Friday, October 31, 2008

Joe The Plumber-- The Movie


Ken and I haven't done much analysis of the Joe The Plumber phenomena. Fortunately John Cleese has-- and with a Bill O'Reilly bonus poem:

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BREAKING NEWS: According To A High Placed DC Insider, Ted Stevens Was Not Convicted After All


Of course the high placed DC Insider is the most senior-- and one of the most senile-- Republican in the Senate, Ted Stevens himself. "I have not been convicted" the Alaska senator told supporters when he got home, perhaps assuming that the news hasn't reached that far north yet. Today's Anchorage Daily News did get the word though that Senator Ted had indeed been convicted, unanimously so on all 7 counts. Like any other criminal, he's entitled to appeal. But, like any other criminal, he's been convicted. And the biggest newspaper in the state just endorsed his opponent, Mark Begich.
We recognize that Sen. Stevens has done much to benefit our state, but, like many Alaskans, we are troubled by the arrogance, poor judgment and lack of personal integrity revealed during his trial. Since the verdict, the condemnation of his conduct has been bipartisan. Republican presidential candidate John McCain, Gov. Sarah Palin and Senate colleagues of both parties have called upon Sen. Stevens to resign his office.

Mayor Begich offers Alaskans a fresh, effective start. A pragmatic Democrat, he has demonstrated a willingness to work with politicians of all political stripes, from a Republican governor and legislative leaders to his ideological opponents on the Anchorage Assembly. If elected to the Senate, he would be a member of the majority party, unlike incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski, which would give Alaskans a voice in both the majority and minority caucuses.

...BOTTOM LINE: Sen. Stevens' conduct has besmirched Alaska and crippled his effectiveness. Mayor Mark Begich is the best choice to represent Alaska.

And while Stevens is running around the state informing startled voters that he hasn't been convicted yet, across America-- despite McCain and his media allies' misleading statements-- Obama's lead in the polls is increasing. Even the neo-fascist editorial page of the Wall Street Journal forced itself to acknowledge, via Mavericky former Reagan speech writer Peggy Noonan, that Obama is the right man at the right time for America.
He has within him the possibility to change the direction and tone of American foreign policy, which need changing; his rise will serve as a practical rebuke to the past five years, which need rebuking; his victory would provide a fresh start in a nation in which a fresh start would come as a national relief. He climbed steep stairs, born off the continent with no father to guide, a dreamy, abandoning mother, mixed race, no connections. He rose with guts and gifts. He is steady, calm, and, in terms of the execution of his political ascent, still the primary and almost only area in which his executive abilities can be discerned, he shows good judgment in terms of whom to hire and consult, what steps to take and moves to make. We witnessed from him this year something unique in American politics: He took down a political machine without raising his voice.

...Something new is happening in America. It is the imminent arrival of a new liberal moment. History happens, it makes its turns, you hold on for dear life. Life moves.

A fitting end for a harem-scarem, rock-'em-sock-'em shakeup of a year--- one of tumbling inevitabilities, torn coalitions, striking new personalities.

Apparently nervous Jews have come around for Obama. What's left? Georgia? Arizona? Glad you asked. A poll over at Kos:
Likely voters. MoE 4% (No trend lines)
McCain (R) 48
Obama (D) 47

Early voters  (17 percent of sample)

McCain (R) 42
Obama (D) 54

I can't believe we may actually win Arizona. And I have a bonus treat for you guys:

If the 2010 election for U.S. Senate were held today for whom would you vote for if the choices were between Janet Napolitano the Democrat and John McCain the Republican?

McCain (R) 45
Napolitano (D) 53

You have to figure Obama's internal polling is showing pretty optimistic results if he's using campaign funds to run ads in Georgia, North Dakota and Arizona! Let's hope the Arizona ones turn out enough people to help Bob Lord's congressional race against the corrupt extremist incumbent loon in Phoenix, John Shadegg. Here's the 30 second spot:

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"Is it even possible to imagine more breathtaking ignorance from someone holding high office and running for even higher office?" Guess who!


You betcha, it's the 2009 Princess Sarah Calendar!

"She has learned much in a very short period. And she will learn more. I predict we'll have Sarah Palin to kick around for a long, long time."

-- Eugene Robinson, in his Washington Post column today,
"Northern Star Rising"

"This isn't only about profound ignorance regarding our basic liberties, though it is obviously that. Palin here is also giving voice to the standard right-wing grievance instinct: that it's inherently unfair when they're criticized. And now, apparently, it's even unconstitutional."
-- Glenn Greenwald, in a Salon post today,
"Sarah Palin speaks on the First Amendment"

by Ken

Both Gene Robinson and Glenn Greenwald have the Princess Sarah on their minds, and when you put their thoughts together, it doesn't bode well for the quality of political discourse during the first term of the Obama administration.

"My view of Sarah Palin has changed in the two months since John McCain named her as his running mate," Gene Robinson begins, adding, "I'm guessing that McCain's view of Palin may be changing, too, and not entirely in a good way." But that's not what's on his mind.
I thought Palin was a lightweight; she's not. I thought she was an ingenue; she is, but only as long as her claws are sheathed. I thought she was bewildered and star-struck at her sudden elevation to national prominence; if she ever was, she isn't anymore. I thought she was nothing but raw political talent and unrealistic ambition; it turns out that she has impressive political skills. I thought she was destined to become nothing more than a historical footnote; I now think that Democrats underestimate her at their peril. . . .

I should make clear that I believe Palin is wrong about basically everything, at least to the extent that we know what she really believes. The McCain campaign gave her a job to do -- slash, burn, fire up the base, accuse Barack Obama of "palling around with terrorists," accuse Obama supporters of not living in "pro-America" parts of the country -- and she went out and did it. McCain's campaign rallies often have a sense of purpose and duty about them; Palin's have a sense of electricity.

Palin's brief record as governor of Alaska, however, doesn't really display the ideological rigidity she has shown on the campaign trail. I suspect that in the coming years she will rediscover the flexibility and pragmatism that have made her a genuinely popular governor.

I'm not so sure that even at home Princess Sarah's hyperpopularity -- already dropping significantly in the wake of the Troopergate and other home-state messes -- is going to survive the much closer scrutiny likely to be directed at the substance and style of her governance once she resumes her governor's tiara. But again, that's really beside Gene's point.
That she wasn't ready to meet the national media became clear when she sat down with Katie Couric for those embarrassing sessions. But compare the bunny-in-the-headlights Sarah Palin of just a few weeks ago with the much more poised and confident Sarah Palin of today. Ignorance isn't the same thing as stupidity. When Palin talks about economic policy these days, her sentences don't meander into the Twilight Zone the way they once did. She has more to say about foreign policy besides the fact that Russia is just across the Bering Strait. She has learned much in a very short period.

And she will learn more. I predict we'll have Sarah Palin to kick around for a long, long time.

Apparently, though, we're going to have to kick with care. It seems now that if we dare criticize the princess, we risk violating the First Amendment. At least as viewed by a certain scum-sucking ignoramus.

"Somehow," Glenn Greenwald kicks off his column, "in Sarah Palin's brain, it's a threat to the First Amendment when newspapers criticize her negative attacks on Barack Obama. This is actually so dumb that it hurts." And he quotes from a report by Steven Portnoy on ABC News's Political Radar blog:

In a conservative radio interview that aired in Washington, D.C. Friday morning, Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin said she fears her First Amendment rights may be threatened by "attacks" from reporters who suggest she is engaging in a negative campaign against Barack Obama.

Palin told WMAL-AM that her criticism of Obama's associations, like those with 1960s radical Bill Ayers and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, should not be considered negative attacks. Rather, for reporters or columnists to suggest that it is going negative may constitute an attack that threatens a candidate's free speech rights under the Constitution, Palin said.

"If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations," Palin told host Chris Plante, "then I don't know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media."

[Jonathan Schwarz has an MP3 audio link at A Tiny Revolution.]

Glenn points out that Maureen Dowd is also suffering from First Amendment confusion with her recent suggestion that the McCranky campaign's exclusion of her from the campaign plane violates her rights. Glenn points out:

The First Amendment is actually not that complicated. It can be read from start to finish in about 10 seconds. It bars the Government from abridging free speech rights. It doesn't have anything to do with whether you're free to say things without being criticized, or whether you can comment on blogs without being edited, or whether people can bar you from their private planes because they don't like what you've said.

