Tuesday, September 30, 2008

$700 billion bailout failed

well, the $700 billion bailout failed in the house of representatives, despite having the full support of the bush administration and the congressional leadership of both the democrats and the republicans. the bush administration and the congressional leaders had been meeting behind closed doors to hammer out a deal, which was achieved over the weekend, and it was simply assumed that if the leaders of both parties were behind something, the rank-and-file members would go along with it, at least enough to get a simple majority. well not so fast! over 99% of the messages members of congress got from their constituents regarding the $700 billion bailout expressed opposition to it, and less than 1% of the messages to them expressed support. both left-wing activist organizations and right-wing activist organizations mobilized campaigns against the $700 billion bailout, rallying both the ultra-liberal activists who volunteer for democrats and the ultra-conservative activists who volunteer for republicans against the “paulson plan”. the political base for each party was firmly opposed to this plan. liberal bloggers and conservative radio talk show hosts were all denouncing it. still, congress came very close to passing it, due to the diligent effects of party leaders, especially the efforts of house speaker nancy pelosi. the leader of the house republicans, john boehner, also claims to have tried really hard to get the bailout passed, although house republicans rejected the plan by more than a 2:1 margin, completely rejecting his overtures. senator john mccain of arizona, who had “suspended” his campaign to go to washington, d.c. and help fix the economic mess, but did not know at first whether to support or oppose the bailout, was apparently closely working with the house republicans, although it is unclear whether he actually supported the bailout or not. he claims to have tried to get the house republicans on board supporting the $700 billion bailout, but in friday night’s debate, he publicly took the side of the house republicans, who had been leading the opposition to the bailout. so john mccain, as usual, is completely incoherent and has no clue what he is doing. now the leaderships of both parties have accused each other of being behind the failure to pass the plan. but the real culprit in causing this deal to fail? the american people, who voiced their opinions loud and clear, and were heard by enough politicians in our nation’s capital to succeed in defeating the bailout... for now. the bailout may return, in the same form or a different form. and only time will tell if the majority of the public is correct on this issue, or if they are misguided and are going to completely ruin our economy with their stubbornness. i, for one, honestly do not know what to make of this bailout package, whether it is a good idea or not, whether it should be implemented or thrown out as a fatally flawed policy. i am not an economic expert, and for me to be commenting on something so far out of my field of expertise would just show my ignorance in this area. on the other hand, i did take enough economics in college (4 courses, which i did quite well in) to learn that economics is based on very oversimplified models of reality where a huge number of assumptions are made, some of them ridiculous. one of the most ridiculous assumptions behind capitalist economics is as follows: people and businesses act in their own rational self-interest. this is clearly not the case. the vast majority of people are highly irrational, and that is the cause of our current economic crisis. what is the solution? i don’t know... no change in government policy would change the fact that we are all fundamentally flawed human beings who are almost incapable of thinking or acting rationally. and i am not just talking about one group of people and not others... i am talking about the entire human race, including me, you, and everyone else. our brains are just not built for this stuff. maybe if we put computer chips in people’s brains to handle logical reasoning, it might solve some of the fundamental flaws of human nature. but i doubt even that would work, because logic is no good if it is based on faulty assumptions, and the entire field of economics is based on faulty assumptions like assuming people are rational. mostly i think people make their decisions based on emotions, and i think that is exactly how almost everyone decided what they felt on this bailout issue. were they afraid of the consequences of not acting by enacting the bailout? were they angry at wall street fat cats being given what seemed to be a blank check instead of being punished? or were they worried that the bailout itself might make things worse instead of better? generally people make decisions on political issues based on emotions, not logic; logic is used to rationalize and justify the decisions people already made based on their emotions. this is true both of us common folk and of the politicians. it is why space aliens, if they encountered our species, might not consider us a form of “intelligent life”, but would look upon our reasoning abilities the same way that nobel prize-winner dr. ivan pavlov looked upon the reasoning abilities of dogs. so, in summation, i do not know what to think about this $700 bailout, because i do not have enough information to have any sort of educated opinion on what its merits are and what pitfalls it might have, or how it compares to either doing nothing or a number of other possible plans that could possibly be proposed to fix the economy. i have followed the news quite closely recently, but i still know next to nothing about this bailout plan, and it seems like nobody else has a clue either. even the news reporters and politicians are all clueless. ESPECIALLY them. it seems the more you know about this plan, the less you understand it. so naturally, the people who understand it best would be those who know the least about it, given that logical axiom. however, that is a ludicrous conclusion, bringing the entire system of logic into suspicion. and so, without logic, all we know is what we have learned through empirical observation of reality. since all of this empirical observation took place in the past, this means nobody has any idea what will happen in the future, except by predicting that things will follow some sort of pattern that was observed in the past. some patterns observed in the past are very good predictors of the future, such as the laws of physics, but even these prediction mechanisms are flawed; why else would we need a large hadron collider if not for a lack of understanding of certain aspects of physics and a need for more empirical observations? economics is not a hard science like physics, but a “social science”, which is to say, it is not a science at all. experts in economics disagree on fundamental aspects of economic theory, so it is impossible to get a consensus among economists either for or against things such as the $700 billion bailout proposal. sure, you can find a bunch of economists on one side of the issue, and organize them together to all sign the same letter explaining that side, but then a bunch of economists on the other side could likewise organize together and sign their own contradictory letter. i am of the opinion that the field of economics was invented by politicians to come up with ideas for them (since the politicians didn’t know what to do) and then take the blame if anything goes wrong, while letting politicians take credit if things turn out well. economics did not really exist as a field of study until the 1930’s, i believe. basically economists create mathematical models of reality that are based on lots of faulty assumptions and are incredibly oversimplified, and then they use those mathematical models to make predictions about what different results different policies would have, and then use this as justification for those policies. and since you can get economists to come up with economic models to justify almost any economic policy, the entire field of economics is rather ludicrous. as for the stock market, it is gambling, pure and simple, and people should not expect a guaranteed return on their investment. as for borrowing money, i am of the opinion that borrowing money is almost always a bad idea, because if your ideas on what to do with the money really were profitable, you would almost certainly be able to profit off those same ideas without having to rely on borrowed money if they actually were profitable ideas. it is a shame that so many people and businesses rely so heavily on borrowing money, because this exposes them to undue financial risk without a sufficient amount of financial reward to justify it. so having the government borrow $700 billion to buy up mortgage-backed securities and other bad investments at inflated prices seems like a very bad idea, at least as far as the government’s finances are concerned, and down the line, it would be bad for taxpayers too, once the government has to pay back its debt. but with so many private-sector firms in financial crises due to their own mismanagement, perhaps having the government bail them out is a necessary evil in order to prevent the complete collapse of our economic system and another great depression. however, even if a bailout did succeed, it would be rewarding bad behavior, the guilty people responsible for creating the mess would make money off it, and we taxpayers would have $700 billion to pay back in debt. plus interest. to quote albert einstein, “the most powerful force in the universe is compound interest.” and with our government and ultimately us taxpayers paying the interest, it looks like a bad deal for us. but if it is the only way to save the economy from complete collapse, we have no other choice, since doing nothing would be an even worse deal for us. it is quite a difficult conundrum. if only we could bring franklin delano roosevelt back from the dead and have him put in charge of this whole thing, we would have nothing to worry about except finding enough brains to feed him, since he would be a zombie. anyway, with regard to the $700 billion, the government should just give me all the money. i promise to do a very good job spending it to stimulate the economy.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

update on politics stuff

i went to the broome county young democrats fundraiser and had to pay $15 to get in, as expected. i got 2 obama stickers and a magnet of a donkey wearing boxing gloves for free. my dad has turned the stickers into buttons you can pin on your shirt using the button-making machine he got back when i was a kid. now my dad and i will both wear obama buttons everywhere. the donkey magnet looks really dumb and it is on the refrigerator, although its original purpose is to go on the back of a car (although it really makes democrats look like asses, quite literally). there was plenty of food that was free for me to eat after paying to get in, but all the beverages cost even more money, except water, so i just had food and water. the food was pretty much just tiny hors d’œuvres (i needed wikipedia to look up how to spell that) and some tiny desserts, and the plates were also tiny, but i managed to eat quite a lot of food. i ate the stuff with meat in it, but no cheese; also, i avoided chocolate because it has caffeine, and i avoid both alcohol and caffeine. there were a bunch of young democrats i knew there, and a lot of people i hadn’t met before. the main speaker was state assemblywoman donna lupardo, who talked about the republican demonization of community organizers and how most of us were, in a way, community organizers. another important speaker was matthew silverstein, president of the new york state young democrats, who talked about the importance of our chapter in helping spread the organization upstate. lastly, there was lieutenant christopher marion from the national guard, who recently spent 6 months serving in afghanistan as the commander of 17 men, and who has been in the broome county young democrats since we first began. his day job is as a legislative assistant to a democratic county legislator, when he is not sent on missions by the national guard. he talked about his experiences in afghanistan, a country he has traveled to every corner of, about how each city in afghanistan is different and unique, how the enemy in that country makes much more effective use of propaganda than the american troops there, and how the taliban targets its attacks on forces from the afghan government or our coalition allies rather than united states troops, because they are weaker targets and any attack on u.s. troops is met with an overwhelming response. he is going to be sent back to afghanistan soon. the broome county young democrats elected new leadership earlier in the week before the fundraiser, to the 4 top posts of president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer. i talked to a number of people at the event, even the dj, the magic man, who i know from his radio show on whrw 90.5 binghamton.

