Saturday, April 26, 2008

What the Corporate Media Isn't Telling You About John McCain

HuffPo: President Bush licks frosting off of his thumb after holding up a birthday cake for Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., left, upon his arrival at Luke Air Force Base in Glendale, Az., Monday, Aug. 29, 2005. McCain turned 69 Monday.

dday at Hullabaloo: McCain's Terrible, Horrible, No-Good Very Bad Week

To summarize dday's excellent and very long post (read the whole thing at the link above):

1. Washington Post writes long story about his bad temper

2. "Forgotten Places" tour takes him

a. to an all-white crowd in civil rights landmark Selma, where he praises a ferry constructed with an earmark (he's against those, except when he's for them), and then

b. to Youngstown, Ohio where he praises free trade in front of a plant that closed earlier during George W. Clusterfuck's presidency, and said he didn't know what to do about the dumping of cheap foreign goods. And then he went to New Orleans.

c. New Orleans, the place McBush ignored on McCain's 69th birthday. While Smirky McAmericanCityDrowner was presenting McCain with a cake, it apparently didn't occur to John McLame to say, President Bush, turn on the TV! New Orleans is drowning! We should do something about that. Emptily, McCain now promises that no such thing will ever happen on his watch. Right.

Then his buddy and endorser the Reverend John Hagee (who can be seen on your local religious channel begging for money to support his lavish lifestyle; he's a Christian like John Gotti is a businessman) says once again that Katrina was God's punishment for a New Orleans gay pride parade. McHypocrite sputters "It's nonsense" like a guilty child eight times when asked about that.

Then McLyingSackofShit, Mr. We'll Never Let This Happen Again, says he didn't know if the Ninth Ward of New Orleans should be rebuilt. Like if one of his mansions got destroyed he wouldn't insist the feds rebuild it.

d. And lastly, the Forgotten Places tour went to Alabama, where the McCain campaign used PRISON LABOR to set up the hall. Prison labor.

Go, read the whole post, there's so much more, his mad dashes to the right on tax policy (he was against Bush's tax cuts for the millionaires, now he, multi-millionaire, embraces them), etc.

And don't forget McCain's position on equal pay for women. He's for it, he says. He just doesn't think there should be any legal remedy to enforce it. He is against the equal pay bill (which Senate Republicans defeated) and incredibly said the real problem is that women don't have enough job skills. We're just not equal enough to get equal pay yet. Fucker.

Obama Courts Indiana

On the basketball court, of course.

Hat tip to turnesq at dailykos.

And from the comments to that post, a bonus video for we Isiah Thomas haters: "The Worst Coach in the History of Basketball":

Thursday, April 24, 2008

RIP Al Wilson

Boston Globe: Al Wilson, at 68; '70s soul singer

The Media Are A Serious Fucking Problem

TocqueDeville, dailykos: Why Obama Really Lost Pennsylvania

These are the people, more than any others, that shape American politics. The editorial boards of the major papers, a few columnists, and of course talk radio personalities have an influence. But nothing compares to this crowd. They set the tone and the terms of our national discussion. And they can move poll numbers like a toy.

And for the last two months, they have waged an all out assault on Barack Obama. It is unfortunate that the term "swiftboat", when used as a verb, is attributed to the small group of hacks that made a few videos lying about John Kerry's war record. Because the real swiftboating didn't come from them. It came from the crowd shown above.

There will always be political hacks. People who lie, and try to make mountains out of flag pins. But it is only with the amplification and distortion of the our political discourse, facilitated by the babbling class above, that these hacks are allowed to have an impact.

It is simply incredible to watch now, as pundit after pundit, including some of our allies, act bewildered as to why Obama didn't win Pennsylvania when he spent so much money, as though the last two months never happened. As though the Reverend Wright swiftboating never happened. As though the NAFTA ploy never happened. As though the "bitter" ploy never happened. As though the ABC "debate" never happened.

