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October 24, 2008

Things I Noticed, 10/24/08

Filed under: Politics — CPav @ 10:48 pm
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Barack Obama has started a new web site to offer rebuttals to the fallacies in Republican robocalls and mailers: Under the Radar: Revealing the Hidden Attacks

A couple of ads proposed for the Obama campaign, but one of the hosts of the liberal “Young Turks” radio show: Cenk Uygur: The Ads Obama Should Run Against McCain and Palin

Both Obama and McCain have pledged support for small business owners, but you might be interested in McCain’s definition of a small business.

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August 28, 2008

ONYD – Uninsured? What Uninsured?

Filed under: Politics — CPav @ 6:20 pm
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John Goodman — not the actor, but the president of something called the National Center for Policy Analysis and a policy advisor for the McCain campaign — says that since everyone in the country has access to emergency rooms, no one is technically uninsured, so the Census Bureau should stop describe anyone as uninsured.

The policy that Goodman advises McCain on? Health Care.

The McCain camp’s response? They don’t consider him an official adviser. Note they don’t say he’s not an adviser, just that he’s not an official one.

And people think this will be good for the country? Part of the reason health care is so expensive is that hospitals have to cover the costs of those people who use their services without having insurance. So apparently, it’s okay with this guy that our premiums keep going up, as long as we don’t actually call anyone uninsured.

Original article

The 300 Project: 12/128

June 1, 2008

Questioning the Value of Candidates’ Boots on the Ground

Filed under: Politics — CPav @ 9:23 am
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CNN’s Michael Ware comments on the McCain claim that Obama is at a disadvantage because he’s only been to Iraq once in the video below. Ware also comments on whether or not politicians’ visits to Iraq actually give them an accurate view of exactly what’s going on.

The 300 Project: 1/109

May 31, 2008

ONYD: John McCain’s Drawdown

Filed under: Politics — CPav @ 9:26 pm
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I actually published my last post because I wanted to do this one, and thought that I should address the Memorial Day blunder by Obama first.

Much has been made this week of John McCain’s observation that it’s been over two years since Barack Obama has been to Iraq. That’s undoubtedly true of many members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, but it’s probably at least a sound theory that someone campaigning to be president probably should get over there and see what’s happening on the ground. McCain even offered to serve as Obama’s personal tour guide which probably isn’t that great an idea politically, as it plays directly into McCain’s attempt to portray his foreign policy expertise as his greatest strength.

That expertise came into question early in the campaign, when Senator Joe Liebermann had to remind McCain who in Iraq liked their neighbors in Iran and who didn’t, and it came further under fire this week with McCain’s statement on the levels of troops and violence in Iraq.

“I can tell you that it is succeeding. I can look you in the eye and tell you it’s succeeding. We have drawn down to pre-surge levels. Basra, Mosul and now Sadr City are quiet and it’s long and it’s hard and it’s tough and there will be setbacks,” McCain said to reporters on Thursday. Unfortunately for him, the general pre-surge level is considered to be 130,000 troops.

McCain tried to backtrack without admitting he was wrong by saying that he was actually referring to the troop levels following the current rotations, which are set to be completed by July. Unfortunately, that didn’t help much; following the return of the two additional brigades in July (5 were sent as part of the surge, 3 are already back), there will be approximately 140,000 troops still there.

McCain’s camp still didn’t back down, instead using their “explanation” to take another shot at Obama; spokesman Tucker Bounds said, “What informed people understand, John McCain included, is that American troops are not even close to Surge levels. Three of the five Army ‘Surge’ brigades have been withdrawn and additional Marines that were initially deployed for the ‘Surge’ have come home as well — the remaining two brigades will be home in July. Talk about a political stunt, it’s sending out campaign surrogates to parse words about a topic Barack Obama has no experience with, and has shown zero interest in learning about.”

Well, thanks, Tucker, but that isn’t what McCain said. And when your people tried to explain it, they played it down as a semantic argument over verb tense. That’s not the same thing as “we meant it was lower than the surge”. That’s a different statement entirely.

And that bit about Mosul being quiet? Three suicide bombings in and around Mosul on Thursday left 30 people dead. Hopefully Mr. McCain’s plans are not to bring that type of quiet to the U.S.

