Archive for September, 2009

“Hijacked” by the “Oligarchy”

Posted in Politics on September 29, 2009 by lylede

In a previous post here, (“You say you want a revolution…”) I wrote that Wall Street and our government are one and the same and that legislation is passed or killed based on what the moneyed interests want and not the people.

Now it’s certainly easy to dismiss such comments as the pathetic, liberal ravings of a lefty. But when a legitimate, successful businessman, and a capitalist all the way, says the same thing and goes further, it is truly sad and frightening.

I don’t watch much television but after reading Even Glenn Beck Is Right Twice a Day, NY Times Op-Ed, 9-19-09, I was shocked to find myself agreeing with something Beck had to say (we’ll get to that businessman shortly):

“Wall Street owns our government,” Beck declared in one rant this July. “Our government and these gigantic corporations have merged.” He drew a chart to dramatize the revolving door between Washington and Goldman Sachs in both the Hank Paulson and Timothy Geithner Treasury departments.”

My curiosity extremely piqued, I clicked on the drew a chart link, which led to a Huffington Post piece and video clip from one of Beck’s shows. In the clip Beck goes off on a confusing, but well-deserved rant about the ties between Wall Street powerhouse Goldman Sachs and our federal government. One thing that set him off was when, this past summer and after taking $10 billion in taxpayer bailout money, Goldman Sachs posted a profit of $3.44 billion for the second quarter.

I urge you to watch the clip, which runs about ten minutes. Stay with it, especially for the last three minutes or so, when Beck interviews the businessman I mentioned above, Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne. Here’s a guy who is a capitalist through and through. He runs a very legitimate, successful Internet company that has been around for several years. And what he has to say about America is truly frightening.

During the interview Beck says that the way Goldman Sachs is tied to the government, it’s “a criminal organization.”

“It’s as if we bailed out the Corleone family,” Byrne replied, “and then they turn around two quarters later and have a record quarter. This is rich bankers bailing out rich bankers on your credit card.”

“Will you agree with me that Wall Street owns our government?” Beck asked.

“Absolutely. Economists have a term for it, it’s called Regulatory Capture.” Byrne told him. “Society sets up regulators to protect us from certain industries like Wall Street but often these regulators come under the thumb of the industry and they’re called a captured regulator. Wall Street has captured the institutions that are supposed to have protected our country from Wall Street. They’ve just become wholly owned subsidiaries.”

Beck shoots back with: “Our government and these gigantic corporations have merged and if you’re not in one of those gigantic corporations forget about it, Jack.”

Byrne then gets truly scary. “It’s called an oligarchy (government by a few, well-connected people.) A group of powerful folks who have basically hijacked the government. We have an oligarchy who’s captured Washington, DC and they have just prevented, they’ve manufactured this… they’ve manufactured the loopholes that let this happen and they’re doing everything they can do to keep those loopholes from being closed.”

Not good. Not good at all. Sing it with me: “You say you want a revolution…”

ADDITIONAL READING:

For a great explanation on how Wall Street and the bankers took America and the world to the cleaners watch a guy named William K. (Bill) Black being interviewed on PBS by Bill Moyers. Bill Black was a government regulator during the S&L scandal of the late 1980s (brought to you by another Bush, George H.W.) and was formerly the Director of the Institute for Fraud Prevention. He now teaches economics and law at the University of Missouri, Kansas City and wrote the book The Best Way to Rob A Bank is to Own One.

Black further proves my point of Wall Street and our government being one and the same when during the interview he points out how, as the economy imploded in the fall of 2008, former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who prior to getting that job was CEO of Goldman Sachs (which is a major problem to start with!), created a recommendation group to tell the Treasury Department what they should do about the AIG disaster. Guess whom he included on the panel of this recommendation group? That’s right, friends of his from Goldman Sachs, who also happened to have a huge stake in the outcome of how the government handled AIG. This was an immense conflict of interest, yet they got away with it.

I also urge you to read the great investigative reporting done by Matt Taibbi for Rolling Stone Magazine. Here’s a great piece called Inside The Great American Bubble Machine – Matt Taibbi on how Goldman Sachs has engineered every major market manipulation since the Great Depression.

