unastronaut*

Feet on the ground – head in the clouds.

Archive for the ‘barack obama’ Category

A suspicion about the electoral map in 2008

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This is what I imagine could be possible in the very real world if all voters who have shown interest throughout the entire campaign — on both sides — shows up on Election Day (or voted early). If the race were to end up being close, with McCain winning the traditionally red states of North Dakota, Louisiana, Montana, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia & Arizona, holds Nebraska’s 2nd district and then locks down Florida, Pennsylvania & Ohio – the Republican will win the White House for a 3rd straight term 270-268. But if you have any doubts about any of those states, Obama should be the next President of the United States of America. President Barack Obama. I, for one, have doubts in all of those states. My doubts come from polls and first-hand accounts of the mood in many “red state” lines I’ve read in various blogs on the new 4th Estate. 

I’m not claiming to be an expert on anything nor am I really making a prediction per se, it’s more like what my gut would bet the farm on if I had like $3 left after losing my life savings, home and car in Vegas. I tend to look to fivethirtyeight.com, pollster.com and early voting statistics from the George Mason University Department of Public and International Affairs. Call me crazy, but I think the election can only be won for McCain with a LOT of voter suppression on Tuesday. Go to 270towin.com, make your own map and if you care link to it here. I’m curious to see where others think this race could go.

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Written by unastronaut

November 2, 2008 at 5:26 pm

$150k for clothes? John McCain thinks it erodes public confidence

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This ‘maverick’ tag must just be slang for a Republican flip-flop. How else would McCain’s supporters, particularly those excited by the pick of Sarah Palin for VP nominee, justify their admiration for a man who gained his reputation as a maverick by trying to move his own party out of a state of ignorance? McCain supported the so-called amnesty bill, for which he was called a maverick. For this he was also hated by the same people holding signs boasting the label.

Senator McCain was first opposed to the Bush tax cuts, saying it unfairly benefited the wealthy. Apparently somewhere along the way Cindy tapped him on the shoulder and showed him her $4.2 million tax return because he’s now in favor of making those same tax cuts permanent. From his own tax cuts, his family would receive over $730,000 which still makes me wonder how that will somehow trickle down. Maybe there is a legitimate explanation, I’d just like to hear it.

His most recent maverick escapade was picked up by ThinkProgress. The news broke this week that more than $150,000 was spent on Sarah Palin’s wardrobe in her 2 months as GOP VP nominee. Granted, this is not a huge deal. It’s not near as startling as Senator McCain’s recent “agreement” with Jack Murtha, who basically said people in Western Pennsylvania are racist. But something like this does reveal another opportunity to call McCain a maverick. After all, he used to believe that campaign funds being spent on personal clothing eroded the public confidence.

MCCAIN: Madam President, the amendment before the Senate is a very simple one. It restricts the use of campaign funds for inherently personal purposes. The amendment would restrict individuals from using campaign funds for such things as home mortgage payments, clothing purchases … and vacations or other trips that are noncampaign in nature. […]

The use of campaign funds for items which most Americans would consider to be strictly personal reasons, in my view, erodes public confidence and erodes it significantly.

Written by unastronaut

October 23, 2008 at 11:04 am

The inherent injustice of trickle-down economics

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This point is simple. Trickle-down economics is the idea that lower taxes for the wealthy and for corporations will lead to jobs being created. So let me get this straight, we let the wealthy have more money in hopes that they’ll let the poor work for it? You mean to tell me the people who complain about “lazy welfare recipients” want us to give them money, so we can work for it? That’s ludicrous.

If everyone has purchasing power in this country, demand will dictate that jobs be created. If everyone were better off, the corporations would be better off in the sense that their customer bases would only continue to grow. When the economy tanks, even the corporations suffer, but they are some how immune to creative destruction (fossil fuels, bullet trains) or risk (banks, united airlines, chrysler). This nation is strong on the backs of the 300 million, not on the pocketbooks of the wealthy few.

McCain campaign lobbyist Ed Rogers’ transparent spin

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On Hardball with Chris Matthews today, right-wing spinster Ed Rogers made baseless claim after baseless claim while exonerating the McCain campaign for stoking the fires of racism and antipathy toward any opposing viewpoint. Not only is this extremely dangerous, but it completely goes against the free exchange of ideas upon which America’s strength is built. What woke me from my half-napping state was his first ludicrous claim, that “Obama has never done a hard thing in his life!” This got me to thinking, what has Ed Rogers’ life been like?

