What’s Seven Billion Taxpayer Dollars Among “Friends”?

Many folks don’t realize this, but the republican national platform, developed during and for their national convention in Minneapolis earlier this month, states, in pertinent part:

We do not support government bailouts of private institutions. Government interference in the markets exacerbates problems in the marketplace and causes the free market to take longer to correct itself.”  (read it HERE)

Keeping that in mind, remember that in the past eight years, the republicans have controlled the executive branch of government with GW “borrow and spend with no accountability” Bush in the driver’s seat.  Also during that time, they also controlled the US congress for six of those eight years, during which they rubber-stamped Bush’s policies.

Thus, it is neither possible nor credible to state emphatically that the republican philosophy of no regulation and no accountability of the trillions of dollars spent during that time isn’t indirectly responsible for this economic meltdown.  Even now, Bush and many of his congressional cronies are pushing for a bailout bill with no strings attached.  In other words, bail out the financial institutions that got all of us into this mess in the first place, but do so without any accountability whatsoever.  As Bush stated earlier this week, he wants a clean bill and then congress can go back and work on another bill that takes accountability issues into consideration.

But Bush knows he has only has four months left in his disastrous term, and that there is zero chance of congress being able to pass a second (accountability) bill, which Bush would have zero incentive to sign into law, even if a lame duck congress could agree on it.

Both presidential candidates are endorsing a bill with safeguards, including the limiting of salaries and severance packages for the CEO’s of the credit card companies, banks, mortgage lenders, insurance investors and all the other financial institutions that made the bad decisions which caused this catastrophic economic loss.  Not one of those CEO’s deserves as much as a dollar bonus nor generous severance package of millions of dollars each, while the American taxpayers is footing the bill and losing their houses in the process.

There is a difference, however, between the two candidates’ positions.  Obama is true to the democratic principal that regulation is necessary to limit and control the negative effects of human greed.  Democrats remember the sweatshops and child labor realities of a century ago.  In contrast, McCain’s first blush was to call for the firing of Chris Cox, the head of the SEC ( U.S. Security & Exchange Commission).

No one took McCain to task for his “shoot first, sort it out later” proposal more that the conservative columnist George Will, who yesterday wrote a stinging commentary against McCain for his lack of economic understanding as well as his lack of knowledge of the law in calling upon the Bush to fire Cox, when the president has no such authority.

I urge you to read George Will’s column HERE.  Note that Will, a staunch right-wing conservative, wrote, “The political left always aims to expand the permeation of economic life by politics.  Today, the efficient means to that end is government control of capital. So, is not McCain’s party now conducting the most leftist administration in American history?”

For those purist capitalists who believe that the bailout is just plain wrong, you might want to read up on the history of the Great Depression of the 1930s HERE.  It was largely the lack of regulation and oversight of financial markets and companies on the part of the government that allowed for the greedy and unscrupulous actions of the bankers and CEO’s of the time that was directly responsible for the stock market crash of October 1929 and a lack of government intervention that caused the crash to morph into the Great Depression.  The same could happen today, given a lack of drastic and effective action to stop it.

As a bad as the $700 billion bailout is, and it is incredibly bad, allowing the economy to slide into a depression is far, far worse.  In 1979 the federal government bailed out Chrysler, which according to sources has produced a $400,000,000 profit for the federal government since then.  So bailouts are nothing new, and they are effective, with the proper accountability.

One last thing:  It was bad decision-making among the shakers and movers of Wall Street and the unregulated financial sector that was largely responsible for the meltdown.

So what does it say that McCain’s campaign manager, Rick Davis owns a company that received a monthly $15,000 from 2005 until just last month, paid by one of the mortgage companies in the middle of the credit crisis?  This was reported by the New York Times!

Read about it HERE and then try to explain why anyone should vote for this hypocrite.

After all, what’s seven billion taxpayer dollars among friends?

Lies, Lipstick and Spin

Anyone paying the slightest attention knows that republicans fell in love with Sarah Palin, the GOP’s vice-presidential candidate, after she gave a rousing speech (written for her by a Bush aide) at the republican convention in Minneapolis a couple of weeks ago. We all met her family, and found out that the ultra-conservative Palin enjoys shooting wolves from helicopters and airplanes, moose for their meat to make her favorite food (moose stew), and has no use for polar bears.