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Why Everyone Needs to Know About Wendell Potter

Posted in Politics on September 19, 2009 by lylede

Some of the most damning, heinous inside information to ever be released is being divulged by Wendell Potter. For 20 years Mr. Potter worked as a corporate public relations executive, mostly in health care. Last year he quit his job as head of communications for Cigna, one of America’s largest health insurers. Prior to that job he served in the same capacity for Humana, another big health insurance company.

In 2007 Mr. Potter had an epiphany of sorts. He went to see Michael Moore’s documentary, “Sicko,” a scathing film about our health care system. Mr. Potter wanted to develop a propaganda attack against the film but suddenly found himself agreeing with most of what he saw up on the screen.

In Health Care Fit for Animals, NY Times Op-Ed, 8-27-09, Mr. Potter says he “flew in corporate jets to industry meetings to plan how to block health reform” and concocted “messaging to scare the public about reform.”

Mr. Potter has been interviewed on MSNBC, PBS and testified before Congress. According to Whistleblower is Dems’ best ammo in health care fight, NY Daily News, 8-3-09, “As a homegrown Southerner from Tennessee, Wendell Potter would be hard to dismiss. Even the people who sometimes blindly support fear-based policy would listen long and hard. Those fear-based policies function against their own interests but are presented as a socialist plot bent on destroying our health care system and doing the public in. But Potter said this to Bill Moyers early last month:

“I am speaking out about how big for-profit insurers have hijacked our health care system and turned it into a giant ATM for Wall Street investors, and how the industry is using its massive wealth and influence to determine what is (and is not) included in the health care reform legislation members of Congress are now writing. I was in a unique position to see not only how Wall Street analysts and investors influence decisions insurance company executives make, but also how the industry has carried out behind-the-scenes PR and lobbying campaigns to kill or weaken any health care reform efforts that threatened insurers’ profitability.”

The health insurance problem gets more frightening as Potter gets specific about public relations campaigns he worked on in a piece he wrote for CNN.com called Commentary: How insurance firms drive debate, 8-17-09.

“…the (health insurance) industry funnels millions of its policyholders’ premiums to big public relations firms that provide talking points to conservative talk show hosts, business groups and politicians. I also described (during his Capitol Hill press conference) how the PR firms set up front groups, again using your premium dollars and mine, to scare people away from reform.

What I’m trying to do as I write and speak out against the insurance industry I was a part of for nearly two decades is to inform Americans that when they hear isolated stories of long waiting times to see doctors in Canada and allegations that care in other systems is rationed by “government bureaucrats,” someone associated with the insurance industry wrote the original script.” (Emphasis added)

Not only is this a terrible indictment of the health insurance industry but it also speaks volumes about how pathetic public relations is in America. In one of the mother of all PR deceptions, just prior to Persian Gulf War I, in October of 1990 a tearful 15-year old Kuwaiti girl who called herself Nayirah told a Congressional caucus (lying to a Congressional committee is a crime, lying to a caucus is “public relations,” see Additional Reading below) that she watched in horror as invading Iraqi soldiers removed babies from incubators in a Kuwait City hospital, left the babies “on the cold floor to die” then shipped the much-needed incubators back to Iraq.

Unfortunately this was all a lie and the girl was the daughter of Saud Nasir al-Sabah, Kuwait’s Ambassador to the US. The story was a total fabrication, made up by PR-powerhouse Hill & Knowlton, who was paid over $10 million by the Kuwaiti royal family to convince Americans to go to war against Iraq.

Getting back to Mr. Potter, he goes on to write that the health care industry goes to great lengths to hide its involvement in PR campaigns from the public. He closes the CNN.com piece with: “So the next time you hear someone warning against a “government takeover” of our health care system, or that the creation of a public health insurance option would send us down the “slippery slope toward socialism,” know that someone like I used to be the one who wrote those terms, knowing it might turn many of the very people who would benefit most from meaningful reform into unwitting spokespeople for the industry.”

