Friday, October 31, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

John McCain's health care plan "won't guarantee coverage of cancer screenings or maternity care."

Planned Parenthood on Friday, October 24th, 2008 in a TV ad

Few "guarantees" in McCain's plan


The Planned Parenthood Action Fund has launched an attack ad on John McCain that makes a case that his health care plan hurts women.

The ad features a nurse, Shaina Klackle, talking about a study created by the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

"As a nurse, I'm concerned about your health care," Klackle says. "And so is Planned Parenthood's Action Fund. In fact, their study found John McCain's plan won't guarantee coverage of cancer screenings or maternity care."

The ad goes on to make other claims about McCain's health plan, but here we wanted to look at the claim about guaranteed coverage for cancer screenings and maternity care.

We should say off the bat that McCain's health plan contains no details about specific conditions or coverage. The heart of his plan seeks to stimulate the market for individual health insurance by ending the tax exemption on employer-provided health care benefits in exchange for a tax credit. McCain hopes this will lead to greater competition in the health care market by allowing people to shop around for their own insurance. Also along those lines, his plan calls for allowing people to shop for policies across state lines, so they can purchase the most effective policy, no matter where the insurance provider is located.

It's that last provision that is the basis for Planned Parenthood's statement, according to the report they issued to back up the ad. Many states have passed laws that say health care providers operating in their state must provide coverage in certain areas. Planned Parenthood cites requirements for cancer screenings and maternity care in more than 20 states. Under a McCain plan, insurers could operate in any state and sell all over the country.

A rollback of insurance requirements isn't spelled out in McCain's plan. But it's a reasonable fear, said Sara Collins of the Commonwealth Fund, a nonpartisan policy group that seeks to improve the health care system.

Health insurance requirements differ substantially from state to state, and insurance companies would likely locate in the states with the least regulations, Collins said.

"Ultimately, you would have an individual market that's not regulated in any state," Collins said. "It's very different from what we have right now."

Planned Parenthood's ad says that McCain's plan doesn't "guarantee" coverage of cancer screenings or maternity care, and on a literal level, that's true. But Planned Parenthood's deeper point is that some people have a "guarantee" under their respective state's current laws, and they could lose that guarantee under McCain's plan. McCain's plan has no literal guarantees for coverage, and Planned Parenthood makes an additional case that his regulations could undermine existing state guarantees. On that basis, we rate Planned Parenthood Action Fund's statement True.

Why vote Obama

"We are choosing hope over fear.
We are choosing unity over division
and sending a powerful message that change is coming to America."
~ Barack Obama

Obama's infomercial

Wednesday night's Florida rally with Sen. Obama and Pres. Clinton. . .

Part 1

Part 2

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Here's what's happening:

… In Philadelphia, fliers were distributed in a predominantly African American neighborhood which suggested that people with legal troubles or unpaid traffic violations will be arrested by undercover cops when they show up to vote.

…In Hamilton County, Ohio, Prosecutor Joe Deters - who is also the local chair of the McCain-Palin campaign - requested via subpoena personal information for 40% of voters who participated in same-day registration.

…In Montgomery County, Virginia, a registrar issued a memo giving incorrect and intimidating information to students at Virginia Tech University about the consequences of registering to vote, including possible loss of financial aid and tax dependence status.

…In Ontario, California, the owner of a firm that the California Republican Party hired to register tens of thousands of voters was arrested on suspicion of voter registration fraud after dozens of voters reported that the firm tricked them into registering with the GOP by asking them to sign a petition they believed to be aimed at toughening penalties against child molesters.

Why are the polls so close?

Because there are people who really think this way out there:

We the people of the United States of America. . .

We MUST end this hatred in America. United we stand, Divided we fall.

More on taxes

Obama: Tax cuts for 95% of working families
McCain: NO tax cut for 100 million Americans
Most would get a larger tax cut from Obama

The numbers in the graph are from the highly respected, non-partisan Tax Policy Center (see their full report or executive summary (PDF) ). For details of the Obama tax proposals, see this article by his advisers or Obama's site. Here is some of our commentary on McCain's tax plan.
From the tax

US tax rates going back to 1913. Notice how the lower rates for the wealthy led us into the depression, and how raising taxes on the wealthy owning class took us out of the depression.

Trickle down economics DO NOT WORK. When the rich get richer, they do not share the wealth. Strong economies are built from the bottom up, by the working and spending class.

This election is the most important in US history as our economy teeters on a perilous edge.

Top Economists Overwhelmingly Favor Obama Plan: 80% Say He Has Better Grasp of Economics

The Economist magazine surveyed members of the prestigious National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and responders overwhelmingly think Obama far surpasses McCain in his grasp of economics and think Obama's plan is superior. (h/t to Freakonomics). These numbers are truly staggering! Sorry Marty! (former head of NBER and McCain supporter)

As with the Scott Adams poll, economists overwhelmingly choose to self-identify as Democrats and support Obama. This is no fluke and NBER is the cream of the crop.

(By the way, apparently the Economist is one of Palin's faves!)

UPDATE: (Don Pedro) Thanks to Lerxst for posting this while I was out canvassing in Virginia! I've taken the liberty of changing the title. I also want to highlight key excerpts from the Economist writeup:

Even among Republicans Mr Obama has the edge: 46% versus 23% say Mr Obama has the better grasp of the subject. “I take McCain’s word on this one,” comments James Harrigan at the University of Virginia ..

“John McCain has professed disdain for ‘so-called economists’, and for some the feeling has become mutual,” says Erik Brynjolfsson, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management. “Obama’s team is mainstream and non-ideological but extremely talented.”

Mr Obama, says Jonathan Parker, a non-aligned professor at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, “is a pragmatist not an ideologue. I expect Clintonian economic policies.”

