Thursday, July 31, 2008

Rick Davis repeats "celebrity" jab.

Rick Davis is continuing the "Obama is a celebrity" theme of the McCain campaign by stating, "Barack Obama has more fans across the world than Paris Hilton does."

Davis now argues that the only people objecting to his claims are Obama supporters in the media. Perhaps Davis is forgetting this:

People aren't shocked at McCain's campaign engaging in this sleaze having promised not to, it's to be expected from the Republicans. What shocking is that it is so cheap, amateur and blatantly false.

We expected this shit to at least be done with an ounce of credibility. This is just embarrassing. They're trying to turn Obama's popularity into a negative. It's simply ludicrous.

The Low Road - TV Ad.

Here Obama campaigns against the negative ads which McCain is pedalling by simply pointing out what others say about them. Obama remains positive and simply points out how many media outlets refute McCain's lies.

McCain Tries to Define Obama as Out of Touch

“What you’re going to see is a great debate. Which is what the American public deserves. None of this negative stuff, though. You won’t see it come out of our side at all.”– Cindy McCain, Today Show, May 8, 2008:
McCain has completely reneged on his promise to avoid negative campaigning and is launching a determined effort to portray Barack Obama as an arrogant celebrity who is unfit for office.

The "celebrity" tag has been applied in an attempt to make the huge crowds who attend Obama's rallies into a problem for him. Once again, a positive is being pedalled as a negative.

Obama's popularity must mean that he is not as "serious" as McCain is. Fewer people are interested in what McCain has to say... which must mean that Obama is pedalling froth, a sort of Hello magazine version of politics. The irony is that McCain makes this allegation by stating that Obama is against offshore drilling at a time when America is suffering from high oil prices... two separate items which only a person who reads Hello magazine could possibly think were related.

The RNC have launched a site called Audacity Watch, which they claim is "Exposing Barack Obama and the Radical Left". I love how the left are always radical in the RNC's minds, whilst there appears to be no right wing equivalent.

Here's a quote from Audacity Watch:
We already know that he harbors a god-like image of himself. He sees himself as a historical figure who will be discussed hundreds of years from now — someone like the great emperors of Rome or Asia or the pharaohs of Egypt (are his people already land-shopping for his own pyramid?).
I note that there is no proof whatsoever put forward to justify this ridiculous claim and actually feel that these attacks are so childish and silly that they will actually harm McCain's campaign rather than Obama's. How can any sentient adult possibly think that this counts as serious political discussion?

Mr. McCain’s campaign is now under the leadership of members of President Bush’s re-election campaign, including Steve Schmidt, the czar of the Bush war room that relentlessly painted his opponent, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, as effete, elite, and equivocal through a daily blitz of sound bites and Web videos that were carefully coordinated with Mr. Bush’s television advertisements.

The run of attacks against Mr. Obama over the last couple of weeks have been strikingly reminiscent of that drive, including the Bush team’s tactics of seeking to make campaigns referendums on its opponents — not a choice between two candidates — and attacking the opponent’s perceived strengths head-on. Central to the latest McCain drive is an attempt to use against Mr. Obama the huge crowds and excitement he has drawn, including on his foreign trip last week, by promoting a view of him as more interested in attention and adulation than in solving the problems facing American families.

“I would say that it is beyond dispute that he has become the biggest celebrity in the world,” Mr. Schmidt said in a conference call with reporters on Wednesday. “The question that we are posing to the American people is this: ‘Is he ready to lead yet?’ And the answer to the question that we will offer to the American people is: ‘No he is not.’ ”

I am sure that there are some Americans stupid enough to buy into this horseshit, but I can only hope that they are on the minority.

This campaign is not a referendum on whether or not Obama is ready to lead, it is a clear choice between change and another four years of Bush's disastrous policies.

McCain is now attempting to change what the election is actually about as, if he debates on policy, he will certainly lose.

But to turn to such infantile tactics, after promising and campaigning for civility in politics, has alienated even some of his own side:
The sentiment seeped onto television on Wednesday with Andrea Tantaros, a Republican strategist, saying on MSNBC that the use of Ms. Hilton in Mr. McCain’s commercial was “absurd and juvenile,” and that he should spend more time promoting his own agenda.
This is McCain's latest attempt to turn back the political tornado which Obama represents. Personally, I think it will be futile and ultimately hurt the image of John McCain more than it does the image of Barack Obama. McCain has always been thought of as an honourable man, but that can't be maintained as long as he runs such a dishonourable campaign.

He started this week pedalling lies and he appears to be finishing it off by pedalling fantasy. At the beginning of the campaign he was viewed as a man of substance, a war hero. As he avoids substantive discussion and engages in little more than name calling it is hard to think of him in the same way.

This is beneath the man who has frequently spoken about the need for civility in politics. It's his own reputation which will be shredded here.

Click title for full article.

Ehud Olmert resignation throws Israel's politics into turmoil

It's strange that Ehud Olmert came into power to complete the work that Ariel Sharon started in the Gaza Strip. Olmert was to remove the settlers from the West Bank in the exact same way as had been done in Gaza. He had campaigned on it. It was the entire reason the Kadima party existed.

Yesterday, battered by allegations of corruption, Ehud Olmert announced that he was resigning.

It's just as well really, he's accomplished nothing. His ill fated decision to invade Lebanon - urged on, nay... goaded, by Bush and Cheney - led to Israel's first ever defeat in war and personal approval rating of around 3%. And, at that point, the very reasons his party existed had to be shelved, rendering his premiership utterly pointless.

He's had an albatross around his neck ever since and the greatest surprise in all of this is that, in a political system as turbulent as Israel's, that he's managed to hold on as long as he has done.

Now, finally, it's over.

"I will step aside properly in an honourable and responsible way, and afterwards I will prove my innocence," Olmert told reporters from a podium outside his Jerusalem office. "I want to make it clear - I am proud to be a citizen of a country where the prime minister can be investigated like a regular citizen. It is the duty of the police to investigate, and the duty of the prosecution to instruct the police. The prime minister is not above the law."

