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It’s always nice to see Michelle Obama.

Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., left, answers a question from plumber Joe Wurzelbacher in Holland, Ohio, Sunday, Oct. 12, 2008. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Pic. Ap

16/10/2008 WIRE: Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., left, answers a question from plumber Joe Wurzelbacher in Holland, Ohio, Sunday, Oct. 12, 2008. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Pic. Ap

See original Obama-JTP footage below

The Statement:

Vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, speaking at an October 27 rally in Leesburg, Virginia, referred to Barack Obama’s October 12 conversation about tax policy with Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, the citizen now known as “Joe the Plumber.” She said Obama said he “wants to spread the wealth” and that “Joe the Plumber said to him, it sounded like socialism.”

Get the facts!

The Facts:
Obama met Wurzelbacher at a campaign stop outside Toledo, Ohio, on October 12, Wurzelbacher told Obama he was getting ready to buy a company that makes $250,000 to $280,000 a year and asked, “Your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn’t it?” Under Obama’s plan, taxes would rise for individuals who make more than $200,000 a year and families with incomes above $250,000.

Obama went into a lengthy explanation of his plan. He said he wants to cut taxes “a little bit more for the folks who are most in need; and for the 5 percent of the folks who are doing very well — even though they’ve been working hard and I appreciate that — I just want to make sure they’re paying a little bit more in order to pay for those other tax cuts.”

He argued that if consumers had more money to spend, it would be good for enterprises such as a plumbing business. “Right now everybody’s so pinched that business is bad for everybody, and I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”

Wurzelbacher invoked a common small-business concern with Obama: that higher taxes compromise hard-earned profits. “I’ve worked hard. I’m a plumber. I work 10-12 hours a day and I’m buying this company and I’m going to continue working that way. I’m getting taxed more and more while fulfilling the American dream.”

He never told Obama at the time his idea “sounded like socialism.” But two days later, in an interview on Fox News, Wurzelbacher said, “he wants to distribute wealth. I’m not trying to make statements here. That’s kind of a socialist viewpoint.”

In an interview with CNN that aired October 16, Wurzelbacher clarified that the company he wants to buy makes well less than $250,000 a year — which, under Obama’s plan, means his taxes would not be increased.

McCain and Palin frequently refer to “Joe the Plumber” on the campaign trail. Since his encounter with Obama, Wurzelbacher has received much notoriety and has signaled his support for McCain.

Wurzelbacher told conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham on October 24 that he’s considering a run for Congress in 2010. That would pit Wurzelbacher against longtime Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur for Ohio’s 9th District on the state’s northern border, which includes Toledo and Sandusky.

“I’ll tell you what, we’d definitely be in one heck of a fight, Marcy Kaptur definitely has a following in this area,” he said of the possibility. “But, you know, I’d be up for it.”

The Verdict: True. However, while Wurzelbacher has said Obama’s plan comes from a “socialist viewpoint,” [Mr. Wurzelbacher did not mention the word 'socialism' at the time of meeting with Obama.]

Source: CNN Political Ticker

Keith Olbermann feature:

The original JTP-Obama footage starts about 6:00 mins in :: commentary on JTP-Obama starts about 4:45 mins in :: It shows how McCain and Palin have whipped up a story out of details that were largely not in their favor :: Obama explains how his plan would be better for a small business like the one Joe hoped to own and Joe listened without ever telling Obama that his plan sounds like Socialism, as both Palin and McCain have claimed.

Obama’s Day In The Rain

Barack Obama spent part of Tuesday outside in the rain in Chester, PA, while John McCain postponed his outside rally in nearby Quakertown. Dressed in sneakers and jeans, the rain pouring down as he spoke, Obama addressed the 9,000 who turned out. “”Let me just begin by saying that a little bit of rain never hurt anybody.”

Photos: HP

Angry but at what....

Joe Plumber: Angry but at what....

The all-out effort from John McCain’s presidential campaign to scare voters into backing the Republican candidate continued apace on Tuesday as McCain surrogate Joe the Plumber agreed that a Barack Obama presidency would mean the “death of Israel” and end democracy in America.

The Ohio plumber, who has no license and is actually named Samuel Wurzelbacher, spoke at a McCain campaign event in Columbus Monday. A McCain supporter asked if “a vote for Obama is a vote for the death of Israel.” JTP hardly batted an eye.

“I’ll go ahead and agree with you on that,” Wurzelbacher said.

The push-back against Wurzelbacher’s comments began, somewhat unexpectedly, at Fox News.

The network noted that the McCain campaign seemed hesitant to distance itself from Wurzelbacher. Correspondent Carl Cameron said that the McCain campaign was going to put out an ad today criticizing Obama policies on Israel.

“Just a coincidence?” he asked. “We report you decide.”

Later Tuesday afternoon, Shepard Smith pressed Wurzelbacher on his comments, reminding the woefully misinformed McCain backer that Obama has consistently voiced support for Israel. Pressed several times to explain how he could agree with the conclusion that Obama would lead to the death of the Jewish state, Wurzelbacher was unable to come up with any good reasons aside from Obama’s position in favor of negotiating with rogue regimes such as Iran.

“You don’t want my opinion on foreign policy,” Wurzelbacher said. “I know just enough to kind of be dangerous.”

Smith seemed to agree with that assessment, implying that the only source for Wurzelbacher and the supporter’s concern was “hateful things spread on the Internet.” The host clearly worried that Wurzelbacher’s endorsement of such a view might inspire violence against the candidate.

Losing control and loving it !! McCain's swashbuckling camp.

Losing control and loving it !! McCain's swashbuckling camp.

Why, Smith asked, would Wurzelbacher believe Obama was lying when he spoke of the importance of Israel’s relationship with the United States.