Of course it wasn't just the swiftboating of the media that worked against Obama. Kos accurately lays out a few other factors. But let's face it. We have a serious fucking problem on our hands. Even with the growing online movement, and expanding penetration of progressive-like media into the mass communications bubble, the power of the establishment media to manipulate public opinion is still beyond compare.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Spin I'm In

The Republican gasbags (RGBs) who rule morning TV are spinning Pennsylvania as a huge loss for Obama. Hillary Clinton won 55% of the vote, and Obama 45%. There was lots of good news for the Democratic Party in the vote. Turnout in the Democratic primary was huge, over 2.3 million voters; three times as many Democrats voted as Republicans.

Yes, there was a Republican primary in Pennsylvania yesterday; John McCain took 73% of the vote, but 16% went for Ron Paul and 11% for Mike Huckabee. If I were to apply the silly frame the RGBs apply to the Democrats, I'd ask: What does it say about John McCain that over one quarter of Republican primary voters don't want to vote for him? Hmmm.

But I see this result as good news for Obama. In mid-February, the Quinnipiac University poll had the race 52-36 for Clinton. So Clinton won 3% of the undecideds to her side, while Obama won 9% of the undecideds. And let's face it; Pennsylvania is on average older, whiter and more female than the rest of America.

There are still many Reagan Democrats in Pennsylvania; people who are willing to vote against the very policies they believe in in the furtherance of their prejudices. Witness this breathtaking snippet from Dana Milbank's column in the Washington Post yesterday:

"I don't care too much for Obama," Maria Norgren, the daughter and granddaughter of steelworkers, said in the parking lot of the Giant Eagle shopping center here, near the Obama rally.

"I don't even think he's American," added her husband, Edward, who lost his job when the steel mills closed and now mans the counter at the Puff Discount Tobacco and Lottery shop next to the Giant Eagle.

"His father's from Nigeria, right?" asked Maria, wearing a Pittsburgh Steelers T-shirt.

Kenya, actually. But the point is the same: The Norgrens, who backed Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004, will vote for Hillary Clinton on Tuesday. And if Obama wins the nomination, these Democrats say they'll vote for Republican John McCain, even though they want an end to the war in Iraq, where their soldier-son is about to start his third tour.

Obama will have his work cut out for him to win over such voters in November. $4 a gallon gas (currently $3.49 in my town, up 25 cents in the past week) and McCain's years of support for the Big Oil will help. So will all the new voters registered as a result of this extended primary campaign. The Obama campaign sent me a flyer that says that there are 165,449 newly registered voters in North Carolina; 75% of those are Democrats or Independents. The Republican brand is dying, except on morning TV where the last of the RGBs wheeze and shout.

"Older Than the Lincoln Tunnel!"

A funny video about how old John McCain really is:

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Monday, April 21, 2008

McCain Delusional About Economy

Excellent new ad from the DNC, using McCain's own words:

I guess when you are a multimillionaire who married an heiress and owns eight houses, you can believe that Americans are better off than they were eight years ago, that unemployment is low, that inflation is low, that jobs have been created by George W. Bush's administration. But the problem with McCain's rosy picture of the economy is that none of those things are true.

In addition to his delusions about the economy, John McCain McSame McBush would be happy to see American troops in Iraq for the next 100 years. Wrong for 2008, wrong for America.

Women's Soccer Olympic Draw

NBC: Abby Wambach

The USWNT, the defending gold medalists, will face Norway, Japan and New Zealand in group stage of the 2008 Olympics. This is a fairly easy draw for Team USA. Japan is always technically good, but their team is small and they have problems finishing. New Zealand qualified for the 2007 World Cup, but didn't score a goal in their three group games. Norway isn't the team of "Viking bitches" (Kristine Lilly) that won the 1995 World Cup anymore. Coach Mom & I saw them in Hartford summer 2007 and weren't very impressed. (The U.S. defeated Norway handily, 4-1, in the third place game of the World Cup.)

The group of death is definitely Group B, which besides defending World Cup champions Germany contains Brazil, with Marta the most feared offense in the world; Nigeria, who tied Sweden in the group stage of the World Cup and came within a goal of tying the U.S., always a tough, physical team; and North Korea, who tied the U.S. in the opening game of the World Cup, also a very tough, physical team.