Shortly after Mr. Potter saw “Sicko” he visited his parents in Tennessee. During that trip he went to a charity program set up at a county fairground that provided medical treatment for people who could not afford doctors.

The NY Times piece, Health Care Fit for Animals, notes that “Long lines of people were waiting in the rain, and patients were being examined and treated in public in stalls intended for livestock.” Another epiphany for Mr. Potter as he is quoted as saying, “It was a life-changing event to witness that.”

The article also says Mr. Potter argues that tough health insurance regulation is essential and “a robust public option is an essential part of any health reform, to compete with for-profit insurers and keep them honest.”

ADDITIONAL READING:

Please click on the links in the above post and read all three articles I cite, they’re great. One of them, Health Care Fit for Animals, NY Times Op-Ed, 8-27-09, details how health insurance companies deny claims and cancel policies after a paying customer gets sick and needs costly care so they can increase profits and keep their stock prices high.

Hill & Knowlton (see their profile at SourceWatch – A Project of the Center for Media and Democracy) is one of the oldest PR firms in America and represented the tobacco industry from 1953 to 1968. While whoring for big tobacco Hill & Knowlton created an advertising campaign to counter scientific evidence that linked smoking to lung cancer.

Read The Babies From Incubators Hoax (from SourceWatch – A Project of the Center for Media and Democracy) to see how Hill & Knowlton created a front group, Citizens for a Free Kuwait, held press conferences showing torture by Iraqi soldiers and distributed thousands of “Free Kuwait” T-shirts and bumper stickers to convince Americans to go to war. Dozens of other tactics, including setting up media interviews for visiting Kuwaitis, creating observances like National Free Kuwait Day and making video news releases shown by TV news directors who rarely, if ever, mentioned that the footage and stories were created by Hill & Knowlton, were employed by the PR powerhouse.

You can also read here about how Hill & Knowlton executives were extremely well connected to the Reagan and Bush I administrations. It also points out how the two politicians who held the House Human Rights Caucus hearing where the incubator story was told also used for one of their foundations, free of charge, office space in Hill & Knowlton’s Washington, DC office.

The Truth Behind “You Lie”

Posted in Politics on September 19, 2009 by lylede

When Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) yelled out “you lie” during President Obama’s health care speech to Congress and the nation he wasn’t upset because of Obama’s plan.

Wilson doesn’t care about serious health care reform because his taskmasters/campaign contributors don’t want him to do anything that would hurt their bottom line. And just who are these taskmasters/campaign contributors?

According to OpenSecrets.org (part of the Center for Responsive Politics and a nonpartisan organization that shows the influence money has on U.S. elections and public policy) Wilson’s biggest campaign contributor (for the 2009-2010 campaign cycle) is the American Hospital Association at $7,000. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association gave him $6,000 while health insurer Blue Cross/Blue Shield gave him $3,250. 

The health care industry largesse continues: Astra Zeneca Pharmaceuticals gave him $2,500, the American Society of Anesthesiologists $2,500 and Merck, Eli Lilly & Co. and Glaxo Smith Kline each gave him $1,000. Click here for his OpenSecrets.org profile.

To reclaim our democracy it is imperative that we get corporate money out of politics. For more on this see “You say you want a revolution…” on this blog.

“You say you want a revolution…”

Posted in Politics on September 12, 2009 by lylede

Man were the Beatles right. We need serious changes in the way our government operates, and we need them NOW. We are living in truly heinous times. While most people think things are bad because of the “Great Recession” they don’t understand the root causes: the fact that Wall Street and our government are one and the same (it’s always been that way) and as a result legislation is passed or killed based on what the moneyed interests want and not the people.

To further prove my point, the government bailout program for the financial industry (which was really a quid pro quo agreement – you give us campaign contributions, we cover your losses when you screw up royally) does not require banks to tell the Treasury Department how they are spending the taxpayer’s money.

This, “despite recommendations from the bailout’s special inspector general that the government demand a periodic accounting.” (See The Crisis, a Year Later – NY Times editorial, 9-9-09) The article concludes that without this information it will be impossible to figure out the efficiency of the bailout and difficult to create reforms to make sure such a catastrophe doesn’t happen again.