i have not been able to attend regular meetings of this group for some time due to the fact that their meetings all happen when i am at work at my job (meetings used to be on weekends). i did meet the local coordinator for the barack obama campaign in binghamton, and gave him my name, contact info, and schedule. the obama campaign in binghamton here operates every day except for sunday and he said he would probably have me help out on saturdays, although he could also use some help on weekdays (which are when i work, but i also have some free time on those days). many of our local efforts are focused in pennsylvania since they are a few miles away and a swing state; for instance, the city of scranton, home of joe biden and one of the places hillary clinton was raised, is just a bit south of here on interstate 81. however, the obama campaign is not taking new york for granted, and is campaigning for him in new york as well, albeit nowhere near as aggressively as in a swing state. in new york state, i think we rely on volunteers almost entirely, although i think i did hear that barack obama has paid staff in all 50 states and the district of columbia. anyway, here in a part of upstate far from albany, we are all volunteers. and i say “we” even though i have not started volunteering yet in this election. the first election i volunteered for democrats was in 1998 when i was just 16, and i have volunteered for democrats several elections since then, but only about half the time. i have not been really actively involved in any of this since around the time i got my current job. so i have some catching up to do, but i am sure many things still work the same way, such as how to call people on the telephone to do surveys or how to go around large neighborhoods distributing campaign literature to every house. obviously now this “internet” thing is playing a much bigger role than the first election it was used in, back in 1996, but it seems the internet is a much bigger part of politics than even as recent as 2004, since now we have way more blogs, much more stuff on campaign websites, all these social networking sites and video-posting sites, and basically a lot more popular websites that have a role in the elections than before. i have been blogging for years. i had a different blog before this one, but did not like that blog-hosting site due to a major lack of features and because they temporarily deleted my blog at one point for no good reason, so i moved to blogger and found it to be much nicer and way more customizable. it seems now my previous blog-hosting site actually costs money to use, so it is certainly very good that i switched. anyway, i am already doing my bit on the internet, so now it is time to go back out into the real world and do some campaigning there. the local democratic party headquarters is open on sundays, i think, since it is a totally separate organization from the local obama campaign. so i think there are opportunities for me to volunteer any day of the week. i think starting this saturday would be nice, since weekdays are kind of a mess for me. i have some serious problems with my sleep schedule that i need to fix so i am up during the daytime. anyway, besides the local democratic party and the obama campaign, i could volunteer to help re-elect my democratic congressman, michael arcuri, who won an open seat in 2006 in what had previously been a republican district. i could also volunteer for the other local congressman whose district used to include my family’s house before redistricting: democratic congressman maurice hinchey. maurice hinchey is one of the most liberal/progressive members of congress, probably within the top 10 if you look at his voting record, and ever since the redistricting that followed the 2000 census, he has been in a safe democratic district, plus he has been in congress a long time and has plenty of experience there and knows how to get re-elected. michael arcuri, on the other hand, is still a bit new to washington, d.c., and is quite centrist, since his district (which includes me) is thought to be a bit conservative. as a democrat who is rather new to congress, and in a swing district that used to be solidly republican, michael arcuri is far more vulnerable than maurice hinchey. however, i think both of them will get re-elected pretty easily, given the completely lackluster performance of the republicans this year in fundraising and campaigning for the house and senate. the republicans seem to have everything focused on electing john mccain president, and seem to be neglecting the house and senate elections. back before redistricting from the 2000 census, maurice hinchey’s district was split almost 50/50, and included my family’s house; in those days, he always won elections by incredibly narrow margins, but ever since he got his better new district that does not include my home anymore, he has won by huge landslides every 2 years. that is why i am worried for michael arcuri: he is stuck with a slightly conservative district but he is a democrat. but he is from utica, not binghamton, so i don’t even know if he has an office anywhere near here. here is his campaign website, which shows his congressional district, quite a large one for a state that has so many. his opponent is from utica, just like him and the guy who ran against him 2 years ago. actually the opponent looks like he might be quite formidable and maybe even win. scary! i don’t want another republican representing me in congress. even sherwood boehlert, my previous republican congressman who retired to pave the way for michael arcuri’s victory, and was perhaps the most moderate republican in the house at that time, disagreed with me on most issues and still voted the republican party line most of the time. and with republicans as the minority party, having a republican congressman would mean people in my district would have less of a voice in washington, d.c. of course the importance of my local house race pales in comparison to the importance of having barack obama defeat john mccain. i will be wearing my obama button everywhere i go, and i will start volunteering for the campaign as soon as possible, i hope. i don’t always end up doing what i plan on doing... but this time i will really make the effort.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

newest electoral college predictions

here are my newest electoral college predictions:

red states will definitely be mccain states, dark blue states will definitely be obama states, yellow states will probably be mccain states, light blue states will probably be obama states, and white states are the real swing states that are pretty much 50/50 and could easily go either way.

methodology: i combined the latest data from cnn.com, electionprojection.com, electoral-vote.com, fivethirtyeight.com, intrade.net, pollster.com, and realclearpolitics.com. i started out with the realclearpolitics.com map, as is. then i went to cnn.com, and any state listed as “safe” for either candidate got marked that way on my map, and any state listed as “leaning” toward either candidate was marked as leaning towards them unless it was already a safe state, in which case it stayed safe. then i went to electionprojection.com, and any state listed as “solid” for a candidate got marked as a safe state for them, and any state listed as “strong” for them got marked as leaning towards them unless it was already marked as a safe state. then i went to pollster.com and repeated the same thing, marking anything it considered “strong” as a safe state for that candidate and anything it considered “lean” as leaning towards that candidate unless it was already marked as a safe state. then i did the same thing at electoral-vote.com again, and i ignored states that were “barely” for one candidate or the other. then i went to intrade.net, and anything with 90% or higher likelihood for a candidate was marked as safe for them, and 67% or higher likelihood was marked as leaning unless it was already marked as safe. lastly, i went to fivethirtyeight.com and did the exact same thing as at intrade.com with those same percentages.

the outcome of this process is as follows: if any state is considered a safe state for either candidate by any of the websites, i consider it a safe state too. if any state is considered as really leaning towards one candidate over the other by at least one website but not considered as a safe state by any website, i have it as leaning towards them. if any state is not safe or leaning towards either candidate in any of the websites at all, i have it as a real swing state, or as the pollsters call it, a “tossup” state. this methodical process eliminates any personal bias that i have from having any effect on the results.

and what are the results? obama has 273 electoral votes (197 from solid obama states and 76 from states leaning obama). mccain has 227 electoral votes (163 from solid mccain states and 64 from states leaning mccain). the other 38 electoral votes are from the 3 tossup states: nevada, ohio, and virginia. this all adds up to 538 electoral votes total. and what do i use for all these calculations? i use the interactive map at realclearpolitics.com. anyway, the ultimate result is pretty simple: obama wins and mccain loses.

now why on earth would that happen? simple, really. remember before the conventions and before anyone announced a running mate, earlier in august? back then, the polls had been pretty steady since late june with obama slightly ahead of mccain in the popular vote and consistently winning the electoral college. barack obama got a fairly big convention bounce, but his convention ended on a thursday evening and the friday morning immediately after, sarah palin was announced as john mccain’s vice president and suddenly she stole the spotlight from barack obama. starting that day, sarah palin and the republican convention gave john mccain a huge bounce in the polls, eventually putting him ahead in all the predictions for popular vote and electoral college. this bounce gradually grew until sometime earlier this month, i think last week actually. then the mccain-palin team hit a peak in the polls and started dropping, first slowly, but then accelerating quite fast over last weekend and this week, eventually putting barack obama ahead of john mccain in the polls in almost exactly the same numbers with almost exactly the same electoral map as in early august or even late june. now what are the reasons for the fluctuations in the last month? well, both obama and mccain had significant bounces, which were quite big for such a closely divided and partisan electorate, and mccain had a much bigger bounce than obama which also lasted a lot longer. but the mccain bounce was really a palin bounce. sarah palin became the big star and got all the media attention. at first she was a complete unknown outside of her home state of alaska, but within a week after being introduced to the nation by john mccain, she had a very high approval rating and very low disapproval rating, and had become the most popular and talked-about politician in the country, although hardly anyone knew much of anything about her. her name recognition continued to grow along with her approval rating, since although some scandals came out in the first week that were embarrassing for her, they all either backfired (like the one about bristol supposedly being trig’s mom) or didn’t have much effect at all (like troopergate). what everyone did know was that sarah palin loved guns and hunting, was a former beauty queen, was a christian fundamentalist, had been mayor of wasilla and was now governor of alaska, and seemed to be a charismatic woman that lots of people could relate to. all of this played very well to the republican base, which had been very lukewarm on john mccain, energizing them in support of the mccain-palin team. but it also helped unite democrats, as liberals who had supported hillary realized how right-wing sarah palin was and how sarah palin disagrees with hillary clinton on pretty much every issue. so both parties became more energized, united, and polarized. but sarah palin had a broad appeal at first, winning over many moderates and even many democrats, before the media had started to chip away at things. after the 2 conventions were over, john mccain and sarah palin were making all these joint campaign appearances, and kept repeating the same stump speeches. people in the media and independent fact-checking organizations found these speeches to have many lies in them, and started to report how the mccain-palin campaign kept repeating the same lies over and over. john mccain put some completely ridiculous ads full of bald-faced lies on tv, earning harsh rebukes from many media pundits and causing the media to become very distrustful of everything the mccain-palin campaign says. more and more negative information about sarah palin surfaced, driven by hordes of reporters sent up to investigate her in alaska, and huge numbers of liberal bloggers, some of whose blogs are actually read by people in the “mainstream media”. this negative information really started to damage sarah palin’s image, along with her refusal to talk to reporters, but the final nail in the coffin was when she finally did her first interview with a reporter after the convention, with charlie gibson of abc news. that interview turned out very, very badly for her, causing her public image to tumble even further, and now she has lower approval and higher disapproval than barack obama, john mccain, or joe biden. thus, democrats have successfully popped the sarah palin bubble, and she is no longer helping raise john mccain’s popularity, but actually having a detrimental effect on the popularity of john mccain, in the same way that the highly unpopular vice president dick cheney has had a negative effect on george w. bush’s popularity. then on sunday this week, an economic crisis hit, big time, and with every day, new revelations came out about companies in the financial or insurance sector either on the verge of collapse or in complete collapse. each company either got taken over by the government, got bought out by another company, or ended up going completely bankrupt. the stock market plunged for several days in a row. this bad economic news took both campaigns by surprise, but it turned out to help the obama-biden campaign a lot and hurt the mccain-palin campaign a lot, since john mccain kept contradicting himself and completely reversing his positions on things within less than a day or from one day to the next. also, john mccain and sarah palin tried some time campaigning separately, and it turned out john mccain cannot attract big crowds but sarah palin can, since she is much more interesting to most people. this also proved to be an embarrassment, and now john mccain and sarah palin are campaigning together again to prevent sarah palin from continuing to upstage john mccain and make him look like an out-of-it old man by comparison. another important factor was the opening of saturday night live on saturday last week, which really ridiculed sarah palin for things she had said in her interview with charlie gibson, helping turn the tide of public opinion against her with its satire. and in times of bad economic news, people naturally turn against whichever party controls the white house, especially if republicans are in charge, because the democrats have the legacy of pulling us out of the great depression in the 1930s, while the republicans put this country into the great depression with their reckless policies in the 1920s, a pattern that has repeated itself many times since then with recessions. anyhow, john mccain acted bizarre and completely out-of-touch all week, flip-flopping on everything regarding the current economic crisis, reversing himself on positions he had staunchly held throughout his entire political career, such as his decades-long support for deregulation and opposition to new regulation. he just seemed like he had absolutely no idea what was going on or what to do about it, so he kept making bold proclamations and then reversing himself less than a day later. barack obama, on the other hand, put out a very good 2-minute long commercial about how he would fix the economy, and he stayed on message and actually demonstrated leadership in a time of crisis. on thursday and friday this week, the stock market went way up, canceling out almost all the losses earlier this week, due to optimism about the measures the government has taken, is taking, and will probably take to deal with this economic crisis. and who are the people who managed to pull that off? the bush administration, oddly enough. federal reserve chairman ben bernanke is an expert on the great depression and is very bold in taking action to deal with economic problems proactively. treasury secretary henry paulson has not done quite as good a job at this, since he has been rather inconsistent in which companies he thinks need to be bailed out, which companies he does not want to bail out at all, and which ones he has trouble making up his mind on. he really dropped the ball when lehman brothers failed earlier this week. but since then, the government has taken some dramatic steps to impress wall street by showing the commitment our government has to stop this economic crisis in its tracks and fix everything. oddly enough, the solution the bush administration has chosen is socialism, having the government take over private companies and buy up all the bad debt, the subprime-mortgage-backed securities. after the free market approach failed to save lehman brothers, capitalism has been abandoned in favor of socialism. quite a strange development indeed. the bush administration has decided that fdr > hoover, something barack obama agrees with, and john mccain is out on his own, advocating the opposite of what the bush administration does, until after they do it later that day, and then the next day john mccain heartily endorses what they did. this whole economic affair has clearly benefited obama a great deal and hurt mccain just as much. what we do not know is how things will play out in the future. will the economy recover or get worse? how will what happens on wall street affect ordinary people? and how will the polls change? who will end up winning the election? nobody really knows for sure, and that is a fact. while obama is projected to win currently, the future is still uncertain, and almost anything could happen to change things. the main fight ahead for the candidates will probably be the 3 presidential debates and the 1 vice presidential debate. sarah palin and joe biden both help their parties’ tickets in some ways while hurting them in others, and both the democrats and republicans chose the strongest contenders from within their own ranks to fight it out in the general election. it is quite remarkable that john mccain even has a chance against barack obama in such a democratic-leaning year, with barack obama energizing so many new young voters. it really shows how the personal life story of john mccain and his “maverick” image have allowed him to pretend like he is not some typical republican, which means he can appeal to independents and even democrats in a year when democrats are heavily favored to win more seats in the house and senate and when republicans are incredibly unpopular and democrats have lots of new people registered in their party. it is amazing that john mccain is able to portray himself as an outsider when he has been an insider in a very exclusive club, the u.s. senate, for many, many years. this just shows how powerful the republican right-wing spin machine is, even during times when the political environment heavily favors the democrats. the people running john mccain’s campaign now are the same ones who ran george w. bush’s campaigns, and they know how to win, albeit narrowly, and in 2000 they actually lost the popular vote and had to go to the supreme court (where 7 out of 9 justices are republican appointees now, as it was then) to win the electoral college. my point is, the people running this thing on the other side know what they are doing, and we should not underestimate them, even if the odds are in our favor. we need to fight them as hard as we can, with everything we’ve got, or else they will win by forfeit, just like they did in 2000 and 2004. ultimately, passively observing this thing and using probability and statistics is no substitute for actively going out and doing something. this means, of course, i must find a way to go out and do something, despite the fact that i am basically broke when it comes to my personal finances, and i cannot take time off from working my evening job because i need the money. unfortunately, the hours i work are also the hours that most of the grassroots campaign activity takes place, so perhaps i can only help the democrats campaign on weekends. it is saturday now. i should start today. i wonder if i will. this afternoon there will be a fundraiser and i would have to pay $15 to get in. that is cheap and i can afford it. 5 pm at the binghamton regency hotel, $15 to get in since i am a member of the young dems, $30 for nonmembers. alright, i have rsvp’d to go on their website. i am going to go this afternoon, no matter what. no way in hell i am going to miss this event. also, earlier this afternoon, at 1 pm, i have the asperger syndrome support group meeting. i should probably go to that one too. damn... looks like i won’t get much sleep. i need to go to bed earlier from now on. good night.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

