You are currently browsing the daily archive for October 27, 2008.

Americans seem to have a very short memory for politics but I implore you to not forget the face of Republicanism today–not to forget the Bush/Cheney years.

Some of us have known since the coupe of the 2000 election by anti American Republican party operatives, what many are just now beginning to realize.

Republican fiscal, social and foreign policies are failures and the Republican base is an embarrassment to America… and to humanity.

For Republicans to win in the public sphere they must propagandize, cheat, steal and promote fear and racism. The McCain campaign of 2008 has been a dismal failure. They will soon begin their full court press to commit election fraud. They must, they are an unmitigated failure.

Get ready for the long fight ahead.

TheFrankFactor

Advertisements

With just over a week before Election Day, Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama on Monday is making his final pitch to voters in an effort to solidify the leads he has built in the polls.

“In one week, you can put an end to the politics that would divide a nation just to win an election; that tries to pit region against region, city against town, Republican against Democrat; that asks us to fear at a time when we need hope,” Obama will say, according to prepared remarks released by the Illinois senator’s campaign. “In one week, at this defining moment in history, you can give this country the change we need.”

The Democrat, who will speak in Canton, Ohio, is continuing to tie his Republican rival Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) to President Bush, arguing that the country cannot afford four more years of policies that, Obama argues, have hurt the country.

Obama, who is enjoying wide leads in several key states, also plans to give a nod toward McCain, saying that he “has served this country honorably” and noting that he “deserves credit” for the few times he has broken with Bush. However, the Democrat plans to make the case that on the key issue of the economy, McCain is pursuing the same policies as Bush.

“We don’t need bigger government or smaller government,” Obama said. “We need a better government – a more competent government – a government that upholds the values we hold in common as Americans.”

“After twenty-one months and three debates, Sen. McCain still has not been able to tell the American people a single major thing he’d do differently from George Bush when it comes to the economy,” Obama plans to say.

The Democrat intends to make the pitch that the country has to “get beyond the old ideological debates and divides between left and right” in order to fix the economy.
“We don’t need bigger government or smaller government,” he plans to say. “We need a better government – a more competent government – a government that upholds the values we hold in common as Americans.”

Source: The Hill

John McCain on Sunday warned Americans against the increasingly likely prospect of a Democratic takeover of Washington’s two main branches of government next week, but insisted that opinion polls indicating a strong victory for Barack Obama were misleading.

Mr McCain – who is trailing his rival by an average of seven to eight percentage points with eight days to go – would pull off the biggest electoral upset since 1948, when Harry S Truman beat Thomas Dewey, were he to win next week.

The Republican nominee, whose campaign has been increasingly beset by finger-pointing, internal leaks and reported rifts with Sarah Palin, his vice-presidential running mate, on Sunday said he trusted his senses, which told him the opinion polls were wrong.

“Those polls have consistently shown me much farther behind than we actually are,” Mr McCain said in an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press. “We’re doing fine. We have closed [the gap] in the last week. We continue to close this next week. You’re going to be up very, very late on election night.”

However, Mr Obama’s average lead in the national polls has appeared steady in recent days, in spite of individual surveys giving him an advantage of as much as 13 points nationally or as little as three.

But in an analysis of the state of the race on Fox News, Karl Rove, the architect of President George W. Bush’s election victories, said Mr Obama now had his biggest lead of the campaign, and was ahead in states with 317 electoral votes, compared with 157 votes for Mr McCain and 270 needed to win the presidency.

According to Mr Rove, Mr Obama was set to capture Ohio, Indiana, Colorado and Virginia. “In order for McCain to win, he’s got a very steep hill to climb,” he said indicating it would be extremely difficult for the Republican to turn round a national deficit of more than six points.

Commenting on reports of tensions between Mr McCain’s advisers and Sarah Palin, Mr Rove added: “This is… not the kind of thing you like to have happening in your campaign. And it’s generally a sign that people are throwing in the towel and thinking that they’re going to lose.”

Mr McCain on Sunday again distanced himself from Mr Bush. Last week Mr McCain attacked the president in his strongest terms so far, citing the doubling of US national debt to $10,000bn since 2001 and the mismanagement of the war in Iraq.

US FEMINIST KATHA POLLITT ON SARAH PALIN

‘Gender Alone Is Not Enough’

Activist and poet Katha Pollitt talks to SPIEGEL about the American women’s movement, her support for Barack Obama and the politics of the Republican vice-presidential nominee.