Normally, when an Israeli leader steps down, one has to consider the implications for the peace process, but in this case there is nothing to consider. The present peace process, George Bush's famed road map for peace, is worse than a sick joke. An Israeli leader with a 3% approval rating was negotiating with Abbas, the man the Palestinians didn't elect.

And even then their negotiations appeared to be going nowhere.
Israeli political analyst Dan Margalit, an old friend of Olmert, called the prime minister's decision to step down "a sad end to a miserable career". Uri Dromi, another pundit, called Olmert a "lame duck".

The Israeli public reacted with mounting anger and contempt to the news of Olmert's legal problems. Nahum Barnea, a columnist with the Yediot Aharonot newspaper, wrote on the eve of the recent EU-Mediterranean summit in France that the prime minister was finished, but was in denial: "Politicians in Israel, the leaders he will meet in Paris, prosecutors and the police all know it. The only one who refuses to acknowledge it is Olmert."

It's been a long time coming, and the only surprise - now that he's made this announcement - is that he got away with postponing it for so long.

Click title for full article.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

McCain's Voting Record: He Does Not Support TheTroops and Veterans

The danger of McCain attacking Obama for "not supporting the troops" is that it opens up his own record for scrutiny. McCain has been relying up until now on the fact that he was once a prisoner of war to convince people that he naturally supports the troops, however his record belies that claim.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America have given McCain a "D" for his voting record while Obama earned a "B". Disabled American Veterans gave McCain a 20% voting record and Obama an 80% voting record.

The media continue to give McCain a free pass for his numerous gaffes, but the assumption that McCain is supportive of the troops is not substantiated by his voting record. And that's not my opinion, that's the opinion of the Veterans themselves.

It's time this old fraud was called out on this.

Andrea Mitchell: McCain attack ad "literally not true"

Chuck Hagel has already stated that McCain's recent ad is "treading on some very thin ground". Now Andrea Mitchell, who was with Obama during his tour of Europe and the Middle East, states that the McCain camp's claims are "literally not true".

She says she can vouch that Obama never had any intention of bringing cameras with him and finds it "inexplicable" that the McCain camp are pedalling such lies.

"The Maverick" is showing that, when it comes to elections, all Republicans use Rovian dirty tricks and lying is permissible, nay unavoidable, if they are to have any chance convincing the public to vote against their economic interests and for the Republican Party's toxic policies.

Curse of the DNA register

Despite being a small island of just under 60 million people, Britain has always punched above her weight internationally, although most Brits are feeling distinctly uneasy about her latest bout of record breaking.

Britain now has the largest DNA database in the world, including one million people who have never been found guilty of any offence, 100,000 of whom are children.

Recent research, funded by the Home Office among members of the public, has revealed that there is widespread hostility to the holding of people's DNA and the fear that a generation of Brits are being treated as if they were criminals, despite the fact that they have never committed any offence.

The Human Genetics Commission found there was widespread mistrust among people presented with evidence of the size of the database, which now contains the genetic records of more than four million people. It called for the database to be taken out of the control of the Home Office and police altogether, with one panel member warning that the database was a "first step towards a totalitarian state".

About 40 per cent of young black men have been forced to provide samples, compared with 13 per cent of Asian men and 9 per cent of white men.

Genetic material is now taken from all people arrested by police, regardless of whether they are subsequently charged or convicted, and remains on file for life.

Offences covered include begging, being drunk and disorderly, taking part in an illegal demonstration and minor acts of criminal damage caused by children kicking footballs or, in one instance, throwing a snowball.

Research reveals that the public apparently suffer no disquiet over criminals having their DNA stored, but object to the DNA of people who have not been charged with any offence being kept on record.

And the public appears to feel that the length of time the DNA of people who have been found guilty of offences should be stored must in some way be commensurate with the crime they have committed.

Detailed consultation on the database by the commission, the Government's genetic watchdog, found the public believed samples provided by the innocent should be destroyed and those of people convicted of lesser offences removed after a few years.

The damning verdict was delivered by panels in Birmingham and Glasgow. After studying evidence about the database they called for an array of reforms designed to reassure the public that it would not be abused. They concluded that the records of children convicted of minor offences should be removed after a short period. Warning that adults are "criminalised" by having their DNA permanently on record, the panels said the length of time it stays on the database should be proportionate to their offence. "Currently no distinction is made between someone who has been arrested for breach of the peace and someone who has murdered somebody," the commission's report noted.

The usual government argument in such cases is that if you have nothing to hide then you should have nothing to fear. I am always secretly pleased when the public reveal that they are slightly more sceptical than the government or the police would like us to be in such matters.

David Howarth, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, said: "There must be better ways of catching criminals than spending millions of pounds of taxpayers' money adding innocent people to the DNA database. Public confidence has been shattered by the Government's Orwellian attempts to create a national DNA database by stealth."

Dominic Grieve, the shadow Home Secretary, said: "The Government should take heed of these findings. Currently the DNA database targets the innocent but not all the guilty."

And Howarth makes a very good point. If the government thought that we were all in agreement with such a scheme, then they would not have to construct their DNA database with such stealth.

Britain has already become a "surveillance society" according to a recent report, which noted that we have one surveillance camera for every fourteen of our citizens, making us "the most surveilled country" in the world. And reports also show that this increased surveillance has not made us more safe. Indeed, there is no correlation between surveillance and safety:
Statistics show that CCTV does not reduce crime. A 2005 Home Office study concluded that "most CCTV systems do not cut crime or make people feel safer. Of 14 closed circuit television camera schemes examined by criminologists, only one - for car parks - was shown to reduce offences."
The DNA database is yet another infringement into the privacy of innocent Brits.