Are you kidding me?! This is a friggin’ joke people!

Our government is so corrupt pundits are actually praising Nixon – that’s right, Nixon! NY Times Op-Ed columnist Paul Krugman, in Missing Richard Nixon, 8-31-09, wrote:

“But the Nixon era was a time in which leading figures in both parties were capable of speaking rationally about policy, and in which policy decisions weren’t as warped by corporate cash as they are now. America is a better country in many ways than it was 35 years ago, but our political system’s ability to deal with real problems has been degraded to such an extent that I sometimes wonder whether the country is still governable.” (Emphasis added.)

And Krugman closes the piece appropriately with:

“I’m not saying that reformers should give up. They do, however, have to realize what they’re up against. …Actually turning this country around is going to take years of siege warfare against deeply entrenched interests, defending a deeply dysfunctional political system.” (Emphasis added.)

“Seige warfare?!” “A deeply dysfunctional political system?!” This is truly heavy and frightening stuff coming from the mainstream press.

Krugman writes about how our “corporate-cash-dominated system” makes reform of any kind “extremely difficult” and that the health insurance industry is currently spending a whopping $1.4 million a day lobbying Congress in an attempt to kill any legislation that hurts its bottom line. I want someone to show me where in that most hallowed of all documents, our Constitution, the word lobbying appears and where lobbyists are granted so much power.

The same column also discusses Nixon’s health care reforms, ideas proposed nearly 40 years ago (that’s right, the health insurance industry with its campaign cash has been killing reform for at least four decades) and Krugman points out how Nixon’s proposals were actually stronger than ObamaCare.

Nixon wanted all employers, regardless of business size, to offer health insurance. He also wanted – gasp, that’s right, a REPUBLICAN proposed this – “tighter regulation of insurers, calling on states to approve specific plans, oversee rates, ensure adequate disclosure, require an annual audit and take other appropriate measures.”

And if that $1.4 million per day in lobbying (which is synonymous with bribing) isn’t bad enough, Krugman’s All the President’s Zombies – NY Times Op-Ed, 8-24-09 notes that “In particular, vast amounts of insurance industry money have been flowing to obstructionist Democrats like Mr. (Ben) Nelson (Nebraska) and Senator Max Baucus (Montana), whose Gang of Six negotiations have been a crucial roadblock to legislation.”

To get an idea of just how vast that money is and how the pigs at the trough in Congress slop it up, from 2003 to 2008 Senator Baucus took $479,100 from health services and HMOs and another $855,813 from pharmaceuticals and health products makers (see Baucus’ profile at OpenSecrets.org.)

Matt Taibbi’s “Sick and Wrong. How Washington is screwing up health care reform and why it may take a revolt to fix it.” (Rolling Stone, Issue 1086, 9-3-09, and my apologies for no link, their articles are not available for free online) claims Baucus has taken overall $2,880,631 from the health care industry. And the article also notes that two of Baucus’ ex-chiefs of staff and several of his former staffers now work as lobbyists for health care companies.

From 2003 to 2008 Senator Nelson’s third biggest individual campaign contributor was Blue Cross/Blue Shield, which gave him $60,900 of largesse. During that same time period the pharmaceuticals and health products industries gave him $296,098 (see Nelson’s profile at OpenSecrets.org.)

Another pundit, Errol Louis from the NY Daily News, also gets radical in his great column Citizens must be heard as the debate over President Barack Obama’s health care plan heats up, 7-30-09. He writes:

“We the people need to get organized and get loud about how to change America’s broken health care system before our voices get drowned out altogether. A good place to start is with the Universal Health Care Action Network, whose Web site lists contact info on more than a dozen pro-reform national campaigns (uhcan.org).

Sign up for any and all of them, and devote as much time, money and energy as you can to the fight for health care. You will not only help fix health care, you’ll help reclaim our democracy from the big-money vultures that are destroying it.” (Emphasis added.)

