out "terrorist" and "kill him!" in reference to Obama.
Now an Al Jazeera camera crew caught the honest sentiments of McCain/Palin supporters at an Ohio rally:
“I’m afraid if he wins, the blacks will take over. He’s not a Christian! This is a Christian nation! What is our country gonna end up like?”
“When you got a Negra running for president, you need a first stringer. He’s definitely a second stringer.”
“He seems like a sheep - or a wolf in sheep’s clothing to be honest with you. And I believe Palin - she’s filled with the Holy Spirit, and I believe she’s gonna bring honesty and integrity to the White House.”
“He’s related to a known terrorist, for one.”
“He is friends with a terrorist of this country!”
“He must support terrorists! You know, uh, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck. And that to me is Obama.”
“Just the whole, Muslim thing, and everything, and everybody’s still kinda - a lot of people have forgotten about 9/11, but… I dunno, it’s just kinda… a little unnerving.”
“Obama and his wife, I’m concerned that they could be anti-white. That he might hide that.”
“I don’t like the fact that he thinks us white people are trash… because we’re not!”
Yep, McCain must be so proud.
The rest of us, well ... let's just say those polls should tell the story.
# posted by The Punisher @ Saturday, October 18, 2008 0 comments
Republicans Keep Calling Everyone Else "Un-American" but as far as I can tell they're the only ones trying to PREVENT Americans from VOTING.
The Republican voter fraud hoax
Donald Duck and the Dallas Cowboys won't steal the election for Obama. Acorn's only crime is registering Democratic voters
Barack Obama and the Democrats are stealing the election. Massive voter fraud is being carried out, even as we speak, by their henchmen, known by the innocuous sounding Association for Community Organisations for Reform Now, or Acorn. Clever bastards.
The only problem? Despite the screaming wall-to-wall coverage of "Democratic voter fraud in 11 swing states" as seen on Fox News and even the once-respectable CNN, none of it's true. None of it.
In just the last week, we've had a phoney stunt raid in swing state Nevada (where Acorn had been cooperating with officials for months, concerning problem canvassers they'd long ago fired); a Republican election official in swing state Missouri tell Fox News that she's being beseiged with fraudulent registration forms from Acorn (in a county where they've not done any registration work since August); a Republican sheriff in swing state Ohio, who, the very next day, suddenly requested the names and addresses of hundreds of early voters (with evidence of exactly zero wrong doing, but lots of Democratic-leaning college student in the particular county, and John McCain's state campaign chair as a partner in the investigation); and a screaming front page headline in Rupert Murdoch's New York Post about a guy who claims he was somehow tricked by Acorn into registering 72 times (but read the article closely to note he says he registered at the same address each time, which, even if true, would allow him - you guessed it - precisely one legal vote.)
It's an old Republican scam, but it's never been carried out with more zeal than this year. The Republicans have been putting so much time, money and resources into the propaganda leading up to this over the last four years, we should have expected no less.
As luck would have it, the Democrats have a man who, as an attorney years ago, actually had the temerity to join the US department of justice in representing Acorn in a successful lawsuit, forcing the state of Illinois to follow the law by allowing citizens to register to vote at the department of motor vehicles. What a scoundrel.
That, of course, was before the department of justice, under George Bush's corrupt command, would itself become politicised by the very Republicans so desperate to keep low-income voters from voting, that they were willing to fire their own US attorneys for failing to bring phoney charges of voter fraud in key swing states like Nevada and Missouri.
So what are the crimes that have caused all the Sturm und Drang on US television and talk radio, and in several otherwise respectable newspapers and even by the McCain campaign itself?
The only actual crime here is that Acorn managed to register some 1.3m low-income (read: Democratic-leaning) voters over the past two years. The rest is, pretty much, just made up.
But in the bloody and desperate trenches of the Republican war on democracy, that's more than enough to kick in a last minute surge of lies that may - with the help of a compliant and lazy corporate US media - wreak enough havoc, scare enough voters, confuse enough people and plant enough seeds to call an Obama victory into doubt on November 4.
If you can't win it, steal it. If you can't steal it, claim the other guy stole it. If you can't claim the other guy stole it (yet), say they're about to and then kick up smoke that maybe someone will believe you. (Heckuva job, CNN.)
Here are the facts. Acorn verifies the legitimacy of every registration its canvassers collect. If they can't authenticate the registration, or it's incomplete or questionable in other ways, they flag that form as problematic ("fraudulent", "incomplete", et cetera). They then hand in all registration forms, even the problematic ones, to elections officials, as they are required to do by law. In almost every case where you've heard about fraud by Acorn, it's because Acorn itself notified officials about the fraud that's been perpetrated on them by rogue canvassers. Most officials who run to the media screaming "Acorn is committing fraud" know all of the above but don't bother to share those facts with the media they've run to. None of this is about voter fraud. None of it. Where any fraud has occurred, it's voter registration fraud and has resulted in exactly zero fraudulent votes.
You'll hear that Donald Duck, Mary Poppins, Dick Tracy, Mickey Mouse and (new this year) the starting lineup of the Dallas Cowboys football team have all had fraudulent registrations submitted in their names. That's true. And we know this, why? Because Acorn told officials about it when they followed the law and turned in those registrations, flagged as fraudulent.
What you won't hear is that federal law requires anybody who does not register to vote in person at the county office to show an ID when they go to vote the first time. So, unless Donald Duck shows up with his ID, he won't be voting this November. You needn't worry, no matter how much even John McCain himself cynically and dishonourably tries to mislead you.
If it quacks like a duck, in this case, it's likely another Republican Acorn voter fraud lie. They haul it out every two years.
Just days before the 2004 presidential election, rightwing whack job Michelle Malkin claimed that Acorn was registering terrorists to vote in swing state Ohio. Problem was, that was a lie.
In 2006, again just days before the election, the new US attorney in swing state Missouri (recently appointed, since the one before him refused to bring such charges), filed voter fraud indictments against Acorn workers in the state. Problem was, bringing election-related indictments that close to an election was a violation of the department of justice's own written policy. And Acorn had nothing to do with it, other than turning in the employees to officials.
Getting the picture? It's a hoax. All of it.
But it's been an effective one, as it's served to distract from very real concerns about tens of thousands of voters who have been illegally purged from the voting rolls in dozens of states, as the New York Times reported in a remarkable front page investigative story. That story followed a report the week before from CBS News detailing still more wholesale purges of voting rolls in some 20 states.
That will be the November surprise, when thousands, if not millions show up to vote only to find they are no longer welcome to do so and are forced to vote on a "provisional ballot" which may or may not be counted.
These real concerns of election fraud, such as voting roll purges, electronic voting machines that don't work and so much more that actually matters, have been obscured by the smoke and mirrors and sleight of hand of the Republican party's phoney Acorn voter fraud charade.
And where they can, they'll parlay it all into new photo ID restrictions at the polls (knowing full well that some 20m, largely Democratic-leaning voters don't own the type of ID they'd need to jump over that next Republican hurdle.)
Yet, with all of the unsubstantiated, wholly bogus claims of voter fraud being carried out by Democrats, there remains at least one case of absolutely ironclad, documented, yet still-unprosecuted case of voter fraud that, for some reason, Republicans don't much like to talk about.
# posted by The Punisher @ Saturday, October 18, 2008 0 comments
Oh Noes Voter Fraud! Voters Duped Into Registering as Republicans! Call the FBI! Democracy may be destroyed!
