Fear of Clowns

"Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable."
- H. L. Mencken
gozz@gozz.com

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Jabba the Hut endorses McCain 

Althogh I've never asked, I frequently wonder why right-wing Christians don't just welcome themselves into right-wing Heaven by offing themselves.

After all, there's no chance they'll suffer under a Muslim presidency in Heaven. And their bliss would overcome any hated, repetitive and obsessive thoughts of those who were violently opposed to the Vietnam War. I mean, in Heaven, Bill Ayres wouldn't even be a minor irritant, just another minion in Hell.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

UPDATE: Me & McCain & his once thoughtful idea 

A while ago, I commended McCain for promulgating a policy on the mortgage/credit crisis that was,

to immediately buy up the bad home loan mortgages in America and renegotiate at the new value of those homes -- at the diminished value of those homes.

Ends up what McCain meant was he wanted to pay banks for the face value of mortgages before renegotiating with the mortgage holder at the diminished value.

I incorrectly interpreted McCain's meaning of "mortgage holder" - the mortgage holder is the bank and not the homeowner as I understood.

It's the opposite of a good plan: reward the banks for issuing shaky mortgages and renegotiate terms with homeowners for somewhere between the current value of their house and what they borrowed for it.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Joe the Plumber 

Is a friggin' idiot.

JOE: I explained to him that I'm planning on purchasing this company - it's not something I'm gonna purchase outright, it's something I'm going to have to make payments on for years - but essentially I'm going to buy this company, and the profits generated by that could possibly put me in that tax bracket he's talking about and that bothers me ...

INTERVIEWER: Would that plumbing business employ other people or would it just employ you?

JOE: Eventually it would employ other people. Right now it's a two man shop ...

So Joe is going to buy out his partner or boss, make payments for years and eventually be among the richest few percent of Americans. GO AMERICA! BOO OBAMA!

INTERVIEWER: So a potential tax increase - how do you see that affecting your ability to hire more people to work with you at your company?

JOE: Obviously these are hypothetical questions to a degree because I don't know what the economy is going to do...

INTERVIEWER: Of course.

JOE: Essentially what that would do is, I'd have to see how much money is available after everything else is paid, to see if I can one, afford a new vehicle, two, outfit it, and then three, pay a good salary. And if I'm being taxed too much, one of those three things is going to get shorted. One, I won't be able to buy as good a good vehicle or I won't stock it as well, or the guy I hire - if I'm able to hire somebody - is not going to make as much as he should.

Dreaming about making a quarter million dollars in taxable income a year and he's already sure he can't pay his imaginary employees a decent salary. What a schmuck.

INTERVIEWER: Okay, and then he talked about 10, 15 years ago maybe you weren't making that sort of money, how would you feel - if you were just starting out, or maybe looking back - the kind of tax cut that he's promising for other people, does that still make you think that that's a great idea?

JOE: No. See, I believe in working for what I get. I don't want to say it's a handout, but essentially that's what it comes down to. You're going to tax someone else more that's been working hard to fulfill the American Dream and you're gonna give it to other people who - I'm not saying they don't work as hard, but I'm sure some of them don't - and I don't think it's right just to give it to them or reduce taxes on their part and hike it up on my part like a teeter totter to bring it back even. So no, that wouldn't - well, let me rephrase that. It would appeal to me because back then I was struggling. That kind of thing appeals to me - anybody wants to cut my taxes, I look at it very seriously ...

Tax cuts for people like me, or maybe people like me who don't work as hard is a handout ... because that means people like me, er them I mean, you're going to tax me more, at least after I spend years buy my whole two man plumbing deal and am on the road to being a millionaire. Er, strike that, that actually appeals to me ... but if someone offers me a tax cut, I have to think about it real hard.

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

McCain's brownshirt problem 

McCain: I admire Senator Obama and his accomplishments, and I respect him...
Audience: "Boo! Boo! Boo!"

McCain: [Obama] is a person you don't have to be scared of as President ...
Audience: "Boo! Boo! Boo!"

My Obama bumper-sticker was rudely removed and torn up in Wisconsin a few months ago. Since, far more serious attacks by vandals have occurred in California, Michigan, Utah, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Ohio, Florida, Tennasee Indiana, and Minnesota.

Right-wing anger has been stoked by Republicans for years. And specifically and recently by the McCain campaign against Obama. The successful results have been showing up at McCain/Palin campaign rallies. God is on their side, so all this is of course justified.

Look for it getting worse, even and particularly after the election.