And this report states quite clearly that there is "widespread mistrust" amongst the public about the government or the police having such details on file.

It would make crime solving much easier if were we all to offer our fingerprints and our DNA to the police to be kept on file, but this report suggests that many of us are unwilling to take that risk and that we value our privacy more than we fear being the victim of crime.

This appears to undermine the belief, shared by Blair and New Labour, that we will willingly give up our privacy in order for our government to protect us.

We are not quite as risk averse a nation as they have presumed.

Click title for full article.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Liberal media's bias against Liberals.

One of the phrases which boggles my mind when I hear right wing Americans use it is the "Liberal media". For any Brit who has ever seen American electoral coverage, and who has ever watched how the British media cover elections, this notion is simply laughable on it's face.

Now it's official:

The Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University, where researchers have tracked network news content for two decades, found that ABC, NBC and CBS were tougher on Obama than on Republican John McCain during the first six weeks of the general-election campaign.

You read it right: tougher on the Democrat

During the evening news, the majority of statements from reporters and anchors on all three networks are neutral, the center found. And when network news people ventured opinions in recent weeks, 28% of the statements were positive for Obama and 72% negative. Network reporting also tilted against McCain, but far less dramatically, with 43% of the statements positive and 57% negative, according to the Washington-based media center.
And that's before we get into the fact that the US media are much more willing to buy into Republican talking points like "character" and "which candidate the electorate might prefer to have a drink with", rather than concentrating on policy as the British media would be much more likely to do.

And one of the reason that Republicans want to talk about "character" rather than policy is because their policies are electoral poison.

And while McCain has been complaining recently that Obama's coverage abroad has been dwarfing the coverage of his own campaign, he might want to thank his lucky stars for that as Obama's coverage is negative 72% of the time.

Time for John to stop whining.

Click title for full article.

Hagel: McCain is "on some very thin ground" when he attacks Obama.

Hagel: I think John is treading on some very thin ground here when he impugns motives and when we start to get into, `You’re less patriotic than me. I’m more patriotic.’ I admire, respect John McCain very much, I have a good relationship–to this day we do, we talk often. I talked to him right before I went to Iraq, matter of fact. John’s better than that.”

Missouri Police taser injured boy 19 times.

Why did the police taser an injured boy 19 bloody times? The police claim that they were tasering him "to keep him from getting hurt". Unbelievable.

Report Concludes Bush's Justice Department Engaged In Illegal Practices

Aides to Alberto Gonzales broke Civil Service laws by using political affiliation to decide who to hire rather than concentrating on the competence of the candidates in question.

A longtime prosecutor who drew rave reviews from his supervisors was passed over for an important counterterrorism slot because his wife was active in Democratic politics, and a much-less-experienced lawyer with Republican leanings got the job, the report said.

Another prosecutor was rejected for a job in part because she was thought to be a lesbian. And a Republican lawyer received high marks at his job interview because he was found to be sufficiently conservative on the core issues of “god, guns + gays.”

The report, prepared by the Justice Department’s inspector general and its internal ethics office, centered on the misconduct of a small circle of aides to Mr. Gonzales, including Monica Goodling, a former top adviser to the attorney general, and Kyle Sampson, his former chief of staff. It also found that White House officials were actively involved in some hiring decisions.

As this staggeringly partisan and incompetent administration moves into it's final months in office, only a fool could express any surprise at findings like this. And, as is to be expected from an administration that hired 150 graduates from Pat Robertson's Regent University, political affiliation was always going to come before any actual talent.
According to the report, officials at the White House first developed a method of searching the Internet to glean the political leanings of a candidate and introduced it at a White House seminar called The Thorough Process of Investigation. Justice Department officials then began using the technique to search for key phrases or words in an applicant’s background, like “abortion,” “homosexual,” “Florida recount,” or “guns.”
The White House has been run for the past eight years by nutcases, by ridiculous ideologues, so findings like this are only conforming what many of us previously suspected.

The report released on Monday goes much further in documenting pervasive evidence of political hiring for some of the department’s most senior career positions, including immigration judges, assistant United States attorneys and even senior counterterrorism positions.

The pattern appeared most damaging in the hiring of immigration judges, as vacancies were allowed to go unfilled — and a backlog of deportation cases grew — while Mr. Gonzales’s aides looked for conservative lawyers to fill what were supposed to be apolitical jobs.

The inspector general’s investigation found that Ms. Goodling and a handful of other senior aides to Mr. Gonzales used in-person interviews and Internet searches to screen out candidates who might be too liberal and identify candidates seen as pro-Republican and supportive of President Bush.

Apparently they can't even be prosecuted for what they have done, although there is hope that Goodling and others might face disciplinary action from their local bar associations, including the possible loss of their bar licenses.

Stopping people like this from ever practicing law again would seem to be the least that could be asked for under the circumstances.

Click title for full article.

Bush to leave a record budget deficit of $482 billion

His entire presidency has been marked by his staggering indifference, by his callous lack of care, so it would be too much to expect Bush to have any regrets - or any feelings at all - about leaving behind the worst deficit in US history.

His successor will move into the White House faced with two unfinished wars and a staggering $482 billion budget deficit. And the man leaving the White House will have no regrets, as he has already decided that history will decide the legacy of his presidency and that the decision will not be valid until he is dead.

I suppose he has no choice other than to hope that history will validate his terrible time in office as today's figures render his presidency one of the worst, if not the very worst, of all time.

An astonishing 81% of Americans say that their country is on the wrong track. Four out of every five people. And Bush thinks history might in some way reverse such a track record of utter failure?

White House officials blamed the slowing economy and a $150-billion bipartisan stimulus package for the worsening picture for the 2009 fiscal year, but Democrats cited the president's tax cuts and fiscal management over his eight years in office.
The truth is that, although the White House say publicly that this has nothing to do with Bush's enormous tax gift to the rich, in reality this is only so much window dressing. Dick Cheney, the man whose reply was, "So?" when told that the two thirds of the country disagreed with administration's Iraq policy, simply doesn't care what people think. This is why Bush thinks history will judge him better than his electorate, because he knows the electorate disagree with him and has therefore concluded that they can't know what they are talking about.