Voters say they were duped into registering as Republicans
YPM, a group hired by the GOP, allegedly deceived Californians who thought they were signing a petition. YPM denies any wrongdoing. Similar accusations have been leveled against the company elsewhere.
By Evan Halper and Michael Rothfeld Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
October 18, 2008
SACRAMENTO — Dozens of newly minted Republican voters say they were duped into joining the party by a GOP contractor with a trail of fraud complaints stretching across the country.
Voters contacted by The Times said they were tricked into switching parties while signing what they believed were petitions for tougher penalties against child molesters. Some said they were told that they had to become Republicans to sign the petition, contrary to California initiative law. Others had no idea their registration was being changed.
"I am not a Republican," insisted Karen Ashcraft, 47, a pet-clinic manager and former Democrat from Ventura who said she was duped by a signature gatherer into joining the GOP. "I certainly . . . won't sign anything in front of a grocery store ever again."
It is a bait-and-switch scheme familiar to election experts. The firm hired by the California Republican Party -- a small company called Young Political Majors, or YPM, which operates in several states -- has been accused of using the tactic across the country.
Election officials and lawmakers have launched investigations into the activities of YPM workers in Florida and Massachusetts. In Arizona, the firm was recently a defendant in a civil rights lawsuit. Prosecutors in Los Angeles and Ventura counties say they are investigating complaints about the company.
The firm, which a Republican Party spokesman said is paid $7 to $12 for each registration it secures, has denied any wrongdoing and says it has never been charged with a crime.
The 70,000 voters YPM has registered for the Republican Party this year will help combat the public perception that it is struggling amid Democratic gains nationally, give a boost to fundraising efforts and bolster member support for party leaders, political strategists from both parties say.
Those who were formerly Democrats may stop receiving phone calls and literature from that party, perhaps affecting its get-out-the-vote efforts. They also will be given only a Republican ballot in the next primary election if they do not switch their registration back before then.
Some also report having their registration status changed to absentee without their permission; if they show up at the polls without a ballot they may be unable to vote.
The Times randomly interviewed 46 of the hundreds of voters whose election records show they were recently re-registered as Republicans by YPM, and 37 of them -- more than 80% -- said that they were misled into making the change or that it was done without their knowledge.
Lydia Laws, a Palm Springs retiree, said she was angry to find recently that her registration had been switched from Democrat to Republican.
Laws said the YPM staffer who instructed her to identify herself on a petition as a Republican assured her that it was a formality, and that her registration would not be changed. Later, a card showed up in the mail saying she had joined the GOP.
"I said, 'No, no, no. That's not right,' " Laws said.
It all sounds familiar to Beverly Hill, a Democrat and the former election supervisor in Florida's Alachua County. About 200 voters -- mostly college students -- were unwittingly registered as Republicans there in 2004 by YPM staffers using the same tactic, Hill said.
"It is just incredible that this can keep happening election after election," she said.
YPM and Republican Party officials said they were surprised by the complaints. The officials said the signature gatherers wear shirts bearing the Republican symbol, an elephant -- a contention disputed by some of the voters interviewed.
Every person registered signs an affidavit confirming they voluntarily joined the GOP, party leaders said.
"It does the state party no good to register people in a party they don't want to be in," said Hector Barajas, communications director for the California Republican Party.
The document that voters thought was an initiative petition has no legal implications at all. YPM founder Mark Jacoby said the petition was clearly labeled as a "plebiscite," which does nothing more than show public support.
He also said that plainclothes investigators for Secretary of State Debra Bowen, a Democrat, have conducted multiple spot checks and told his firm it is doing nothing improper.
"Every time, they gave us a thumbs-up," Jacoby said. "People are not being tricked."
But Nicole Winger, a spokeswoman for the secretary of state's office, said the agency "does not give an OK or seal of approval to voter registration groups."
Two years ago, Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas charged 12 workers for a petitioning firm hired by the local Republican Party with fraudulently registering voters as Republican.
Democratic registration drives have also caught the attention of law enforcement officials.
The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, a national nonprofit that recruits mostly Democratic voters, is being investigated by the FBI for filing fake registrations in multiple states during the current presidential campaign.
In April, eight ACORN officials in St. Louis pleaded guilty to federal election fraud for submitting false registration cards in 2006.
In California, signature-gatherers are prohibited by law from misleading voters about what they are signing.
"You can't lie to someone to procure their signature," said Richard L. Hasen, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles who specializes in election law.
Civil rights activists recently filed a lawsuit in Arizona accusing YPM of deceiving residents to get signatures for a ballot measure that would have prohibited affirmative action by that state. The lawsuit was dropped after supporters of the measure pulled it from the ballot.
In Massachusetts, former YPM worker Angela McElroy testified at a legislative hearing in 2004that she had tricked voters into signing a ballot measure to ban gay marriage. She said she told voters they were signing in favor of a measure to allow alcoholic drinks to be sold in supermarkets.
YPM's Jacoby said McElroy was on loan to another signature-gathering company at the time the alleged deception took place.
Jose Aguilera, a 48-year-old math teacher from Ventura whose registration was recently changed from Democrat to Republican, said he signed the child-molester petition outside an Albertsons supermarket.
He said he was asked to sign a second document but not told that it would change his registration.
"Somehow the guy pulled out something else and I signed it," he said.
Ashcraft, the pet-clinic manager, said she knew that she could still vote in November for whichever presidential candidate she supports -- in her case, Democrat Barack Obama.
"I just don't like being lied to," she said.
Janett Lemaire, 54, said she told a signature-gatherer in the small Riverside County town of Desert Edge, "I've been a Democrat all my life and I want to stay that way."
But the man "said this has nothing to do with changing how you are registered," Lemaire said. "Then I get a notice in the mail saying I am a Republican. . . . I was very angry."
# posted by The Punisher @ Saturday, October 18, 2008 0 comments
Friday, October 17, 2008
"Acorn is on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history and may be destroying the fabric of democracy!" - John McCain
October 17, 2008 Editorial New York Times The Acorn Story
In Wednesday night’s debate, John McCain warned that a group called Acorn is “on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history” and “may be destroying the fabric of democracy.” Viewers may have been wondering what Mr. McCain was talking about. So were we.
Acorn is a nonprofit group that advocates for low- and moderate-income people and has mounted a major voter-registration drive this year. Acorn says that it has paid more than 8,000 canvassers who have registered about 1.3 million new voters, many of them poor people and members of racial minorities.
In recent weeks, the McCain campaign has accused the group of perpetrating voter fraud by intentionally submitting invalid registration forms, including some with fictional names like Mickey Mouse and others for voters who are already registered.
Based on the information that has come to light so far, the charges appear to be wildly overblown — and intended to hobble Acorn’s efforts.
The group concedes that some of its hired canvassers have turned in tainted forms, although they say the ones with phony names constitute no more than 1 percent of the total turned in. The group also says it reviews all of the registration forms that come in. Before delivering the forms to elections offices, its supervisors flag any that appear to have problems.
According to Acorn, most of the forms that are now causing controversy are ones that it flagged and that unsympathetic election officials then publicized.
Acorn’s critics charge that it is creating phony registrations that ineligible voters could use to cast ballots or that a single voter could use to vote multiple times.
