7.16.2008

Gay Days on the Road

I will be away for a couple weeks.

While I could still blog if I really wanted to, the truth is I don't. I'm a bit burned out from the primary and have been looking forward to not blogging for the next couple of weeks. (I've got to build up my energy for the fall campaign!)



So, I will see you again (the few yous who actaully visit my blog) on August 1st.

McCain raises $62.5 million in public finance loophole

So, John McCain is gaming the system. Yeah, I know. It didn't surprise me either. The question is what the Obama campaign is going to do about it.

From Jed:

Here's a story you can say you read first at The Jed Report: according to FEC reports filed on July 15, through June 30, John McCain had raised at $62.5 million in private funds that can be used for his general election campaign -- even though he's already committed to accepting public funding for the general.

Moreover, based on my own analysis, of that $62.5 million, three-quarters -- $46.3 million -- comes from a total of 1,803 wealthy individuals who made five figure contributions averaging $25,664 each.

So not only is John McCain blatantly violating his public financing pledge, but he's doing it in grand style, raising money in increments of up to $70,000 per donor -- more than thirty times the amount a donor can give to Barack Obama's general election campaign.

How is this all possible? How has most of the media missed the story? Allow me to explain.

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7.15.2008

MSNBC is not the FOX of the left

From Jed:

Nothing is more irritating than endless prattling on about what strategies the GOP should or should not use to attack Barack Obama. Today, MSNBC had four different segments on the topic. Newsflash to MSNBC: If you're going to spend every broadcast trying to figure out how to attack Barack Obama, then it's not something the GOP is going to have to worry about.

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Bush: Cheerleader in chief or completely delusional?

Gilbert Mercier at Mercy Politics wonders if Bush is drinking again. That's his impression after the ridiculous & hastily press conference on the economy (not meant to knock Obama's major Iraq/Afghanistan speech of course):

Today, Bush had a quickly arranged press conference to address the growing anxiety of the American people.

[snip]

Pres. Bush this morning kept saying that things were " tough " for Americans right now but that we were not in a recession and we had to stay " optimistic". He used the word " psychological" a few times, as if he wanted to give Americans the sense that everything would be OK. Another point that he made over and over was the validity to " drill for oil " to solve the high gas prices. He conceded that it wouldn't solve any problem in the short term, but once again he brought up the " psychological impact" it would have on the rest of the world.

[snip]

What I got from Bush' s press conference was a feeling of panic, the sense of someone even less focus than usual, lost and quite frankly almost on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Could it be that he is drinking again?

If Bush was planning to be America's President Dr. Phil today, I don't think the " mission was accomplished".

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Sign ACLU Ad challenging FISA Amendments Act

From the ACLU:

The ACLU is challenging the unconstitutional FISA Amendments Act on behalf of a broad coalition of organizations including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, PEN American Center, the SEIU, and The Nation magazine. Add your signature letting Congress know exactly how you feel about them selling out your right to privacy.

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Fox News Racism: Intentional?

I'll take, Yes for $2000, Alex.

From The Onion:

Over the past few weeks, Fox News has made racially insensitive insinuations about the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. What other similar incidents have occurred on Fox News?- Whenever he is shown exiting a limousine, journalists mention that his Escalade must be in the shop.

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Did Obama Force McCain To Flip-Flop On Afghanistan?

I'll take, Yes for $1000, Alex.

From The Huffington Post.

John McCain likes to paint Barack Obama as a naive follower on key national security issues. But by moving up his planned Afghanistan speech by two days to follow Obama's, and by agreeing that more U.S. troops are needed there, McCain appears to be following the Illinois Democrat on a major proposed shift for U.S. foreign policy.

Last month, Joint Chiefs chairman Adm. Michael Mullen said he needed at least three brigades shifted to Afghanistan, but that "troop constraints were preventing such a move."

Democrats trumpeted the statement as vindication, but McCain's campaign held its line and "resisted calls for more [U.S.] troops" in Afghanistan.

[snip]

Nearly an hour after Obama finished his D.C. speech, in which he repeated his call for "at least two additional combat brigades" to be sent to Afghanistan, McCain stepped to his podium across the country in New Mexico and tried to one-up his Democratic rival. As McCain's website now says, the Arizona Republican wants "at least three additional brigades" for the fight in Afghanistan.

But if Adm. Mullen can't find the troops to provide for a three-brigade increase in Afghanistan, how does McCain (who, unlike Obama, doesn't have plans to begin removing forces from Iraq)?

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McCain Finds Rape Hilarious, Made a Joke About it 22 Yrs Ago

Wow. This one left me speechless (which really takes a lot).

From Think Progress:

The blog Rum, Romanism and Rebellion pulls out a 1986 Tucson Citizen article recounting a joke about rape told by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). Speaking to the National League of Cities and Towns in Washington, DC, McCain allegedly said:

Did you hear the one about the woman who is attacked on the street by a gorilla, beaten senseless, raped repeatedly and left to die? When she finally regains consciousness and tries to speak, her doctor leans over to hear her sigh contently and to feebly ask, “Where is that marvelous ape?”

McCain was swiftly criticized by women’s groups. A spokeswoman for NOW in Arizona said the organization’s members were “incensed by his cruel and sexist remark.” McCain said he did not “recall” telling the joke. More recently, the McCain campaign scheduled a fundraiser with a Texas oilman who compared rape to the weather while running for governor. “As long as it’s inevitable, you might as well lie back and enjoy it,” said Clayton Williams in 1990. After public outcry, the event was “postponed.”

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ABC: Obama +8, Confirming Quinnipiac from this morning

Anyone else LOVE how ABC doesn't mention even mention the main poll number until after it reports on the supposed bad news that should worry Obama & his supporters? It's was like the 4th paragraph before they actually mention the overall numbers!

The media is really freaking out that this isn't a horse race.