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The crazy, grumpy old man campaigns! 

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

He can't raise his arms above his shoulders, but he can stick his foot in his mouth 

Talk about changing the subject ... from "he" to "that one".

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"That one" seems racist to me 

It seems the immediate take-away point of the debate was when McCain referred to Obama as "that one." If it doesn't immediately seem racist, turn who said it around.

Karen and I both looked at each other and exclaimed something like "What the ... huh?"

The most substantive instance of the grumpy, ornery McCain, I believe, is when he bizarrely interrupted Obama to "thank" him for saying "McCain suggests that somehow ... he's somber and responsible," only to have Obama continue his response which effectively turn McCain's criticism about Obama "announce[ing] that you're going to launch an attack into another country."

OBAMA: Sen. McCain, this is the guy who sang, "Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran," who called for the annihilation of North Korea. That I don't think is an example of "speaking softly."

This is the person who, after we had -- we hadn't even finished Afghanistan, where he said, "Next up, Baghdad."

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Agree with McCain on this - sort of 

I would order the secretary of the treasury to immediately buy up the bad home loan mortgages in America and renegotiate at the new value of those homes -- at the diminished value of those homes and let people be able to make those -- be able to make those payments and stay in their homes.

Is it expensive? Yes. But we all know, my friends, until we stabilize home values in America, we're never going to start turning around and creating jobs and fixing our economy.

However, this was the proposal I supported - as proposed and explained by two Yale economists two weeks ago before the Wall Street bailout was enacted - as an alternative to the Wall Street bailout.

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Na na, na-na Na-na, hey hey 

If McCains' crotchety and wandering performance in general were not enough, about an hour and 20 minutes into the debate McCain just lost any chance of turning the campaign around by saying, "Thank-you."

UPDATE: transcript

OBAMA: Now, Sen. McCain suggests that somehow, you know, I'm green behind the ears and, you know, I'm just spouting off, and he's somber and responsible.

MCCAIN: Thank you very much.

OBAMA: Sen. McCain, this is the guy who sang, "Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran," who called for the annihilation of North Korea. That I don't think is an example of "speaking softly."

This is the person who, after we had -- we hadn't even finished Afghanistan, where he said, "Next up, Baghdad."

So I agree that we have to speak responsibly and we have to act responsibly. And the reason Pakistan -- the popular opinion of America had diminished in Pakistan was because we were supporting a dictator, Musharraf, had given him $10 billion over seven years, and he had suspended civil liberties. We were not promoting democracy.

This is the kind of policies that ultimately end up undermining our ability to fight the war on terrorism, and it will change when I'm president.

MCCAIN: And, Tom, if -- if we're going to go back and forth, I then -- I'd like to have equal time to go -- to respond to...

BROKAW: Yes, you get the...

MCCAIN: ... to -- to -- to...

BROKAW: ... last word here, and then we have to move on.

MCCAIN: Not true. Not true. I have, obviously, supported those efforts that the United States had to go in militarily and I have opposed that I didn't think so.

I understand what it's like to send young American's in harm's way. I say -- I was joking with a veteran -- I hate to even go into this. I was joking with an old veteran friend, who joked with me, about Iran.

But the point is that I know how to handle these crises. And Sen. Obama, by saying that he would attack Pakistan, look at the context of his words. I'll get Osama bin Laden, my friends. I'll get him. I know how to get him.

I'll get him no matter what and I know how to do it. But I'm not going to telegraph my punches, which is what Sen. Obama did. And I'm going to act responsibly, as I have acted responsibly throughout my military career and throughout my career in the United States Senate.

And we have fundamental disagreements about the use of military power and how you do it, and you just saw it in response to previous questions.

McCain tried to zing Obama in a way that didn't make sense - while interrupting him no less - only to have Obama give one of his best answers. McCain's response: "I hate to even go into this. I was joking with an old veteran friend ...

UPDATE: video

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Snap poll - and mavericks don't engage in self-aggrandizement 

CNN,

On the question of the candidates' qualifications to assume the presidency, an immediately 87 percent of those polled said Biden is qualified and 42 percent said Palin is qualified.

In the context of a vice-presidential debate - and the wide media coverage of Palin's abysmal performance in the few interviews the McCain campaign has granted her - 87-45 is close enough to parity with current public sentiment so as to not be moving in the horse race. I believe, as mentioned below, Palin's answers didn't immediately lay bare her failure to grasp and comprehend policy issues - as her presentation far exceeded expectations.