Oh, and Mr. Bounds? Just because Obama hasn’t shown an interest in learning about Iraq from John McCain, that doesn’t mean he’s not interested in learning about it. He probably just wants the truth.
 
 
 
The 300 Project: 30/105

Obama’s Holocaust Blunder

Filed under: Politics — CPav @ 9:00 pm
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You’ll note that this post doesn’t carry an ONYD tag on it. I’ll get to that in a minute.

There have been a number of misstatements and missteps in this primary season, by all the candidates. And the severity of those misstatements and missteps vary based on who a given observer supports. Hillary Clinton’s “hardworking white voters” and Barack Obama’s “clinging to God and guns” were both foot-in-mouth moments. There are, however, more serious misstatements being made by the campaigns as well: John McCain cannot confuse Shia and Sunni if he wants to be elected based on his foreign policy acumen. Ditto Hillary Clinton promoting her own foreign policy experience through the repeated recounting of a life-threatening trip across an airstrip which could be demonstrated on video as not being anywhere near as dangerous as she remembered.

Last Monday, during a Memorial Day speech, Barack Obama made a statement which some would put into the former category and others would lump into the latter. While recounting a family story involving his great-uncle’s experiences in World War II, Senator Obama indicated that his uncle helped liberate Auschwitz.

The commentators went wild. “He doesn’t know history!” they said. “He’s lying to cover up for his own military shortcomings!” Evidently Auschwitz was liberated by the Russians. (Being a bad American, I didn’t realize this off the top of my head either.) But, as Hillary Clinton really did get off a plane in Bosnia, Obama’s uncle really did help liberate a concentration camp. Just not that concentration camp. Charles T. Payne was part of the 89th Infantry, which liberated Buchenwald. When the error was pointed out to him, Obama issued an immediate correction.

In my opinion, this should have been a non-story. Those trying to elevate this to the level of a Bosnia airstrip or a Shiite/Sunni issue are missing a really major distinction. Senators Clinton and McCain have, to varying degrees, tried to distinguish themselves from Senator Obama based on their supposed greater foreign relations cred. But when one is basing a portion of that cred on an event which happened much differently than she claimed, and when the other doesn’t know the difference between two warring factions in the most high-profile hotspot in the world, that foreign policy expertise has to be called into question.

Barack Obama is not running for president based on his knowledge of the Holocaust. And while the historical facts are indisputable, and while it’s hoped that our next president will have more intellectual curiosity than the current one, confusing Auschwitz and Buchenwald do not, in my opinion, invalidate the message of what was being said. It’s like if I were to arguing with my wife (which, of course, never happens), and I said “Your statement that you haven’t had beef in six months is wrong, because you had Prime Rib when we ate out on Tuesday” and she based her reply on the fact that we ate out on Wednesday, and had dinner at home on Tuesday.

And to the commentators who said that Obama was trying to use the Holocaust for political advantage: Get real. Using the Holocaust for political advantage would be speaking to a Jewish group and saying “If you don’t vote for me, the Holocaust will happen again.”

So let’s all be thankful that no American politician would be so craven as try to use fear to get elected.
 
 
 
The 300 Project: 29/104

May 16, 2008

ONYD: Understanding the Economy

Filed under: Politics — CPav @ 12:51 pm
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Following criticism from Hillary Clinton aimed at John McCain, Republican National Committee spokesman Alex Conant issued a response which in part, reiterated the traditional RNC characterizations of Democrats as tax-and-spend (as opposed to Republicans, who are spend-and-let-the-kids-pay-for-it):

“The Democrats’ plans for more taxes, more spending and more regulations will not grow the economy or create jobs. America needs strong leadership that understands the economy – not higher taxes and spending like the Democrats are proposing.”

Strong leadership that understands the economy. Like John McCain, right? ONYD!

John McCain has been quoted as recently as this past December as saying “The issue of economics is not something I’ve understood as well as I should.” (Boston Globe, 12/18/07)

The 300 Project: 21/96

May 4, 2008

The “Hundred Years” War

Filed under: Politics — CPav @ 10:05 pm
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Pay attention, class, ’cause I’m gonna do something here that I don’t normally do: I’m gonna stick up for John McCain. But just for a minute.