SPIEGEL: Ms. Pollitt, there used to be a joke in the women’s movement that equality would be achieved if a mediocre woman could have the same kind of career as a mediocre man. That’s the case now with Sarah Palin. Are you satisfied?

Pollitt: No! Sarah Palin wasn’t just picked because she is a woman, or because of her mediocrity. She is a fanatical opponent of abortion, and picking her is an attempt to get the evangelical Christian voters — who they have been tepid about McCain — into his camp. They might have voted for him anyway, but they might not have volunteered and donated and energized their friends and neighbors. That is different now because of Palin.

SPIEGEL: What excites people about Sarah Palin?

Pollitt: They feel that she is likeable. They can relate to her because she seems ordinary, warm, enthusiastic. If Sarah Palin was my neighbor, I might like her too — but as a potential President? It’s shocking to me that people would vote for someone because they think he or she is “like me.” Oh, Sarah Palin is a mom, I am a mom, so I will vote for her. That is irresponsible.

SPIEGEL: But with George W. Bush, Americans also voted for the guy that a lot of people would like to have a beer with.

Pollitt: Yes, and one would think that the past eight years have taught people that maybe it’s not a very good idea.

SPIEGEL: For the first time in American history, both parties have had viable female contenders in their Presidential campaigns — Hillary Clinton ran for the Democratic Presidential nomination, Sarah Palin is now running for Vice President. Does that represent progress for women?

Pollitt: I can answer that in two very different ways. In some long-view world historical sense, I could say: We might look back in 500 years and realize that 2008 was the year that women began to come into their own in American politics. But right now I see it a little differently. Hillary Clinton was a candidate who represented a certain liberal feminism. If she had become president, our abortion rights would have been safe. Clinton would have made sure that the anti-discrimination laws were enforced, and she would have financed a lot of programs that are good for women.

SPIEGEL: What about Sarah Palin?

Pollitt: With her, we would get the opposite. Other than in terms of her “girls can do anything” image, I don’t see that her political goals will do female voters any good.

SPIEGEL: Sometimes even female politicians who don’t consider themselves feminists can provide a positive influence: Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was a role model for many younger women who showed that women can wield power successfully.

Pollitt: Margaret Thatcher never said, “Vote for me because I am a wife and mother.” On the contrary, she didn’t present herself as relatable at all: She was the iron lady. Thatcher never made anything of her looks, she made very few concessions to conventional notions of femininity. Sarah Palin, on the other hand, is all about those notions. She represents a very old image for America, the tough but beautiful frontier woman with a gun in one and and a baby in the other.

SPIEGEL: Still, Republicans are hoping to use Sarah Palin to attract female voters who were carrying Hillary Clinton’s torch …

Pollitt: I don’t think there are so many of these women, and I have looked pretty hard for them. You have a small group of Hillary fans who are extremely vocal. They really believe that Hillary Clinton was robbed of a nomination that was rightfully hers. These women have a whole narrative that puts the blame for Hillary’s loss on some combination of party skullduggery and media sexism. But most female Palin voters will be conservative white women who haven’t been paying a lot of attention to the race so far, and who identify with Palin. But they would have voted Republican anyway, if they had voted at all.

SPIEGEL: Well, did Hillary Clinton lose because of media sexism?

Pollitt: No, she made crucial mistakes in her campaign, and she bears responsibility for that. Still, one has to acknowledge that she had to face incredible sexism in public discourse. Jokes were made about her voice, and about her laugh, which was described as a “cackle.” There was a nutcracker in the shape of Hillary that crushed walnuts between its steely thighs, which was good for many a laugh. And when her eyes misted up for a moment on the campaign trail in New Hampshire, there were comments about whether she was fit to be commander in chief. They would never ask that about a man! You have to say that male fear of female power was very much on view with Hillary.

SPIEGEL: What about Sarah Palin?

Pollitt: There is a tremendous amount of hypocrisy in the Republican party right now as far as their relationship to women is concerned. They complain constantly about the sexism that they had claimed didn’t exist where Hillary was concerned. Before John McCain chose Sarah Palin, a journalist friend of mine said he would never choose a woman — sexism is too deep in the Republican Party DNA. But he did pick her, so now we have seen that even the Republicans who are quite anti-feminist, can encompass having a woman in quite a powerful political position. But it was a strategic nomination which passed over many more qualified women, like the Republican senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, who happen to be pro-choice.

SPIEGEL: Hillary Clinton is two years your senior, and you both belong to the first generation of American women who were raised with feminist ideas. How has the women’s movement shaped American society?