The substance of Palin's answers will drive the narrative in the following days. Her desire to come off as an agreeable and optimistic candidate were at odds with several McCain positions. Which will only reaffirm the focus on the McCain campaign's non-existent rudder.

Saying I'll veto the first bill that comes across my desk with pork attached to it "and you will know their names" is great if the intention is to cue audience applause, but Americans in general are mindful of self-aggrandizement. Mark Twain and H.L. Mencken would have had a field day with this stuff (granted, current satirists are surely in the midst of a writing block).

The substance of McCain's running mate's performance was awkwardly inserted as non-sequiturs - she tried but failed to convincingly segue her responses into campaign talking points. Far from coming across as the maverick she promoted herself as, she revealed that she was only interested in addressing topics for which she had a prepared answer.

"I may not answer the questions that either the moderator or you want to hear," Palin defiantly declared early in the debate. And certainly she didn't.

By my count Palin called her campaign "maverick" at least four times. Actual mavericks don't heed much attention to their maverickism. If one has to promote one's self as a maverick, it rather negates the point.

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Right for once 

Predicting political sentiment is difficult at best for anyone, especially me. So I'd like to take this occasion to congratulate myself for spotting immediately after the first Obama/McCain debate what turned out to be pretty much every point of the ensuing media coverage.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

New observation 

It just occurred to me that McCain's claim that Obama doesn't have the constitution to work with congressional Republicans is a great odds with Obama going out of his way to repeatedly emphasize in his answers points on which he he believed McCain was "absolutely right."

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Immediate polling reactions 

Instant polling regarding the debate seems to indicate Obama clearly won. I'm figuring that McCain's refusal to engage Obama directly will be the main theme of coverage as it was quite bizarre and frankly, quite impolite. So I think my initial reaction wasn't as optimistic as it could have been --- especially being that I'm an Obama supporter who sees McCain as a washed up political opportunist.

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My reaction to the first debate 

I was excited that unlike 2004's format, this season's format allowed the candidates to directly engage in conversation with one another. Neither initially did, after encouragement from Leherer, Obama began to attempt back and forth dialogue but I didn't notice McCain even turn towards Obama once. He uttered a variation of "Obama doesn't understand ..." at least half a dozen times, yet didn't say it to Obama's face. I don't think he was afraid of engaging Obama - after all, it's the campaigns that set the rules - I think he was afraid of losing composure if he did get into a direct back and forth. I could also believe that it was a planned tactic to make McCain appear so dominant over Obama that he was above having to even talk to him. The net effect, I think, was making McCain appear haughtily condescending and petulant and making Obama seem engaged.

Both candidates sidestepped a few questions - the last, "What are the chances of being another 9/11?" was completely sidestepped by both, both to a lesser extent sidestepped what spending they may have to cut as a result of the $700 billion bailout.

Obama repeated the observation that McCain is a Bush Republican and intends to continue Bush policies; a strong point, but one that has been already made - although that reminder doesn't hurt Obama I don't think it will sink in with anyone who didn't already understand it.

McCain repeated a few of his stump speech and advertisement lies, but again, I believe most people already knew this, given the wide coverage of the dishonest nature of McCain's campaign. A lot of independents don't start paying attention to the campaigns until the debates, but the impact of follow-up coverage of the the facts and untruths presented will not affect them nearly as much as how the candidates presented themselves.

I do believe Obama's demeanor was much more presidential than McCain's - which wasn't presidential at all, but ornery. Add to that the fact that McCain leads Obama significantly in polls on national security and is basing the larger part of his campaign on that he his the clear choice for Commander in Chief, a draw on substance and a win for Obama in presentation will bring a noticeable shift towards Obama among undecideds and independents over the next few days.

Biden's evaluation, as to be expected goes beyond my prediction of a noticeable bump in polling for Obama: The debate was "fatal for McCain,

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Race to implode: McCain's base vs. the Economy 

Richard Cohen waves flag, abandons ship, "The Ugly New McCain,"

I am one of the journalists accused over the years of being in the tank for McCain. Guilty.

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

What do the McCain and Obama plans mean for YOUR tax bills? 

The Washington Post presented a more granular view earlier this week,

mccain vs obama tax plan

What does it mean that McCain continually claims Obama will raise "your" taxes? He's lying. I hope to chronicle all of the McCain campaign's lies of the last week tomorrow.

Unless the widely accepted increases in Democratic majorities in the Houses of Congress continue the rubber stamp of Bush policies into a McCain presidency, this only shows the priorities of the two presidential candidates. McCain: "Rich people are persecuted by the tax code. Rich people should be richer." Obama: "The richest people in America will still do well if their taxes are increased to that which they experienced under Clinton."