Steven R reverses the ABC priorities by reporting the poll the way it should be reported, namely with the poll numbers first:

ABC Just released their poll here

Of course the article skews and head fakes its way to champion the horserace, highlighting every strenght of McCain while overlooking the Obama strengths.

All told, Obama leads McCain among registered voters by 8 points in this ABC/Post poll, 50-42 percent.

Turnout makes a difference: It's 51-39 percent among all adults overall, but narrows to a close 49-46 percent match among likely voters. As noted, Republicans are among those more likely to vote; young adults, less so.

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First, Newsweek changes their breakdown/affiliations percentages for almost all their cross tabs which skewed the results in McCain's favor making it look like Obama dropped 10 points. Now this?

It's almost comical (if the country's life didn't depend upon it).

Obama is, AT MINIMUM, 8+ points ahead and if Newsweek went back a adjusted this months poll to match the crosstabs of last months, he still be ahead in their poll by 12+.

John McCain: I graduated fifth from the bottom of my class

From Jed:

That's 894th out of 899. No wonder he can't work a computer.


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7.14.2008

When Bush took office, gas was $1.46 a gallon.

From The DNC:

A vote for McCain is a vote for Bush.


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Appalachian Residents Have Found the Antidote to Coal

Good for them!

From Alternet:

Faced with an impending proposal to strip mine over 6,600 acres, local residents have come up with a better idea. Coal country going green?

If Senator Barack Obama ever needs a living symbol of change we can believe in, and a hopeful way to transcend the dirty politics of our failed energy policies, he should go and see the future of renewable energy in the Coal River Valley in West Virginia.

Yes, renewable energy in Appalachia.

Something historic is taking place in West Virginia this summer. Faced with an impending proposal to stripmine over 6,600 acres -- nearly 10 square miles -- in the Coal River Valley, including one of the last great mountains in that range, an extraordinary movement of local residents and coal mining families have come up with a counter proposal for an even more effective wind farm.

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Accountability Now & Strange Bedfellows: What It's About

Glenn Greenwald (and a handful of others) points out the obvious. It isn't only the Republican's who have sold this country out, it's the Democrats who have capitulated to the President or worse, given him even more than he asked for.

Among other thing, Glenn compiled a pretty substantial list of those capitulation in his article:

From Glenn:

A new campaign devoted to civil liberties, core Constitution protections and the rule of law is designed to change the incentive scheme of the Beltway establishment.

Since that overwhelming Democratic victory, this is what the Democratic-led Congress has done:

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Barack Obama NY Time Op Ed: "My Plan for Iraq"

Barack Obama has an op-ed in today's NY Times that lays out his plans for Iraq and dispels all the misrepresentations about his stance on leaving asap.

CHICAGO — The call by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki for a timetable for the removal of American troops from Iraq presents an enormous opportunity. We should seize this moment to begin the phased redeployment of combat troops that I have long advocated, and that is needed for long-term success in Iraq and the security interests of the United States.

[snip]

In the 18 months since President Bush announced the surge, our troops have performed heroically in bringing down the level of violence. New tactics have protected the Iraqi population, and the Sunni tribes have rejected Al Qaeda — greatly weakening its effectiveness.

But the same factors that led me to oppose the surge still hold true. The strain on our military has grown, the situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated and we’ve spent nearly $200 billion more in Iraq than we had budgeted. Iraq’s leaders have failed to invest tens of billions of dollars in oil revenues in rebuilding their own country, and they have not reached the political accommodation that was the stated purpose of the surge.

[snip]

Ending the war is essential to meeting our broader strategic goals, starting in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the Taliban is resurgent and Al Qaeda has a safe haven. Iraq is not the central front in the war on terrorism, and it never has been. As Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently pointed out, we won’t have sufficient resources to finish the job in Afghanistan until we reduce our commitment to Iraq.

As president, I would pursue a new strategy, and begin by providing at least two additional combat brigades to support our effort in Afghanistan. We need more troops, more helicopters, better intelligence-gathering and more nonmilitary assistance to accomplish the mission there. I would not hold our military, our resources and our foreign policy hostage to a misguided desire to maintain permanent bases in Iraq.

In this campaign, there are honest differences over Iraq, and we should discuss them with the thoroughness they deserve. Unlike Senator McCain, I would make it absolutely clear that we seek no presence in Iraq similar to our permanent bases in South Korea, and would redeploy our troops out of Iraq and focus on the broader security challenges that we face. But for far too long, those responsible for the greatest strategic blunder in the recent history of American foreign policy have ignored useful debate in favor of making false charges about flip-flops and surrender.

It’s not going to work this time. It’s time to end this war.

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This was on top of Obama hitting McCain on his confusion over who the Sunni and Shia yesterday (from ABC):

"John McCain has been in Congress 25 years, no doubt about that. If this is a longevity measure, then John McCain wins," Obama said to reporters. "I'll recall the visit he made last year in which he was surrounded by helicopters and SWAT teams and came back and reported how safe everything was in Baghdad. You know, I don't think that that was indicative of what was actually happening on the ground at that time."

[snip]

"Before we went into Iraq, I knew the difference between Shia and Sunni. Before we went into Iraq, I said that this is going to be an extraordinarily costly endeavor," Obama said. "Before we went into Iraq, I said that we would be bogged down, that it would cost us billions of dollars and thousands of lives and that it would fan anti-American sentiment and that it would distract us from the war against Afghanistan."

New Yorker Cover: "Muslim" Obama With Gun-Slinging Michelle

I don't even have words to describe how angry I am. I know what they were going for, but this is the United States of NYC. People in 40 of 50 states aren't going to get the joke.



From The Huffington Post:
The upcoming issue of the New Yorker, the July 21st issue, has a picture of Obama, depicting him and his wife on the cover. It shows Michelle Obama with an Afro and an AK 47 and the two of them doing the fist bump with Obama wearing a sort of turban-type thing on his head.

[snip]

Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton called it "tasteless and offensive" and, according to Jake Tapper at ABC, another high-profile Obama supporter called it "as offensive a caricature as any magazine could publish."