It's a quite staggering combination of incompetence and arrogance.
"If we gave Olympic medals for fiscal irresponsibility, President Bush would take the gold, the silver and the bronze, because he's got the three highest record deficits ever," said Sen. Kent Conrad (D-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. "He sets records in every single category: 2009 would be the gold; 2004 the silver; 2008 the bronze."

Rep. John M. Spratt Jr. (D-S.C.) noted that Bush inherited a budget surplus from his Democratic predecessor, so the blame for the poor fiscal performance rests with him.
"Mr. Bush came to office with the biggest surpluses in history and he will leave office with the biggest deficit in history. That's the bottom line," said Spratt, chairman of the House Budget Committee.
That is, indeed, the bottom line. For even if one were to accept Bush's logic that 9-11 (and the war on terror which followed) was responsible for his deficits then one would still have to ask why the price for "defending freedom" has been passed to another generation and why this generation has awarded itself tax cuts rather than do what every other American administration has done at a time of war and ask that the people make a sacrifice. That the people contribute to the war effort.

But Bush's supporters, and they are mostly now confined to a few brave typists at right wing blogs, have been asked to make no sacrifice at all to support Bush and his illegal Iraq war. There are no bombs falling in America's streets, there is no rationing, there is not even a financial price to pay.

All of that has been safely pushed down the road to be paid for by other people.

That is what makes the Bush presidency such a stain on America's character. They didn't even have the decency to pay for the misadventure themselves. They claimed that they were fighting for the survival of an entire civilisation, but declined to pick up the bill, preferring that their own good life should continue uninterrupted, despite the supposed enormity of the enemy they claimed to face.

Oh no, wait. There was a sacrifice. The president gave up golf.

Thank the Lord. For a moment there I thought we were simply dealing with greedy unscrupulous bastards.

Click title for full article.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Jukebox John keeps changing his tune

The Carpetbagger Report have done a sterling job of counting and listing McCain's interminable list of flip-flops. There have now been an astonishing 70 so far, and I'm sure there will be more before November.

Here's the list so far:

National Security Policy

1. McCain thought Bush’s warrantless-wiretap program circumvented the law; now he believes the opposite.

2. McCain insisted that everyone, even “terrible killers,” “the worst kind of scum of humanity,” and detainees at Guantanamo Bay, “deserve to have some adjudication of their cases,” even if that means “releasing some of them.” McCain now believes the opposite.

3. He opposed indefinite detention of terrorist suspects. When the Supreme Court reached the same conclusion, he called it “one of the worst decisions in the history of this country.”

4. In February 2008, McCain reversed course on prohibiting waterboarding.

5. McCain was for closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay before he was against it.

6. When Barack Obama talked about going after terrorists in Pakistani mountains with predators, McCain criticized him for it. He’s since come to the opposite conclusion.

Foreign Policy

7. McCain was for kicking Russia out of the G8 before he was against it.

8. McCain supported moving “towards normalization of relations” with Cuba. Now he believes the opposite.

9. McCain believed the U.S. should engage in diplomacy with Hamas. Now he believes the opposite.

10. McCain believed the U.S. should engage in diplomacy with Syria. Now he believes the opposite.

11. McCain is both for and against a “rogue state rollback” as a focus of his foreign policy vision.

12. McCain used to champion the Law of the Sea convention, even volunteering to testify on the treaty’s behalf before a Senate committee. Now he opposes it.

13. McCain was against divestment from South Africa before he was for it.

Military Policy

14. McCain recently claimed that he was the “greatest critic” of Rumsfeld’s failed Iraq policy. In December 2003, McCain praised the same strategy as “a mission accomplished.” In March 2004, he said, “I’m confident we’re on the right course.” In December 2005, he said, “Overall, I think a year from now, we will have made a fair amount of progress if we stay the course.”

15. McCain has changed his mind about a long-term U.S. military presence in Iraq on multiple occasions, concluding, on multiple occasions, that a Korea-like presence is both a good and a bad idea.

16. McCain was against additional U.S. forces in Afghanistan before he was for it.

17. McCain said before the war in Iraq, “We will win this conflict. We will win it easily.” Four years later, McCain said he knew all along that the war in Iraq war was “probably going to be long and hard and tough.”

18. McCain has repeatedly said it’s a dangerous mistake to tell the “enemy” when U.S. troops would be out of Iraq. In May, McCain announced that most American troops would be home from Iraq by 2013.

19. McCain was against expanding the GI Bill before he was for it.

20. McCain staunchly opposed Obama’s Iraq withdrawal timetable, and even blasted Mitt Romney for having referenced the word during the GOP primaries. In July, after Iraqi officials endorsed Obama’s policy, McCain said a 16-month calendar sounds like “a pretty good timetable.”

Domestic Policy

21. McCain defended “privatizing” Social Security. Now he says he’s against privatization (though he actually still supports it.)

22. McCain wanted to change the Republican Party platform to protect abortion rights in cases of rape and incest. Now he doesn’t.

23. McCain supported storing spent nuclear fuel at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. Now he believes the opposite.

24. He argued the NRA should not have a role in the Republican Party’s policy making. Now he believes the opposite.

25. In 1998, he championed raising cigarette taxes to fund programs to cut underage smoking, insisting that it would prevent illnesses and provide resources for public health programs. Now, McCain opposes a $0.61-per-pack tax increase, won’t commit to supporting a regulation bill he’s co-sponsoring, and has hired Philip Morris’ former lobbyist as his senior campaign adviser.

26. McCain is both for and against earmarks for Arizona.

27. McCain’s first mortgage plan was premised on the notion that homeowners facing foreclosure shouldn’t be “rewarded” for acting “irresponsibly.” His second mortgage plan took largely the opposite position.