houses of cards are crumbling

the house of cards known as the financial sector on wall street is crumbling. need i mention countrywide bought out by bank of america, bear stearns bought out in a deal arranged by the government, indymac taken over by the government, fannie mae and freddie mac taken over by the government, lehman brothers going bankrupt, merrill lynch bought out by bank of america, and aig taken over by the government? and that is only what has happened so far; half of that happened in the last month and the rest within prior months. obviously the collapse of the financial sector is accelerating. only two major investment banks are even left existing anymore: morgan stanley and goldman sachs. they may or may not survive this. washington mutual (or wamu for short) is on the brink of collapse and several larger banks are competing to buy it. meanwhile, lehman brothers may actually partially survive its bankruptcy, as the british bank barclays has announced plans to buy the good parts of the now-bankrupt lehman brothers, while letting the bad parts fail. the strange part about this is, every single company that failed has been either cannibalized by a larger company or nationalized by the u.s. government. of course, for regular banks, the government is basically required to nationalize them if they go under, according to federal law, and they get taken over by the regulatory agency known as the fdic, or federal deposit insurance corporation. this is what happened to indymac. investment banks, hedge funds, mortgage companies, and insurance companies do not have this automatic protection, which is why lehman brothers went bankrupt. the treasury secretary and chairman of the federal reserve have been remarkably inconsistent and unpredictable in their handling of this crisis, deciding to bail out some companies but not others in a somewhat random fashion. of course, this has all led to a huge stock market crash, and there is also high unemployment, high inflation, and oddly enough, the dollar is increasing in value while oil is decreasing in value. why is the dollar increasing in value and oil decreasing in value at a time when the u.s. economy is on the brink of collapse? the global economy is greatly intertwined, and collapse of the u.s. economy spreads to other countries, causing their economies to likewise collapse, which means their currencies will, like the dollar, lose value, so the dollar ends up on a more even footing relative to foreign currencies because everyone ends up poor together. and why is crude oil going down in price? well, demand for oil has fallen due to bad economic conditions, people driving their cars less, more people losing their cars when they can’t afford the payments, and more people seeking more fuel-efficient vehicles and alternative modes of transportation such as public transit, bikes, or even walking. now the segway will finally catch on like everyone said it was going to when it was first introduced! if people can afford it, that is... i am guessing bikes will be much more popular. and you know why else the price of crude oil has gone down? hurricane ike destroyed a lot of refining capacity in the gulf coast, so it is harder to convert crude oil into gasoline to sell at the pump since there are less refineries up and running, creating a backlog of unrefined crude that needs to be sold and driving down the price of crude oil. crude oil has actually fallen to $96.19 a barrel, way down from its high earlier this summer in the mid $140s. anyway, the fall in the price of oil is due to supply and demand, basically... there is less demand in the short term, due to the bad economy and hurricane ike. in the long run, the price of oil will eventually go back to skyrocketing. if i had money to invest, i would invest it in oil. something else that has skyrocketed in value recently is gold, which is now ridiculously expensive because people think of it as a safe investment in tough times. i would not invest in gold now, however, because when the economy gets better, gold will get cheaper again, but oil will get more expensive than ever.

this economic collapse has helped to start knocking over the house of cards the mccain-palin campaign is built on. that house of cards started to get knocked over when sarah palin was really popular in the polls, with all the media coverage of her and all the various scandals she has been involved in throughout her short political career, and she really looked like an unprepared amateur in her abc news interview with charlie gibson. the collapse of the sarah palin bubble that had temporarily put john mccain ahead of barack obama in the horse-race numbers has been perhaps the main reason for the house of cards of the mccain-palin campaign to start collapsing. but the bad economic news this week has taken the spotlight off of sarah palin and all the silly news, and put it onto the serious issues affecting our country: exactly what the mccain-palin campaign does not want, since they want the campaign to be about personalities and not issues, as their campaign director has recently publicly said. the obama-biden campaign, on the other had, is squarely focused on issues such as the economy and how to solve our country’s problems, not coming up with silly baseless attacks to distract the public from the real issues. the lack of focus by the mccain-palin team on issues is really hurting them now, as both john mccain and sarah palin are proving to be incompetent and incapable of giving straight answers to simple questions. the mccain-palin team was only ahead in the polls when they were having an almost complete press blackout and relying on surrogates to talk to the media. now that the surrogates such as carly fiorina are becoming public embarrassments to the mccain-palin campaign just like phil gramm in the past, they are now making the surrogates who say stupid things shut up. carly fiorina said neither sarah palin nor john mccain would be qualified to run a fortune 500 company. phil gramm, of course, denounced the united states as “a nation of whiners” in a purely “mental recession”. so i guess when people lose their jobs, it is just in their heads, and they need some psychotherapy to realize they are still employed. and recently douglas holtz-eakin, a top adviser to john mccain, claimed that john mccain invented the blackberry. you know the blackberry? a phone you can do email and stuff with. kind of ironic for the mccain campaign to claim he invented the blackberry, when john mccain has also admitted he has no idea how to use a computer. and now something even MORE ridiculous. lady lynn forester de rothschild, who married into european nobility and became a member of the multimillionaire rothschild banking company, announced her support for john mccain, because she “didn’t like” barack obama and thought he was an “elitist”. oh, and she is a member of the democratic national committee who supported hillary clinton’s presidential bid, and she is technically an american citizen despite being a member of a very wealthy and famous family of european nobility. and in her first day as a john mccain surrogate, she referred to many of her fellow hillary clinton supporters as “rednecks”. how on earth is one of the wealthiest people in the world, a member of the famous rothschild european banking nobility family, who calls fellow hillary clinton supporters “rednecks”, supposed to be taken seriously when she attacks barack obama as an “elitist”? i bet she has 10 houses, an olympic-sized heated swimming pool, a fleet of private jets and helicopters, and eats nothing but expensive gourmet food like caviar and foie gras. for her to call someone elitist is the most ironic thing ever. and lastly, sarah palin is still in the news, and she no longer has the positive coverage she first had; now the media keeps updating us on various ongoing scandals regarding sarah palin. of course we all know sarah palin lies all the time about supposedly opposing the “bridge to nowhere” that she actually supported. but the scandal that is being reported on now is the “troopergate” scandal, where she tried to have her former brother-in-law fired from his job as a state trooper because of a messy divorce he had with her sister and sarah palin taking her sister’s side. you see, sarah palin did not manage to get her former brother-in-law fired from being a state trooper, but she did fire the state police commissioner. what is the official reason she gives for the firing? well she has given several reasons and keeps changing her story (clear signs that she is a liar) but her latest excuse really takes the cake because her excuse is even worse than what she is being accused of! her excuse is that the state police commissioner was asking washington for money to help crack down on alaska’s epidemic of sex offenders. alaska has more rape (per capita) than any other state. hey, at least they are #1 in something besides geographic size! sarah palin claims that the state police commissioner was disobeying her orders not to ask for this money to help put more serial rapists behind bars. that is her official excuse for firing the police commissioner! and when she was mayor of wasilla, she instituted a policy of making rape victims pay for having the police use rape kits to determine if they were raped and get the dna of who did it. that’s right, as mayor, she billed rape victims for the rape kits used to test them, and sent them bills in the mail that they had to pay. so first they got raped, then they got tested with rape kits, obviously a very humiliating experience, and then, even worse, they end up getting mailed bills to pay for being raped, by the city of wasilla that sarah palin was mayor of. according to the man who was alaska’s governor at the time, a fellow republican, no other city in alaska charged rape victims money for being raped. this fits in perfectly with the fact that last week, john mccain’s campaign accused barack obama of voting in favor of a law to teach kindergarteners sex ed before they learn how to read. actually, what this law has done is teach kindergarteners the warning signs that an adult may be a dangerous sexual predator, and how to avoid such a person to avoid being raped or inappropriately touched, and how to report sex crimes to the authorities. that is what the language “age-appropriate sex education” in the law refers to. so, that is at least 3 examples of the mccain-palin ticket being in favor of rape, just reported in the last week. are you a rapist? vote mccain-palin. they support rape. democrats would run that as a campaign ad if they were republicans. and as for the issue of the economy that people are now focusing on, john mccain keeps making contradictory statements. he said the fundamentals of the economy are strong, and later the same day said the fundamentals of the economy are at risk. one day he said he strongly opposed a federal bailout of insurance giant aig, then after the government went ahead and did it anyway, the next day he said they did the right thing. he has spent his entire career crusading against government regulation, and spent his 7 years as chairman of the senate commerce committee supporting deregulation and opposing regulation. phil gramm, his former chief economic adviser who called us a “nation of whiners”, was the author of the law that deregulated the banking and finance industries and ultimately led to the economic collapse we are having today. and john mccain voted for that law. so what is john mccain saying now? he is promising aggressive new regulation against the “fat cats” on wall street, saying he will really crack down on them and make them pay for what they’ve done. but he is not giving any specifics about the new regulatory framework he says he wants to put in place. he is not proposing any actual policies to solve the financial crisis, just using rhetoric. and these “fat cats” he rails against in speeches are the same people who would get most of the benefits from the tax cuts for the wealthy he proposes.