Twice as many economists think Mr McCain’s plan would be bad or very bad for long-run growth as Mr Obama’s. Given how much focus Mr McCain has put on his plan’s benefits for growth, this last is quite a repudiation.


He really said that

John McCain in his own words

Voter Fraud

Make no mistake: If the Republicans cannot generate more votes for their candidate, they are happy to win by decreasing the number of votes of their opponent. Shortly after the 2004 election, Robert Kennedy wrote about voter fraud in Ohio, and there have been a number of films to cover the story, as well.

And it's not like the GOP is going to suddenly play fair in 2008. On Friday, Bush asked the Attorney General, Michael Mukasey, to investigate 200,000 voter registrations for minor discrepancies in data. Bush is quick to look into non-issues like this one and the minor voter registration (note, voter registration, not voter fraud) allegations at ACORN, but he can't be bothered to enforce congressional subpoenas or investigate actual voter fraud allegations. (Hendrik Hertzberg wrote an excellent piece in the New Yorker explaining how the ACORN issue has been completely distorted and misused by the Republicans.) It's fair to say that McCain has the might of the federal government on his side in any election fraud-related issue.

The Ohio problems are not unique. Early voters in West Virginia had their computer monitors flip their Obama votes to McCain, and a confusing North Carolina ballot, which excludes the presidential race when someone chooses to vote a party line, may cost Obama, by one estimate, tens of thousands of votes. Today brought news of a flyer in Virginia telling Democrats to vote on November 5 (the day after the election), and a man in Florida posing as a worker for a Democratic candidate for Congress (but whose information was traced back to a consultant of the Republican incumbent) taking ballots from Democrats and promising to deliver them. And that doesn't even include the widespread purges of voters in Democratic neighborhoods conducted by Republican state officials. An excellent article on voter fraud, also co-authored by Kennedy, can be found here.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Subject: Tell Mukasey: Don't suppress Ohio voters.

This year, there are over 600,000 newly registered Ohio voters, but President Bush has asked Attorney General Mukasey to investigate as many as 200,000 of them. Why? Because Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner has refused to use an "exact match" standard before adding these voters to the rolls.

What is this "exact match" standard? Basically, it works like this: After you fill out your voter registration card, a local or state employee has to type in your information to add you to the voter rolls, and check to see that you really exist, usually by verifying your driver's license number or Social Security number. And as you can imagine, sometimes there are typos or other disparities when the information gets entered and matched - for example, if your last name is "De la Rosa" and it got entered as "Delarosa", you would fail to meet the exact match standard, and your registration form would be invalid.

Secretary Brunner has refused to use this standard on the grounds that it would erroneously deprive tens or even hundreds of thousands of Ohioans of their right to vote. The Ohio GOP sued her a month ago to try and get the courts to compel her to use the exact match standard, but the Supreme Court ruled that they had no standing to make that case.

Now, President Bush is trying to run around the Supreme Court by getting the Department of Justice to intervene. On Friday, October 24th, Bush reportedly asked Attorney General Mukasey to investigate whether as many as 200,000 voters need to reconfirm their registrations before November 4th - which would almost certainly result in forcing them to vote provisionally.

I just signed a petition urging Attorney General Mukasey not to act on President Bush's sickening request. I hope you will, too.

Please have a look and take action.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Free Soul Asylum download

Free download from Soul Asylum now until Election Day

Oct 25

Ah yes, a joyous new anthem for every occasion. It really seems to connect, at least to the 7 people who have heard it so far. I suppose it requires a certain sense of humor. This, of course, is consistent with my tendency to overestimate the intelligence of our audience.

Over the last couple years of playing live, I've taken to introducing "Black Gold" & "Lately" as commentaries on the Bush Sr. & Jr. eras, respectively, as Parts 1 & 2 of a trilogy that I hoped I would never have to finish. This is Part 3.

Anyway, it's been a good summer. On behalf of the band, many thanks to you and anyone who has helped make it so. Your support, as always, is invaluable and humbling.

Let's all learn to live in peace and two or three-part harmony!

Good luck,

Dave Pirner

I apologize if some links are broken

When I copied my blog from myspace, the links were broken. I apologize for that profusely. If the link is spelled out, you can copy and paste it into your browser. If the link is not written out, you can view the original blog entries here:

With over 100 posts, I don't have the time currently to repost them all. Again, I am sorry!!!

Obama's tax calculator

Enter your information to see your tax savings under Senator Obama's tax plan. Don't worry, it will show you McCain's as well.

The US National debt

Friday, October 24, 2008

McCain’s Spending Freeze Would Send Us Into the Dark Ages

With all the horrible decisions coming out of the McCain/Palin campaign, it's almost like shooting fish in a barrel (or wolves from a helicopter) to point out more failure.

But we shouldn't let McCain get a free-ride on his proposed government spending freeze. If for some fluke of a reason (2000 election, anyone?) McCain wins this thing, his proposed freeze will send us back into the Dark Ages.

During the first debate, McCain's off-the-cuff answer about fixing the ailing economy:

"How about a spending freeze on everything but defense, veteran affairs and entitlement programs."

Some would think after a hot-headed, ill-advised statement like that, the presidential hopeful would try and distance himself -- pretend it never happened.

But instead, he fought back against Barack Obama's previous description of his vast spending freeze, in the final presidential debate saying:

"OK, what -- what would I cut? I would have, first of all, across-the-board spending freeze, OK? Some people say that's a hatchet. That's a hatchet, and then I would get out a scalpel, OK?"

No Senator McCain -- a government spending freeze of "everything but defense, veteran affairs and entitlement programs" is not OK.