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From Jed:

Good lord. I just saw the new cover of the New Yorker. I believe the intention of the cover artist was to portray the absurdity of the right wing-caricatures of Barack Obama, but the problem is that merely repeating a caricature without offering any particular insight into it is a terrible way to demonstrate absurdity.

Worse, the cover is visually compelling. Rather than raising questions about the wingers, it raises questions about the Obamas. It's an image we'll probably be seeing the right-wing appropriate over the course of the campaign. If that happens, the only ironic thing about the cover will turn out to have been it's complete and total failure to achieve its desired effect.

From John Aravosis (DC):

Okay, what do we do about this? I want suggestions. This is what we have to deal with in America, as Democrats. A liberal media that bends over so far backwards to be "fair" that it becomes just as bad as FOX News. A liberal publication like the New Yorker thinks it's funny to make Mrs. Obama some radical black panther, Barack Obama basically a terrorist (you'll note that he looks just like Osama bin Laden on the wall), and they're even burning the American flag in the Oval Office (that's supposed to be the White House, get it?). They put Osama bin Laden on the wall of the Oval Office. And this is funny? Is the New Yorker so out of touch that they don't realize that much of America, or at least too much of America, harbors these very concerns about Obama and his wife? I'm sure the New Yorker thinks they're actually poking holes in the myth by making light of the stereotypes. Yeah, and tell us how this pokes fun at the stereotype? It reinforces it. And yet again, you'd never see them try anything like this with John McCain. God forbid you even ask a question about John McCain's experience, the media will destroy you. But paint Obama and his wife as America-hating flag-burning violent terrorists, and it's funny. I can't wait to hear what Mrs. Greenspan and Bob Schieffer over at NBC have to say about this. Somehow I'm betting their outrage won't be as great as when anyone questions Saint McCain.

From Jake Tapper at ABC:

Knowing the liberal politics of the magazine, it's without question that the illustration is meant ironically, as a parody of the caricature some conservatives (and some supporters of Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.) are painting of the Obamas.

But it's still fairly incendiary, at least as these things go. I wonder what the reaction would be were it the Weekly Standard or the National Review putting such an illustration on their covers.

Intent factors into these matters, of course, but no Upper East Side liberal -- no matter how superior they feel their intellect is -- should assume that just because they're mocking such ridiculousness, the illustration won't feed into the same beast in emails and other media. It's a recruitment poster for the right-wing.

"This is as offensive a caricature as any magazine could publish," says a high-profile Obama supporter, "and I suspect that other Obama supporters like me are also thinking about not subscribing to or buying a magazine that trafficks in such trash."

From Nico Pitney at the Huffington Post:

Barry Blitt is the artist behind this week's very controversial New Yorker cover of Barack and Michelle Obama. Via email, I asked him to respond to those who feel that his work was offensive, and to explain his own personal feelings about the Obamas. Here's what he wrote:

I think the idea that the Obamas are branded as unpatriotic [let alone as terrorists] in certain sectors is preposterous. It seemed to me that depicting the concept would show it as the fear-mongering ridiculousness that it is.

And in retrospect, given the outcry, is he glad he made the art?

"Retrospect? Outcry?" he wrote. "The magazine just came out ten minutes ago, at least give me a few days to decide whether to regret it or not..."

UPDATE:

Rachel Sklar over at The Huffington Post has an article up with the editor of the magazine's response to the anger over the cover called, David Remnick On That New Yorker Cover: It's Satire, Meant To Target "Distortions And Misconceptions And Prejudices" About Obama:

Some are not alarmedClarence Page, longtime Chicago Tribune columnist (and African-American) said the cover was "quite within the normal bounds of journalism" — but not everyone sees it that way. It's been described as "offensive" and "trash" and "disgusting" and "just as bad as Fox News."

Why would the New Yorker publish such a thing? Why would they run a cover that could have run, irony-free, on the cover of the National Review? What were they thinking? We put these questions and more to David Remnick, the editor of the New Yorker. His answers are below.

Click over for the full interview, but here's the first question:

This cover has quickly become very controversial. The Obama campaign has called it "tasteless and offensive." Why did you run it?

Obviously I wouldn't have run a cover just to get attention — I ran the cover because I thought it had something to say. What I think it does is hold up a mirror to the prejudice and dark imaginings about Barack Obama's — both Obamas' — past, and their politics. I can't speak for anyone else's interpretations, all I can say is that it combines a number of images that have been propagated, not by everyone on the right but by some, about Obama's supposed "lack of patriotism" or his being "soft on terrorism" or the idiotic notion that somehow Michelle Obama is the second coming of the Weathermen or most violent Black Panthers. That somehow all this is going to come to the Oval Office.

The idea that we would publish a cover saying these things literally, I think, is just not in the vocabulary of what we do and who we are... We've run many many satirical political covers. Ask the Bush administration how many.

7.13.2008

Lobbyist w/ Ties To White House Offers Access For Donations

This is rich...and has the makings of a major, full-blown scandal that not even Georgie can weasel his way out of.

From Huffington Post:

A lobbyist with close ties to the White House is offering access to key figures in George W Bush's administration in return for six-figure donations to the private library being set up to commemorate Bush's presidency.

Stephen Payne, who claims to have raised more than $1m for the president's Republican party in recent years, said he would arrange meetings with Dick Cheney, the vice-president, Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, and other senior officials in return for a payment of $250,000 (£126,000) towards the library in Texas.

Payne, who has accompanied Bush and Cheney on several foreign trips, also said he would try to secure a meeting with the president himself.

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The story was originally reported/exposed by Reporters from the UK Times.

“Who does he want to meet with in Washington?” asked the American. Dos replied: “Well of course, maybe the president of the United States, vice-president Cheney, to speak maybe directly to explain the situation in central Asia . . . To give his side of the story. These kind of things.”