If anything, Palin has this exactly backwards, since one thing that the First Amendment does actually guarantee is a free press. Thus, when the press criticizes a political candidate and a Governor such as Palin, that is a classic example of First Amendment rights being exercised, not abridged.

At this point Glenn makes the key observation I've quoted at the top of this post. Then he concludes:
According to Palin, what the Founders intended with the First Amendment was that political candidates for the most powerful offices in the country and Governors of states would be free to say whatever they want without being criticized in the newspapers. In the Palin worldview, the First Amendment was meant to ensure that powerful political officials such as herself would not be "attacked" in the papers. Is it even possible to imagine more breathtaking ignorance from someone holding high office and running for even higher office?

Glenn added this UPDATE:
The Constitution also guarantees freedom of association. Thus, by Palin's "reasoning," when newspapers -- or Palin herself -- criticize Obama for his associations, they're threatening his constitutional rights.

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Bad News For Another Hypocritical Republican Closet Queen: Mitch McConnell Outed (Again)


If you follow DWT you are probably aware that we do not support nominal Democrat Bruce Lunsford for the Kentucky Senate seat. That certainly doesn't mean we support the current occupant of the seat, Miss McConnell, either. We want them both to lose. But a group in Kentucky may have seen Blue America's campaign against David Dreier, which has sent mailers to the most conservative pro-Dreier parts of CA-26, mailers that explain to his constituents that the congressman they support and think they know, is someone else entirely. In fact, the gay-bashing David Dreier is himself a closeted homosexual.

And so is Mitch McConnell. It's the worst-kept secret in Washington and many people in Louisville and Lexington know how queer their senator is. But in rural counties around Paducah, Bowling Green, Covington, Pikeville, Somerset... not a clue. Well, not 'til today. As many as 150,000 of the above fliers are being placed on windshields in the most Republican precincts in Kentucky.

They are aimed at McConnell's own hysterically homophobic base, the same kind of people who turned on Republicans in FL-16 when they found out that Mark Foley was another of the GOP closet queens. These aren't the kind of folks that usually care that much about hypocrisy. These are the hard-core haters who just don't like anyone who has been painted as "different."

There are many reasons to deny McConnell another 6 years of obstructionism in the Senate. The fact that he's gay should be no big deal, especially not to himself or to enlightened voters. The flyer isn't aimed at enlightened voters.

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How Badly Can Right Wing Democrats Hurt Obama? Like Nick Lampson


Only one Democratic congressman can be The Worst, unless there's an exact tie. Or unless you can't agree how to measure worst. But if you measure worst by looking at every contentious vote in Congress on a substantive issue and you see which Democrat has voted most consistently with the Republicans and against the Democrats you come up with... Blue Dog Nick Lampson.

Lampson would never had been elected had Tom Delay not been indicted. And Lampson would never had been elected had Tom Delay not contributed some of his district's solidly Republican areas to neighboring districts so that they would turn red-- even if it meant his own was less red. But it's still plenty red. Since getting into Congress (for the second time), Lampson has catered to Republican voters and decided Democrats would have no place else to go except to vote for him. Today's CQPolitics calls his strategy going local. I call it selling out. And I'm not talking about his rational support for the Space Program or other job-producing efforts in TX-22.

In 2006 Lampson barely beat (52%) a write-in effort by a silly and discredited candidate, Shelley Sekula-Gibbs. This year he's facing a much more formidable threat from far right extremist-- and that's how they like 'em in that part of Texas-- Pete Olson. TX-22 is expected to vote overwhelmingly for McCain; he and Palin is exactly what this district wants in leaders. If 5% of the country thinks Obama is Muslim and 23% of Texans think Obama is Muslim, 50% of TX-22 must be mired in the same appallingly grotesque ignorance. The race is rated a toss-up and Lampson is considered one of only 3 or 4 Democrats vulnerable to defeat on Tuesday. I'll have my fingers crossed.

Lampson's "party unity score" for 2008 is 56%, far worst than even the most reactionary and chickenshit nominal Democrats like Jim Marshall (83%), Jim Matheson (86%), John Barrow (83%), Chris Carney (84%), Joe Donnelly (79%), Jason Altmire (84%), and Brad Ellsworth (85%). In effect, he isn't really a functioning Democrat. To counter Olson's attacks on him as not being conservative enough, Lampson never tries defending Democratic positions. Instead he boasts about endorsements from anti-Democratic, right-wing groups like the National Rifle Association, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Texas Farm Bureau.

But Olson is pushing his conservative credentials, saying in his first TV spot that only a congressman with “conservative principles” can reign in government excess. He’s anti-abortion and pro-“traditional marriage.” He is, as he announced at the candidates’ debate, “fundamentally against universal health care” and supports extending President Bush’s tax cuts. He describes himself as a “smaller government” conservative and says he would have opposed the $700 billion financial bailout package Congress passed in early October.

Lampson voted “no” on the bailout twice, saying the bill “forces the average taxpayer to pay for a crisis that they did not create.” The Olson campaign charges that Lampson voted for authorizing the Treasury department’s credit assistance to mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac “when nobody was watching,” then flipped “for political reasons” when it came time to weigh in on the higher-profile rescue. (The Fannie/Freddie provision was part of a larger housing package, and Lampson’s vote was to approve the entire bill.)

And Lampson is hardly the only member of Congress from Texas unworthy of the "D" next to his name. Bush's closest Democratic ally in the Texas Democratic congressional delegation has always been the odious Henry Cuellar from Laredo. Cuellar, proving that his loyalty is to the corporate interests that bribe him, not just to Bush personally, has already signaled that he is ready to undermine Obama if he becomes president-- especially on so-called "free trade."
Congressman Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, says he is ready to "fight" Barack Obama over the future of U.S. trade with Mexico.

On the campaign trail, Obama has said many times that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will be renegotiated if he is elected president.

South Texas business and political leaders say NAFTA has been hugely important in growing the region over the last 15 years.

Speaking at a Rio Grande Valley Partnership luncheon on Thursday, Cuellar said he had spoken to Obama about the importance of NAFTA.

"I will fight him, the president," Cuellar said at the meeting. "If Obama becomes president, on NAFTA I will convince him on why trade is important especially for the border area."

If the carefully placed and ubiquitous rumors are true-- and let's pray it's just more signature Emanuel self-promotion-- that Obama is already looking at the worst and most treacherous "free" trader in Congress as a potential chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, Cuellar won't have much to worry about-- unless it's true that Americans are actually ready to put their feet down and say no to the Lampsons and Cuellars and Emanuels, as well as the the GOP. In any case, if we don't fight against corruption in both parties none of the most venal corporate interests who seek to buy influence for their special interests will have much to worry about.

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The Daily Blue America Report-- #8


They should all retire together

Finally some good news for Ted Stevens! On returning home from his trial in Washington Stevens was told that Alaska law permits felons to run for federal office. In fact, as long as he isn't sentenced before Tuesday, he can even vote for himself! And he'll need every vote he can muster. "Like most people, I'm not perfect," Stevens told a throng of adoring recipients of wealth from the Lower 48 spread around through Stevens' earmarks.

Stevens has been kicked to the curb by both friend and for. McCain, who has always hated his guts, called on him to resign before the last juror had a chance to nod. He then forced Palin do the same, breaking with the Alaska Republican Party, which is still urging the faithful to vote for Uncle Ted. Many of the crooked Republicans who have been taking bribes from Big Oil funneled through Stevens' PAC-- particularly Republican senators in jeopardy of losing their seats Tuesday, like Mitch McConnell R-KY), Norm Coleman (R-MN), who is having his own spiraling out-of-control ethics scandal, Gordon Smith (R-OR) and John Sununu (R-NH)-- have hypocritically demanded their old partner in crime resign... immediately. Who's name is missing from this list? Well, check out which members of the Senate got the really big pay-outs from Stevens' money-laundering operation, The Northern Lights PAC and you will find Maine's most corrupt political hack, Susan Collins ($10,000 this year and $10,000 last time she ran). Maine's other senator, the honest, moderate one, Olympia Snowe, has joined her colleagues urging Stevens to resign. But not Collins, whose own PAC funneled $10,000 to Stevens, a kind of semi-legalistic way for politicians to avoid campaign finance laws.