Wake up people! Every member of Congress needs to be bitch slapped, along with every health insurance company executive!

Here’s what we should do. Remember the infamous climax to the movie Frankenstein, where the angry villagers, pitchforks and flaming torches thrust forward, chase down the big, scary monster?

We should all lay siege to the health insurance vultures’ corporate headquarters, with pitchforks and torches at hand. We’ll then drag out all the multi-millionaire executives, who got rich by denying claims and constantly raising rates, and force them into the Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

We’ll lock the doors and tell the legislative vultures inside to fix the mess they’ve created with their friends at the health insurance companies or face another Boston Tea Party – they all get tossed into the Potomac River!

Osama Who?

Posted in Politics on September 10, 2009 by lylede

EDITOR’S NOTE: This post, along with Does George Bush Know the Bronx Exists? and Politics as Usual? Hopefully not, are a bit dated but I moved them over from a defunct political blog. Newer posts appear below Politics as Usual? Hopefully not.

Tomorrow marks a sad day, eight years since 9-11. And thanks to the horribly misguided and grossly corrupt George W. Bush and Dick Cheney we still haven’t captured or killed the real bastards who attacked us on 9-11. It is absolutely criminal and disgusting. I wrote the following piece three years ago. It unfortunately still rings true.

New York City, August 2006

As we approach the fifth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, it is truly sad how we are not even remotely close to capturing or killing Osama bin Laden (or his second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahri or former Taliban leader Mullah Omar). What is even sadder is the fact that our misguided, incompetent leaders, from President Bush to his entire administration, never even say the name Osama bin Laden. This was apparent as far back as 2003, when the administration began ratcheting up the drive to invade Iraq — and replaced bin Laden with Saddam Hussein. In response to the President’s silence on the 9/11 mastermind, Bob Graham, then a Democratic Senator from Florida, referred to the al Qaeda leader as “Osama bin Forgotten.” I wouldn’t be surprised if Karl Rove issued this edict: Don’t mention his name!

So today, five years after 9-11, the administration is still toeing their pathetic line that somehow Saddam Hussein was the real threat and we needed to get rid of him. Right, Saddam Hussein, the man that had nothing to do with September 11 and never attacked America during his nearly three decades in power. We don’t even get updates from the President or his minions on how the hunt for bin Laden is going. I guess when you don’t mention someone’s name, you can bet on people forgetting about him and don’t need to even bother to seriously try and track him down.

The media is also at fault here. Sure, as we approach the five-year mark you’ll be hearing about bin Laden, but reporters should be asking the President’s spokespeople every day how the search is going and if any new, excuse me, if any at all, since we never hear his name, attempts at capturing or killing bin Laden are in the works. Actually, the White House press corps might need to remind Tony Snow who Osama bin Laden is, given the dearth of information the White House provides about the hunt for you-know-who and Mr. Snow certainly never mentions his name.

Unfortunately for the administration and its supporters, and here is the kicker, WE KNOW WHERE BIN LADEN IS! He’s in the Waziristan part of Pakistan – the same country that was one of only three countries on the planet to recognize the Taliban as the legitimate rulers in Afghanistan. The same country that provided millions of dollars in support to the Taliban. The same country that, in the aftermath of 9-11, we gave one billion dollars to for support in the war on terror. At least that’s what the administration said it was for, and we know how solid the word of our President is.

And if you’re curious, the other two countries that recognized the Taliban as the legitimate rulers of Afghanistan were: the United Arab Emirates (UAE), who President Bush vigorously defended in their controversial U.S. port takeover deal amid allegations of UAE complicity in funding terrorism; and Saudi Arabia, a dictatorial monarchy, also tied to funding terrorism, that the Bush family is good friends with and has conducted business with for several years.

For the past three years or so, several media outlets, including The New Yorker Magazine, the UK’s Guardian newspaper and dozens of TV, radio and web reports, have run stories about bin Laden being holed up in Pakistan, surrounded by a network of loyal supporters. He doesn’t use a cell or satellite phone, or any type of radio communications, for fear of being tracked by our military.