“I think that some things could be done,” said Payne, adding that seeing Bush himself might be more difficult. With barely a pause, he continued:

“I think that the family, children, whatever [of Akayev], should probably look at making a contribution to the Bush library.

“It would be like, maybe a couple of hundred thousand dollars, or something like that, not a huge amount but enough to show that they’re serious.”

Think Progress has more:
The Department of Homeland Security website reports that the “Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) provides advice and recommendations to the Secretary on matters related to homeland security.” Payne has been a member of the council since August 2007.

In Jan. 2008, Payne — an early supporter of Rudy Giuliani — said he would throw his support to John McCain if Giuliani dropped out. A personal friend of Bush, Payne has helped clear brush on the Crawford Ranch with the President (see the picture on the right).

As does DK's Troutfishing:

If Democrats in Congress have any huevos* they'll be convening hearings on Steven Payne's pay-for-play shadow state department scam this coming Monday the moment Congress opens for business. I don't believe any of the myriad of scandals to have oozed out of what may come to be regarded as the most corrupt Presidency in American history, bar none, has carried such potential.

Payne's business is the quintessence of what's wrong with the Bush Administration and American Democracy; government in secret, by and for the wealthy and powerful. The Watergate scandal involved merely the attempted subversion of the US electoral process, but PayneGate represents a much more basic subversion and corruption of American Democracy because democracy can only function to the extent that it is transparent.

[snip]

If Congressional Democrats do not take full advantage of the Payne scandal we will know that American Democracy is more compromised than we ever imagined, because PayneGate is not labyrinthine. One can sum it up in a sentence that can be piped out, via mainstream media, right into the ears and minds of average Americans everywhere who, though they be scrabbling for economic survival amidst a Bush-generated economic disaster, will instantly get it: Bush's own secret 'pay for play' private state department. Bush buddies turned U.S. foreign policy into their personal cash cow.. It's that simple.

Why Carly Fiorina is a Smarmy, Incompetent Lying Hack

A really great taken down of Carly Fiorina, McCain's campaign front woman, from DK's monitor:

I just watched key McCain surrogate Carly Fiorina twist and turn through a tortured, disingenuous appearance on Meet the Press. I have to say that she is quite possibly one of the top five people I have discovered during this campaign process that I have instinctively come to find immediately and viscerally repellent.

...See below the fold for the many, many reasons why Carly Fiorina is a smarmy, incompetent, lying hack and why she deserves our ire...

Fiorina oozes a smarmy, patronizing condescension (on par in my opinion with such ignoble luminaries as Nancy Grace) that empowers her put on a fake smile and lie through her teeth about:

Obama -- For example, she trotted out her favorite bald-faced lie du jour again that Obama would raise taxes on everyone. THE TRUTH: Obama would give the 95% of Americans making under around $250,000 per year a $1,000 tax cut.

and

McCain - See her statement last week that McCain never signed off on efforts to overturn Roe vs. Wade. THE TRUTH: McCain's own campaign website touts McCain's fervent support for, yes, "Overturning Roe v. Wade".

Watch the video of her truly cringe-worthy performance at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/...

I did some digging online and came up with an apt 10-point discussion of why Hewlett Packard and the markets in general came to hate her during and after her tenure as HP's CEO. It's worth a read in its entirety:

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Economic difference between McCain/Bush?: "Uhhhh..."

From The Huffington Post:

The most painful clip from the Sunday morning shows: top McCain VP prospect Mark Sanford "drawing a blank" (in his own words) on live TV when asked to name a major economic policy that President Bush and John McCain disagree on.

Here's the vid:



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John McCain & Phil Gramm: It's All In Your Head

Here's t he DNC new video on Gramm & McCain's 'psychological' beliefs when it comes to the economy. As Markos basically said the other day, "It's psychological" wasn't a gaffe, it's a regular, everyday, John McCain talking point. Don't ever forget that.

From the DNC's Rapid Response Team:



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Newsweek Polls: A Tale of Two Countries

Hey, Newsweek! You have some explaining to do.

How can you change the samples percentages so dramatically from one poll to the next and get an honest reading of the electorate?

You can’t.

Your two most recent polls might as well have come from two different pollsters. Don’t you think you should pick one set of samples and stick with it for the remainder of the race?

And don’t you think the samples should be representative to what the electorate actually is?

Neither poll is necessarily right, or wrong. They’re incomparable and you do everyone a disservice by not maintaining a baseline standard from poll to poll.

From DHinMI:

In one country, which Newsweek polled in June, the electorate is split R26/D38/I36. In the other country, which Newsweek polled a few weeks later, that country's electorate is split R32/D32/I36.

In one country, polled in June, 84% of the electorate is white. In the other country, polled a few weeks later, 88% of the electorate is white.

In one country, polled in June, 19% of the registered voters are under 40, 39% are between 40 and 59, and 42% are 60 or older. In the other country, polled a few weeks later, only 17% of the registered voters are under 40, 38% are between 40 and 59, and 45% are 60 or older.

In the younger, slightly more racially diverse and much more Democratic country, Barack Obama was supposedly leading by 15 points. In the country that is somewhat older, is somewhat whiter, and is evenly split between Republicans and Democrats, Barack Obama is supposedly leading McCain by only 3 points.

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So, I wouldn't worry too much about the Newsweek poll considering how unrealistic the cross tabs were this time, which was also very different from their previous poll. You can't compare apples & oranges.

Voter registrations in Florida show 'huge swing' toward Dems

This is some really interesting news from Florida's Sun-Sentinel:

An escalating number of voters registering as Democrats is providing evidence that the 2008 election could produce a wave of support for Barack Obama — and trigger a decades-long shift of party allegiance that could affect elections for a generation.

The numbers are ominous for Republicans: Through May, Democratic voter registration in Broward County was up 6.7 percent. Republican registrations grew just 3 percent while independents rose 2.8 percent.