more and more, the media is stating as fact that the mccain-palin campaign is telling bald-faced lies, and they are not doing the usual “fair and balanced” bullshit of saying that the obama-biden campaign is equally guilty, because the media has woken up and is finally telling us the truth about everything, so it is time to pay attention to the media and believe what it says, because, quite frankly, the mainstream media has a lot more resources at its disposal to fact-check things than, say, a liberal blogger like me, and they have more credibility than anyone else, and for good reason. that is not to say that the media is unbiased. far from it. the media is a large group of individual human beings, each with their own personal biases, and every media organization collectively has a sort of culture in its newsroom that has its own unique bias. for instance, fox news is staunchly conservative and msnbc is increasingly liberal. there are liberal publications like the nation magazine and conservative publications like the weekly standard. most major newspapers with multiple opinion columnists are not entirely liberal or entirely conservative, but so-called liberal newspapers like the new york times or washington post have a ton more conservative columnists than the number of liberal columnists at conservative newspapers like the wall street journal or washington times. msnbc, the cable news network that has for the most part embraced liberalism, still has many conservatives on, like joe scarborough and pat buchanan, and in the past msnbc has gone through periods when it was a conservative network featuring a show with the ultra-right-wing crazy nutjob michael savage (real name michael weiner) as host. msnbc is only embracing liberalism because they are last place in ratings and will do anything for higher ratings, and they figure no other cable news network caters to liberals so they can corner that market the same way fox news cornered the market of conservatives. meanwhile, cnn pretends to be neutral. ha ha. with lou dobbs on cnn and glenn beck on cnn headline news, i hardly think they are neutral... having conservative hosts like those 2 with no liberal hosts to counter them means cnn is just fox news lite, with conservative bias that is not quite as obvious. as for nbc, abc, and cbs, i am at work at my job whenever those networks have the evening news, so i really have little idea what bias those networks have, although i am certain all of them have some sort of bias. as for the liberal bias of msnbc, it should be noted that msnbc has a center-left bias, not a far-left bias, so when they hosted debates for the democratic presidential candiates, they excluded dennis kucinich because they thought he was too left-wing. as a dennis kucinich supporter, i was appalled by that decision, but then again, msnbc is a joint venture between microsoft and nbc, and nbc is a subsidiary of general electric (ge). the clinton administration pursued an antitrust case against microsoft, and general electric is a military contractor, so the parent companies naturally have a conservative bias, which keeps msnbc from being too liberal.

so of course, i have other sources for information besides the mainstream media: the huffington post, the daily kos, alternet, and the nation magazine, primarily. you may notice that those are all liberal sources. i do also look at 2 conservative sites regularly: the drudge report and politico. those sites only have mild conservative bias, because anything with strong conservative bias is really too much for me to take. the really conservative sites are so full of bullshit and all sorts of stuff that makes me really, really angry at the people who post stuff there, it is pretty much impossible for me to look at those sites much at all, since i hate them so much. on the other hand, i trust the liberal websites very much, because i share the same belief system as the people who post stuff on those sites, and while sometimes they may make mistakes (such as saying that sarah palin’s son trig was actually the son of sarah palin’s daughter bristol), those mistakes are honest mistakes made by people trying to get to the truth, and are certainly not deliberate lies. bristol palin did turn out to be pregnant, but the blogger who claimed bristol was the mother of trig did get some facts wrong, and this was exposed by the fact-checkers in the mainstream media. and once the mainstream media picked up on the story and fact-checked it, i put my faith in the official fact-checked version that the media decided was the truth, because ultimately, there is only one truth, and anything that contradicts it is fiction, plus the media has a lot more fact-checking resources at its disposal than some random blogger nobody ever heard of with an account on daily kos. still, i do not question the motives of my fellow liberals, because i believe in our movement, and i trust them to do the right thing, to be honest and tell the truth, and to fight for what is right. i have not seen anything at all in this election season to make me question my commitment to liberalism, except when the issue of abortion came up, i did think a bit about both sides of that issue and whether i am really correct to be pro-choice. on all the other issues, my mind is firmly made up (well except for offshore drilling and nuclear energy). except for abortion, offshore drilling, and nuclear energy, my mind is firmly made up in support of liberalism and my candidate, barack obama. ok well maybe there are other things i am undecided on, at least in the foreign policy realm: the conflict between russia and georgia, the israeli-palestinian conflict, how to deal with pakistan’s new government and the al qaeda and taliban presence there, whether the new coalition government in zimbabwe is a good thing, and whether venezuelan president hugo chavez is a good guy or a bad guy. anyway, as far as offshore drilling and nuclear energy go, i am leaning towards supporting both of them, as long as the government prioritizes clean, renewable energy sources like wind, solar, hydroelectric, and geothermal and continues to increase fuel efficiency standards for automobiles. and i am somewhat undecided on whether the federal government should bail out all these failing financial firms, although i am leaning towards just bailing out all of them so that investors stop worrying and the money people have in the bank or in investments stays as safe as possible and so the credit market has a future, since our economy is heavily dependent upon borrowing and the credit crunch has been really bad for everyone. as for abortion, i am still pro-choice, and my reasoning for this is somewhat odd: i think that animals like dogs or cats or other mammals and perhaps some non-mammal species are obviously alive like us, have consciousness like us (although without thinking in words), and have real emotions just like us, plus many animals are capable of rudimentary thinking and figuring certain things out pretty well. “unborn children”, which i refer to as human fetuses, are nowhere near this advanced, and i believe they should have less rights, if any, than fully-developed mammals such as a dog, cat, mouse, chimpanzee, squirrel, or panda. since animals have pretty much no rights whatsoever, and are subject to wanton massacre to be turned into food for us to eat (cows, pigs, chickens, turkey, fish, etc.), i think if we ever want to give any rights to the “unborn” of our own species, first we should give equal or greater rights to animals of other species besides our own human species, since adult mammals of other species are much more advanced than human fetuses. since i personally eat meat pretty much every day, and have a personal stake in continuing the mass slaughter of innocent animals that have real feelings and emotions and are capable of rudimentary thought, i do not approve of giving animals significantly more rights than they enjoy today. i do think there should be much harsher penalties for killing or harming an animal that is the property of someone else without their permission, especially beloved pets like dogs or cats. and of course endangered and threatened species should be protected even more than they are today. but cows, pigs, chickens, and those other animals we eat as food ought to continue being made into food, although they deserve better living conditions and quick, painless deaths. i will continue to eat meat, and i will continue to support abortion. in fact, i even support abortion in the third trimester, since a human fetus at that stage is still less advanced than a typical cow or pig, and if it is okay to kill cows and pigs, then why not human fetuses? i am not a religious person who believes humans are special and inherently superior to all other species. i do believe that in many ways we humans have superior abilities and traits to animals of other species, but i think that it developed through evolution, not creationism. anyway, that is one of the reasons i think abortion on demand is justified at any stage in the pregnancy, if the mother wants an abortion. another reason: the human fetus inside the mother cannot survive on its own outside of her, and is basically a parasite that is feeding off her, draining nutrients out of her bloodstream and blasting waste materials back into the bloodstream. it is sort of like a cancer or a tapeworm, except not as bad, because it ends up turning into a human once the mother gives birth, and then it is no longer a parasite inside the mother’s body. and pregnant women, just like any other people, should have the right to have parasites removed from their bodies. of course, if the human fetus is removed from the body and turns out to still be alive and able to survive on its own, then i think that little person definitely has the right to take advantage of universal health care just like any other person, and grow up to be a person just like anyone else, an equal, if they are able to survive being born early, if given the best medical care available. and i definitely support having pregnant women do genetic tests on the human fetuses growing inside them to test for all sorts of horrible ailments, so that they can terminate the pregnancy if the human fetus has some horrible disease like down’s syndrome in its dna. this will give those women a second chance to get pregnant and then give birth to children without any known genetic diseases, so the children who end up being born will live long, happy, healthy, independent lives. giving birth to someone with down’s syndrome is not something noble, it is something immoral, because you are deliberately bringing into existence a human being with a horrible ailment they will suffer from their entire lives, when you could just as easily terminate that pregnancy and instead bring into existence a human being who is perfectly healthy and has nothing wrong with them. that is not to say that i don’t think people with genetic disorders have the right to live; i just think that they suffer too much and that it is inhumane to bring someone into existence cursed with a terrible illness to suffer from their entire lives. and frankly it also costs a lot of money for other people to care for these people born with genetic disorders, especially if they are unable to live independently and become productive adults who can work. of course, i strongly support all kinds of birth control and contraceptives, such as condoms, birth control pills, morning-after pills, and everything else that can be used to prevent unwanted pregnancies and/or the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. i think abortion should just be there as a last resort, kept entirely legal with no restrictions, just in case the birth control pills and condoms fail to do the job, but the first line of defense against unwanted pregnancies should always be things like condoms and birth control pills, and abortion should be considered a last resort, something to only do rarely. but of course there are several cases where abortion should be very highly encouraged instead of considered a last resort: genetic diseases as discussed earlier, rape, incest, and cases where the mother’s health would be endangered by giving birth. and of course, outside those cases, i also support unrestricted access to abortion for everyone who is pregnant, for any reason, at any time during pregnancy. it is just simpler that way; imagine the bureaucratic nightmare of pregnant women trying to prove that they were raped or that it was incest or whatever, just so they can qualify for an abortion, and by the time all the government paperwork is done, it is too late and the baby is already born. it is just best to completely keep the government out of women’s bodies and let them have complete control over that aspect of their lives; that maximizes individual freedom, like libertarians want. generally i think the government should stay out of people’s sex lives and not try to legislate morality, and they should not censor television or radio at all. i even think that all gambling, prostitution, and drugs should be legalized (but heavily regulated and taxed of course, since i am a liberal). if we legalized all that stuff, a lot of stuff that is now considered crime would be legal, and there would be a lot less criminals, and after all, those are all what we call “victimless crimes”, where there is either no victim or the only victim is the perpetrator who is engaging in self-destructive or morally questionable behavior. but if people engage in such behavior, it is none of the government’s concern, because we need to maximize individual liberty, and if someone does something that does not harm anyone else, they should have the right to do it legally. there would be less cases courts would have to consider, less people put in prison, and it would save the government a lot of money. by taxing gambling, prostitution, and drugs, the government could actually make a lot of money off things that currently cost the government a lot of money, keeping all those people in jail, paying all those prosecutors and judges and public defenders to deal with all those victimless crimes. anyway, i guess i do not completely agree with other liberal democrats on everything, and some of my beliefs are libertarian instead, but since libertarians oppose taxation and regulation, i am a liberal democrat, since my economic views are basically in favor of some kind of capitalist-socialist hybrid system like in most of europe. i genuinely hate the wealthy (in general, not as specific individuals) and want to punish them with very high taxes because i think that they have way more money than they could ever spend, and other people deserve that money a lot more than them. i do not think that wealthy people work very hard; after all, nobody ever calls them “working class”. they have all this money that other people desperately need to buy stuff with to stay alive. and while many wealthy people are involved in philanthropy and donate a lot of their money to charity, this is not mandatory, and there are plenty of wealthy people who keep their money and spend it on themselves, getting multiple houses and stuff. people like john mccain, with all his houses. now i suppose hate is too strong of a word for my feelings towards the wealthy, but i do really think that they have exploited everyone else and do not deserve their money or have any inherent right to keep it. i think one of the primary roles that governments play is to protect the wealthy from having their property taken away from them, by having theft be a crime and all that. governments are the defenders of capitalism, the defenders of the wealthy, and without governments, there would be no capitalism or wealthy people. so wealthy people owe a debt of gratitude to governments for protecting them and their wealth, and the least they could do is share some of that wealth with other people. of course sharing is voluntary and what i am talking about is involuntary, but really, i strongly disagree with the anti-tax views of libertarians and conservatives, and do not think the wealthy deserve to keep all the money they have made through exploiting the working class. so ok... we have a “poverty level”, and anyone below it does not really have enough money to survive on their own. why not have a “wealthy level”, and anyone above it has way more money than they could ever possibly need for themselves and their families, and heavily tax any money above that wealthy level and give the money to people under the poverty level so that everyone ends up in between those 2 levels? and maybe we could give the wealthy the option to contribute to worthy well-regulated charities of their choice instead of paying that money as taxes to the government, in order to continue the tradition of philanthropy. i don’t know exactly. what i do know is that the gap between the rich and the poor has risen every year and is at a record high level now in the united states, and is higher than in any other wealthy industrialized nation, and something needs to be done to close that gap. some people do not view that gap as a problem because they believe in unregulated free market capitalism; i strongly disagree with that view. i think the recent government bailouts of large financial institutions demonstrate the many failings of unregulated free market capitalism. that is why even john mccain is abandoning his previous support for unregulated free market capitalism, following the example of the bush administration. i think the bush administration is right to intervene in this economic crisis and help out our financial institutions that are the backbone of our economy. i do not think they are doing everything quite right, and they sure failed with respect to lehman brothers earlier this week, but at least they are doing something, and that is better than lassiez-faire free-market trickle-down bullshit economics. i think in the end, our economy will recover, but a major challenge will remain: the price of oil will continue to rise in the long term, because there is only a limited supply of oil (it is nonrenewable) and there is increasing world demand for it, which will use it up rather quickly, leaving us without viable energy alternatives unless we move quickly to develop those alternatives instead of thinking that offshore oil drilling is the magic key to solving everything. and if we put off doing offshore oil drilling for maybe 20 years, imagine how much money we will be able to make off the oil then, when it will be many times as expensive as it is now. if we drilled it all now, we would just use it up quite fast, and then we would have none left and rely completely on other countries for oil. that is why the republican proposals are so ridiculous. republicans never think about the long term or the greater good of everyone, only about the short term and helping out their cronies and the interest groups that support them. well maybe it is unfair for me to say “never” in that last sentence... how about “almost never”? anyway, i have gone on long enough in this post for now... see ya later :-)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

