Thursday, October 30, 2008

Flummoxed Fumbrage*

This is absolutely brilliant.

McCain hack Michael Goldfarb, who writes posts for McCain's blog, was interviewed by Rick Sanchez on CNN today about McCain's latest bizarre attack on Obama.

It starts as follows:

SANCHEZ: Now, is the -- I need to parse this out as best I can from you, Michael. The fact that John McCain's organization gave $448,000 to this group that was founded by Mr. Khalidi, is there no reason for some to be critical of as well just as some might be critical of Barack Obama for being at a meeting with some girl who read a poem for example?

GOLDFARB: Look. You are missing the point again, Rick. The point is that Barack Obama has a long track record of being around anti-Semitic and anti-Israel and anti-American rhetoric.

SANCHEZ: Can you name one other person besides Khalidi who he hangs around that is anti-Semitic?

And then the fun begins. Watch the little weasel make a complete fool of himself.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

McCain Staffer Tells Us How Bad McCain's Insurance Plan Is.

Changing the tax treatment wouldn't hurt the employer-sponsored system and would allow more of the uninsured to buy their own coverage, [the McCain campaign says]. Also, his advisers say a McCain administration would keep an eye on the credit to make sure it didn't lag behind the cost of coverage, while also working to lower the rate of medical inflation.

Younger, healthier workers likely wouldn't abandon their company-sponsored plans, said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, McCain's senior economic policy adviser.

"Why would they leave?" said Holtz-Eakin. "What they are getting from their employer is way better than what they could get with the credit."

So then, as the good folks at Health Care For America Now tell us:

The entire premise of McCain's health care plan is that people can do better on the free market. That's why you get a tax credit. That's why you would be able to buy insurance across state lines. The market supposedly makes health insurance cheaper, makes your health insurance company offer better coverage, and makes buying the insurance you need easier. And things like tying health insurance to employment are anti-free market, which is why the McCain plan taxes employer health benefits to encourage people to get insurance on the individual, free-er market.

Of course, tying health care to employment is the way we've done things in America for generations, and it turns out it's also pretty popular. (Not to mention that insurance companies have to cover you through an employer health care plan, while they can deny you for pre-existing conditions on the individual market.) And so, in the face of political pressure, you have Douglas Holtz-Eakin admitting the truth.

Faced with the fact that destroying our employer-based health care system isn't exactly a priority for most Americans, he argues that the McCain plan wouldn't actually destroy the employer-based system. Why? Because the tax credit McCain is offering wouldn't buy a decent health care plan, even for the young and healthy!

Let's unpack this a little bit more. According to Holtz-Eakin, John McCain doesn't actually want to dismantle the employer-based health care system. But, McCain's plan would tax any health benefits you'd get through work. So, if Holtz-Eakin is right in saying you'd get better coverage through work than you'd get with the tax credit on the individual market (and he probably is), and if he's right in saying most workers won't drop their employer-based insurance for the individual market because they're getting a better deal at work, then John McCain is simply proposing a tax on your current health care benefits without giving you anything in return. That's the worst kind of tax increase.

Shorter Douglas Holtz-Eakin: John McCain's health care plan won't destroy the employer-based insurance system because McCain's plan doesn't work.

Remember John McCain: Less jobs, more war? Well now it's John McCain: More tax, less benefits.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Hatred California Style

The Face of Proposition 8 From Theremina

It is important that this be witnessed, so I am posting it here.

This footage was recorded 10/23/08 in Oakland, CA, on a public street corner near Lake Merritt. I was on my way home from the Lakeshore district when I encountered this group of supporters of Prop 8 (proposition to ban gay marriage). After turning my vidphone on, I was screamed at, physically intimidated and eventually attacked by one of the sign-wavers.

About two dozen men and women were standing under the I-580, chanting "Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve" and "Mom and Dad, not Dad and Dad", etc. There were at least three counter-protesters present as well.

For several minutes prior to shooting this footage, I watched from a distance. One of the Prop 8 supporters lunged at a solitary man holding a "Vote No on Prop 8" sign. She didn't actually touch him, but she got right up in his face, screaming. She was loud enough that you could hear her several blocks away. As far as I could see, he hadn't provoked her in any way beyond the dissenting opinion stated on his sign. The man seemed to remain quiet and calm throughout. Witnessing this, I decided to turn on my phone's video application and approach.

Proponents of Prop 8 have gone to great lengths in their propaganda to try to deny the inherent fear, anger and bigotry fueling their camp's desire to ban gay marriage. However, these Prop 8 supporters (and many other protesters I've seen in recent weeks) were visibly enraged and screaming themselves hoarse in their righteous indignation over the recent legalization of same-sex marriage in the state of California.