Democrats have posted even greater gains statewide, up 106,508 voters from January through May, compared with 16,686 for the Republicans.

"It's a huge swing," says Marian Johnson, political director for the Florida Chamber of Commerce. "I looked at that and said, 'Wow.'"

Democrats said Friday it's proof of what they have been seeing for months.

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The Real-Life ‘24’ of Summer 2008

Frank Rich explains why/how these bastards are much much worse than Watergate and how we will eventually pay for this criminality, ineptness and ideological fear. In my opinion, Rich makes the case for why Bush/Cheney MUST be impeached:

Nixon parallels take us only so far, however. “The Dark Side” is scarier than “The Final Days” because these final days aren’t over yet and because the stakes are much higher. Watergate was all about a paranoid president’s narcissistic determination to cling to power at any cost. In Ms. Mayer’s portrayal of the Bush White House, the president is a secondary, even passive, figure, and the motives invoked by Mr. Cheney to restore Nixon-style executive powers are theoretically selfless. Possessed by the ticking-bomb scenarios of television’s “24,” all they want to do is protect America from further terrorist strikes.

[snip]

Top Bush hands are starting to get sweaty about where they left their fingerprints. Scapegoating the rotten apples at the bottom of the military’s barrel may not be a slam-dunk escape route from accountability anymore.

[snip]

And so we’re back where we started in the summer of 2001, with even shark attacks and Chandra Levy’s murder (courtesy of a new Washington Post investigation) returning to the news. We are once again distracted and unprepared while the Taliban and bin Laden’s minions multiply in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This, no less than the defiling of the Constitution, is the legacy of an administration that not merely rationalized the immorality of torture but shackled our national security to the absurdity that torture could easily fix the terrorist threat.

That’s why the Bush White House’s corruption in the end surpasses Nixon’s. We can no longer take cold comfort in the Watergate maxim that the cover-up was worse than the crime. This time the crime is worse than the cover-up, and the punishment could rain down on us all.

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7.12.2008

Our Warrantless Wiretapping Lawsuit

Because someone has to do it, The Nation & the ACLU have filed a lawsuit filed challenging the constitutionality of the Act:

This afternoon, President Bush signed the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, a piece of legislation that will needlessly expand the government's ability to spy on Americans and ensure that the country never learns the full extent of Bush's unlawful wiretapping. There were many good Senators who showed courage in standing up to the White House and for the Constitution, but not enough.

A few hours after Bush's signing, The Nation joined with the ACLU in a lawsuit filed in the US District Court (Southern District) of New York challenging the constitutionality of the Act. The Nation is suing on behalf of itself, our staff and two of our contributing writers--Chris Hedges and Naomi Klein. The defendants are the Attorney General of the United States, Michael Mukasey; John M. "Mike" McConnell, Director of National Intelligence; and Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander, Director of the National Security Agency and Chief of the Security Service. We filed suit along with a coalition of other plaintiffs including Amnesty International USA, Human Rights Watch, Global Fund for Women, PEN American Center, Washington Office on Latin America, Service Employees International Union and several private attorneys.

Why are we joining this lawsuit?

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The McMyth

Interesting read from DK's smintheus about The mavrick, strait-taling myth associated with John McCain and the media's complicity in maintaing that falsehood:

John McCain is just a shameless liar, as I can attest from personal experience. But the traditional media in the US remains so wedded to the McMyth he's constructed for them of a 'straight talker', that they generally ignore any evidence that would shatter it. Revelations that would destroy another politician's career routinely are cloaked in silence to preserve the McMyth. Reporters have settled on their narrative for McCain, and they're damned now if they'll admit that they were just blowing smoke at the public.

Take the revelation yesterday that McCain has lied and continues to lie about his marital infidelity and divorce. Richard Serrano and Ralph Vartabedian of the LA Times uncovered documents to show that McCain's memoir falsified the facts.

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2008 Electrorides Zero Truck Test Drive: All-Electric Heavy Hauler’s 100-mile Range Costs $3 to Recharge

Now this is truly amazing. From Popular Mechanics:

Electric vehicles are supposed to be light, aerodynamic and, well, small. Right? As we found out recently, that’s not always true. How about commercial trucks? We’ve followed Wal-Mart’s quest for lightweight efficiency, but big-business load bearers are actually pretty good candidates for electrification. Since delivery trucks run similar routes every day and return to the same spot after all the work is done, they can charge overnight. Electrorides will be offering the Zero truck to customers in September, but we got behind the wheel of a prototype earlier this week for a drive around Santa Monica.

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Mr. Stupid Man: Time's Mark Halperin

Jed is too funny (and right of course):

So Mark Halperin says John McCain had a better week than Barack Obama...but that's not the stupidest part. No, the stupidest part was Halperin's claim that the candidates are evenly matched on economic issues.

Economy: After a week in which both candidates presented their policies and attacked the other guy’s record and ideas, neither McCain nor Obama has broken out as the leader on this issue. For a question that should give a huge advantage to the Democrats, the answers still sound like “yada, yada, yada”—on both sides.

Need I remind Halperin that McCain did not get off a single shot at Obama all week long on the economy? And meanwhile he dug himself a deep hole on balancing the budget, Social Security, and, last but at all least, Mr. Mental Recession himself reared his ugly head.

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"DO NOT DRINK" (as if you would anyway)

I just threw up a little...

The City of Los Angeles releases new signage in a bid to counter the recent wave of public restroom refreshment:

Torture and the rule of law

That thing called the 4th amendment has got Glenn Greenwald all up in arms again! Thank you, Glenn.

Those who have sanctioned or been indifferent to Bush lawbreaking have no grounds to feign outrage over the latest torture revelations.

[snip]

The enactment of the new FISA bill last week was destructive for many reasons, including the fact that it legalized a regime of warrantless eavesdropping that is certain to be abused. But the far more destructive aspect of the new law is that it was just the latest example -- albeit the most flagrant -- of our political class abolishing the rule of law in this country.