The top seeds for the tournament are China, Germany and the U.S., which is why Brazil and Germany are in the same group. Also, according to the U.S. Soccer website, the U.S. could not have been in the same group with Brazil to open the tournament, as we are considered to be from the same region, the Americas I guess. Lucky for us, not so lucky for Germany.

2008 Women's Soccer Olympic Draw

Group A: China, Canada, Argentina, Sweden.

Group B: North Korea, Brazil, Nigeria, Germany.

Group C: Norway, Japan, U.S., New Zealand.

ussoccer: U.S. Women Drawn Into Group G at 2008 Olympics; Will Face Norway, Japan and New Zealand
- U.S. Will Play First Two Games in Qinhuangdao and Final Group Match in Shenyang
- USA's First Match of Group G Pits Last Two Olympic Champions

ussoccer: Quote Sheet: Players and Coaches Reaction To Olympic Draw

Sunday, April 20, 2008

John McCain's Lavish Wealth, and Why Cindy McCain Must Release Her Tax Returns

John McCain released only the last two years of his personal tax returns last week, but his wife -- she of the $100 million net worth -- refused to release hers.
John McCain 2008
- scroll down for tax returns

This lead the media to commit all sorts of inanities, like silly Dana Bash of CNN claiming that McCain gave away 26% of his income to charity, while "the Clintons" gave 15%, and "the Obamas" gave away 6%. Well, you can't compare apples and oranges, but there goes CNN, comparing one half of a couple with two couples.

The tax return for the John and Cindy McCain Family Foundation shows that the foundation, founded and endowed by a couple worth $100 million, gave only $78,000 and change to charity last year. That's less than .1 percent of their net worth. That's like a person worth $250,000 giving less than $250 to charity. Not exactly generous.

And that isn't even getting to the issue of the fact that most of McCain's charitable donations go to the "John and Cindy McCain Family Foundation". So middle class. Set up your own charity and decide where your supposed charitable money goes. And where does their supposed charity go? To their own children's elite private schools.

Between 2001 and 2006, McCain contributed roughly $950,000 to the foundation. That accounted for all of its listed income other than for $100 that came from an anonymous donor. During that same period, the McCain foundation made contributions of roughly $1.6 million. More than $500,000 went to his kids’ private schools, most of which was donated when his children were attending those institutions. So McCain apparently received major tax deductions for supporting elite schools attended by his children.

The rest of us are buying wrapping paper, candy bars and magazines to support local public schools; the McCains use the tax laws to give their own money to their kids' elite private schools, and then get a tax break. Nice work if you can get it.

The McCains apparently reduced their charitable giving to their kids schools this year, perhaps anticipating that it wouldn't play so well with the taxpaying public. In 2006 they gave Brophy College Preparatory $50,500. At Brophy, you can walk through McCain Colonnade on your way to Charles Keating Hall (brings to mind "Thieves Like Us"). In 2006 they gave Christ Lutheran School (which their two youngest children, Jim and Bridget, attended) $42,629. This year they gave their daughter Bridget's school, Scottsdale Christian Academy, a measly $5,000.

As the media seem uninclined to do their job and pursue McCain's wife's tax returns, I decided to look to see what is out there in the public domain about their assets. I read somewhere that they own 8 houses. Where are they? I went looking, and this is what I found:

1) Phoenix. I started the list off with this house, as there are more pictures of it on the 'net than the others, but it's been sold:

Cindy McCain, through a family trust, sold the family mansion in Phoenix for $3.2 million and bought a $4.6 million Phoenix condo in 2006.

But, since I don't have any photos of the $4.6 (or $4.7) million condo, (the one with "6,000 square feet, [] mountain views, a rooftop pool, concierge service, and McCain’s extensive collection of naval memorabilia") I'll let you see the less expensive mansion they sold to buy it. The house was featured in Architectural Digest in 2005. This was the house Cindy McCain grew up in, although today it is much larger, as it was gut-rehabbed and expanded in the mid-1980s.

2 - 5) Hidden Valley, Arizona. The primary house on this property was featured on HGTV. There's no date on the piece, but in the photograph their children are all much younger, so it's at least 10 years old. At first, I was going to count this as three houses, as the HGTV article says

The McCains have not only made additions to the existing house but also built a separate nearby guest house and even purchased the house next door to expand their living and entertainment space.

But it turns out that this is the house that the media described as a "cabin" where McCain entertained them with BBQ last month. This article from CNN states

He said he built the first house on his property 24 years ago and now there are six houses on his lot.
Since this property is reported to include four houses worth $1.8 million, they must have built a fourth house. (The other two houses are reportedly owned by friends.)

The media who gathered for the BBQ agreed not to publish photographs of the ranch, so we are left with their print descriptions:

Nestled in a canyon at the end of a steep, winding road, the area is called "Hidden Valley Ranch," just like the salad dressing. The McCain family owns several cabins on the land, which is dotted with dozens of large old trees. The property sits adjacent to Oak Creek, a usually slow-moving stream that recently swelled its banks because of runoff from snow in the nearby mountains. (Newsweek)
...his rustic cabin in nearby unincorporated Cornville. [] ... the lush, tree-laden property is tucked away in a valley reachable only via a bumpy and at times precarious dirt road.(Arizona Republic)
McCain’s property is down a twisting, rocky dirt road, nestled at the bottom of a canyon between Sedona and Cottonwood. McCain and his wife, Cindy, and longtime family friends own a total of six homes on land that sits on the banks of the rushing Oak Creek, which recently overflowed. The extra homes are used as guest cabins for friends who come to visit, such as Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and his wife, former Sen. Phil Gramm and Wendy Gramm, and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, among others. (Chicago Tribune)

6) It is widely reported that McCain lives in a condo in Arlington, Virginia while Congress is in session, although AP is nervous about stating that directly:

The couple may also jointly own a condo in Arlington, Virginia, assessed at $847,800. McCain's campaign and Hensley declined to say whether the couple has communal property.

They may own it, or some corporate entity they set up may own it, but it's where McCain lives while Congress is in session.

7 - 8) Two luxury condominiums in Coronado, California, on the beach beside the Hotel del Coronado.

Cindy McCain’s assets go beyond the family beer company.

She and her children own a minority stake in the Arizona Diamondbacks. The professional baseball team’s chief executive, Jeff Moorad, and former majority owner Jerry Colangelo are McCain fundraisers. Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, a former Diamondback player, appeared in a New Hampshire campaign advertisement for McCain.

Assets held by Cindy McCain alone or with her children also include Anheuser-Busch stock; two condominiums along the California coast worth a total of at least $3 million and Arizona investments in rental medical offices and a parking lot, according to property records and John McCain’s latest financial disclosure reports.

Cindy McCain describes their properties as:

We have a place at Coronado Shores, right next to the Hotel del Coronado.

Asked by a magazine if this will be the McCain Western White House, she replies:

Absolutely. I love Coronado. Listen, to me there’s nothing better than waking up and seeing the sun come up over the water on the bay there. And watching the Navy SEALs run up and down the beach. And walking along the beach and then watching the sun set over Point Loma. That’s a great way to live.

If you look up the Hotel del Coronado on GoogleEarth, there are several huge condominum complexes overlooking the beach just to the southeast of the hotel, which must be what she is talking about. Coronado Shores.

And that's just their houses. I'm sure they own lots of stocks and bonds. McCain is proposing that Bush's tax cuts for millionaires be extended forever. He is likely to make a lot of money if his policies are enacted. Voters have a right to know how much he would profit. Since Arizona is a community property state, Cindy McCain's assets are John McCain's assets. John McCain, who was quick to call Barack Obama an elitist, lives a lavish life, with opulent homes from coast to coast. His life is funded by his wife's massive wealth. Which is why it is absurd that she has not released her tax returns.

