Going into my 3rd week in South Korea, I have to say my schedule has not gone the way I planned . I am still sort of disorganized at work which is why I haven’t started to post at least once a day which was my original goal this past week. This past weekend was choo-sook which is kind of like the Korean thanksgiving so there was lots of sales in the stores and people running around shopping for their respective families. I tried to get all my work done on Friday so I could enjoy the long weekend which happened for the most part however I just didn’t feel like answering emails or doing much of anything. I just wanted to “veg” for lack of a better word and I can say I have achieved that feeling of slowing down. That feeling is something I have desired for the last two weeks due to my constant rushing around at work.
Tomorrow is another day, and another week at work in which I hope to finally establish that all important feeling of “I know what I am doing” at work. Once this is all set, I expect to be back to blogging full time. For the moment here are some photo’s I have captured of the surrounding area:
Senator McCain is in the lead, nationally, according to many pollster’s which is a bit disturbing but I am going to take on this news with a positive spin. A MoveOn advert a few months ago stated that even if Senator Obama maintained his lead, his differences in the polls would have been very close to Senator Kerry in 2004 and might have cost him the race. The race is still close but with Senator McCain in the lead, it allows the Obama team to play the “under-dog” card which Senator McCain has been played on his numerous television appearances.
This card can be played slowly so that a torrent of support can build up behind the proverbial Obama levees and when the moment is just right they should be unleashed to take the election. Again, this is all speculation but if the Obama campaign’s raised total in August tells us anything, it indicates that the democrats and Obama followers have been feeling the pressure. Quite a few posts ago, I used the Pollster.com front page poll to illustrate the strength of the democratic position, now I am going to use it again to illustrate how the race has narrowed:
There have been alot of suggestions thrown around by various bloggers and media personalities, what the right choice is, no one knows, except Senator Obama’s campaign manager.
The following is a combination of two posts written over the last 48 hours concerning the trumped up “lipstick on a pig” statement made by Obama, which was presented by the McCain campaign as an attack on Sarah Palin despite the fact that Obama was talking about John McCain and the difference between his rhetoric and his policy positions at the time. This has been cross-posted from The Left Anchor…
John McCain’s team is now trying to make some big deal about Obama using the common expression, “lipstick on a pig,” when referring to John McCain’s political and rhetorical shifts over the course of the campaign. Though her name is never mentioned, the McCain camp did a fantastic job of portraying this as a sexist attack on Sarah Palin. Here is the clip in question:
There is simply no way to view that as an attack on Gov. Palin. Moreover, John McCain’s used that same expression himself in regards to Hillary Clinton and her health care plan. And pretty well everyone born in the South during the last hundred years has used that very same expression. The point of the expression isn’t to insult the physical appearance of the target in question, but rather, to highlight that what a person is presenting themselves to be is not always what they are.
It never ceases to amaze me just how stupid John McCain thinks the American public is. Luckily for him, his supporters don’t seem to care how big an ass he makes of himself, or how ridiculous his charges become. It’s as if a significant segment of our population actually prefer to be thought of as morons and rubes.
And so again I say, “Good luck, Sen. McCain, if this is the type of bullshit you wish to run your campaign on.”
And now, Pt. 2 of this pathetically hilarious, yet depressing story…
So, yesterday, the McCain campaign along with the news media decided they’d waste the public’s time with a ridiculous hopped up story about Barack Obama calling Sarah Palin a pig. Forget that he was using a common expression as old as dirt, as well as the fact that he was clearly referring to John McCain’s politics, not the Alaskan Governor; the American media decided that was what we should all be talking about yesterday.
Today, Obama took the first few minutes to take both John McCain and the media to task for their irresponsible and reckless behavior.
What world are McCain’s supporters living in? The man continues to prove how little he thinks of the American voter every single day. His own campaign manager stated quite clearly that this campaign is “not about the issues.” And every day these circus freaks put on another show, they prove themselves right, but the American people deserve better than this.
