Monday, November 03, 2008

Obama Tax Calculator Widget

Friday, September 26, 2008

I Write Letters

Sent today to the Richmond Times-Dispatch and other central Virginia papers:

Republicans Wants Financial Catastrophe, Democrats Should Let Them Have It

I initially supported efforts by Congressional Democrats to resolve the financial crisis on Wall Street by re-writing the Paulson Proposal for bailing out the financial markets.

In the last 24 hours, however, the House GOP and Senator John McCain have turned this crisis into a craven political ploy. The House GOP, led by Henrico Rep. Eric Cantor, is pushing for more tax cuts and more deregulation as their "solution." This is a sad joke.

Senator McCain, the Republican Presidential Nominee, has injected presidential politics into the negotiations, thereby helping to wreck the whole agreement. Sen. McCain, once a towering American hero, has in this campaign become a pathetic figure.

Wall Street pundits on cable TV are now railing against the Dodd Plan - apparently, if they can't get a blank check, they don't want anything.

And finally, Friday afternoon, I saw this:

According to one GOP lawmaker, some House Republicans are saying privately that they’d rather “let the markets crash” than sign on to a massive bailout.

“For the sake of the altar of the free market system, do you accept a Great Depression?” the member asked.

If McCain, the House GOP, and Wall Street don't want the Democrats' help, then there must not be such a serious financial crisis threatening to bring down the rest of the economy. If there was such a crisis, these clowns would not be so arrogant as to reject sensible solutions from Senators Dodd, Webb and others.

I remain convinced that the economy is heading for a very deep, very painful, and very long recession. I had serious misgivings about any bailout of the financial markets, but I also realized that if the markets completely froze, as they are close to doing, that the consequences for the American economy would be catastrophic.

Now, however, given the craven political narcissism of the Republican Party, I say "let the markets crash." If the GOP wants to risk economic Armageddon, then “for the sake of the free market system” let’s “accept a Great Depression.” They have spent the last four decades rigging this “free market” for the benefit of themselves and their Wall Street cronies, so it is long past time they bore the consequences of their actions.

In the end, perhaps they will finally realize their errors when the Democrats return to Washington after the election with huge Congressional majorities and the White House. Perhaps they will realize their failure when the Democrats, responding to a total economic meltdown, are forced to nationalize most of the economy.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Regarding the Big Blank Check that Paulson & Co. have asked for, I sure hope that Obama comes out and says something like this:

The Bush Administration has finally realized that it has a major economic crisis on its hands. However, the solution proposed by the White House – give Henry Paulson a big blank check and just trust him – is clearly unacceptable. This was tried with Iraq and look where it got us. Bush, Paulson and Bernanke have had months to address these problems, and they’ve simply failed. We cannot "just trust them" any longer. When the White House proposal comes to the Congress next week, I will be proposing an amendment to the bill substituting new language that I believe will address the fundamental problems facing our economy – falling housing prices, crushing consumer debt, rising unemployment, institutional insolvency, and rampant Wall Street greed and corruption. It will be a comprehensive approach that is also transparent. It will be bipartisan.

In essence, it will be everything the Bush-Paulson plan currently is not. Should the Paulson Plan reach the Senate floor in its current state, I will vote against it. Should the Administration adopt my proposals to protect homeowners, bolster employment, hold corporate executives accountable, and minimize the impact on taxpayers, then I will happily give my full support to their efforts.

Time to show that judgment trumps experience.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Bailout Nation

While thousands of people have become homeless over the last year-and-a-half, due primarily to predatory lending on the part of unscrupulous brokers acting on behalf of reckless financial institutions, the federal government has been almost nothing to abate this crisis.

But when one of these major financial institutions goes under, the federal government steps in to bail out the entire financial system. And let's be clear, the bailout, in human terms, helps most the corporate executives and large investors.