Having documented this clash between fellow Oaklanders, I'm putting it online because I think it's important to convey to as many people as possible --supporters and dissenters alike--- just how irrational, hysterical and potentially dangerous the situation actually is. This is bigotry and blind, senseless hatred of the saddest kind, and it is everywhere. Even in the bay area, in a neighborhood full of lesbian and gay families.

Something to keep in mind: when I hit the record button, I hadn't said a single word to anyone, or interfered with the rally any way. I stood a fair distance away from the sign-wavers (remaining at least four feet away from all of them...until they approached me). But as soon as they noticed me filming them, I was greeted with curses and threats of violence. "Get that shit out of here. I'll knock it out of your hand." None of these folks knew me, yet they instantly knew they hated me.

Eventually, as you can see, some of the protesters surrounded me and began poking at me with their signs. Others, some of the most visibly angry and hysterical among them (apparently minors), hid their faces behind their banners while continuing to scream at passing traffic.

I asked the most aggressive woman (who was not underage) "are you afraid to be online?" She answered, "oh, no, they already videotaped me, but these kids don't want to be online, cause they're [unintelligible] loaded on a sexual perv profile and [unclear] look at my little cousins." Fair enough. I'm all for protecting the innocent. (Not that there's anything particularly innocent about screaming hate speech in public.)

"Go away, Nasty Nasty. Nasty, nasty, nasty, nasty."

The woman continued to poke at my face with her sign and call me "nasty." Genuinely disturbed by the complete lack of rational behavior I'd seen up to this point, wanting to look into her face and possibly connect on some level with her as a fellow human being, I pulled a corner of the sign down away from my eyes and asked "why are you calling me nasty?"

That's when she attacked, clawing, grabbing and then shoving. I didn't fight back; she was much bigger than me. After calling me a "nasty fucker" and threatening to kick my ass, she pried my phone out of my hand and tried to break it in half while her friends egged her on.

Please note that I never touched or threatened her in any way (unless you want to consider my pulling the edge of her sign out of eye-poking territory a threatening gesture).

After she took away my phone, I stood there stunned, not really sure what to do. One of the counter-protesters (the woman who you see saying "No on Prop 8" towards the beginning of this clip) intervened and calmed the attacking woman down enough that I felt safe enough to dart forward to try to take my phone back. After a second or two of grappling, she let me have it back and went back to screaming at cars from a lawn chair near the side of the road.

(Big love and gratitude to the kindly counter-protester who pleaded for calm. I don't think my phone would have survived without you!)

I stood there for another minute or two, checking the phone's applications for damage. One of the other sign-wavers, a teenage boy standing nearby, leaned over and whispered "fuck you, dyke."

Even though I wasn't hurt besides a small scratch on my hand, and my phone was okay, being attacked definitely shook me up. I was a bit tearful. Call me naive, but I never thought I'd actually be in physical danger just for shooting footage and pulling the edge of a person's sign out of my eyes. Verbal insults, sure. But attacked? Yikes.

The man holding the "Vote No" sign noticed that I was in tears and approached me. We hugged to a chorus of jeers, exchanged some reassuring words, and I turned to leave. Someone screamed after me: "keep crying, and keep walking."

So that's exactly what I did.I'm voting no on Prop 8. I'll take love over hate any day.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Attack on McCain Volunteer is a Hoax

Fizzled Fumbrage from KDKA

Police tell KDKA that a campaign volunteer has now confessed to making up a story that a mugger attacked her and cut the letter B in her face after seeing her McCain bumper sticker.

Ashley Todd, 20, of Texas, initially told police that she was robbed at an ATM in Bloomfield and that the suspect became enraged and started beating her after seeing her GOP sticker on her car.

Police investigating the alleged attack, however, began to notice some inconsistencies in her story and administered a polygraph test.
Authorities, however, declined to release the results of that test.

Investigators did say that they received photos from the ATM machine and "the photographs were verified as not being the victim making the transaction."
This afternoon, a Pittsburgh police commander told KDKA Investigator Marty Griffin that Todd confessed to making up the story.

The commander added that Todd will face charges; but police have not commented on what those charges will be.

Authorities are expected to release more details at a news conference this afternoon.

Deflating Fumbrage

In the midst of a widespread attempt to keep low-income and minority voters from the polls, Republican fumbrage is reaching new heights.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


After the latest news about the cost of John McCain's makeup artist, Sarah Palin's wardrobe, and Alaskan taxpayers bearing the cost of flying Palin's children around , I saw the following on Countdown this evening.