Acorn needs to provide more precise figures about problem forms and needs to do a better job of choosing its canvassers.
But for all of the McCain campaign’s manufactured fury about vote theft (and similar claims from the Republican Party over the years) there is virtually no evidence — anywhere in the country, going back many elections — of people showing up at the polls and voting when they are not entitled to.
Meanwhile, Republicans aren’t saying anything about another more serious voter-registration scandal: the fact that about one-third of eligible voters are not registered. The racial gaps are significant and particularly disturbing. According to a study by Project Vote, a voting-rights group, in 2006, 71 percent of eligible whites were registered, compared with 61 percent of blacks, 54 percent of Latinos and 49 percent of Asian-Americans.
Much of the blame for this lies with overly restrictive registration rules. Earlier this year, the League of Women Voters halted its registration drive in Florida after the state imposed onerous new requirements.
The answer is for government to do a better job of registering people to vote. That way there would be less need to rely on private registration drives, largely being conducted by well-meaning private organizations that use low-paid workers. Federal and state governments should do their own large-scale registration drives staffed by experienced election officials. Even better, Congress and the states should adopt election-day registration, which would make such drives unnecessary.
The real threats to the fabric of democracy are the unreasonable barriers that stand in the way of eligible voters casting ballots.
# posted by The Punisher @ Friday, October 17, 2008 0 comments
Obama Needs To Explain His Relationship To: (Fill in the Blank) has become Sarah Palin and John McCain's Stump Speech.
Palin keeps up attacks on ACORN voter registration
By DAN SEWELL, Associated Press Writer Dan Sewell, Associated Press Writer 1 hr 23 mins ago
WEST CHESTER, Ohio – Vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin on Friday kept up the Republican ticket's attack on a community activist group that registers voters and cited an Ohio plumber's encounter with Democrat Barack Obama as indicative of his tax policies.
Campaigning in one of the swing state's conservative strongholds, Palin said Obama hasn't been forthcoming about his ties to ACORN, the Association of Community Activists for Reform Now. The group faces allegations of voter registration fraud in Ohio and other states.
Obama has said he doesn't have any significant links to the group.
"You deserve to know," Palin told thousands surrounding her stage in a suburban community park. "This group needs to learn that you here in Ohio won't let them turn the Buckeye State into the Acorn State."
With the crowd chanting "Joe! Joe! Joe!" Palin also referred to Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, the plumber repeatedly cited by McCain in Wednesday night's presidential debate as an example of a hardworking American concerned that Obama will raise his taxes.
The Toledo-area man, who doesn't have a plumber's license and owes the state back taxes, would receive a tax cut under the plan offered by Obama. Still, Palin argued that Wurzelbacher showed how the Democrat's ideas would have damaging consequences.
"We've really got to hand it to Joe," Palin said. "Somehow he got Barack Obama to finally state his intentions in plain language — Sen. Obama said he wants to spread the wealth and he wants government to take your money and decide how to best redistribute it."
After the crowd booed, Palin added: "Joe suggested that sounded a little bit like socialism. Whatever you call it, I call it bad medicine for an ailing economy."
Scott Owens, Butler County chairman for the McCain campaign, said 15,000 tickets to the event were handed out and estimated that the crowd was near that number.
"If all you have are negative attacks, you don't have much of a vision for the future." - John McCain
______________________________________________________________________ And why is the Acorn Attack especially hypocritical? Take a look.
# posted by The Punisher @ Friday, October 17, 2008 0 comments
"Why Would You Want To Raise Taxes On Anybody?" - John McCain, Third Presidential Debate. Somebody should educate John.
Study says most corporations pay NO U.S. income taxes
Tue Aug 12, 2008 12:54pm EDT
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Most U.S. and foreign corporations doing business in the United States avoid paying any federal income taxes, despite trillions of dollars worth of sales, a government study released on Tuesday said.
The Government Accountability Office said 72 percent of all foreign corporations and about 57 percent of U.S. companies doing business in the United States paid no federal income taxes for at least one year between 1998 and 2005.
More than half of foreign companies and about 42 percent of U.S. companies paid no U.S. income taxes for two or more years in that period, the report said.
During that time corporate sales in the United States totaled $2.5 trillion, according to Democratic Sens. Carl Levin of Michigan and Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, who requested the GAO study.
The report did not name any companies. The GAO said corporations escaped paying federal income taxes for a variety of reasons including operating losses, tax credits and an ability to use transactions within the company to shift income to low tax countries.
With the U.S. budget deficit this year running close to the record $413 billion that was set in 2004 and projected to hit a record $486 billion next year, lawmakers are looking to plug holes in the U.S. tax code and generate more revenues.
Dorgan in a statement called the report "a shocking indictment of the current tax system." Levin said it made clear that "too many corporations are using tax trickery to send their profits overseas and avoid paying their fair share in the United States."
The study showed about 28 percent of large foreign corporations, those with more than $250 million in assets, doing business in the United States paid no federal income taxes in 2005 despite $372 billion in gross receipts, the senators said. About 25 percent of the largest U.S. companies paid no federal income taxes in 2005 despite $1.1 trillion in gross sales that year, they said.
___________________________________________________________________________________ Here's what McCain and Obama have to say about corporate taxes:
"Right now the US business pays the second highest business taxes in the world, 35%. Ireland pays 11%. If you're a businessperson and you can locate anyplace in the world, then obviously if you go to the country where it's 11% tax versus 35%, you're going to be able to create jobs, increase your business, make more investment, etc. I want to cut that business tax. I want to cut it so that businesses will remain in the US and create jobs." - John McCain - Third Presidential Debate
"I will change the tax code by closing loopholes that give companies incentives to move jobs abroad, including denying tax benefits to former American companies that reincorporate offshore to avoid paying taxes." - Barack Obama
# posted by The Punisher @ Friday, October 17, 2008 0 comments
Sarah Palin believes parts of America are more "Pro-American" than other parts of America.
by Sam Stein at HuffPo
The McCain campaign is seeking to clarify a remark reported from a Sarah Palin fundraiser in North Carolina yesterday in which the Alaska Governor declared that she loved to visit the "pro-America" areas of the country -- implying, implicitly, that there were some parts of the United States she viewed as not pro-America.
The reporter who broke the story, the Washington Post's Juliet Eilperin, sends over the following, extended quote from a more detailed version of the pool report.
"We believe that the best of America is not all in Washington, D.C. We believe" -- here the audience interrupted Palin with applause and cheers -- "We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation. This is where we find the kindness and the goodness and the courage of everyday Americans. Those who are running our factories and teaching our kids and growing our food and are fighting our wars for us. Those who are protecting us in uniform. Those who are protecting the virtues of freedom."
Not sure how much this helps Palin out. Is the VP candidate saying that small towns are more authentically American than, say, suburbia or cities?
As Eilperin writes: "The upshot? Washington D.C. is neither 'real America' or 'pro-America.' Other parts of the nation? It's unclear, but if you live in a small town, you're probably patriotic from Palin's point of view."
# posted by The Punisher @ Friday, October 17, 2008 0 comments
Chickens Coming Home to Roost. Right Wing Nuts Take Over Republican Party. Intellectual Conservatives Move Out.
Thinking Conservatives: MIA's of the GOP. Paranoid, Rage Driven Nuts are Taking Over The Republican Party. Rosa Brooks LA Times October 16, 2008
Liberals haven't had so much fun in decades.