Dennis Van Roekel, President of the National Education Association said:

"He still fails to grasp the direct link between a 21st century education system and a robust economy." He continued, "a No Child Left Behind funding gap of $15 billion and putting a crunch on millions of special education students, low-income students, children living in poverty and the hiring of future teachers."

McCain recently promised NASA $2 billion in funding for manned space flight, yet conveniently forgot to remind them of his hatchet.

He'll have to convince the DoD to include his Homeownership Resurgence Plan into their defense budget, because otherwise it would be axed under his spending freeze.

A majority of federal service providers like independent contractors, social workers, and those working for non-profit community organizations will become jobless. As will a ludicrous number of federal employees. ...Isn't that just about the exact opposite of FDR's New Deal, which helped end the Great Depression?

The McCain health care tax credit (ya know, the one that only buys less than half a family's insurance premium) would come out of Medicaid and Medicare, which is a cut separate from the spending freeze. But it would no longer then be an entitlement, and thus would be subject to the spending freeze.

Let's take a quick look at several other agencies and programs the McConomist plan would freeze (and this is by no means an exhaustive list):

  • Executive Office of the President
  • Interest payments on the National Debt
  • Department of the Treasury
  • Department of Energy
  • Department of Agriculture / Rural Development
  • Food and Drug Administration
  • Department of Labor
  • Department of the Interior
  • Department of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development
  • Judiciary Appropriations
  • The Smithsonian Institutions
  • U.S. Forest Service
  • National Park Service
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • NASA
  • National Science Foundation
  • National Institute of Health
  • Small Business Administration
  • No Child Left Behind
  • Individuals With Disabilities Education Act
  • American Indian Reservation funds for basic necessities and services
  • National Wildlife Refuge system
  • National Endowments for the Arts
  • National Endowment for the Humanities
  • Clean Water State Revolving Fund
  • The National Academies (Sciences, Medicine, Engineering, Research Council)
  • The USDA
  • Federally-Funded Public Libraries


This isn't change we can believe in; it's change we can fear.


A quick economics lesson

Who would the rest of the world vote for?

Wow, very interesting. . .
Certainly says something about our candidates, don't you think?

In case you needed more proof not to vote for McCain

He says so himself (and proudly) that he voted with Bush over 90% of the time. How has that worked for you and your family?

Cindy McCain Tax Returns: Reports $4.2 Million In 2007

She reported $4.2 million, paid $1.1 million in taxes and was taxed at 26%???? Why am I making waaaaaay less than that and paying 33%. . . .this, 'my friends', is Socialism.

WASHINGTON — Republican presidential candidate John McCain's wife, Cindy, reported $4.2 million in income for 2007, nearly $2 million less than she reported the previous year, according to tax returns released by the McCain campaign Friday. Mrs. McCain, who files her taxes separately from her husband, paid $1.1 million in taxes, a tax rate of about 26 percent. She reported nearly $530,000 in itemized deductions.

The McCain campaign said her losses were in investment income directly related to her family business, Hensley & Co., an Arizona beer distributorship of which she is chairwoman.

"The reduction is a combination of capital investments in the business and, like many companies, Hensley has felt the impact of a weakened economy," McCain spokesman Brian Jones said.

The Arizona senator's campaign had released her 2006 return in May but said Mrs. McCain had requested an extension on her 2007 return.

McCain himself released his own tax return last April, reporting a total income of $405,409 in 2007 and $84,460 in federal income taxes.

Democratic rival Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, made their returns public earlier this year, reporting $4.2 million in 2007 income, most of it profits from his books, "Dreams From My Father" and "The Audacity of Hope."

The McCain campaign only released the summary pages of Mrs. McCain's returns, thus offering limited information on her finances. She listed nearly $2.9 million in income from rental real estate, royalties, partnerships and trusts _ a category that would include her investment income from Hensley & Co. She had reported $4.5 million in that category in 2006.

She also reported $297,000 in salary income, more than $118,000 in dividends and more than $746,000 in capital gains. Her dividend income dropped by about $165,000 from 2006.

Perhaps anticipating higher income, she overpaid her taxes over the year by more than $950,000. She applied that amount to her 2008 estimated tax.

As an heiress to the Hensley fortune, Cindy McCain's worth has been estimated at more than $100 million.

Palin Claims The Vice President Is ‘In Charge Of The U.S. Senate’

The moral of this story - Know the job description of the job you are applying for!

Yesterday, Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) sat for an interview with KUSA, an NBC affiliate in Colorado. In response to a question sent to the network by a third grader at a local elementary school about what the Vice President does, Palin erroneously argued that the Vice President is "in charge of the United States Senate":

Q: Brandon Garcia wants to know, "What does the Vice President do?"

PALIN: That's something that Piper would ask me! … [T]hey're in charge of the U.S. Senate so if they want to they can really get in there with the senators and make a lot of good policy changes that will make life better for Brandon and his family and his classroom.

Watch it:

Indeed, while Palin suggests that questions about what the Vice President does is something only her daughter Piper would ask, Palin herself asked this very question on national television in July. Apparently, she still hasn't learned the correct answer.

Article I of the Constitution establishes an exceptionally limited role for the Vice President — giving the office holder a vote only when the Senate is "equally divided":

The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no vote, unless they be equally divided.

Moreover, the U.S. Senate website explains that the modern role of Vice Presidents has been to preside over the Senate "only on ceremonial occasions." ThinkProgress contacted Senior Assistant Paliamentarian Peter Robinson, who also disputed Palin's characterization of the Vice President's role:

In modern practice the Vice President doesn't really control the Senate. … If anyone has a responsibility to try to govern the Senate, it's the responsibility of the two leaders.