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Democrats way more organized this year 

The GOP's success in getting out the vote has been a pillar of their electoral success. This time around, it seems McCain is employing his same strategy as his foreign policy: shoot from the hip ... no overall strategy

I just received a well worded email from someone in my state precinct asking for help knocking on doors, replied and got a response in a few minutes.

Obama is simply more exciting than the yellow-toothed McCain. The media likes a close horserace, but the dynamics of this election tilt overbearingly to Obama.

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Saturday, September 06, 2008

It's over 

Democratic voter rolls up, Republicans down. McCain campaign recycling. (UPDATE: Flag story fabricated)

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For what it's worth 

McCain isn't baptized,

His wife and two his children have been baptized, but McCain has not. "I didn't find it necessary to do so for my spiritual needs," McCain explained.

If Obama wasn't baptized, it would be a major scandal, don't you think?

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Friday, September 05, 2008

Glued to McCain! 

I don't know what he meant, but it was all good!

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

Biggest small St. Paul Story 

McCain's acceptance speech audience didn't even fill the 21,000 seating capacity of the EXCEL Energy Center. Compare that to Obama's 84,000.

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Not much to it 

I honestly don't remember any of McCain's speech up to the point where he alluded to about a dozen policy particulars without doing more than mention all of them without explanation. About a quarter of them had to do with taxes.

We can assume the specifics have been promulgated in detail over the last eight years, so maybe no explanation was necessary. As his audience thundered for Bush, perhaps no explanation was necessary.

It seems obvious to me that this speech, along with Palin's of yesterday aimed to fire up the base of 20% of voters who really still dig Bush. So maybe the events of the last week primarily intend to reassure Republican donors' dollars haven't gone completely to waste ... "We fought the good fight".

PS: Reading TPM, they caught a bizarre backdrop from one point of the speech: Does this mean to convey McCain stands up for the good people of Margaritaville during their two and a half weeks of vacation? Luxury leaders, they are.

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Next up: McCain 

Dan Bartlett: McCain needs to introduce a "forward looking agenda".

Crowd goes wild for reference to Bush ... eager for 4 more years apparently ... and 9/11. Seconds round of Olympics style "USA! USA!"

Cindy is made up to look like Paris tonight. Just saying.

Third "USA!" ... something going on in audience.

Aimed at the "Washington crowd", McCain says change is coming. Spoken truly by a lifetime Washington insider.

Implies fighting pork earmarks will help Americans put food on our tables and gas in their tanks. Well, whatever, same thing, stealing from Peter to pay Paul.

Says he's fighting a lot for Americans, no specifics. Followed by much admirable and more or less specific criticism of other Washington Republicans.

Obama passed a corporate welfare bill benefiting big oil?

Tax cuts, globalization, spending, tax cuts, vague mention of affordable health care for individuals, tax cuts for business, doubling child tax credit, reduce government programs to reduce taxes, more globalization, changing unemployment from system designed for the '50's, find new job for those whose job went overseas - give lower paying jobs while retrained, equal access to education for all - give parents school choice (seems to be speaking of vouchers).

Stop sending $700 billion to oil states. ("USA!")

New offshore drilling. Build nuke plants, clean coal, renewable energy, natural gas.

Obama against new nuclear power plants?

Last three paragraphs grazing a dozen or so policy agendas were 5 minutes of the 40 minute speech so far.

Pretty much described Russia's invasion of Georgia as what we did to Iraq.

(Had to pee)

... picking up, seems to be promising less war later by more war now.

We must catch up to history and change the way government does everything.

Obama doesn't have the scars to prove he can change America (???!).

Promises to appoint Democrats and independents.

Says he's blessed by not being able to avoid being shot down in Vietnam.

The reminiscing "reluctant" POW has now gone on about his POW years longer than his hap-hazard hits on issues of national importance.

"USA! USA!"

"... IF YOU'RE UNHAPPY WITH OUR GOVERNMENT, MAKE IT A BETTER ONE ..." Dangerously close to "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right."

Good lord, canned "raising McCain" song. YEEEEEEE HAAAAAAAAA!!!! "We're all just-a-raising McCain!" This means if he dies, he has a second shot at it before Sarah Palin?

"USA! USA!"

Didn't mention "God" but two or three times I noticed. Possibly his death knell.

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Tell us something we didn't know 

McCain's campaign manager accidentally reveals their thinly veiled strategy,

This Election is Not About Issues.