We also found out that Palin was actually in favor of the infamous “bridge to nowhere” as a candidate for governor of Alaska, before she stated opposition to it after being elected to the position. She only turned against the bridge concept after it became an embarrassment, since the republicans controlled congress at the time. Notably, she was not against receiving the money congress had initially appropriated to build the bridge, using the money instead for other projects.

Nevertheless, as recently as yesterday, this “hockey mom”, distinguished, in her own words, from a pit bull by nothing more than lipstick, stated for perhaps the hundredth time that she was against the bridge to nowhere, and that she told congress, “thanks, but no thanks”. And that was it.

Lies, lipstick and spin….

John McCain, the person running with Palin (in case you’ve lost sight of him in the glare of the lipstick-chasing cameras), stated two days ago, in the morning just before the bottom fell out of the stock market, the first time that “the economy is fundamentally strong”. You can read about it HERE. By noontime, his advisors told him he better spin that remark away, since the stock market was tanking huge with the news of the Lehman bankruptcy. So McSame went on television at noon to “clarify” that he really meant that American workers and products were fundamentally strong. And that was it.

Lies, no lipstick (though maybe a little drool) and spin.

Palin said she welcomed the investigation into the firing of the Alaska Public Safety Commissioner, who refused to fire her state trooper ex-brother-in-law, in what is now, Nixon-like, being called “TrooperGate”. Then, republican members of the Alaskan legislature, who had previously agreed to the bipartisan legislative investigation a few weeks before Palin was selected as McBush’s lipsticked running mate, reported that they are now suing in court to stop their own investigation.  They are alleging that the democratic legislative members of the investigation are unreasonable. You can read about it HERE.

The McCain campaign announced that Palin would not be cooperating with this investigation, even though she has previously welcomed it, claiming that the Obama campaign is somehow “tainting” the investigation! You can read more about it HERE.

Lies, lipstick and spin…

When the Obama campaign heard about this, they called the McCain/Palin campaign operatives “paranoid”.

We, the PEOPLE!! must respectfully disagree with that assessment. While it could certainly be paranoia to believe that everyone is out to get you, in this case it appears that another insidious force is operating.

It is more believable that the McSame/Palin campaign saw disaster on the horizon for conservative America’s sweetheart if it is proved that she and her husband abused the power of the Alaskan governorship by attempting to lean on a public official to fire a state employee for personal reasons. Inconveniently for Palin and McSame, the trooper was engaged in an admittedly nasty custody battle with Palin’s sister. And while possible misconduct on the part of the trooper could be grounds for dismissal if proven, it is not the job of the governor to lean on public servants to fire state troopers.

If, however, there is substantial evidence that Palin did indeed abuse her power, that would be hugely embarrassing to the McCain ticket, which is trying very hard to distance itself from the failed, corrupt, incompetent power-abusing Bush administration.

After all, we’ve seen serious abuse of power in and by the White House over the past eight years. If Palin is shown to have done the same thing as a governor, what will she do a vice-president?  Remember “Tricky  Dick” Cheney?

Unfortunately, we may never know the answer to that question before the election is over, if the republican operatives have their way. And this begs the question about the effect of spin. If the republicans continue to do what they increasingly seem to do in every campaign, i.e., use lies and spin as their primary tools of engagement, how many of the essentially lazy electorate are going to be convinced to vote for them?

And just wait until the “527 group” spin masters start airing their tripe on TV. One can see it now: claims that Obama is really a Muslim, which is false; claims that Obama will raise taxes on the middle class, which is false; claims that Obama is a racist, which is false; claims that Obama missed votes in the senate 89% of the time, which is false; in fact, McCain missed more votes in the Senate than any other senator running for president this year.

Lies, no lipstick, but huge spin.

The TRUTH:  According to GovTrack.us, since the first quarter of 2007 to present, Obama missed 290 votes out of 638 (45.5%) but McCain missed 407 out of 638, for 64%.  In fact, McCain’s record of missed votes in 2008 is 160 missed out of 196, for 86%.  McCain has missed many more votes than Obama for the same time frames.

Truth, no lipstick, no spin, verifiable facts.

While it is hoped that the mainstream media will help to separate truth from fiction, one would be well advised not to take that hope to the bank.

What can the people do? They can check the facts at snopes.com, FactCheck, PolitiFact, and even Snopes to find out the truth. The republican spin machine works because people are too lazy to check out the facts. And let’s face it: people vote for all sorts of reasons, many of which have nothing to so with whom will be best for the position.