Aside from the dwindling size of our 401(k)s, life is treating us well. True, we're heading into a major recession. But that's OK: That just presents us with new opportunities to Do Good. And while we wait for President Obama to bring us New Deal 2.0, we'll also get a few giggles out of watching the Bush administration preside over the nationalization of the nation's financial sector. (Tip: Practice saying "social democracy." Also, practice saying "Told ya so!" with compassion.)
Maybe most fun of all, we're getting to watch a steady procession of rats leaving the sinking GOP ship.
One by one, the nation's more reputable conservatives have been edging away from the Republican presidential ticket. It started with John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate. Thinking conservatives -- as of a couple of months ago, there were still a few left -- were distinctly underwhelmed. In the New York Times, David Brooks chastised McCain for "throw[ing] away standards of experience and prudence" by picking Palin. In the Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer said Palin was "not ready" for prime time. David Frum, a former Bush speechwriter and fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, complained that Palin had "thoroughly -- and probably irretrievably -- proven that she is not up to the job." In the National Review, conservative columnist Kathleen Parker said Palin was "clearly out of her league" and urged her to "bow out."
For liberals initially alarmed by McCain's brief post-convention poll bounce, this was fun. And as conservative disdain spread to the whole GOP ticket, the fun got even funner.
In the Washington Post, George Will slammed McCain for his "fact-free slander," "substitution of vehemence for coherence" and "boiling moralism." On MSNBC, former Reagan speechwriter and Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan admitted that she's not sure who she'll be voting for this November: "Ahh. Umm. I'm thinking it through."
Then -- more fun -- some conservatives began to actually endorse Barack Obama. Wick Allison, a former publisher of the National Review, wrote that today's brand of conservatism "has produced financial mismanagement, the waste of human lives, the loss of moral authority, and the wreckage of our economy that McCain now threatens to make worse. ... Obama is almost the ideal candidate for this moment in American history."
Christopher Hitchens, who has spent the last five years deriding the Democratic position on Iraq as that of "the surrender faction," endorsed Obama too, concluding "the Republican Party has invited not just defeat but discredit this year, and ... both its nominees for the highest offices in the land should be decisively repudiated."
Whee! Incredibly, the fun continued. Christopher Buckley, National Review columnist and son of conservative icon William F. Buckley, also endorsed Obama: "Obama has in him ... the potential to be a good, perhaps even great leader. ... And so, for the first time ... I'll be pulling the Democratic lever in November." For his pains, Buckley received hundreds of vituperative e-mails from former admirers on the right. Effectively, he said Tuesday, he's been "fatwaed by the conservative movement." He resigned from the National Review.
But enjoyable as it's been to watch conservatives flee from the GOP, something about all this leaves me feeling a little down. Because as the more respectable, literate conservatives distance themselves from the GOP, increasingly, the only ones left on the right are paranoid, rage-driven, xenophobic nuts. Bitter? You betcha! Twisted too!
Even for a liberal, it's painful to watch. Once, the GOP proudly claimed to be the "party of ideas." They weren't generally good ideas, it's true -- but they were ideas eloquently defended by men and women who believed it was their duty to study history, philosophy, science, economics and international relations and to do the intellectual heavy lifting needed to try to persuade smart people with different views to come around to their way of thinking. That was the GOP nurtured by conservative intellectuals such as William Buckley. Buckley was many things liberals didn't admire, but he wasn't ignorant, savage or stupid by choice.
But today, as the last few sober grown-ups leave the party, the visible face of the GOP increasingly looks like that of the people who shout "kill him!" when Obama's name comes up, who speak of black men they don't like as "uppity" or as "boys," who think you can't trust a Muslim or an Arab, who think talking about "Barack Hussein Osama" is witty and (I'm talking to you, Sarah Palin and John McCain) who claim Obama "pals around with terrorists."
If you want to know why Barack Obama is poised to win this election, it's because of circumstances like this:
To monitor the multiple sclerosis attacking Ann Pietrangelo's central nervous system, her doctor recommends an annual MRI. Last year, the 49-year-old Winchester, Va., woman had to pay a $3,000 co-payment to get the imaging done.
This year, she's skipping the test. Even with insurance, it's more than her budget can tolerate, especially with the roller coaster on Wall Street devouring her retirement savings.
"I'm doing everything I can to avoid going to the doctor," she said.
From Park Avenue dental offices to the Arlington Free Clinic, the global economic crunch is forcing a growing number of Americans to scale back on medical care. Consumers are attempting their own form of triage, pushing off seemingly less-urgent services in the hope that their financial health will improve. But the danger, say physicians, is that the short-term savings may translate into more severe long-term health implications [...]
Nationwide, the number of consumers who went without a prescription, tapped into retirement savings to pay for health care or skipped a doctor visit for themselves or a child has risen since last year, according to a survey released this summer by the Rockefeller Foundation and Time magazine. One-quarter of the 2,000 respondents, for example, said they had decided not to see a doctor because of cost in 2008, up from 18 percent the year before. Ten percent said they did not take a child to the doctor for the same reason.
This is about more than just the subject of health care, which even the head of the Congressional Budget Office agrees must be dealt with as soon as possible or it'll threaten the entire federal budget and make the financial bailout look like the give-a-penny take-a-penny tray. But indeed you could have chosen any topic that the vast majority of Americans interface with. Their wages haven't gone up, their gas prices are still twice as much as they were before, their food costs are higher, the student loans for their children are a crushing burden, the jobs are scarce and aren't much more promising than service-sector McJobs, their credit cards are full, their home prices (if they're lucky enough to own one) are falling and they owe more on their houses and cars than they're worth, and their quality of life, between commutes, carrying two or three jobs to get by, etc., is, to put it mildly, in the crapper. They aren't making it. The American dream that's been sold to them for decades is dead. And it's been that way for a while.
And yet our profoundly stupid political discourse continues to focus on the aspirational class and small businessmen and the methods to trickle wealth down. And they use these insane shibboleths, icons that stand in for human beings who have actual struggles, to make it seem like there's any respect left for the common man. The common man has been kicked. He's been punched. He's laying on the side of the road. And he doesn't give a damn about someone screeching about a $900 tax increase.
Joe the Plumber, or whoever the fuck he is, means nothing. Neither does the media conception of white working-class voters. They are absurd caricatures, disconnected from any truth and really just pawns in the depressing reality show that has become politics. The more we look at some sideshow, the more muzzled the truly voiceless in this society become. For all the faults of the Democratic Party, there is finally a recognition this year that people vote, not pastiches or sketches but hundreds of millions of people, and maybe, just this once, we ought to pay attention to what the hell they are going through.
# posted by David @ Thursday, October 16, 2008 0 comments
Today in a Washington Post chat, Dana Milbank revealed that — in “a serious violation of their duty” — the Secret Service is now preventing the press from interviewing attendees at McCain-Palin rallies:
I have to say the Secret Service is in dangerous territory here. In cooperation with the Palin campaign, they’ve started preventing reporters from leaving the press section to interview people in the crowd. This is a serious violation of their duty — protecting the protectee — and gets into assisting with the political aspirations of the candidate. It also often makes it impossible for reporters to get into the crowd to question the people who say vulgar things. So they prevent reporters from getting near the people doing the shouting, then claim it’s unfounded because the reporters can’t get close enough to identify the person.
