Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Oops, wrong again

How can the US be successful at hunting down al-Qaeda? Yet one more recommendation for the approach that Barack Obama has advocated all along, instead of the McCain-backed Bush plan that has allowed bin Laden to escape justice for the past seven years (but has been extremely successful in transferring wealth from American taxpayers to crony contractors).

Union helps in dispelling lies

The same old politics coming from the Republican side of the Presidential campaign – lie, lie, lie to slander the other guy, count on your opponent to be too moral to stoop to your level, and hope that inspires “your base” to turn out for you.

The right continues spreading lies about Obama, rather than focusing on the positives of their candidate. There are all kinds of weird stuff they’re flinging around, from claiming he’ll tax water, to saying he’s somehow behind high gas prices, to ties to terrorists. Now the AFL-CIO is getting into the rumor-squashing frey:

It’s good to be on the left, where lies are fought with the truth, and better policies are offered instead of reflecting the right’s tactics. Too bad the right feels they must resort to lies, as democracy would be better served by the two sides talking, rather than having one side choosing to just yell rumors.

But "everybody" does it

When confronted with ties to big-money lobbyists, the standard GOP rhetoric is “well, everybody does it”. For example, the New York Times uncovered $6,000 that Obama received from lobbyists and trade groups during this campaign.

Meanwhile John McCain, who often talks against lobbyists in public, has a long history of massive lobbyist money influence. In just one 2006 example, McCain attended a fancy soirée of the little-known but well-respected International Republican Institute in Washington. A video from the group's Web site shows the chairman of AT&T - which had just donated $200,000 to the institute - introducing McCain, who is still chairman of its board. McCain at the time was fresh off a term as chairman of the Senate committee that regulates telephone companies, where he was a strong advocate in favor of the telecom profits over consumers, laws and regulation. Talk about buying influence at the top with a campaign donation.

Obama has raised 94% of his campaign financing from ordinary folk donating $200 or less. McCain is raking in millions from the big-money, big-business, lobbyists. Makes the “oh it’s OK, because the other side got $6,000 too” sound a little hollow.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

When the Bush Administration set us up for runaway gas prices

Everyone wants a quick solution to the sky-high price of gas. But to keep in perspective just how long it might take to implement a solution, keep in mind that the plan to gouge the US economy took 7 years to hatch. It began as one of the earliest big actions of the Bush Administration. In 2000, they fundamentally changed the way oil is bought and sold so that insiders would be set up to name their prices without any regard to the market forces of supply-and-demand or regulation/oversight by the US government.

Remember, the closed-door meetings to determine US energy policy, headed by Dick Cheney, was tasked with making money for cronies, not to serve the citizens of the US. Back in 2000, this included the “Enron loophole” for oil future trading and siezing the oil fields of Iraq and Iran. From their perspective, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad, and they’ve still got half a year left.

The (Enron) loophole, which was codified in the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, allows oil futures to be traded electronically in unregulated markets outside of the jurisdiction of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission.

"Americans may be surprised to learn that the oil futures markets were substantially deregulated by the CFTC staff decisions that were made behind closed doors" said Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash. "Now this London and Dubai loophole is keeping important U.S. energy trading in the dark and without proper light ... it can give manipulators free rein in energy markets."

Michael Greenburger, a University of Maryland professor and former CFTC official, said Congress should return the language of the original bill "this afternoon," saying that overnight it would bring the price of crude oil down by 25%.

Scientific Censorship

Despite public talking points still being spewed by the Bush Administration to this day, it has been officially confirmed. Dubya and company took the results of real scientific study – by the best and brightest scientific minds the US has, paid for by the US taxpayers – and overwrote the true findings with fiction that fit their political agenda of denial.

If you think that scientific discovery should not be censored for political gain, then you have yet one more reason to vote for Obama in November, and get these neocons out of power.

Book club: the real story

Wiser in Battle: A Soldier's Story was not written by someone with a political spin or an agenda to push. It was written by General Ricardo Sanchez, past commander of coalition forces in Iraq.

Any time someone questions the wisdom of the military strategy by the White House for dubya's war, one of the common talking points is always "listen to the leaders on the ground". Of course, what you will not hear from right-wing talking heads is that for a serving general to question military orders from the President would be treason, so we must wait until they are no longer generals to get the straight story.