Wurzelbacher was flummoxed. All he could offer was an appeal for people to “go out and find their own reasons … go out and get informed.”

If only the “plumber” had bothered to take his own advice before jumping onto the national stage. Smith, for his part, made sure to set his audience straight on the facts.

“I just want to make this 100 percent perfectly clear, Barack Obama has said repeatedly and demonstrated repeatedly that Israel will always be a friend of the United States, no matter what happens once he becomes President of the United States, his words,” Smith said after the interview ended. “The rest of it, man, it just gets frightening sometimes.”

Unvetted Joe the Plumber: Vote for Obama ‘death to Israel’

In Ohio, Wurzelbacher went on to reiterate McCain’s attempts to paint Obama as a socialist, The Associated Press reports.

    “I’m honestly scared for America,” Wurzelbacher said.

    He later said Obama would end the democracy that the U.S. military had defended during wars.

    “I love America. I hope it remains a democracy, not a socialist society. … If you look at spreading the wealth, that’s honestly right out of Karl Marx’s mouth,” Wurzelbacher said.

    “No one can debate that. That’s not my opinion. That’s fact.”

McCain’s campaign has used the “spread the wealth” line to attack Obama ever since the Democratic candidate used it to inartfully describe his tax proposals.

The attempts to compare Obama’s relatively modest restructuring of the progressive tax system to Marxism strikes most reasonable observers as patently absurd, but the attack seems to be all the foundering McCain campaign has left. Obama’s proposal would raise the tax rate on income above $250,000 from 36 to 39 percent and lower taxes for middle-class Americans.

McCain’s campaign also has heavily courted Jewish voters, who will be a crucial voting bloc in Florida and other swing states.

Wurzelbacher’s agreement that Obama would portend the death of Israel, though, seems to go beyond rhetoric the McCain campaign has employed so far. Until Tuesday, that kind of fear-mongering was mostly limited to right-wing blogs.

The McCain campaign said Wurzelbacher and the supporter’s views were there own regarding Israel, but they did not forcefully repudiate the attack, Fox News’s Carl Cameron reported just after the rally.

A Republican National Committee spokesman later gave Fox a longer statement that largely skirted the issue.

“While he’s clearly his own man, so far Joe has offered some penetrating and clear analysis that cuts to the core of many of the concerns that people have with Barack Obama’s statements and policies,” RNC spokesman Jeff Sadosky said. “Whether it is Obama’s willingness to sit down unconditionally with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, or his plans to redistribute the paychecks of hardworking Americans, there is good reason to question the judgment that Obama would bring to the Oval Office.”

Cameron noted the statement “doesn’t say whether or not McCain agrees” with Wurzelbacher and the supporter and said McCain “won’t go too far” to distance himself from the man who’s become a campaign centerpiece.

Source: Raw Story

The Republican National Committee has taken out a $5 million line of credit to help fund last minute efforts to keep Senate Democrats from winning a filibuster-proof 60 seat majority, according to an official with the committee.

Of the $5 million, $2 million is being directly transferred to the National Republican Senatorial Committee while $3 million is being devoted to coordinated expenditures that began over the last week.

“This effort not only helps fortify senators but it’s good for the whole Republican ticket,” said the RNC official, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “This is an investment in the entire ticket in addition to an unprecedented get out the vote effort.”

With the White House apparently slipping away and House Republicans looking at losses of 20 or more seats, the Senate is being painted as the last, best chance for Republicans to hold some semblance of power within Congress.

Right now, three states are largely seen as near-certain Democratic pickups: Virginia, New Mexico, and Colorado.

The RNC line of credit is almost certain to be spent on a handful of vulnerable Republican incumbents who face varying levels of peril. That list includes North Carolina Sen. Elizabeth Dole, Oregon Sen. Gordon Smith, Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman, Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss, Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens among others.

The decision by the RNC to help fund a series of Senate contest shows that national GOP strategists see the Senate as their firewall in next week’s election.

Will it change things? It’s very hard to know with so much volatility in the environment. But, it does show the RNC is willing to do everything it can to hold strong against the onrushing Democratic wave.

Washington Post

Your Daily Politics Video Blog: Most of the attention is on the presidential race. But there’s also that question of whether the Democrats are going to put together that 60 vote majority in the senate. In today’s episode we look at the 12 top senate races that will determine whether the Democrats will go into 2009 with that filibuster-proof majority.

We can’t afford to slip up in the final days. Volunteer this weekend and into Election Day, November 4th, 2008. http://www.barackobama.com/

Before going to the polls, make sure to visit http://www.VoteForChange.com/ to get all the information you need to vote successfully on November 4th, 2008.

Former Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah attends the two-day jirga in Islamabad.

Former Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah attends the two-day jirga in Islamabad.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) — Afghan and Pakistani tribal leaders have agreed to seek talks with Taliban leaders and other militant groups, so long as they promise to abide by the laws of each country.

The two-day conference, or jirga, ended Tuesday concluding the best way to expedite the process of peace and reconciliation — and end violence — would be by establishing contact with the “opposition,” according to comments at a news conference.

The Afghan representative, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, said the “opposition” includes any group involved in the region’s surging violence. “The door is now wide open,” he said.

Earlier this month, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the United States would be prepared to reconcile with the Taliban if the Afghan government pursued talks to end the seven-year conflict in that country. White House spokesman Dana Perino said Tuesday talks with Taliban elements are currently being considered in Washington.

(CNN) – The Virginia State Board of Elections is putting the word out: November 4 is Election Day for everyone in the state, regardless of political party.

The state agency issued a “Rumor Buster” press release this week with the correct date for voting in next week’s election because a fake flyer has been circulating with false information.