Yet, speaking of our military, we have no troops in Pakistan. There are occasional reports of paramilitary CIA agents and Delta Force soldiers descending into Pakistan to kill or capture you-know-who, but soon these operatives vanish. The same way a certain name has vanished from the mouths of our president and his administration.

MULLAH OMAR UPDATE: In an in-depth, excellent article in 2006 in the Sunday New York Times Magazine, titled The Return of the Taliban, a reporter spent about three months in Afghanistan and Pakistan. She claims, without being an eyewitness though, that Mullah Omar is training new Taliban members in Pakistan. Given the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan, it’s probably true.

Does George Bush Know the Bronx Exists?

Posted in Politics on September 10, 2009 by lylede

EDITOR’S NOTE: This post, along with Osama who? and Politics as Usual? Hopefully not, are a bit dated but I moved them over from a defunct political blog.

New York City, October 2007

In October of 1977 President Carter, after attending a meeting at the U.N., decided to visit the South Bronx. A NY Times photograph shows him, some reporters, officials and secret service agents strolling through a bleak, rubble-strewn lot.

“See which areas can still be salvaged,” Carter said to Patricia Roberts Harris, secretary of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. “Maybe we can create a recreation area and turn it around.”

George W. Bush has been President for nearly seven years. He spent his first term trying to let his Wall Street supporters get their hands on peoples’ retirement money with his so-called “social security reform.” He also led America, through a series of gross distortions and outright lies, into an unnecessary, disastrous war in Iraq.                    

Bush continued lying to Americans in his second term and claimed on several occasions the Al-Qaeda in Iraq we’re fighting is the same Al-Qaeda that attacked us on 9-11. The Al-Qaeda group in Iraq, Al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, didn’t exist until 2003 and only exists because we invaded Iraq. Isn’t Bush supposed to fight terrorists, not create more?

He also said it’s up to the next President to decide what to do about Iraq and that he envisioned a South Korea-type presence in Iraq. The self-proclaimed “decider” isn’t making such great, or actually any, decisions.

We’ve been in South Korea for over fifty years. If our soldiers there faced the violence they’ve seen in Iraq after “Mission Accomplished” I highly doubt we would have kept them there for five decades. And it’s horrifying to think how many more terrorists and 9-11 attacks we would create by keeping our soldiers in Iraq for fifty years. Unfortunately Al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia is just the beginning of a whole new wave of extremists we’ll be dealing with for years.

Along the way Bush has lost Congress to the Democrats and pathetically handled the worst hurricane to ever hit America (remember that Brownie guy and the “heck of a job” he did?) According to the article Bush’s Bunker (Vanity Fair, Oct. 2007) longtime Bush aide and former White House counselor Dan Bartlett had to put together a compilation video of post-Katrina news stories “in a last-ditch effort to make Bush understand what everyone else in America already knew: that the president had a crisis on his hands.”

And this is the same President who ran as a “compassionate conservative” in the 2000 election. “Ignorant incompetent” is a more appropriate philosophy in Bush’s arrogant, corrupt brain.

Bush did recently tackle one crucial, domestic issue. He vetoed a child healthcare insurance bill that had bi-partisan support. He claimed it would lead to too many government handouts and socialized medicine. Many experts and pundits disagreed. Again, “compassionate conservative,” anyone?

The child health insurance problem joins a litany of other pressing issues, like real social security reform, the falling value of the American dollar and our massive debt (we’re all basically working for China, and will be for decades to come) that Bush has done nothing about. Oh wait, correction, he did do something about our debt –  he caused it.

And remember Osama bin-Laden, Mullah Omar and Ayman al-Zawahri? Seven years after 9-11 they’re still out there, in the wilds of Pakistan (we even know where they are!), issuing videos, plotting against us and training recruits. During World War II we defeated the combined empires of Japan and Germany in less time it’s taken us to capture or kill these three bastards. It’s a shame there wasn’t any money to be made in capturing or killing them, the way there was by invading Iraq (record oil profits, a $10 billion no-bid contract to Cheney’s ex-company Halliburton, millions to politically-connected companies like Blackwater in exchange for campaign contributions) because if there was the great “decider” would have done something about them.

