Sunday, April 13, 2008

What Obama said about bitterness.

Over the years I've noticed how cynics and detractors and wingnuts always speak in terms of gross and rarely in terms of net -- they always leave something out of their math. It's true in voodoo economics, which make a few people richer at the expense of the majority of Americans, and it's true -- more universally -- in their habit of never mentioning the full context in which any ideas (other than their own) are expressed. When you get the entire context, you get the entire truth. If your opinions aren't true, you'll need to leave out pieces.

Neo-conservatism may only be possible once you leave out the context -- when you think only in terms of gross, and never in terms of net.

Obama's comments about bitter voters (which includes me and nearly everyone else with an IQ higher than the President's) were almost mundane, obvious, and tautologically dull -- unless you take them out of context.

Here's the context.

TERRE HAUTE, INDIANA – At a town hall meeting in Indiana, U.S. Senator Barack Obama made the following comments in response to the Clinton and McCain campaign’s attacks:

“When I go around and I talk to people there is frustration and there is anger and there is bitterness. And what’s worse is when people are expressing their anger then politicians try to say what are you angry about? This just happened – I want to make a point here today.

“I was in San Francisco talking to a group at a fundraiser and somebody asked how’re you going to get votes in Pennsylvania? What’s going on there? We hear that’s its hard for some working class people to get behind you’re campaign. I said, “Well look, they’re frustrated and for good reason. Because for the last 25 years they’ve seen jobs shipped overseas. They’ve seen their economies collapse. They have lost their jobs. They have lost their pensions. They have lost their healthcare.

“And for 25, 30 years Democrats and Republicans have come before them and said we’re going to make your community better. We’re going to make it right and nothing ever happens. And of course they’re bitter. Of course they’re frustrated. You would be too. In fact many of you are. Because the same thing has happened here in Indiana. The same thing happened across the border in Decatur. The same thing has happened all across the country. Nobody is looking out for you. Nobody is thinking about you. And so people end up- they don’t vote on economic issues because they don’t expect anybody’s going to help them. So people end up, you know, voting on issues like guns, and are they going to have the right to bear arms. They vote on issues like gay marriage. And they take refuge in their faith and their community and their families and things they can count on. But they don’t believe they can count on Washington. So I made this statement-- so, here’s what rich. Senator Clinton says ‘No, I don’t think that people are bitter in Pennsylvania. You know, I think Barack’s being condescending.’ John McCain says, ‘Oh, how could he say that? How could he say people are bitter? You know, he’s obviously out of touch with people.’

“Out of touch? Out of touch? I mean, John McCain—it took him three tries to finally figure out that the home foreclosure crisis was a problem and to come up with a plan for it, and he’s saying I’m out of touch? Senator Clinton voted for a credit card-sponsored bankruptcy bill that made it harder for people to get out of debt after taking money from the financial services companies, and she says I’m out of touch? No, I’m in touch. I know exactly what’s going on. I know what’s going on in Pennsylvania. I know what’s going on in Indiana. I know what’s going on in Illinois. People are fed-up. They’re angry and they’re frustrated and they’re bitter. And they want to see a change in Washington and that’s why I’m running for President of the United States of America.”

Can you hear him now?


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

McCain doesn't know Shiite about Sunni Iraq.

Hi everyone,

Have you noticed that Senator McCain, one of his party's leading "experts" on Iraq, still doesn't understand the mission-critical difference between Shiites and Sunnis?

I would've put up the MSNBC story, but here's the Google Link for the whole schmeer.

And here we go.


Sunday, April 06, 2008

A biographical note on the Reverend Wright from President Reagan's Assist. Secretary of Defense.

And while I'm thinking about it, here's a bit of biographical perspective that crossed my screen this week regarding Mr. Obama's pastor, the Rev. Wright.

Sources always count in matters like this. One of the authors of this piece was an assistant secretary of Defense for the Reagan Administration -- that means his views trump those of the thugs who have recently hijacked the Republican Party.

Factor military duty into criticism


10 things you should know about John McCain.

Surprise, John McCain is not who the Washington press corps make him out to be.

They only started calling him a 'maverick' a few years ago. Before then he was just annoying.