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Sunday, August 31, 2008

John McCain's apartment 

See more funny videos at Funny or Die. (via Oliver Willis)

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Lots of lawsuits? 

Hosting a nominating convention is only second to hosting the Olympics when it comes to drawing new economic activity to a city. There are literally hundreds of events each day.

Cities compete for years for the opportunity. I live in the Twin Cities making websites for a living - a significant amount of my work over the last year has involved websites related to the convention. Business large and small have invested millions in the event.

I was at a dinner party Friday night.

crab boil

One of the stories recounted was of a catering business owned by someone we all tangentially know. She had won for her business contracts to provide sweets at a few convention-related events. She had invested in new equipment and staff to raise her serving capacity from 500 to to 1600. Hopefully her events will still be held.

By canceling even the one day of activities is going to be a huge headache: the entities holding events are going to have to decide whether to hold or cancel their own events, and separately from that decision decide whether to honor the contracts for a canceled event.

Someone is going to end up holding the short end of the stick in each canceled event. And those that are small businesses not able to write off such losses are going to hurt a lot.

(The decisions being made by everyone, including the McCain campaign, are difficult and there's no clear right tack to take. However, a McCain acceptance speech via satellite from the Gulf Coast would be patently ridiculous.)

Here is an optimistic article about the Gustav's potential impact on economic activity surrounding a scaled-back convention, here is a pessimistic view.

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Friday, August 29, 2008

In mysterious ways 

It appears possible that God may still answer right-wing conservatives' prayer for rain, but at a time and place of His choosing.

Gustav's projected path

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hard act to follow 

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But Republicans aren't that stupid 

Following up my last post which referenced Republican voters' general lack of intellectual depth, I'll now brin g up something that has puzzled me for weeks. McCain is asking voters not to vote for Obama claiming that Obama will raise "your" taxes. Anybody paying the slightest attention knows that a key Obama campaign promise is to lower taxes for 95% of workers.

An effective false smear has to have at least some plausibility of truth. The 2004 swift-boat smears about Kerry succeeded because Kerry himself spoke of his service in Vietnam, giving the outrageous claims some measure of believability, however slight, for those dispositioned to wish to believe them. But the claim Obama will raise "your" taxes is completely ungrounded by even the most distorted take on anything Obama has ever said or done.

Unless you're not middle or lower class. Which McCain has defined as everybody making less than $5 million a year - this a smear with the plausibility of belief because McCain actually said it, even if clearly in jest. The believability of the $5 million smear sinks in to those wishing to believe it because it's buttressed by the demonstrable fact that McCain's campaign promises would indeed favor the very rich over everybody else. McCain's lavish life has also truly and demonstrably placed him out of touch with the un-rich: reference his sincere claims that no American would pick lettuce for $50/hr and that "You could make an argument that there's been great progress economically over" the Bush years.

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I'll cede my take on Obama's acceptance speech to an unlikely voice 

If McCain is planning on following up with ads that all Obama has to offer is speeches, I'm quite confident in believing he's overestimating the intellectual curiosity of the Republican base.

Update: doublethink.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

McCain don't know how much he's got 

Crooks and Liars.

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Krugman on Republicans 

Krugman,

[I]n the world we actually live in, pro-corporate, inequality-increasing Republicans argue that you should vote for them because they're regular guys you'd like to have a beer with, while Democrats who want to raise taxes on top earners, expand health care and raise the minimum wage are snooty elitists.

If there's anything else we need to understand about the economics of the 2004 elections, I don't know what it would be. The queer phenomenon of down-and-out social conservatives gathering at the gated communities of their corporate overlords pitchforks and torches in hand, bellowing, "We are here to lower your taxes!!" is described in detail by Thomas Frank in his phenomenal book What's the Matter with Kansas.

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The Republican wrecking crew 

From the Strib,

Vandals broke three plate-glass windows and a glass door early Sunday at presidential candidate Barack Obama's state headquarters in St. Paul.

Here is what someone thought of my Obama bumper sticker (purchased at said Obama headquarters) that I displayed at a golf resort in Wisconsin a few weekends ago.

UPDATE: A billboard outside of the MSP airport welcoming the kerrfluckers' overlords:

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Timing 

Days before McCain's inevitable gaffe yesterday regarding the number of houses he owned, the backlash had already begun. From August 18, four days ago:

A conspiracy theorist couldn't make the timing more destructive to the McCain campaign.