The flier said incorrectly that Republicans and Republican-leaning independent voters should vote November 4 and that Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents should vote November 5. The flyer claims that the separate dates for voting by party were enacted by the Virginia legislature to ease the strain on the polls during high turnout that is expected.

McCain and Palin rallied together today in Pennsylvania.

HERSHEY, Pa. (CNN) – John McCain unofficially declared this fair city a diva-free zone Tuesday.

In his first joint rally with running mate Sarah Palin since tension between their aides spilled into public view, McCain opened his remarks by declaring, “By the way, when two mavericks get together, you don’t agree on everything – but that’s fun!”

McCain has previously made similar comments at rallies about how he and Palin do not agree on everything, such as drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (McCain opposes, Palin supports).

But this time the comment had particular resonance with a large crowd here in Pennsylvania, coming just days after a McCain adviser privately charged to CNN that Palin is a “diva” who’s not staying on-message, while Palin advisers fired back that McCain aides botched her rollout to the American people.

One of John McCain’s advisers recently called his running mate Sarah Palin a “diva” after she went off-script at a rally, and suggested she was looking after her own political future over the current campaign. Now another adviser ups the ante in a conversation with the Politico’s Playbook, labeling Palin a “whack job.”

Meanwhile, Dana Milbank reports on more signs of division between McCain and his running mate on the stump:

    “Sarah Oh-Twelve!” bellowed a man in field coat and jeans, one of several thousand at the Leesburg rally, when Palin spoke about her tax policies yesterday.

    The oh-twelve message, if mathematically flawed, seemed to capture the crowd’s sentiment. There were “I [Heart] Palin” bumper stickers on cars, “Team Sarah” T-shirts in pink, “Sarah!” pins and countless signs: “You Go Girl.” “You’re in Palin Country.” “Maverick Barracuda.” One of the souvenir vendors said his most popular offering was a pin showing Palin next to a pit bull and the usual “McCain-Palin” logo reversed, with her name first and in larger letters.

    The diva made sure to spend some time on her “own track record” in Alaska, particularly all the taxes she cut. “Sarah! Sarah!” the crowd chanted.

    “So, Virginia, will you hire us?” she asked. “Will you send us to Washington?”

    “Yes, we will! Yes, we will!”

    In 2012, that is.

“Her lack of fundamental understanding of some key issues was dramatic,” said another McCain source with direct knowledge of the process to prepare Palin after she was picked. The source said it was probably the “hardest” to get her “up to speed than any candidate in history.” CNN

Source: HP

When asked Schumer said the Democrats wish to deal with the Lieberman issue after the election.

The accusation is that John McCain has had more negative press than Barack Obama – and rightly this has been put into the context that – by far Obama has run a more positive campaign. Some of the McCain attacks have been so over the top that even Karl Rove had to pull back from them. Undoubtedly McCain has brought much of his negative media coverage on himself. Not forgetting all the crazy behavior at the Palin/McCain rallies. With all the remarks about the liberal media (at the GOP Convention and on the stump) – there has been no one who has been more negatively focused – than the one man campaign run by Hannity of the right-wing press – on Barack Obama. And I believe Palin has done at least two interviews with Sean Hannity – a safe place as the rest of the press is seen as being ‘after her’. It is doubtful that a Romney VP pick would have resulted in talk of the press being after him – because he knows what he is doing. He’s informed and Palin isn’t.

 [..] Reporters obsess about personalities and process, about whose staff are jerks or whether they seem like decent folks, about who has a great stump speech or is funnier in person than they come off in public, about whether Michigan is in play or off the table. This is the flip side of the fact of how much we care about the horse race — we don’t care that much about our own opinions of which candidate would do more for world peace or tax cuts.

If that causes skeptics to scoff, perhaps they would find it more satisfying to hear that the reason ideological bias matters so little is that other biases matter so much more.

This is true in any election year. But the 2008 election has had some unique — and personal — phenomena.

One is McCain backlash. The Republican once was the best evidence of how little ideology matters. Even during his “maverick” days, McCain was a consistent social conservative, with views on abortion and other cultural issues that would have been odds with those of most reporters we know. Yet he won swooning coverage for a decade from reporters who liked his accessibility and iconoclasm and supposed commitment to clean politics.

Now he is paying. McCain’s decision to limit media access and align himself with the GOP conservative base was an entirely routine, strategic move for a presidential candidate. But much of the coverage has portrayed this as though it were an unconscionable sellout.

Since then the media often presumes bad faith on McCain’s part. The best evidence of this has been the intense focus on the negative nature of his ads, when it is clear Obama has been similarly negative in spots he airs on radio and in swing states.

It is not our impression that many reporters are rooting for Obama personally. To the contrary, most colleagues on the trail we’ve spoken with seem to find him a distant and undefined figure. But he has benefited from the idea that negative attacks that in a normal campaign would be commonplace in this year would carry an out-of-bounds racial subtext. That’s why Obama’s long association with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright was basically a nonissue in the general election.

Journalists’ hair-trigger racial sensitivity may have been misplaced, but it was not driven by an ideological tilt.

In addition, Obama has benefited from his ability to minimize internal drama and maximize secrecy — and thus to starve feed the press’ bias for palace intrigue. In this sense, his campaign bears resemblance to the two run by George W. Bush.

Beyond the particular circumstances of McCain v. Obama, there are other factors in any race that almost always matter more than the personal views of reporters.

The strongest of these is the bias in favor of momentum. A candidate who is perceived to be doing well tends to get even more positive coverage (about his or her big crowds or the latest favorable polls or whatever). And a candidate who is perceived to be doing poorly tends to have all events viewed through this prism.