And then I remembered how the Republicans had such a hissy fit about John Edward's $400 haircut.

And all of this brought a new word to mind ... Fumbrage ... a combination of "fake" and "umbrage."

Indulging in fumbrage is the only thing the Republicans have been able to do well during this campaign.

We just won't tell them that it's just not terribly convincing. [chortle]

Vlad and Boris Love Sarah

Elizabeth Dole's Last-Ditch Gaybashing Campaign

Elizabeth Dole's re-election bid is going down in flames. And now she's resorting to gaybashing.

A new anti-gay offensive has been launched against Democratic North Carolina state senator and U.S. Senate candidate Kay Hagan. Campaign literature produced by the North Carolina Republican Party has been mailed to households in the state, PageOneQ has learned.

A new mailer in support of incumbent Sen. Elizabeth Dole claims that Hagan's agenda, with the help of "liberal judges," will be to advance a "radical homosexual agenda" which includes same-sex marriage, removing "Under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance, and forcing the Boy Scouts to accept gay and atheist troop leaders.

Hagan's opposition to an anti-gay amendment is the focus of the mailer. "Across America," it reads, "liberal judges are overturning state laws banning gay marriage. In North Carolina a state constitutional amendment is needed to protect traditional marriage and prevent liberal judges from imposing their gay marriage agenda on the state."

More at PageOneQ

McCain Palin Supporters Going After Each Other

From the Glenwood Springs Post Independent:

Heated words between drivers leaving Sarah Palin’s rally Monday allegedly escalated with one man brandishing a loaded handgun.

Jack B. Cheskaty, 62, of Grand Junction, said he pulled a handgun because “he wanted to be ready for anything” in what started as a verbal spat between drivers in bumper-to-bumper traffic leaving Lincoln Park around 8 p.m. Monday, according to an arrest affidavit.

Cheskaty and three family members were riding in a Chrysler, moving slowly in a line a traffic. A man behind the wheel of a Kia SUV attempted to inch in front of Cheskaty’s Chrysler, the affidavit said.

“If you want to get ahead of me you’ll have to deal with my insurance agency,” Cheskaty allegedly shouted.

The Kia’s driver reportedly replied, “I’ve got insurance too.”

The driver in the Kia alleged Cheskaty then displayed a handgun, “racked the slide” and held the weapon over the steering wheel, according to the affidavit.

A 14-year-old girl riding in the Kia noted, “Dad, he’s got a gun.”

Elder Gay Couple Murdered In Indiana

From Advance Indiana: Two elderly men found brutally murdered in their Decatur Township home are believed to be the victims of a hate crime. Both men were gay. Friends of Milton Lintgren and Eric Hendricks tell WRTV that the couple had been recently targeted because they were gay. WRTV reports:

The friends of two elderly men found dead in their southwest-side home on Monday said they believe the men were killed because they were gay.

Milton Lindgren, 70, and Eric Hendricks, 73, were found dead Monday morning in their home at 9160 Middlebury Way. Police would not say how they were killed or how long their bodies had been inside the home, only that their deaths came by "violent means."

Patrick Beard, a friend of the victims, told 6News' Rick Hightower that he believed the men were targeted."

I firmly believe it was definitely a hate crime. Milt was 70 and his partner was 73 and to go into someone's home and do something like that, it's just too coincidental," he said.

Police reports show that the men had their phone and cable lines cut twice in the past few months, and that anti-gay statements were posted on their front door.

Investigators said that while they do believe the vandalism was related to Lindgren and Hendricks being gay, that they didn't know if their killings were.

Beard's son, who also knew the victims, said he believes police will eventually reach the same conclusion he and his father have."

I'm not a genius, but if someone's being harassed like that and fagot gets stamped on their door on a piece of paper, it's not that hard to connect the dots two months later that these two people are brutally killed in their home," Lee Beard said.
The friends said Hendricks was ill and confined to a wheelchair.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Hating For John and Sarah

From Mock, Paper, Scissors

Well, I can't say that this surprises me. The photos below are of a Hays County Texas car sporting an Obama sticker after some supporters of McCain and Palin got ahold of it. Hays County, BTW, lies between San Antonio and Austin. It is the former home of Ralph the Swimming Pig (for those of you who remember the old days on CompuServe).

More pictures at Mock, Paper, Scissors

Treat Your Neighbor As You Would Yourself And Destroy Christianity At the Same Time.


Not according to Coral Ridge Ministries, Matt Barber, Jordan Lorence, Robert Knight, Tony Perkins, and others, who claim that if the existing hate crimes laws (that protect Christians, BTW) are extended to include non-heterosexual people, Christianity will be destroyed.