28. McCain went from saying gay marriage should be allowed, to saying gay marriage shouldn’t be allowed.

29. McCain opposed a holiday to honor Martin Luther King, Jr., before he supported it.

30. McCain was anti-ethanol. Now he’s pro-ethanol.

31. McCain was both for and against state promotion of the Confederate flag.

32. In 2005, McCain endorsed intelligent design creationism, a year later he said the opposite, and a few months after that, he was both for and against creationism at the same time.

33. And on gay adoption, McCain initially said he’d rather let orphans go without families, then his campaign reversed course, and soon after, McCain reversed back.

34. In the Senate, McCain opposed a variety of measures on equal pay for women, and endorsed the Supreme Court’s Ledbetter decision. In July, however, McCain said, “I’m committed to making sure that there’s equal pay for equal work. That … is my record and you can count on it.”

35. McCain was against fully funding the No Child Left Behind Act before he was for it.

36. McCain was for affirmative action before he was against it.

Economic Policy

37. McCain was against Bush’s tax cuts for the very wealthy before he was for them.

38. John McCain initially argued that economics is not an area of expertise for him, saying, “I’m going to be honest: I know a lot less about economics than I do about military and foreign policy issues; I still need to be educated,” and “The issue of economics is not something I’ve understood as well as I should.” He now falsely denies ever having made these remarks and insists that he has a “very strong” understanding of economics.

39. McCain vowed, if elected, to balance the federal budget by the end of his first term. Soon after, he decided he would no longer even try to reach that goal. And soon after that, McCain abandoned his second position and went back to his first.

40. McCain said in 2005 that he opposed the tax cuts because they were “too tilted to the wealthy.” By 2007, he denied ever having said this, and falsely argued that he opposed the cuts because of increased government spending.

41. McCain thought the estate tax was perfectly fair. Now he believes the opposite.

42. McCain pledged in February 2008 that he would not, under any circumstances, raise taxes. Specifically, McCain was asked if he is a “‘read my lips’ candidate, no new taxes, no matter what?” referring to George H.W. Bush’s 1988 pledge. “No new taxes,” McCain responded. Two weeks later, McCain said, “I’m not making a ‘read my lips’ statement, in that I will not raise taxes.”

43. McCain has changed his entire economic worldview on multiple occasions.

44. McCain believes Americans are both better and worse off economically than they were before Bush took office.

Energy Policy

45. McCain supported the moratorium on coastal drilling ; now he’s against it.

46. McCain recently announced his strong opposition to a windfall-tax on oil company profits. Three weeks earlier, he was perfectly comfortable with the idea.

47. McCain endorsed a cap-and-trade policy with a mandatory emissions cap. In mid-June, McCain announced he wants the caps to voluntary.

48. McCain explained his belief that a temporary suspension of the federal gas tax would provide an immediate economic stimulus. Shortly thereafter, he argued the exact opposite.

49. McCain supported the Lieberman/Warner legislation to combat global warming. Now he doesn’t.

50. McCain was for national auto emissions standards before he was against them.

Immigration Policy

51. McCain was a co-sponsor of the DREAM Act, which would grant legal status to illegal immigrants’ kids who graduate from high school. In 2007, he announced his opposition to the bill. In 2008, McCain switched back.

52. On immigration policy in general, McCain announced in February 2008 that he would vote against his own bill.

53. In April, McCain promised voters that he would secure the borders “before proceeding to other reform measures.” Two months later, he abandoned his public pledge, pretended that he’d never made the promise in the first place, and vowed that a comprehensive immigration reform policy has always been, and would always be, his “top priority.”

Judicial Policy and the Rule of Law

54. McCain said he would “not impose a litmus test on any nominee.” He used to promise the opposite.

55. McCain believes the telecoms should be forced to explain their role in the administration’s warrantless surveillance program as a condition for retroactive immunity. He used to believe the opposite.

56. McCain went from saying he would not support repeal of Roe v. Wade to saying the exact opposite.

57 In June, McCain rejected the idea of a trial for Osama bin Laden, and thought Obama’s reference to Nuremberg was a misread of history. A month later, McCain argued the exact opposite position.

Campaign, Ethics, and Lobbying Reform

58. McCain supported his own lobbying-reform legislation from 1997. Now he doesn’t.

59. In 2006, McCain sponsored legislation to require grassroots lobbying coalitions to reveal their financial donors. In 2007, after receiving “feedback” on the proposal, McCain told far-right activist groups that he opposes his own measure.

60. McCain supported a campaign-finance bill, which bore his name, on strengthening the public-financing system. In June 2007, he abandoned his own legislation.

Politics and Associations

61. McCain wanted political support from radical televangelist John Hagee. Now he doesn’t. (He also believes his endorsement from Hagee was both a good and bad idea.)

62. McCain wanted political support from radical televangelist Rod Parsley. Now he doesn’t.

63. McCain says he considered and did not consider joining John Kerry’s Democratic ticket in 2004.

64. McCain is both for and against attacking Barack Obama over his former pastor at his former church.

65. McCain criticized TV preacher Jerry Falwell as “an agent of intolerance” in 2002, but then decided to cozy up to the man who said Americans “deserved” the 9/11 attacks.

66. In 2000, McCain accused Texas businessmen Sam and Charles Wyly of being corrupt, spending “dirty money” to help finance Bush’s presidential campaign. McCain not only filed a complaint against the Wylys for allegedly violating campaign finance law, he also lashed out at them publicly. In April, McCain reached out to the Wylys for support.

67. McCain was against presidential candidates campaigning at Bob Jones University before he was for it.

68. McCain decided in 2000 that he didn’t want anything to do with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, believing he “would taint the image of the ‘Straight Talk Express.’” Kissinger is now the Honorary Co-Chair for his presidential campaign in New York.