UpdateThinkProgress obtained the following statement from Jim Manley, spokesman to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV):
This comment is all the more puzzling because this is at least the 2nd time she has said this. Gov Palin needs to re-read or perhaps read for the first time the Constitution. While the Vice President presides over the Senate, he or she is not in charge of it. Article 1 says The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no vote, unless they be equally divided.

The Senate is part of a co-equal branch of the federal government.

Former Bush aide voting for Obama

Scott McClellan, the former White House press secretary and one-time Bush Loyalist, told CNN Thursday he's voting for Barack Obama.
Other endorsers:

the New York Times
Colin Powell
Charles Fried, Reagan appointee and recent McCain Adviser
Chicago Tribune (first time ever endorsing a democrat),0,1371034.story?track=email-alert-breakingnews
Former Senate Armed Services and Intelligence Committee Chairmen Cite Obama's Ability to Lead on National Security Issues Senators Sam Nunn and David Boren
Fed chairman Ben Bernanke
For a great blog listing Senator Obama's impressive list of endorsements visit

Palin belittles research

Palin lives in Alaska, since Alaska is close to Russia, she must be a foreign policy expert. Alaska has oil, so she must be an energy expert. She has a child with down syndrome (or as John McCain likes to call it, autism), so she must be an expert on children with special needs. It has become blatantly clear that she is no expert on any of these important issues.

Memo To Palin: Fruit Fly Research Has Led To Advances In Understanding Autism

This morning, Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) gave her first policy speech urging the federal government to fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), "a law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation." In the speech, Palin cited the need to do more for children with disabilities such as autism:

For many parents of children with disabilities, the most valuable thing of all is information. Early identification of a cognitive or other disorder, especially autism, can make a life-changing difference.

Palin claimed that the amount that Congress spends on earmarks "is more than the shortfall to fully fund IDEA." She then ridiculed some of the projects — such as "fruit fly research" — saying they have little or no value:

Where does a lot of that earmark money end up anyway? […] You've heard about some of these pet projects they really don't make a whole lot of sense and sometimes these dollars go to projects that have little or nothing to do with the public good. Things like fruit fly research in Paris, France. I kid you not.

Watch it:
Palin did not specify what fruit fly research earmark she was referring to (presumably a grant for olive fruit fly research), but she is apparently unaware that scientific research with fruit flies has led to valuable discoveries that have boosted autism research, as a study at the University of North Carolina demonstrated last year:
[S]cientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine have shown that a protein called neurexin is required for..nerve cell connections to form and function correctly.

The discovery, made in Drosophila fruit flies may lead to advances in understanding autism spectrum disorders, as recently, human neurexins have been identified as a genetic risk factor for autism.

The study of fruit flies has also been used for other autism research and "revolutionize[d]" the study of birth defects.

Hope for a re-united America

This man is a leader. He gets it, he understands where we need to go as a country and how we need to do it - TOGETHER! This is beautiful . . .

VOTE Obama / Biden Nov 4th
Currently listening to :
Proud to Be an American
By Lee Greenwood
Release date: 2007-04-16

Stop the Hate machine

The Hate Campaign

Join almost 35,000 others who have signed the petition to the McCain Palin team to stop the hate

McCain campaigner mugging a HOAX

Ladies and gentlemen: THIS is the face of the Republican Party today; lies, racism, fear-mongering, and a willingness to say-anything, no matter how unethical, to win an election. It is pathetic. Absolutely disgusting.

The big political story of the day revolves around what turned out to be a non-story. Several media outlets (the vast majority conservative) were left with egg on their faces after they trumpeted up the tale of a McCain volunteer who claimed to have been assaulted by a large black man because of a McCain bumper sticker on her car. On her face was carved a backwards 'B' (meant to represent Obama's name). The Drudge Report called it "mutilation."

It was a hoax. And now, some in the fourth estate are left to explain why they pushed this apparent political ploy. Those in the business who showed some prudence are calling out their competitors for taking the bait.

On CNN today, anchor Rick Sanchez did just that, naming the outlets that not only reported but actively pushed the story of Ashley Todd. In addition to explaining why his station didn't report the story, Sanchez dug the knife in a bit deeper when it came to Hugh Hewitt, the conservative radio talk show host who appeared on CNN Thursday and blamed "that side" (i.e. the Democrats) for engaging in "extraordinarily" disturbing acts.

"Part of the story is the fact that it was reported by the media," said Sanchez. "We would not be telling the story now had it not been carried by so many outlets. As I mentioned before, it was mentioned on, as a matter of fact I have a list and not to mention names, but the initials of the news organizations are Fox News, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Newsday. And also radio talk show hosts went on their radio stations and talked ad infinitum about the story yesterday, one of them even seemingly being a braggadocio about it when he was on the air with our own Wolf Blitzer yesterday."

Separately, the College Republicans -- a group of which Todd is a member -- sought to distance themselves from the whole affair, telling the Huffington Post: "When Ms. Todd initially contacted us claiming to have been attacked, our first reaction was obviously to be concerned for her safety ... We are as upset as anyone to learn of her deceit. Ashley must take full responsibility for her actions."

Currently listening :
Little Lies
By Fleetwood Mac

More irresponsible spending by the McCain camp

The New York Times is reporting that McCain Campaign makeup stylist cost $22,800 for the first two weeks of October. The stylist, Amy Strozzi, was apparently paid more than any other McCain staffer during that period. She beat out Randy Scheunemann (Defense and Foreign Policy Coordinator for the McCain campaign), who received $12,500 in the first half of October, and McCain spokesperson Nicole Wallace, who got $12,000. It's too bad though that whenever Sarah speaks Amy's work is completely undone.

Times article linked from the Huffington Post:

Currently listening :
Sugar Daddy
By Melissa Lefton

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Why veterans are NOT supporting McCain

Amazing that a guy who served his country and spent years as a war prisoner doesn't support the troops.