Hillary Clinton Disses Me

Me! I'm starting to feel like a sucker for my many years of support of Bill and Hillary Clinton. I thought I was supporting them because they were good Democrats, who believed in the same liberal things I do, like ending poverty and war. I've been on MoveOn's email list for many years. Do you know where the name "MoveOn" came from? It was originally called "Censure and Move On", and the group was formed to get the Republicans and the media to stop obsessing about Bill Clinton's penis (The Clenis) and where it had been and to return to the real issues of government. The media hates the Clintons and has attacked them at every turn since Bill Clinton's campaign for the Presidency in 1992.

I'm a member of MoveOn. And I'm a unity Democrat. It's my position in this election (even though I support Barack Obama) that I will vote for whichever Democrat is nominated. It's important that we take back the White House and the Congress and reinstate a democratic form of government in this country.

Hillary Clinton is trying very hard to move me off my unity perch. Remember when she and Bill decried "the politics of personal destruction"? Now she is indulging in them, piling on with the ABC moderators in a McCarthy-ish claim that Obama is a bad person because he served on the board of a community organization with a person who did bad things 40 years ago. Really despicable stuff.

And now it comes out that Hillary Clinton slammed the members of MoveOn in a private fundraiser after Super Tuesday, saying this:

" endorsed [Sen. Barack Obama] -- which is like a gusher of money that never seems to slow down," Clinton said to a meeting of donors. "We have been less successful in caucuses because it brings out the activist base of the Democratic Party. MoveOn didn't even want us to go into Afghanistan. I mean, that's what we're dealing with. And you know they turn out in great numbers. And they are very driven by their view of our positions, and it's primarily national security and foreign policy that drives them. I don't agree with them. They know I don't agree with them. So they flood into these caucuses and dominate them and really intimidate people who actually show up to support me."

HuffPo: Clinton Slams Democratic Activists At Private Fundraiser

Factually inaccurate (MoveOn never opposed the U.S. war in Afghanistan) and truly meanspirited. But, yes, it is about foreign policy. I support Obama because he opposed the Iraq war, and I don't support Hillary Clinton because she voted for Bush's stupid war. But to claim that MoveOn supporters are intimidating voters at caucases? Doesn't she realize most members of MoveOn are card-carrying recipients of that radical program, Social Security? Not the WWF.

I wish she'd just drop out and go back to the Senate and get back to work doing something positive. Tearing down fellow Democrats on her way to the nomination is not doing much for the Clinton legacy.

Guess What?

Every Elite Media Pundit on George Stephanapolous show thinks the stoopid questions Georgie Peorgie Hannity asked at the debate were not only OK, they were GREAT! Those are the REAL ISSUES!

Flag pins! Patriotism! Capital gains taxes!

Our real opponent in the 2008 election is not John "Bad Temper" McCain. It's the media.

If Drudge Ruled Their World, 1858 Edition

Obsidian Wings: The Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858 (Slight Return)

STEPHANOPOULOS: I’m sorry to interrupt, but do you think Mr. Douglas loves America as much you do?

LINCOLN: Sure I do.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But who loves America more?

LINCOLN: I’d prefer to get on with my opening statement George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: If your love for America were eight apples, how many apples would Senator Douglas’s love be?



LINCOLN: In my opinion, slavery will not cease, until a crisis shall have been reached and passed. "A house divided against itself cannot stand." I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Excuse me, did an Elijah H. Johnson attend your church?

LINCOLN: When I was a boy in Illinois forty years ago, yes. I think he was a deacon.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Are you aware that he regularly called Kentucky “a land of swine and whores”?

LINCOLN: Sounds right -- his ex-wife was from Kentucky.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Why did you remain in the church after hearing those statements?

LINCOLN: I was eight.

DOUGLAS: This is an important question George -- it's an issue that certainly will be raised in the fall.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you denounce him?

LINCOLN: I’d like to get back to the divided house if I may.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you denounce and reject him?

LINCOLN: If it will make you shut up, yes, I denounce and reject him.

hat tip to BoingBoing

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