sarah palin and hillary UNITED

what a great video from saturday night live. oh, and one more thing: john mccain has been putting all sorts of incredibly dishonest advertisements on television and the internet, and both he and sarah palin lie a whole lot in their speeches. dishonesty is something that should bother people of all political views, whether liberal, conservative, moderate, or libertarian. there was an ad claiming barack obama supported teaching kindergarteners how to have sex. actually, he voted for a law that had them teach kindergarteners the warning signs that someone is a sexual predator. maybe barack obama could do a video in response, saying that john mccain wants to help sexual predators get away with raping kindergarteners. but he would never do something like that, because unlike john mccain, barack obama is running an honorable campaign and both barack obama and his entire campaign have been very honest. there is no bigger lie than john mccain being someone who gives “straight talk”, unless “straight” means “not gay”. sarah palin has repeatedly said, in many speeches since she was chosen as john mccain’s running mate, “i told congress thanks but no thanks on that bridge to nowhere.” that is a complete and utter lie that has been thoroughly reviewed by many in the media and independent observers, and found to have no basis in truth whatsoever. she never told any such thing to congress. she was for the bridge to nowhere before she was against it. just ask the mayor of ketchikan, alaska. when she ran for governor, one of the things she campaigned on was her support for the bridge to nowhere, and now she has not only flip-flopped (which is o.k.) but completely lied about it (which is not o.k.). these are just 2 of the most glaring examples of dishonesty from the mccain-palin campaign, but there are many more. even karl rove has criticized the mccain-palin campaign for its completely dishonest campaign ads!!! appearing on “fox news sunday,” karl rove said john mccain had “gone one step too far, and sort of attributing to obama things that are, you know, beyond the 100 percent truth test.” karl rove, the former spin doctor for george w. bush, who was personally behind a great many dishonest attacks against democrats in past campaigns, now observed a campaign far more dishonest than any of george w. bush’s campaigns, and was actually so appalled by it that he felt he had to speak out against it. or perhaps he was not morally appalled, but just wanted to send a message to the mccain-palin campaign to quit being so dishonest because it was hurting their chances of being elected. i will leave you to be the judge of why karl rove would say such a thing. i would like to leave you with the thoughts of obama campaign spokesman bill burton, whom i wholeheartedly agree with:

“We will take no lectures from John McCain who is cynically running the sleaziest and least honorable campaign in modern Presidential campaign history. His discredited ads with disgusting lies are running all over the country today. He runs a campaign not worthy of the office he is seeking,” said Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


on thursday georgia republican congressman lynn westmoreland called barack and michelle obama “uppity”. he is from the south so he ought to know that “uppity” is a racist term when used with blacks, and often blacks are called “uppity negro”, “uppity nigger”, or “uppity nigga”. what does this term mean? basically it means that a black person is arrogant and does not know their place, does not know that whites are superior to blacks, and is not being an “uncle tom” a.k.a. a “house nigga”. an “uncle tom” or “house nigga” is a black person who is subservient to “whitey” because they still have a “slave mentality”. so basically what lynn westmoreland was saying is, barack and michelle obama do not have enough of a slave mentality, they do not view themselves as inferior to white people as they ought to, and therefore they are “uppity”. and he claims not to be racist. you would think someone from the south who is in congress would know better. and the republicans claim not to be racist. well if they aren’t racist, why do they keep saying racist things like calling the obamas “uppity”? lynn westmoreland claims that “uppity” just means “elitist”, but what is more elitist than having every single president so far be a wealthy middle-aged/old white christian male? the republican convention this year had the lowest percentage of black people as delegates in 40 years. here is a video by the onion making fun of accusations of barack obama as an elitist:

Portrayal Of Obama As Elitist Hailed As Step Forward For African Americans

so what has john mccain, a wealthy old white man married to a much younger beauty queen with over a hundred million dollars in wealth, who divorced his previous beauty queen wife after she was disfigured and disabled in a car accident, and has so many glass houses he is throwing stones from he still doesn’t know how many he owns, done to counteract the elitism of white males controlling everything? he picked an ultra-right-wing christian fundamentalist woman as his running mate, a woman who does not believe in women’s rights, and she has something in common with john mccain’s 2 wives: she is also a former beauty queen who is much younger than him. all the feminists are against her, and for good reason. she is opposed to them and everything they stand for. she would not be a vice presidential candidate if it weren’t for the progress we have made due to the feminist movement, and all she wants to do is advance what she believes is god’s cause. she has a messianic viewpoint, just like our current president, george w. bush: both believe the war in iraq is a holy war and is god’s will. sarah palin is the real messianic figure, not barack obama. her church teaches that people can be anointed by god and become servants of god who carry out god’s will on this earth, and they can do no wrong, since everything they do is the will of god. and her church has anointed her in this way, so now she believes herself to be a devoted and infallible servant of god, and everything she says or does is god’s will. here is a shocking exposé of her radical church:

so, not to take anything away from barack obama being in a radical church for years, i know that is true, but sarah palin’s church is even worse. frankly i wish the candidates were just atheists and didn’t have all these wacky religious views. and we have heard barack and michelle obama accused of being anti-american. but who is REALLY anti-american? sarah palin, of course:

sarah palin has a lot of connections to the alaskan independence party, a radical anti-american secessionist party whose founder has harshly denounced the united states of america, a party whose goal is to turn the state of alaska into an independent nation. the republican national convention last week had the slogan “america first”. the alaskan independence party has the slogan “alaska first”. whose side is sarah palin on? nobody really knows, because she has lied about so many things, such as claiming she opposed the bridge to nowhere. she supported the bridge to nowhere for years, until congress and the national media decided it was the worst pork-barrel spending project EVAR, and then she suddenly flip-flopped on that issue for political gain. when it comes to flip-flopping, she is very much like her running mate, john mccain, who has flip-flopped on almost every issue in all his years in washington.