Campaign staffers have also been locking journalists into a restricted press area in order to prevent them from writing “negative things.” (HT: Romenesko)
# posted by David @ Thursday, October 16, 2008 0 comments
The official word on Joe the Plumber, Republican Hero. He's unlicensed. He owes taxes. Their kind of guy.
Joe Wurzelbacher spoke to Senator Barack Obama about taxes while the candidate campaigned near Toledo, Ohio, last week. (Photo: Jim Young/Reuters)
One week ago, Joe Wurzelbacher was just another working man living in a modest ranch house near Toledo thinking about how to expand his plumbing business. But when he stopped Senator Barack Obama during a visit to his block this weekend to ask about his taxes, he set himself on a path to being the newest media celebrity — and, like other celebrities, found himself under scrutiny.
Turns out that “Joe the Plumber,” as he became nationally known when Senator John McCain made him a theme at Wednesday night’s third and final presidential debate, may run a plumbing business but he is not a licensed plumber. His full name is Samuel J. Wurzelbacher. And he owes a bit in back taxes.
The premise of his question to Mr. Obama about taxes may also be flawed, according to tax analysts.
An official at Local 50 of the plumber’s union, based in Toledo, said Mr. Wurzelbacher does not hold a license. He also has never served an apprenticeship and does not belong to the union. (The national plumber’s union, the United Association of Plumbers, Steamfitters, and Service Mechanics, endorsed Mr. Obama, it should be noted.)
“He’s basically playing games with the world,” Thomas Joseph, the local’s business manager, said in a telephone interview Thursday morning.
Just five days ago, Mr. Wurzelbacher, 34, lived in anonymity, a single father who worked all day at his plumbing business and came home to fix dinner and help his son with his homework, as he said on national television.
But he became the hero of conservatives and Republicans when he stopped Mr. Obama, who was campaigning on Shrewsbury Street on Sunday, and asked whether he believed in the American dream. Mr. Wurzelbacher said he was concerned about having to pay taxes as he reached a point where he could afford to buy his own plumbing business, one he said would draw income of $250,000 a year.
“I’m getting ready to buy a company that makes $250,000 to $280,000 a year,” he told Mr. Obama during an exchange that was filmed and later showed up on YouTube. “Your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn’t it?”
That encounter led to New York Post headlines, appearances on the Fox News Channel and interviews with conservative groups, who seized on part of Mr. Obama’s reply.
“I think that when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody,” Mr. Obama had said.
When Mr. McCain invoked Mr. Wurzelbacher in Wednesday’s debate — some version of “Joe the Plumber” was mentioned two dozen times during the 90 minutes — as a way to criticize Mr. Obama’s tax plan and wealth-sharing argument, Mr. Wurzelbacher suddenly found camera crews outside his home, Katie Couric on the phone, and himself in the full glare of the media spotlight.
Mr. Wurzelbacher did not respond to a message left on his home phone and there was no answer at his plumbing business.
“I’m kind of like Britney Spears having a headache,” he said. “Everybody wants to know about it.”
Unlike some other states, Ohio does not have a formal statewide licensing system for plumbers. But the city of Toledo and other municipalities do, Mr. Joseph said, and Mr. Wurzelbacher has not met those requirements.
“All contractors are licensed, and he does not have a license, either as a contractor or a plumber,” the union official said, citing a search of government records. “I can’t find that he’s ever even applied for any kind of apprenticeship, and he has never belonged to local 189 in Columbus, which is what he claims on his Facebook page.”
According to public records, Mr. Wurzelbacher has been subject to two liens, each over $1,000, one of which — a personal tax lien — is still outstanding.
And his question to Mr. Obama about paying taxes? According to some tax analysts, if Mr. Wurzelbacher’s gross receipts from his business is $250,000 — and not his taxable income — then he would not have to pay higher taxes under Mr. Obama’s plan, and probably would be eligible for a tax cut.
Mr. Wurzelbacher is registered to vote in Lucas County under the name Samuel Joseph Worzelbacher.
“We have his named spelled W-O, instead of W-U,” Linda Howe, executive director of the Lucas County Board of Elections, said in a telephone interview. “Handwriting is sometimes hard to read. He has never corrected it in his registration card.”
The records, she said, showed he voted Republican in the March primary.
Mr. Wurzelbacher told Ms. Couric that his encounter with Mr. Obama was a matter of impulse. “Neighbors were outside asking him questions, and I didn’t think they were asking him tough enough questions,” he said.
He went on, “You know, I’ve always wanted to ask one of these guys a question and really corner them and get them to answer a question,” he said, “for once instead of tap dancing around it, and unfortunately I asked the question, but I still got a tap dance.”
He added, “Almost as good as Sammy Davis Jr.”
Five days later his decision to confront Mr. Obama has spawned a line of novelty T-shirts sold on the Internet.
“Vote Joe the Plumber ’08,” one shirt reads, with the tag: “No More Drips in the White House.”
# posted by The Punisher @ Thursday, October 16, 2008 0 comments
Joe the Plumber Admits He Has No Plumbing License. Then how could he buy a plumbing business?
Joe the Plumber said Thursday he doesn't have a license and doesn't need one. Joe Wurzelbacher, better known as Joe the Plumber, the nickname Republican John McCain bestowed on him during Wednesday's presidential debate, said he works for a small plumbing company that does residential work. Because he works for someone else, he doesn't need a license, he said.
If he needs to work for someone else, how the Hell was he going to buy a plumbing business?
# posted by The Punisher @ Thursday, October 16, 2008 0 comments
The Moral of the "Joe the Plumber" Story?
That John McCain, Sarah Palin, and the Republican Party will fight tooth and nail for all the plumbers out there who earn more than $250,000 a year.
They will fight to make sure that each and every plumber earning a quarter of a million dollars a year doesn't have to pay an extra 3% in taxes.
Hell they'll make that the centerpiece of their final make or break debate.
If only all my friends in Law School had learned that plumbers make $250,000 a year we could have saved ourselves all those years of school and just gotten our plumbers license. And we wouldn't have $100,000 a year in student loans to pay back.
I'm in the wrong business.
# posted by The Punisher @ Thursday, October 16, 2008 0 comments
Joe the Plumber? Nope. Joe the Tax Dodger. Joe the Relative of Charles Keating. Hilarious.
Joe the Plumber appears to be Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher.
According to Lucas County, Ohio court records, there is a Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher who has a state income tax lien of $1,182.98. According to the court record he lives on a street that is part of the Lincoln Green subdivision.
And Joe the Plumber's Father appears to be Robert Wurzelbacher right wing fanatic and contributor who is the son in law of..... you're not going to believe this. Charles Keating.
This just gets better and better.
Oh there's also a Joe the Twice Divorced Wife Beater.
And The Joe I Haven't Had a Plumbing License Since 2002.
I wonder which of these will turn out to be the guy doing all the talk shows?
I'm sure we'll know by the end of the day.
****Update: Joe the "undecided voter" appears to be a registered Republican. He voted for McCain in the primary.
*** Update 2: There's another Wurzelbacher. Doug Wurzelbacher. Doug is active in competitive dog sled racing. Guess where he lives? Wasilla, Alaska. What are the odds? I wonder if he's related to "Plumber Joe"?
**** Update 3: So far no evidence on the wife beating accusations. And no evidence that he's related to the Keating Wurzelbacher. However, there are reports today that Joe has cancelled any future interviews. He was set to do the media tour and has decided to go underground. Maybe he's hoping all this will blow over?