The McCain motto, "Love America, Hate Americans"???

God bless our troops, and from the bottom of my heart thank you for everything you do for the rest of us. We owe you so much more than you are given.

John McCain: Less jobs, more wars

Currently listening to :
By Metallica
Release date: 1993-05-27

Real voter fraud by the GOP. . .

First, the untrue voter fraud story cleared up. . .

Now, the REAL voter fraud story perpetuated by. . . . the Republicans!!!! Remember, when you point fingers, three are pointing back at you? The truth comes out eventually, Senator McCain.

Mark Jacoby, who owns a firm hired by the California Republican Party, violated state laws with his own registration, authorities say.

SACRAMENTO -- The owner of a firm that the California Republican Party hired to register tens of thousands of voters this year was arrested in Ontario over the weekend on suspicion of voter registration fraud.

State and local investigators allege that Mark Jacoby fraudulently registered himself to vote at a childhood California address where he no longer lives so he would appear to meet the legal requirement that all signature gatherers be eligible to vote in California. His firm, Young Political Majors, or YPM, collects petition signatures and registers voters in California and other states.

Jacoby's arrest by state investigators and the Ontario Police Department late Saturday came after dozens of voters said they were duped into registering as Republicans by people employed by YPM. The voters said YPM workers tricked them by saying they were signing a petition to toughen penalties against child molesters.

The firm was paid $7 to $12 for every Californian it registered as a member of the GOP.

Dan Goldfine, an attorney for Jacoby, on Sunday denied any wrongdoing by his client and called the charges "baseless."

He said the arrest outside an Ontario hotel, which involved seven squad cars and nine police officers, was part of a "long pattern of harassment against Mr. Jacoby for an entirely valid voter registration effort."

Goldfine said the case that prosecutors are bringing against his client involves charges that are rarely pressed.

Jacoby was released on bail Sunday evening from the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga, Goldfine said.

After complaints by voters and Democratic Party officials, several agencies launched investigations into Jacoby's activities. They included the Los Angeles County district attorney's office, which issued the warrant for his arrest earlier this month on felony charges of voter registration fraud and perjury.

"We contacted people at the addresses where he registered, and they have no idea who he is," said Dave Demerjian, head deputy of the public integrity unit at the L.A. County district attorney's office.

Goldfine said his client does business in many states, traveling frequently, and his permanent address has been his parents' Los Angeles County home, where he received mail and registered to vote.

Demerjian said his office is continuing to investigate allegations that YPM workers improperly re-registered voters with the GOP.

Several dozen voters recently told The Times that YPM workers said they had to become Republicans to sign the petition, contrary to California initiative law. Other voters said they had no idea their registration was being changed.

YPM has been accused of using bait-and-switch tactics across the country. Election officials and lawmakers have launched investigations into the activities of YPM workers in Florida and Massachusetts. In Arizona, the firm was recently a defendant in a civil rights lawsuit.

In a written statement Sunday, the state Republican Party called the charges against Jacoby "politically motivated." The party said the charges do not support accusations from voters and Democratic officials that YPM has been duping voters into joining the GOP.

The statement accused Secretary of State Debra Bowen, who announced the arrest, of "using her office to play politics."

Bowen is a Democrat.

McCain on free trade

Senator McCain, when will you realize that it is un-American to continually send all of our manufacturing jobs overseas? When there is nothing left to make here, and all of our call centers are in India, how exactly do you propose our American citizens are going to be able to make a living?

John McCain on Free Trade:
Voted YES on free trade agreement with Oman.
Voted YES on implementing CAFTA for Central America free-trade.
Voted YES on establishing free trade between US & Singapore.
Voted YES on establishing free trade between the US and Chile.
Voted YES on extending free trade to Andean nations.
Voted YES on granting normal trade relations status to Vietnam.
Voted NO on removing common goods from national security export rules.
Voted YES on permanent normal trade relations with China.
Voted YES on expanding trade to the third world.
Voted YES on renewing 'fast track' presidential trade authority.
Voted NO on imposing trade sanctions on Japan for closed market.

John McCain is Pro-NAFTA, pro-GATT, pro-MFN, pro-Fast Track
John McCain promotes the Andean Free Trade Agreement.
John McCain is Rated 100% by CATO, indicating a pro-free trade voting record.
John McCain sponsored bill for trade with post-Orange Revolution Ukraine.

"Free trade is indispensable to our prosperity.
We are in a global marketplace, and that is exceptionally good news for American families. Withdrawing from it is not just inadvisable, it is impossible. Free trade is indispensable to our prosperity. In other words, the less America trades the
poorer America will be. Millions of American jobs are created by the export of American goods and services. Millions more jobs are created in companies that depend on goods and services that are imported here at lower cost than we can manufacture them." John McCain in Speech to National Press Club, 5/20/99

International Trade Buzzwords

  • 'Fast-Track' means authorizing the President to sign trade deals with a single yes-or-no Congressional vote after only limited debate.
    Supporting Fast-Track implies the speaker supports free trade.
  • 'Fair Trade' means placing restrictions on imports based on environmental, labor, or other concerns.
    Supporting Fair Trade implies the speaker is against free trade.
  • 'Trade Deficits' mean that the US imports more than we export to a particular country.
    Concern over trade deficits implies supporting trade restrictions against Mexico, Japan, and East Asia, with whom the US has large trade deficits.