Not coincidentally, this is a bias shared by most of our sources. This is why the bulk of negative stories about McCain are not about his ideology or policy plans — they are about intrigue and turmoil. Think back to the past week of coverage on Politico and elsewhere: Coverage has been dominated by Sarah Palin’s $150,000 handbags and glad rags, by finger-pointing in the McCain camp, and by apparent tensions between the candidate and his running mate.

These stories are driven by the flood of Republicans inside and out of the campaign eager to make themselves look good or others look bad. This always happens when a campaign starts to tank. Indeed, there was a spate of such stories when Obama’s campaign hit turmoil after the GOP convention and the Palin surge.

For better or worse, the most common media instincts all have countervailing pressures. Countering the bias in favor of momentum is the bias against boredom. We’ve seen that several times this cycle — an outlying poll number being pumped to suggest big changes in a race that is basically unchanged. There’s a good chance you’ll see this phenomenon more in the next week.

Then there is the bend-over-backward bias. This is when journalists try so hard to avoid accusations of favoritism that it clouds critical judgment. A good example were stories suggesting Palin held her own or even won her debate against Joe Biden when it seemed obvious she was simply invoking whatever talking points she had at hand, hanging on for dear life.

Finally, one of the biases of journalists is the same one that is potent for almost all people: the one in favor of self-defensiveness. That’s why, even though we think ideological bias is pretty low on the list of journalistic maladies in this election, it is not viable for reporters to dismiss criticism out of hand.

One of the problems with Sarah Palin running in 2012 – is that she runs the risk of a very popular Obama presidency – if you read down – the Palin spokesperson/likely other Republicans are arrogant enough to assume that the Democratic economic policy will fail. But they have forgotten – that once they had finished attacking Clinton on the Lewinski affair – they were faced with the realization that they had no alternate agenda to attack Clinton on – as the economy had never grown as much in the whole of America’s history and the country’s debt was being systematically reduced. There is always going some variation in policy – and given the current economic climate – that the Republicans have left the country in – though on the whole Barack Obama intends adopt the Clinton type economic policies – which means taking things back to the basics.

One of the problems with these plans below – that it is based on the same arrogance and assumptions – that are causing the American people to overwhelmingly reject the Republican Party at this time. Under the Democrats we didn’t need a new debt clock – under both Bush’s the numbers on the debt clocks rise so fast – they have to be replaced each time. Saying that you are fiscally responsible and being fiscally responsible are two different things – over the last few elections the democrats have proven that they are better at this – and better at managing the economy than the Republicans.

So if Sarah Palin is going to run in 2012 against a wall of real change and economic growth, likely few will want to give Sarah Palin the US Presidency. Maybe she should wait until 2016; perhaps she’ll have a better chance, as well as she could show off her experience and knowledge – if she has the good sense to learn something in that time.

Sarah Palin may soon be free. Soon, she may not have the millstone of John McCain around her neck. And she can begin her race for president in 2012.

Some are already talking about it. In careful terms. If John McCain loses next week, Sarah Palin “has absolutely earned a right to run in 2012,” says Greg Mueller, who was a senior aide in the presidential campaigns of Pat Buchanan and Steve Forbes. Mueller says Palin has given conservatives “hope” and “something to believe in.”

And even if the McCain-Palin ticket does win on Nov. 4 — and Mueller says it could — “if McCain decides to serve for just one term, Sarah Palin as the economic populist and traditional American values candidates will be very appealing by the time we get to 2012.”

It is clear that while trying to bond with voters, John McCain and Sarah Palin have not managed to bond with each other. Perhaps we should not be surprised. They barely know one another.

When McCain appeared on the “Late Show With David Letterman” on Oct. 16, McCain praised Palin but went out of his way to point out how little he knew about her before he chose her as his running mate. “I didn’t know her real well,” McCain said. “I knew her reputation. I didn’t know her well at all. I didn’t know her well at all.”

The discomfort between the two can be palpable. Chuck Todd, the NBC News political director, was in the room when Brian Williams interviewed Palin and McCain recently. “There was a tenseness,” Todd said later. “When you see the two of them together, the chemistry is just not there. You do wonder, is John McCain starting to blame her for things? Blaming himself? Is she blaming him?”

I am guessing one and three. John McCain is blaming Palin for demonstrating her inexperience and lack of knowledge. And Palin is blaming McCain for running what she views as a bad campaign — a campaign that did not go after Barack Obama over the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and did not exploit Obama’s statement about how small-town people “cling” to guns and religion — and for never picking a clear message that had any traction with voters.

But here’s the difference: If McCain loses, he doesn’t get to run again, and Palin does.

All that negative stuff about her? Charging Alaska taxpayers a per diem allowance for 300 nights she spent at home, flying her kids at state expense to events they were not invited to, accepting wildly expensive clothes from the Republican National Committee and, according to one ethics panel, having abused her office as governor?

Not only will all that have faded by the 2012 campaign, Palin already has her defense ready: Some of these accusations are part of a double standard that is applied to women and not to men.

She says Hillary Clinton ran into the same problem.

“I think Hillary Clinton was held to a different standard in her primary race,” Palin told Jill Zuckman of the Chicago Tribune recently. “Do you remember the conversations that took place about her — say, superficial things that they don’t talk about with men, like her wardrobe and her hairstyles, all of that, that’s a bit of that double standard. Certainly there’s a double standard.”

Palin went on: “But I’m not going to complain about it, I’m not going to whine about it, I’m going to plow through that because we are embarking on something greater than that, than allowing that double standard to adversely affect us.”

If she runs in 2012, Palin will run to shatter the glass ceiling. By then, Americans may have shown they are willing to vote for an African-American for president, but how about a woman?