These questions need answers.
# posted by The Punisher @ Thursday, October 16, 2008 39 comments
Fuck Joe The Plumber.
Let me get this straight. Joe the Plumber wants to buy a business. After buying that business he stands to earn more than $250,000 a year in personal income. His Salary will be more than $250,000 a year. Then his business will be earning more than $250,000 a year as well in corporate income. And he's going to go out of business because he would have to pay 3% more in Taxes on personal and corporate income ABOVE $250,000? Anybody who thinks that will put you out of business, should not own a business.
Oh, and for the record, when asked, Joe the Plumber said his business, if he bought it wouldn't even make $250,000. So his comments that Obama's tax plan would prevent him from buying the business were lies.
And lastly, some have argued that Joe is just a Republican plant, kind of a psy-ops for the McCain campaign. Although he is a registered republican who voted for McCain in the Primary.
Again I say Fuck Joe the Plumber. He's an idiot.
Hugs and Kisses,
The Punisher. (Who also happens to be a small business owner.)
He is Joe Wurzelbacher, an Ohio man looking to buy a plumbing business who came to symbolize the notion of "spreading the wealth" in Wednesday night's third and final presidential debate between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain.
Earlier this week, when Wurzelbacher got a chance to speak with Obama when the candidate visited Toledo, he told Obama that his tax plan would keep him from buying the business that currently employs him.
Sensing an opening in the debate, McCain cited that exchange when the candidates were asked to explain why their economic plans are better than their opponent's. McCain said Obama's plan would stop entrepreneurs from investing in new small businesses and keep existing ones from growing.
"Joe wants to buy the business that he has been in for all of these years, worked 10, 12 hours a day. And he wanted to buy the business but he looked at your tax plan and he saw that he was going to pay much higher taxes," McCain challenged Obama.
"You were going to put him in a higher tax bracket which was going to increase his taxes, which was going to cause him not to be able to employ people, which Joe was trying to realize the American dream," McCain said.
McCain then looked directly into the TV camera and said: "Joe, I want to tell you, I'll not only help you buy that business that you worked your whole life for and I'll keep your taxes low and I'll provide available and affordable health care for you and your employees. And I will not stand for a tax increase on small business income."
Obama denied that was true.
"Not only do 98 percent of small businesses make less than $250,000, but I also want to give them additional tax breaks, because they are the drivers of the economy," Obama said. "They produce the most jobs."
So what did Wurzelbacher (pronounced whur-zell-BAHK-er) think about being at the center of the debate?
"It's pretty surreal, man, my name being mentioned in a presidential campaign," he said minutes after hearing McCain utter his name.
In Toledo on Sunday, Wurzelbacher told Obama that he was preparing the company, which earns more than $250,000 a year, and said: "Your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn't it?"
Obama said that under his proposal taxes on any revenue from $250,000 on down would stay the same, but that amounts above that level would be subject to a 39 percent tax, instead of the current 36 percent rate.
"And the reason why we're doing that is because 95 percent of small businesses make less than 250 (thousand). So what I want to do is give them a tax cut. I want to give all these folks who are bus drivers, teachers, auto workers who make less, I want to give them a tax cut," he said.
Wurzelbacher protested, saying he's been a hardworking plumber for 15 years and why should he be taxed more.
"It's not that I want to punish your success," Obama said. "I just want to make sure that everybody who is behind you that they've got a chance at success, too."
At a later point in the discussion, Obama said: "I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody. But listen, I respect what you do and I respect your question, and even if I don't get your vote, I'm still gonna be working hard on your behalf because small businesses are what creates jobs in this country and I want to encourage it."
Wurzelbacher's name came up again when the debate turned to a discussion of health care policies.
He said Obama's reaction on the tax question left him feeling uneasy.
"I didn't think much of it the first time I heard it," Wurzelbacher said, adding that he still thinks Obama's plan would keep him from buying the business.
About McCain: "He's got it right as far as I go."
Even so, Wurzelbacher declined to say which candidate would get his vote on Nov. 4.
"That's for me and a button to know," he said.
# posted by The Punisher @ Thursday, October 16, 2008 2 comments
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Bill Who? Jeremiah Who? Somebody Needs to tell John McCain he's focusing on all the wrong details.
Dow plunges, finishes down 733 points
Index records second-largest point loss ever as despair rocks Wall Street
The Associated Press
updated 4:24 p.m. ET,Wed., Oct. 15, 2008
NEW YORK - Despair over the economy sent Wall Street plunging again Wednesday, propelling the Dow Jones industrials down 733 points to their second-largest point loss ever. Stocks fell on a combination of disheartening economic data, including a big drop in retail sales and a Federal Reserve report that said tight credit conditions are hurting businesses across the country.
The government’s report that retail sales plunged in September by 1.2 percent — almost double the 0.7 percent drop analysts expected — made it clear that consumers are reluctant to spend amid a shaky economy and a punishing stock market.
The Commerce Department report was sobering because consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity. The reading came as Wall Street was refocusing its attention on the faltering economy following stepped up government efforts to revive the stagnant credit markets.
The release of the Beige Book, the assessment of business conditions from the Federal Reserve, added to investors’ angst. The report found that the economy continued to slow in the early fall as financial and credit problems took a turn for the worse. The central bank’s report supported the market’s belief that difficulties in obtaining loans have choked growth in wide swaths of the economy.
“Even though the banking sector may be returning to normal, the economy still isn’t. The economy continues to face a host of otherproblems,” said Doug Roberts, chief investment strategist at ChannelCapitalResearch.com. “We’re in for a tough ride.”
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke offered a similar opinion, warning in a speech Wednesday that patching up the credit markets won’t provide an instantaneous jolt to the economy.
“Stabilization of the financial markets is a critical first step, but even if they stabilize as we hope they will, broader economic recovery will not happen right away,” he told the Economic Club of New York.
Analysts have warned that the market will see continued volatility as it tries to recover from the devastating losses of the last month, including the nearly 2,400-point plunge in the Dow over eight sessions. Such turbulence is typical after a huge decline, but the market’s anxiety about the economy is also expected to cause gyrations in the weeks and months ahead.
Selling accelerated in the last hour of trading, a common occurrence during the eight-days of heavy declines. One reason for the heavy selling: Mutual funds need to unload stock to pay investors who are bailing out of the market.
Investors apparently have come to believe that Monday’s big rebound, a response to the government’s plan to invest $250 billion in banks to get the lending business restarted, was overdone given the problems elsewhere in the economy.
“It really doesn’t come as a shock after Monday’s gains were I think a little bit excessive,” said Charles Norton, principal and portfolio manager at GNICapital, referring to the market’s pullback.
He contends that the government has taken so many steps that investors must now wait for some of the actions to help steady the economy.
“It seems like all the tools in the tool chest have mostly been used now and now it’s back to reality,” he said. “We’re still faced with the fact that the economy is slowing and earnings aren’t very good.”
Doubts about the economy were already surfacing in Tuesday’s session, when investors halted an early rally and began collecting profits from stocks’ big Monday advance. Wednesday’s data confirmed the market’s fears that the economy is likely to remain weak for some time, and that corporate profits are likely to suffer.
