Saturday, October 25, 2008

Civil War on the Right

This is one time a circular firing squad is in order!

By E. J. Dionne Jr.
Friday, October 24, 2008; A19

Conservatives are at each others' throats, and here's what's revealing about how divided they are: The critics of John McCain and the critics of Sarah Palin represent entirely different camps.

Surprise, surprise!

One set of critics, skeptical social conservatives, are precisely the people McCain was trying to mollify by picking Palin as his running mate. This includes the faithful of the religious right who remember McCain as their enemy in 2000 and parts of the gun crowd who always saw McCain as soft on their issues.

That McCain felt a need to make such an outlandishly risky choice speaks to how insecure his hold was on the core Republican vote. A candidate is supposed to rally the base during the primaries and reach out to the middle at election time. McCain got it backward, and it's hurting him.

A Pew Research Center survey this week found that among political independents, Palin's unfavorable rating has almost doubled since mid-September, from 27 to 50 percent. Whatever enthusiasm Palin inspired among conservative ideologues is more than offset by middle-of-the-road defections.

Even on the right, she hasn't done the job. In The Post tracking poll released yesterday, Barack Obama drew 22 percent of the vote from self-described conservatives. That's a seven-point gain on John Kerry's 2004 conservative share.

Yet the pro-Palin right is still impatient with McCain for not being tough enough -- as if he has not run one of the most negative campaigns in recent history. This camp believes that if McCain only shouted the names "Bill Ayers" and "Jeremiah Wright" at the top of his lungs, the whole election would turn around.

Much more of the religiously insane and I would vote for Bill Ayers!

Then there are those conservatives who see Palin as a "fatal cancer to the Republican Party" (David Brooks), as someone who "doesn't know enough about economics and foreign policy to make Americans comfortable with a President Palin" (Kathleen Parker), as "a symptom and expression of a new vulgarization in American politics" (Peggy Noonan).

These conservatives deserve credit for acknowledging how ill-suited Palin is for high office. But what we see here is a deep split between parts of the conservative elite and much of the rank and file.

For years, many of the elite conservatives were happy to harvest the votes of devout Christians and gun owners by waging a phony class war against "liberal elitists" and "leftist intellectuals." Suddenly, the conservative writers are discovering that the very anti-intellectualism their side courted and encouraged has begun to consume their movement.

The cause of Edmund Burke, Leo Strauss, Robert Nisbet and William F. Buckley Jr. is now in the hands of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity -- and Sarah Palin. Reason has been overwhelmed by propaganda, ideas by slogans, learned manifestoes by direct-mail hit pieces.

And then there is George W. Bush. Conservatives once hailed him as creating an enduring majority on behalf of their cause. Now, they cast him as the goat in their story of decline.

The conservative critique of Bush is a familiar rant against his advocacy of big government and huge deficits -- now supplemented by horror over his embrace of actual socialism with the partial nationalization of big banks. And, yes, a fair number of conservatives were never wild about the adventure in Iraq.

Things are so bad that the internecine warriors on the right have begun copying the rhetoric of the old left. In a Washington Times column this week upbraiding dissidents such as Brooks and Noonan, Tony Blankley, the conservative writer and activist, fell back on an old left slogan, asking them: "Whose side are you on, comrade?"

This is a revelatory question. It arises when a movement has lost its sense of solidarity and purpose, when the "sides" are no longer clear. There is no unified "right" or "center-right," which is why we are no longer a conservative country, if we ever were.

Conservatism has finally crashed on problems for which its doctrines offered no solutions (the economic crisis foremost among them, thus Bush's apostasy) and on its refusal to acknowledge that the "real America" is more diverse, pragmatic and culturally moderate than the place described in Palin's speeches or imagined by the right-wing talk show hosts.

Conservatives came to believe that if they repeated phrases such as "Joe the Plumber" often enough, they could persuade working-class voters that policies tilted heavily in favor of the very privileged were actually designed with Joe in mind.

It isn't working anymore. No wonder conservatives are turning on each other so ferociously.

Read more from E.J. Dionne on's political opinion blog, PostPartisan.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Polls Show Bleak Outlook For McCain-Palin

I might be ecstatic if I didn't know about the voter roll scrubbing that's going on in battleground states. A huge turn-out will be necessary along with exit polls in order to make a stolen election obvious to a blind man.

People like Joe "the puke" Scarborough are already laying the groundwork. Double digit leads don't matter because of the "Bradley effect." No one knows what the numbers really are. So says Joe, this morning. He's not alone. Other far-right wingnuts are claiming the same.

Vote early, says Bobby Kennedy, Jr. Make sure you have a government issued I.D. Raise mortal hell if they turn you down because of your name being different on voter rolls than on your I.D.. for example Robert F. Kennedy on one and Robert Francis Kennedy on the other. This is total b.s. and we all know it. Let these Democracy thieves know that it isn't over until we. the people, say it is.

No taxation without representation!

INDIANAPOLIS — A series of new polls released Thursday found a bleak outlook for John McCain, even in traditionally Republican states, and a potential landslide victory for Democrat Barack Obama on Nov. 4.

The polls found McCain trailing Obama in the battleground states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania and suggest that he's behind even in solidly red states such as Indiana, and they also suggest that his talk about "Joe the Plumber" has done little to help his cause.

"Senator Obama is no longer the candidate of the young, the well-educated and minorities. He is now virtually the candidate of the 'all,'" said Peter Brown, the assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, which conducted one of the polls. "He is winning among all age groups in all three states. He wins women by more than 20 points in Ohio and Pennsylvania and is competitive among men in all three states. Whether voters went to college or not, they are voting for him.

"If these numbers hold up, he could win the biggest Democratic landslide since Lyndon Johnson in 1964," Brown said.

A new CBS News/New York Times poll found that a number of groups that supported President Bush in 2004, including married women, suburban voters and white Roman Catholics, now prefer Obama to McCain. Even white men, long solidly Republican, favor Obama, according to the poll, which overall found Obama leading McCain by 51 percent to 38 percent.

In Florida, where a Mason-Dixon poll earlier this week suggested that talk of the economy had helped McCain, a new Miami Herald poll Thursday found the Arizona senator trailing Obama by 49 percent to 42 percent.

The Herald poll, done in conjunction with the St. Petersburg Times by Republican and Democratic polling companies, was one of four surveys out Thursday that found the election map becoming more unfavorable to McCain.