69. McCain believed powerful right-wing activist/lobbyist Grover Norquist was “corrupt, a shill for dictators, and (with just a dose of sarcasm) Jack Abramoff’s gay lover.” McCain now considers Norquist a key political ally.

70. McCain was for presidential candidates giving speeches in foreign countries before he was against it.

The fact that the press appear to be ignoring the fact that a Presidential candidate has U-turned this many times simply cannot be accidental. Maybe, in fairness, there isn't enough time in a single transmission to list them all, because it is an exhaustive list.

Full marks to Steve Benen for having the patience to compile a list of whoppers that long.

Click title for source.

John McCain: I Know How To Catch Bin Laden

Is it just me or is John McCain starting to sound insane?

Last week, John McCain proclaimed that he knew how to win wars. Today, he's taking it a step further, telling voters that he not only knows how to capture and bring to justice Osama bin Laden, but is going to do it.

Appearing on the Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, the Arizona Republican was reminded that he had vowed to bring Osama bin Laden to justice and was asked how he would differ in that task from President Bush.

Initially saying that he would not "telegraph" the specifics, McCain declared, "Look, I know the area, I've been there, I know wars, I know how to win wars, and I know how to improve our capabilities so that we will capture Osama bin Laden -- or put it this way, bring him to justice... We will do it, I know how to do it."

If he knows how to do it, shouldn't he have passed this information on to the Bush administration already? Or is he holding on to it, threatening not to tell unless he is made President?

Comments like this one are simply bat shit crazy. It's impossible to take a man who speaks this way remotely seriously. Because if we assume, for just a second, that McCain is serious in what he says, then he's either a traitor holding back information for personal political gain, or he's a nut job.

Click title for full article.

McCain tap dances on gay adoption.

Sorry. This is my third post today on McCain's interview with Stephanopoulos, but it feels like the gift that just keeps on giving.

Here McCain is asked to clarify his position on gay adoption, which McCain goes to great lengths to avoid answering, even coming out with the utterly ludicrous line, "My position is it's not the reason I am running for President of the United States".

I am unaware that anyone had ever suggested that this might be his reason for running for President, but people are still entitled to know his opinion on this. He sends enough signals to please bigots, but it's hysterical to watch him dance around the subject.

Insane McCain Flip Flops on Time Tables

McCain continues his ridiculous flip flopping on an exit strategy brought about by the fact that Maliki has essentially endorsed Obama's position. But there's a new theme which McCain is espousing:

MCCAIN: Look, I have always said, and I said then, it's the conditions on the ground. If Senator Obama had had his way, we'd have been out last March, and we'd been out in defeat and chaos, and probably had to come back again because of Iranian influence.
If Obama had had his way the illegal invasion would never have taken place at all. McCain always wants to have this argument assuming that the invasion was a necessity. It was not. It was a horrendous mistake which McCain backed all the way. Obama opposed it, that's the difference in judgement calls which McCain seeks to avoid.

McCain: We need to kick Russia out of the G8.

Every so often "the Maverick", running to become the oldest man ever elected to the presidency, reveals just how extreme his views actually are and nowhere is this clearer than in his stated desire to kick Russia out of the G8. Now, as far as plans go, this is somewhere between bonkers and fit to be tied, as there is not a chance in Hell that other G8 nations would go along with such madness.

Also note how this self proclaimed "foreign policy expert" makes yet another gaffe by referring to Putin as "President Putin" which causes Stephanopoulos to interject with, "Former President Putin".

These gaffes are becoming so common now that they almost seem routine. He appears to think that
Czechoslovakia still exists, he believes that Iraq and Pakistan share a border, and he has repeatedly claimed that Shiite Iran are training Sunni dominated al Qaeda.

It's impossible to continue to write these howlers off as slips of the tongue as they happen so frequently. So, when he's not making horrendous factual errors, he's proposing policies - like the one above - which have zero chance of succeeding. This isn't a bid for the presidency, it's a suicide note.

Tories ready to rule, say voters

According to recent opinion polls, the British public think that the Tories - under David Cameron - are ready to rule, but admit that they are unsure what they stand for. It's the ultimate example of style over substance.

Cameron has played the media game perfectly, proving himself to be wonderfully photogenic, without ever actually stating what his party would offer or do.

And Gordon Brown must accept some responsibility that such cosmetic sorcery is even possible, as he has been at pains since his election to never actually state who or what the Labour Party represents.

A majority of people (53 per cent) think the Tories are ready to govern after the next election, while 37 per cent disagree. Almost one in four Labour voters (23 per cent) agrees. The findings increase the pressure on Gordon Brown as he tries to head off moves by his own party to force him to stand down.

Although senior Labour figures rallied behind the beleaguered Prime Minister yesterday, his critics warned that they would move against him in early September in an attempt to deny him the chance to fight back at the party's annual conference starting on 20 September.

One said: "This poll reinforces what a lot of Labour MPs think – that Tory support is soft and we could fight back and win under another leader.

"Gordon does not have the public's permission to expose the Tories on policy because people have given up on him."

The press love to play this game of "change the leader" because it allows them to fill pages and pages with who is up and who is down.

The UK would be a much healthier democracy if we stopped this nonsense and simply had both parties state what they believe in.

Instead, we have two parties fighting for the same "middle ground" and espousing essentially the same policies, which reduces the entire political process to nothing more than a beauty pageant, and one which Gordon is destined to lose as he comes across as gruff.

At least in the US they have differences over whether or not to introduce a national health service and whether or not to stay in the Iraq war.

Here in the UK both parties are essentially in agreement on all the main issues and avoid any subjects in which we might actually be able to detect conflict. It really is a bastardisation of democracy.

It's hard to get excited over which party is elected next when they are both offering us varying degrees of right wing junk. And that is why the public are saying that Cameron is ready to lead. Because Gordon is offering no clear alternative on policy.