and if you think john mccain is a war hero for being a prisoner of war for several years after flying planes that bombed and killed innocent civilians, he is nothing compared to john kerry, the war hero who ran for president in 2004. john kerry actually saved people’s lives, he actually commanded a swift boat, and almost all the swift boat veterans who condemned him never served on the same boat as him and didn’t even know him. they were just angry that he had testified against the vietnam war and had publicly taken an anti-war stance in that war after he returned home from vietnam, since they think that being anti-war is treasonous. john mccain, in his acceptance speech, claimed that he hates war and wants peace. well supporting a unilateral invasion and occupation of a nation that was not a threat to us and was, like us, opposed to al qaeda and iran, was a quite stupid move on his part. john mccain became a critic of the war in iraq when it was politically popular to criticize the war, flip-flopping on that issue, and criticized former defense secretary don rumsfeld for mismanaging the war. but his criticism was that the war needed more troops to succeed, so when don rumsfeld was replaced and a new defense secretary helped put in place this “surge” strategy, john mccain decided he had to become pro-war again to appeal to the base of the republican party so he could have a chance in the 2008 republican presidential primaries and caucuses. all of john mccain’s stances on issues are cynically selected to appeal to his party’s base, even though he had completely different stances on those issues in the past. he has flip-flopped from being a maverick who disagreed with president bush on many issues to becoming a right-wing political hack who agrees with president bush on almost everything.

throughout the republican convention last week, everything was negative and full of denunciation of barack obama, the congressional leadership, liberals in general, and democrats in general. the republicans have no positive agenda to run on, and the only record they have to run on is 8 years of failure and corruption, so they mostly resort to negative attacks. there was some positive stuff in their convention, namely all the positive stuff said about john mccain being a war hero and maverick and all that rubbish, but it was all just biographical details about his life story, and nothing about the issues. the entire convention seemed to be in denial that we have had a republican president for the past 8 years and he has been a complete failure. president bush did have a short speech to the convention on tuesday, but he did it via a live video feed from washington, and was not there in person. dick cheney was scheduled to speak on monday but they canceled his appearance. i wonder why. to top it all off, john mccain tried to act bipartisan/nonpartisan in his acceptance speech at the end of the convention on thursday, sending a signal that was the polar opposite of every other speaker that had spoken at the convention all week. every other speaker was extremely partisan and full of red-meat attacks on democrats, and here he was pretending to be nonpartisan and wanting to work together and appeal to votes from everyone. you might think john mccain had no control over what all the other speakers said all week and that they were viciously partisan and negative despite his wishes for them to be bipartisan/nonpartisan. but if you thought that you would be completely dead wrong. all the speeches were approved by the mccain campaign in advance. ron paul was not welcome there because he was unwilling to deliver the kind of speech mccain wanted him to deliver, since it went against his principles and everything he believes in. so ron paul had his own convention, and it had hardly any media coverage. meanwhile, the police arrested hundreds of innocent people, mostly peaceful demonstrators, and some reporters too, including the wonderful reporter amy goodman and several others from democracy now! watch amy goodman get arrested:

and she is one of the greatest journalists in our nation. it is an absolute disgrace what the republicans are doing to our nation. they must be stopped. THEY are the true elitists, because they are the elites who have all the money, who run everything, the politicians and lobbyists who have such cozy ties and don’t give a rat’s ass about ordinary americans like you and me. they are, dare i say, “uppity”, to think that they deserve another chance to be in charge of everything after 8 years of george w. bush ruining everything he could. and so i would like to respond by being “uppity” and demanding that they be removed from power, peacefully, through our democratic process of elections. i will not take no for an answer. i want them gone. and if we can’t get rid of them this election, we will do it in the next election, or the one after that. and once we democrats finally win back the white house, we will clean up the mess the republicans made of everything. now THAT is an “uppity” attitude i can believe in.

down with the republicans and up with the united states of america! don’t let a treasonous anti-american separatist ultra-right-wing christian fundamentalist anti-feminist who tried to remove all the books she didn’t like from the local public library become our next vice president, because john mccain is quite old and has had cancer in the past that could recur, and before we know it, lil’ mrs. guns’n’god could become our next commander-in-chief. and if john mccain is elected president and somehow manages to survive long enough to keep her from being president, who knows what he would do? he has flip-flopped so many times on so many major issues, and given so many two-faced lies while calling it “straight talk” in true orwellian fashion, who knows where he actually will stand on any of the issues once he is president, if we are dumb enough to make the mistake of electing him? remember george w. bush, who wanted the united states to have a humble foreign policy, no nation-building, who was a uniter not a divider who wanted to work across party lines rather than being a right-wing ideologue, the compassionate conservative who cared about everyone (including black people like kanye west), the reformer with results who would restore honor and dignity to the white house? well let’s see what kanye west had to say about this “compassionate conservative”:

kanye west really says it all, in true “uppity” fashion that we can all be proud of. if only we were all that “uppity”, the world would be a better place, because we would stand up for ourselves, speak out against what is wrong, speak truth to power, and help restore some sanity to the insane world of the media and politics. he doesn’t have a slave mentality, and neither should anyone else, and rep. lynn westmoreland (r-ga) ought to be ashamed of himself for advocating that black people be more subservient to whites and less “uppity”. there is a reason that the percentage of delegates at the republican national convention who were black was at a 40-year low: black people are, more and more, realizing the true nature of the republican party. and now one of them is running for president of the united states, and barack obama is an excellent candidate who deserves the support of people of all races, genders, religious viewpoints, and sexual orientations. he is not just a candidate for black americans, he is a candidate for all americans. the republicans are afraid of this and will do anything in their power to try to stop him. they may have been the party of abraham lincoln but they are also the party of the late strom thurmond, one of many racists who left the democrats to join the republicans because he opposed the civil rights movement and supported segregation. racism is the reason republicans have replaced democrats as the dominant political party in the south: this is due to richard nixon’s “southern strategy” of appealing to the worst instincts of people rather than their highest aspirations, using hate and fear to divide people instead of using hope for a better future to unite them. part of the “southern strategy” is using code-words like “uppity” to incite racial divisions, and then since whites greatly outnumber blacks, whoever white people vote for wins.

but i am one white male who proudly stands united with people of other races and the other gender and other sexual orientations. i want to work together with them to make this world a better place, not have some stupid conflict against them where nobody wins. we have had enough of that in this country, and it is time to move on to bigger and better things, to lay the foundations for a future that is better than the past. it is time to put an end to the politics of fear, hate, and division, and for everyone to start working together to solve all the problems created under 8 years of george w. bush. i hope once barack obama is sworn in as president, he will find a way to cooperate with people like senator john mccain and senator hillary clinton to help clean up the mess our country is in. maybe john mccain could flip-flop again after he loses this election, and become a democrat... we could trade him for joe lieberman, and let joe become a republican like he’s always wanted. that would be fun. and “uppity”.

how many times can i say “uppity”? if i said it again and again forever, and never stopped, i would say it exactly countable infinity times. now go count to countable infinity. it’s not really that high of a number. uncountable infinity is much higher, you’ll never count that high. maybe we could send all the republicans off to count to uncountable infinity while we roll up our sleeves and solve all our nation’s problems. if they quit their obstructionism towards progress, we could write one giant bill to solve every problem that exists, sign it into law, and never have to worry about anything ever again. the bill would only be countable infinity pages long, and we could enlist the help of an infinite number of monkeys on an infinite number of typewriters to write the bill.

of course, none of this will matter once wednesday september 10th comes, because the large hadron collider at cern will be activated, and according to all the conspiracy theorists, this will create an “uppity” black hole that will suck in the entire planet earth and everything on it, including you and me. the mad scientific community has a different take on the project, one that is even more “uppity”:

oh, and did i mention?


Thursday, September 4, 2008

so pissed off right now

i have been following the republican convention and they are such a bunch of phonies. do any of them even remember that george w. bush has been president of the united states for the last 8 years and has pretty much ruined our country? do they realize that he deregulated everything and this led to subprime mortgages causing big problems for our economy? do they realize the iraq war was a huge mistake and that saddam hussein had nothing to do with 9/11 or al qaeda? do they realize that we are having major problems in the war in afghanistan and have failed to capture the leader of al qaeda, osama bin laden, as well as the leader of the taliban, mullah omar? what planet are they on? do they realize that one of the main reasons small businesses have problems is they have to pay so much for healthcare, and that universal healthcare provided by the government would relieve this burden and be good for business as well as for the people who need healthcare? do they realize the main beneficiary of the war in iraq is the nation of iran, our sworn enemy? do they realize that barack obama would cut taxes, not raise them, for the vast majority of americans, and only the super-rich would have tax increases, and the vast majority of americans would pay less taxes under obama’s plan than under mccain’s plan? do they realize that john mccain’s policies, especially his neoconservative foreign policy and his oil-industry-driven energy policy, are pretty much carbon copies of the current policies of president george w. bush? do they realize that most americans are pro-choice, not anti-choice, and support abortion rights, and also support embryonic stem cell research to cure debilitating diseases? do they realize the american people disagree with them on virtually every issue, with just a few exceptions like drilling for oil off our coastlines? do the republicans realize how out of touch with reality and out of touch with america they are?

and besides being out of touch and wrong on almost all the issues, the republicans have some major examples of hypocrisy. both john mccain and sarah palin are touted as fighting corruption within their own party, i.e., within the republican party. in other words, the republicans freely admit that their political party is a deeply corrupt institution, and are not ashamed at all to admit this fact. it was sarah palin’s big night tonight. sarah palin, who was against the “bridge to nowhere” after becoming governor of alaska, but supported it when she was running for that office. sarah palin, former member of the secessionist alaskan independence party, a rebel like those in the confederacy of the 1860s, not an american patriot who believes in the united states of america. sarah palin, who is a right-wing fundamentalist christian and wants creationism taught in schools, but does not want any sex education taught except abstinence-only. abstinence-only sex education: what sarah palin taught to her 17-year-old daughter bristol palin, who has somehow become pregnant despite being taught to be abstinent until marriage. abstinence-only sex education does not work and this is just one of many examples of that fact. sarah palin may have decided to fight the corruption of alaska senator ted stevens, who is currently on trial for being one of the most corrupt politicians ever, but she first rose to prominence in her political career when she ran the political action committee of that same corrupt senator, ted stevens. sarah palin, who has her own troopergate scandal up in alaska, just like our own ex-governor here in new york, eliot spitzer. eliot spitzer turned out to be guilty of what his opponents were accusing him of doing... i wonder if the same is true of sarah palin. she did a pretty good job of reading a speech tonight... a speech that was mostly written by a former speechwriter for president george w. bush. now THAT is change we can believe in... NOT. she praised hillary clinton and geraldine ferraro when john mccain first introduced her as his vice presidential pick, even mentioning hillary’s phrase “18 million holes in the glass ceiling”, in an obvious attempt at pandering to democrats who supported hillary clinton. just a few months earlier, the same sarah palin was making fun of hillary clinton and called her a “whiner”.