Pollitt: It has changed the country very profoundly. When I went to Harvard in 1967, there was a five-percent quota on women in medical and law schools, there were ads in the newspapers, “jobs for men” and “jobs for women,” a married woman couldn’t get a credit card in her own name, there were states where a woman had to take her husband’s name, and for an unmarried woman it was very difficult to get birth control. Abortion was illegal — hundreds of women were killed or injured every year in back-alley or self-induced procedures. In just a few years, the women’s movement dismantled a whole legal structure of inequality, and, equally important, challenged the social practices and cultural assumptions behind those laws. It was an amazing historical moment.

SPIEGEL: How did you profit from it?

Pollitt: When I was a freshman, I saw the seniors get ready for their weddings. They would graduate, and then their weddings would be the next week. They had no moment to enjoy their freedom, to find out who they really were, to travel, and to learn to manage their own affairs. It was a lockstep life: college, marriage, kids …

SPIEGEL: … depression, divorce.

Pollitt: Exactly! All that had changed by the time I graduated four years later. Only a few of my classmates got married right away — instead, they went to medical school or law school or graduate school, they became activists or writers, like me. The lesbians came out of the closet. The women’s movement gave a lot of women — and men, too — the freedom to lead a different kind of life from their parents, to ask themselves, “What do I want to do with my life?” Feminism created a new normal.

German Nuclear Reactor Taken Offline After Internal Leak

Concern over French nuclear leaks

French Authorities had to issue a ban on fishing and water sports

Safety Problem at Nuclear Plants Is Cited

Scientists discuss article here

During a rally in Northern Iowa University this morning, John McCain made a strange remark that only serves to cement the notion that he does not respect Barack Obama:

    When I’m elected president We’re going to stop spending $700 billion to buy oil from countries that don’t like us very much,” John McCain said at Northern Iowa University this morning.“You know, the other night in the debate with Senator Obama, I said his eloquence is admirable, but pay attention to his words.

    We talk about offshore drilling and he said he would quote, consider, offshore drilling.

    We talked about nuclear power, well it has to be safe, environment, blah, blah, blah.”

While McCain is targeting Obama’s eloquence as empty words with his “blah, blah, blah” comment, it’s curious why he would use safeguards for nuclear power as the vehicle for this attack. The line makes McCain seem not only callous but also dismissive of a very real concern regarding nuclear power.

Source: HP

US presidential elections involve a fabulous expense of time, effort and money. Doubtless it is all too much – but, by the end, nobody can complain that the candidates have been too little scrutinised. We have learnt a lot about Barack Obama and John McCain during this campaign. In our view, it is enough to be confident that Mr Obama is the right choice.

At the outset, we were not so confident. Mr Obama is inexperienced. His policies are a blend of good, not so good and downright bad. Since the election will strengthen Democratic control of Congress, a case can be made for returning a Republican to the White House: divided government has a better record in the United States than government united under either party.

So this ought to have been a close call. With a week remaining before the election, we cannot feel that it is.

Mr Obama fought a much better campaign. Campaigning is not the same as governing, and the presidency should not be a prize for giving the best speeches, devising the best television advertisements, shaking the most hands and kissing the most babies.

Nonetheless, a campaign is a test of leadership. Mr Obama ran his superbly; Mr McCain’s has often looked a shambles. After eight years of George W. Bush, the steady competence of the Obama operation commands respect.

Nor should one disdain Mr Obama’s way with a crowd. Good presidents engage the country’s attention; great ones inspire. Mr McCain, on form, is an adequate speaker but no more. Mr Obama, on form, is as fine a political orator as the country has heard in decades. Put to the right purposes, this is no mere decoration but a priceless asset.

Mr Obama’s purposes do seem mostly right, though in saying this we give him the benefit of the doubt. Above all, he prizes consensus and genuinely seeks to unite the country, something it wants. His call for change struck a mighty chord in a tired and demoralised nation – and who could promise real change more credibly than Mr Obama, a black man, whose very nomination was a historic advance in US politics?

We applaud his main domestic proposal: comprehensive health-care reform. This plan would achieve nearly universal insurance without the mandates of rival schemes: characteristically, it combines a far-sighted goal with moderation in the method. Mr McCain’s plan, based on extending tax relief beyond employer-provided insurance, also has merit – it would contain costs better – but is too timid and would widen coverage much less.

Mr Obama is most disappointing on trade. He pandered to protectionists during the primaries, and has not rowed back. He may be sincere, which is troubling. Should he win the election, a Democratic Congress will expect him to keep those trade-thumping promises. Mr McCain has been bravely and consistently pro-trade, much to his credit.