General Sanchez wasn't just in the middle of dubya's war against Iraq - he was handed a debacle and expected to fix the mess. You can't get more "leader on the ground" than him.

Caveat - I've heard the book discussed, but unfortunately have not yet had the opportunity to read it, so I am pointing it out sight unseen. Normally I wouldn't do such a thing, but General Sanchez's clout makes up for it.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

So THAT’S why gas prices are so high

McCain’s campaign has unveiled a new attack ad. Here’s a wonderful excerpt:
"Gas prices, $4, $5, no end in sight. Because some in Washington are still saying no to independence from foreign oil. Who can you thank for rising prices at the pump?" "Obama, Obama" chants are then heard in the commercial. "One man knows we must now drill more in America and rescue our family budgets. Don't hope for more energy. Vote for it. McCain."

Gosh, where to begin? Let’s start with the basics. First, neither Barack Obama nor the Democratic Party have had their energy policies in place for the past 7 years, which has brought us to our current state – that would be the Republican energy policy, which McCain has always been a strong advocate of, and always voted in favor of. Second, unlike McCain, Obama does not advocate the Bush doctrine of war for oil (besides being immoral, creating instability in the Middle East has, exactly as experts predicted, increased gas prices, not decreased them). Third, Obama has long advocated getting America independent from foreign oil, and McCain only started talking about switching from the Bush doctrine once his Presidential run geared up. Fourth, drilling now will produce results in 10 years – which is expected to be a 2% price decline – and will do nothing to get us off of oil. Lastly, “one man knows”? Well, I can think of a few other men that are extremely strong advocates of drilling for more oil as an energy “solution”: George Bush, Dick Cheney, King Abdullah, Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad all come to mind.

So, standard Republican game plan – identify something that people don’t like and blame it on the other side. Ignore the fact that you caused the problem and/or ignored the problem as it mounted and fact that the other side is trying to truly fix the disaster. Just attack, attack, attack, and assume that people are stupid enough to believe you, despite facts.

More drilling will solve the energy problems

With the misinformation about “more drilling will solve the energy problems” floating around conservative ads and punditry, you could be confused about who is motivated to do what. So, let’s return to the old, tested technique of “follow the money”.

Republicans, including Bush and McCain, want to drill for more oil, and pose drilling as either a complete or partial (depending on the audience) solution to our energy problems. Let’s think about this hypothetical situation – what if they were offered free reign to drill under these two conditions:
  1. Any involved entity causing an environmental disaster must held quickly and completely accountable for the pollution, and fully fund the cleanup

  2. All aspects of the drilling will be done as a non-profit venture, with any proceeds going directly to the US people instead of corporate profits

Now, imagine how they would react. If they really want to drill for the good of the people, you would think they would not object in the least to either point, right. Of course, you know in your heart of hearts that point one would be blown off like the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster that is still waiting for a resolution. Point number two, of course, would be complete deal-breaker, because you know that profit is the true motivation, not providing an energy solution.

Think about it – even Bush and McCain don’t try to argue the hard truths that drilling would actually take 10 years, and would increase global production between 1-2% at most. They just avoid dealing with the conclusion that a 1-2% improvement in 2019 is not a solution to our current problems. Further, they advocate drilling off the coasts of California and Florida. Those two states both have Republican governors, and public opinion in those states is so completely opposed to the drilling, that those governors risk their political futures by siding with their residents, against the GOP.

Time article,8599,1826064,00.html
How obviously out-of-touch and impractical are McCain’s plans on foreign policy? Even the right-leaning Time magazine couldn’t gloss over reality enough to be positive.

Summed up in this quote: “that's the point: McCain would place a higher priority on finding new enemies than on cultivating new friends”

Now imagine how the article would sound if Time were completely neutral – or even left-leaning?

In a specific implementation of neocon foreign policy, how is this for helping?

In Iraq, two rowers, two sprinters, one archer, one weightlifter and one judo competitor qualified to compete in the Beijing Olympics. They’ve been banned from the Olympics, however, because the US-backed Iraqi government manned their national Olympic committee with political appointees, in violation of Olympic rules.