I wonder if Bush has ever visited the Bronx. Or Camden, Detroit or Oakland. During his two terms in office he hasn’t addressed any of the serious issues that face America and caused several scary problems we’ll be dealing with for decades to come. Bush has never even come close to being so “compassionate” that when it came to something like slums he would tell a housing official to “see which areas can still be salvaged.”

IGNORANT INCOMPETENT UPDATE, Nov. 29, 2007: You probably think I’m a liberal Bush-basher after reading the above piece. But the following comments, from Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, of Nebraska, are truly shocking (and true!) Here’s a Republican Senator calling the Bush White House “one of the most arrogant” administrations he’s ever seen, and then some: “I would rate this one the lowest in capacity, in capability, in policy, in consensus – almost every area. I would give it the lowest grade.” Hagel was speaking at a Council on Foreign Relations event in New York. I have never, ever heard a politician talk about an administration like this. You can read the full article, from CNN, by clicking on here – full article.

Politics as Usual? Hopefully not.

Posted in Politics on September 10, 2009 by lylede

EDITOR’S NOTE: This post along with Does George Bush Know the Bronx Exists? and Osama who?, are a bit dated but I moved them over from a defunct political blog. Newer posts appear below this one. 

New York City, November 2008

I was greatly encouraged on Election Day morning when I saw two things outside of my regular polling place: the line of voters was out the door and down the street, and there were a lot of young people waiting in that line. For the last two presidential elections the line usually extended from the auditorium, where the voting machines sit, out into the lobby and it took me around 15, 20 minutes at the most to vote. This time it took me a little under an hour but that certainly didn’t bother me. 

It’s a shame Al Gore and John Kerry couldn’t draw the crowds, and youth vote, that Barack Obama did. If only Mr. Gore could have done that, and then not get robbed by Florida and the U.S. Supreme Court, thousands of American soldiers would still be alive because he would have never invaded Iraq in the aftermath of 9-11. 

We’re still in the honeymoon phase of the current election and President-elect Obama has not yet taken office. I’m swept up in the optimism people have been displaying, but cautiously so. President Obama has a daunting task before him and I hope he can solve many of the problems we face. 

As for Senator McCain, I can only hope the slime-masters that have taken over the Republican Party fade into history. I certainly respect Senator McCain, he suffered terribly for this country as a POW in Vietnam and has served in the Senate for several years, no easy feat. But he ran one of the worst campaigns ever because he hired the same slime-masters like Tucker Eskew who slandered him in South Carolina during the 2000 Republican primary, sinking his chance at the nomination. 

He used the same people who spread vicious, racist rumors through a fake phone polling operation that asked South Carolina voters if they would vote for McCain if they knew he had fathered an illegitimate child who was black. Was there a dark-skinned child in the McCain family? Yes. Her name is Bridget, she’s from Bangladesh and was adopted by the McCains. Other attacks on McCain included that he was mentally unstable and that his wife was a drug addict because she had some problems in her past with prescription drugs. 

This is pure Karl Rove slime, and unfortunately effective (Bush won the South Carolina primary). When George W. Bush ran against the incumbent Anne Richards for the Texas governorship in 1994 a similar tactic was used. Texans were called at home by people claiming to do independent research on the election (whether the telemarketers knew they were in on a scam is unclear) and asked would they vote for Ms. Richards if they knew she had a lesbian on her staff. 

For someone who claims to be a maverick, Senator McCain’s 2008 run for the presidency was anything but mavericky. I can only hope that politicians will tone down the slime in the future, but I’m less optimistic on that pathetic front. 

Politics As Usual? Hopefully Not update: for a great analysis of what went wrong with the GOP and America during the Bush years read this article by Ron Paul, a Republican Congressman from Texas. And while I don’t agree with everything he says about the incoming administration time will certainly tell what President Obama can do: from cnn.com 11-12-08 Commentary: GOP Should Ask Why U.S. Is On The Wrong Track.