Much has been made of the comments that John McCain made during a January 3 town hall meeting, saying that he’d be fine with the US staying in Iraq for fifty or a hundred years. The Democrats have jumped all over the comments, implying that McCain is perfectly willing to stay in Iraq with the situation unchanged for the next century, and have characterized his attempts to clarify the comments as backtracking or flipflopping.

Here comes my defense.

McCain’s explanations are totally valid, and the Democrats are trying to give voters who are unfamiliar with the context of the statements the impression that I’ve described above, that McCain is willing to maintain the status quo for a hundred years. The next portion of his statement from January 3, makes it clear that that’s not what he was saying:

We’ve been in Japan for 60 years. We’ve been in South Korea for 50 years or so. That would be fine with me, as long as Americans, as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed. It’s fine with me and I hope it would be fine with you if we maintain a presence in a very volatile part of the world.

I actually agree with McCain’s statements above. If the situation in Iraq were to become comparable with those in Japan or South Korea, I have no problem with having military bases in Iraq, and staffing those bases.

Here ends my defense.

HOWEVER…

(you had to know that was coming)

The fact that Senator McCain believes, despite all evidence to the contrary, and the fact that absolutely nothing suggests that Iraq is in any way capable of getting itself to the point where it’s socially, economically, and politically stable enough so that “Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed.”

And, for a candidate who’s building a large part of his candidacy on the fact that he’s more savvy in the military and foreign affairs arenas than the other candidates, the fact that Senator McCain would imply that the situation in Iraq is in any way comparable to the situations in those other countries, causes me to seriously question his foreign policy judgment.

The 300 Project: 16/91

Gas Tax Pandering

Filed under: Politics — CPav @ 5:50 pm
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A few follow-up comments to my ice cream gas tax story a few days back:

  • The Huffington Post has a rundown of support/opposition for the proposal by both McCain and Clinton. Interesting that the only person they could find who supported the idea was a politician, who frames it as a “why shouldn’t Big Oil pony up?” issue.
  • John McCain says he’ll pay for the lost revenue from not collecting the gas tax for the summer by cutting pork barrel spending projects. But these cuts, if he were successful in making them part of a budget, wouldn’t be in effect until the next budget round, so that’s a number of months of shortfall that isn’t made up for in the McCain proposal. And he also doesn’t say how he’s going to replace the jobs that will be lost in Congressional districts that don’t get to build their projects due to the slashed spending.
  • Hillary Clinton will pay for the lost revenue brought on by the tax holiday by taxing the windfall profits of the oil companies. Civics lesson, people: One junior senator from New York State cannot pass a tax all by herself, even with the help of the senior senator from Arizona, especially when there is no evidence that a majority of Congress supports the plan.
  • Even making the enormous leap of faith that the lost tax revenue will somehow be made up in such a way as to not jeopardize bridge and highway repairs, there’s another problem with the whole plan: There’s nothing to force the oil companies to pass the savings on to the consumer. Nothing. Nada. Just because they’re not paying the government that 18 cents per gallon, doesn’t mean they’ll drop prices by a corresponding amount. And when the tax goes back into effect, does anyone really think the companies will be good corporate citizens and not raise their prices a corresponding amount? (“Oh, trust us. The price would have been this high all summer except for that tax rebate.”)
  • And, if the cosmic forces align just right and the tax holiday passes through Congress and the lost revenue is recouped somehow and the oil companies do pass on the savings to the consumer and don’t pass the subsequent increase back, some of the experts say that the lower prices will cause consumers to buy more gas instead of less, which will make the prices go up more.
  • North Carolina Governor Mike Easley, a Clinton supporter who’s been stumping for her in his state, spoke out against the idea when McCain proposed it, but supports it now that Clinton has endorsed it. In other words, he was against it before he was for it. (Audio of his statements is linked from this blog, and the third commenter makes many of the points I’ve made here, with some more detail.

So, basically, anyone who’s telling you that a gas tax rebate will save you money this summer is counting on the fact that you don’t know anything about basic budgets, the way laws are passed, and the way business accounting and supply and demand work.

In other words, they not only think they’re smarter than you, but they think you’re dumb as a gas pump.

Maybe later we’ll talk about which candidates are truly elitist.