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Carol Kreck: McCain=Bush

The Woman who was forced to leave a McCain even becuase of the sign she was carrying, McCain=Bush, speaks at HuffPo:

Greetings from the little old librarian.

It's been quite a week for me, McCain, the police and the Secret Service. While I may write more later, there are a couple issues I would like to address now -- but first, an excerpt from today's Denver Post story by Felisa Cardona:

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Here's a link to the original story.

Seven Republican Members of House Judiciary Call for Impeach

I just still be sleeping. (slap my face). Hmm. I guess this isn't a dream. Wow.

Call me jaded, but I suspect some of them are a bit worried about November though. I'll believe it when I see some real action and not just words.

If not, then, wow.

These lefty communist liberals are so un-American! ;-)

From Cheryl Biren-Wright over at OpEd News:

GOP Reps. Smith, Sensenbrenner, Coble, Gallegly, Goodlatte, Chabot, and Cannon after much deliberation put the Constitution and rule of law before politics. Rep. Lamar Smith stated, "As much as one might wish to avoid this process, we must resist the temptation to close our eyes and pass by.
Hon. Lamar Smith (TX) Phone 202-225-4236 . Fax: 202-225-8628

We should not underestimate the gravity of the case against the president. When he put his hand on the Bible and recited his oath of office, he swore to faithfully uphold the laws of the United States - not some laws, all laws.

As to the uniqueness of the office the president holds, he is a person in a position of immense authority and influence. He influences the lives of millions of Americans. When he took the oath of office, he swore to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.

When someone is elected president, they receive the greatest gift possible from the American people, their trust. To violate that trust is to raise questions about fitness for office. My constituents often remind me that if anyone else in a position of authority - for example, a business executive, a military officer or a professional educator - had acted as the evidence indicates the president did, their career would be over. The rules under which President Nixon would have been tried for impeachment had he not resigned contain this statement: "The office of the president is such that it calls for a higher level of conduct than the average citizen in the United States."

This will not be an easy task. In fact, it is a difficult ordeal for all Americans, but we will get through it. We are a great nation and a strong people. Our country will endure because our Constitution works and has worked for over 200 years. As much as one might wish to avoid this process, we must resist the temptation to close our eyes and pass by. The president's actions must be evaluated for one simple reason: the truth counts.

As the process goes forward, some good lessons can be reaffirmed. No one is above the law, actions have consequences, always tell the truth. We the people should insist on these high ideals. That the president has fallen short of the standard doesn't mean we should lower it. If we keep excusing away the president's actions we as a nation will never climb upwards because there will be no firm rungs.

[click over to see remaining statements from the other memebers]

The statements above are excerpts from transcripts of the House Judiciary Committee's impeachment hearings. December 10-11, 1998. Each congressman is a current member of the House Judiciary Committee.

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7.11.2008

Reid Rips Gramm: "He Has A Low View Of The American People"

Go, Harry. Too bad you didn't come out this strongly each and every time Joe Lieberman opens his mouth against Obama.

From The Huffington Post:

Harry Reid has just waded into the firestorm over yesterday's claim from McCain adviser Phil Gramm that the economic downturn is "mental" and that Americans are simply "whining."

"Graham has a view of government which is that government is the enemy, not a friend," Reid said in an interview this afternoon with CongressionalVideo.com. "And, obviously from his comments, he now believes the American people are not his friend either, and he has a low view of the American people. Thinks they're a bunch of whiners."

In fact, Reid said, "every segment of our economy is in deep trouble. Deep trouble. We have the housing market, which is falling apart. We have gas prices which are astronomical, people can't even afford to drive to work in many instances."

The Senate Majority Leader saved some of his powder for his colleague from Arizona. "You tie that in with what McCain has said, that he doesn't understand the economy...and he's relying on someone who says that the economy is in good shape and the Americans are a bunch of whiners. We should all worry about the Republican nominee."

Check out the full video here | digg story

"McSame as Bush" -- in a New Obama Ad

Very smart ad.

As reported by Jed:

It's worth a listen (.mp3) if only to hear an Obama ad with these lines:

"Bush, McCain, Karl Rove -- that's how these guys work" and "Guess that’s why they say: John McCain – McSame as Bush!"

Transcript:

“Same as Bush,” :60 seconds

MAN: Oh man – he’s starting already…
WOMAN: What now, honey?
MAN: John McCain. He’s got new ads attacking Barack Obama on taxes.
WOMAN: Well, that’s not new. Bush, McCain, Karl Rove – that’s how those guys work.
MAN: Oh yeah, but this is shameful. He’s just makin’ stuff up.
WOMAN: Yeah?
MAN: But get this. Independent sources are putting McCain in his place. I went to FactCheck dot org. They said quote “it’s not true.”
WOMAN: Huh.
MAN: And look what Time says. Quote, “It makes sense that McCain is returning to the old playbook. But that doesn’t mean he can just make up his own facts.” End Quote.
WOMAN: Yowza! So what’s the truth?
MAN: Obama’s plan cuts taxes on the middle class – and won’t raise taxes on anybody making less than two hundred fifty thousand a year. But McCain wants billions in new corporate tax breaks…and no way to pay for it.
WOMAN:: Hmm. Sounds like George Bush all over again.
MAN: Guess that’s why they say: John McCain – McSame as Bush!
WOMAN: Uh-huh.

Voiceover: On taxes, get the facts. Visit BarackObama.com

Obama: I’m Barack Obama, candidate for President, and I approve this message.

Paid for by Obama for America.

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Fox News Gets Photoshopped!

Vanity Fair shows Fox News' blowhards what retouching photos out of spite can do for them:


Greta Van Susteren, Gretchen Carlson, Sean Hannity, Brit Hume


Neil Cavuto, Fred Barnes, Steve Doocy



Brian Kilmeade, Chris Wallace, Sheppard Smith


And of course Geraldo Rivera, Bill Kristol & Bill O'Reilly

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From this point on, these will be the images I use for posts that mention these bozos.