I thought we were supposed to be helping the Iraqi people. Wouldn’t having Iraqi athletes competing in the Olympics be a good thing? The current leadership seems to disagree.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Support the troops

Republicans like to profess that Democrats don’t support the troops, want to lose, aid and comfort enemies, etc. Largely, Democrats tend to stick to issues and facts, and will point out disagreements with Republican tactics, rather than resorting to ridiculous fabrications like “hating the troops”.

The fact is that it’s more of an indifference that the neocon leadership of this country has for the rank-and-file troops. We’ve all heard about how billions of dollars allocated to the war against the terrorists (Afghanistan) and for oil (Iraq) have simply disappeared, but there are real ramification to the troops when you short-change the American taxpayers.

The war against Iraq was originally sold as striking against the perpetrators of 9/11, and it would be easy because we’d be greeted as liberators, and it would be free because Iraq’s vast oil money would pay for it, and it would be very quick as it could not possibly take as long as six months. Years later it has become very clear that the chief motivator for this war is money – not just for Iraq’s oil, but also for American taxpayer dollars that can be funneled through crony contractors. The culture of corrupt contracting not only costs vast piles of money with its fraud, but it degrades the reputation of the many loyal and legitimate contractors, and worst of all it short-changes the troops themselves when they end up without the

“Tens of billions in taxpayer dollars have been lost, wasted or remain unaccounted for in Afghanistan and Iraq, and some of those funds -- and some missing weapons -- have landed in insurgents' hands.”

"As a result of this lack of oversight, billions of dollars have been lost or wasted, bad contractors have been rewarded, and shoddy workmanship -- some of which has resulted in the deaths of our soldiers -- has gone uncorrected."

To illustrate the army’s contracting path of the last decade, the work force has decreased by 50%, while the payout has increased more than 350%. Those at the top are raking in unprecedented wealth.

Thankfully, with the slight Democratic lead in the Senate, such issues can be brought to light. Senator Byrd is calling for arrests and speedy trials for any contractors accused of bilking the U.S. and Iraqi governments. This in stark contrast to previous Senate and White House action to proven fraud – forgive, pay, and renew higher contracts - if the corrupt war profiteers were friends.
Byrd said the neglect has emboldened those who have designs on embezzlement, bribery, providing shoddy goods and services or "just plain stealing." The senator from West Virginia said he would like to see more "collars and dollars" -- more arrests, indictments and recovery of lost or wasted funds.

Yet one more reason we really need a change in leadership in the White House, instead of four more years of “stay the course”.

Who's drunk?

As Jack Cafferty put it: “The depth of the intellect at the very top of our nation's government is staggering, isn't it?”

Bush (you pick which one) banking plan:
  1. remove oversight and regulation

  2. buddies screw their own companies, making a bundle for themselves and leaving behind a ticking time bomb

  3. buddies get outta Dodge with their loot

  4. banking sector discovers there’s a massive crisis

  5. government bails everybody out with oodles and oodles of cash - effectively, this transfers enormous wealth from taxpayers to cronies
Now here’s dubya’s assessment of the situation: "Wall Street got drunk. It got drunk and now it's got a hangover. The question is, how long will it sober up and not try to do all these fancy financial instruments?"

Um, dubya? Those “fancy financial instruments” are called mortgages. Those of us not born into extreme wealth have to worry about them. And Wall Street wasn’t on a collective kegger – people were taking advantage of your moratorium on oversightby making themselves rich while planting a ticking financial timebomb. See, they knew you’d bail out the companies to hide their crimes, while laughing off the whole situation with some pithy remarks.

We SOOOOOOOO need a change, and need to get actual leadership in the White House. I don’t even want to imagine how four more years of this neocon economic plan would damage this country.

Jack Cafferty on McCain's ability to deal with Iraq

Well put, Jack. Well put.

John McCain has staked much of his campaign on the war in Iraq and the surge. He tells us every day how he was right about the surge – how the surge was the answer to all our problems in Iraq. Maybe not exactly.

Last night McCain proved his timeline about the surge is all wrong. In an interview on CBS, Katie Couric pointed out that Barack Obama says while the increase in troops helped security, a Sunni awakening and the Shiite government going after the militias before the surge were also major factors in reducing the violence.

McCain replied: “I don’t know how you respond to something that is such a false depiction of what actually happened. Colonel McFarland was contacted by one of the major Sunni sheiks. Because of the surge we were able to go out and protect that sheik and others. And it began the Anbar awakening. I mean, that’s just a matter of history.”

Wrong again, Senator. The Sunni awakening in Anbar happened before President Bush ever announced the surge in January of 2007. In fact, the now-General Sean McFarland briefed the media in September 2006 about tribal leaders who were cooperating with Iraqi security forces against al Qaeda. Several news organizations reported on the Anbar Awakening taking place months before the surge.

Obama’s campaign points out that McCain has his facts wrong. McCain’s response is the Democrats are trying to minimize the role of our commanders and our troops. But if your campaign for president is built on your assertion that you are most qualified to be commander-in-chief, shouldn’t you at least be able to accurately cite the recent history of the war you’re asking the voters to put you in charge of?

Here’s my question to you: How much confidence do you have in John McCain’s ability to deal with Iraq?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Above the law

Do you believe that if the President commits a crime, then it is not a crime? Do you believe that this status of "above the law" extends to all of the President's inner circle and political advisors?

If not, watch, decide and sign. Let the House Judiciary Committee know that Americans have not abandoned the rule of law.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Johnny on the board

In other news, John Ashcroft. Remember that piece of work? He testified to the House Judiciary Committee that waterboarding is a valuable and perfectly acceptable questioning technique. Of course, Ashcroft also stated that he is opposed to torture, and that he does not consider waterboarding to be torture at all. So, if we get some torture experts to waterboard him into making confessions (real or false), wouldn’t his logic mean that this would be perfectly appropriate, and that any false confessions he makes should be treated as real?

The plain facts are that waterboarding is indeed torture, and torturing will result in the detainee saying anything, whether true or not, that they believe would get the interrogator to stop. The practice was developed as a way to inflict cruel and unusual punishment, and to extract false confessions.

Debunking a false Republican talking point on Afghanistan

One of the McCain campaign’s attacks is that the Senate committee that Obama chairs has yet to hold a hearing dealing with Afghanistan since he became chairman nearly two years ago.

Well, that is true. Here are a few other truths that McCain and his attack dogs conveniently leave out on the subject:
  • Obama chairs the Subcommittee on European Affairs

  • The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where such hearings belong, has had such hearings on NATO’s mission in Afghanistan

  • Afghanistan is in Asia, not Europe (By the way John, as long as we’re giving you a geography lesson, you can stop talking about Czechoslovakia. It broke into Slovakia and the Czeck Republic over 15 years ago. Try to keep up with current events, please.)

While they’re at it, why don’t they attack Obama for the European Affairs committee not holding hearings on North Korea, offshore oil drilling, tax breaks for the rich, or privatizing Medicare and Social Security. I can only guess they got tired of attacking Michelle Obama and wanted to start attacking on issues, but couldn’t find one and had to make one up.

Total Failure
While I do not agree with everything Nancy Pelosi says and does, it’s good to hear such straight talk instead of trying to play nice for the sake of politics. Whenever Congress tries to make progress in an important area that is contrary to the GOP political agenda, almost always the Senate Republicans line up in lock step to prevent votes and debate from even happening. They filibuster and use procedural tactics to halt progress and prevent solutions, then Bush announces that it’s the Democrats in Congress that cannot get anything accomplished.

Pick your topic – the economy, healthcare, jobs, education, foreign policy, short-term energy problems, long-term energy problems, Iraq, Afghanistan, veterans, banking deregulation, Katrina, global climate disruption (aka warming), rebuilding the site of the Twin Towers, or even upholding the Constitution.

Bush is indeed a miserable failure from the perspective of America and the American people in general, but a shining beacon of success for the very rich and his cronies. That is not to say that he hates America, as a few extreme lefties put forth – he simply is indifferent. Political goals and cronies are his mission, the fate of the US and Americans simply does not matter to him in the slightest. To see this, one only has to take a critical, unbiased look at his long-term planning from day one that has led to our current situations. Too many people in power try to gloss over this, and the press is shameful in withholding accountability. So, you go Nancy! Don’t mince words and call out Bush for exactly what he is, a total failure.