From the folks at MoveOn:

10 things you should know about John McCain (but probably don't):

1. John McCain voted against establishing a national holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Now he says his position has "evolved," yet he's continued to oppose key civil rights laws.1

2. According to Bloomberg News, McCain is more hawkish than Bush on Iraq, Russia and China. Conservative columnist Pat Buchanan says McCain "will make Cheney look like Gandhi."2

3. His reputation is built on his opposition to torture, but McCain voted against a bill to ban waterboarding, and then applauded President Bush for vetoing that ban.3

4. McCain opposes a woman's right to choose. He said, "I do not support Roe versus Wade. It should be overturned."4

5. The Children's Defense Fund rated McCain as the worst senator in Congress for children. He voted against the children's health care bill last year, then defended Bush's veto of the bill.5

6. He's one of the richest people in a Senate filled with millionaires. The Associated Press reports he and his wife own at least eight homes! Yet McCain says the solution to the housing crisis is for people facing foreclosure to get a "second job" and skip their vacations.6

7. Many of McCain's fellow Republican senators say he's too reckless to be commander in chief. One Republican senator said: "The thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine. He's erratic. He's hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me."7

8. McCain talks a lot about taking on special interests, but his campaign manager and top advisers are actually lobbyists. The government watchdog group Public Citizen says McCain has 59 lobbyists raising money for his campaign, more than any of the other presidential candidates.8

9. McCain has sought closer ties to the extreme religious right in recent years. The pastor McCain calls his "spiritual guide," Rod Parsley, believes America's founding mission is to destroy Islam, which he calls a "false religion." McCain sought the political support of right-wing preacher John Hagee, who believes Hurricane Katrina was God's punishment for gay rights and called the Catholic Church "the Antichrist" and a "false cult."9

10. He positions himself as pro-environment, but he scored a 0—yes, zero—from the League of Conservation Voters last year.10

1. "The Complicated History of John McCain and MLK Day," ABC News, April 3, 2008

"McCain Facts,", April 4, 2008

2. "McCain More Hawkish Than Bush on Russia, China, Iraq," Bloomberg News, March 12, 2008

"Buchanan: John McCain 'Will Make Cheney Look Like Gandhi,'" ThinkProgress, February 6, 2008

3. "McCain Sides With Bush On Torture Again, Supports Veto Of Anti-Waterboarding Bill," ThinkProgress, February 20, 2008

4. "McCain says Roe v. Wade should be overturned," MSNBC, February 18, 2007

5. "2007 Children's Defense Fund Action Council® Nonpartisan Congressional Scorecard," February 2008

"McCain: Bush right to veto kids health insurance expansion," CNN, October 3, 2007

6. "Beer Executive Could Be Next First Lady," Associated Press, April 3, 2008

"McCain Says Bank Bailout Should End `Systemic Risk,'" Bloomberg News, March 25, 2008

7. "Will McCain's Temper Be a Liability?," Associated Press, February 16, 2008

"Famed McCain temper is tamed," Boston Globe, January 27, 2008

8. "Black Claims McCain's Campaign Is Above Lobbyist Influence: 'I Don't Know What The Criticism Is,'" ThinkProgress, April 2, 2008

"McCain's Lobbyist Friends Rally 'Round Their Man," ABC News, January 29, 2008

9. "McCain's Spiritual Guide: Destroy Islam," Mother Jones Magazine, March 12, 2008

"Will McCain Specifically 'Repudiate' Hagee's Anti-Gay Comments?," ThinkProgress, March 12, 2008

"McCain 'Very Honored' By Support Of Pastor Preaching 'End-Time Confrontation With Iran,'" ThinkProgress, February 28, 2008

10. "John McCain Gets a Zero Rating for His Environmental Record," Sierra Club, February 28, 2008


A modest proposal to solve unemployment.

Hi everyone,

It just occurred to me that the easiest way to handle globalization and unemployment would be to ship our unemployed to China and India.

Imagine the cost savings in social welfare programs and medical insurance!

One way airfare is about $800 each. Given the volume, we might be able to get a discount -- but let's be conservative.

The bottom 8% of Americans (the unemployed plus a little wiggle room for the underemployed) works out to roughly 24 million people. If airfare and resettlement costs come in around $1000 each then that's only about $24 billion.

For $24 billion we could solve all of our social troubles in one go. That's a bargain.

We've had no compunction about sending their jobs overseas. Why stop there?


WMC 2, Wisconsin 0.

Hi everyone,

Okay, let's do the math.

Last time, WMC spent millions to elect a supreme court justice who ended up paying $20,000 in fines for ethics violations.

This year, WMC spent millions to elect a so-called judicial conservative using ads that attacked his opponent for being a strict, almost conservative, adherent to the technical details of the law.

How ironic is that?

But I was still unsure about the the payoff for the WMC? Why would an association geared toward the interests of profit be interested in the Wisconsin Supreme Court?

I'm guessing it's about liability. They want justices who believe that corporate profits should always come before justice.

An organization that believes "greed is good" will stump for what it believes in: justices who will put greed ahead of goodness.

On the other hand, I remain weirdly optimistic -- it does happen that, once on the court, justices are free to do what they think is right, rather than what they think is politically pragmatic.

We'll have to keep an eye on them and find out.