Mueller thinks Palin would make a strong candidate. There certainly will be others jockeying for the job. And Mueller named Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour.

But Mueller thinks that, while some conservative intellectuals have deserted and derided Sarah Palin, the Republican base likes her and could stick with her.

“She would run in 2012 as the populist, conservative reformer that she was originally introduced to the country as,” Mueller said. “If Obama wins, you will see him moving the country to a sort of Euro-socialism. That will fail, and she can target an economic-populist message to the country.”

Mueller also argues that Palin could run a more convincing campaign on traditional conservative issues in 2012 than McCain has in 2008

“One weakness in McCain’s campaign is not campaigning on strong, pro-life, traditional values issues,” Mueller said. “There has been a certain level of discomfort over the years by McCain over guns, God and life issues.”

Mueller says McCain and Palin could still win next week. But if that happens, Mueller thinks Palin should get a lot of the credit. “A lot of conservatives are not excited by John McCain, even though I think he has been saying some good things,” Mueller said. “If they vote, they will vote for Sarah.”

And if not in 2008, maybe in 2012.

Someone else said that with the money we are spending in Iraq – we could put solar panels on every roof that feed into the grid (those who have had panels hooked up in this way report bills as low as $5/month). It would take a lot of convincing to tell people that the war in Iraq is not for oil – one, there’s a horrible human tragedy just down the road in Darfur – and no one is rushing to restore order in that region. So what we are doing / allowing the few to decide that we are going to go to war for oil (read democracy), so that a few oil companies can continue to make money from a global economy that runs on oil – something that we no longer need to do.

I was very interested in what Barack Obama said about, the inventions sitting in people garages. People are driving around now with prototype magnetic/electric hybrid motors. (If we are not careful Japan is going to so whop our asses on this one!) But we also have these inventors who have working magnetic motors in the States. We now have electric cars which are more powerful than gas guzzlers – accelerating from 0 -112 mph in 11 secs, beating out any Porsche. These ‘top guys’ have made their money of the war and the oil, but let them have it – because the real currency – the currency of the future is in technological advancements – and this is where we are just beginning. Imaging 100 years from now still driving around in one of these inefficient gas guzzling cars – because some one in the oil industry ‘needed’ to continue to make money – their profits would have ‘gone down’ if we were to change technology. It’s the case for the oil lamp vs. the light bulb.

Hello!!

See magnetic and electric cars and bikes here.

McCain and Palin are motioning for a war in Georgia (near Russia ~ that one!), but that’s all about a oil/ gas pipeline. Palin has stated that if they are elected McCain would place her in charge of energy, and she has stated that ‘we can drill our way out of our difficulties’. This is like the brain dead plan for the future – a future without vision. And what’s worst the experts are saying that they have sunk test wells around ANWR – and through technology they are able to check the area within its perimeter – and the findings are not all that were hoped. The oil leaving Alaska through the pipeline has halved in so many years. If elected it is likely that Palin would create an energy policy based on unsubstantiated facts. She would lead us on a wild moose chase.

http://www.whatwecouldhavedonewiththemoney.com/

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — When the Sunday morning political pundits began talking last year about the tab for the war in Iraq hitting $1 trillion, Rob Simpson sprang from his sofa in indignation.

“Why aren’t people outraged about this? Why aren’t we hearing about it?” Simpson said. And then it came to him: “Nobody knows what a trillion dollars is.”

The amount _ $1,000,000,000,000 _ was just too big to comprehend.

So Simpson, 51, decided to embark “on an unusual but intriguing research project” to put the dollars and cents of the war into perspective. He hired some assistants and spent 12 months immersed in economic data and crunching numbers.

The result: a slim but heavily annotated paperback released, “What We Could Have Done With the Money: 50 Ways to Spend the Trillion Dollars We’ve Spent on Iraq.”

Simpson is no geopolitical, macro-economic, inside-the-Beltway expert. He’s an armchair analyst and creative director for an advertising agency, a former radio announcer and music critic in Ontario and a one-time voiceover actor.

His alternative spending choices reflect his curiosity and wit.

He calculates $1 trillion could pave the entire U.S. interstate highway system with gold _ 23.5-karat gold leaf. It could buy every person on the planet an iPod. It could give every high school student in the United States a free college education. It could pay off every American’s credit card. It could buy a Buick for every senior citizen still driving in the United States.

“As I started exploring, I was really taken aback by some of the things that can be done, both the absurd and the practical,” Simpson said.

America could the double the 663,000 cops on the beat for 32 years. It could buy 16.6 million Habitat for Humanity houses, enough for 43 million Americans.

Now imagine investing that $1 trillion in the stock market _ perhaps a riskier proposition today than when Simpson finished the book _ to make it grow and last longer. He used an accepted long-term return on investment of 9 percent annually, with compounding interest.

The investment approach could pay for 1.9 million additional teachers for America’s classrooms, retrain 4 million workers a year or lay a foundation for paying Social Security benefits in 65 years to every child born in the United States, beginning today.

It’s too recent to make Simpson’s list, but that $1 trillion could also have paid for the Bush administration’s financial bailout plan, with $300 billion to spare. It might not be enough, however, to pay for the war in Iraq. Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz has recently upped his estimate of the war’s cost to $3 trillion.

Simpson created a Web site companion to his book that lets you go virtual shopping with a $1 trillion credit card. Choices range from buying sports franchises to theme parks, from helping disabled veterans to polar bears.

Click on Air Force One, the president’s $325 million airplane. The program asks: “Quantity?”

“At one point we couldn’t find anybody who actually stuck with it long enough to spend $1 trillion,” Simpson said. “It will wear you out.”