I believed John Kerry was playing rope-a-dope in 2004. I was wrong then, but even if rope-a-dope wasn't Obama's plan, McCain yesterday showed his real colors in a way that will firmly make it Obama's election to lose.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

American politics 

That's one of the back porches off the master bedroom in one of the mansions owned by the presidential candidate who's running a campaign highlighting the accusation that his African-American opponent is "elitist".

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The Nuge is an idiot 

The print and television media coverage is obviously biased in favor of Sen. Obama, yet you do not hear McCain complaining about it. He continues to march face-first into the howling political winds like an American buffalo on a mission. I like that.

When Obama received European adulation (as if he were the Second Coming), McCain did not complain but rather continued his steadfast campaign on American turf.

"No Whiners Allowed"
By Ted Nugent

Here is just a sampling of the many complaints over much time from the McCain camp about Obama and the media.

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Monday, August 04, 2008

Republicans come out against properly inflated tires 

Good Lord, kill me now. Jesus Christ at a waffle bar.

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Damned if you do or don't 

The McCain campaign feebly attacks Obama not only in a ridiculous manner but in a ridiculous manner that is equally applied to McCain.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

FOX push-polling 

I've gotten used to the fact that FOX NEWS is a crypto-Republican public relations firm, but even unscrupulous public relations firms stay away from push-polling. The assimilation of FOX News into the Republican party apparatus is now complete.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

McCain knows what the Iraqi PM really REALLY wants deep down inside 

Iraqis are begging for us to stay, nomatter what they may say. McSame,

"I have been there too many times. I've met too many times with him, and I know what they want."

Full interview (with commentary) is a hoot.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Republican myth vs reality II 

The goal of the "Iraq surge" was to give breathing room to Iraqi political leaders to find political reconciliation. Republicans are not claiming the surge has succeded.

Although violence is down, the mission has failed.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Republican myth vs reality 

Reality.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

SC Governor on economic differences between Bush and McSame 

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

So, a candidate walks in to a foreign language class and says 

Q: Europeans call people who speak two languages bilingual and those who speak one language trilingual. What do they call Americans who speak one language?

A: American.

From TPM (the language thing is near the beginning, hang out to the end to see McCain hop off his stump long enough to tread onto Obama's (Obama "is living proof of the greatness of America")

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

But McCain's a Republican 

From The Strib,

The head of the Minnesota Gambling Control Board said that a solicitation for funds on the national website of the Barack Obama presidential campaign may constitute a raffle, which is a violation of Minnesota gambling laws.

Tom Barrett, executive director of the board, said he will ask the state Department of Public Safety to look into the matter.

... The Obama website, which is soliciting funds of up to $2,300, says anyone who makes a contribution to the Obama campaign of $5 or more between now and July 31 "could be one of 10 supporters chosen to meet Barack backstage" in Denver.

From John McCain's website,

Be the lucky supporter to ride with John McCain on the Straight Talk Express on an upcoming bus tour. Everyone who donates between now and June 30th is eligible.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Reagan vs McCain 

Reagan on meeting with adversaries,

"We had quite a meeting there with [Gorbachev] and his people. I can remember a few things about that because of the oddity of it. We decided that the subject of the summit meeting would be mutual reduction of armaments and he agreed on that ...

"Then the first meeting with him, real meeting, it was going to be the first meeting in a big home along Lake Geneva and at a table like this only a little longer he and his team on one side and me and my team on the other to deal with the weapons.

"I told my people what I was going to do so they wouldn't be surprised. As everybody started to sit down, I looked across the table at him and I said, 'Why don't we let our two teams start this discussion about the reduction of the weaponry and all, and why don't you and I get some fresh air? He was out of his chair before I finished that sentence, and there he was. So, he and I left and we walked about a 150 yards down across the lawn to the lake where there was a beach house, and again I had told our people about this.

"It was cold, a real wintry day and that beach house had a big roaring fire going in the fireplace. We entered and in there were the two translators. I stopped him before we even sat down and looked right at him and I said, 'I'm going to give you a quotation that's not mine. Someone else has said that we mistrust each other because we're armed.' I said, 'I believe we're armed because we mistrust each other.'

"Then I said, ... 'wouldn't it be fine if we would spend just as much time trying to find out the reasons for our mistrust?'… I said to him that we should do this and I said, 'The only alternative to this is we resume the arms race.' Then, looking him right in the eye, I said, 'That is a race you can't win. There is no way we're going to permit you to be superior to us in weaponry.'