I kid you not!

They claim that the very existence of Christianity hangs on the ability to engage in acts of hate and violence against their non-heterosexual neighbors without repercussion.

Read more at Right Wing Watch

Sunday, October 19, 2008

McCain Keeps On Inciting Hate

John McCain's attacks on ACORN reached a new level this week when he claimed before a national audience Wednesday that ACORN is “maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.” In the following days the ACORN's Boston and Seattle offices were vandalized, and at least one employee received a death threat.

Right Wing Watch has received copies of voicemails and e-mail and published some of the. The following is an uncensored transcription of one of the voicemail message. The rest of them can be found on the Right Wing Watch site.

“Hi, I was just calling to let you all know that Barack Obama needs to get hung. He's a fucking nigger, and he's a piece of shit. You guys are fraudulent, and you need to go to hell. All the niggers on oak trees. They're gonna get all hung honeys, they're gonna get assassinated, they're gonna get killed.”
Note to John and Sarah: I place the blame for this squarely on your shoulders.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Supreme Court Rejects GOP Attempt To Disenfranchise Ohio Voters

The U.S. Supreme Court, siding with Democrats in a fight that might affect the presidential election, blocked an order requiring Ohio officials to step up efforts to identify invalid voter registrations.

The justices today said Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner doesn't have to comply with an order to provide county election boards with lists of new registrants whose information doesn't match up with government databases. A federal trial judge had ordered Brunner to supply the lists by today.

Brunner, a Democrat, said the judge's order could have affected as many as 200,000 Ohioans, potentially forcing them to cast provisional ballots instead of regular ballots. That group likely would have included a disproportionate number of Democrats because of that party's efforts to register new voters this year.

The case is Brunner v. Ohio Republican Party, 07A332.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Bush Tours America To Survey Damage

McCain Reaps What He Sows

Like virtually everyone I've spoken with over the last few weeks, I have been appalled by the hatred being stirred up by John McCain and his attact dog, Sarah Palin. They have been playing to the Republican "base" (pun unintentional), and the members of the "base" have been emboldened and are more willing to show their true colors. Huffington Post has a good summary of what has been going on at McCain/Palin rallies. The video below is one of the latest examples.

Now the polls are telling us that Americans do not respond well to McCain, Palin, and the "base." (pun in intentional this time)

And in the last month — as the McCain/Palin campaign began spewing their bile — Obama’s favorability rating has increased (57% to 60%) while his unfavorability rating has declined (36% to 34%). By contrast, McCain’s favorability/unfavorability ratings have plummeted during this same time (60/33 to 53/40), as have Palin’s (54/27 to 47/42). Standing next to Sarah Palin in that debate has turned Joe Biden — Joe Biden — into a wildly popular politician in America, with a 57/29 favorability rating.

In sum, the more Americans see of and hear from Sarah Palin and are exposed to her filthy smear politics, the worse she looks to them. And the more the McCain/Palin campaign attacks Obama with ugly, despicable smears, the worse McCain/Palin look, while Obama’s popularity with Americans continues to solidify and even gradually increase (Americans believe Obama is “trustworthy” by an overwhelming margin of 60-32%) (Fox 36).

Faced with this information, McCain has put himself into the position of having to attempt to reverse the trend he and Palin have started, and yesterday the "base" (pun intentional) booed him for doing so.

God save us from "base" Republicans!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Connecticut High Court Rules For Equal Treatment Under The Law

Conn. high court rules same-sex couples can marry

Connecticut's Supreme Court ruled Friday that same-sex couples have the right to marry, making the state the third behind Massachusetts and California to legalize such unions.
The divided court ruled 4-3 that gay and lesbian couples cannot be denied the freedom to marry under the state constitution, and Connecticut's civil unions law does not provide those couples with the same rights as heterosexual couples.

"Interpreting our state constitutional provisions in accordance with firmly established equal protection principles leads inevitably to the conclusion that gay persons are entitled to marry the otherwise qualified same sex partner of their choice," Justice Richard N. Palmer wrote in the majority opinion that overturned a lower court finding.

"To decide otherwise would require us to apply one set of constitutional principles to gay persons and another to all others," Palmer wrote.
Click here for the full text of the Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health.

We conclude that, in light of the history of pernicious discrimination faced by gay men and lesbians, and because the institution of marriage carries with it a status and significance that the newly created classification of civil unions does not embody, the segregation of heterosexual and homosexual couples into separate institutions constitutes a cognizable harm.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Do We Need Another Loose Canon At The Helm?

This came via e-mail today from Robert Greenwald and Brave New PAC.