  • The North American Free Trade Agreement of 1994 establishes a free-trade zone between the US, Canada, and Mexico.
  • A 'free trade zone' means that goods can cross the border in either direction without tariffs or taxes of any kind.
  • Canada is the largest trading partner of the US, accounting for over 25% of both our imports and exports.
  • Mexico & Japan account for about 15% each; Europe combined for about 20%; and East Asia combined for about 15%.
  • NAFTA passed with some important compromises to protect the environment and labor standards; these are refered to as 'Side Agreements.'
  • In 1994, President Clinton invited Chile to join NAFTA as the next step toward a Free Trade Zone for the Americas.
  • In 2001, President Bush formalized the proposal of expanding NAFTA to a Free Trade Area for the Americas, encompassing 34 countries and 800 million people by 2005.

    GATT & WTO

  • The World Trade Organization is an international organization intended to reduce trade barriers, formed in 1995.
  • The General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs is the international treaty which preceded the WTO's formation; it began in 1947.
  • The 'Uruguay Round' was the most recently completed round of GATT negotiations, completed in 1994.
  • Negotiations to start a new 'Round' took place in Seattle in Dec. 1999, but were disrupted by riots.
  • WTO members (which includes the US and most industrialized countries) grant each other 'MFN' or Most Favored Nation status, which means minimal import tariffs.


  • 'Globalization' refers generally to free trade, open borders, improved communication and transportation, and the commerce implications of the Internet.
  • Specifically, anti-globalization advocates refer to the negative aspects of free trade on environmental and labor standards.
    At issue is that open borders cause corporations to seek out the lowest environmental and labor standards to minimize production costs, thereby pressuring for lower standards globally.
  • Anti-globalization advocates primarily focus on the secrecy of WTO proceedings, but also criticize other international trade organizations as too favorable to corporate interests.
  • Anti-globalization protests have been particularly effective since a large protest at a WTO meeting in Seattle in late 1999. The 2001 WTO meeting was held in Qatar (in the Persian Gulf) partially to make protest more difficult b its remoteness.
  • While the anti-corporate aspect of anti-globalization is primarily a liberal cause, many conservatives join the anti-globalization movement on grounds of protection of national sovereignty.
    At issue is that the WTO and international trade agreements override national law, and hence place the US Congress and the US President subordinate to an unelected foreign organization.
    'Anti-Dumping Laws'

  • Dumping: A country sells goods in the US at costs lower than they are sold in the home country, presumably with the intent of capturing market share.
  • Countervailing Duties: The US imposes import tariffs -- often 100% or more -- on goods which the government determines have been dumped.
  • In the last 4 years, the federal government found dumping in 107 cases, mostly steel from Asia but also on European bananas, and imposed countervailing duties.

    How do we fix the financial problem?
    Jobs, baby, Jobs!

  • Buy USA made!

    End the Regime.
    Nov 4th VOTE
    Obama Biden!

    Al-Qaeda Supporters Endorse McCain

    McCain couldn't land Colin Powell's endorsement, is an Al-Qaeda endorsement close enough???

    Al-Qaeda Supporters Endorse McCain
    PAMELA HESS | October 21, 2008 11:41 PM EST

    WASHINGTON — Al-Qaida supporters suggested in a Web site message this week they would welcome a pre-election terror attack on the U.S. as a way to usher in a McCain presidency.

    The message, posted Monday on the password-protected al-Hesbah Web site, said if al-Qaida wants to exhaust the United States militarily and economically, "impetuous" Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain is the better choice because he is more likely to continue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    "This requires presence of an impetuous American leader such as McCain, who pledged to continue the war till the last American soldier," the message said. "Then, al-Qaida will have to support McCain in the coming elections so that he continues the failing march of his predecessor, Bush."

    SITE Intelligence Group, based in Bethesda, Md., monitors the Web site and translated the message.

    "If al-Qaida carries out a big operation against American interests," the message said, "this act will be support of McCain because it will push the Americans deliberately to vote for McCain so that he takes revenge for them against al-Qaida. Al-Qaida then will succeed in exhausting America till its last year in it."

    Mark Salter, a senior McCain adviser, said he had heard about the Web site chatter but had no immediate comment.

    The message is credited to a frequent and apparently respected contributor named Muhammad Haafid. However, Haafid is not believed to have a direct affiliation with al-Qaida plans or knowledge of its operations, according to SITE.

    SITE senior analyst Adam Raisman said this message caught SITE's attention because there has been little other chatter on the forums about the U.S. election.

    SITE was struck by the message's detailed analysis _ and apparent jubilation _ about American financial woes.

    "What we try to do is get the pulse of the jihadist community," Raisman said. "And it's about the financial crisis."

    Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden issued a videotape just four days before the 2004 U.S. presidential election directly addressing the American people.

    Republican National Committee spent more than $150,000 on clothing and make-up for Palin

    Palin is pushing government reform, small town attitudes, and fiscal conservatism. Does anyone else see a problem with her spending and OUTRAGEOUS $150,000 in 7 weeks? That kind of cash could have bought her . . . an education!

    Palin Clothes Spending Has Dems Salivating, Republicans Disgusted
    October 22, 2008 01:30 AM Sam Stein

    Since her selection as John McCain's running mate, the Republican National Committee spent more than $150,000 on clothing and make-up for Gov. Sarah Palin, her husband, and even her infant son, it was reported on Tuesday evening.

    That entertaining scoop -- by ways of Politico -- sent almost immediate reverberations through the presidential race. A statement from McCain headquarters released hours after the article bemoaned the triviality of the whole affair.

    "With all of the important issues facing the country right now, it's remarkable that we're spending time talking about pantsuits and blouses," said spokesperson Tracey Schmitt. "It was always the intent that the clothing go to a charitable purpose after the campaign."

    But even the most timid of Democrats are unlikely to heed this call for civility. For starters, the story has the potential to dampen enthusiasm among GOP activists and donors at a critical point in the presidential race. It also creates a huge PR headache for the McCain ticket as it seeks to make inroads among voters worried about the current economic crisis.