Source: HP

WASHINGTON — Senator Ted Stevens, Alaska’s dominant political figure for more than four decades, was found guilty on Monday by a jury of violating federal ethics laws for failing to report tens of thousands of dollars in gifts and services he had received from friends.

The jury of District of Columbia residents convicted Mr. Stevens, 84, on all seven felony counts he faced in connection with charges that he knowingly failed to list on Senate disclosure forms the receipt of some $250,000 in gifts and services used to renovate his home in Girdwood, Alaska.

Mr. Stevens, a consistently grim-faced figure, frowned more deeply as the verdict was delivered by the jury foreman, a worker at a drug counseling center. Mr. Stevens’s wife and one of his daughters sat glumly behind him in the courtroom.

In a statement issued after he had left the courthouse, Mr. Stevens was defiant, urging Alaskans to re-elect him to a seventh full term next week.

He blamed what he called repeated misconduct by federal prosecutors for the verdict. “I will fight this unjust verdict with every ounce of energy I have,” he said.

“I am innocent. This verdict is the result of the unconscionable manner in which the Justice Department lawyers conducted this trial,” he said. “I ask that Alaskans and my Senate colleagues stand with me as I pursue my rights. I remain a candidate for the United States Senate.”

Nonetheless, the verdict is widely expected to write an end to Mr. Stevens’s long political career, which has moved in tandem with his state’s rough-and-tumble journey from a remote territory to an economic powerhouse.

Mr. Stevens was instrumental in promoting statehood for Alaska when he was a young Interior Department official in the Eisenhower administration and then went on to represent the state in the Senate for 40 years. Over that time, he used his steadily accumulated influence over federal spending, notably using his membership on the Appropriations Committee, to steer millions, perhaps billions, of dollars in federal money to his home state.

The verdict comes a week before a second jury of sorts, the voters of Alaska, will decide whether to return him to the Senate or elect his Democratic opponent, Mayor Mark Begich of Anchorage. After Mr. Stevens’s indictment in July, he asked for a quick trial so he might clear his name before Election Day.

If Mr. Stevens loses his seat, the trial’s implications could be felt on a broad political scale, helping Democrats in their drive to win enough seats in the Senate to give them a filibuster-proof majority of at least 60 votes. Within an hour of the verdict’s becoming public, Democrats in Senate races around the country immediately sought to make the conviction an issue for their opponents, demanding that those who had received money from Mr. Stevens, who was generous with contributions to his colleagues, return it.

If Mr. Stevens wins and insists on keeping his seat, his fate will be in the hands of his Senate colleagues. A senator can be expelled only by a two-thirds vote of the entire Senate, so a conviction does not automatically cost a lawmaker his seat. Since 1789, only 15 senators have been expelled, most for supporting the Confederacy during the Civil War, the Senate Web site states.

In 1982, the Senate Ethics Committee recommended that Senator Harrison A. Williams, Democrat of New Jersey, be expelled because of his conviction on bribery, conspiracy and conflict of interest charges in the Abscam scandal, and in 1995 the committee recommended the expulsion of Senator Robert W. Packwood, Republican of Oregon, for sexual misconduct. Both men resigned before the full Senate could vote.

Should Mr. Stevens be expelled or resign on his own, the Alaska governor, Sarah Palin, would most likely have to call a special election to fill the vacancy, according to state legal officials.

Ms. Palin, the Republican nominee for vice president, issued a statement late Monday, saying she was “confident that Senator Stevens will do what’s right for the people of Alaska.”

Source: NYT

Oh boy!!

Fox lifts a radio clip of an academic argument on school funding and the civil rights movement from seven years ago as evidence that Obama’s tax cuts for the working middle class and poor are socialist.

In an initial Obama camp statement – they say their crowd sizes haven’t diminished and neither has John McCain seized on the matter. That it really is of interest to few outside of Fox News ~ here Megyn Kelly protests.

WASHINGTON — Two young men who are believers in “white power” have been arrested and charged in Tennessee in what federal officials described as a plan to assassinate Senator Barack Obama and kill black children at a school.

Federal officials said they regarded the scheme as “serious.” It does not appear to have moved to an advanced stage, according to court documents unsealed Monday, but officials said the two men did acquire several rifles and cased a home and a gun store to rob as part of the plan.

Federal officials said that both of the men who were arrested — Paul Schlesselman, 18, of West Helena, Ark., and Daniel Cowart, 20, of Bells, Tenn. — told interrogators that they had talked of assassinating Mr. Obama. Lawyers for the men could not be reached.

The two men “planned to drive their vehicle as fast as they could toward Obama shooting at him from the windows,” according to an affidavit filed in federal court in Jackson, Tenn., by an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Mr. Obama has no plans to be in Tennessee, and the affidavit does not make clear whether the men had picked a location for an attack.

The assassination was to be the culmination of a “killing spree” that would also single out children at an unnamed, predominately black school, federal officials said. The men talked of “killing 88 people and beheading 14 African-Americans,” according to the affidavit.

The two men each had “very strong views” about Aryan white power and “skinhead” ideology, the federal officials said, and the numbers 88 and 14 have special significance in the white power movement. The number 88 is shorthand for “Heil Hitler” — H is the eighth letter in the alphabet —and 14 signifies a 14-word mantra among white supremacists: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”

Officials said the two men met via the Internet through a mutual friend.

Concerns about possible plots against Mr. Obama have been acute because of his status as the first black presidential nominee from a major party. He has had Secret Service protection since May 2007, the earliest a candidate was ever assigned protection.

Mr. Cowart and Mr. Schlesselman were each charged with illegal possession of a sawed-off shotgun, conspiracy to rob a firearms dealer and making threats against a presidential candidate. A detention hearing is scheduled for Thursday in Memphis.