Beginning last Thursday, Bill O’Reilly began airing a five part interview with Sen. Barack Obama. Today, I’ll look at the second segment which aired last night and focused on the economy and taxes. I’ll back track later — either later tonight or sometime tomorrow — and focus on the original interview which dealt with foreign policy. First, here’s the video of last night’s segment which will be followed immediately by my impressions of the fair points and the dishonest points made during the course of the eight minute exchange.
O’Reilly makes what I’m sure is a documented, but highly misleading claim that the economy grew 19% more under Bush than Clinton. Given that he does not bother to mention which numbers he’s quoting when throwing this out, I’m going to assume he’s referring to the GDP. The problem with this is that while the GDP can tell you how much the national economy grew, it has no baring on how the growth was distributed. A Bush GDP which grows 19% more than was achieved by his predecessor does not mean anything when that growth is spread unevenly among the population, and that’s leaving aside the fact that Bush’s war in Iraq alone could account for a significant increase in the economy, but would not be considered by most Americans as being an appropriate way to stimulate an economy.
Obama wastes no time in responding: “You know Bill, there are lies, damned lies, and statistics.”
In a turnaround so quick that it makes your head spin, O’Reilly replies, “I know, I know, it’s bull. I know it is.” I watched this through a couple of times, and I can say without a doubt that there was not a touch of sarcasm in O’Relly’s response. So, Bill O’Reilly presents this data as some sort of defense of Bush’s economic prowess, but thinks so little of it himself that it takes all of three seconds for him to call it “bullshit.”
Then O’Reilly tries to beat back Obama’s accurate portrayal of the gross inequitable gains made among the various income demographics (the majority of the gains O’Reilly cited went to the top 5% of Americans) by claiming that the difference in growth among working Americans between the Bush and Clinton administrations was, “not that much. They grew about $500 in real wages during Bush vs. $2,000 under Clinton.” For those keeping score at home, that would be a $1,500 a year difference. Or to put it another way, real wages grew four times as much under Clinton than they did under Bush. If O’Reilly genuinely believes that an extra $1,500 a year means nothing to the average American, then he is totally disconnected from the economic realities we face, which is not surprising given the millions he makes each year by peddling these glib distortions and paper thin defenses of obviously failing economic policies.
O’Reilly goes on to falsely claim that Obama wants 49% of his income in taxes, when in fact Obama is only proposing to raise the top tax rate three points, from 36% to 39% (the same rate as under Clinton, and significantly less than the rates historically paid by the top income bracket — under Kennedy, the highest tax bracket paid 90% of their income in taxes). Obama counters by noting that in return for this minor increase, he’ll be able to cut taxes for 95% of Americans. Keep in mind here, that ever since the time of Aristotle, a broad and thriving middle-class has been considered essential for the existence of a stable and effective government.
In response, O’Reilly falls back to the red-meat conservative argument: “But that’s class warfare.” To this, Obama responds that “95% of all Americans is not a ‘class.’”
At this point, O’Reilly goes off the fucking rails, basically deriding Obama for thinking that the wealthiest Americans could probably live with a few dollars less if it would serve to save Social Security and ensure that every senior had a secure social safety net to fall back on once they’re past the point of their prime earning years.
O’Reilly calls this “social redistribution” and a “socialist tenet.” Keep in mind at this point, O’Reilly is hammering what is probably the single most popular government program of all time as some sort of slippery slope into outright socialism. I could sum up O’Reilly’s thought process here rather quickly: “Fuck the poor, you can’t take more from the rich in order to secure the middle class, because to do so makes you no better than Lenin or Stalin.”
But in point of fact, it is the middle class that needs the ability to consume if we really want to keep the economy going. This includes senior citizens and working Americans, both whom indisputably benefit more under Obama’s tax plan than they do under McCain’s. Television, middle class homes, new cars, etc…. these are the purchases that keep our economy thriving. And it’s no surprise that the stalled economic process of working Americans during the Bush administration has resulted in a limp economy with one of the worst records of job creation in the history of this nation. We’ve tried trickle down economics. We did it under Reagan. What happened? The deficit sky-rocketed, and he left his successor with a recession on his hands.