Perhaps the most alarming of all, from a Republican perspective, was one sponsored by universities in the eight states that make up the Big 10 Conference of college sports teams. That survey found Obama ahead in all eight Big 10 states, including Ohio, Indiana and Iowa, three states that Bush carried four years ago. That was a dramatic shift from September, when the Big Ten Battleground Poll found the race a dead heat in all the states except Illinois, Obama's home state.

Now Obama is leading by double digits in all eight states, including Indiana, long a GOP stronghold, where the new poll found Obama ahead by 10 points. The last Democrat to carry the Hoosier state was Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

"If the Republican is only winning Indiana by 1 or 2 points, he's in serious trouble," said Charles Franklin, a professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin in Madison and the director of the Big Ten Battleground Poll. "McCain still has a chance to get to 270 electoral-college votes, but it's a narrow one."

The Big 10 poll found Obama up by 11 points in Pennsylvania, 12 points in Ohio, 13 points in Wisconsin and Iowa, 19 points in Minnesota and 22 points in Michigan. In his home state of Illinois, according to the poll, Obama is up by 29 points.

The Quinnipiac survey of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania found similar results. That survey found that:

  • In Ohio, Obama leads by 14, up from 12 at the beginning of the month.
  • In Pennsylvania, Obama leads by 13, down slightly from 14 points.
  • In Florida, where Obama led by 8 points at the beginning of October, he now leads by 5 points.

Obama's lead in the Quinnipiac and Miami Herald polls is too small to say with certainty that he leads McCain in Florida, but the Herald poll found some key indicators that McCain may be falling behind in that key battleground:

  • McCain trails Obama in Southwest Florida, long a reliable Republican base, and he leads in only one region, conservative North Florida — by 7 percentage points.
  • Obama has tied McCain among Florida voters over 65 years old. McCain had a 7-percentage point lead in the over-65 group a Herald poll taken last month, just as the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy precipitated the economic crisis.
  • Only 35 percent of Floridians said that McCain has demonstrated more leadership during the crisis and has a better plan to fix it, while 45 percent said Obama has demonstrated better leadership and 49 percent said the Illinois Democrat has a better plan to fix the economy.

The Herald poll also found that Obama's biggest boost in Florida came from independent voters, who now back him over McCain by a 57 percent to 22 percent margin. That's a 38-point shift toward the Democrat since the last poll in September, which was also conducted for the Herald, the St. Petersburg Times and Bay News 9 television by SEA Polling and Strategic Design and The Polling Co.

The fate of McCain's campaign in Florida and elsewhere was damaged by troubles that are out of his hands, said Kellyanne Conway, a Republican who owns The Polling Co.

She said the ''superseding events" of the financial crisis hurt McCain, who led by 2 percentage points last month. But, she said, McCain's campaign is also to blame for his troubles because it's focused too on attacking Obama for his alleged ties to a Vietnam-era radical terrorist.

''Trying to connect Barack Obama to Bill Ayers rather than trying to connect McCain to the average voter on the economy has also been dubious," Conway said.

The growing importance of the economy and Obama's success in talking about the issue appear to be deciding factors in winning independent votes, which comprise about a fifth of Florida's electorate. Independents have grown increasingly worried about the economy, making them more like Democrats than Republicans.

Compared with about half of all Republicans, just under two-thirds of independents and Democrats reported experiencing big financial troubles — from losing a job to missing a mortgage payment. Of those who've experienced economic duress, 55 percent back Obama and 34 percent support McCain.

Tom Eldon, a Democrat and pollster with SEA, said that Obama has used the economy to improve his standing with nearly all types of Florida voters. In the case of senior citizens, it was his ''pounding" of McCain in television ads about Social Security, Medicare and health care. Obama has outspent McCain on advertising in Florida by 3-1.

McCain's initial response — rapping Obama for his ties to Ayers and the vote-registration group ACORN — missed the mark, Eldon said, because the attacks were geared toward firming up the Republican base, but they alienated independent voters, to whom the self-described maverick once appealed.

"He served up red meat for his base but he starved independents," Eldon said. "McCain has run a base campaign and it's a race right now that is all about the independent voters."

The McCain campaign also took heavily Republican Southwest Florida for granted, Eldon said, by not doing enough to appeal to the region's elderly voters who've lost a lot in the stock market. Obama opened up field offices in the Republican area to keep the pressure on McCain, a tactic that the Republican Conway said was an example of Obama's nearly "flawless" campaign.

However, Conway cautions, "Florida's still in play" in a politically and financially volatile atmosphere. Indeed, though the Quinnipiac poll's findings resembled those of The Miami Herald survey, three statewide polls this week found Obama losing momentum in the face of McCain's renewed attacks over the Democrat's recent statement that he wants to "spread the wealth around" by raising taxes on families that earn more than $250,000 a year.

(Caputo reports for The Miami Herald.)


Poll: Independents boost Obama in Florida

Quinnipiac University poll

Big Ten Battleground Poll

CBS News/New York Times poll


Obama's lead widens in latest Ipsos/McClatchy poll

Obama and McCain vie for working-class voters

Palin's wardrobe expenses prompt complaint to FEC

Health care: Both candidates' plans promise radical change

Veterans: Candidates agree that VA is broken

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

McCain Volunteer's Claim of Attack Unravelled, Online and Off

By Jose Antonio Vargas

Online, no one has control over presenting an event. If something smells fishy, all the bloggingheads are on deck.

Just ask McCain-Palin volunteer Ashley Todd.

Less than a day after Todd's story of being mugged by a dark-skinned man first hit the Web, the student from College Station, Tex., told police that she'd made it all up. At a news conference this afternoon, assistant police chief Maurita Bryant said the 20-year-old said she had prior mental health problems.

Too bad all of the desperate citizens of Wingnuttia can't get help for their mental problems.

But on Wednesday night, Todd claimed, she had been robbed at an ATM in Pittsburgh. After seeing a McCain bumper sticker on her car, she said, her assailant -- enraged -- had pinned her down and cut a backwards "B" onto her cheek. Todd, who is white, described the robber as a tall black man.

The Drudge Report picked up the story from a local television Web site and gave it a big headline Thursday afternoon. A photo of Todd's face soon surfaced. Gov. Sarah Palin gave her a call; the McCain campaign issued a statement, as did the Obama campaign.

Palin really is an idiot! Did it never occur to her to resist the urge to pick up that phone until the police gave this woman some credibility? Yep, she would listen to a drunk guy named "curve ball" and start a freaking war.

And, it seemed to many, a combustible moment rife with political, racial and class tension had arrived. "It had to happen," John Moody, a news executive at FOX, wrote on his blog Thursday night.