During last night's debate, John McCain said we need "a cool hand at the tiller," but McCain has proven to be a loose cannon. He has accosted his Congressional colleagues on both sides of the aisle on everything from the federal budget to diplomatic relations. He is known for hurling profanities rather than settling disagreements calmly. His belligerence is legendary. Even conservative Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi has said, "He is erratic. He is hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me."

When someone earns the nickname "Senator Hothead," the public ought to call his character into question. McCain's propensity to explode undermines his abilities as a rational decision maker, particularly on national security issues -- which could prove disastrous considering our country is already involved in two wars.

November Express

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Meltdown of McCain's Maverick Myth

This is important, so I'm borrowing from the good people at The Progressive Puppy ...

A long and detailed profile of John McCain in the latest issue of Rolling Stone should put the self-made and self-promoted legend of the GOP candidate as a patriotic, hard charging maverick to rest once and for all. The devastating article by Tom Dickinson is entitled, Make-Believe Maverick: A closer look at the life and career of John McCain reveals a disturbing record of recklessness and dishonesty.

In great detail, the article dismantles McCain's fabrications about his life, revealing a man who "has consistently put his own advancement above all else, a man willing to say and do anything to achieve his ultimate ambition: to become commander in chief, ascending to the one position that would finally enable him to outrank his four-star father and grandfather."

The author launches the article with this scary comparison to George Bush, the younger:
In its broad strokes, McCain's life story is oddly similar to that of the current occupant of the White House. John Sidney McCain III and George Walker Bush both represent the third generation of American dynasties. Both were born into positions of privilege against which they rebelled into mediocrity. Both developed an uncanny social intelligence that allowed them to skate by with a minimum of mental exertion. Both struggled with booze and loutish behavior. At each step, with the aid of their fathers' powerful friends, both failed upward. And both shed their skins as Episcopalian members of the Washington elite to build political careers as self-styled, ranch-inhabiting Westerners who pray to Jesus in their wives' evangelical churches. In one vital respect, however, the comparison is deeply unfair to the current president: George W. Bush was a much better pilot.

Step by step, Dickinson unravels McCain's much-hyped persona. A picture of a very not-nice man emerges: an unrestrained temper, only equaled by an incalculable ambition; a convenient reliance on family connections to get out of tight spots or to further his career, policy reversals not for some higher good but for political gain; questionable judgment and a deep-seated misogyny that should fright the pantsuits off of all women. But it is his world view (to coin Miss Alaska's term) that is most disturbing:

The myth of John McCain hinges on two transformations — from pampered flyboy to selfless patriot, and from Keating crony to incorruptible reformer — that simply never happened. But there is one serious conversion that has taken root in McCain: his transformation from a cautious realist on foreign policy into a reckless cheerleader of neoconservatism. "He [would] be Bush on steroids," says Johns, the retired brigadier general who has known McCain since their days at the National War College. "His hawkish views now are very dangerous. He puts military at the top of foreign policy rather than diplomacy, just like George Bush does. He and other neoconservatives are dedicated to converting the world to democracy and free markets, and they want to do it through the barrel of a gun."

The article should be required reading of all voters; it should permanently shut down that mavericky hero nonsense. It won't, of course, because the Republicans and McCain himself have made a cottage industry out of this misbegotten "brand."

Monday, October 6, 2008

What Every Voter Needs To Know About John McCain's Record on Financial Policy


The current economic crisis demands that we understand John McCain's attitudes about economic oversight and corporate influence in federal regulation. Nothing illustrates the danger of his approach more clearly than his central role in the savings and loan scandal of the late '80s and early 90s.

(Note: This video is approximately 13 minutes long. )

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Chrissy and Sarah

A number of years ago some friends of ours got an adorable miniature Dachshund puppy during the holiday season and named her Chrissy (for Christmas). Chrissy had the daunting task of filling in the space left by their matron Weimaraner, Madge, who has passed on earlier that year. Chrissy had no trouble at all, and performed her task brilliantly.

As the years went on, Chrissy developed some back trouble and eventually some nerve damage that has left her with the predicament of being fecally incontinent. Our friends came over for dinner a couple of weeks ago and told us about this new development in Chrissy's health. They left an indelible image in my mind when they described how poor little Chrissy just drops little bits of poop at random as she walks around the house.

And then along came the Katie Couric interviews with Sarah Palin.

Palin keeps reminding me of poor little Chrissy. Every time she opens her mouth, little bits of ... er ... something ... just keep dropping out at random.

So while you're watching tonight's debate, do take a moment to think about adorable little Chrissy and her current troubles.