and sarah palin gave birth to a baby with down’s syndrome, a horrible disease that the baby will have to suffer with the rest of its life, all through childhood and adulthood; that baby will never be able to live independently and will always be a burden on other people, and will probably be severely retarded and have problems with some of the organs in his body. that is almost as bad as deliberately giving birth to a baby with aids or some other horrible disease. she knew about that early enough in the pregnancy to abort but she didn’t. you know why? she is “pro-life”, meaning she opposes abortion. she completely opposes all abortion, in fact, even in cases of rape or incest. but does “pro-life” mean opposition to having the government execute people, or launching massive preemptive unilateral military strikes on defenseless nations that pose no threat to us? no. if you are “pro-life” you are fine with killing people. does it mean she wants embryonic stem-cell research to help cure diseases and save people’s lives? no. “pro-life” people oppose embryonic stem cell research and are opposed to using it to cure diseases and save the lives of people who have actually been born, even though the embryos that would be used in such research already exist and are made by in-vitro fertilization clinics all the time, and are going to get thrown in the garbage if they are not used for research. so really, opposing embryonic stem cell research does not save the life of a single embryo, since those embryos will be thrown away anyway. and what do “pro-life” people think of hunting, and animals, and gun control laws? they love to go around hunting and killing innocent animals, even though we humans are animals too, and they oppose gun control laws, even common-sense ones to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and lunatics, and to keep the most dangerous machine guns out of the hands of all civilians, machine guns that are not needed for hunting purposes anyway, and would literally be overkill. “pro-life” people want more babies born to parents who are not ready to raise them, parents who do not want children because they are completely unprepared, who often do a bad job raising the kids and they end up in gangs, becoming criminals, drug dealers, prostitutes, pimps, rapists, and murderers. and usually these unwanted babies are born to single mothers because the fathers likewise do not want the babies, so they get the hell outta there since they want absolutely nothing to do with the babies they created by having sex. more babies born into a world already overpopulated with too many humans, to parents who do not want them, who do not love them, who wish they never had them. and some of the mothers who want abortions but are not allowed to have them end up dying during childbirth, leaving the kids as orphans to go through the foster care system and likely end up with mental illness and live on the streets as gang members or prostitutes or homeless beggars. that is what “pro-life” means. it also means that if someone is dying of a horrible illness and is in horrible pain and just wants the sweet release of death to escape from the hell that is their life, they are not allowed to commit suicide and nobody is allowed to help them. people who are “pro-life” are so compassionate... NOT. you know, a main reason women are becoming more and more equal to men in society today is that women enjoy a number of rights that they never historically had, such as being allowed to vote, being allowed to own property, not being considered property, and of course, the right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy so that they do not become mothers against their own will. sarah palin opposes the right to an abortion, and also opposes the right of women to have equal pay for equal work. she is no feminist, no supporter of women’s rights. she is reaping the rewards of the feminist movement and pandering to them while at the same time supporting policies that completely go against everything feminists stand for. barack obama and joe biden both support women’s rights very strongly, including the right to an abortion as well as an important right women do not yet legally have in the united states: equal pay for equal work. they are the true supporters of women’s rights. in fact, joe biden wrote the violence against women act, to crack down against domestic violence done by men against women. has sarah palin ever done anything for her fellow women? no. does she support doing anything to help out women and give them more rights? no, she wants women to have less rights. the first woman the republicans nominate to be vice president is a traitor to her own gender.

and now for john mccain, the man running for president as a republican. where to start with his hypocrisy? the clearest case of this is on the issue of torture. john mccain was tortured in vietnam quite horribly. however, under the definition of torture put forth by our current bush administration under people like alberto gonzales, what the vietnamese did to him is not actually torture. so, if you go by the bush administration definition of torture, john mccain was not tortured, and the united states does not torture prisoners, either. but of course, the bush administration definition of torture is ridiculous. we torture prisoners all the time; it is very well documented. and john mccain was tortured quite badly; that is also very well documented. john mccain has always said he opposes torture. so, when it came time for him to vote on a measure that would ban the u.s. military from using the torture technique known as “waterboarding” on enemy prisoners, john mccain voted against the ban on this torture technique, which is actually a worse torture technique than anything that was done to him. when it came time for him to vote in the senate, john mccain voted against banning a very bad kind of torture, so he was basically voting in favor of torture. in other words, john mccain supports having the united states torture prisoners we capture, but was opposed to having the vietnamese torture him when they captured him as a prisoner. he wants a double standard: one standard for the united states and our allies, and another standard for the enemies we fight. we get to torture, they do not. this is tortured logic. you would think that in his years in the hanoi hilton being tortured, john mccain would learn the lesson that torture is morally wrong and reprehensible and should never be allowed under any circumstances. he claims to have learned that lesson, and when he speaks about that issue, he claims to be opposed to torture. but when he had to vote on it in the senate, he supported torture.

john mccain also changed his mind on a number of other things. john mccain used to be a prime example of corruption in washington, d.c., back when he was involved in the keating 5 scandal. after being personally involved in corruption, he decided to rehabilitate his image by publicly launching a crusade against corruption in washington, d.c. he worked together with the most liberal democrat in the senate, russ feingold of wisconsin, to pass the mccain-feingold campaign finance reform bill. and now, his campaign is violating that same bill that he and russ feingold wrote together, that president bush signed into law. for the record, george w. bush was strongly opposed to the law and said he would veto it, but then changed his mind after it passed and signed it into law anyway, along with a signing statement that said that he would not enforce it because he thought it was unconstitutional. typical george w. bush: signing a bill into law along with a signing statement that says you will not enforce the law and that it is unconstitutional. anyway, back to john mccain. he voted against the bush tax cuts, saying that they were reckless and would increase the deficit, and of course he was 100% correct then. since that time he has changed his mind, and wants even more tax cuts than the ones bush passed, which would lead to even bigger deficits and an even bigger national debt. john mccain has no credible plan to decrease government spending enough so that the deficit is gone and there is either a balanced budget or a surplus. still, he is pledging that he will balance the budget, despite the fact that tax cuts will make the deficits bigger and our national debt bigger, and he has no real plan to reduce spending enough to balance it. he is promising something he can clearly not deliver. john mccain is also promising that if we drill for oil now off our coastlines, it will result in immediate drops in the price of gasoline and help us become energy-independent. that is totally not true at all. if we start building new oil-drilling platforms off our coastlines, it will take 10 years before they start delivering us any oil, since all sorts of exploration and building of infrastructure has to take place first before we can really do the drilling, and we will need pipelines and refineries and all sorts of other stuff too. plus, we have already used up most of the oil reserves in the united states, so there is not much left now. instead of making dishonest promises about drilling for oil here to make us energy independent and have lower gas prices, john mccain should be honest about things and stop making false promises about what his policies would do. for real energy independence, we need to rely on solar, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, and other renewable sources of energy, and create plug-in hybrid cars that run on cleanly-produced electricity, not gasoline made from petroleum from hostile nations like venezuela, russia, or iran. john mccain and his republican groupies at the convention keep saying that the democrats would just bring the same old liberal policies of the past but that republicans like him are full of new ideas to fix everything. sorry, but i’m not buying it. the republicans are full of shit. they ran both houses of congress from the beginning of 1995 to the beginning of 2007, and have run the white house from the beginning of 2001 until at least the beginning of next year. since the democrats took control of both houses of congress in the beginning of 2007, they have held a very slim majority, by 1 seat, relying on the john mccain-supporting neoconservative independent senator joe lieberman from connecticut as part of their caucus to make them the majority, and vice president dick cheney is still the president of the senate who gets to make tiebreaking votes. also, 60 votes are needed to pass any legislation, and anything with less than that gets filibustered by the republicans, of which there are 49 out of the 100 total senators. even worse, any legislation that does manage to pass both the house and the senate has to be signed into law by president bush, or else its only chance is to override a veto by having a 2/3 majority in both the house and the senate. overriding a veto is almost impossible in today’s polarized political environment, since almost all the republicans are staunch supporters of president bush and are afraid to go against him, and the democrats have nowhere near enough votes. now, back when the republicans controlled both houses of congress, it was easy for them to pass any legislation they wanted: bush never vetoed anything they passed, so all they needed was a simple majority in the house and the senate, except the rare occasions when democrats tried to filibuster. but the democrats hardly ever had the 41 necessary votes to filibuster, because many senate democrats are actually conservative/moderate democrats who often voted with the republicans. so for these reasons, the congress was able to get a lot more legislation passed and signed into law when it was controlled by the same party as president bush: the republican party. the democratic congress has been a dismal failure so far because they are almost completely powerless until they have a president from the same party as them: barack obama. if john mccain is the next president, he will have congress at his mercy, and will be able to block progress on important issues like universal healthcare, plus he will be able to pack the supreme court with more far-right-wing judges (4 out of the 9 on it now are far-right-wingers, so just 1 more would completely ruin everything for us liberals). anyway, my point is, senate majority leader harry reid was insulted today for leading a “do-nothing senate”. believe me, harry reid has been trying hard to pass through legislation. the republicans are the ones blocking anything from getting done. the only way to stop them is to defeat enough of them in the elections so the democrats have a filibuster-proof majority. the democrats don’t really need to get all the way to 60 because there is a small number of moderate republicans who are sometimes willing to cooperate instead of being obstructionists. 58 or 59 senate democrats would probably be a working majority. but currently there are 50 plus joe lieberman, which is not a working majority, not even close.