"If Ms. Todd's allegations are proven accurate, some voters may revisit their support for Senator Obama, not because they are racists (with due respect to Rep. John Murtha), but because they suddenly feel they do not know enough about the Democratic nominee," Moody wrote. "If the incident turns out to be a hoax, Senator McCain's quest for the presidency is over, forever linked to race-baiting."

No matter how this thing turned out, I hate to think that the election could be determined by one loon in Western Penn. I must say that I doubt seriously that the McCain campaign put Todd up to this. Palin is just an idiot that fell for it. Just another example of Palin's poor judgment and her not being ready for prime time, let alone the presidency.

But the moment Todd's tale -- and especially its accompanying photo -- went viral, the Web went into typical vetting mode. Is she for real? Where's her MySpace page? (Bloggers found it.) Her Facebook profile? (That, too.) How about her Twitter feed? (Yep.)

Conservative blogger Michelle Malkin was skeptical. One of her readers wrote Malkin: "Notice how the 'B' is backwards on the right cheek ... if you were looking in a mirror and put it on your own face ... she put it on her own face but forgot it would show up backwards." When Malkin posted her blog item at 6:43 p.m. Thursday, she wrote: "Why that McCain volunteer's 'mutilation' story smells awfully weird." Then she updated it later, after police reported inconsistencies in Todd's story. "Police to administer polygraph; conflicting evidence at scene," Malkin wrote.

The backwards "B" is why we never reported on the incident. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this one out.

Steve Huff at True Crime Report said he smelled "a rat" when he saw the photo. He started blogging about Todd on Thursday afternoon, minutes after reading about her on Drudge. By 1:06 a.m. Friday, he wrote: "Will Ashley Todd's Story Implode Tomorrow?"

"Before the Internet age, her story would have had traction for weeks. She could have spun this out for a while, even if the cops said they don't believe her," Huff told The Trail. "But on the Web people started investigating her right away. And it wasn't just bloggers on the left doing it. It's bloggers on the right, too."

This is Sooo true. Bloggers have made a tremendous difference in many ways, often forcing the ACM to report on issues they would rather not.

"But here's a fact -- Todd set up her own crash."

This is one in a series of online columns on our growing "clickocracy," in which we are one nation under Google, with e-mail and video for all. Please send suggestions, comments and tips to vargasj@washpost. com.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Standing Amid The Ruin Of Regressive Politics

Of all the statistics among all the political polls released this week, this rather obscure one, from Pew Research, spoke loudly and, to me, most unambiguously about why the presidential race stands where it stands:

"Voter interest in the campaign remains extraordinary: fully 81% continue to say that they have given a lot of thought to the presidential election, the highest ever measured at this stage in a campaign."

There you have it. Like Samuel Johnson's observation about hanging, it seems that nothing concentrates the electorate's mind like an acute recession and the threat of a chronic depression.

We tell ourselves that foreign wars are indeed a matter of grave concern, what with all their bloody loss of human life and public treasure, but let's face it: one's own pocketbook trumps other people's far more horrendous problems any old election year.

And it's then that the electorate runs home to mommy, the Democrat.

If only we had seen rude upticks in the price of gas and crashing home values and creeping layoffs and etc., etc., etc. in 2004 rather than 2008, perhaps we could have spared ourselves this needless surfeit of economic pain.

But we didn't see it then, even though virtual platoons of high financial analysts were frantically clanging the bells of alarm. Hey, as long as we had what's ours, everyone else -- including our country's sons and daughters marooned in desert or mountainous wastelands of tribal conflict -- and everything else could just by-God wait on the sidelines.

Meanwhile, half-attentively we'd stick with old tough-love dad, the Republican.

I generalize and simplify -- but not, I think, oversimplify -- to highlight a distressing but demonstrable point: Americans are "exceptional" all right, just like Sarah Palin insists we are. But our exceptionalism isn't always in the form we'd care to confess: we are, that is, exceptionally self-interested, self-centered and self-absorbed.

It takes something like this -- a gargantuan global crisis of concentric design in which we, individually, are the bull's eye -- to slap us into that greater reality. Two insanely conducted foreign wars -- three, if you count the amorphous one against a tactic -- weren't enough to quite do the trick.

By and large we were willing to just stumble along with that apodictically clueless stumblebum in the White House, he of historic inattentiveness and downright epic in curiosity. Problems? What problems? Everything was humming right along. We could take his word for it. And we did.

Which, in 2004, forever painted the American electorate itself historically and epically irresponsible.

The question now isn't whether we'll change course (unfortunately, within the inexorable constraints handed to the next president). That, it would seem, is an arithmetical given. Mommy has daddy backed into an electoral-count corner whose already narrow territory continues to shrink by the hour. Talk about your concentric circles and the ultimate bull's eye.

No, that's no longer the question, or should I say, the trick. Because the trick is going to be whether or not we concentrate our minds to learn something from all this pain -- that of the past, present, and even predictable future if we don't.

In short, we have got to grow up. We have got to accept that we are not the biggest kid on the block or the smartest kid in the class any more. We forfeited all claims to those exceptional honorifics -- if real they were -- some time ago.

In fact we threw them away. We were too engaged in self-celebratory, infantile chants of "U.S.A.! U.S.A.!" to notice that the good old U.S.A. was going down the tubes. And it was headed south because we weren't paying attention to what our leaders were doing, or, rather, what they weren't doing -- looking down the track.

Because we -- most of us -- had ours. Everything was just peachy, as long as both we and our leaders kept our eyes tightly shut and our minds hermetically closed to that blinding light of that oncoming train. Just permit us our iPhones and cable tv and toss in the occasional "U.S.A.!" and all would remain well.

Or so we thought. But as the conservative intelligentsia (such as it is) began insisting decades ago, "ideas have consequences." And now we're paying the consequential price of years of mostly its ideas, which we fecklessly signed off on, because, simply, we weren't really paying attention to anyone but ourselves.

There were many a voice in the wilderness standing athwart our unfolding history, just as Bill Buckley encouraged us to do, "yelling Stop!" Excuse me, pardon me, coming through -- can't anyone else see that big ugly train speeding our direction down the track? We heard that aplenty, but shut it out.

Maybe, this time, we'll learn. There's always hope, however much hope itself stands athwart the history of human folly.

Maybe we will grow the hell up and not need Mommy or Daddy anymore. What are the chances?