In responding to the economic emergency, Mr Obama has again impressed – not by advancing solutions of his own, but in displaying a calm and methodical disposition, and in seeking the best advice. Mr McCain’s hasty half-baked interventions were unnerving when they were not beside the point.

On foreign policy, where the candidates have often conspired to exaggerate their differences, this contrast in temperaments seems crucial. For all his experience, Mr McCain has seemed too much guided by an instinct for peremptory action, an exaggerated sense of certainty, and a reluctance to see shades of grey.

He has offered risk-taking almost as his chief qualification, but gambles do not always pay off. His choice of Sarah Palin as running mate, widely acknowledged to have been a mistake, is an obtrusive case in point. Rashness is not a virtue in a president. The cautious and deliberate Mr Obama is altogether a less alarming prospect.

Rest assured that, should he win, Mr Obama is bound to disappoint. How could he not? He is expected to heal the country’s racial divisions, reverse the trend of rising inequality, improve middle-class living standards, cut almost everybody’s taxes, transform the image of the United States abroad, end the losses in Iraq, deal with the mess in Afghanistan and much more besides.

Succeeding in those endeavours would require more than uplifting oratory and presidential deportment even if the economy were growing rapidly, which it will not be.

The challenges facing the next president will be extraordinary. We hesitate to wish it on anyone, but we hope that Mr Obama gets the job.

 www.ft.com/uselections

Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE

It is deeply ironic that Republican operatives are working so hard to tarnish the most dynamic voter participation in our country in decades—apparently to justify and camouflage their most organized attempt yet to deny Americans the right to vote. The right wing in our country is responding to the massive registration of new voters with a despicable, massive assault on voter participation.

The AFL-CIO strongly condemns the coordinated national effort by the Republican Party and allied political operatives to suppress voter turnout and deny ballots to newly registered voters, particularly young people, the poor and people of color.

The assault is taking many forms. By smearing voter registration groups such as ACORN with false charges of voter fraud, the Republican Party hopes to discourage new voters and divert attention from the issues that are motivating so many—the disastrous economic policies of the past eight years.

In state after state, Republican tactics are designed to create confusion and long lines at the polls to discourage and unnecessarily alarm voters.

In Ohio, where 800,000 new voters have registered this year, the Republican Party is filing lawsuit after lawsuit to purge from the rolls people whose information doesn’t match other public records—records that are widely acknowledged to be flawed.

In September, Florida’s Republican Secretary of State told election officials to reject registrations that do not pass a computer match process that is foiled by typos and other minor errors. In just three weeks, 75 percent of matching problems were found to be the result of administrative errors; others are still being checked.

Also in September, Wisconsin’s Attorney General, who co-chairs the state McCain campaign, filed suit against the state election board, seeking to challenge the registration, by his count, of tens of thousands of voters.

Just last week, the Pennsylvania Republican Party filed a lawsuit to force newly registered voters in the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia areas to vote under challenge and cast provisional ballots that would not be counted Election Day.

Registrars in several states have been denying registration to students who give dorm room addresses. In Maryland, a registrar circulated a memo saying students registering to vote could lose financial aid and tax dependent status.

And in at least one state, the GOP stated it would challenge mortgage foreclosure victims’ right to vote when they appeared at the polls on Election Day.

What we are seeing now is just the first wave of voter suppression. We expect it will grow to include false information distributed in communities where Republican support is weak, intimidation and challenges of voters at the polls, lawsuits seeking to throw out voting results and a longer term escalation of the campaign for more voter suppression laws.

It is up to all of us to speak out and soundly reject this travesty. The AFL-CIO and other groups, including the NAACP, ACLU, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law and the League of Women Voters, are responding with our biggest voter protection program ever. Some 1,400 lawyers have joined the AFL-CIO network of labor lawyers to travel into battleground states at their own expense to staff legal command centers and support the thousands of poll monitors who will assist people who have problems voting. In nine states, the AFL-CIO is educating voters about their rights, working with election officials about election administration and recruiting and training volunteer poll monitors and workers. We are referring voters to the toll-free voting rights hotline operated by the Election Protection coalition, 1-866-OUR-VOTE, to check their registration and report problems. The AFL-CIO also is airing radio ads in targeted communities giving voters tips on how to protect their vote.

With vigilance and a major effort by a broad array of organizations, we are determined to make it easy, not hard, for every citizen to vote. We call on the McCain-Palin campaign to do more to stop the suppression of votes by any means, as well as stopping hateful smears and disinformation. And we urge the media to join the effort to make this a free and fair election by increasing careful reporting and editorial comment on voter suppression before, during and after the elections—and to help give voters confidence that their rights will be protected.