But one thing is certain: On November 5th (the day after the election), the lies, lipstick, and spin will either have been effective or will have been countered with truth and verifiable fact.

That is totally up to every voter.

Do As They Say, Not As They Do

Barack Obama issued a statement earlier this week, stating that Sarah Palin’s family is off limits to his campaign. In other words, regardless of the status of Bristol Palin, Sarah’s her 17 year-old daughter, being pregnant and unwed, neither she nor any other member of Palin’s family is to be derogatorily dragged into the campaigning for president and vice-president of the United States. The political campaign is about John McCain and Sarah Palin, the woman whom is McCain’s choice to be vice-president, and not their families.

The official position of “We, the PEOPLE” is that Obama is absolutely correct. The families are not running for office. The candidates are the ones running, and it is they whom must bear scrutiny for their policies and actions, and results thereof.

McCain’s choice of Palin has absolutely nothing to do with Palin’s daughter, nor should it. But McCain’s choice must bear examination for something else. Palin is a social conservative who is on record as opposing comprehensive sex education in public schools, believing that abstinence-only sex education, highlighted not by instruction regarding birth control, but concentrating on abstinence only before marriage, is the only right way to raise children.

The lack of comprehensive birth control knowledge seems to have worked only too well in her daughter’s case: She is, indeed, a 17 year old unwed pregnant woman living at home. The abstinence-only part seems to have miserably, but not surprisingly, failed.

The issue is not Bristol Palin. The real issue is Sarah Palin’s life-long judgment and sense of human reality, or, more to the point, lack thereof. It is also about McCain’s judgment, or more to the point, lack thereof, in selecting Sarah Palin to run as his vice-presidential running mate.

Telling healthy teenagers in today’s world not to have sex until they’re married is consistently doomed to failure. This is clear reality if for no other reason that the sex drive is there continuously, but the reinforcing (brain-washing?) abstinence-only lectures occur only sporadically.

Since social conservatives are against sex before marriage and thus against pregnancy before marriage, and they are also against universal comprehensive birth control education, abortion, and the like, how is it that their own family members are ignoring all of this and doing it anyway?

Do as they say, not as they do?

In watching the republican convention in St. Paul, Minnesota last Tuesday night (9-2-08), one could not help but note that the minister providing the religious invocation stated that country comes first. Besides being the same mantra as that of national socialism (the fatherland above all else, remember?), it was a political instruction, if you will, from a religious leader. Aren’t religious leaders supposed to stick to religion? Don’t the dominant religions of the western world put God first?

Do as they say, not as they do?

Another striking facet of the republican convention is that there are almost no minorities visible anywhere in the convention hall, as opposed to the democratic convention last week, which had copious numbers of African-Americans, Asians, and others as delegates and attendees. McCain keeps talking about how he wants to the president of all Americans, but how does one accomplish the “all” thing, when one is supporting and being supported predominantly by white folks?

Do as they say, not as they do?

McCain keeps telling everyone who will listen that he is different from Bush, that his policies will be different from Bush, and that he is a change agent. But he has voted with Bush over 90% of the time, agrees with Bush about making the rich richer, fighting the Iraqi war, making the wealthy-enhancing Bush tax cuts permanent, and appointing unproven and/or incompetent people to high positions based solely upon politics.

Quite similarly, Bush appointed Michael Brown as the incompetent director of FEMA based solely upon Brown’s political contributions to the Bush campaign, just as McSame has appointed Palin to be his running mate solely upon the political contributions of both her social ly conservative beliefs so as to appeal to the socially conservative evangelical base of the republican party, and her gender so as to pander to disaffected Clinton supporters.

With McCain’s selection of Palin, not one of the selection factors involves competency for the job of stepping up to the presidency if McBush slips on a banana peel and lands on his head.

Do as they say, not as they do?

One might remember a time when people in authority practiced “leadership by example”, in which one would gain respect, admiration, and loyalty by conducting oneself in a manner that enhances those characteristics. But when one looks closely at the present-day leaders of the republicans, one sees something completely different, which We, the People!! would call, for lack of a better term, “leadership by do as I say, not as I do!”

So what if McSame claims to be different from Bush, but votes with him 90% of the time? So what if Palin supports abstinence-only sex education without comprehensive birth control instruction but her 17 year-old unmarried daughter now has an unwanted pregnancy? So what if McSame says he wants to represent all Americans but excludes minorities from the convention?

Do as they say, not as they do. After all, they know what’s good for you.