"So he took that and we sat down and the meeting went under way for an hour and a half. Then, I figured that we'd better get back up to the rest of our people, so we got up and we started back up the hill."

McCain on meeting with adversaries,

Republican presidential contender John McCain on Friday said he would meet with leaders of Iran and North Korea only if the encounter would guarantee a U.S. win.

"The logic is, you don't want to do something that enhances the image and prestige of someone who is your adversary, OK?" McCain told reporters traveling with him on a four-day campaign trip to New Hampshire's northern regions.

The Arizona senator said there could be disastrous results if the outcome of meetings with any hostile leaders were not predetermined.

"Are you going to accomplish something? That's the key. If you're going to go in and you're confident you are going to accomplish something, fine, do it," he said. "Know what the outcome is going to be so you're not embarrassed by the person you're taking to walking out and embarrassing (you) and enhancing their own prestige."

The further irony is that the Reagan quote is from a deposition he gave regarding his administration's effort to improve US-Iranian relations by arming them with US weapons.

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Saturday, June 07, 2008

McCain senility watch 

His co-opting of Obama's campaign slogan and imagery is quite bizarre. And he says a lot of things that sound like what they just might be: ramblings of a senile geezer.

Today, he referenced Reagan when speaking of reducing deficits. McCain was in the House of Representatives for the last six years of Reagan's terms. Whatever the reason he mentioned Reagan - forgotten about the huge deficits, hoping everybody else forgot or just pulling Reagan out of his ass - it is not the sort of statement one with the aptitude to lead the country would say.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

HELP! HELP! WON'T YOU PLEEEEASE HEEELP MEEEEE! 

From the tone of the email John McCain just sent me, it seems he's likely to bow out before Clinton,

Never in memory have the Democrats, liberal special interests groups, labor unions and unregulated "527" soft-money groups come together with so much money and so much determination toward one purpose: Defeating Republicans.

They want the White House. They want Congress. They want total control of government. And with record-breaking fundraising and voter turnout in Democrat primaries and caucuses nationwide, the challenge to our Party is greater than at any time in modern history.

I truly believe the only way we can stop the Democrats is if dedicated Republicans, like you, step forward immediately and support the Republican National Committee's VICTORY 2008 project -- a grassroots effort that is the backbone of our entire Republican Party.

As our Party's presumptive nominee for President and as a fellow Republican, I am asking you personally to help the RNC's critical VICTORY 2008 campaign to strengthen our Party, to spread our conservative message, and to rally more Americans behind our Republican candidates.

Please help me kick-off the RNC's VICTORY 2008 project by clicking here to make a generous online contribution of $1,000, $500, $100, $50 or $25 or as much as you can afford to support our campaign efforts.

E, let me tell you why your help is so urgent.

The aggressive campaign being played out for the Democrat nomination is showing us one very crucial fact: The Democrats and their liberal allies are building the most massive political fundraising machine ever seen.

They are growing their mailing lists and phone banks, perfecting their technologies, developing their money-raising techniques -- from telephones to text-messaging to mail to the Internet to knocking on doors. And it is working.

With all the hype and media attention focused on their campaigns -- Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have managed to raise a staggering $425 million between them. Together they raised more than $60 million in the month of March alone. This is an unheard of amount of money in the history of American elections -- it's approaching a half a billion dollars.

The upcoming elections could be the most important in decades -- and have far-reaching implications for America's future security, growth, and prosperity.

If we fail to elect conservative Republican leadership in Washington, D.C. and all across the country, we face a return to the Democrats' tried-and-failed liberal policies that embrace higher taxes, more government spending, socialized medicine, and surrender in Iraq.

These are not the solutions to our country's greatest challenges.

That is why we are calling on our Party's very best -- individuals like you -- and getting them involved at the highest level in the RNC's victory-building campaign.

E, as someone who has done so much in the past for our Party, may we continue to count on your support at this very important time?

Your secure online gift of $1,000, $500, $100, $50 or $25 will be used for promoting our Republican agenda, identifying Republican and Republican-leaning voters, conducting voter education and Absentee Ballot programs as well as funding our vital voter registration program, with the goal of registering 2 million new Republican voters before Election Day.

With your help, the RNC will fight to make sure we have a Republican seated in the White House and strong Republicans in Congress and offices all across the nation who will push forward our conservative vision for America that includes lowering our taxes, reducing wasteful government spending, and ensuring victory in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We need you with us. I hope to hear from you soon and I look forward to working with you throughout this campaign.