Please respond to P.M.'s commentary by leaving comments below and sharing them with the BuzzFlash community. For personal questions or comments you can contact him at


(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

NYT Endorses Obama

New York Times endorses Obama for president — NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New York Times endorsed Democrat Barack Obama for U.S. president on Thursday, saying he had ''met challenge after challenge, growing as a leader and putting real flesh on his early promises of hope and change.'' The Times...More… (World News)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Gates Warns Of Dire Consequences In Iraq

SecDef Gates has stated that there will be dramatic consequences if the Iraqi government fails to sign on to the security agreement (status of forces agreement) which allows the U.S. military to remain in Iraq for another three years.

The U.N. Mandate expires this December.

Gates did not elaborate on what he means by "dramatic consequences."

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Do U.S. Elections Matter?

Linda makes some very good points. There was a a time I would have agreed with her on even more of them. That was before 2000. Can anyone really say that election 2000 didn't matter? If Al Gore had won that election would we be embroiled in Iraq and nearly bankrupt, morally as well as economically? If Al Gore had won the election, would there have even been a 9/11? I guess we'll never know with any certainty about the last question.

I would bet that we would be well on our way to more eco-friendly life-styles and less dependent on middle-east oil. Instead, we're just getting started with the long hard slog of finding better ways of producing energy, in earnest. Never mind that we have known what the continued use of fossil fuels would eventually do to the planet and our health since the early 70s.

Well paid lobbyists will kill us all if we don't change this lousy, corrupt system in Washington and on Wall Street.

Instead, many of us saw no difference in Gore and Bush. Bush was the compassionate conservative, remember? By now all but the most intellectually challenged among us know what an oxymoron that is, but it's way too late.

It's true that no matter who is elected this November it will take years to clean up the mess Bush, Cheney and a Republican majority have made. It is also true that that process won't even begin if we are, as a nation, insane enough to elect them again.

So, I would beg, plead and for Obama/ Biden and give them a congress they can work with and then, as Linda says, raise hell about the issues you care about. If the Democrats can't get the job done, let's organize a third party. As a matter of fact, why not start now? When a third of the eligible voters are too disenchanted or disgusted to bother to vote, something is very, very wrong. Part of what's wrong is the corrupt duality of the two party system.

Maybe this year will be the turning point. It's for sure that Barack Obama has excited the electorate to a degree I haven't seen in my lifetime of close to 60 years.

100 million nonvoters send a stinging message of disenchantment

By Linda Averill

October 22, 2008 "
FSN" - -Legions of people opt out of voting in the U.S. But they are not civic slackers. They’re on to something. Whether disinterested or disgusted, they are casting a vote of no confidence in the electoral system. And it is entirely justified.

The real point of elections is to get enough people voting to legitimize the authority of politicians. Then, they can drag us into wars, bail out bankers in the middle of an economic meltdown, and “earmark” tax dollars to their biggest donors. It happens at every level of government, from City Hall to the White House.

Just as riot is the language of the unheard, abstention has become the vote of the unrepresented. In a debate on voter apathy, blogger Bud Wood put it this way: “It just doesn’t make much difference who or what gets into office. The results are more of the same.”

Whose democracy? There are 100 million nonvoters in the U.S., and they are overwhelmingly people who are economically disenfranchised. They are poor, young, disabled, unemployed and foreign-born, especially Asian and Latino.

Only 48 percent of folks in the bottom income bracket go to the polls. Compare this to 77 percent among those with annual incomes above $50,000. Those earning over $100,000 per year make up 15 percent of eligible voters, but 19 percent of actual ballot-casters. And this percentage rises on up the wealth ladder.

But even active voters are turned off. A study called the “Vanishing Voter” showed disenchantment among voters and abstentionists alike. More than 75 percent felt that “candidates will say almost anything to get elected.” Over one third agreed that “most politicians are liars or crooks.” The only statement that doubled in support among nonvoters was that “Republicans and Democrats are alike.”

It’s true. Big bucks dictate the agendas of both parties. In 2008, Obama and McCain will set new records for spending —over a half billion dollars. Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, champions of banking and investment deregulation, are top donors to Obama and Biden, a darling of credit card sharks. Exxon and Chevron back McCain and Palin, a proselytizer for drilling in the Alaska Wildlife Refuge.

Even new Democrats and Republicans find it difficult to enter government. In 2006, 407 House seats were up for reelection, with 383 held by incumbents. Of these incumbents, 94 percent prevailed, because they got all the money and media. A good many ran unopposed! This helps explain why turnout drops well below 40 percent during midterm elections.

Meanwhile, workingclass voters are kicked to the curb. Take Latinos for example. Voter forums showed that their concerns include basics such as “buying gas or buying food,” insufficient medical care, soaring war costs, and immigration. So what do both parties offer? Nothing.

In June, the Senate voted 92 to six for $257.5 billion in unrestricted war funds. The House vote was 416 to 12.

On healthcare, McCain and Obama leave untouched the sacred profits of the medical/pharmaceutical industry. On immigration, they offer more crackdowns.

It’s rigged! Actually, many abstainers would vote if they could. Other countries give people a day off to go to the polls, but not the U.S.

In 2004, 45 percent didn’t vote because they were too busy or exhausted, disabled or ill. Another 12 percent were stopped by registration problems, inconvenient polling locations and transportation issues. Translation? This means millions of workingclass voters face insurmountable obstacles, from electoral incompetence to outright dirty tricks on the part of politicians.

In Florida, the notorious ballot software is still flawed, and polls close by 7 p.m. A county in Virginia recently misled students to believe they could lose dependent tax status — and the benefits that bestows — if they registered to vote at their school address. In Wisconsin, the attorney general wants to cross-check every voter who registered since January 2006. This means long voting lines and disenfranchisement for those who can’t resolve discrepancies, including typos.

The list goes on. And systemic, undisguised racism explains why the overwhelming majority of those denied the vote each election are workingpeople of color.

Another 4-5 million are disenfranchised by states that deny the vote to ex-felons, 36 percent of them African American. Non-citizens have no representation, even though they are affected by everything the government does and may have lived here for years.

Minor parties? With such a gap between politicians and people, third parties should flourish. Instead they are blockaded by the money and might of the Democrats and Republicans. Election laws, written by the major parties, make it extremely difficult for minor parties even to appear on the ballot.

Outrageous rules, media censorship, private financing of campaigns, and sheer thuggery have marginalized political parties that compete with labor’s fake friend, the Democratic Party. This includes even parties like the Greens, who simply want to reform capitalism.

It’s not people who vote socialist or Green who throw away their votes. The system does it! U.S. elections are “winner take all.” If a socialist gets 20 percent of the vote, a Green gets 15 percent, and a Democrat gets 51 percent — all votes go to the Democrat.

Things weren’t always so sewn up. At the start of the 20th century, socialists ran on explicitly pro-labor, anti-capitalist platforms. And they won seats — more than 1,200 offices nationwide.

To eliminate the threat this posed, the Democrats and Republicans launched a political witch-hunt. Socialist party offices were raided, pro-labor representatives were denied their seats, radicals were tossed in jail, and restrictive ballot laws were passed.

Raise hell, whoever wins! After this country revolted against the English king, only a few white men with money and property could vote. The fight to gain the franchise by workers without land and Blacks and women was long and brave. It presumed that voting equals democracy and is the path to making society better.

If only it were true. Instead, wealth has concentrated into the hands of fewer people, alongside political power.

The economic elite write the laws to meet their needs. Karl Marx called it bourgeois democracy: by and for the capitalists. Its opposite is democratic socialism: the economic and political rule of the majority, the working class.

Today, politicians may look and sound more like ordinary working people; history is being made with the first Black Democratic presidential nominee and female Republican vice-presidential candidate.

But the empire under the make-over hasn’t changed.

Both parties put on quite a spectacle during elections to persuade voters of how different they are. Election 2008 is no exception. And true, there are minor differences. But whoever wins, things keep getting worse for working and poor people — whether they vote or abstain.

The answer is ringing in a whole new social system, and the way to get there isn’t at the ballot box. The route is through mass radical action that will settle for nothing less.

But your vote isn’t worthless. Send a message — use it to protest your false choices and demand real ones!

Then follow the advice of union organizer Mother Jones. More than a century ago, she declared, “I have never had a vote, and I have raised hell all over this country. You don’t need a vote to raise hell! You need convictions and a voice!”

Linda Averill, a bus driver and union activist, has twice run for Seattle City Council on the Freedom Socialist Party ticket. Email her at .

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Maybe We Should Have a Yard Sale

Russia could buy back Alaska or perhaps Canada could pick up sunny Florida

By Eric Margolis

October 22, 2008 "
Toronto Sun"-- At the end of Second World War the British Empire still ruled nearly a quarter of the globe. But the war bankrupted Britain. Its once mighty empire quickly collapsed and the United States inherited much of the British Imperium.

Six decades later the United States is close to bankruptcy thanks to a national orgy of borrowing, the replacement of manufacturing by financial manipulation, ruinous foreign wars and a government whose stunning incompetence and arrant stupidity was exceeded only by its reckless imperial arrogance.

The financial panic now gripping the planet, and the ignominious collapse of Wall Street, showed the American colossus had feet of clay. Washington's furious printing of untold billions of new dollars to prop up its sinking economy, finance this year's $1 trillion deficit and pay debts may unleash a storm of dangerous inflation.

The world balance of power is already shifting. For example, Pakistan's new president, Asif Zardari, went cap in hand this week to China, seeking up to $6 billion US in emergency loans. Pakistan is on the verge of bankruptcy and may shortly default on its debt.

But Pakistan's patron, the United States, which has been renting that nation's politicians and army for $1.2 billion per annum to support the occupation of Afghanistan, can't spare any cash for Pakistan. So Pakistan is turning to China, which has $19 billion in foreign exchange reserves -- the world's largest. The U.S.-led occupation of Afghanistan is likely to be adversely affected by Washington's new pauper status.

Bankrupt people, companies and nations have to sell assets to meet their debt obligations. China and Japan alone hold over $1.5 trillion of U.S. government securities (IOUs).

Their nervous central bankers now want real assets rather than more paper.

So there is talk of America's Asian creditors converting their IOUs into shares in U.S. corporations and property.

Sovereign wealth funds from the Arab oil states and Singapore may soon demand chunks of such assets.

In the 19th century European imperial powers used to force loans on China and local rulers in the Mideast and Latin America. When the locals could not pay off their debts, parts of their territory were seized. Russia was forced to sell Alaska to the U.S. for next to nothing when it could not repay its debts.

China's coast was carved up by the British, French, Germans, Russians, Americans and Japanese. These imperial foreclosures created the trading"concessions" of Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tsingtao, Tianjin, and Port Arthur.

Now, it's payback time for China. How ironic that the Chinese Communists have ended up with a so far sound financial system while the Wall Street bandit capitalists have gone bust.

To help pay its monster debts, I suggest Washington consider selling Louisiana back to France. Canada, whose banking system remains solid thanks to being what Americans called "boring and stodgy," ought to pick up Florida for a song. Canadians have a manifest destiny for sunshine.

Mexico will want to buy Texas, Arizona and New Mexico. Russia, of course, will buy back Alaska and Washington State. China will purchase California; San Francisco will become "New Beijing."

Japan will buy up Washington State, Oregon, Montana, and Hawaii. Holland will repossess New York State, and Germany will buy Pennsylvania and Minnesota.


Pakistan's move into China's financial embrace is a harbinger of things to come. Unless the U.S. quickly repairs its economy, its world power could slip away as quickly as post-war Britain's, leaving China, Japan, Russia, the EU and India as the world's new super powers.

This may not be so awful. All power, as Lord Acton famously said, corrupts; and absolute power corrupts absolutely. As the world's sole superpower, the U.S. under the Bush administration became totally corrupted by imperial hubris, financial fraud, lust for resources and greed.

A world with more balanced, diffused power may be preferable. But what if cash-rich China steps into America's imperial boots much sooner than anyone expected?

BOOM! That's all she wrote, folks!

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

We Don't Rest Until Nov. 5.....

....and maybe not then, if there are more shenanigans of the sort we saw in 2000 & 2004.

Hey, Goopers! If you are seriously thinking about trying to steal this one, DON'T! You might lose more than one election.

This Race Goes to 11 - Powell Helps with Indies

Barack Obama is up 11 points on John McCain among likely voters in the new Washington Post-ABC News tracking poll, 54 to 43 percent. Though little changed from yesterday, Obama's national lead is now his biggest of the campaign in Post-ABC polling.

Former secretary of state Colin Powell's endorsement provides a new boost for Obama, who has made significant progress with voters as a leader in international affairs. But Obama also continues to be lifted by more fundamental advantages, including a 2 to 1 advantage on "helping the middle-class."

First on Powell - Two in 10 independent voters said they are more inclined to vote for Obama because of Powell's backing; 4 percent said they were nudged the other way.

In polling after the Powell nod, Obama trails McCain by 19-points on the question of who would be a better commander in chief. But McCain's advantage as prospective commander in chief is sharply diminished from early September, when he held a whopping 43-point lead on the question coming out of the nominating conventions.

Of course, the intervening period also includes the three presidential debates and other events that have turned what was then a roughly even race into one with Obama clearly ahead. And the Powell endorsement does not carry the weight it would have in the 1990s. In the new poll, 77 percent of voters said it will not sway them this year; in late 1995, 55 percent said it would have had an impact during that campaign.

Nevertheless, among those who said Powell sways them toward Obama, nearly six in 10 said the Democrat would be the better commander in chief, while a similarly large proportion of those unmoved by Powell side with McCain on the question.

On the broader question of who would be better on international affairs, it is close to even, with McCain at 49 percent, Obama at 46 percent. That is only marginally different from a poll a month ago, but significantly worse for McCain than the 14-point advantage he had following the GOP convention.

Elsewhere in the new poll - Obama leads by about 2 to 1 on health care (which nudged into the double-digits on the most important issue question) and on helping the middle class. No headway on either for McCain as he and the GOP have stepped up their criticisms of Obama on this front.

Obama's 17-point advantage on dealing with the economy (which remains the breakaway top issue) ties high for the campaign. He also maintains a lead over McCain on handling taxes, 51 to 43 percent. At eight-points, Obama's edge on this question is identical to the one George W. Bush held over John F. Kerry at this stage four years ago. Eight years ago, Bush was up 13 points on Al Gore in late October.

McCain-Bush - After ticking below 50 for the first time two days ago, the percentage of voters who see McCain as a continuation of Bush is back to 51. Voters again split 51-46 on the question of whether McCain would mainly continue in Bush's direction or chart a new course.

Obama-experience - 56 percent of voters said Obama has the kind of experience it takes to be an effective president, 42 percent said he does not. Those numbers match his best of the campaign, and are a touch better than the split on Bush's experience on the eve of the 2000 election (52 percent said he had enough experience to be a good president, 44 percent said not).

Full trend from today's release is here.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

McCain: Only The Last Victim of Junior's Fragile Ego

With apologies to Churchill (who owed a few of his own): Never have so many been so wrong about so much.

There are few things you’d less rather be right now than a conservative/regressive, and that is why. It’s like the old Firesign Theater bit: Everything You Know Is Wrong. “Dogs flew spaceships! The Aztecs invented the vacation! Men and women are the same sex! Our forefathers took drugs! Yes! That's right! Everything you know is wrong!”

And, what’s worse, everybody knows it except you. America is turning decisively away from its tragic thirty-year experiment with Reaganism-Bushism, and for very good reason. Regressives have ruled the country more or less unabated (Democrats, the supposed carriers of the liberal torch, were during these last three decades either frightened, centrist or irrelevent – and usually all three at once). Moreover, during the last years especially – the Cringe Decade – the right was particularly forceful, particularly unfettered, particularly successful at having its way, and particularly arrogant in the self-righteous belief in its authority on all things.

Once small problem, though. If you sat down with a pen and paper and tried to invent a more thorough litany of failure on the right’s watch, you’d be hard pressed to top what they’ve actually done. I suppose inadvertently nuking all the major cities of the United States would be worse, but I can’t think of much else. The simple truth is that the regressive movement took a great and proud and prosperous country and ran it into the ditch at 130 miles an hour. Worse yet, for them – and unlike the bad old years of Willie Horton, or invading Panama, or Clinton’s faux scandals – the public isn’t fooled anymore. They had already caught on to the game, in large part, a few years back, which is why Bush has been moribund in the absolute cellar of job approval ratings for almost the entirety of his second term. Things were already tough for the black hats, but then this economic crisis came and walloped people severely, right in the wallet. One thing about Americans – they’re seriously selfish. You take away their reputation and their liberties and their democracy and they might – might! – vote against you. You take away their money, they’ll rip your fucking lungs out, Bro.

And if John McCain seems particularly short on breath of late, that’s why. There’s nothing quite like the total absence of breathing organs to put a crimp in your respiratory function.

But this crackup is way, way bigger than the righteously deserved toilet training of one John Sidney McCain the Third. This is the end of an era, and not a moment too soon. It now looks like Democrats will win a 1932-style, landslide, realigning election (as I predicted one year ago), smashing McCain in both the popular vote and the Electoral College, picking up double-digit seats in the House, and possibly even gaining a filibuster-proof majority of 60 in the Senate. Even Mitch McConnell, a smug horror story of a minority leader for his decrepit party, looks like he’ll be losing his seat, along with such smarmy dreaded incumbents such as Elizabeth Dole and Norm Coleman. This has all the makings of a serious and even perhaps lethal spanking for the hated GOP.

That would leave wishy-washy sometime-conservative Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy as the sole remaining bulwark of regressivism in the American government. Which is to say none at all. It used to be said that ‘justices read election results too’, and never was that more true of anyone than of Kennedy, well before this year, but especially now. Even as we speak (and as I also predicted), we’re seeing many on the right scrambling now to reinvent themselves as progressives (for some, like David Brooks or Coleman, who had been lefties back when that was trendy, this represents a reconversion conversion). Anthony Kennedy will surely be on that list. In the 1930s, this same scenario developed, and a troglodyte majority on the Supreme Court started striking down New Deal legislation in a time of massive duress, only to have an angry public, Congress, and highly popular president turn on them. Kennedy won’t make that mistake. He ain’t gonna sacrifice his personal legacy to keep Clarence Thomas pure, that much we can guarantee. Can you imagine, for example, a Democratic Congress vigorously moving national health care, or jobs, legislation, and a Democratic president ceremoniously signing it into law, only for Kennedy to provide the swing vote on the Court striking it down as unconstitutional? Fat chance. The guy’s not suicidal, and he doesn’t want 300 million angry Americans trying to Google his address.

The trajectory of the regressive movement over the last thirty years has led us to this horrid place. At least you could say that their little mini-revolution began with some ideas, however disastrous those were, and however much they always masked the true kleptocratic purpose of the movement. Reagan had his Cold Warrior shtick, along with some notions of political economy he was peddling. Greedy and stupid Americans, their post-war prosperity already perceptibly beginning to slip away in the late 1970s, foolishly bought the whole package – anything to keep the wallet stuffed and the bloated car out of the hands of the repo man. Reagan surely did not win the Cold War, but he surely did exacerbate the steady unraveling of the middle class. The national debt was tripled, while the burden of taxes was shifted from the rich to the non-rich, and organized labor was undermined at every turn. Surprise, surprise – the rich got a lot richer, the poor got poorer, and the middle class stood still.

By the time we got to 2004, the bogus ideas were no longer even bothered with, as the regressive electoral appeal was reduced down to pure lies and a patent appeal to fear. The marketing genius Karl Rove managed to fool all of the people some of the time, and turned war hero John Kerry into someone to be feared and doubted, while war avoider George Bush became GI Joe. That’s a hell of a lot of political detergent to move off of supermarket shelves, but – along with some old-fashioned electoral fraud in Ohio, of course – it worked one last time. Bush bragged about winning political capital to spend in his second term, but you’d have to be as stupid and disingenuous as the little toad himself (the same guy who declared the Iraq war over before it actually began, and who said “You’re doing a heckuva job, Brownie”) to have believed that nonsense. The truth was that 2004 was the last gasp of the old black magic, and it just barely worked. Use lies, racism, homophobia, xenophobia and national security bogeymen to scare pathetically ill-informed Americans, and in non-recessionary times you could win another election. Back then, at least.

That game is over now, exhausted for a generation or more, though a shamefully and embarrassingly desperate John McCain is still trying to play it. And why wouldn’t he? If he doesn’t care about his honor and integrity and reputation – and he evidently doesn’t, at least compared to how much he cares about winning the presidency – what else is there for him to do? He can’t run on issues, he can’t run on solutions, he can’t run on his wonderful VP choice, and he can’t run on the peace and prosperity his party has delivered. Indeed, he has to run from all those things. That leaves only one other option, which is for McCain and his team of Rove proteges to do to Obama what Rove himself did to Kerry – that is, sow enough doubt about his trustworthiness in the minds of voters to make them hold their noses and default to the seemingly (but not really) safe choice of the seemingly (but not really) known quantity.

But it’s just not working anymore. In fact, so much is it not working anymore, that nowadays you have regressive politicians and pundits renouncing their own team for trying it. Where were these folks back in 1998 when a group of serious and serial philanderers impeached a president for lying about a blow job? Where were they when Rove and Bush told South Carolinians that McCain had fathered a child with a black mistress, or ridiculed Al Gore for supposedly having claimed to have invented the Internet? Where were they in 2002, when Saxby Chambliss, another Vietnam war avoider, ran ads morphing the face of triple-amputee Vietnam vet Max Cleland into those of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein? And where were they when Rove and Bush were swift-boating Kerry in 2004? I’ll tell you where. They were cheering it all on.

Not so much now. Dylan once said you don’t have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows, but in 2008 you’d have to be an inter-galactic astronaut or the doorkeeper for Cheney’s underground bunker to not know. And so the regressive right blovitoriate is splitting before our very eyes, into two camps. One is the unreconstructed Neanderthal set, like William Kristol and Victor Davis Hanson, who can’t quite believe what they’re seeing (“But this can’t be right – we own the presidency!”), who thought the Sarah Palin pick was just plain inspired, and who are encouraging McCain to stop pussyfooting around already. Kristol, for example, watching it all just melt away, has been furiously trying to find a gambit to keep the regressive dream alive. First he advised McCain to go all Rove on Obama, which McCain did, sending Palin out to describe That One as having ‘palled around with terrorists’. Unreal. You know you’re in deep shit when Sarah Palin is your voice of moral authority (her best line yet has been her claim this week to be relieved that she has been fully exonerated by the Alaska legislature’s corruption probe, which in fact flat-out accused her of breaking the law by abusing power for personal gain).

Anyhow, having realized that Ayers accusations are actually diminishing McCain’s popularity rather than enhancing it, Kristol is now calling for McCain to fire everyone on the staff and for the “competent” McCain and Palin to just do constant press conferences until election day. Nevermind that allowing Palin to talk to the press or public in any unstructured environment would put McCain in danger of being on the ugly side of a fifty-state sweep right now. (You think I’m kidding? McCain is up a whopping six percent in Georgia at the moment, eight percent in Mississippi, and one percent in North Carolina, home of Jesse Helms. He’s currently losing by two points in that bastion of leftist fomentation, that revolutionary hotbed, the People’s Republic of North Dakota.) Perhaps the most amusing line of this entire election cycle came from the McCain campaign staff, (perhaps slightly miffed by the suggestion that they all lose their jobs), who claimed that Kristol, of all people, has now drunk from the cup of Obamania. Wow. Who needs a dictionary definition for paranoia when you’ve got that to work with?

The other great line that Kristol floated as a rationale for voters to choose McCain, and a theme of late among the drowning right-wing punditocracy, is that McCain should argue for votes by saying that he will be there to block what is sure to be a Democratic and – wait for it now – liberal (oooooooh!!) Congress. Let’s leave aside the obvious and traditional solution to such a quandary, which is that McCain could instead simply encourage voters to choose Republicans all up and down the ticket (could there be something toxic about the R-word in 2008?). But even apart from that rather obvious bit of logical lunacy, what sort of frighteningly vapid bonehead do you have to be to think that divided government is a winning notion in 2008? I mean, raise your hand if you think that what Americans want right now, in the middle of multiple crises, including one which is destroying their retirement savings and threatening their jobs, is a gridlocked government in which Congress passes legislation shot down by the president’s veto pen, and the president proposes solutions ignored by a Congress controlled by the other party. Do they really pay these guys big bucks to pen this sort of drivel? These morons are the pundicratic equivalents of Wall Street’s equally brilliant masters of the universe, only in six figures instead of nine.

Take, for example, Victor Davis Hanson, who says that, since the campaigns of previous GOP nominees – ranging from the racism of the Willie Horton project to the swiftboating of war heroes – were worse than the present transgressions, therefore “McCain as a vicious campaigner is a complete fabrication, but, again, a brilliant subterfuge on the part of Team Obama that, in fact, has run, via appendages, the far more vicious race”. Yeah, Cindy McCain said that too, arguing that Obama has run “the dirtiest campaign in American history”. I suppose if you find trouncing her husband to be dirty politics, she’s right. But the notion that a campaign which is trying to win by tying the other guy to an unknown former radical who blew stuff up when the candidate was eight years old is somehow not running a vicious campaign is so big a stretch that not even a lot of regressives will make it anymore. Nevermind that the education commission that both Obama and Ayers served on was a project of the Annenberg family, huge supporters of Reagan and, yes, one John McCain. And nevermind that that means that the Annenbergs, and McCain, and all the conservative members of the commission have, by the same logic, palled around with terrorists at least as much Obama. Oops.

But, for my personal favorite, there’s that famous political philosopher, Ted Nugent (better known to some as a horrid screaming shred-metal rock singer, or an enthusiastic murderer of animals), who advises McCain to go all Reagan and tell the people once again that government is the problem, not the solution. Yep, just as every American is scrambling for a lifeboat in an economic Category 5, and even the Bush administration is doing its very best impression of V. I. Lenin by plunging the government deep into economic interventions, he literally advises McCain to “Tell us the federal government has no business in the home loan industry and that you will take our economy away from the Treasury Department bureaucrats and give it back to the bankers, stockbrokers and company leaders that have made our economy thrive since Alexander Hamilton served at Treasury.” Hey, Ted, you forgot pedophiles and serial murderers on your list of popular people right now! Stockbrokers? Yes! CEOs? Yes! Oh please, John McCain, please. Please sing their praises in the closing weeks of the campaign. Just because Ted Nugent seems like the very antithesis of a thoughtful political theorist, just because he seems like a metal-headed rocker who has turned it up to eleven once too many times, I guarantee you, John, that he is not. Your can win the presidency if you’ll just follow his advice and talk incessantly about all the heroic stockbrokers and CEOs you’ll put in your cabinet! This will really resonate with American voters right now!! Maybe you could even pardon some of those Enron guys and put them to work running the country. (Again.)

Meanwhile, the other faction of the wrong-wingers are leaving the sinking ship as quick as they can and hoping nobody notices. Like David Brooks, for example, who called Palin “a fatal cancer to the Republican Party” and is otherwise similarly leaving behind his old comrades on the right in article after article he authors. Or Frank Schaeffer, who describes himself as a “lifelong Republican, [who] worked to get [McCain] elected instead of George W. Bush” in 2000, but who now writes: “John McCain: If your campaign does not stop equating Sen. Barack Obama with terrorism, questioning his patriotism and portraying Mr. Obama as “not one of us”, I accuse you of deliberately feeding the most unhinged elements of our society the red meat of hate, and therefore of potentially instigating violence.” Ouch. Or, Christopher (son of William F.) Buckley, who has endorsed Obama, only to be driven out of the National Review, the conservative journal famously launched by his father back (to the future) at a time when no one was listening to such gibberish. According to Young Buck, he’s “been effectively fatwahed by the conservative movement” ever since his act of great apostasy. That’s a great line, as was the entirety of Buckley’s hilariously accurate and embarrassingly realistic script for “Thank You For Smoking”. Memo to regressives: It’s not a real good idea to piss off people with such sharp skewering knives. Meanwhile, welcome to the sanity club, Chris. We hope you’ll stay a while. You’ll always be welcome among the fast-exploding ranks of the reality-based community.

So grim has the McCain campaign become, and so diminished are the fortunes of the regressive right, that people are jumping ship now as if they owned stock in General Motors. And why wouldn’t they? This last week in particular has been one of the most horrible ever in American politics. You could start with the fact that a grossly under-qualified nominee for Vice President is already nearly being indicted for abuse of power, and she hasn’t even hit Washington yet. So far, that’s just a reflection on the grossly under-honorable man who selected her, purely to benefit his own career aspirations. But when you add in the fierce devotion that Palin engenders among the legions of the scary right, you can really get depressed.

All of this was on such full display this week that even John ‘Say Anything’ McCain seemed taken aback at one or two events. I think he realized just who it is that his campaign is attracting nowadays. I think he realized his complicity in fomenting such visceral hatred that we now see people attending rallies of one of the two mainstream parties in America screaming out “terrorist” and “kill him” with respect to the man they’re introducing as Barack Hussein Obama. I think he was a little shell-shocked that not only members of his own party were publicly rebuking him, but civil rights hero John Lewis compared him to the racist monster George Wallace. This would be especially devastating if it had occurred in an America where people paid attention to politics, since McCain had just recently named Lewis as one of a few people whose advice he would seek out were he president. That comment, uttered just last August, was already an odd remark, since Lewis is a liberal Democrat, and McCain once opposed making Martin Luther King’s birthday a holiday, and because Lewis let on directly afterwards as to how McCain had never sought him out even for small talk during the two decades they’ve both served in Congress. But now, of course, it’s even more absurd, because the first bit of advice Lewis offered caused the McCain camp to go insane and demand that Obama rebuke Lewis, even though the two have nothing particularly to do with one another.

The truth is that a guy who once possessed a broad reputation for decency and integrity, deserved or not, came to grips this week with the realization that he is not only losing his last bid ever for the presidency, but that he is losing his honor as well. McCain knows that he will not only go down in history as a two-time presidential loser, but also as yet another hate-mongering, horror-show, thug graduate from the McCarthy/Nixon/Atwater/Rove/Schmidt school for the criminally insane. The once proud John McCain, filled up with generations of military values extolling the crucial importance of gentlemanly honor, has become just another ill-smelling hack. Worse yet, he’s a loser hack, who will never have the chance to rehabilitate himself. At least when George H.W. Bush pissed all over his country he won the race, and got to join that most exclusive club, and then he had four years to make people mostly forget about Willie Horton. McCain, on the other hand, has bungled his way into the full-on nightmare vision of a lost election coupled with lost integrity.

But McCain owns this Shakespearean tragedy in full. Part of me is a bit sad to say that, remembering the John McCain who once had the honesty to note that “America has the best Congress money can buy”, or who called the freaks of the religious right “agents of intolerance”. But most of me is no longer sad. George W. Bush and the regressive movement have devastated the country and planet where I live, and their motive for doing so was ultimately just simple greed. McCain has spent the past eight years facilitating that monstrous and monstrously lethal mass rape. It is therefore fitting that a man who was once highly respected should experience ruin not once, but twice, at the hands of a moral dwarf like George W. Bush. In 2000, Bush used the scummiest of scummy techniques to emasculate John McCain, a man who was infinitely his better in every respect. Now again today, the Chimpster-in-Chief sits in his Oval Office, smirking as ever, sociopathically oblivious as the legacy of his two terms – both of which McCain actively helped him win – sealing the senator’s fate for a second time.

The number of sacrificial victims to the fragile ego of one George Walker Bush is astonishing to contemplate. It’s staggering to imagine that one individual’s personal childhood inadequacies could wreak so much havoc on an entire planet, but indeed they have.

From Tony Blair’s career to the lives of a million Iraqis. From Americans’ wallets to their country’s very honor. From environmental destruction to the Republican Party itself. All relegated to the ash heap of history.

John McCain is only the latest to be added to that list.

David Michael Green

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.