Phil Gramm’s Greatest Hits: ‘Poor People Are Fat' and More!

As it turns out, this is not the first time that Gramm, a self-styled “foot soldier of the Reagan revolution,” has advocated controversial views on the economy. In the past, he has criticized public works projects, the existence of a minimum wage, and the federal welfare program. Here are some highlights from McCain’s “econ brain,”

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10 Reasons Why Your Economic Pain Isn’t ‘Mental'

Bitter, guns & religion might have been poorly worded, but the sentiment was true. You guys went nuts for weeks over it, labeling Obama an elitist. When true elitism rears its ignorant head, where the hell are you media people?

It wasn’t a gaffe; it was a talking point that McCain has been using for months. Google it! You’re supposed to be journalists, NOT stenographers.

Think Progress has compiled a list that shows just how far out of touch McCain and Gramm truly are in the elitist little world:

From his lucrative perch atop Wall Street, Gramm may not be able to see the suffering of most Americans. And McCain’s own life of luxury may have clouded his understanding. So here’s a reminder of 10 real examples of how Americans are hurting in the current economy:

HOUSING FORECLOSURES INCREASING: As a result of the subprime lending crisis, “housing foreclosures nationwide were up 50% in June compared with the same month in 2007.” In California alone, foreclosures have reached an average of 500 per day.

HOMELESSNESS INCREASING: The number of homeless over the age of 50 are “steadily increasing.”

HEALTHCARE COSTS RISING: According to a report by the Government Accountability Office, “health-care costs are growing much faster than the economy.” Costs are rising so significantly, some Americans are delaying retirement.

GAS PRICES RISING: The national average gas price is $4.09, up 33% from this time last year. Gas prices are now expected to hit “$4.25 by the fall and then stay at more than $4 a gallon until the end of 2009.”

JOB LOSSES INCREASING: In the first six months of this year, a total of 438,000 jobs have been lost, bringing unemployment to 5.5%. The CEO of Bank of America commented, if unemployment continues to rise, “all bets are off.”

FOOD COSTS RISING: “U.S. food prices rose 4 percent in 2007″ making it the fastest rise in 17 years and, as a result, food stamps have considerably less buying power.

HEATING AND ELECTRICITY COSTS RISING: Heating oil costs across the north are expected to be “up 60 percent from last year” and utilities across the country are “raising power prices up to 29%.”

REAL WAGES DECLINING: “Slower wage growth and faster inflation has led to falling real hourly and weekly earnings for most workers.”

LEISURE SPENDING DECLINING: As a result of the rising cost of living, Americans are “tightening their belts and thinking twice about spending extra bucks on entertainment and leisure products.”

VALUE OF DOLLAR DECLINING: The dollar “has been declining steadily for six years against other major currencies, undercutting its role as the leading international banking currency.”

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McCain Flipflops: Now Claims He Supports Equal Pay for Women

What does this guy have to do to wake the media out of its barbecue trance? Call a woman a cunt on the campaign trail? Oh, wait. He did that once – with his wife – in front of reporters incidentally.

The man lies like most honest people tell the truth – without giving it a second thought. Want know why? Because YOU (Corp. media) lets him get away with it. Or, when you do mention it, it’s in passing or as an afterthought meant to downplay, excuse or cove-up (see Politico’s removal of McCain’s camp first defending Gramm’s comment – it’s was wiped from their site).

From Think Progress:

Today, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) participated in a town hall meeting in Wisconsin. During the discussion, he claimed that he is a strong supporter of equal pay for women and other workers:

We haven’t done enough. We have not done enough. And I’m committed to making sure that there’s equal pay for equal work. That there is equal opportunity in every aspect of our society. And that is my record and you can count on it.

In fact, McCain seems committed to just the opposite. In April, he skipped the vote on the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which would have rectified the Supreme Court decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear “that made it much harder for women and other workers to pursue pay discrimination claims.”

In fact, on that very same day, McCain said that if he had been in the Senate, he would have voted against it because the bill “opens us up to lawsuits for all kinds of problems.” He also dismissed the importance of equal pay, saying that women simply need “education and training“:

They need the education and training, particularly since more and more women are heads of their households, as much or more than anybody else,” McCain said. “And it’s hard for them to leave their families when they don’t have somebody to take care of them.

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Rep. Linda Sanchez: Rove should go to jail [VIDEO]

Karl Rove refused to appear before a House Judiciary subcommittee, ignoring a subpoena from Congress for the second time. The chairwoman of the subcommittee, Rep. Linda Sanchez, called his claims of executive privilege "ridiculous" and said Congress should take action to put him in jail.

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FCC chief says Comcast violated Internet rules

The head of the Federal Communications Commission said Thursday he will recommend that the nation's largest cable company be punished for violating agency principles that guarantee customers open access to the Internet.

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New Poll: Obama Up by Three Points in McCain's Home State!

This one's gotta hurt.



From The Washington Independent:
PHOENIX -- In a sign of continued weakness in his home state, an online poll shows Sen. John McCain trailing Sen. Barack Obama by 3-percentage points in Arizona. The poll also shows the candidacy of Liberterian Bob Barr is having a significant impact on McCain's campaign by siphoning off conservative voters nationwide.

The Arizona poll was part of nationwide Zogby International poll that put Obama ahead in total electoral votes with 273 to 160 for McCain. The poll found 11 states with 105 electoral votes too close to call -- including Arizona. McCain’s campaign in June included Arizona among its list of swing states.

McCain not only faced problems with Independent voters, he is losing a small, but potentially lethal voting block of the GOP right to Barr. The former Republican congressman from Georgia is pulling just enough voters in many states to shift the balance to Obama. Whether this bloc will remain in Barr's camp on election day could determine the outcome.

“Barr is hurting McCain all across the country,” said Fritz Wenzel, director of communications for Zogby.