And while Susan Collins is pledging her undying fealty to convicted felon Ted Stevens, her opponent, Tom Allen, one of the finest-- and most tested and proven-- public servants running for the Senate from anywhere, is being supported by Bill Clinton. President Clinton and Congressman Allen are old friends from the days they were both Rhodes Scholars at Oxford. Tens of thousands of Mainers were surprised when they picked up their phones tonight-- praying it wouldn't be another hysterical robocall from another of the far right GOP front groups flooding the state with negativity on behalf of Collins-- to find President Clinton's comforting voice urging them to vote for Tom.
"Hello this is President Clinton and I'm calling to urge you to support Tom Allen for United States Senate.  Barack Obama needs Democrats like Tom Allen in Washington in order implement his agenda of change to turn this economy around.

"Congressman Tom Allen opposes Bush's failed economy policy and is fighting for change: a new economic policy that focuses on the middle class, creates jobs in Maine, and supports small businesses. For Real Change support Tom Allen for US Senate on November 4."

That was especially refreshing after a day of dire warnings from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party that they intend to control Obama's agenda and the Democratic Party after Tuesday.
Conservative Democrats who've been a thorn in the side of liberal party leaders could grow into a major obstacle to Barack Obama's agenda if he is elected president.

Majority Democrats are positioned for big gains in next week's congressional election. But many of the new faces would join a growing chorus of "Blue Dogs" who often part from the party base on big issues like taxes and increasing federal spending.

That could set up a roadblock for Obama, who has promised to broaden health insurance coverage, start a new round of public works projects and improve early childhood education, among other things-- all initiatives that would require substantial government spending at a time of soaring deficits.

Ironically, it was Obama's radio ad for one of the worst of the Blue Dogs, John Barrow, a nominal Democrat from Georgia, that saved him from being defeated in a primary by state Senator Regina Thomas, who is an exemplary progressive. On substantive matters, Barrow has voted with the GOP 65% of the time and with the Democrats 35% of the time. And Barrow is only one of 16 nominal Democrats who have voted with the Repugs more frequently than with their own party. The others, from bad to worse, are: Zach Space (OH), Baron Hill (IN), Gene Taylor (MS), Harry Mitchell (AZ), Jim Matheson (UT), Chris Carney (PA), Heath Shuler (NC), Jason Altmire (PA), Dan Boren (OK), Brad Ellsworth (IN), Travis Childers (MS), Don Cazayoux (LA), Joe Donnelly (IN), Jim Marshall (GA) and Nick Lampson (TX).

Lately we've been mentioning how the DCCC is spending far more money on Independent Expenditures for conservative and corporate candidates than for grassroots and progressive candidates. Today I saw quite a few weighty endorsements come over the transom-- mostly for conservatives. Many of the best candidates across the country-- the hope of the progressive movement, have been snubbed by the Establishment Democrats over and over, as though they actually hope they lose. Today conservative business shill Mark Warner warmly endorsed fellow conservative Glenn Nye, while ignoring progressive candidates Judy Feder and Tom Perriello. Simultaneously Jim Webb sent out a last minute plea for 4 Democratic candidates for the Senate-- pointedly leaving out progressives-- and pleading for cash from a right-wing corporate shill like Bruce Lunsford (KY) and for right-of-center bad-news-Dems Kay Hagan (NC) and Ronnie Musgrove (MS) plus moderate Jim Martin (GA). Not a word about struggling progressives like Jeff Merkley (OR), Rick Noriega (TX), Andrew Rice (OK), or Tom Allen (ME).

Connecticut-04- On the other hand, Jim Himes did get a little help that should go a long way in the form of a radio ad by Barack Obama.

New York-25- Yesterday's NY Times reported that the Republican Party has given up on all but two of the congressional races in New York State, the others being hopelessly out of their reach. Dan Maffei is sure to win a seat he just missed out on in 2006. The only Blue America candidate in New York now facing a challenge is Eric Massa, who is leading in a tight rematch with Bush rubber stamp Randy Kuhl.
National Republican officials have decided to withhold financial support from all but two closely contested Congressional races in New York, as the party braces for the possibility that it could lose several more House seats in the state.

The decision to abandon much of the state came after internal party polls showed Republican candidates in at least three once-promising races falling behind their Democratic opponents, a party official briefed on the internal deliberations said.

As a result, Republican leaders are diverting money to candidates in other races in which party officials believe they have a greater chance of success, the official said.

The decision by national Republicans to focus on a smaller group of races underscores the degree to which the party is on the defensive not only in New York but also in New Jersey, Connecticut and many other states. The national party is short on cash and is being forced into the difficult position of deciding where to continue to fight-- and where to effectively surrender-- as the election enters the final days of campaigning.

“Tough decisions have to be made,” said Representative Peter T. King, a Republican from Long Island, who conceded that the party was seeking to minimize its losses. “You have to decide who comes off life support and who gets a massive infusion.”

Two of the races effectively being written off in New York are in districts currently held by Republican incumbents who are retiring at the end of the year-- the 25th Congressional District in the Syracuse region, now held by James T. Walsh; and the 13th District on Staten Island, where Vito J. Fossella is stepping down. Representative Fossella was found guilty in a Virginia court this month on a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol.

VIRGINIA-05- In a stunning and precedent-shattering move, the Danville Register & Bee has ended its career-long support for corrupt Bush rubber stamp Virgil Goode and urged voters to trade him in for Tom Perriello.
This newspaper hasn’t endorsed a Democrat for Congress since Virgil Goode was a Democrat. Since Goode’s first campaign for Congress in 1996, we have backed him in every election, defended him from what we thought was unfair criticism by challengers and wished for him a long career in Washington.

But today, the Danville Register & Bee endorses Tom Perriello for the 5th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

We haven’t left Virgil Goode. Virgil Goode has left us.

...We expect to receive great criticism for endorsing Perriello over Goode.

But our decision was born out of frustration with a career politician who has already told us he expects to be ineffective as Democrats gain more power in Congress. Just this year, Goode has voted against the tax rebate checks that people throughout the 5th District received this year and he voted against a financial rescue plan that even his own Republicans believed was necessary to stave off more serious economic problems.

If we send Goode back to Washington, how many more times will he vote against our interests? We can’t take that chance.

On Tuesday, it’s time to elect a young man of integrity, energy, faith and hard work. It’s time to send Tom Perriello to Congress.

Texas-10- Cook upgraded Larry Joe Doherty's chance of unseating Bush rubber stamp Michael McCaul... for the second time. McCaul, one of the least knowledgeable hacks in the whole Congress has refused to debate Doherty and over the past couple of months the district went from "safe Republican" to "likely Republican" to "leans Republican." McCaul has no get ground game and Doherty has been building one all year. The latest polling shows a virtual tie. A victory Tuesday for Larry Joe will be reason to celebrate-- for Texans and for all Americans. Watch him on local TV news yesterday explaining his ideas about bailing out big corporations.

California-04- Last night we talked about the soft-core porn robocalls Republican congressional candidate Zane Starkewolf has been using (illegally) in CA-01. Mike Thompson, the incumbent from that district was campaigning with Charlie Brown yesterday in CA-04. And Little Zane's buddy, Tom McClintock was also employing more illegal robocalls, which most people in Northern California refer to as nuisance calls. (McClintock, who lives in the L.A. suburbs doesn't know anything about northern California, so he isn't aware people don't like them-- or that they're illegal.) A couple weeks ago Charlie Brown called on McClintock to join him in swearing them off. "Robo-Dial phone calls are a nuisance and a deceptive campaign tactic typical of negative campaigns that would rather attack a person’s character than offer detailed solutions. I am calling on Tom McClintock to join me in a bi-partisan effort to conduct an above board campaign based on direct contact with voters-- not deceptive and annoying robo-calls." McClintock refused and instead launched another barrage of the calls, illegal because they violated laws requiring that they include a disclaimer identifying who paid for and authorized the campaign communication.

Another great SEIU TV spot-- this one on behalf of progressives in Ohio. Let's hope it rubs off on Vic Wulsin, the best candidate in the entire state and the one who is being pummeled the hardest by the GOP smear machine.