Obama goes on to note that even Republican Teddy Roosevelt supported the progressive income tax. Bill responds, “Not to the level you do.” Here’s the wonderful thing about the internet. These assertions are easily refuted. Here are some of Roosevelt’s own words regarding not only the income tax, but the ultimate Republican boogey man, the estate tax, as well:
I speak diffidently about the income tax because one scheme for an income tax was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court; while in addition is a difficult tax to administer in its practical working, and great care would have to be exercised to see that it was not evaded by the very men whom it was most desirable to have taxed, for if so evaded it would, of course, be worse than no tax at all; as the least desirable of all taxes is the tax which bears heavily upon the honest as compared with the dishonest man. Nevertheless, a graduated income tax of the proper type would be a desirable feature of Federal taxation, and it is to be hoped that one may be devised which the Supreme Court will declare constitutional.
Here he is speaking of the estate tax.
A heavy progressive tax upon a very large fortune is in no way such a tax upon thrift or industry as a like would be on a small fortune. No advantage comes either to the country as a whole or to the individuals inheriting the money by permitting the transmission in their entirety of the enormous fortunes which would be affected by such a tax; and as an incident to its function of revenue raising, such a tax would help to preserve a measurable equality of opportunity for the people of the generations growing to manhood.
Roosevelt was not merely a supporter, but a champion of progressive taxation, so much so that he was willing to pursue such legislation even over the objections of the Supreme Court. I’m having difficulty tracking down the tax rates implemented under Roosevelt’s presidency, so if anyone locates them, please leave a link to the source in the comments.
From this, Obama moves on to the fact that George W. Bush has increased our debt by $4 trillion dollars. O’Reilly attempts to defend this by claiming the “War on Terror” (TM) was the driving factor in this, without bothering to note that Bush is the only president to cut taxes during a time of war and it is this recklessness on his part which has greatly added to our annual deficits. And considering the largest expense in the “War on Terror” (TM) has been the conflict in Iraq, which O’Reilly previously admitted was a mistake during the Thursday segment of the interview, totally undercuts this line of reasoning. O’Reilly essentially depends on his viewers being unable to remember what he said mere minutes before he completely contradicts himself. If Iraq was a mistake, then the deficits accrued by those efforts are equally a mistake and cannot be used to defend Bush’s reckless economic policy.
I’ll be back with the first part of this interview later and will continue to follow it through the rest of the week as it unfolds.
The RNC and DNC are over, however Governor Palin seems to be dominating the headlines lately as the media mulls over whether she is a good choice or bad choice. I have already stated my opinion in a previous post, and on Twitter so I won’t bother to do that again however I think the Governor needs to be thoroughly examined by the media because if any of the rumors floating around are true, she could be the worst VP in history. There are less than 60 days to go to the election with Senator Obama holding a slim lead in the polls, what is his next step? How can he gain a significant lead over John McCain or does he even need to do that? I believe the Obama campaign is in a good position, even with the Palin “bump”, but Senator McCain is still losing however this could change very quickly. Senator Obama needs to continue to attack Senator McCain aggressively while reminding his supporters to keep on fighting to ensure a win in November.
One more day before I am off to Korea and I am getting a little bit more anxious, but last night’s speech took my mind off of traveling onto the amazing week the Democrats have had. I am really impressed and I can say that Senator Obama hit exactly the right notes using a mix of issues and rhetoric while telling people why we cannot afford another 4 - 8 years of Senator McCain. This speech was aggressive while maintaining a message of hope and change that has resonated with so many Democrats. This speech, I believe, will be the catalyst to propel the democrats into a victory in November. Even though I will be further away from America in the coming months, I know Senator Obama will be the next President of the United States: