A last image for the passing administration…

it was that bad and we didn’t impeach, shame

Bail Out? Did Anyone Read It?

OK the bailout, as written on Monday, was 110 pages.  John McCain admitted in an interview that he hadn’t had time to read it over the weekend when it was 3 pages.  Surely he didn’t read the 110 pages on Monday.  The Senate voted this evening on a revised version that included 451 pages.  I’m wondering if anyone read it.  I think I’m safe guessing McCain didn’t read it if he couldn’t read Paulson’s version when it was 3 pages, or was it two… can’t remember now while worrying about our future.

I’m guessing Obama didn’t read it either.  Realistically, how could he fit in 451 pages of reading while campaigning. Yet all of them are crying that we need this now and fast.

I’m wondering if anyone knows what they are voting for?  Now the bail out package is being called a “Rescue Package”.  I guess they feel that sounds better to us in accepting it.   The bottom line is, we’re not getting rescued, nobody has a clue what they are voting for, the folks that wrote it were part of the problem that created this mess, and we’re getting screwed again.

Wall Street Bail Out Deal – Call/Email Congress Now

Here’s the deal on the bail out as it stands today – all 110 of it.

Call Congress and tell them NO!

From David Sirota:

“There’s news this Sunday afternoon of a congressional deal to bailout Wall Street fat cats with $700 billion of taxpayer cash (you can read the draft legislation here). Though the deal negotiated between congressional leaders and the White House is better than what Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson originally proposed early last week, it remains an insulting atrocity, having omitted even basic aid to homeowners, bankruptcy reforms and any modicum of future financial industry regulation. Jere are the top 5 reasons (in no order) why every single member of Congress – Democrat and Republican – should vote this sucker down. Please feel free to copy and paste this post into an email to your congressperson:”


When an individual consumer uses a new credit card to pay off astounding debt from an old credit card, it’s called kiting, and in many cases, it is illegal. Apparently, though, when the government does it, it’s billed as Serious Public Policy. Because that’s what this supposedly prudent bailout bill would do: Force taxpayers to borrow $700 billion from foreign banks to pay off the bad debt of Wall Street banks. During a crisis that is aimed at preventing interest rates from skyrocketing, nobody has been able to explain how adding almost a trillion dollars to the interest rate-exacerbating national debt would do anything other than undermine the plan’s underlying objective. Worse, the U.S. Treasury Department itself admits that the $700 billion number is “not based on any particular data point” – that is, they created it out of thin air because “We just wanted to choose a really large number.” Slapping that amount of money onto the national credit card when our government can’t even justify the amount is beyond absurd – it is insane.

It didn’t have to be this way, of course. As I noted in my newspaper column this week, Senator Bernie Sanders proposed a temporary tax on millionaires to finance part of this bailout. Similarly, Blue Dog Democrats proposed a future tax on financial firms if and when taxpayers lose cash on the deal. These proposals were discarded in favor of language asking the government to “submit a plan to Congress on how to recoup any losses,” according to the Associated Press. Not only is that language toothless, but it opens up the possibility of a plan being submitted that says we should raise middle-class taxes or slash middle-class social programs to pay for Wall Street’s misbehavior.


Primum non nocere is the latin phrase for “first do no harm” – the priority principle for any EMT working on a sick patient. It should be the same priority for Congress at this moment – and a growing group of esteemed experts on both the Right and Left are insisting that this bailout bill could make things worse. Here’s a review:

  • The Washington Post reported on Friday, almost 200 academic economists “have signed a petition organized by a University of Chicago professor objecting to the plan on the grounds that it could create perverse incentives, that it is too vague and that its long-run effects are unclear.”
  • NYU’s Nouriel Roubini, the visionary who had been predicting this meltdown, says “The Treasury plan (even in its current version agreed with Congress) is very poorly conceived and does not contain many of the key elements of a sound and efficient and fair rescue plan.”
  • Harvard’s Ken Rogoff, a Former Federal Rerserve and IMF official, insists that the prospect of this bailout is, unto itself, taking a manageable problem and making it into a more intense crisis. He says that credit is frozen primarily because banks want to avoid dealing with other banks that might drive a hard bargain, and instead would rather wait for free money from the government. Without the prospect of that free money, Rogoff suggests that credit would probably begin moving again, if slowly.
  • Dean Baker of the Center on Economic and Policy Research says that spending so much cash so quickly on such a poorly conceived plan could have the effect of making it impossible to fund economic stimulus that is the real way out of this mess. “Suppose the Paulson plan goes through,” he writes. “It is virtually certain that the economy will weaken further and the number of foreclosures and people without jobs will continue to rise. This is the fallout from a collapsing housing bubble…When families respond to their loss of home equity by cutting back their consumption it will deepen the recession. In this context it might prove very important to have the resources needed to provide a substantial stimulus. [and] there is no doubt that this bailout will make further stimulus much more difficult to sell politically.”

Meanwhile, it’s not even close to clear that this is a problem that requires such an enormous response. As mentioned above, the Treasury Department admits it has absolutely no factual basis for requesting $700 billion – an amount equivalent to about 5 percent of our entire economy. Additionally, the Washington Post reports that “Banks throughout the United States carried on with the business of making loans yesterday even as federal officials warned again that their industry is on the verge of collapse, suggesting that the overheated language on Capitol Hill may not reflect the reality on many Main Streets.” Indeed, “many smaller banks said they were actually benefiting from the problems on Wall Street” and “even some of the nation’s largest banks, which have pushed hard for a federal bailout, deny that the current situation is forcing them to reduce lending.”

The questions, then, are simple: In the face of this bipartisan opposition from objective experts, why should a lawmaker instead believe the same Bush officials who helped create this crisis with their deregulation, the same Bush officials who just months ago said everything was AOK? Shouldn’t there be almost complete unanimity among both objective and partisan observers before spending 5 percent of our entire economy after just one harried week of White House demands? Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. It’s time, as The Who said, that we “don’t get fooled again.”


The mantra throughout the week has been that America has “no choice” but to pass Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s $700 billion giveaway – that, in effect, there are no alternatives. But that’s an out-and-out lie – one with a motive: Making it seem as if the only thing we can do is hand the keys to the federal treasury over to both parties’ corporate campaign contributors.

The truth is, there are a number of alternatives. Here are just a few:

  • In the Washington Post last week, Galbraith outlined a multi-pronged plan shoring up and expanding the FDIC, creating a Home Owners Loan Corporation, resurrecting Nixon’s federal revenue sharing, and taxing stock transactions (a tax that would fall mostly on speculators) to finance the whole deal.
  • The Service Employees International Union has drafted a plan based around a massive investment in public services and national health care, and regulatory reforms preventing foreclosures and forcing banks to renegotiate the predatory terms of their bad mortgages.
  • For those in the mindless, zombie-ish “someone has to do something, so we have to do what the White House says!” camp, consider the possibility that you are under the spell of the same kind of White House fear that led us to invade Iraq because of Saddam’s supposed WMD. Consider, perhaps, that there may not even be a compelling basis for doing anything just yet (or at least not anything nearly so huge), and that the whole reason there is this urgent push right now has nothing to do with the financial situation, and everything to do with creating the political dynamic to pass a wasteful giveaway – one that couldn’t be passed otherwise without a sense of emergency. And ask yourself why you would listen to this White House instead of listening to those experts who have been predicting this crisis and are now advising against this bailout – experts like CEPR’s Baker. In two separate posts (here and here), he says that letting the problem play out could be the best path, because Treasury and the Fed may already have the tools they need. Following this path, the worst thing that happens is “The Fed and Treasury will have to step in and take over the banks [which] is exactly what many economists argue should happen anyhow,” Baker writes. “So the outcome of the worst case scenario is a really frightening day in which the whole world financial system is shaken to its core, followed by a government takeover of the banks. Eventually the government straightens out the books and sells them off again. But the real threat here is not to the economy, it is to the banks.”
  • Then there is the idea of simply taking the $700 billion and simply give it to struggling homeowners to help them pay off part of their mortgages. This hasn’t even been discussed but the thought experiment it involves is important to understanding why there is, indeed, an alternative to the Paulson plan. If the root of this problem is people not being able to pay off their mortgages, and those defaults then devaluing banks’ mortgage-backed assets, then simply helping people pay their mortgages would preserve the value of the mortgage-backed assets and recharge the market with liquidity. That would be a bottom-up solution helping the mass public, rather than a top-down move helping only financial industry executives.

On this latter proposal, some may argue that giving any relief to homeowners is “unfair” in that those homeowners created their problems, so why should taxpayers have to help them? But then, is helping homeowners any less fair than simply giving all the money away to Wall Street, no strings attached? I’d say no – and helping homeowners also serves a second purpose: namely, keeping people in their homes, which not only helps them, but helps an entire neighborhood (as any homeowner knows, nearby properties can be devalued when foreclosures hit).


As a preface, let me state that I think we live in a country where politicians too often listen to their donors and to the Establishment rather than their constituents, not the other way around. America is a country where our leaders dishonestly invoke the concepts of “Statesmanship” and “Seriousness” and their supposed hatred of “pandering” to justify ignoring what the public wants (as if giving the public what it wants is somehow not the objective of a democratic republic). So, in short, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this bill being “politicized” by coming down the pike right before an election – in fact, I think it’s a good thing because the election – and the fear of being thrown out of office forces our politicians to at least consider what the public wants. I mean, really – would we rather have this decision made after the election, when the public can be completely ignored?

Polls overwhelmingly show a public that sees voting for this bill as an act of economic treason whereby the bipartisan Washington elite robs taxpayer cash to give their campaign contributors a trillion-dollar gift. As just two of many examples, Bloomberg News’ poll shows “decisive” opposition to the bailout proposal, and Rasmussen reports that their surveys show “the more voters learn about the proposed $700 billion federal bailout plan for the U.S. economy, the more they don’t like it.” Put another way, this bailout proposal has unified both the Right and Left sides of the populist uprising that I described in my new book and that is now even more angry than ever.

Any sitting officeholder that votes for this – whether a Democrat or a Republican – should expect to get crushed under a wave of populist-themed attacks from their opponents. We’ve already seen it start. In Oregon, Democratic challenger Jeff Merkley (D) is airing scathing television ads hammering Republican incumbent Gordon Smith for potentially supporting the deal. Similarly, this morning on Meet the Press, we saw Republican Senate challenger Bob Schaffer (CO) dishonestly papering over his own votes for deregulation and ripping into his opponent Rep. Mark Udall (D) for potentially supporting the deal. Incumbents, get ready for that kind of election-changing heat in your face if you vote “yes.”

This, by the way, could play out in the presidential contest. Barack Obama has been taking the advice of the Wall Street insiders in his campaign in endorsing this bailout. McCain has endorsed the vague outline, but he may ultimately back off once he sees the details, allowing him to then run the last month of the campaign as the economic populist in the race. I’m not saying it would work, considering McCain’s 26-year record of supporting the deregulatory agenda that created this crisis. But such a move could end up help him flank Obama on the defining economic issues of the race.


The amount of brazen corruption and conflicts of interest swirling around this deal is odious, even by Washington’s standards – and polls suggest the public inherently understands that. Consider these choice nuggets:

  • Warren Buffett is simultaneously advising Obama to support the deal, while he himself is investing in the company that stands to make the most off the deal.
  • McCain’s campaign is run by lobbyists from the companies that stand to make a killing off a no-strings government bailout.
  • The New York Times reports that the person advising Paulson and Bernanke on the AIG bailout was the CEO of Goldman Sachs – a company with a $20 billion stake in AIG.
  • The Obama campaign’s top spokesman pushing this deal is none other than Roger Altman, who Bloomberg News reports is simultaneously “advising a group of investors who are trying to prevent their shares from being diluted in the U.S. takeover of American International Group Inc.” – that is, who have a direct financial interest in the current iteration of the bailout.

Add to this the fact that the negotiations over this bill have been largely conducted in secret, and you have one of the most sleazy heists in American history.


If this bill passes, it will be a profound referendum on the dominance of money over democracy in America. That – and that alone – would be the only thing an objective observer could take away from the whole thing.

Money will have compelled politicians to not only vote for substantively dangerous policy, but vote for that policy even at their own clear electoral peril. Such a vote will confirm that the only people these politicians believe they are responsible for representing are are the fat-cat recipients of the $700 billion – the same fat cats who underwrite their political campaigns, the same fat-cats who engineered this crisis, and want to keep profiteering off it. Any lawmaker who takes that position is selling out the country, as is any issue-based political non-profit group – liberal or conservative – that uses its resources to defend a “yes” vote rather than demand a “no” vote. This is a bill that forces taxpayers to absorb all of the pain, and Wall Street executives to reap all of the gain. It doesn’t even force the corporate executives (much less the government leaders) culpable in this free fall to step down – it lets them stay fat and happy in their corner office suites in Manhattan.

Even if they believe that something must be done right now, lawmakers should still vote no on this specific bill, and force one of the very prudent alternatives to the forefront. They shouldn’t just vote no on Paulson’s proposal – they should vote hell no. Our economy’s future depends on it.

Palin crash and burn, McCain continually lies in debate

What is happening to the Straight Talk Express?  It all looks quite worse than Bush and Cheney.  What could McCain be thinking?

Wake Up America! The Folks in the Executive Office Bailing themselves out.

Susan Eisenhower leaves Republican party

“I have decided I can no longer be a registered Republican. For the first time in my life I announced my support for a Democratic candidate for the presidency, in February of this year. This was not an endorsement of the Democratic platform, nor was it a slap in the face to the Republican Party. It was an expression of support specifically for Senator Barack Obama. I had always intended to go back to party ranks after the election and work with my many dedicated friends and colleagues to help reshape the GOP, especially in the foreign-policy arena. But I now know I will be more effective focusing on our national and international problems than I will be in trying to reinvigorate a political organization that has already consumed nearly all of its moderate “seed corn.” And now, as the party threatens to trivialize what promised to be a serious debate on our future direction, it will alienate many young people who might have come into party ranks”…read more

Free Speech provided by the US Military

very sad video of this whole mess:


Are Peace and Impeachment Possible? By David Swanson in Ojai, CA

Went to hear David Swanson in Ojai, California this past Tuesday.  His remarks to the packed crowd were inspirational.  We cannot let up on the efforts for impeachment for both Cheney and Bush.  Cheney first.   The importance of impeachment to the future of our nation is too important.  We cannot allow the lawbreaking that has been the hallmark of the Bush Administration to stand without national response.  Future administrations must know this will not be tolerated.  Continue to urge your elected officials to address impeachment.  Supporters of Barack Obama must urge him to speak and act on impeachment.  This will also serve to elect him, while putting McSame’s campaign on notice.

During the gathering, Swanson heartedly endorsed Mary Pallant’s campaign for the 24th Congressional District, California.

Here are David Swanson’s remarks on Impeachment in their entirety:

“Are Peace and Impeachment Possible? Strategies for Saving our Constitution, Economy, and Environment”
By David Swanson
Remarks delivered in Ojai, California, on April 22, 2008

“I’m going to talk for a while and then take some questions, and maybe even some corrections, since unlike the Pope and George W. Bush I do make mistakes. Our president, as far as I know, has never admitted a mistake. And of this I am sure, I have never publicly done anything as brave as what members of IVAW do in admitting their mistaken roles in Bush’s crusade. Some of them have said that that has been harder than anything they did in Iraq, and I believe it. They deserve our gratitude and our support.

Now, the phrase “support the troops” has a bad name, since it has come to mean “insist on funding war crimes that the troops wish they could be done with.” But I want to propose a new initiative to support the troops. Let’s take the next little dollop of war funding in the pipeline, the $178 billion that Congress intends to vote on within the next month, and let’s give it to the troops now stationed in Iraq. Very roughly that will come out to $1 million per troop. Those troops that want to use some of that money to fund contractors, mercenaries, and war profiteers can give some or all of it back. Those troops that want to contribute to the general fund to extend the occupation can do so. And those troops that want to buy a plane ticket home can make that choice. This may sound crazy to some people, but what sounds crazy to me is sending young men and women to kill and die for greed and power and claiming that you’re doing it because you “support the troops.”

Happy Earth Day! Global Warming, according to the World Health Organization, already contributes to 150,000 deaths each year. Some of those deaths have been in New Orleans over the past two and a half years, and global warming has had a little bit of help. In fact there’s a nice video of George W. Bush being warned beforehand about Hurricane Katrina, and another nice video of Bush swearing he was not and couldn’t possibly have been expected to imagine what was coming. Today, half the people of New Orleans have not seen any real progress toward restoring their homes or compensating them for their loss. Even if you believed Bush’s lie that he had no warning, how can you defend the past two and a half years of failure, of intentional and racist failure? And how can we look at this one act alone and not impeach the president?

Bush is spending Earth Day in New Orleans, working with Canada and Mexico to use NAFTA as a tool to eliminate such troublesome laws as those that protect the environment. Can you imagine anything more arrogant? I don’t know… maybe if he… openly admitted to approving of torture or something like that? Next Saturday is the White House correspondents dinner. Maybe Bush will joke about hunting for Weapons of Mass Destruction in his office again.

Bush attended a church service last week, and his staff talked with the minister beforehand to make sure, not only that he wouldn’t touch on unpleasant topics, but that he would praise the president. In fact, I kid you not, maybe it was the Pope being in the country or something, but they asked the preacher to compare Bush to a saint. To his credit, the good minister agreed, but when he got up and gave his sermon, at the end he said, “We are honored to have been joined this week by our president. He is a dishonest, duplicitous, murderous criminal, responsible for the deaths of over a million Iraqis, not to mention the millions around the world who could have been saved with the trillions of dollars he has wasted on killing, torturing, and turning the world against us, but compared to Dick Cheney, he’s a saint.”

OK, that’s not really true, but how can we not start with the guy in charge, with the convener of the secret energy task force that established our energy and war policies behind closed doors? How can we not start with the man who told jokes about global warming at last week’s Radio and Television Correspondents Association dinner? How can we not begin with the Vice President for torture, Dick Cheney? How can we not impeach Cheney first?

The words “global warming” should call to mind a different vice president than the one they usually do, because Dick Cheney more than any other individual can take credit for worsening the impact of global warming. And he jokes about it. And the members of the broadcast media laugh with him. Well, not WITH him. He doesn’t laugh. He just sort of breathes heavily.

But why does the media laugh? Maybe the impact of global warming is not felt in Disney Land. The Disney Corporation’s presidential primary debate last week was unable to squeeze a single question on global warming into a debate focused on fascistic questions about religion and flags. Yes, I said the F word. It’s hard to see fascism in a flag when it’s our flag. It’s hard to see fascism in religion when it’s our religion. Here we are in a town that used to have a German name and changed it as I understand around the time of World War I, but changed it to a name originating with the native people of our own country against whom we had committed genocide. We have stationed 1,000 U.S. military bases in other people’s countries around the globe in the name of spreading democracy. We are not a people much given to irony.

But occasionally we see through the fog of war. Someone recently told me that he was certain we would eventually have peace on earth, he just hoped humans would be around to enjoy it. There are two major threats to that possibility. One is nuclear war and the other is global warming. Remember when our nukes were supposedly intended purely for the purpose of destroying the Soviet Union several thousand times if it nuked us first? The Soviet Union has been gone for nearly two decades, and we have more nukes than ever, and we now threaten to use them first and to use them anywhere. U.S. Strategic Command in Omaha, Nebraska, claims the ability to destroy any spot on the planet within 60 minutes, and does not strictly separate conventional from nuclear weapons in its planning. Happy Earth Day!

Mikhail Gorbachev tried to negotiate nuclear disarmament with Ronald Reagan, but Reagan wouldn’t do it without Star Wars, without his so-called “missile defense” system. That boondoggle is still around, although its ability to defend against an attack has never been demonstrated. Its usefulness in aggressive war is not in doubt, however. We’re now trying to impose new bases on a number of nations around the world as part of a so-called missile defense system, including the Czech Republic and Poland, the main result of which has been to enrage the people of the Czech Republic, Poland, and Russia.

At a House Oversight subcommittee hearing last week, Lisbeth Gronlund, a senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists said of missile defense: “The program offers no prospect of defending the United States from a real-world missile attack and undermines efforts to eliminate the real nuclear threats to the United States.”

Gorbachev last week made some perceptive comments as well, including these:

“[J]udging from the USA’s military budget, your nation seems to be at war with the world, and I sense that the American people don’t like this at all. The size of your weapons budget is larger than it was at the peak of the Cold War, and larger than all of the rest of the nuclear nations put together. Why do you continue to build these weapons? This is amazing to me!”

Our approach to nukes over the past several years has encouraged other nations (like Korea) to acquire them and assisted other nations (like India) in acquiring them. Nuclear weapons are proliferating when they should be reduced and eliminated, because we are violating the nonproliferation treaty and encouraging others to do so. But the fact remains that up until the moment some nut pushes the first button (why does a certain Senator from Arizona come to mind?) nuclear weapons can all be rounded up and destroyed and security restored to the earth.

That’s not necessarily true with global warming. There is such a thing as arriving too late. At some point it will no longer be possible to avoid spiraling destruction that builds on itself. Already we are losing ice that cannot be refrozen, species that cannot be re-evolved (or re-created or whatever it is Bush supporters believe happened when God made everything in the 1950s or whenever it was). Ecosystems are already gone forever. At some point soon it will be too late. Throwing away the past seven years strikes me as a more suicidal act than anything we did during the Cold War. Pretending the next nine months do not exist is part of that same suicidal behavior. The time to begin reversing our energy policies is now. The time to make that shift a focus of our national government is now. The time to admit that the next nine months exist and matter is now! The time to impeach Cheney and Bush is now!

There’s a parallel to the destruction of New Orleans in Iraq. Even if you believe it was justifiable to invade a foreign nation, even if you believe the documented lies were well-intended blunders, even if you suppose that Bush had no possible way of knowing the Iraqis would fight back (and you ignore the fact that he ended the careers of those, like General Shinseki and Larry Lindsey who warned him), how can you defend the past five years of taking a disaster and intentionally making it ever worse? How can we look at that one act alone and not impeach the president? This one act, the occupation of Iraq, more than all the others combined, has contributed to giving Bush and Cheney the all-time records for presidential and vice presidential unpopularity.

But of course there’s one thing in Washington that’s even more unpopular than Bush and Cheney. If the opposite of pro is con, then the opposite of progress is….

The occupation of Iraq does not belong exclusively to the White House. Congress has allowed it and funded it for over five years, and if WE don’t do something, by this time next month we’ll be able to say they’ve funded it for over SIX years.

Well, sure, you might say, Congress is responsible too, but everything is run by parties now, and the Republican party is to blame for everything. Except that the Senate was in the hands of the Democrats when it gave Bush and Cheney the green light to attack Iraq. And both the Senate and House have been in the hands of Democrats for the worst of the occupation, which has occurred since January 2007.

Well over a million Iraqis have died as a result of the occupation of Iraq, well over 4 million more have been made refugees, and Iraq has no more been reconstructed than New Orleans. Most of the money appropriated for reconstruction has been spent on killing instead. Is there anything more shameful than the bipartisan demand that the Iraqis start paying the bill for our destruction, occupation, and reconstruction of their country? That’s the tough talk coming out of the Democrats in Washington. I saw Hillary Clinton roundly booed for blaming the Iraqis at a conference in DC a year and a half ago, but that is the Democrats’ strategy today.

The one thing we know about Iraq is that each year is worse than the one before it. At least 80 percent of Iraqis have always said that the violence would go down if the United States got out. And here Bush and Cheney are not alone in their arrogance. A great many Americans assume that the Iraqis must be wrong about their own country. And why? Well, because the same lying chicken hawks who told us about the stockpiles of WMDs and ties to 9-11 and robot planes attacking us in 45 minutes and risks of mushroom clouds say the Iraqis are wrong. Who are you going to believe, the people who live there or the people whose own defense is that they have accidentally gotten everything catastrophically wrong so far?

General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker were pretty open in their testimony earlier this month, not to mention last September, about having no plan and predicting no success. And listen to these words:

“Measured in blood and treasure, the war in Iraq has achieved the status of a major war and a major debacle….Globally, U.S. standing among friends and allies has fallen. Our status as a moral leader has been damaged by the war, the subsequent occupation of a Muslim nation, and various issues concerning the treatment of detainees….[O]ur efforts there were designed to enhance U.S. national security, but they have become, at least temporarily, an incubator for terrorism and have emboldened Iran to expand its influence throughout the Middle East….[S]enior national security officials exhibited in many instances an imperious attitude, exerting power and pressure where diplomacy and bargaining might have had a better effect.”

I’ve just been reading excerpts from a paper just released by the National Defense University, which is the Pentagon’s premier educational institution. The New York Times this week published a shocking scoop of a story, reporting that retired generals who gab on television actually support the war machine. I’m shocked! Contrary to the New York Times’ spin, generals who have not just been fed the latest line from the Pentagon are NOT the ideal objective commentators. And, whether or not the Times ever breaks the story, we can be sure that the paper I just quoted from would not have been released without support from inside the Pentagon.

In last week’s Disney debate, Obama and Clinton were not asked about global warming or nuclear disarmament, but they WERE eventually asked about Iraq by debate moderators Pluto and Goofy. Specifically, they were asked whether they would dare to withdraw any troops from Iraq if military officials advised against it. Bush, of course, gets rid of anyone who won’t do exactly what Cheney says, but publicly he claims to be taking his orders from his generals. To their credit, both Obama and Clinton pointed out that we are supposed to have civilian control of the military. But they were not asked what I would have asked them, what many of you might have asked them. I would have asked them how in the world they can go on claiming to oppose the occupation of Iraq while funding it? Do they plan to vote no on the next $178 billion, and if so, is that just theatrics or will they lobby Harry Reid not to bring it up and lead a filibuster to block it?

The occupation has gone from bad to worse to a disaster of biblical proportions. We’ve driven far more people out of the Garden of Eden than God ever did. We’ve borrowed every dime to do so, and our grandchildren will have to pay China back so heavily that they’ll be lucky if they can shop at Wal-Mart, which will of course mean paying China back with interest plus some. Remember how horrible it was when the US death count reached 2,000 and then 3,000 and then 4,000? Well, the US death count since the Democrats took control is well over 1,000 and likely to far surpass 2,000 during the time frame they are about to fund, if we don’t stop them. The Iraqi death count is not only many times higher, it’s also rising more sharply. Our dramatic increase, of late, in the use of air power in Iraq is one reason that Iraqis’ deaths do not always parallel Americans’. The little reported air surge is one reason U.S. deaths in Iraq are not higher. Other reasons for the temporary lull in our import of flag-draped coffins in late 2007 included purchased cease-fires and ethnic segregation. This could not possibly have made for, and did not make for, a lasting peace.

Hundreds of thousands of American soldiers and marines are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and/or from brain injuries from roadside bombs. Tens of thousands have more visible wounds. 4,039 in a recent count are dead, not counting those who return home and then kill themselves (officially 18 veterans per day). Of those 4,039, a full 3,900 have been killed since the Mission was Accomplished, 3,578 since Saddam Hussein was captured, 3,180 since power was transferred to the so-called Iraqi government, 2,602 since the Iraqis’ so-called election, and 1,200 or so since a so-called opposition party took control of the first branch of our government in Washington, D.C. Two other things that do not parallel each other are the violence in Iraq and the U.S. media coverage of it. In fact, as things have gotten progressively worse, the media coverage has dwindled away.

Luckily, our representatives in Congress and our candidates for president listen to us rather than to the media, and are so opposed to the occupation of Iraq that, rather than funding a withdrawal, they are now proposing to fund the continuation of the occupation, as is, for the rest of Bush and Cheney’s terms plus a big chunk of the next administration / Congress. Suddenly $102 billion is $178 billion, and no committee hearing is needed – they’ll rush it straight to the floor. Except that, unlike that loaves and fishes routine, somebody will have to pay for this – pay China for this money we’re borrowing – and that somebody will be our grandchildren.

This started me thinking about some of the things I strongly oppose and how I could better express my opposition. I’ve decided, in fact, to get a new mortgage on all the equity we’ve got in our house, and at the same time to max out three credit cards. I’m going to take all the money and donate it in equal shares to: Exxon, Halliburton, Blackwater, and four different health insurance companies. (I thought about giving some of it to cable and network news corporations, but then I realized that the fiercest opponents of those companies give them hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising whenever we have an election, so I already contribute by supporting progressive groups.)

Already I feel so much better! I may not have put an end to Exxon, but I’ve expressed my opposition to it in the clearest possible terms, by ruining my family for generations in order to give Exxon money. That ought to be worth something in my next campaign for head of household. And, in case I decide to oppose anything else in the future, I’m looking into the possibility of stealing a huge amount of money from a charity organization near my home.

The genius of our congressional leaders has inspired me. I wonder if you truly grasp the brilliant complexity of their latest maneuver. Not only can they guarantee the funding of more slaughter for more months this way, not only can they move the goal posts so that defunding the occupation by refusing to bring it up or voting No or filibustering is completely off the playing field, not only can they kiss up to the television networks and war profiteers in such an abject manner that they are guaranteed another masochistically thrilling ass-kicking, but – and this is the true genius of the move – they can boost the plausibility of an election theft by an insane senator from Arizona who will fund the occupation for 10,000 years without himself even realizing that he “opposes” it!


And yet there remains this fringe leftwing moonbat group consisting of about 80% of Americans who oppose the occupation of Iraq in the ordinary sense of not wanting to waste trillions of dollars keeping it going. And, remember, the true cost of the occupation includes interest, care for veterans, the increased price of oil, and other major elements placing the total in the trillions according to the calculations of Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes.

And yet, what can we do? We’re pretty helpless, right, we poor hundreds of millions of Americans who are still sane – we don’t have any power, do we? They beat us at every turn, don’t they? Our best hope is to turn the Democratic Party into a close approximation of the Republican Party in hopes of winning like they do, right, and then after the elections when we aren’t needed anymore somehow turn the Democratic Party back into something else again – something we actually like, something people would actually vote for.

Are we so helpless as all that? Aren’t we the people who created the single biggest day of global protest prior to the invasion? Didn’t we block the legalization of the invasion at the United Nations, making the invasion the supreme international crime? Didn’t we force the Cheney-Bush gang to come up with a pile of lies to justify the invasion? Didn’t we expose those lies? Didn’t that help forestall an invasion of Iran, at least so far (although it’s a safe bet some of that $178 billion will be misappropriated if they still decide to do it)? Didn’t support for the war and the president plummet just behind awareness of the lies that we exposed? Aren’t we in touch with each other and our allies around the world through the internet, informing people that Americans do not support the slaughter? Isn’t global warming a top issue for Americans even though unheard of in the media? If you think we have no power, consider this. Last week, Senator Hillary Clinton gave the peace movement credit for her defeat. She hasn’t conceded, but mathematically it’s over. She was speaking specifically about her losses in caucuses, when she disdainfully referred to us as “the activist base of the Democratic Party.” According to Clinton, these activists “turn out in great numbers. And they are very driven by their view of [my] positions, and it’s primarily national security and foreign policy that drives them. I don’t agree with them. They know I don’t agree with them.”

Any third party should consider that a ringing endorsement. A Democratic senator who wants to be president declares that the problem with the Democratic Party is that it has too many damn active supporters. You know what? Maybe it does. Maybe the third parties do too. Maybe the entire mad election disease should be contained, and citizens should put a little bit of focus on running the country in between elections. Maybe in the end, that would give us better candidates and elections too.

In 2006, we elected a new Congress to end the occupation of Iraq. Even the corporate media understood and admitted that. We gained enormous strength through that effort, which was primarily accomplished by the peace movement, not by electoral campaigning. But the so-called leadership of the new Congress immediately announced that it would never use its power, the power of the purse, to end the occupation. And huge segments of the peace movement shrieked in terror, crawled quietly into abandoned voting booths, and stood crowded in there shaking and shivering for the past year and a half. Some made their position opposition to escalating the war, after having just won a landslide demanding the de-escalation of the war. If 2008 ends, and Congress has done nothing to end the occupation of Iraq, the power we gained by electing them to do so in 2006 will be gone. If we cannot hold elected officials to their commitments, why should they bother even making them next time?

We don’t know who the next president will be or who will be in the next Congress, but we do know that whatever the answers are to those questions, the occupation of Iraq will not end unless we push for it. And we know that it takes time to build momentum and awareness in a push for change. If we keep shutting down our movement for a year or more every two years, we will never win. If we keep pushing forward as citizens rather than as the pawns of one political party, we will win. We might even win right away. We might not win for a long time. But we will certainly win sooner than if we pause in our work.

I’m fond of the saying “Let’s save our pessimism for better times.”

I also read an important remark online recently that was attributed to I.F. Stone:

“The only kinds of fights worth fighting are those you are going to lose, because somebody has to fight them and lose and lose and lose until someday, somebody who believes as you do wins. In order for somebody to win an important, major fight 100 years hence, a lot of other people have got to be willing – for the sheer fun and joy of it — to go right ahead and fight, knowing you’re going to lose. You mustn’t feel like a martyr. You’ve got to enjoy it.”

That means continuing to push Congress to listen to us even when there is an election within two years. (Guess what? There is always an election within two years.) It also means advancing the crucial work in high schools of counter-recruitment, at which activists in many school districts have been very successful. And it means recognizing but not succumbing to the triumph of what this nation’s founders called Factionalism.

Our Constitution does not mention political parties, and our founders feared their influence. Most congress members today have almost no concern for what powers the Congress maintains as against the White House, but have extreme concern for whether the next president will be a Democrat or a Republican. This mindset facilitates the transferring of still more power from the legislature to the now misnamed executive. This means that for peace or impeachment to happen requires the approval of the Democratic leadership and of Senator Obama. And that means that we need to bird-dog Obama until he gets it right, not in order to defeat him but in order to push him to positions that will make possible a landslide. I don’t know how many of you have noticed how votes have been counted in US elections in the past seven years, but I am convinced that Obama can only take the White House with a landslide. A narrow victory won’t work.

One way to get a landslide would be for Obama to lead a filibuster against the occupation funding. He could still fund a withdrawal if he thought that kissing up to the media required such a superfluous gesture. But when he debated McCain, he would be able to take an opposing position and not see it easily dismissed. If the Democrats fund another year and a half of slaughter, the only people who benefit will be war profiteers and third party candidates. Republicans may benefit too, since Democrats make themselves look weak every time they refuse to stand up for what they supposedly stand for.

If the Democrats fund more slaughter, they will probably also take another step that makes them look even weaker. They will actually legalize the occupation of Iraq. While the invasion was illegal under the UN Charter, while Bush misappropriated funds to begin it in secret, while Congress never properly declared war, while the war crimes have included the illegal targeting of civilians, journalists, ambulances, etc., and the use of illegal weapons of mass destruction, etc., the United Nations has given one level of legal cover to the occupation, and that legality expires on December 31st. Congress can allow a further level of illegality to be added and leverage it into an end to the occupation, and we can really party this New Year’s Eve like it’s 1999 and the nightmare is over. Or Congress can allow Bush and Maliki to negotiate an unconstitutional treaty to give new cover to the occupation, something Maliki may already have killed by allowing the Iraqi Parliament to reject it. Or, and this is the worst option so you can be pretty sure they’ll choose it, Congress can work to renew the UN fig leaf or provide a new one of its own. Democratic strategists will find this approach appealing and in accord with their double policy of doing everything people oppose in order to win an election in a way that allows them to avoid immediately doing anything that people want.

Of course, we can fantasize about how great Obama will be as president, and explain his lack of greatness now as necessary catering to the corporate media. Norman Solomon thinks Obama is secretly FDR and points out that FDR didn’t sound good in his first campaign. I’ll admit that gives me hope, but FDR’s policies evolved in response to activism, strikes, and people’s movements. FDR told A. Philip Randolph he’d support his requests if Randolph went out and organized a movement that made him do so. If we want Obama to be FDR, we’ll need to start now organizing the required activism. We don’t have time to waste volunteering for a campaign that is not yet taking winning positions. If possible, we will force Obama to take better positions prior to the election, which will help him win. If possible, and it is entirely possible, we will end the occupation funding this month, guaranteeing huge popular support or whoever in Congress helps bring the troops home alive.

But, I have to tell you, I place saving human lives ahead of any election, and I place saving our democratic republic ahead of any election. I think it’s more important that future presidents and vice presidents have to obey laws than who the next president is. And I think there is an urgent need to reestablish the rule of law as soon as possible.

Imagine if one of the Ojai City Council Members were discovered to be accepting bribes, handing out public dollars to his friends, and torturing children in the basement. Would an appropriate response be “How awful, but you know he’s retiring in another nine months and those children are used to being tortured by now anyway?” That response is not even imaginable.

But when the crime becomes larger and less intimate, when we begin discussing hundreds of thousands of murders and countless cases of torture carried out at a distance by loyal underlings, all of a sudden our conviction that accountability is called for becomes less absolute. Why, though, should the need for accountability shrink as the crime grows? This makes no sense to me and would have made none to the authors of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and our poor battered Bill of Rights.

Our First Amendment has been locked up in a chain-link Free Speech Zone. The Fourth Amendment is under warrantless surveillance and scared for its life. The Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Amendments have been detained without charge. And the Eighth Amendment is presently undergoing waterboarding. Restoring our Bill of Rights would be a positive step, not personal, not revengeful, not backward looking. Without these protections we won’t get very far.

While I consider impeaching Bush and Cheney more important than an election, even if it is the fifth consecutive Most Important Election in Our Lifetime, I am sick of hearing misinformed nonsense about how impeachment would hurt the Democrats in the election. That’s what they said when they refused to impeach Reagan for Iran Contra. Then they lost. When they went after Nixon, they won. When the Republicans went after Truman, they won.

When the Republicans impeached and tried Bill Clinton against the will of a huge majority of the public, they held both houses of Congress and took the White House, losing a few seats in the Senate which had acquitted. Some of the impeachment leaders won with bigger margins than they had before, and Al Gore was put on the defensive to such an extent that he chose impeachment-advocate Joe Lieberman as a running mate and pretended he’d never met Bill Clinton.

After the Whigs attempted to impeach Tyler, they picked up seven seats, and Tyler left politics. Weeks after he lobbied for Johnson’s impeachment, Grant was nominated for President. After pushing toward impeachment for Polk, Lincoln was elected president. Keith Ellison, who introduced a resolution to impeach Bush and Cheney into the Minnesota state legislature in 2006, was subsequently elected to Congress.

And this notion that impeachment would turn Cheney and Bush into figures of sympathy? I don’t have words to express how insanely self-defeating and defensive that is. If Democrats could imagine playing offense, it would take them about 10 minutes to realize that impeachment hearings on torture and signing statements and refusal to comply with subpoenas and the rest of it would be deadly for John McCain’s campaign. Can you imagine McCain defending crime after crime while promising not to commit them and explaining his past flip-flops? You wouldn’t even have to take an impeachment vote. Just hold the impeachment hearings.

John Conyers’ latest excuse for not moving forward on impeachment hearings is that it might hurt Obama’s campaign. Obama was asked recently in Philadelphia about impeachment, indictment, and accountability for Bush and Cheney. He suggested that he MIGHT investigate their crimes AFTER we elect him president, and that he MIGHT prosecute them “if” they were found to have committed crimes. “If”? “If”? That word may become as famous as Dick Cheney’s “So?” At every stop Obama makes on this endless campaign, people should hand him copies of John Conyers’ “The Constitution in Crisis,” a book you can buy in most bookstores which documents a long list of criminal offenses committed by Bush and Cheney.