Source: The Hill

By AFL-CIO President John Sweeney

Could we see people going to prison for voter fraud in this election?

If the question is – will this election be stolen – by you know who ?? Then I predict not this time – there would be too much voter fraud to undertake – and secondly there will be a team of lawyers around the polling places – to make sure people have any questions answered, but more to make sure that their right to vote is upheld.

That still doesn’t protect against the dirty tricks that are now coming to light – like the purging of voter registrations, one can only hope that they don’t mistakenly purge the wrong list – say full of Republican voters!

Trust the Republicans to cook up something – but with all the dirty tricks they have played in this election and nothing has worked – shouldn’t there be alarm bells telling them – to stay away from this one – the negative and dishonest tactics are not going to work – this time – better to play it straight!

Former White House adviser Karl Rove, credited with winning two elections for President Bush, on Sunday said GOP nominee John McCain has a “very steep hill to climb” in his quest for the presidency.

Rove, who often puts a positive spin on things for the GOP, on “Fox News Sunday” offered a bleaker assessment of the state of the race from a Republican point of view. In his own electoral map, Rove has Democratic nominee Barack Obama ahead with 317 electoral votes after moving Ohio, Indiana, Colorado and Virginia to the Illinois senator’s column.

The GOP analyst noted that McCain would have to turn things around in all four states and sweep the remaining toss-up states in order to win the necessary electoral votes to prevail.

“It’s a steep uphill climb,” he said.

Rove added that McCain could turn the race if he is only down up to six points in national points. However, with the RealClearPolitics average of national polls putting Obama ahead by eight points, Rove said it would be “difficult” to make up that ground.

“What he’s got to do is pound home on two big messages. One message is, ‘I’m right on the issues and he’s wrong when it comes to taxes and the war on terror, and I’m experienced and ready to be president, and whatever his strengths and skills are, he, Sen. Obama, is not ready to be president’,” Rove said. “And you’ve got to make that message in a handful of states and repeat it constantly and hope that your ground game on Election Day is able to give you a point or two more beyond what the polls show you having.”

The GOP strategist also commented on signs that there is dissension within the ranks of the McCain campaign, including stress between vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin and her handlers.

“It is a sign of undisciplined people who do not have the loyalty that they ought to have to the candidate whom they’re serving,” he said. “And it’s a sad sight to see. Nobody makes themselves look good by this process.”

Rove also acknowledged that this kind of infighting generally happens “in campaigns that are behind, and people want to make certain they escape with the best reputation they can.”

The Hill

An interesting pattern now seems to be coming from Joe Lieberman: He is now reminding us all how much he respects Barack Obama, even if he’s for John McCain this time around.

In a conference call with Connecticut reporters on Friday, Lieberman bristled at the media’s coverage of the McCain campaign’s negativity. “You guys are going down a road, you have contributed to the demeaning of our politics by this kind of focus,” Lieberman said. “I mean, give me a break. Have any of you been out listening to me?”

“When I go out, I say, ‘I have a lot of respect for Sen. Obama. He’s bright. He’s eloquent.’ Someday, I might even support him for president,” Lieberman told a conference call of Connecticut reporters. “But now in the midst of this series of crises, John McCain is simply so much better prepared that that’s who I am proud to support.”

Lieberman also said that if McCain doesn’t, “I’m going to do everything I can to be bringing people … together across party lines to support the new president so he can succeed.”

This seems like a serious change of pace, to say the least, for Lieberman to be talking about how much he likes Obama and how he could potentially support him for president down the road. Indeed, it invites questions about what might have prompted Lieberman’s change of tone.

For context, it’s worth looking at some other things Joe has said this campaign season:

• In an interview with the right-wing site NewsMax a little over two weeks ago, Lieberman endorsed GOP attacks against Obama over Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright: “And one of the things you want to know is who have they associated with, because it may help you know who they’ll listen to when they get into office.”

• In the same interview, he left the door open on switching parties: “Well, I’ve thought about it. But this term is about over, so i’ll take up this question again.”

• During his speech at the Republican Convention, Lieberman repeated the smear that Obama “was voting to cut off funding for our troops on the ground.”

• While campaigning for McCain back in August, Lieberman said that Obama does not “put the country first.”

So the big question here, really, is what happened in the last few weeks that turned Obama from someone who doesn’t put the country first, might listen to anti-American characters when he’s in office, and wants to cut off resources for American troops, into someone who Lieberman respects and could support for president down the road?

Source: TPM