[ Find Your Polling Place | Voting Info For Your State | Know Your Voting Rights | Report Voting Problems ]

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Mr. Sun Came Up And I'm Feelin' Good-- Barack Gets Another Endorsement


I can't even keep track of all the Republicans, ex-Republicans, Republicans-turned-Independents, ex-Bush staffers, former Reagan advisors, GOP pundits, NeoCons and fellow travelers who have dissed McCain and endorsed Obama in the last month. I was almost relieved when I saw that McCain got an unexpected nod in his direction yesterday from Joe The Guitar Player. After being inspired by Rudy G and Arnold, Joe said "We pretty much stay out of it. But seeing so many people come out for Obama, I just felt like ‘What the hell, I might as well raise my hand for this side.’” And Real America countered-- not just with The Economist and Stephen Colbert-- but with SpongeBob SquarePants.

As Michelle Obama said in Newsweek, "It's SpongeBob's world...we just live in it!" The whole family watches SpongeBob all the time and Barack said it's his favorite cartoon! And he's SpongeBob's favorite air breather:


Eric Schmidt, presumably no relation to Mean Jean or the Karl Rove Jr guy, is the CEO of Google. He's recorded a short clip on why Obama's instincts for new technology has persuaded him to vote for Barack Tuesday. And I guarantee you, Schmidt is one of the 5% of Americans who will get a tax hike when Obama is president.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Says The Economist: To vote for McCranky, you have to assume "that he does not believe a word of what he has been saying"


"Ironically, given that he first won over so many independents by
speaking his mind, the case for Mr McCain comes down to a piece of
artifice: vote for him on the assumption that he does not believe a
word of what he has been saying."

-- from The Economist's endorsement of Obama for president today

by Ken

Bear in mind that The Economist is editorially seriously conservative -- only not in the sense that, say, Mitch McConnell or Grover Norquist or Sean Hannity or Princess Sarah Palin or Joe the Plumber is "conservative."

Oh, there's a deal of nonsense in the editorial, like the glib declaration that "[Senator McCranky's] gut reaction over Georgia -- to warn Russia off immediately -- was the right one," or the notion that Douglas "Young Johnny Made the Blackberry" Holtz-Eakin is "the impressive exception" to Senator McCranky's poor effort to enlist competent economic advisers (the hapless Dougie would be old-line Tories' kind of guy), or the weird assumption that Senator Obama is in thrall to labor unions, or the usual right-wing lumping together of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid into a single looming crisis.

And around DWT, we're a long way from sharing The Economist's fear "that on economic matters the centre that Mr Obama moves to would be that of his party, not that of the country as a whole." We don't want to see him moving toward any damned center. (I guess we're the kind of people the posh folk at The Economist worry that Obama may listen to. There doesn't really seem much danger of that.)

Still, in its thoughtful and specific discussion, the editorial does appreciate both the scariness of the campaign waged by "the Candidate McCain of the past six months" ("his good features magically inverted, his bad ones exaggerated") and the promise of the Obama candidacy:

"Of course, Mr Obama will make mistakes; but this is a man who listens, learns and manages well."

Certainly the editorial gets the basic point right:

"In terms of painting a brighter future for America and the world, Mr Obama has produced the more compelling and detailed portrait. He has campaigned with more style, intelligence and discipline than his opponent. Whether he can fulfil his immense potential remains to be seen. But Mr Obama deserves the presidency."

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Ashs & Ashs: McCain Campaign Staffer Asked To Choose Between Prison And Seeking Mental Health Treatment


The Republicans have cranked up their dirty tricks machine into high gear and are out to sow as much discord and confusion as they can in preparation for what they hope will be the biggest election fraud in world history. See that photo above. The man on the left is Ashwin Madia a former marine who served in Iraq and is now running for Congress against a right wing extremist in Minnesota. The picture on the right? That's a doctored pic of Ash that the Republican Party has doctored to make Ash appear... "other." Is it racism? It's from the GOP. And they say they stand by their racist ad. Could we expect any less? After we saw the McCain campaign staffer, Ashley Todd claiming last week she was mutilated by a "big black man" who carved a "b" into her face. The fact that the "b" was carved by "someone" looking in a mirror tipped off the police that Ashley, like virtually all McCain supporters, is a- very stupid and b- very racist. Under gentle questioning she admitted she manufactured the whole incident.

Today a woman who was about to rise to the ranks of a Joe the Plumber in the McCain-Palin hagiology, Ashley the Campaign Worker/Martyr, was released from jail after agreeing to seek mental treatment.

How dare I assert that McCain and his supporters are all stupid? I forgot to mention where I got that from: Republican Fox News shill Neil Cavuto. Cavuto, one of the media's biggest advocates of Greed and Selfishness, to McCain:
Cavuto: Frankly, neither of your numbers adds up. But I’ve come to see a consistent pattern in Obama's. For the life of me, Senator Straight Talk, I see no such straight thing with yours...

You rail against big government, yet continue to push cockamamie spending plans that make a mockery of it. That's why you're losing right now, Senator McCain.

Not because you don't have the courage of your convictions. But because on economic matters, you have no convictions, period.

No convictions... ahhh... so that's why the campaign's been so erratic. And now they're just trying to blame everything on Palin. How do you blame Palin without bringing up McCain's horrendous judgment and cynicism, his penchant for gimmickry and his sloppy and apparently dangerous vetting process?
John McCain's campaign is looking for a scapegoat. It is looking for someone to blame if McCain loses on Tuesday.

And it has decided on Sarah Palin.

In recent days, a McCain “adviser” told Dana Bash of CNN: “She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone.”

Imagine not taking advice from the geniuses at the McCain campaign. What could Palin be thinking?

Also, a “top McCain adviser” told Mike Allen of Politico that Palin is “a whack job.”

Maybe she is. But who chose to put this “whack job” on the ticket? Wasn’t it John McCain? And wasn’t it his first presidential-level decision?

McCain has surrounded himself with nasty smear artists and his campaign is all about fear and smear... and disenfranchising as many voters as possible in as many battleground states as possible. That's why we've included this:

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Prop 8


I have a "No on 8" sign on my lawn. I placed it carefully so that people driving both up and down the hill would see it clearly. What's the big deal, right? A gay man in liberal Los Feliz (where probably a third of the homes have "No on 8" signs and where there is not one single "Yes on 8" sign)... The big deal, for me, is that I don't believe in the institution of marriage. And beyond that, I'm uncomfortable with the homogenization of society. When I figured out I was gay and would accept that happily, one of the appeals was to the rebel in me. There was-- at the time, at least-- something "outlaw" in being openly gay. When this whole gay marriage thing came up it just made me cranky-- more of society's clone-like superficiality leaking into what's left of an independent gay world. But I'm mature enough to know that most gays-- like most non-gays, don't want to be outlaws or outsiders or freethinkers or anything but someone who fits in and is accepted. I accept that and I empathize and realize their point of view is probably more reasonable that my own. As long as no one ever tries to force me to marry-- gay or otherwise-- it's better to just opt for equality.

Stanford Law Professor, a married heterosexual and an advocate for preventing restrictions on the Internet, Lawrence Lessig, has put together a very straight forward 8 minute explanation of what's at stake in the battle over Proposition 8 and why all progressive-minded people should oppose it. This is only for people with 3-digit IQs. The ACLU has something out today that is also very, very effective, although more overtly emotional, Why Marriage Matters; it even made me-- an avowed anti-marriage curmudgeon-- cry.

I saw my first and only "Yes on 8" sign a few days ago. It was on the door of a church and not even a Mormon one, a real Christian Church where, ironically, they profess a believe in the message of Jesus Christ. Again, ironically, there was a marriage going on in front of the church when we drove by-- a young Filipino couple. Everyone seemed so gay and ebullient. I can't imagine that anyone in the marriage party was a hateful bigot, not like the horrible, false, vicious ads on radio that try manipulating people's minds into thinking that gays are "the other." I may actually BE "the other" because I do reject your stupid Bronze Age superstitions and social constricts. But most gays, the ones who want to marry especially... they're just like you! I recalled Hemmingway recounting-- probably in For Whom The Bell Tolls-- a village rising up during the Spanish Civil War and locking a bunch of rotten reactionary priests in a barn and setting it on fire. It's such a violent reaction but these folks were the victims of the church's violence for so many years, so many centuries...