The 300 Project: 6/81

Pastor Problems

Filed under: Politics — CPav @ 5:01 pm
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Hopefully, Barack Obama’s problems with Reverend Jeremiah Wright are behind him, but here are a few thoughts about Wright and John McCain’s equivalent (if much less covered) controversial pastor, John Hagee.

Bill Moyers, the newsman who interviewed Wright last weekend, prior to his “meltdown” appearances early in the week, makes an observation regarding the lack of outrage involving John McCain’s pastor in his online journal:

Behold the double standard: John McCain sought out the endorsement of John Hagee, the war-mongering Catholic-bashing Texas preacher who said the people of New Orleans got what they deserved for their sins. But no one suggests McCain shares Hagee’s delusions, or thinks AIDS is God’s punishment for homosexuality. Pat Robertson called for the assassination of a foreign head of state and asked God to remove Supreme Court justices, yet he remains a force in the Republican religious right. After 9/11 Jerry Falwell said the attack was God’s judgment on America for having been driven out of our schools and the public square, but when McCain goes after the endorsement of the preacher he once condemned as an agent of intolerance, the press gives him a pass.

John Hagee, whose endorsement McCain sought out and trumpeted, has been condemned by the Catholic League. A write-up on this issue is available on Salon.com, posted back at the end of February. There is YouTube video of Hagee in that article, as well as here.

It’s also interesting that the Clinton camp largely let other people do the complaining about Wright, when they’ve relentlessly hammered Obama on the least perceived shortcoming. The reason? Wright was a guest at the Clinton White House. Granted, he was there with a number of other clerics, but a picture exists of Rev. Wright and President Clinton, and even if he was one of a large number of people invited, the invitation list wasn’t generated at random, so it might be difficult for them to portray Wright as a marginalized radical, who Obama should have known better than to associate with, when they were associating with him as well.

The 300 Project: 5/80

February 15, 2008

McCain Opposed What????

Filed under: Politics — CPav @ 7:37 am
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Something that’s been bugging me since Super Tuesday, but which got lost in my hectic week last week:

The morning of the primary, I saw a television ad which nearly made my head spin. So much so that, before I blogged on it, I had to go out on the internet, find it, and watch it again, to make sure that I’d heard what I thought I heard. (I’m usually pretty good once I get going in the morning, as long as I’ve gotten enough sleep the night before. Which is rare.)

Take a look at the “Never Surrender” ad at http://www.johnmccain.com/tvads/. Go ahead. We’ll wait.

Done? Did you hear it? The second statement in the ad. “One man opposed a flawed strategy in Iraq.” WTF????

Is it me, or does this make it sound like McCain opposed the Iraq war? Don’t parse the sentence. I know this blog doesn’t always show it, but I’m pretty good with…y’know….words. And what the words here are saying is “John McCain didn’t support the way the war in Iraq was being waged.”

But that’s not what John and Jane Q Public will hear. And that’s not what they’ll take with them to the polls. What they’ll hear, and what they’ll base their votes on, is “John McCain…opposed…Iraq”.

Think I’m wrong? That I’m not giving John and Jane enough credit? CNN doesn’t: “McCain last year bucked public opinion with his full-throated support of President Bush’s commitment of nearly 30,000 additional troops to Iraq at a time when a solid majority of Americans had turned against the 4-year-old war….But among the 34 percent who said they disapproved of the war, McCain had a wide advantage over the GOP field — even over Texas Rep. Ron Paul, the sole advocate of a U.S. withdrawal in the Republican field.” (full story)

Look, I’m not saying that this is wrong. Wait, hold on, yes I am. I think this type of deliberate doublespeak is dangerous, and leads people to vote for candidates based on false assumptions. It’s like saying Mayoral Candidate X is going to raise taxes if he gets elected, without saying that if Mayoral Candidate Y gets elected and doesn’t raise taxes, he’s going to have to cut services. Not that that’s happened in my experience or anything.

On the other hand, as a strategy, it’s fairly brilliant. Because the people who do parse the sentence can come back and say “Well, he ain’t lyin’.” Because what McCain actually wanted was the troop surge, but much, much earlier. So while the statement that he opposed the way the war was being fought is true, the inference that he opposed the war is not.

Heck, that’s the kind of thing I might write, if I wrote that kind of stuff.

On a related note:

Available for hire: Writer with political experience. Contact owner of this blog for more information.

The 300 Project: 12/35

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