Well, his lobbying firm Barbour, Griffith and Rogers represents the Republic of China. He’s tied to a private contractor whose profits and purpose exist only because of the Iraq War and the greed cesspool it has created within the already perverse military-industrial complex. This contractor, Diligence, LLC’s chairman Richard Burt had this to say about the current business climate in the Middle East: “The opportunity for business growth in the Middle East has never been better.” Rogers has also served as a deputy assistant to President George H. W. Bush, of “it’s the economy, stupid” fame.

I’m not going to go through all of the examples of Senator Obama overcoming adversity to get to where he is today, but a white bread warmonger and advisor to another president is found wanting on credibility with this attack. He went on to flop around like a fish out of water on the “hate rally” nature of this weeks McCain-Palin rallies. I will say now that if anything should happen to Senator Obama, the McCain campaign will certainly be partly culpable. With cringe reactions to shouts of “terrorist!” and “traitor!” evident on McCain’s face, he has no excuse for not standing up for civilized society, and absolutely no integrity left in his hate-filled campaign.

Rogers claimed that the hate and anger are “distractions” and that “people should behave”, as if threatening to “kill him!” or saying “off with his head” are simply Klansmen rally attendees misbehaving. They are threatening a legitimate candidate for the highest office in this land in a public forum and the McCain campaign doesn’t even have the class to respond as a leader of a free society. All the while Rogers continues to say that Bill Ayers and Reverend Wright are fair game. These are the “associations” which are stoking the hate-crowd fire. The truth is, these are not real associations that bear any significance on this election, but since the 5-week-old national politician Sarah Palin says we must have an explanation for the, I’ll simply repeat everything Obama has said in public about the relationships.

When Barack Obama was 8 years old, a radical anti-war activist was a member of a group that planted bombs at the Pentagon and the US Capital. These caused property damage but no deaths. Today, 40 years later, that reformed “domestic terrorist” is a professor of education at the University of Illinois. He is a contributing member of society whose cause is to improve the state of the education system in that state. His life has been far from perfect, but also far from the life of Obama. In fact, their paths crossed as members of a charitable board working in education, the Annenberg Foundation. The media has rightly pointed out that this foundation is comprised of conservatives and liberals and was founded by a former Ambassador in the Reagan administration. He did not meet this former radical under any radical circumstances.

Obama also did not know everything about this man’s past before meeting him. On the campaign trail, Governor Palin recently stated that she’s known about Ayers “since forever”, even way up there in Alaska as she likes to say. Palin should stop patronizing people, she’s not familiar with the Bush Doctrine, which is responsible for the mission her son is now carrying out in a country that had NOTHING to do with the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. She certainly didn’t learn better than the rest of the American people, whom she claims “must be exposed to Obama’s radical associations” about an obscure anti-war group during the Vietnam War. Sarah Palin told a good lie, because there’s no way of proving this, unless her high school history teachers and college professors care to share her “intellectual curiosities”.

I’ve already written about Reverend Wright at length, and will just sum him up by giving one piece of advice. Watch the entire 18 minutes worth of sermons where the “un-American” 30-second sound clips were taken from. If you have any understanding of free speech in this country, you’ll realize there’s nothing un-American about speaking your mind — including criticizing the actions and policies of this government (which should be of the people, by the people and for the people).

I’ll also say that Pastor Thomas Muthee is much more extreme and un-American in a sense of respecting the 1st Amendment and both the establishment clause and the free exercise clause. It is clear, Muthee wants to “infiltrate” our political and economic systems with his 17th Century Salem-style beliefs. If you take Wright in context, he isn’t nearly as abrasive. If you take Muthee in context, he’s even more extreme than any short clip could portray.

So as the McCain-Palin campaign stokes the fires of hatred and violence, they should recognize that they will be individually responsible should any of their extremist followers “misbehave” as Ed Rogers says. Here’s an idea, if you must have distractions like Ayers and Wright take time from discussing the economic crisis, how about doing it only to Senator Obama’s face at the debate. Don’t tell your Klan-inspired crowds about Obama’s association with a college professor that it was an association with a “domestic terrorist”, unless you have pictures of an 8-year old Obama with Weather Underground member William Ayers. Unless, of course, you think the FBI should be notified about Obama’s — and the University of Illinois’ — terrorist connections.

Concerning connections that may be worth a quick look-see by the FBI, perhaps they should start with a secessionist group led by people who reject the title of “American” and host a website with the tagline “Alaska First – Alaska Always”. A group with the “First Dude” of Alaska formerly on it’s membership list. A group Governor Palin addressed as recently as March of this year, telling them to “Keep up the good work!” I don’t know about you, but I don’t believe my state is above my country. I’m certainly not standing behind a sign that says “Country First” with ties and supporters like this. I think it’s time Sarah Palin answered for her own radical ties, and the McCain campaign stop lying to the American people about Senator Obama.