I went to lunch a few weeks ago with a staffer who's worked for Dianne Feinstein for many years. He told me how supportive she was when he and others spoke with her about how important it is that she take a stand on Prop 8. She issued a press release opposing it. Seemed fair enough to me. And then, this week California's most popular elected official, someone who is respected across party lines by voters in this state, went as far out as I could ever imagine her going on this. Take a look:

Extra credit for anyone who can explain how this story in the Houston Chrocicle about how 23% of Texans are convinced that Barack Obama is a Muslim is related to the post above.

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Potential Shocker On Tuesday?


There is going to be a gigantic Democratic Party victory in congressional races around the country. With an immense majority, though, I expect we will see tremendous disappointment as Democrats fail to accomplish progressive goals because of the enhanced power of nominal Democrats from deep in the bowels of the Republican wing of the Democratic Party. Earlier this morning we looked at the cynical approach of corporatist Democrats like Rahm Emanuel and Steny Hoyer who are using so-called "free" trade as a potent campaign issue to beat up on Republican incumbents while their own records are as bad-- if not worse-- than the Republicans! They admit that after the election they will work on new Democrats to "moderate" (i.e.- come over to the Dark Side) their positions. And this morning's Wall Street Journal reassures its reactionary readers that with enhanced clout within the Democratic caucus, the Blue Dogs will have the power to prevent any real reform from making America a more progressive nation.

Also this morning I was looking at some potential good news regarding possible losses from a couple of the worst most reactionary Democrats in Congress, Jim Marshall (GA) and Nick Lampson (TX), two whose voting records show they stand with the GOP far more than with the Democrats when it comes to representing the interests of working families. Members like Marshall and Lampson, in some ways, are even worse than actual Republicans, because these treacherous Blue Dogs eat away at the heart and soul of progressivism from within the Democratic Party. One of my friends with a similar perspective e-mailed me at around 6 this morning:
I want to choke when I read in places like Daily Kos things like: "Good news! This poll shows Carney with a solid lead" or "Bad news-- Jim Marshall is struggling." 

I mean-- I understand that in a two-party system, only one party can win, but when you know that your party is going to have a 60-seat margin (at least), there's no reason to openly cheer for people that support every horrible thing there is.

I wonder if the Kosack who was bemoaning Marshall's re-election problem even knows that, in the end, Marshall was the only Democrat to stand with Bush's veto of healthcare for needy children (SCHIP). I doubt it. But if Marshall does lose his seat on Tuesday, I would be shocked, pleasantly so. Same for Lampson. Voters are excited about Obama and think voting for generic "Democrats," even arch-reactionaries like Marshall and Lampson, will give Obama the ability to push through his agenda for change, an agenda that will be blocked by congressman like Marshall and Lampson who vote far more frequently with the GOP on substantive matters than with Democrats.

This morning Bob Geiger, a Senate expert who was the only person I know of who called every single Senate contest correctly in 2006, predicted that the Democrats would reach the filibuster-proof magic number. He is forecasting Democratic victories in 3 open Republican seats: Virginia, New Mexico and Colorado plus red to blue switches in Oregon, New Hampshire, Alaska, North Carolina, Minnesota, and, after a run-off, Georgia. That leaves the Democrats with 60 if you count Lieberman as a Democrat and if you ignore that nominal Democrats like Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu, Evan Bayh and others who cross the aisle and vote with the GOP frequently.

It's a dire look for a best-case scenario. The only way around it would be to elect 3 more progressives-- Andrew Rice in Oklahoma, Rick Noriega in Texas, and Tom Allen in Maine-- all of whom are struggling to gain traction but none of whom face hopeless situations. The Democratic Establishment Inside-the-Beltway will instead squander precious resources to help the most reactionary "Democratic" candidate running anywhere-- Bruce Lunsford in Kentucky, who, if he wins, will be an even worse and more corrupting presence than Ben Nelson and Mary Landrieu.

So what's the shocker from the headline? Ah... glad you remembered. It's in the House. Yesterday, we reminded you that the Insider prognosticators and pundits and pollsters shape the national perception of races and often miss key ones. No one talked about Nancy Boyda, Dave Loebsack or Carol Shea-Porter in the run up to the 2006 election. But all are members of Congress today. This morning CQPolitics moved the race in Idaho's first district from leans or likely Republican (incumbent extremist loon Bill Sali) to "toss up." For Insiders like CQPolitics to make a call like that, it pretty much means that Democrat Walt Minnick has the race in the bag. In any case, this race-- which has been the subject of optimistic chatter for weeks--is far from the shocker. The shocker (this year's equivalents of the Boyda, Loebsack and Shea-Porter victories) would be the races we talked about yesterday Rob Hubler and Becky Greenwald in Iowa and Steve O'Donnell in Pennsylvania.

Yes, the Beltway Cooks and Schnooks, have never looked seriously at any of these races but inside the districts, people who know a lot more about it than they ever will see a potential for change that the Cooks and Schnooks will call unpredictable and even cataclysmic on Tuesday if they come to fruition. Yesterday we looked at the Des Moines Register endorsements for progressive challengers Becky Greenwald and Rob Hubler. Today there was a much bigger surprise. One of the most conservative newspapers in the country, owned in fact by neo-Nazi Richard Mellon Scaife, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review called for the defeat of Republican rubber stamp incumbent Tim Murphy in PA-18. The content of the endorsement is mind-boggling and must have left Murphy shattered this morning when he read it. Predictably, it attacks him from the right:
"We have serious problems and it's time for serious solutions," says Tim Murphy, Pennsylvania's 18th District congressman, in one of his campaign re-election commercials.

So, why isn't he offering any?

Mr. Murphy, 56, of Upper St. Clair, is seeking his fourth House term. But he doesn't deserve it.

Not only does Murphy remain under the cloud of a federal investigation that's attempting to determine if he illegally used his taxpayer-funded staff for impermissible political work, his conservative credentials have turned about as cloudy as they come.

The paper goes on to savage him for supporting the Employee Free Choice Act-- the biggest bugaboo for the Greed and Selfishness wing of the GOP this year-- their version of gay marriage-- and then mentions that "Murphy fails to give his Republican Party affiliation in his campaign commercials and literature. It sounds to us as if he's ready to switch parties and join the emboldened Nancy Pelosi Democrat-Socialist liberal majority on Capitol Hill. There's no excuse for Tim Murphy. And the electorate should make none for him."

It's not exactly a ringing endorsement for proud progressive Steve O'Donnell but the effect is what's key and for Republican voters already disillusioned by McCain's erratic, directionless campaign, this is exactly what the doctor ordered to keep depressed Republicans away from the polls on Tuesday-- in a district where registration has swung over to Democrats by 60,000. The DCCC is busy pumping millions of dollars into races of anti-choice fanatics-- Democratic anti-choice fanatics-- like Bobby Bright and Parker Griffith in Alabama, Kathy Dahlkemper just north of PA-18 up in Erie, David Boswell in Kentucky, Bill O'Neill in Ohio, etc-- while just a small push for a real Democrat like Steve O'Donnell would win him the race. But do they want real Democrats? Or do they want more reactionary garbage who will vote with the GOP the way Don Cazayoux and Travis Childers have been doing since millions of dollars in Democratic money was pumped into their special elections a few months ago?

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The Daily Blue America Report-- #7


Yesterday I woke up and the very first thing I read, a story in the Austin Statesman, inspired me for the whole day. It's about a woman born in 1899 whose father was a slave. A slave! Please stop for one moment and think about that. Her father was owned like a piece of furniture or like livestock by someone else who may well have been unsympathetic to his humanity. This woman, 109 year old Amanda Jones in Cedar Creek, Texas, voted early, by absentee ballot. She's been a Democrat for 70 years but this week she had the opportunity to vote for Barack Obama. "I feel good about voting for him," she said. I hope all the Blue America candidates will live up to the dreams of people like Amanda and like the people who fought to free her father and her people-- our people-- from slavery.

California-46- Pete McCloskey retired from the GOP congressional delegation 5 years before Dana Rohrabacher was elected. But McCloskey saw that there wasn't something quite right with Rohrabacher. This week he endorsed-- and started actively campaigning for-- Debbie Cook.
“What is desperately needed in the next Congress are individuals of great integrity with fresh thoughts from outside the Beltway, and who also possess a willingness to set aside partisanship and rigid ideology. I am confident that she will help bring courtesy and thoughtful compromise back to Washington, and maybe even help restore some of the faith in our system of government that all of us have lost at least a little bit of over the last few years. Dana Rohrabacher is part of the problem.”