anyway, i am irate to see the very people responsible for all the problems our nation is suffering right now, the people who have been in charge of everything for the last 8 years, pretending like none of the bad stuff is their fault and like we should give them another chance, pretending they actually have good ideas to fix things, when they just have the same stale old ideas they have been using the last 8 years that have failed our nation so miserably, and been proven not to work through all these years of practice. the republicans want us to give them another chance, and say that this time they will not completely screw everything up. i say they are full of it, they have no new ideas, just the same ones that have been failing us for all this time and ruining our once great nation, and they certainly do not deserve a second chance, especially not at a time like this when our nation is in an economic crisis that needs to be solved. this is like choosing between re-electing herbert hoover or electing franklin delano roosevelt. we cannot trust the free market, deregulation, and low taxes to magically solve our economic problems. you know how george w. bush said “you are either with us or against us”? well, the government is either with us or against us. if the government is misruling us and is doing nothing to help out ordinary people, it is against us, and we need to stop it from acting that way, get someone else in charge, and have them fix everything so the government is actually on our side, the way it should have been in the first place. the republicans do not deserve to rule the united states; this nation is too good for people who are so bad at governing. the republicans know how to destroy but not how to create. we are having a debt crisis: the federal government is in debt, state governments are in debt, local governments are in debt, a large percentage of the population is in debt, and lots of companies are even going into debt. debt is caused by spending more than you earn. republicans create debt for the government with their endless tax cuts while they continue to increase spending. it is absolutely insane policy. anyone who governs in such a way ought to be removed from office and never allowed to run anything ever again. and through deregulation and lack of government oversight, the financial sector gave out way too many mortgages, credit cards, and loans to people who were not capable or reliable enough to pay back what they owed. these people all went into debt, of course, and when they couldn’t pay, the financial institutions they owed money to also went into debt, and started needing government bailouts. now that the debt has been transferred from people to the financial institutions to the government, taxpayers must pay the bills. it is absolutely insane. everyone needs to learn how to manage money. democrats are the ones who can manage money. for years, the gap between the rich and the poor has been getting wider and wider in the united states, and now it is as big as in many third-world countries. a simple solution to the government’s financial difficulties would be to tax the people who actually have enough money to afford to pay the tax, namely, people who are incredibly wealthy. taxing corporations themselves is also a good idea, because although almost everything we buy is from corporations and most of our jobs are working for corporations, a lot of corporations buy or sell things overseas and have workers overseas, as well as lots of wealthy stockholders overseas. this means that if we tax the corporations, some of this tax burden will fall on foreigners, not americans. the more of our tax burden falls on foreigners, the better our economy will do here in america, since we americans will pay less of our own tax burden. one way to directly tax foreigners is a type of tax called a tariff, which taxes imports. tariffs would be a simple way to help out domestic industry by protecting it from foreign competition, keeping jobs here in the united states, and they would raise plenty of money for our government, money that would be paid by the companies importing things into the united states. this would be a nice simple way to eliminate the problem of our trade deficit. our trade deficit means how much more we import than we export, and also represents how much wealth is being transferred from the united states to other nations. tariffs could eliminate this transfer of wealth out of our country, thus making our country wealthier. there would be more manufacturing jobs in our country, more wealth in our country, and less unemployment, plus we would be less dependent on imports from hostile nations. tariffs are a win-win situation for the united states. the republicans staunchly oppose tariffs, and advocate “free trade”, which means we will let other countries drain away all our wealth and put our entire nation into debt. democrats like barack obama support “fair trade”, which has tariffs against nations that do not have labor and environmental standards, but does not have tariffs against nations that do have labor and environmental standards. fair trade is an excellent way to encourage other nations to treat their workers well and to treat our planet well, having safety standards for workers, minimum wages, bans on child labor, protection of endangered and threatened species, and protection against pollution of the environment. fair trade helps prevent the “race to the bottom” whereby companies move jobs overseas to countries with no labor or environmental standards, and child laborers work in unsafe sweatshops for pennies a day while polluting the environment with toxic waste. republicans, of course, oppose fair trade, and fully support letting american companies ship jobs overseas to sweatshops that do not observe any standards. but then once americans have lost all our jobs making things, the only jobs left are the service sector, which means we are just doing things for other americans, not actually making any physical stuff. and our imbalance of making physical stuff with other nations is making our nation lose its wealth to other nations. in a way this is good... it is good for the other countries, since they get more wealth out of it. but who is really making all the money? the ceos and top executives and big investors in the big corporations. the ceos and top executives set their own salaries and are answerable to nobody. if they ruin their companies, they get “golden parachutes” and can easily find work as executives with other companies if they want. there is only one way to separate these titans of industry from the great fortunes they have amassed: taxation. by taxing the rich, we can make the gap between the rich and poor get smaller, not bigger. this has the added benefit of reducing poverty and crime, and instead of being unemployed or becoming criminals or homeless people, poor people will be able to be educated or trained in various trades, so they can find gainful employment legally and help contribute to our economy, and maybe have some chance of reaching the american dream. that is what america is all about.

in closing, the republicans have managed to ruin many of the things about the united states of america that were once great. they have not yet succeeded in ruining our country completely, however, due to their own incompetence and their inefficiency in implementing all their utterly ridiculous policies, and all of the successful resistance to their efforts by democrats and others opposed to the republican misrule of our nation. many republicans from the south still harbor confederate sympathies, and we have seen that some republicans from alaska also have sympathies for those who want to secede from the union. this is ironic for the party of abraham lincoln to become a haven for those with secessionist leanings, given the fact that he was the first republican president and led a war against the confederate secessionists to bring them back into the union, and later added a second purpose to the civil war: to liberate the blacks of our nation from slavery. it is also ironic that the republican party has morphed into the opposite of what it once was. the party that freed the slaves is now almost all white people and has become a haven to racists, especially now that barack obama is the democratic presidential nominee and racists want to keep that black man out of the white house just because he is black. sure, racists are a small minority of people in this country, and a minority of republicans, but they still exist, and there may very well be more racists than black people. of course, there are also sexists in the united states, and some of them may actually support obama because they do not want a female vice president, so it goes both ways. but we have seen with strom thurmond and how trent lott praised him a few years ago that racism is alive and well in the republican party. rush limbaugh also regularly makes racist comments, as do many other republican radio talk show hosts. of course, these people are also sexists too. my point is this: the republicans do not have any positive agenda at all. all they have is hate and division and old failed policies of the past, policies we have been living under throughout the administration of george w. bush, policies that clearly do not work at all. we cannot allow them to continue this any longer. we are lucky that the republicans still hold elections and allow us to win sometimes, because otherwise, we would be completely screwed, just like people living under the totalitarian regimes in nations like china and saudi arabia. elections and our democratic process are the only way we can solve the problem we have and get ourselves out of the mess we are in. if we end the war in iraq, we will save enough money to have universal healthcare. 2 birds killed with one stone. if we are able to accomplish that much, we will already be accomplishing great things and definitely be going in the right direction, for the first time in a long time. but if we fail in this endeavor and john mccain is the next president, we must do everything we can to support our democrats in congress and the senate and help give them the courage and backbone to stand up for what is right and not let him do any further damage to this nation of ours, a nation that was once great and will probably regain its greatness again soon if we play our cards right. barack obama is who we need as president, not because of who he is, but quite simply because he is a democrat. the personal biographies of the candidates are not what matters. what matters are the issues, and the fact that democrats are right and republicans are wrong on all the most important issues facing our nation, coupled with the fact that republicans have ruined this nation for the last 8 years and we really do need a change from that, and another 4 years of republican misrule would be more of the same. we simply cannot afford that at this point. several times as many americans call themselves “conservatives” as “liberals”, but these labels have become rather meaningless, because the vast majority of americans agree with liberal democrats on almost every issue. most people are liberals but don’t even know it, because of all the conservative republican propaganda that people have been subjected to for so many years, and because all the politicians are afraid of calling themselves liberal because it is considered bad, while lots of them call themselves conservative because it is the popular thing to do. i say throw all the conservative bums out, whether they are conservative republicans or conservative democrats. first we get rid of the republicans, then we clean house in our own party and replace the conservatives with true liberals, just as the republicans have already done over the years by replacing almost all their moderates and all of their liberals with conservatives. and as for racists that were in the democratic party, those “dixiecrats” were all conservatives, not liberals, and they all switched to the republican party once the liberal democrats made it clear that racist conservative dixiecrats were no longer welcome in the democratic party. liberal republicans used to exist, too, before their party purged them to become ideologically pure as a conservative party. and it was the liberals in both parties who supported equal rights for women, racial minorities, people with disabilities, and homosexuals. without liberalism, sarah palin would never have been allowed to pursue a career in politics, since we would still live in a completely patriarchal society; similarly, barack obama would not be able to achieve anything either. liberalism is what made this country great, and conservatism is what has taken away its greatness, hopefully only temporarily. we will win this nation back, no matter what it takes. our future depends on us getting this right, so we have no choice but to do it, to save our country from eventually deteriorating into a third-world totalitarian hellhole. this year we have a rare opportunity to actually win an election for once, and we must not waste this opportunity, but seize it instead. if we do not, who knows how many years we will have republican presidents after dubya leaves office? 4? 8? 12? 16? 20? forever??? it is quite the scary thought, to think how much more our nation could deteriorate if we let that happen. if they rule long enough, they may end up making christian fundamentalism mandatory for everyone, and making blasphemy a crime punishable by death... we could end up like an islamic fundamentalist nation, except christian instead. if they keep ruling us, the gap between the rich and poor will continue to widen, and the middle class will cease to exist as they all fall into poverty. is that what we want as a nation? to gradually turn into a third-world totalitarian hellhole over the course of many years? if not... you know what to do. vote party-line democrat. the republicans do not deserve a single vote from anyone, and voting for a third-party or independent candidate is just a pointless protest vote that does nothing to stop the republicans from winning again. if the republicans want people to vote for them again, they need to earn it, by changing their policies, abandoning their outdated belief systems and coming up with fresh new ideas and solutions that will work in the real world and make things better for everyone. this has not happened yet, and i do not anticipate it happening for years to come. until they shape up, i will vote party-line democrat in every single election, and i really really hope everyone else does too. and people like sarah palin who support seceding from the union ought to have their u.s. citizenship revoked and have to go through the entire immigration process of becoming new citizens if they want to stay here, because there are plenty of foreigners who would love to live in this country who do not want to support misguided secessionist movements. and those foreigners are more american than sarah palin is, because at least they love this country more than some stupid state like alaska. i propose we get rid of alaska by giving it to canada and letting them annex it, and all the citizens of alaska will lose their u.s. citizenship and become canadian citizens. then, to cancel this out so we still have 50 states, we should annex all of canada and make it the 50th state, with alaska just part of the giant state of canada. that would really put those uppity alaskans in their place. or you know what would be even better? sell alaska back to russia. it used to be part of russia. just see how they enjoy living under the dictatorship of vladimir putin. all i am saying is, sarah palin really pisses me off. if john mccain is elected president, he will undoubtedly die from being so ridiculously old, quite soon after taking office, and then a crazy ultra-right-wing christian fundamentalist woman with virtually no qualifications will be president, a woman who is currently governor of alaska and once wanted to have alaska secede from the union and be an independent nation. does she still believe that? who knows. but i do not trust her one bit, as she has already shown herself to be a lying, two-faced, completely untrustworthy politician, in less than a week of national media exposure. and since alaska was once part of russia, doesn't that mean she is russian too? the last thing we need is some soviet russian communist as president. seriously though, i can’t stand her one bit, or any of the other republicans at the convention. they piss me off sooooooooooooooooooooooo much it is ridiculous. i am embarrassed to be a member of the same species as those clowns, much less living in the same country as them, on the same planet. i just wish they would all publicly apologize for all of their misdeeds as politicians and their misrule of the united states, and formally disband the republican party and all resign from office and never seek any political office ever again. then instead of competing against republicans, we democrats could compete against more credible political parties, like the libertarian party and the green party. at least people in those parties have some good ideas i actually agree with. then maybe if the democrats screw things up badly enough, we could disband and give the greens and libertarians a chance to run everything, and let some new political parties with even newer ideas form, and continue this process. we have had other major parties that ceased to exist in the united states: first the federalists and then the whigs. why not continue this proud tradition? it worked great then and it can work even better now.