Yes, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee is selling books on Bush and Cheney’s impeachable offenses while refusing to impeach them.

Does Obama disagree with the book’s conclusions? Does he have a response to Bush’s public confession to violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act? Does he question the two Government Accountability Office studies that have found that in a significant percentage of cases, when Bush has announced his right to violate laws through signing statements, he has proceeded to violate those laws? Does Obama now believe the invasion of Iraq and everything that came with it was possibly legal? Was the February 7, 2002, order from Bush allowing the torture of detainees a legal act?

If Obama were to quietly allow impeachment hearings on Cheney or Bush to proceed, he could put McCain on the defensive. Impeachment hearings could squeeze out all coverage of nonsense pseudo issues. And if the American public understood that voting for Obama would put Bush and Cheney behind bars, and understood it while there’s still time to register new voters, you would see a landslide that could not be denied.

But isn’t it too late for impeachment?

Why? The movements to impeach Truman and Hoover, and the impeachment of Johnson, happened later than where we are now. How can it ever be too late to establish that future presidents and vice presidents will be required to obey laws and the Constitution? Without impeachment, what is the best possible scenario? Presidents with complete integrity for a number of terms, and then a real dictator who chooses to seize on the Bush-Cheney precedents.

Besides, there is nothing for Congress to do other than impeachment. Ending the occupation requires NOT doing something. All other issues, including addressing global warming, are impossible. They can be engaged in for show, and they have been for the past year and a half. But every good bill is vetoed and every mixed bill is signing statemented. And every non-impeachment investigation either displays evidence of crimes and then doesn’t act on it, or gets stonewalled with denials of requests, subpoenas, and even contempt citations.

Nixon’s impeachment took three months. Clinton’s impeachment and trial combined took four months. Cheney’s impeachment could take 10 minutes if desired. Just pick an indisputable offense such as refusal to comply with a subpoena, something the Judiciary Committee passed an article of impeachment for against Nixon. Or Cheney’s impeachment could take weeks or months if desired. Just beginning it would be a victory and would make an attack on Iran less likely.

Using impeachment to put the White House on the defensive might allow changes in other areas as well, including the economy and housing. Millions of families are likely to lose their homes in the United States in the next nine months, thanks to Bush regulators’ management of the banking industry, and thanks to the growing Bush-Cheney recession, which appears to be the result in part of the outrageous expense of occupying Iraq and Afghanistan and the broader perverse effect on the economy of having made weapons our top export and weapons making our biggest public investment.

The weapons industry is not competitive. With cost-plus contracts, the longer it takes and the more it costs, the bigger the profits. And once the stockpiles exist, the best way to justify building more is to use up the weapons you’ve got. Meanwhile, all other industry is allowed to whither away. Technological spinoffs from our huge public investment in the military generally have to be manufactured elsewhere. And even public investments in things like mass transit have to create jobs in other countries, because the only thing we know how make anymore is weapons. Shifting our public investment from weapons to green energy, infrastructure, and transportation would benefit our economy as well as our environment.

According to a report from Oil Change International, projected total US spending on the Iraq war could cover all of the global investments in renewable power generation that are needed between now and 2030 in order to halt current warming trends. In 2006, the US spent more on the war in Iraq than the whole world spent on investment in renewable energy. Obama has committed to spending $150 billion over 10 years on green energy. We’ll spend that much on killing Iraqis in the next nine months.

Right now nothing can be done in Washington because any good bill would be vetoed. Only impeachment is possible. You can imagine something else to be more realistic, more plausible, more viable, but I would challenge you to explain what it is and how it will not get vetoed.

We should join with the Congressional Progressive Caucus in insisting that if any bill is brought up to fund the occupation of Iraq it not also include domestic spending. We don’t need to give anyone excuses to vote for war.

We should demand No votes, and should all phone Pelosi and Murtha urging them not to bring any more money for Iraq to a vote at all. We should call the Obama campaign with the same message.

We should thank Brad Sherman of California’s 27th district for his recent letter to Conyers urging an investigation of torture, and we should challenge Sherman to join his colleagues who are urging Conyers to open impeachment hearings.

We should support the campaign of Mary Pallant in California’s 24th district, a pro-impeachment Democrat challenging Elton Gallegly.

We should thank Lois Capps for signing onto John Conyers’ bill for an impeachment investigation during the last Congress and ask her why the addition of two more years’ worth of crimes to the record has led her to back off.

We should thank Henry Waxman for sending the White House so many thousands of challenging letters and make sure he knows that we know the White House has been laughing at him for a year and a half. He can support impeachment or continue spitting into the wind.

We should take our so-called economic stimulus tax refund checks and sign them over to pro-peace and pro-impeachment candidates with a note explaining why, and photocopy them and send those photocopies to other candidates and leaders with a note explaining why they aren’t getting any.

We should join on May 1st in solidarity with the Longshore and Warehouse workers and other unions, with immigrants rights groups, with the peace and impeachment movements, and skip work that day to protest. We should all go at high noon on May 1st to our congress member’s nearest office and tell them that our Constitution demands impeachment. And post that you plan to do so at http://democrats.com/mayday

We should remember what Albert Camus said of a man who rolls a rock endlessly up a hill: One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”

digg_url = ‘http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/node/32932’;
digg_title = “Are Peace and Impeachment Possible?”;
digg_bodytext = “\”Are Peace and Impeachment Possible? Strategies for Saving our Constitution, Economy, and Environment\”\r\nBy David Swanson\r\nRemarks delivered in Ojai, California, on April 22, 2008\r\n\r\nI\’m going to talk for a while and then take some questions, and maybe even some corrections, since unlike the Pope and George W. Bush I do make mistakes. Our president, as far as I know, has never admitted a mistake. And of this I am sure, I have never publicly done anything as brave as what members of IVAW do in admitting their mistaken roles in Bush\’s crusade. Some of them have said that that has been harder than anything they did in Iraq, and I believe it. They deserve our gratitude and our support.\r\n\r”;

digg_skin = ‘standard’;

Impeachment Events in Ventura- Ojai Area

In a nation opposed to the occupation of Iraq, the opposition party is preparing
to shell out another $102 billion of our grandchildren’s money to continue it.

Our nation has come so far in seven years that the president and vice president
openly admit to authorizing torture in blatant violation of the Eighth
Amendment, longstanding US laws and treaties, and new legislation signed into
law by the same president. Yet our representatives in Congress refuse to hold
impeachment hearings. The wealthiest nation on earth cannot provide health care
to its citizens. Where are our priorities?

All over the country, citizens are holding public town hall meetings to discuss
this question. You can find one near you or get involved in planning one at:

Here are two coming up Ventura and San Luis Obispo:



The Ojai Peace Coalition has partnered with Citizens for Impeachment, Integrity
Now, VC Stop the War, and others to present “Are Peace and Impeachment Possible?
Strategies for Saving our Constitution, Economy, and Environment.”