    Mainly, however, Democrats (in this scenario) are not prone to forgiveness. After all, it was during this same campaign cycle that Republicans belittled the $400 haircut that former Sen. John Edwards had paid for with his own campaign money (the funds were later reimbursed). And yet, the comparison to that once-dominant news story is hardly close: if Edwards had gotten one of his legendary haircuts every singe week, it would still take him 7.2 years to spend what Palin has spent. Palin has received the equivalent of $2,500 in clothes per day from places such as Saks Fifth Avenue (where RNC expenditures totaled nearly $50,000) and Neiman Marcus (where the governor had a $75,000 spree).

    Beyond the political tit-for-tat, however, the revelation of the clothing expenditures offers what some Democrats see as a chance not just to win several news cycles during the campaign's waning days but to severely damage Palin's image as a small-town, 'Joe Six-Pack' American.

    "It shows that Palin ain't like the rest of us," Tom Matzzie, a Democratic strategist told the Huffington Post, when asked how the party would or could use the issue. "It can help deflate her cultural populism with the Republican base. The plumber's wife doesn't go to Nieman's or Saks."

    Indeed, the story could not come at a more inopportune time for the McCain campaign. During a week in which the Republican ticket is trying to highlight its connection to the working class -- and, by extension, promoting its newest campaign tool, Joe the Plumber -- it was revealed that Palin's fashion budget for several weeks was more than four times the median salary of an American plumber ($37,514). To put it another way: Palin received more valuable clothes in one month than the average American household spends on clothes in 80 years. A Democrat put it in even blunter terms: her clothes were the cost of health care for 15 or so people.

    There are, in these cases, legal questions surrounding campaign expenditures. Though, on this front, Palin and the RNC seem to be in the clear.

    "I don't think it's taxed," said David Donnelly of Campaign Money Watch. "I don't think she can keep it. It's owned by the RNC. They had to use coordinated funds to pay for the clothes."

    And certainly the possibility exists that this issue can be effectively swept under the rug. Palin is not known for taking impromptu questions from the press. Moreover, the media, at this juncture, has other major story lines (see: upcoming election) to grapple with, thus denying the piece the relative vacuum that accompanied the Edwards story. Finally, there is little desire among conservative writers or pundits to litigate the matter, even if they were more than happy to jump on board when a Democrat was in the spotlight.

    Several hours after Politico posted its findings, the topic remained nearly untouched by the major right-wing outlets. Though as Marc Ambinder at the Atlantic opined:

    "Republicans, RNC donors and at least one RNC staff member have e-mailed me tonight to share their utter (and not-for-attribution) disgust at the expenditures. ... The heat for this story will come from Republicans who cannot understand how their party would do something this stupid ... particularly (and, it must be said, viewed retroactively) during the collapse of the financial system and the probable beginning of a recession."

    Digg the story here:
    More coverage:

    Michelle Bachmann ~ toxic for Americans

    Fear and division have dominated our nation's politics for far too long. It's time for us to deliver change – a change that moves beyond Democrat or Republican - by sending Congresswoman Bachmann home once and for all.

    - At a debate with El Tinklenberg earlier this month, she claimed immigrants are "bringing in disease and violence and every sort of difficulty" to this country.

    - In September 2008, Bachmann blamed the financial crisis on a federal program that awarded home mortgage loans "on the basis of race and often on little else."

    - In February 2007, Bachmann told a newspaper that Iran had an agreement to take over half of Iraq, that a name had been chosen for that part of the region and that it would be used as a training ground for terrorists.

    - In March 2004, Bachmann said on the radio that failure to pass her Defense of Marriage Amendment in the Minnesota Senate would cause the gay community to start "specifically targeting our children."

    - In a March, 2008 meeting she said "The big thing we are working on now is the global warming hoax. It's all voodoo, nonsense, hokum, a hoax,"

    Tuesday, October 21, 2008

    Will the GOP’s campaign to deter new voters and discard Democratic ballots determine the next president?

    A great article about voter suppression.

    Block the Vote
    Will the GOP's campaign to deter new voters and discard Democratic ballots determine the next president?

    This is what McCain calls straight talk???

    The problems with McCain’s healthcare plan

    Wasilla, Alaska - small town USA

    Pay special attention to the mayor's interview and her own description of her duties : )

    Palin’s children traveled on state’s tab

    Tsk, tsk Governor Palin. Is this what you mean by reform?

    AP INVESTIGATION: Palin children traveled on state
    By BRETT J. BLACKLEDGE, ADAM GOLDMAN and MATT APUZZO, Associated Press Writers Brett J. Blackledge, Adam Goldman And Matt Apuzzo, Associated Press Writers

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Gov. Sarah Palin charged the state for her children to travel with her, including to events where they were not invited, and later amended expense reports to specify that they were on official business.

    The charges included costs for hotel and commercial flights for three daughters to join Palin to watch their father in a snowmobile race, and a trip to New York, where the governor attended a five-hour conference and stayed with 17-year-old Bristol for five days and four nights in a luxury hotel.

    In all, Palin has charged the state $21,012 for her three daughters' 64 one-way and 12 round-trip commercial flights since she took office in December 2006. In some other cases, she has charged the state for hotel rooms for the girls.

    Alaska law does not specifically address expenses for a governor's children. The law allows for payment of expenses for anyone conducting official state business.

    As governor, Palin justified having the state pay for the travel of her daughters — Bristol, 17; Willow, 14; and Piper, 7 — by noting on travel forms that the girls had been invited to attend or participate in events on the governor's schedule.

    But some organizers of these events said they were surprised when the Palin children showed up uninvited, or said they agreed to a request by the governor to allow the children to attend.