Mark Coffelt, portfolio manager at Empiric Funds, said moves by European and U.S. government officials to begin investing directly in banks are easing worries about credit. But the steep pullback in stocks that began last month after the credit markets lurched to a near standstill has now created worries that consumers will spend less after seeing the value of their retirement accounts and other investments drop.
“Markets abhor uncertainty and so we got a lot of that resolved this weekend and we got the reward Monday but now people are saying ’OK, now what is the economy going to do?”’
“We’re definitely going to get a slowdown from the terror of going through that,” Coffelt said.
According to preliminary calculations, a sell-off that intensified late in the session left Dow down 733.08, or 7.87 percent, at 8,577.91. On Monday, Sept. 29, the Dow had its largest point drop 777.68. The Dow’s massive decline marks its 20th triple-digit move in 23 sessions.
Broader stock indicators also skidded. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 90.17, or 9.03 percent, to 907.84, and the Nasdaq composite index fell 150.68, or 8.47 percent, to 1,628.33.
With Wednesday’s drop likely to hold, the Dow will, after a one-day break, resume a string of triple-digit losses or gains. On Tuesday, after swinging erratically throughout the session, the blue-chip index closed the day down a moderate 76 points.
The stock market is struggling to recover from last week’s terrible run, which erased about $2.4 trillion in shareholder wealth and brought the Dow to its lowest level since April 2003. The tumble occurred amid a seize-up in lending stemming from a lack of trust among institutions in response to the bankruptcy of investment bank Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and the failure of Washington Mutual Inc., which had been the nation’s largest thrift.
The credit markets have been showing tentative signs of recovery, though they remain strained, and demand for safe assets remains high. The three-month Treasury bill on Wednesday was yielding 0.33 percent, up from 0.30 percent on Tuesday. Overall yields remain low, showing that demand is so high that investors are willing to earn meager returns as long as their principal is preserved.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, fell to 3.98 percent from 4.03 percent late Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the Labor Department said the producer price index, which measures inflation pressures before they reach the consumer, fell 0.4 percent in September, driven by lower energy costs. That decline matched analysts’ expectations.
Late Tuesday, Intel Corp., the world’s largest maker of PC microprocessors, beat analysts’ estimates and posted a third-quarter profit increase of 12 percent. Intel fell 53 cents, or 3.3 percent, to $15.40.
JPMorgan’s results topped forecasts but the problems seen in all types of loans, not just home equity debt but also prime mortgages and credit cards, is worrisome for the banking industry. The stock fell 29 cents to $40.42.
Wells Fargo rose 58 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $34.10 after its report.
Light, sweet crude fell $3.88 to $75.07 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The drop in oil to a 13-month low hit energy stocks. Exxon Mobil Corp. fell $7.67, or 10.6 percent, to $64.79. Chevron Corp. fell $6.18, or 9 percent, to $62.36.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers by about 7 to 1 on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to 869.5 million shares.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 39.01, or 7.03 percent, to 515.64.
In Asian trading, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index lost nearly 5 percent after rising more than 13 percent the previous two days. Markets in Australia, South Korea, China, India and Singapore also sank. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index, however, ended up 1.1 percent after soaring 14 percent in the previous session.
In Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 7.08 percent, Germany’s DAX index fell 6.49 percent, and France’s CAC-40 fell 6.82 percent.
# posted by The Punisher @ Wednesday, October 15, 2008 0 comments
Dick Cheney Hospitalized. Here's the Ob Report Exclusive Video.
Oct. 15, 2008
For the second time in a year, Vice President Cheney will head the hospital to have an irregular heart beat corrected.
Earlier today, Cheney, 67, experienced an abnormal heart rhythm during a morning visit with doctors at George Washington University Hospital.
"It was discovered that the Vice President is experiencing a recurrence of atrial fibrillation, an abnormal rhythm involving the upper chambers of the heart," his press secretary Megan Mitchell said in a statement.
Last November, doctors discovered an irregular heartbeat when Cheney was getting a checkup following a lingering cough. Treated as an outpatient procedure, his doctors used what was described as an "electrical impulse" to restore normal rhythm in the upper chambers of the heart. Over his career, Cheney has experienced four heart attacks.
Later today, Cheney will have the outpatient procedure "to restore his normal rhythm."
The condition canceled the Vice President's plans to attend a campaign event in Illinois for Republican congressional candidate Marty Ozinga. Cheney did not attend the Cabinet or Iraq meetings today as he was expected to be traveling, but did participate in the usual early morning Oval Office security briefing.
# posted by The Punisher @ Wednesday, October 15, 2008 0 comments
McCain's Attacks Show He's Out Of Ideas. I hope McCain brings his slime bucket tonight.
The McCain campaign’s recent angry tone and sharply personal attacks on Senator Barack Obama appear to have backfired and tarnished Senator John McCain more than their intended target, the latest New York Times/CBS News poll has found.
After several weeks in which the McCain campaign unleashed a series of strong political attacks on Mr. Obama, trying to tie him to a former 1960s radical, among other things, the poll found that more voters see Mr. McCain as waging a negative campaign than Mr. Obama. Six in 10 voters surveyed said that Mr. McCain had spent more time attacking Mr. Obama than explaining what he would do as president; by about the same number, voters said Mr. Obama was spending more of his time explaining than attacking.
Over all, the poll found that if the election were held today, 53 percent of those determined to be probable voters said they would vote for Mr. Obama and 39 percent said they would vote for Mr. McCain.
The findings come as the race enters its final three weeks, with the two candidates scheduled to hold their third and last debate on Wednesday night, and as separate polls in critical swing states that could decide the election give Mr. Obama a growing edge. But wide gaps in polls have historically tended to narrow in the closing weeks of the race.
Voters who said their opinions of Mr. Obama had changed recently were twice as likely to say they had grown more favorable as to say they had worsened. And voters who said that their views of Mr. McCain had changed were three times more likely to say that they had worsened than to say they had improved.
The top reasons cited by those who said they thought less of Mr. McCain were his recent attacks and his choice of Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska as his running mate. (The vast majority said their opinions of Mr. Obama of Illinois, the Democratic nominee, and Mr. McCain of Arizona, the Republican nominee, had remained unchanged in recent weeks.) But in recent days, Mr. McCain and Ms. Palin have scaled back their attacks on Mr. Obama, although Mr. McCain suggested he might aggressively take on Mr. Obama in Wednesday’s debate.
With the election unfolding against the backdrop of an extraordinary economic crisis, a lack of confidence in government, and two wars, the survey described a very inhospitable environment for any Republican to run for office. More than 8 in 10 Americans do not trust the government to do what is right, the highest ever recorded in a Times/CBS News poll. And Mr. McCain is trying to keep the White House in Republican hands at a time when President Bush’s job approval rating is at 24 percent, hovering near its historic low.
While the poll showed Mr. Obama with a 14 percentage-point lead among likely voters in a head-to-head matchup with Mr. McCain, when Ralph Nader and Bob Barr, the Libertarian candidate, were included in the question, the race narrowed slightly, with 51 percent of those surveyed saying that they were supporting Mr. Obama and 39 percent supporting Mr. McCain, with Mr. Nader getting the support of 3 percent and Mr. Barr 1 percent. Other national polls have shown Mr. Obama ahead by a smaller margin.
The poll suggested that the overwhelming anxiety about the economy and distrust of government have created a potentially poisonous atmosphere for members of Congress. Only 43 percent of those surveyed said that they approved of their own representative’s job performance, which is considerably lower than approval ratings have been at other times of historic discontent. By way of comparison, just before the Democrats lost control of Congress in 1994, 56 percent of those polled said that they approved of the job their representative was doing.
And after nearly eight years of increasingly unpopular Republican rule in the White House, 52 percent of those polled said that they held a favorable view of the Democratic Party, compared with 37 percent who said they held a favorable view of the Republican Party. Voters said they preferred Democrats to Republicans when it came to questions about who would better handle the issues that are of the greatest concern to voters — including the economy, health care and the war in Iraq.
The nationwide telephone poll was conducted Friday through Monday with 1,070 adults, of whom 972 were registered voters, and it has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points for both groups.
After several weeks in which the McCain campaign sought to tie Mr. Obama to William Ayers, a founder of the Weather Underground terrorism group, 64 percent of voters said that they had either read or heard something about the subject. But a majority said they were not bothered by Mr. Obama’s background or past associations. Several people said in follow-up interviews that they felt that Mr. McCain’s attacks on Mr. Obama were too rooted in the past, or too unconnected to the nation’s major problems.
“What bothers me is that McCain initially talked about running a campaign on issues and I want to hear him talk about the issues,” said Flavio Lorenzoni, a 59-year-old independent from Manalapan, N.J. “But we’re being constantly bombarded with attacks that aren’t relevant to making a decision about what direction McCain would take the country. McCain hasn’t addressed the real issues. He’s only touched on them very narrowly. This is a time when we need to address issues much more clearly than they ever have been in the past.”
The poll found that Mr. Obama is now supported by majorities of men and independents, two groups that he has been fighting to win over. And the poll found, for the first time, that white voters are just about evenly divided between Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama, who, if elected, would be the first black president. The poll found that Mr. Obama is supported by 45 percent of white voters — a greater percentage than has voted for Democrats in recent presidential elections, according to exit polls.
Mr. McCain was viewed unfavorably by 41 percent of voters, and favorably by 36 percent. Ms. Palin’s favorability rating is now 32 percent, down 8 points from last month, and her unfavorable rating climbed nine percentage points to 41 percent. Mr. Obama’s favorability rating, by contrast, is now at 50 percent, the highest recorded for him thus far by The Times and CBS News.
There were still some strong findings for Mr. McCain. Sixty-four percent of voters polled said Mr. McCain, 72, was well-prepared for the presidency, which has been a central theme of his campaign. Fifty-one percent said Mr. Obama, 47, was.
But roughly 7 in 10 voters said Mr. Obama had the right kind of temperament and personality to be president; just over half said the same of Mr. McCain.
Mr. Obama’s supporters continued to be more enthusiastic about him than Mr. McCain’s supporters, the poll found, and more of those surveyed said they had confidence in Mr. Obama than in Mr. McCain to make the right decisions about the economy and health care. And while more than 6 in 10 said Mr. Obama understood the needs and problems of people like them, more than half said Mr. McCain did not.
Marjorie Connelly and Marina Stefan contributed reporting.
# posted by The Punisher @ Wednesday, October 15, 2008 0 comments
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Ouch: Alaskan Daily News Calls Palin "Orwellian."
Palin vindicated? Governor offers Orwellian spin
Sarah Palin's reaction to the Legislature's Troopergate report is an embarrassment to Alaskans and the nation.
She claims the report "vindicates" her. She said that the investigation found "no unlawful or unethical activity on my part."
Her response is either astoundingly ignorant or downright Orwellian.
Page 8, Finding Number One of the report says: "I find that Governor Sarah Palin abused her power by violating Alaska Statute 39.52.110(a) of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act."
In plain English, she did something "unlawful." She broke the state ethics law.
Perhaps Gov. Palin has been too busy to actually read the Troopergate report. Perhaps she is relying on briefings from McCain campaign spinmeisters.
That's the charitable interpretation.
Because if she had actually read it, she couldn't claim "vindication" with a straight face.
Palin asserted that the report found "there was no abuse of authority at all in trying to get Officer Wooten fired."
In fact, the report concluded that "impermissible pressure was placed on several subordinates in order to advance a personal agenda, to wit: to get Trooper Michael Wooten fired."
Palin's response is the kind of political "big lie" that George Orwell warned against. War is peace. Black is white. Up is down.
Gov. Palin and her camp trumpeted the report's second finding: that she was within her legal authority to fire Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan. But the report also said it's likely one of the reasons she fired him was his failure to get rid of her ex-brother-in-law trooper.
That's not "vindication," and surely Gov. Palin knows it.
Gov. Palin does have a defense. She could have said:
"I'm gratified that the report confirmed what I said all along, that I had the authority to terminate Walt Monegan as public safety commissioner.
"I absolutely disagree that I violated state ethics law. In repeatedly complaining about trooper Mike Wooten, Todd and I were not pursuing a personal vendetta. We were trying to protect the integrity of the Alaska State Troopers from having an arrogant, almost-out-of-control law-breaker in their ranks. Because the action we were seeking was in the public interest, not purely our personal interest, there is no ethics law violation."
Gov. Palin and her husband felt so passionately about Wooten because the case was so personal to them. Their passion blinded them to any other considerations.
They had no sense that the power of the governor's office carries a special responsibility not to use it to settle family scores. They had no sense that legal restrictions might prevent the troopers from firing Wooten. They had no sense that persistent queries from the governor's office might be perceived as pressure to bend state personnel laws.
Gov. Palin and her husband were obsessed with Wooten the way Capt. Ahab was obsessed with the Great White Whale. No Wooten, no peace.
Has Gov. Palin committed an impeachable offense? Hardly.
Is what she did indictable? No.
But it wasn't appropriate, especially for someone elected as an ethical reformer. And her Orwellian claims of "vindication" make this blemish on her record look even worse.
You asked us to hold you accountable, Gov. Palin. Did you mean it?
Bottom line: Gov. Palin, read the report. It says you violated the ethics law.
# posted by The Punisher @ Tuesday, October 14, 2008 0 comments
There are many more, but I'll stop there. The key point is that all small media election projection websites, including the Republican Election Projection and Real Clear Politics, have Obama over 270 electoral votes. This is because polls now objectively show that Obama is well over 270 electoral votes. However, none of the big, and so-called liberal, media websites show Obama over 270 right now. Every single one is even more favorable to McCain than Real Clear Politics:
MSNBC: Obama 264-174 McCain CNN: Obama 264-174 McCain New York Times: Obama 260--200 McCain
None of these websites can admit what is patently obvious to even Republican poll watchers right now: Obama is over 270 outside the margin of error. The inability of these big media sites to simply admit reality--reality that is evident in their own reporting about McCain playing from well behind right now--is pathetic.
Maybe they are afraid of being accused of pro-Obama bias (probably). Maybe they are just biased toward McCain (possibly). Maybe they just suck at electoral forecasting (definitely). Maybe they are invested in a close campaign (absolutely). Whatever it is, you would be well served to never, ever listen to big media for election forecasts and horserace information.
They are invested in the horserace for ratings purposes, and they are certainly fearful of being accused of pro-Obama bias. So instead of providing an accurate picture for their readers, they misinform them.
I mean, Washington Post really thinks New Jersey is a battleground state? Really?
# posted by David @ Sunday, October 12, 2008 0 comments