I want to note that McCain faced boos and harsh backlash today for his defense of Senator Obama as a “decent man”, which is exactly what McCain should have said but it is a bit late. This video also shows that, clearly Senator McCain and Governor Palin must do more.

McCain and Palin open the door to their own terrorist sympathies

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John McCain was partly responsible for the last national financial crisis.  I’ve already linked a photo of McCain with Keating, and now the Obama campaign has created a video to expose the economic “principles” of John Sidney McCain III.

The 400 wealthiest Americans have increased their net worth by $670 billion over the last 8 years, according to Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. This is staggering. When you hear Sarah Palin’s new buzz phrase, redistribution of wealth, this is what they are trying to hide. The redistribution has already begun. It’s the few taking from the many. As they try to smear Obama as a socialist, they are selling fascism.

Publicly subsidized, privately profitable! -Propagandhi

  • Our economy has lost jobs for 9 straight months.
  • Last week, the Dow dropped 777 points in a single day. That is $1.2 trillion being pulled from the market at once.
  • This week, nothing has changed in the markets.

Bill Ayers is an interesting name to be thrown around. I think it makes a great comparison to names like Thomas Muthee, or the Alaskan Independence Party. If there were an episode of VH1’s ‘Where Are They Now?’, then the entire argument of Bill Ayers is quickly engulfed in the wave of shock that comes from understanding where Muthee, the AIP and the Palin family stand now.

  • Ayers, who committed his crimes in the 1960s is now a professor in the College of Education at the University of Illinois in Chicago. Senator Obama was 8 years old when Ayers was a member of the Weather Underground, and Obama has denounced Ayers’ actions.
  • Palin, on the other hand, has given a speech to the Alaskan Independence Party as recently as 2008 and her husband was a card-carrying member of the secessionist group. Their website boasts the motto: Alaska First – Alaska Always. AIP founder Joe Vogler says “I’m an Alaskan, not an American. I have no use for America or her damned institutions.” He’s also stated “the fires of hell are frozen glaciers compared to my hatred of the US government. And I won’t be buried under their damn flag….when Alaska is an independent nation they can bring my bones home.” That is the founder of the group Palin addressed this year.
  • Pastor Muthee, who has blessed Sarah Palin’s campaign began as a witch hunter in Kenya. She’s also gushed about how he prayed for God to “make a way” for her campaign. He prayed for God to bring finances to the campaign, in front of a congregation. How does that qualify for a tax exemption?

While we’re discussing radicals, how about those who bomb abortion clinics? Clearly this is one terrorist group that has Senator McCain’s sympathies.

John McCain is as mentally fit as Grandpa Simpson and Sarah Palin is as intellectually curious as George W. Bush — at best. All of these ridiculous spurious links brought up by the Palin-McCain campaign are to distract us from some of the worst economy ever seen by “Joe Six-Pack” as Palin likes to describe us.

Are you better off today than you were 8 years ago?

Mr. McCain goes to Washington

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He was so gracious as to show his face in Washington, despite having only voted on one issue in the last six months to settle the issue that most said was on track to be worked out overnight. Yesterday, Senator McCain announced his campaign would be suspended today. Today, his campaign is active as any other day on the campaign trail.

He said he would not debate if there was not a deal worked out, despite the fact that he isn’t on any relevant committee to do any of the “working out”. This really leads most people to wonder if this isn’t just a response to his tanking poll numbers. It also omits the major point about his effectiveness with “reform” when it is actually necessary, that he has not sponsored a single banking bill in the 111th Congress.

After arriving in DC this morning Senator McCain met with House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio to communicate how important it is that a deal be reached. Or did he? When we heard from Rep. Boehner after the meeting, he said that no such deal had been reached. This either leads us to believe John McCain is not capable of convincing his own party to compromise, or that he is secretly trying to prolong this issue through the weekend to interfere with the debate schedule.

Many in the media have pointed out the tight schedule and the possibility of simply cancelling one of the debates. The Vice-Presidenial debate would be the first to go if the McCain campaign had their way. Sarah Palin can’t handle Charlie Gibson or Katie Couric, so a debate seems like such a stretch.