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Pelosi says House Judiciary may hold hearings on Kucinich impeachment resolution

I'll believe it when I see it, Nance.

From Politico:

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said this morning that the House Judiciary Committee may hold hearings on an impeachment resolution offered by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio).

[snip]

Pelosi has said previously that impeachment "was off the table," so her comments this morning were surprising, and clearly signaled a new willingness to entertain the idea of ousting Bush, although no one in the Democratic leadership believes that is likely since the president has only six months left in this term.

"This is a Judiciary Committee matter, and I believe we will see some attention being paid to it by the Judiciary Committee," Pelosi told reporters. "Not necessarily taking up the articles of impeachment because that would have to be approved on the floor, but to have some hearings on the subject."

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It is the end of the nutball Christian right. Here is your proof. To go

From Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist:

Hey, remember the angry evangelicals? The quivering clan of militant Christoholics who propelled Bush into office and seized the national narrative for a few terrifying moments about five years back, ran deep into the woods with it and rubbed it all over their naughty bits in a frenzy of fear and confusion and lust for all things homophobic and saccharine and spiritually denigrating?

Dying. Nearly dead. Gasping their last. Very soon to be a footnote, a caricature, a gag, a punch line, blasted to the dustbin of history like dried housefly limbs after a sneeze. You should know this now.

Yes, you are right; they already were a caricature, a cultural pothole, a nasty rash in the armpit of society. But it wasn't all that long ago that they were, through bizarre series of sociopolitical machinations still being parsed by baffled historians, a powerful rash, hugely newsworthy, as dangerous and unstoppable as they were wrongheaded and sad. Remember?

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Nancy Pelosi digs Digg

I'm impressed, Nance. Tell me more.

From The Huffington Post:

Congressman Pelosi speaks for herself here:

We share the goal of modernizing the antiquated franking regulations to address the rapidly changing realities of communications in the internet age. Like many other Members, I have a blog, use YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, Digg, and other new media to communicate with constituents, and I believe they are vital tools toward increasing transparency and accountability.

It's a step to greater networked democracy, ain't bad.

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7.10.2008

Jukebox John changes his tune every few minutes

A must-see list from the Carpetbagger Report. For those of you in the media who actually believe Barack Obama is no better than John McCain, you haven’t really been paying attention:

As the self-designated keeper of the Official List of McCain Flip-Flops, I’m pleased to report, thanks to reader contributions, we now have a whopping 61 policy reversals from the Republican nominee. If McCain wants to argue that flip-flops are an example of a political leader who can’t be trusted to keep his work or honor his commitments, McCain might as well drop out of the race now.

Based on some reader suggestions, we’re going to do things a little differently this time. Now, I’ve numbered the list and organized it by category for easier reference.

Remember, just two weeks ago, John McCain said, “This election is about trust and trusting people’s word.” Just a few days prior, the McCain campaign admonished Barack Obama for trying to “have it both ways” on issues.

And with that in mind…

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McCain Claims Gramm ‘Does Not Speak For Me’ On Same Day Gramm Speaks For McCain In Meeting With WSJ

Oh, this is just priceless.

From Think Progress:

In his effort to distance himself from top economic adviser Phil Gramm’s contention that America is a “nation of whiners” complaining about a “mental recession,” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) declared in Michigan today that he “strongly disagrees” with Gramm. “Phil Gramm does not speak for me,” said McCain. Watch it:

But as Politico’s Jonathan Martin points out, McCain’s claim that Gramm doesn’t speak for him is contradicted by the fact that Gramm spoke to the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board on behalf of McCain today. The Washington Post reports:

Speaking today from New York, where he was meeting with the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board on McCain’s economic policies, Gramm said the nation’s economy was initially thought to have grown by an anemic 0.6 percent in the first three months of the year. That was revised up to 0.9 percent, and again to 1.0 percent.

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"It's psychological" is no gaffe, is McCain's talking point

Kos really nails the fact that McSame has been saying the country's economic woes were 'psychological' for some time.

From Kos:

Poor Gramm. His good friend McCain has turned on him, and for saying the very same things that McCain himself had said![snip]

On January 2008:

As far as putting additional money in taxpayers pocket, that's fine, because a lot of it is psychological. Because I agree the fundamentals of our economy is still strong.”

Back in April 2008:

I’m very concerned about it, Neil. And obviously the way it’s been going up is just terrible. But I think psychologicallyand a lot of our problems today, as you know, are psychological — the confidence, trust, the uncertainty about our economic future, ability to keep our own home. This might give them a little psychological boost. Let’s have some straight talk, it’s not a huge amount of money.

Or June 2008:

So I don't see an immediate relief, but I do see that exploitation of existing reserves that may exist -- and in view of many experts that do exist off our coasts -- is also a way that we need to provide relief. Even though it may take some years, the fact that we are exploiting those reserves would have psychological impact that I think is beneficial.

At one of the Republican debates:

On the issues of rebates, fine, part of this is psychological. Part of the problem we have of course in any recession is psychological.

When you use that word this much, it's not a gaffe. It's a talking point. All Phil Gramm did wrong was follow the lead set by John McCain.

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McCain Tells a New Version of P.O.W. Story In Pennsylvania

I smell "sniper fire."

From ABC:

Asked what first comes to his mind when he thinks of Pittsburgh, McCain chuckled, "the Steelers. I was a mediocre high school athlete but I loved and adored the sports but the Steelers really made a huge impression on me particularly in my early years."

And then McCain told a rather moving story about his time as a P.O.W. "When I was first interrogated and really had to give some information because of the pressures, physical pressures on me, I named the starting lineup, defensive line of the Pittsburgh Steelers as my squadron mates."

Watch HERE.

[snip]...the Steelers aren't the team whose defensive line McCain named for his Vietnamese tormentors. The Green Bay Packers are. At least according to every previous time McCain has told this story. And the McCain campaign just told ABC News that the senator made a mistake -- it was, indeed, the Packers.

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