    Several other organizers said the children merely accompanied their mother and did not participate. The trips enabled Palin, whose main state office is in the capital of Juneau, to spend more time with her children.

    "She said any event she can take her kids to is an event she tries to attend," said Jennifer McCarthy, who helped organize the June 2007 Family Day Celebration picnic in Ketchikan that Piper attended with her parents.

    State Finance Director Kim Garnero told The Associated Press she has not reviewed the Palins' travel expense forms, so she could not say whether the daughters' travel with their mother would meet the definition of official business.

    After Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain chose Palin his running mate and reporters asked for the records, Palin ordered changes to previously filed expense reports for her daughters' travel.

    In the amended reports, Palin added phrases such as "First Family attending" and "First Family invited" to explain the girls' attendance.

    "The governor said, 'I want the purpose and the reason for this travel to be clear,'" said Linda Perez, state director of administrative services.

    When Palin released her family's tax records as part of her vice presidential campaign, some tax experts questioned why she did not report the children's state travel reimbursements as income.

    The Palins released a review by a Washington attorney who said state law allows the children's travel expenses to be reimbursed and not taxed when they conduct official state business.

    Taylor Griffin, a McCain-Palin campaign spokesman, said Palin followed state policy allowing governors to charge for their children's travel. He said the governor's office has invitations requesting the family to attend some events, but he said he did not have them to provide.

    In October 2007, Palin brought daughter Bristol along on a trip to New York for a women's leadership conference. Plane tickets from Anchorage to La Guardia Airport for $1,385.11 were billed to the state, records show, and mother and daughter shared a room for four nights at the $707.29-per-night Essex House hotel, which overlooks Central Park.

    The event's organizers said Palin asked if she could bring her daughter.

    Alexis Gelber, who organized Newsweek's Third Annual Women & Leadership Conference, said she does not know how Bristol ended up attending. Gelber said invitees usually attend alone, but some ask if they can bring a relative or friend.

    Griffin, the campaign spokesman, said he believes someone with the event personally sent an e-mail to Bristol inviting her, but he did not have it to provide. Records show Palin also met with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Goldman Sachs representatives and visited the New York Stock Exchange.

    In January, the governor, Willow and Piper showed up at the Alaska Symphony of Seafood Buffet, an Anchorage gala to announce winners of an earlier seafood competition.

    "She was just there," said James Browning, executive director of Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation, which runs the event. Griffin said the governor's office received an invitation that was not specifically addressed to anyone.

    When Palin amended her children's expense reports, she listed a role for the two girls at the function — "to draw two separate raffle tickets."

    In the original travel form, Palin listed a number of events that her children attended and said they were there "in official capacity helping." She did not identify any specific roles for the girls.

    In July, the governor charged the state $2,741.26 to take Bristol and Piper to Philadelphia for a meeting of the National Governors Association. The girls had their own room for five nights at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel for $215.46 a night, expense records show.

    Expense forms describe the girls' official purpose as "NGA Governor's Youth Programs and family activities." But those programs were activities designed to keep children busy, a service provided by the NGA

    to accommodate governors and their families, NGA spokeswoman Jodi Omear said.

    In addition to the commercial flights, the children have traveled dozens of times with Palin on a state plane. For these flights, the total cost of operating the plane, at $971 an hour, was about $55,000, according to state flight logs. The cost of operating the state plane does not increase when the children join their mother.

    The organizer of an American Heart Association luncheon on Feb. 15 in Fairbanks said Palin asked to bring daughter Piper to the event, and the organizer said she was surprised when Palin showed up with daughter Willow and Bristol as well.

    The three Palin daughters shared a room separate from their mother at the Princess Lodge in Fairbanks for two nights, at a cost to the state of $129 per night.

    The luncheon took place before Palin's husband, Todd, finished fourth in the 2,000-mile Iron Dog snowmobile race, also in Fairbanks. The family greeted him at the finish line.

    When Palin showed up at the luncheon with not just Piper but also Willow and Bristol, organizers had to scramble to make room at the main table, said Janet Bartels, who set up the event.

    "When it's the governor, you just make it happen," she said.

    The state is already reviewing nearly $17,000 in per diem payments to Palin for more than 300 nights she slept at her own home, 40 miles from her satellite office in Anchorage.

    Tony Knowles, a Democratic former governor of Alaska who lost to Palin in a 2006 bid to reclaim the job, said he never charged the state for his three children's commercial flights or claimed their travel as official state business.

    Knowles, who was governor from 1994 to 2002, is the only other recent Alaska governor who had school-age children while in office.

    "There was no valid reason for the children to be along on state business," said Knowles, a supporter of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. "I cannot recall any instance during my eight years as governor where it would have been appropriate to claim they performed state business."

    Knowles said he brought his children to one NGA event while in office but didn't charge the state for their trip.

    In February 2007, the three girls flew from Juneau to Anchorage on Alaska Airlines. Palin charged the state for the $519.30 round-trip ticket for each girl, and noted on the expense form that the daughters accompanied her to "open the start of the Iron Dog race."

    The children and their mother then watched as Todd Palin and other racers started the competition, which Todd won that year. Palin later had the relevant expense forms changed to describe the girls' business as "First Family official starter for the start of the Iron Dog race."

    The Palins began charging the state for commercial flights after the governor kept a 2006 campaign promise to sell a jet bought by her predecessor.

    Palin put the jet up for sale on eBay, a move she later trumpeted in her star-making speech at the Republican National Convention, and it was ultimately sold by the state at a loss.

    That left only one high-performance aircraft deemed safe enough for her to use — a 1980 twin-engine King Air assigned to the public safety agency but, according to flight logs, out of service for maintenance and repairs about a third of the time Palin has been governor.