“We honestly don’t know if they had the capability or the wherewithal to carry out the kind of plan that they talked about,” Malcolm Wiley, a spokesman for the Secret Service in Washington, said in an interview. “But we take any threat seriously not matter how big or how small it is.”

With nine days left before the presidential election, actor Matt Damon is trying to keep Americans fired up and eager to vote.

Damon is participating in the Florida VoteFest ’08 Sunday and Monday, a statewide initiative to encourage people to vote early.

“I took time off from acting until the end of the year to be with my family and enjoy our new daughter,” Damon told PEOPLE at a jam-packed Barack Obama rally Sunday in West Palm Beach, Fla. “But it is very important for me to do what I can to help the Obama campaign so people will go out and vote. We need change in this country and now is the time to be sure that happens.”

HP

What are the Russians learning from US elections?

Hmm…good question ~ Republicans.

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

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

McCain squirms as he watches a recording of himself which contradicts his own socialist argument – this showdown takes place around 2nd and 3rd minutes in.

To John McCain $25 bn for car makers ~ is not corporate welfare – but a small drop in that bucket to the poorest workers – is a government hand out – is welfare. I think McCain has got a problem with small checks ~ he likes to write the big ones to the big boys. At least that’s the new John McCain – the old John McCain back in 2000 had a very different view:

Here’s a more complete clip on exactly what McCain believed back in 2000 about ‘spreading the wealth around’ to the middle class.

Like the number of houses – John McCain has trouble remembering one of the many Secretary of State endorsements that he received. While explaining how Powell’s endorsement of Obama was a disappointment – McCain forgets to name one of the many SOS endorsements he has received.

McCain’s coming across as the man with the most. Heaven’s knows if Powell would have given McCain his endorsement – he likely would have forgotten Powell’s name.

Here Karl Rove was left defending his own ethics ~ possibly evidence of a conscience?

Here’s when someone thought they would go up and arrest Rove – all on the same day!


Even as John McCain and Sarah Palin scramble to close the gap in the final days of the 2008 election, stirrings of a Palin insurgency are complicating the campaign’s already-tense internal dynamics.

Four Republicans close to Palin said she has decided increasingly to disregard the advice of the former Bush aides tasked to handle her, creating occasionally tense situations as she travels the country with them. Those Palin supporters, inside the campaign and out, said Palin blames her handlers for a botched rollout and a tarnished public image — even as others in McCain’s camp blame the pick of the relatively inexperienced Alaska governor, and her public performance, for McCain’s decline.

“She’s lost confidence in most of the people on the plane,” said a senior Republican who speaks to Palin, referring to her campaign jet. He said Palin had begun to “go rogue” in some of her public pronouncements and decisions.

“I think she’d like to go more rogue,” he said.

The emergence of a Palin faction comes as Republicans gird for a battle over the future of their party: Some see her as a charismatic, hawkish conservative leader with the potential, still unrealized, to cross over to attract moderate voters. Anger among Republicans who see Palin as a star and as a potential future leader has boiled over because, they say, they see other senior McCain aides preparing to blame her in the event he is defeated.

“These people are going to try and shred her after the campaign to divert blame from themselves,” a McCain insider said, referring to McCain’s chief strategist, Steve Schmidt, and to Nicolle Wallace, a former Bush aide who has taken a lead role in Palin’s campaign. Palin’s partisans blame Wallace, in particular, for Palin’s avoiding of the media for days and then giving a high-stakes interview to CBS News’ Katie Couric, the sometimes painful content of which the campaign allowed to be parceled out over a week.

“A number of Gov. Palin’s staff have not had her best interests at heart, and they have not had the campaign’s best interests at heart,” the McCain insider fumed, noting that Wallace left an executive job at CBS to join the campaign.

Wallace declined to engage publicly in the finger-pointing that has consumed the campaign in the final weeks.

“I am in awe of [Palin's] strength under constant fire by the media,” she said in an e-mail. “If someone wants to throw me under the bus, my personal belief is that the most graceful thing to do is to lie there.”

But other McCain aides, defending Wallace, dismissed the notion that Palin was mishandled. The Alaska governor was, they argue, simply unready — “green,” sloppy and incomprehensibly willing to criticize McCain for, for instance, not attacking Sen. Barack Obama for his relationship with his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Palin has in fact performed fairly well in the moments thought to be key for a vice presidential nominee: She made a good impression in her surprise rollout in Ohio and her speech to the Republican National Convention went better than the campaign could have imagined. She turned in an adequate performance at a debate against the Democratic Party’s foremost debater.

But other elements of her image-making went catastrophically awry. Her dodging of the press and her nervous reliance on tight scripts in her first interview, with ABC News, became a national joke — driven home to devastating effect by “Saturday Night Live” comic Tina Fey. The Couric interview — her only unstaged appearance for a week — was “water torture,” as one internal ally put it.

Some McCain aides say they had little choice with a candidate who simply wasn’t ready for the national stage, and that Palin didn’t forcefully object. Moments that Palin’s allies see as triumphs of instinct and authenticity — the Wright suggestion, her objection to the campaign’s pulling out of Michigan — they dismiss as Palin’s “slips and miscommunications,” that is, her own incompetence and evidence of the need for tight scripting.

But Palin partisans say she chafed at the handling.

“The campaign as a whole bought completely into what the Washington media said — that she’s completely inexperienced,” said a close Palin ally outside the campaign who speaks regularly to the candidate.

“Her strategy was to be trustworthy and a team player during the convention and thereafter, but she felt completely mismanaged and mishandled and ill advised,” the person said. “Recently, she’s gone from relying on McCain advisers who were assigned to her to relying on her own instincts.”