This looks like the same political grandstanding surrounding the controversial immigration bill last year. After failing to show his face in Washington for 55 days, he went ahead and brought his media circus in for the vote. Immigration is also one of those areas where Senator McCain will claim to have bucked his own party. What he (and his campaign) will fail to point out is that he got promptly put back in his place by the Republican party on the issue. Simply looking at who John McCain would be beholden to for winning the election should make any rational person shudder.

As an added not, here are some video highlights (lowlights) of Gov. Palin’s recent interview with Katie Couric. I can hardly comment on these things, only to say that this level of incompetence and lack of awareness of the world makes President Bush look like a scholar. This isn’t the VP you could have a beer with, it’s the kind of VP you could bring on a witch hunt.

Written by unastronaut

September 25, 2008 at 1:34 pm

Naked shorts, and other perverse translations

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I’ve had a few friends express their inability to understand the current economic crisis and thought a post was probably due. There are a few things I’d say to set the stage. The situation is intentionally complicated and hard for the layman to understand. People like Senator Phil Gramm, lobbyists Rick Davis and Steve Schmidt, Charles Keating and cohort have, over time, chipped away at the protections for investors and borrowers in favor of lenders and brokers. 

Now for two definitions — for people from my neck of the woods — to better understand this Wall Street/Washington doublespeak. Naked shorts — the practice of selling a stock short without first borrowing the shares or ensuring that the shares can be borrowed as is done in a conventional short sale (Wikipedia) — or selling someone else’s stuff. What might happen if you sold your neighbor’s car and had them pick it up from the neighbor? Should you be bailed out?

Sub-prime lending is basically risky lending. They call it sub-prime when banks do this. Before banks got into loansharking, lenders would wreck their kneecaps — not the economy — if borrowers were unable to pay up. I’m not saying people shouldn’t be allowed to buy a home, I’m just saying I shouldn’t be getting offers to buy a home. People in my financial situation shouldn’t need to (at best) throw millions of pounds of paperwork away each year or (at worst) open the ‘loanshark on bank letterhead’ offer to buy a home with no proof of creditworthiness.

The Secretary of the Treasury is the principal economic advisor to the President and plays a critical role in policy-making by bringing an economic and government financial policy perspective to issues facing the government. The Secretary is responsible for formulating and recommending domestic and international financial, economic, and tax policy, participating in the formulation of broad fiscal policies that have general significance for the economy, and managing the public debt. The Secretary oversees the activities of the Department in carrying out its major law enforcement responsibilities; in serving as the financial agent for the United States Government; and in manufacturing coins and currency. US Department of the Treasury

We’ve got Henry Paulson. If you watched his testimony this morning, you saw a mirror image of President Bush. He wants all $700 billion now, with oversight to be determined later. He estimates they will spend approximately $50 billion per month, and he has already stated he’ll not stay in office after President Bush leaves in January. Senator Chuck Schumer from New York asked the ultimate question from a taxpayer’s perspective today, asking if the Treasury could deal with an authorization of $150 billion now with a review in January. The response, no, Paulson needs all of it now. I don’t think anyone in their right mind would be able to ignore the fact that the person asking for complete and total control over $700 billion of taxpayer money plans to quit in the next four months.

Since July 10, 2006 Henry Paulson has had the opportunity to take measures to prevent this situation. He has offered no warning and done nothing. Now he wants a blank check to try “various market-based approaches” to fix his own mess. As the ‘principal economic advisor to the President’ it’s clear that failure in this administration touches all aspects of the government. (See Alberto Gonzales, Michael Chertoff, Michael Brown, Donald Rumsfeld)

Paulson also oversees the “major law enforcement responsibilities”, and therefore was the ‘Sheriff’ when Wall Street got out of control. He let the party get out of control, we cannot give him more money than he expects to lose. Here’s a question for parents: when your child throws a party while you’re away, do you double the money you leave him next time you’re out of town?

Let’s rewind this situation a bit, to the past year when Americans constantly questioned Washington about a solution to the crisis so they could avoid losing their homes. Washington ignored these calls, and the President went into recluse mode. The Hurricane season has shown us just how much President Bush has learned about the office he holds and the responsibilities it bears. He’s learned that he must make more effort to appear to care, or his party will suffer. He has not learned how to truly look out for the interests ofall Americans, not just his millionaire friends.

Today, Senator Obama spoke in Florida about four key points of the rescue effort. Although he was certainly reading notes, he no doubt sought guidance on these issues and is probably better to get everything right than to attempt to turn economics into prose. The four points, however, were clear and sounded like exactly what Americans (as a lending institution) need in order to hand over that much of the taxpayers’ money. (looking for the full video)