The final verdict on the "conservative" philosophy of "free-market" capitalism is this: it stands for only one thing, the transference of wealth from the People of the United States to the wealthy Corporate Class by any means necessary. All losses, liabilities and burdens are to be borne by the People, with no exceptions.

This is not the country I was born into. This land is unrecognizable.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

No Limits

The McCain campaign continues its disregard for any limitations on campaign tactics with the release of a new ad suggesting that Obama is some sort of sexual deviant (he’s black you know, and you know how those black guys are about sex!). As I’ve said below, when winning is all you care about, then adhering to any principle that says that any absurd tactics are off limits in a campaign actually breaks the rules – when it comes to winning, the only rule is that there are no limits to what you must do to win.

As we move forward in this campaign, as the lying gets more blatant and the attacks get more perverse, we see the true nature of Bush Republicanism. This true nature is one where there are simply no rules but win or die. This will be how McCain governs if he wins. No rules. Ever.

This has a dark implication for the American Democratic Republic. To put it bluntly – authoritarianism reigns. The breakdown of rules and limits on the exercise of political power has allowed the private sector to be indistinguishable from the public sector. Lobbyists run GOP political campaigns. GOP staffers become corporate executives. Corporate executives become GOP candidates. The money, influence and graft follow them all. And at the end of eight years, you have endless war, epic corruption, and a wrecked economy.

The responsibility of governing has been abandoned in the pursuit of victory – electoral, personal, and financial. The nation’s infrastructure crumbles, its destitute citizens languish, and its influence on the world becomes toxic.

With the potential of four more years of Republican recklessness an unbearable thought, and with the GOP leaving no stone unturned in their attempt to destroy Obama, the Democrats are faced with having to descend into the cess pool in order to put a stop to the GOP. They’ll have to abandon all principle to win.

That leaves us with a choice between two parties that have now put winning at the top of the list of goals for this nation. Winning is everything, so there are no limits on power. The most fundamental motivation for the Founding Fathers to rebel against the English Crown was the belief that King George III was a tyrant – he and the Parliament had exceeded their power and violated the basic rights of man. From this belief came the thread which ties the Declaration of Independence to the Constitution of the United States – the power of the national government must be limited as much as possible or else despots would replace the People as the final source of authority.

And so here we are, less than two months out from an election that may well seal our fate as a People. Without question John McCain will try to rule as a tyrant, far exceeding even the outrageous lengths of George W. Bush. Can we possibly expect the Democrats to, once in power, place limits on themselves once they have gone to the lengths necessary in order to win? You cannot unbite the apple.

The legacy of the Bush Republican Party – fueling the transition of the American Democratic Republic to the American Authoritarian Empire.

Monday, September 08, 2008


To add to the post below. If everything hinges on winning, and you plan on being the winner, then naturally some one's gotta lose. That role has been aptly played by the Democrats for a while now and a lot of people are used to that. The GOP is really used to it, so much so that they make sure that when Dems lose, they lose.

And what I mean by lose is, they suffer consequences for losing. Democrats are called every name in the book, and it often sticks in the public mind. The media makes Dems pay, by enforcing some unwritten code of imbalance that allows the GOP to always have the last word and get pretty much whatever they want out of the media. Blue states also pay - the distribution of federal funds favors Red states. The GOP gets away with condemning the coasts, NYC, San Fran, urbanites, and many other parts of America. And that's fine! Those places lost! Now if a Dem were to call Mississippi a bad name, that pol HATES AMERICA!
Democrats have taken a lot of shit the last 8 years.

The GOP has no problem whatsoever dishing out the punishment for losing an election. They make you pay. The Democrats really don't. At least not on the scale the GOP does. Clinton really went out of his way to be conciliatory, regardless of what Ken Starr says. Clinton put Bill Cohen in charge of DOD. 'Nuff said.
You think Bush would put Sam Nunn in charge of DOD? Would McCain put Bob Kerrey or another qualified Dem at the Pentagon? Not on your life. And while Clinton won two presidential elections and acted rather nice about it (welfare reform!), the GOP was winning one congressional election after another, and went after Clinton relentlessly. The new Dem congress? Not too dogged on all those Bush scandels.