Palin’s loyalists say she’s grown particularly disenchanted with the veterans of the Bush reelection campaign, including Schmidt and Wallace, and that despite her anti-intellectual rhetoric, her closest ally among her new traveling aides is a policy adviser, former National Security Council official Steve Biegun. She’s also said to be close with McCain’s chief foreign policy adviser, Randy Scheunemann, who prepared her for the Oct. 2 vice presidential debate.

When a McCain aide, speaking anonymously Friday to The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder, suggested that Palin’s charge that Obama was “palling around with terrorists” had “escaped HQ’s vetting,” it was Scheunemann who fired off an angry response that the speech was “fully vetted” and that to attack Palin for it was “bullshit.”

Palin’s “instincts,” on display in recent days, have had her opening up to the media, including a round of interviews on talk radio, cable and broadcast outlets, as well as chats with her traveling press and local reporters.

Reporters really began to notice the change last Sunday, when Palin strolled over to a local television crew in Colorado Springs.

“Get Tracey,” a staffer called out, according to The New York Times, summoning spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt, who reportedly “tried several times to cut it off with a terse ‘Thank you!’ in between questions, to no avail.” The moment may have caused ulcers in some precincts of the McCain campaign, but it was an account Palin’s admirers in Washington cheered.

Palin had also sought to give meatier policy speeches, in particular on energy policy and on policy for children with disabilities; she finally gave the latter speech Friday, but had wanted to deliver it much earlier.

She’s also begun to make her own ad hoc calls about the campaign’s direction and the ticket’s policy. McCain, for instance, has remained silent on Democrats’ calls for a stimulus package of new spending, a move many conservatives oppose but that could be broadly popular. But in an interview with the conservative radio host Glenn Beck earlier this week, Palin went “off the reservation” to make the campaign policy, one aide said.

“I say, you know, when is enough enough of taxpayer dollars being thrown into this bill out there?” she asked. “This next one of the Democrats being proposed should be very, very concerning to all Americans because to me it sends a message that $700 billion bailout, maybe that was just the tip of the iceberg. No, you know, we were told when we’ve got to be believing if we have enough elected officials who are going to be standing strong on fiscal conservative principles and free enterprise and we have to believe that there are enough of those elected officials to say, ‘No, OK, that’s enough.’”

(A McCain spokeswoman said Palin’s statement was “a good sentiment.”)

But few imagine that Palin will be able to repair her image — and bad poll numbers — in the eleven days before the campaign ends. And the final straw for Palin and her allies was the news that the campaign had reported spending $150,000 on her clothes, turning her, again, into the butt of late-night humor.

“She never even set foot in these stores,” the senior Republican said, noting Palin hadn’t realized the cost when the clothes were brought to her in her Minnesota hotel room.

“It’s completely out-of-control operatives,” said the close ally outside the campaign. “She has no responsibility for that. It’s incredibly frustrating for us and for her.”

Between Palin’s internal detractors and her allies, there’s a middle ground: Some aides say that she’s a flawed candidate whose handling exaggerated her weak spots.

“She was completely mishandled in the beginning. No one took the time to look at what her personal strengths and weaknesses are and developed a plan that made sense based on who she is as a candidate,” the aide said. “Any concerns she or those close to her have about that are totally valid.”

But the aide said that Palin’s inexperience led her to her own mistakes:

“How she was handled allowed her weaknesses to hang out in full display.”

If McCain loses, Palin’s allies say that the national Republican Party hasn’t seen the last of her. Politicians are sometimes formed by a signal defeat — as Bill Clinton was when he was tossed out of the Arkansas governor’s mansion after his first term — and Palin would return to a state that had made her America’s most popular governor and where her image as a reformer who swept aside her own party’s insiders rings true, if not in the cartoon version the McCain campaign presented.

“There are people in this campaign who feel a real sense of loyalty to her and are really pleased with her performance and think she did a great job,” said the McCain insider. “She has a real future in this party.”

A little like a swarm of bees ~ trying to sting Biden!!

Nothing else has worked, Ayers failed, and the host of other trash talk the McCain camp has put out as fact – has ended up on it’s ear with voters – so now the far-right of the Republican party are pushing the ‘new’ Marxist and Communism smear ~ as their final solution.

Though many moderates in the party wish to distance themselves from these scurrilous tactics ~ that fall way over the line of normal political banter.

That interview was almost as good as something you would see on Fox News – but sadly that reporter would have likely never got a job there – she’s just not pretty enough!

Palin follows in goose step with Evangelical far-right talking points – in suggesting that by restoring the same levels of tax most Americans paid under Reagan would somehow lead to a fully operational communist state.

Sarah Palin had a few memorable moments during her campaign stop in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday. But the most eye-opening of them all came, it would appear, when the Alaska Governor somehow drew a connection between Barack Obama’s tax policy and an encroaching, nightmarish, communist government. The Illinois Democrat, she hysterically suggested, would, through his proposals, create a country “where the people are not free.”

That yarn goes well beyond what Palin and McCain have, to this point, been comfortable asserting: mainly that Obama is proposing economic socialism. But there are a few things to keep in mind here: the McCain-Palin ticket does not oppose a progressive tax system. In fact, back in 2000, the Arizona Republican said rich people paid more in taxes because they could afford to do so:

Here’s what McCain would have said

    “I think the first people who deserve a tax cut are working Americans with children that need to educate their children,” he said, “and they’re the ones that I would support tax cuts for first.”

More importantly, Obama’s tax plans are less progressive than those in place during the Clinton years. In fact, the rates that people making over $250,000 would have to pay would be the same as during the 1990s — a time definitely not marked by the absence of freedoms.

Source: HP

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