Sincerely,

John McCain

P.S. The Democrats are assembling massive rallies, breaking records at the polls, and raising unprecedented campaign funds for their candidates. Every vote, every dollar makes a difference in this election. E, I'm counting on you, as a loyal Republican Party supporter, to answer this challenge and join the RNC's VICTORY 2008 by making a secure online contribution of $1,000, $500, $100, $50 or $25. Thank you.

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

An eulogy for movement conservatism 

In his wide-ranging essay The Fall of Conservatism: Have the Republicans run out of ideas?, George Packer observes,

In its final year, the Bush Administration is seen by many conservatives (along with seventy per cent of Americans) to be a failure. Among true believers, there are two explanations of why this happened and what it portends. One is the purist version: Bush expanded the size of government and created huge deficits; allowed Republicans in Congress to fatten lobbyists and stuff budgets full of earmarks; tried to foist democracy on a Muslim country; failed to secure the border; and thus won the justified wrath of the American people. This account - shared by Pat Buchanan, the columnist George F. Will, and many Republicans in Congress - has the appeal of asking relatively little of conservatives. They need only to repent of their sins, rid themselves of the neoconservatives who had agitated for the Iraq invasion, and return to first principles. Buchanan said, "The conservatives need to, in Maoist terms, go back to Yenan."

The second version - call it reformist - is more painful, because it's based on the recognition that, though Bush's fatal incompetence and Rove's shortsighted tactics hastened the conservative movement's demise, they didn't cause it. In this view, conservatism has a more serious problem than self-betrayal: a doctrinaire failure to adapt to new circumstances, new problems. Instead of heading back to Yenan to regroup, conservatives will have to spend some years or even decades wandering across a bleak political landscape of losing campaigns and rebranding efforts and earnest policy retreats, much as liberals did after 1968, before they can hope to reëstablish dominance.

The whole article is good. It lays out that movement conservatives have been replaying the 1972 election ever since and their anti-government views have necessarily made them ineffective at their elected responsibility: to govern.

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Friday, May 16, 2008

McCain erndorser is freak. Freak 

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Sunday, May 04, 2008

FYI, McCain's 100 year context 

The questioner asked, "I do not believe that one more soldier being killed every day is success. There were three U.S. soldiers killed today. I want to know, How long are we going to be there?" John McCain replied,

I can look you in the eye and tell you that those casualties tragically continue ... But they are much less, and they are dramatically reduced and we will eventually eliminate them.

To this, the questioner famously responded,

President Bush has talked about our staying in Iraq for fifty years.

McCain: Make it a hundred.

McCain's goal in Iraq is to stay until no Americans are being killed there. Which to anybody who's been paying attention means never and always. Under McCain, we will be in Iraq, ready to be killed forever.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

McEnomics 

From an email John McCain sent me today,

Today, there are 47 million uninsured individuals in the U.S., and nearly a quarter of them are children. High costs and limited access are the underlying, fundamental problems in our healthcare system.

As you know, both Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are touting outrageously expensive and unrealistic universal health care plans - a government monopoly over health care.

Unlike my opponents, I do not believe that all of our nation's problems can be solved by turning control over to our government, with all the tax increases, new mandates and government regulation that come with that idea.

The Mcain solution,

I will reform the tax code to provide every family the option of receiving a direct, refundable tax deposit - effectively $2,500 for individuals and $5,000 cash for families to offset the cost of insurance.

McCain openly admits he's no economic genius, however few realize this means he can't multiply or divide even with the assistance of senior campaign lobbyists aides.

Assuming every U.S. household received McCain's proposed individual refund ("$$$CASH$$$" no less!), the math is,

126,316,181 US Households x $2,500 each = $315,790,452,500

Without raising taxes, McCain is proposing greater than a new $316 billion unfunded mandate. In other terms he's proposing more than doubling the yearly deficit.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

McCain must ExPlain 

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Senile or stupid? 

Your guess as good as any.

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Friday, April 11, 2008

Only an idiot 

During the Crocker and Petraeus testimonies earlier this week, McCain asserted that we're "no longer staring into the abyss of defeat" in Iraq.

He's a trainwreck in every sense of the word - I'm embarrassed to watch video clips of him when my girlfriend is within earshot.

I can't imagine Americans are as stupid as McCain assumes. You can go back and back and back and you'll find McCain always saying we're winning (even if it may take another six months for it to really turn around) and never find him anywhere nearly as pessimistic as "staring into the abyss of defeat".

In fact, according to McCain, we're pretty much perpetually coming out of the abyss ... we just need another six months.

Update: check out the second result for "six months":

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