Click title for full article.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Obama laughs at Brokaw's Republican water carrying.

Obama handles this perfectly, he reacts to David Brooks' diatribe - as put to him by Tom Brokaw - by simply laughing at him.

Their points are actually that ridiculous.

This has got to be the worst Republican campaign in my lifetime. Feeble beyond belief.

McCain To Obama: Welcome Home, Troop Hater

Despite his promise to fight a clean campaign, McCain's is actually starting to get nastier by the day. He's now claiming that Obama cancelled a visit to the troops because he was not allowed to bring cameras along. In other words, he's now pedalling the filthiest of lies:

However complicated the issue of Obama's canceled troop visit has become, no one -- not the campaign, and not the Pentagon -- has cited a prohibition on "bring[ing] cameras" along with Obama as a reason for the trip's scuttling.
Obama's campaign have been quick to respond:
"John McCain is an honorable man who is running an increasingly dishonorable campaign," said Obama campaign spokesman Tommy Vietor in an email to reporters Saturday evening, adding: "Senator McCain knows full well that Senator Obama strongly supports and honors our troops, which is what makes this attack so disingenuous. Senator Obama was honored to meet with our men and women in uniform in Iraq and Afghanistan this week and has visited wounded soldiers at Walter Reed numerous times. This politicization of our soldiers is exactly what Senator Obama sought to avoid, and it's not worthy of Senator McCain or the 'civil' campaign he claimed he would run."
The Obama campaign has also released a speech McCain made from the floor in May 2007 in an attempt to embarrass him into stopping this nonsense:
"How can we possibly find honor in using the fate of our servicemen to score political advantage in Washington? There is no pride to be had in such efforts. We are at war, a hard and challenging war, and we do no service for the best of us-those who fight and risk all on our behalf-by playing politics with their service."
This is gutter nonsense from a man who has already decried the very tactics that he is now indulging in. It seems "the Maverick" has performed yet another bloody flip flop.

Click title for full article.

Rees-Mogg: I admire McCain, but I bet on Obama to win.

You get some idea of what McCain is up against when you read sentiments like these being expressed by commentators as right wing as

Senator McCain is a good, independent-minded candidate and would, I think, make a good President. But, after primaries of exceptional pressure, Senator Obama has proved to be an inspirational candidate. He has a very strong appeal to blacks, as one might expect, but also to the young, particularly to the brightest and best of that generation. I cannot remember any candidate with as strong an appeal to this age and ability group since John F.Kennedy nearly 50 years ago.
Unlike right wingers in the states, the British establishment have no axe to grind with Obama and are much more likely to call it as they see it. And one can still detect that Rees-Mogg would prefer to see a Republican in the White House, but he just doesn't think it's going to happen:

The opinion polls are favourable to Obama, but they are too early to be a reliable guide to what happens in November. No doubt the race is still open, but the momentum is on the side of Senator Obama.

I admire McCain, but I think Obama will win.

And, while right wingers like Rees-Mogg think Obama is the favourite to win, the rest of the European press are talking as if the election has already been won. From Spiegel Online:
Anyone who saw Barack Obama at Berlin's Siegessäule on Thursday could recognize that this man will become the 44th president of the United States. He is more than ambitious -- he wants to lay claim to become the president of the world.

For those who witnessed his appearance in Berlin, it is hard to imagine that John McCain has any chance. McCain is 25 years his senior, a man who because of the torture he endured in Vietnam is in constant pain -- unable to comb his hair or lift his arm in celebration. Europe is witnessing the 44th president of the United States during this trip.
McCain is not considered a serious candidate even by the European right, as witnessed by Rees-Mogg preparing the readers of The Times for what he thinks is inevitable.

Click title for full article.

FOX tries to make McCain look younger

Okay, so Fox News are trying to make McCain look younger by using footage from eight years ago and pretending that it is recent. No great surprise there.

However, the best part of this clip is when Glenn Beck and Ben Stein compare Obama appearing in front of 75,000 people with a Hitler rally. They are now attempting to make his popularity a problem!

What a ridiculous bunch of windbags they are.

747 Emergency Landing - Qantas jet

When a ten foot hole appeared in the side of the fuselage of a Qantas plane, the pilot was forced to make an emergency landing in Manila, after dropping swiftly to 10,000 feet from a cruising altitude of 30,000 feet.

At this point, one of the passengers reached for their mobile phone and started filming the landing. It wouldn't have been my first reaction, but it makes for interesting footage.

The applause that breaks out upon landing reminds me of those holiday flights one used to take in the eighties.

Obama whirlwind breezes into UK

Obama has hit London, sprinkled his magic dust, and flown home. Oh, how they all lined up to greet him. Breakfast with Tony Blair, orange juice with Gordon Brown, and a CD exchange with David Cameron.

Obama said one memorable thing whilst meeting a British Prime Minister who has just lost Glasgow East:

"You're always more popular before you're in charge of things. Once you're responsible you're going to make some people unhappy."

I really hope Obama is trying to learn the lesson of what made Blair and Brown unpopular once they gained power. It wasn't that they were too left of centre, but rather that they drifted to the right and appeared not to have the courage of their own convictions.

As Obama drifts to what newspapers always refer to as "the centre ground" to win over the mythical "floating voter" - who always appears, strangely, to hold some obnoxious right wing views - Obama would do well to consider why so many of us currently hold him in such high esteem.

For me, it's because he has articulated certain things which he identifies as being wrong with George Bush's America and that he is promising to correct them. He says he will end the Iraq war, close Guantanamo Bay and restore Habeas Corpus. Those are great places to start.

But, if Obama is to learn anything from Blair and Brown, one would hope that he would learn that "the middle ground" is a press construct for forcing progressive politicians to the right and that, the moment a politician falls into this trap, he starts to alienate his own base.

Obama has already done this with regards to FISA and, although we are all bitterly disappointed, we will forgive him for the moment simply because he is preferable to his rival, McCain.