WHEN: Tuesday, April 22, 2008 at 5:30pm

WHERE: Ojai Retreat, 160 Besant Road, Ojai, Calif.

WHO: David Swanson, co-founder of afterdowningstreet.org and a leading
Constitutional Advocate from Washington, D.C.; and Phil Cohen, local member of
Iraq Veterans Against the War. The Ventura County Board of Supervisors and
Ventura and Ojai City Council Members will be invited to attend.

WHAT: Reception begins at 5:30pm with food and drinks, followed by lecture
promptly at 7:00pm, and a town-hall open mike beginning at 8:00pm.

A $10. contribution is suggested for the entire event , but no one will be
turned away.

SPONSORS: The event is being organized by Ventura County Citizens for
Impeachment and the Ojai Peace Coalition. Endorsements have been received from
Veterans for Peace; Ventura County Stop the War; The Peace Coalition of Greater
Ventura; Integrity Now, Ojai; the Center for Conscious Change and others.

CONTACT: Roslyn Sherman 805-218-1199, or John Azevedo 805-640-3650



A town hall meeting on “Funding the Iraq War, Impeachment, Healthcare?”

WHEN: Wednesday, April 23, 7:00 p.m.

WHERE: Ludwick Center, 864 Santa Rosa, SLO, Calif., (corner of Santa Rosa &

WHO: Guest speaker nationally recognized journalist and peace & justice
activist, David Swanson

WHAT: Let your voice be heard, leave with a plan and a group to work with.

suggested donation $10 /$5 students & seniors

SPONSORS: Sponsored by Information Press, Earth Day Alliance, CodePink
SLO, Progressive Democrats of San Luis Obispo County and Democrats.com.

CONTACT: For information call (805) 544-5135.

U.S. Troops in Iraq Suffer Bloodiest Week of 2008

Clearly there is no possible Bush-Cheney-McCain spin that the surge is working. The surge was a mistake.  Our troops need to be brought home before more unnecessary loss of life.   It looks like matters are getting worse despite our paying insurgents to not fire on our troops.   Whatever could the Bush Administration say at this point to justify continued efforts when the entry to Iraq was never justified.

With McSame and the rest of the Repub rubber stamping of the Bush Administration, could this be good P.R. for a long Democratic hold on government in the future?

One thing is for sure. Staying in Iraq is only folly and a ridiculous attempt to support oil companies and certainly an outrage in consideration of the cost in human life.

10 Things to Know About John McCain

10 things you should know about John McCain (but probably don’t):
1. John McCain voted against establishing a national holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Now he says his position has “evolved,” yet he’s continued to oppose key civil rights laws.1

2. According to Bloomberg News, McCain is more hawkish than Bush on Iraq, Russia and China. Conservative columnist Pat Buchanan says McCain “will make Cheney look like Gandhi.”2

3. His reputation is built on his opposition to torture, but McCain voted against a bill to ban waterboarding, and then applauded President Bush for vetoing that ban.3
4. McCain opposes a woman’s right to choose. He said, “I do not support Roe versus Wade. It should be overturned.”4

5. The Children’s Defense Fund rated McCain as the worst senator in Congress for children. He voted against the children’s health care bill last year, then defended Bush’s veto of the bill.5

6. He’s one of the richest people in a Senate filled with millionaires. The Associated Press reports he and his wife own at least eight homes! Yet McCain says the solution to the housing crisis is for people facing foreclosure to get a “second job” and skip their vacations.6

7. Many of McCain’s fellow Republican senators say he’s too reckless to be commander in chief. One Republican senator said: “The thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine. He’s erratic. He’s hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me.”7

8. McCain talks a lot about taking on special interests, but his campaign manager and top advisers are actually lobbyists. The government watchdog group Public Citizen says McCain has 59 lobbyists raising money for his campaign, more than any of the other presidential candidates.8

9. McCain has sought closer ties to the extreme religious right in recent years. The pastor McCain calls his “spiritual guide,” Rod Parsley, believes America’s founding mission is to destroy Islam, which he calls a “false religion.” McCain sought the political support of right-wing preacher John Hagee, who believes Hurricane Katrina was God’s punishment for gay rights and called the Catholic Church “the Antichrist” and a “false cult.”9

10. He positions himself as pro-environment, but he scored a 0—yes, zero—from the League of Conservation Voters last year.10

1. “The Complicated History of John McCain and MLK Day,” ABC News, April 3, 2008

“McCain Facts,” ColorOfChange.org, April 4, 2008

2. “McCain More Hawkish Than Bush on Russia, China, Iraq,” Bloomberg News, March 12, 2008

“Buchanan: John McCain ‘Will Make Cheney Look Like Gandhi,'” ThinkProgress, February 6, 2008

3. “McCain Sides With Bush On Torture Again, Supports Veto Of Anti-Waterboarding Bill,” ThinkProgress, February 20, 2008

4. “McCain says Roe v. Wade should be overturned,” MSNBC, February 18, 2007

5. “2007 Children’s Defense Fund Action Council® Nonpartisan Congressional Scorecard,” February 2008

“McCain: Bush right to veto kids health insurance expansion,” CNN, October 3, 2007

6. “Beer Executive Could Be Next First Lady,” Associated Press, April 3, 2008

“McCain Says Bank Bailout Should End `Systemic Risk,'” Bloomberg News, March 25, 2008

7. “Will McCain’s Temper Be a Liability?,” Associated Press, February 16, 2008

“Famed McCain temper is tamed,” Boston Globe, January 27, 2008

8. “Black Claims McCain’s Campaign Is Above Lobbyist Influence: ‘I Don’t Know What The Criticism Is,'” ThinkProgress, April 2, 2008

“McCain’s Lobbyist Friends Rally ‘Round Their Man,” ABC News, January 29, 2008

9. “McCain’s Spiritual Guide: Destroy Islam,” Mother Jones Magazine, March 12, 2008

“Will McCain Specifically ‘Repudiate’ Hagee’s Anti-Gay Comments?,” ThinkProgress, March 12, 2008

“McCain ‘Very Honored’ By Support Of Pastor Preaching ‘End-Time Confrontation With Iran,'” ThinkProgress, February 28, 2008

10. “John McCain Gets a Zero Rating for His Environmental Record,” Sierra Club, February 28, 2008

U.S. Unexpectedly Lost 63,000 Jobs in Feb

The U.S. unexpectedly lost jobs in February for the second consecutive month, adding to evidence the economy is in a recession.
Payrolls fell by 63,000, the biggest drop since March 2003, after a decline of 22,000 in January that was larger than initially estimated, the Labor Department said today in Washington.

Didn’t Bush say the economy was doing just fine?

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