Florida-08- Early voting is massive, more people eager to express their enthusiasm than just beat the rush. It isn't massive just in Florida either, but all over the country (30 states). In Florida, though, Governor Crist may well have doomed McCain's chances to win the election by extending early voting hours. The earlier voters seem to be overwhelmingly people eager to vote for change. A friend in Orlando who saw the statewide figures told me that 60% of the Florida voters so far have been Democrats and Republicans and Independents are about even, 21% and 19% respectively. Alan Grayson is feeling like a great deal of hard work from his staff and volunteers is paying off. His polling shows him decisively ahead of rubber stamp retread Ric Keller and much of his game plan for the election-- just as it was for the primary-- was tied up early voting. "We're winning for one reason only," he told me this morning. "This year, truth wins against lies." And according to HuffPo the early voting trends are showing an even bigger landslide against McCain, Bush and the Republican philosophy of governance than anyone expected.

Florida- 25- Mario Diaz-Balart, a clownish man, has been a complete rubber stamp for the entire Bush-Cheney agenda. Three months ago a consultant told him that Bush and his agenda are unpopular down in Miami-Dade so he started trying, superficially at least, to distance himself from Bush. Now he tries claiming, he an "independent voice." His record tells another story though. His voting record on veterans, for example, is absolutely breathtaking. There isn't a worse one in the entire Congress! Since January 2003 Diaz-Balart the Younger has participated in 29 roll call votes regarding our veterans. Take a look at it. The only question that comes to mind is "why does Mario Diaz-Balart hate the people who went to war defending this country?" Of the 22 votes he voted against American veterans 22 times!
•    Mario Diaz-Balart voted against increasing Department of Defense survivor benefits. (Roll Call 144, 2006)
•    Diaz-Balart voted against military pay raises. (Roll Call 554, 2003)
•    Diaz-Balart voted against $3.6 billion to enhance quality of life for the troops (Roll Call 546)
•    Diaz-Balart voted against minimum rest periods for troops (Roll Call 796, 2007)
•    Diaz-Balart voted against protecting service members from bankruptcy (Roll Call 107, 2005)
•    Diaz-Balart voted against expanding healthcare for reservists (Roll Call 221, 2005)

Yesterday Joe Garcia released a new television ad that let's South Florida voters know the real story on Diaz-Balart's record on veterans.

Virginia-10- One might think that after Frank Wolf exposed himself on camera as a cranky and violent old fascist, he would just shut up and hope not enough people became aware of the story to topple him from power. But if you are one of those people to imagine that, you don't know much about what a self-entitled, self-righteous jerk Frank Wolf has always been. Lowell at Raising Kaine has another video and another look at a congressman whose "good 'til" date has long expired. Paul Begala has also noticed that there's something seriously wrong with Wolf and that he needs a nice long rest-- forever. "Dare to ask Rep. Wolf a question, and his paid congressional staff gives you a couple of lumps. I’m sure Kim Jong Il would be proud."

Texas-10- Charles Kuffner recorded a very worthwhile interview with Larry Joe Doherty. You get a great feel for who the candidate really is and what kind of a congressman he will be when he beats Bush rubber stamp Michael McCaul.

Ohio-02- BlueOhioan wins today's prize for ugliest ad of the day. Would it come as a shock that it's from Mean Jean Schmidt, the lunatic fringe congresswoman who got drunk at a St Patrick's Day Party and slipped in Michele Bachmann's vomit?

Indiana-06- Yesterday's Fort Wayne Journal Gazette rejected a major force in the extreme wing of the national Republican leadership, Mike Pence, and urged its readers to vote for Berry Welsh.
Voters in Indiana’s 6th Congressional District should elect Barry Welsh. The Democratic challenger’s positions on the key issues facing the country are more palatable than those of the incumbent, Mike Pence... [H]is position on issues such as health care, the economy and war will better serve the interests of 6th District residents than those of his opponent... Welsh demonstrates a greater understanding of how the country needs to move forward to put an end to the wars and repair relations with other nations.

This Obama ad could be adapted for any of the Blue America candidates:

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Trade, Traitors And Accountability Within The Democratic Party Establishment


A couple weeks ago-- before rubber stamp incumbent Robin Hayes (R-NC) self-destructed ala his ideological sister Michele Bachmann and before the latest polling showed Larry Kissell beating him next Tuesday-- a Democratic Party higher up contacted me in my role as treasurer of the Blue America PAC. "We see," he said, "that your PAC has been raising money for Larry Kissell longer than anyone and that you've been pushing him since 2006. Can you help him now? Hayes is pouring money into negative TV spots and we're getting clobbered."

I offered him a deal. Since the terrible, job-killing trade policies of Bush, the GOP and the reactionary and Blue Dog Democrats is the most important issue in the district, I agreed to go to the Blue America Board if he could persuade Rahm Emanuel-- whose lack of support in 2006 cost Larry the seat-- to admit it was his fault and apologize for his incompetence and agree to never bother Congressman Kissell about voting for any of the kinds of corporate trade legislation he is always shoving down Democrats' throats.

The big shot Democratic insider got back to me in less than 24 hours and said that he could get Emanuel to admit and apologize but that he would never agree to say anything negative about the trade policies he shoves down Democrats' throats. I said "No deal then" and hung up. I did call Jane and Digby and John (the rest of the Board) and we all decided to fund around 3,000 trade policy ads for the last week of the election, all over cable TV and on ABC-TV for the NASCAR races this weekend. Here's the ad:

Interestingly, yesterday's CongressDaily carried a story called Dems' Ads In Tight Races Tap Into Anti-Trade Sentiment by Peter Cohn in which he claimed that so-called "free trade" advocates could face a lonely 111th Congress "if the Democrats' campaign rhetoric is any indication. References to 'job-killing trade deals,' outsourcing and anti-China sentiment abound, with more than 100 trade-related advertisements and counting. If the party makes a clean sweep, 2008 could be similar to two years ago, when 37 House and Senate Democrats opposed to expanding trade pacts like the North American and Central America free-trade agreements won their races, observers say."

This year the DSCC and the DCCC are spending lots of money on ads attacking unfair Republican trade policies but he never actually mentions that the unfair Republican trade policies are also the trade policies of cynical corporate Democrats like Emanuel, Hoyer and their reactionary claque.
"Two years ago [Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Charles] Schumer [of New York] and [then-Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman] Rahm [Emanuel of Illinois] were staying as far as they could away from these issues," said Andy Gussert, national director of Citizens Trade Campaign, a coalition of groups advocating trade reforms.

I don't know if I would describe it as stayed as far away as they could. Emanuel made a point to undercut progressive candidates who disagreed with his trade policies-- like Larry Kissell.
The DSCC charged in an ad opposing Senate Minority Leader McConnell that Kentucky has lost automotive jobs to Mexico and apparel jobs to Honduras as a result of NAFTA and CAFTA, as well as 33,000 jobs to China. "He created jobs all right. Just not here," says the narrator. His opponent's campaign this week accused McConnell of being "a friend of Communist China" based on votes for permanent normal trade relations with that country and other measures. In another DSCC-financed ad, a man refers to Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., as "the senator from China." A DSCC spot promoting former Mississippi Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, who is challenging GOP Sen. Roger Wicker, says the Democrat opposes the trade deals as "job-killers" and will "fight to keep Mississippi jobs in Mississippi." And a DSCC ad for Oregon House Speaker Jeff Merkley, running against GOP Sen. Gordon Smith, argues Oregon has paid "a very heavy price" for free trade, "with nearly 70,000 jobs shipped overseas."

Trade has also emerged as an issue in roughly 30 House races considered "competitive" by the nonpartisan Cook Political ReportHayes of North Carolina, Tim Walberg of Michigan and Steve Chabot of Ohio on their trade records. "Michigan lost 319,000 jobs due to unfair trade alone," says the latest ad running in Walberg's district. It charges that Walberg "even voted for more unfair trade with South America," noting his vote last year in favor of the Peru Free Trade Agreement, and a vote this year to allow debate on the Colombia Free Trade Agreement.