However, once he assumes power, such forgiveness will not be as forthcoming. I would like to see a progressive politician govern in the same way as right wing politicians do, by insisting that he has a mandate from the American public, rather than apologising for any progressive policies he pursues as if he has somehow gained power by subterfuge.

The lesson Obama should learn from his visit to London, and from seeing the pitiful state Brown now finds himself in, is that we vote for progressive politicians because we want to see progressive policies, no matter what the press might say.

We have had a few wobbles from Mr Obama, but we continue to hold faith, probably because we have no choice other than to do so. The alternative is simply too dreadful.

But I hope he takes the correct lesson from his own observation:
"You're always more popular before you're in charge of things. Once you're responsible you're going to make some people unhappy."
I hope the "some people" he makes unhappy are those on the right. Too often when progressive politicians speak like this they are actually preparing their own supporters for a fall.

The unpopularity of Blair and Brown should be enough to warn Obama of those pitfalls.

Click title for full article.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Talk Radio Network refuse to punish Savage for saying autism is "a phony disease".

This is extraordinary. Talk Radio Network have refused to censor or fire Michael Savage for saying that children with autism are "faking it" and have instead chosen to describe this despicable outburst as "his brief 84 seconds of commentary concerning autism."

This is obviously Talk Radio Network's version of Bush's 16 words. If you only use 16 words then you obviously can't be lying, just as if you only talk for a "brief 84 seconds" then there's no way that you can possibly be offensive.

Talk Radio Network have justified not firing or suspending him by claiming:

Dr. Savage has clarified that his July 16th statements concerning autism were not directed at those who are in fact challenged by this horrible affliction, but were instead addressing efforts to broaden the concept of autism beyond those who truly are autistic to a broader "autistic spectrum" of behavioral symptoms which are also manifested by persons who do not suffer from autism, and his concern that many children are being misdiagnosed as autistic due to the subjective nature of autism diagnosis (due to the lack of known biomedical indicators, such as blood tests, to definitively confirm or deny the actual existence of autism).
This is what he actually said:
Now, the illness du jour is autism. You know what autism is? I'll tell you what autism is. In 99 percent of the cases, it's a brat who hasn't been told to cut the act out. That's what autism is.... What do you mean they scream and they're silent? They don't have a father around to tell them, 'Don't act like a moron. You'll get nowhere in life. Stop acting like a putz. Straighten up. Act like a man. Don't sit there crying and screaming, idiot.' Autism—everybody has an illness. If I behaved like a fool, my father called me a fool. And he said to me, 'Don't behave like a fool.' The worst thing he said—'Don't behave like a fool. Don't be anybody's dummy. Don't sound like an idiot. Don't act like a girl. Don't cry.' That's what I was raised with. That's what you should raise your children with. Stop with the sensitivity training. You're turning your son into a girl, and you're turning your nation into a nation of losers and beaten men.
Call me a cynic, but that doesn't sound like someone who is worried that many children are being misdiagnosed, that's someone who feels that autism is "a phony disease", which was exactly what Savage referred to it as on a previous show.

Talk Radio Network have issued a statement and included 20 clips of Savage discussing autism which they claim will put his comments of 16th July "in true context". However, as Media Matters have found:

all 20 of those audio clips are from the July 21 and 22 broadcasts of Savage's show, during which Savage misrepresented his July 16 remarks; they are not "context" for the July 16 remarks.

Savage is squirming; claiming, as all foul right wing morons do when advertisers threaten to pull the plug, that he has been taken "out of context". This is bullshit. You can't say, "You know what autism is? I'll tell you what autism is. In 99 percent of the cases, it's a brat who hasn't been told to cut the act out. That's what autism is...." and then claim that your comment has been taken out of context.

There is simply no other context in which to view such a foul comment.

Savage should be fired and Talk Radio Network should be ashamed that they are airing the views of such a foul mouthed pseudo Nazi. They certainly shouldn't be attempting to justify holding on to such a person on the grounds that we are looking at this "out of context".

He's attacking autistic children for God's sake. That's the context. He's claiming that they are "faking it". If that's not a firing offense then there really isn't a way to be fired from right wing talk radio.

Contact information:

Michael Savage

Talk Radio Network
Talk Radio Network
Talk Radio Network
P.O. Box 3755
Central Point, Oregon 97502
Phone: 541-664-8827
Fax: 541-664-6250

The Savage Nation
The Savage Nation
The Paul Revere Society
150 Shoreline Hwy, Bldge E
Mill Valley, CA 94941
Fax: 415-339-9383

When contacting the media, please be polite and professional. Express your specific concerns regarding that particular news report or commentary, and be sure to indicate exactly what you would like the media outlet to do differently in the future.

Click title for Talk Radio Network's feeble justification.

McCain questions Obama speaking abroad, forgetting that he has done the same.

McCain's desperation is becoming embarrassing. What in God's name inspired him to say this?

"I would rather speak at a rally or a political gathering any place outside of the country after I am president of the United States," McCain told O'Donnell. "But that's a judgment that Sen. Obama and the American people will make."
Is he forgetting that the whole idea of Obama going abroad was his? Wasn't he the one who attacked Obama for not having visited Iraq as much as he had?

And hasn't he himself made speeches abroad during this campaign?
However, on June 20, McCain himself gave a speech in Canada -- to the Economic Club of Canada -- in which he applauded NAFTA's successes. An implicit message behind that speech was that Obama had been critical of the trade accord. Also, McCain's trip to Canada was paid for by the campaign.
I think McCain's famous short fuse is leading him to say things that are frankly ridiculous. Obama is currently outflanking him, but McCain's response to this - that the press are in the tank for Obama - totally ignores the fact that the press are very kindly passing over his own numerous gaffes.

But to attack Obama for speaking abroad, when your own campaign has attacked him for not going abroad enough, really is the worst kind of floundering.

Click title for full article.