So, to tie this to what I said in the post below, the question is whether a President Obama would make the GOP pay for losing this election. To me, this is the window into how much he really wants to win. I think he has to be committed to making the GOP suffer if they are defeated. Less conciliation, more consequences. The best way to demonstrate that is to start punishing the McCain campaign right now. Make them pay for their gaffes. Make them pay for their mistakes. Make them suffer the consequences. Strip away the aura of winning.

Here's an example from tonight's Olbermann interview with Obama - Olbermann states that Obama doesn't want to be perceived beating up on an old man or a woman. Hey! Worrying about what people think of you when you criticize your opponent is what a loser does. Winners don't care. They attack. If you feel the need to respond, use that as an opportunity to attack again. "No, I wasn't being sexist, I just don't care for her incompetence."

Here's why I think this is so important: our conciliatory gestures though noble, communicate that there are no consequences for losing. Why is this important? Well, it's pretty basic. If people are afraid of being on the losing side, they might make a better effort to make an informed decision. Or at least they might see the differences between the two sides. I think a lot of people on the fence will be motivated by the fact that if they vote against the GOP and the GOP wins, there will be hell to pay. I don't think a lot of people have the same worry about the Dems. If the Dems win, hey, I'll get free health care! No consequences. Here's my vote Mr. McCain!

The message I think Obama needs to give to the voters is simple. There will be consequences for losing an election. If the nation's security is on the line, or if there is a natural disaster, we'll take care of everybody because that's what Americans are supposed to do. But for everything else, if you vote GOP and we win, then God help you because we won't. Winners win, and losers lose.


Having time to reflect after last Thursday, I finally get it. All Republicans care about only one thing – winning. Nothing else matters, and the ends justify the means. These ‘values’ they preach about – sanctity of marriage, right-to-life, patriotism, all just a means to an end. That’s why they can embrace Cheney even though he’s got a lesbian daughter and his wife writes dirty romance novels. It’s why they love Palin even though she’s clearly corrupt and a liar, and her unwed teenage kid is knocked up. Cheney and Palin care about winning above all else and thus being on the same team, all other transgressions or heresies can be easily forgiven.

This is what conservatives really had against McCain – at one time he acted as if he stood on other principles – campaign reform, ending pork barrel spending, honor, etc. By naming Palin to the ticket, it showed the base once and for all that McCain had adopted their only real important value as his own – the value to do anything to win. Win, Win, Win. It’s all they care about. That’s why they can’t (more like ‘don’t try to’) govern – governing has nothing to do with winning! It’s why they love Bush when no one else does – he’s a WINNER!

And it’s why the Dems have lost time and again, and why they are at real risk of losing this time. Obama’s trying to run a campaign with values like honor, integrity, fairness. He wants to have it all – win, but win right. He’s putting himself at a competitive disadvantage. I suspect that he is aware of this to an extent, which is why he’s running his campaign the way he is – huge fundraising and GOTV effort. He might be doing this as a way to even the odds. I’m just not confident that he can pull it off.

Bill Clinton is the only Dem in the last 40 years who understood the GOP. But he only got it half-right. He did whatever it took to win the election, but the GOP kept fighting after wards and made a mess of his administration. You can’t just win the election, you have to win everything. My GOP friends always want to win all the time. It’s almost pathological. War, politics, sports, realty shows, EVERYTHING. It’s always about winning above all else. Once McCain embraced this fundamental GOP value, he became a real threat to win the election.

Now Obama has to decide just how badly he wants to win.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

You Just Got Served

Who among us middle class Americans does not have "household employees"?

The McCains increased their budget for household employees from $184,000 in 2006 to $273,000 in 2007, according to John McCain’s tax returns.

If I didn't know better, I'd say this makes Saint McCain look like a "celebrity."

Man is this comeuppance gratifying.