And now for the kicker. The Emanuel wing, which is, on trade, essentially identical to the GOP, had an anonymous spokesperson tell Cohn that they are "hopeful incoming lawmakers will moderate their positions after the election." In their universe "moderate" means buckle under to the special interests and leave working families dying on the side of the road. Emanuel and Hoyer maintain their absolute power inside the caucus because of their ability to raise huge sums of tainted cash from The Bad Guys and then to dole it out to other Democrats.

And the above is why it is so important for grassroots Democrats to never cede the party to insider hacks with personal career agendas-- the Rahm Emanuels and Steny Hoyers. This week The Hill explained how progressive activists are getting together to challenge Democrats from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party who consistently act in bad faith, nominal Democrats like Dan Boren, John Barrow, Emanuel, etc. This will be, in great part, what the next two years will be about for activists watching closely what the Democrats do with the power being investing in them on Tuesday.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Daily Blue America Report-- #6


I'm going to break format tonight and put off writing about the Blue America candidates for a day so we can offer everyone an opportunity to just sit down for 30 minutes and watch Barack Obama make the case for his presidency. Compare it to the vicious and negative John McCain campaign. This is what the country I love is all about. This is the inspiration and hope for the country I love. This isn't a message for Democrats or for Republicans. This was a message appealing to the best in each and every one of us. I'm betting the whole country except the narrowest of McCain partisans-- including his devoted and dishonest propaganda cadres-- will watch this and feel better about our national future. If you missed it, please watch it. If you did see it, watch it again; it's better the second time:


Desperate Republican Party Goes For Softcore Pornographic Robocalls To Reach The Base


GOP purveyor of smut, Zane Starkewolf (CA-01)

Mike Thompson isn't exactly my favorite California Democratic congressman. He's a Blue Dog from way up in Northern California, but he's one of the better Blue Dogs and not even nearly as bad as the really reactionary California Democrats, Dennis Cardoza and Jim Costa. His district is solidly Democratic-- and getting more so-- and the Republican clown who's challenging him, a 27 year old pip-squeak named Zane Starkewolf, has raised less money than the third party candidate! In fact, all little Zane could do in the way of a campaign was to annoy district residents with a sexually-implicit cheapo robocall. It sounds like he found a professional phone sex operator to spread the Republican Party message. Listen to the actual call.

Yes, yes, Republicans are perverts and hypocrites; we already know that. The problem with this call-- which is also illegal since in California robocalls have to be introduced by a live person-- is that dozens of parents complained that the calls were taken by young children. Yep, it isn't your parents' GOP. Starkewolf apologized and said he "took full responsibility"-- you know, the meaningless Republican genre of responsibility.

So... if it's not your parents' GOP, whose is it? Well, Sarah Palin says it will be hers after McCain is defeated on Tuesday. But 'til then... it's this guy's:

Oh... and speaking of robocalls, as Obama's polling numbers have steadily climbed in Arizona (it's a 46-44% race now), McCain's campaign has gotten more and more worried that there aren't enough Mormon extremists to keep the state in Republican hands Tuesday. So they're running robocalls there. That's embarrassing-- but at least they're not softcore porn, just the garden variety Republican attack filth.

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Ted Stevens, Mitch McConnell And Susan Collins-- Trio Of Despair


A real axis of evil

Unless the rumors about Larry Craig becoming a lobbyist for HRC are true, it could be very lonely for Lindsey Graham come January. Lonely like in "Gee, this closet is so empty these days... I hope David Dreier, Patrick McHenry, or Adrian Smith runs for the Senate soon." That's right, after Larry Craig's little tragedy in the Minneapolis-St Paul Airport toilet with officer Karsnia, and the increasingly likely forced departure of Kentucky gay groper Mitch McConnell, poor Lindsey will be left all by his lonesome-- the only closet queen in the whole Senate! How fair is that, Mr. Slave?

Anyway, I'm not cheering as loudly as everyone I know over Miss McConnell's impending political obliteration-- primarily because of the horror Chuck Schumer has replacing him, the corrupt and reactionary (don't those two words always get shmooshed together these days?) Bruce Lunsford. Lunsford is likely to be an improvement over McConnell-- the way a D- is better than an F, although, in this case, the F was at least not inside the Democratic caucus inexorably dragging it further and further in the direction of even more corporate-oriented corruption and further and further away from the interests of working families the Democrats always regret stabbing in the back-- though only when they are absolutely forced to by deplorable monsters like Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu, Mark Pryor, Joe Lieberman, Evan Bayh... and, of course, Bruce Lunsford.

Most Democrats would rather cut off a toe than vote for McConnell even if it does mean that a sleazy and treacherous slimebag like Lunsford winds up in the Senate. And i wouldn't urge anyone to cut off anything. On the other hand, McConnell, who is not just the single most corrupt member of the Senate, he is also spending millions of dollars of corruptly acquired corporate bribes to blanket the state with TV ads attacking Lunsford's own corruption! And just to be consistent, this morning McConnell called on the Senate's runner-up most corrupt member, Ted Stevens, to resign. Cozy, since the two of them have been blatantly money-laundering illicit campaign contributions to each other for years. Miss McConnell:
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has joined the growing chorus of congressional Republicans calling for Sen. Ted Stevens to resign in the wake of his conviction earlier this week on seven corruption-related felonies.

McConnell, in Kentucky campaigning for his own re-election, told the Lexington Herald-Leader that Stevens should step aside, and that he should do it before Election Day, when the Alaska Republican is trying to win a seventh full term.

“I think he should resign immediately,” said McConnell, Kentucky’s senior senator, who is locked in a competitive race against businessman Bruce Lunsford. “If he did not do that ... there is a 100 percent certainty that he would be expelled from the Senate.”

Not all Republicans who have taken thousands and thousands of dollars of Big Oil bribes via Stevens are abandoning him in his time of need though. Susan Collins, Maine's rubber stamp Republican hack has taken immense sums of "contributions" from some of the most corrupt companies in America, funneled her way courtesy of Steven's generous PAC. And even though most Republicans are distancing themselves from the convicted felon-- including McCain and Palin-- Susan Collins is standing by her man (just like she always has with Bush). Maine's other Republican senator, Olympia Snowe, who isn't as crooked and sleazy as Collins is calling for Stevens to resign immediately. It is expected that Collins will buckle under the pressure and be denouncing Stevens by Monday.
"If Susan Collins really believes that convicted felons have a place in the Senate, she clearly does not represent the kind of change that people in Maine are hungry for in Washington," said Rebecca Pollard, communications director for the Maine Democratic Party. "Whether or not Alaska voters re-elect him a week after a jury of his peers found him guilty should not determine whether Susan Collins thinks he should remain in the Senate."
"She can't take a pass on this. As a sitting Senator and candidate for re-election to the Senate chamber, Collins doesn't get a pass on telling Maine people whether she thinks Stevens remains worthy of his Senate seat when he accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of work on his house from a big oil company and was convicted on seven felony counts," Pollard said.

As odious as McConnell is, I'd rather see the end of Collins. With him you pretty much know what you're going to get. She's deceptive and sneaky and if he goes, we're stuck with Lunsford. If Collins goes, the Senate gets one of the finest members of the House, Congressman Tom Allen, moving across Capitol Hill.

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One Step Closer To The Bitter End For Holy Joe Lieberman?


Disclaimer: I was the Executive Producer of the debut album by Ice-T led Bodycount and I resented Joe Lieberman using that album as an incendiary fundraising tool by cynically twisting it's meaning to frighten parents. I've watched this career politician and shameless hack descend into the realm of self-righteousness we normally only get from those about to be indicted. Lieberman covers his tracks better than most but at last it looks like some of his actions-- like his support for John McCain and the Iraq war-- are finally catching up with him.

If ever a member of the Senate didn't deserve to chair an important committee, it is Joe Lieberman. But Democrats, worried that he would jump the fence the way Strom Thurmond did in 1964, Richard Shelby did in 1994, and Ben Nighthouse Campbell did in 1995, seem to have made a deal with the Devil, a deal that is expiring. Today's Hill is reporting that Lieberman is going to lose his chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee to Daniel Akaka (D-HI).
Lieberman spokesman Marshall Witmann dismissed the speculation, saying Lieberman “is focused on doing all he can to elect John McCain as president rather than post-election Washington politics.”

It has long been postulated that the Senate Dems would make it apparent enough to Lieberman-- who has also endorsed Republican rubber stamp Susan Collins-- that he's viewed as a pariah in the hope, shared with the GOP, that he would go caucus with them instead of spying on Democrats.
The proposed shakeup is hardly final, but it has begun to be sketched out on paper. It depends largely on a victory by Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in the presidential election, which would result in Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), Obama’s running mate, giving up his chairmanship on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The shift also hinges on Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) stepping down as chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee, which aides say is included in the proposed changes. Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) would replace him. Byrd, who turns 91 in November, has been hospitalized three times this year and some have questioned if he is capable of leading the committee. [Note: I question whether Inouye, Ted Stevens' #1 supporter on this sensitive committee, is ethically capable of leading the committee.]

Other moves include Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) taking over the Senate Commerce Committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) taking over the Senate Select Intelligence Committee and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) moving to the helm of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee.

There is no set plan to replace Biden, but one source cited Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) as a possibility.
However, another Democratic source said Dodd is likely to hold onto his chairmanship of the Senate Banking Committee and be available to replace Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, should Kennedy’s health fail.

In recent days, Lieberman has tried to step back towards his Democratic colleagues by refusing to toe the Republican Party line on Palin and by claiming he has always been respectful of Obama (another Lieberman lie).
Perhaps Lieberman's less than charitable response to the question about Palin's readiness and his sudden emphasis on his "respect" for Barack Obama has to do with Democrats approaching what I like to call the Lieberman Threshold of 60 Senate seats in the Democratic caucus.

All the numbers around 60 have wildly shifting implications for Lieberman. If the Democrats get to 60, Lieberman will continue to hold a considerable amount of power, as he would be the likely swing vote that could consistently overcome GOP filibusters. If the Democrats get to 61 or stall short of 60, then Lieberman will have virtually no leverage whatsoever.

If Lieberman loses his leverage, he could be stripped of his coveted position as chair the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and his position as chair of the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs.


Norm Coleman And His Own Personal Pervgate Scandal


No, this one's the actual wife

Long after Norm Coleman (R-MN) and I were co-secretaries of our elementary school class at PS 197 in Brooklyn, disturbing rumors started circulating about him being a womanizer, something no one from the 5th grade would have guessed. (We all would have just guessed he would be a crook.) I sat down with a well-placed friend on mine in Minneapolis and we tried piecing it all together. As Coleman heads into the final week of a troubled re-election bid, nobody is willing to be identified for fear of the backlash from a sitting Senator and his powerful, wealthy friends. However, there are numerous anonymous sources that independently confirm his philandering. Some have spoken on tape, others via email, but all sources have been well documented. These rumors are so pervasive that Twin Cities public television's political reporter Mary LaHammer felt it necessary to directly ask Norm.

Now it might not be the question that reporters are trying to get him to answer at this moment (about who bought his suits) but contrary to Sen. Coleman's statement that he doesn't respond to blogger accusations and rumors, he did with us. In the interview we showed an excerpt of on Almanac, Coleman responded to all the whispers and blogger claims that he cheats on his wife. Coleman said he's been true to his wife, although he conceded his marriage hasn't been perfect, he said his marriage is stronger now than it has ever been. He said the accusations come from hate over his pro-life position on abortion and his wife's career acting in Los Angeles.

Norm felt the need to address this issue himself with his first ad (which ironically sparked accusations that Laurie was green-screened into the ad... later disproved).

When Republicans accuse a Democrat of something, they are usually much worse. The Republicans accused Norm's opponent Al Franken of writing porn a decade ago and linked him to rape jokes and accused him of having a poor attitude toward women in classic Republican smear attacks. The truth is that Norm's treatment of women is disgusting and shameless.

Numerous sources have confirmed that they knew Norm had an affair. Multiple sources have attested that Norm is often out with his friends shamelessly hitting on women. Most sources have also seen Norm with women they characterize as prostitutes.

It's not just that Norm hasn't been faithful, it's the many reports of how Norm treats women. From women who have seen Norm grope waitresses who served him at restaurants to a media personality in the Twin Cities who claims that Norm stuck his tongue in her mouth, many women have had unpleasant experiences with Minnesota's senior Senator.

Norm has always claimed that he has been faithful, but multiple sources claim that this is simply not true. Like I said, these sources want to remain anonymous because they fear reprisal from Norm and his rich, powerful benefactors. For about 5 years in the 90s, Norm had an affair with Mary Sue Perpich, the daughter of former Governor Rudy Perpich. This affair occurred while Norm was the Mayor of St. Paul, MN. Witnesses saw Norm and Ms. Perpich at restaurants repeatedly. This appears to be the best kept secret in St. Paul that everyone knows about.

In recent years, Norm's neighbors claim to have seen a woman arriving "within hours" of Laurie leaving for California. This woman would stay the entire week, leaving before Laurie's return. Also, they have occasionally seen various women leaving Norm's house as early as 5 AM when Laurie was out of town.

His neighbors also tell the story of Laurie throwing Norm out of the house after finding out about his relationship with Ms. Perpich. He stayed with a friend who they say lived "down the street" until Laurie let him back in.

One of Norm's neighbors had an interesting run-in with one of Norm's ex-girlfriends (not Ms. Perpich). This neighbor heard crashing sounds downstairs while he and his family were upstairs. He came downstairs and confronted the woman. She was drunk and thought she was trashing Norm's house. The police came and arrested her. According to this neighbor the police report of this incident was buried-- He had a hard time getting his insurance company to cover the damages.

Norm made a pass at a Twin Cities media personality who wishes to remain anonymous. She related that Norm kissed her on the lips and tried to stick his tongue in her mouth, but she rebuffed his advances. She didn't "make a scene" because this was in a public place.

A former employee of the Minneapolis restaurant Babalu claims to have seen Norm with women she characterized as "skanky." She believes that these women were prostitutes. She stated that she saw Norm fondle one of these women's thighs. She also states that she saw Norm grab a server's butt and would often try and "feel up" a server's leg. She also related a story from one
particular evening which Norm called a friend and urged him to drive over to Babalu because "there is an unbelievable amount of tail here."

A former employee at Bellanotte witnessed Norm hit on an African-American waitress. When she walked away rather than respond to his advances, he said loudly "C'mon back, baby, you're giving me
jungle fever." Another person verified this incident.

Norm hit on a waitress at Morton's Steak House in Minneapolis. She said the encounter "grossed her out." Norm took her hand and wouldn't let go. "He gave me the creeps," she said.

A former server at Rossi's, a Minneapolis restaurant which recently closed, said she worked a private room that was set aside for Norm Coleman and his buddies. They call  themselves the "Millionaire Boys Club" (note: Norm is not a millionaire). They had reserved the room from noon to 6. Along with their steak dinners and cases of wine, they were smoking cigars. An obvious flaunting of the recently passed smoking ban.

The former server said that they "got good and drunk" and that the conversation in the room was "nauseating." They made sexist and racist comments all afternoon long. African Americans were referred to as "darkies." There was a long conversation in which they expounded upon the reasons poor people were poor. The conclusion was that "they are lazy and don't work" according to this source. The worst part was when they were passing around a laptop they were using to view hardcore pornographic movies. They showed the movies to the women employees and tried to encourage them to watch with them. They were commenting "like frat boys" on the movies making her and the other servers very uncomfortable.

Later in the evening, there was a wedding event planned in this room. Not only had Norm and his buddies fumigated the room so badly that the wedding event was nearly ruined, they refused to leave when asked to by the staff so they could prepare for the event. The server described their behavior as "being jerks about it."

A Minneapolis man witnessed Norm "hitting on" women at Redstone, a restaurant in Minnetonka, MN (a western suburb). He describes Norm's behavior as "blatant" and said Norm's womanizing behavior and obvious come-ons became a standing joke amongst the female customers at Redstone.

An attorney claimed to have spoken with two women who were looking into pressing sexual harassment charges against Norm. These women in the end decided against moving forward with their claims.

A woman who lives in Minneapolis stated that she spoke to three female Republicans who bragged about sleeping with Norm recently. But beyond that, Young Turks host Cenk Uygur pretty much has the rest of the Norm Coleman down pat:

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