Read the news, John

The old Republican Party line is that anyone suggesting a timeline for withdrawl of US troops from the war against Iraq wants to surrender to the terrorists. This has always been absolutely ridiculous, but nonetheless, it was the party line and was repeated over and over as an absolute truth. Recently however, the GOP leadership has finally listened to the experts on the ground and the Iraqi people about what the best course of action is. Amazingly, it falls exactly into line with what Barack Obama has been saying all along – we need to withdraw US troops from Iraq so they can be redeployed to fight the war on terror.

John McCain does not seem to have gotten the message, though. Just yesterday he was ridiculing Obama’s plan as backwards and admitting defeat in Iraq. Uh John – dubya and your party leadership, whom you fall in line with 90% of the time with, just switched to that position. The majority of Americans and vast majority of Iraqis also want the occupation to end. Does that mean you believe that you are backwards and admitting defeat, or your party is, or both?

The success of an economic plan

After over 7 years of implementation of the Republican economic plan, we see the fruits of their labor:
  • US inflation accelerated at its fastest pace in 17 years

  • Unemployment is up

  • The standard of living for non-wealthy Americans has decreased

  • Cost of living has increased and outpaced inflation

  • Healthcare costs have skyrocketed

  • Consumer prices were 5% higher than a year ago

  • Federal Reserve boss Ben Bernanke has warned that the threat of rising inflation has intensified recently

  • the US faces a severe housing slump, a credit crunch and financial market turmoil

  • gas has gone from $1.40 to $4.10 under the Bush energy policy

  • the disparity of wealth between average Americans and the wealthy has skyrocketed
  • Bush inherited a strong, booming economy and has turned it into massive debt and a recession

  • The massive debt increase will be a huge burden on the future of the US, with every man, woman and child in this country owing an average of over $30,000 that must be paid back with interest

It's the economy, stupid

We do not need more of the same.

Democrats vs. Republicans

Obama is talking about issues to illustrate the differences between himself and McCain. Issues like the economy, energy, housing and foreign policy. He’s identifying problems and putting forth his ideas on how to solve the problems.

Meanwhile, the self-proclaimed “straight talk express” is pumping out more and more of that old neocon staple – name-calling. This quote comes directly from John McCain: “Senator Obama has the most extreme record of any member of the United States Senate”. As a follow-up, he was asked if he thought Obama was a Socialist, a completely ridiculous question. Instead of truthfully answering “no”, he stated “I don’t know”, while intentionally implying “yes”. Recall that during the 2004 campaign, John Kerry was deemed the most extreme and liberal member of the Senate. When Hillary Clinton was the Democratic frontrunner, she was the most extreme and liberal member of the Senate. When Ted Kennedy takes a stand for the poor and middle class, he's deemed the most extreme and liberal member of the Senate. “Most extreme and liberal” is simply a label that Republicans put on anyone that they’re trying to attack at that moment. Since it’s an opinion and not based on anything you can measure, you can’t really say it’s wrong – they just happen to throw the phrase around as if it’s something significant. But it is not something significant, it’s just standard name-calling.

BTW, McCain aides told CNN that McCain intends to continue to attack Obama while he’s overseas. This coming after McCain stated that “politics ends at the water’s edge”, an old adage that means you don’t criticize someone when they’re out of the country. OK John, we’re used to you going back on your word, but how about talking about your solutions to this country’s problems instead of just sticking with the attack, name-call, and insult gameplan? I know you’ve embraced “neoconism”, but how about putting a LITTLE truth behind that old “maverick” label?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

All hail King Flip-Flop

John Kerry once gave a lengthy and complete explanation about how the war against Iraq was initially sold as going after the perpetrators of 9/11, but when it was realized that the "evidence" was a pack of lies, punishing the Iraqi people was no longer justified. In a 3-second sound bite during that explanation, he said he was for the war, then against it. That three second sound bite became the foundation for the Republican onslaught against his character, claiming that he constantly flip-flops on everything. Of course, that's not true, but that's of little concern to the GOP political formula for success - which includes heavy doses of character attacks.

Now, if actual flip-flopping on serious issues for political pandering really is a bad thing, let's look at ACTUAL position changes, rather than 3-second sound bites.

Credit to The Ed Schultz Show for this list of John McCain's top 27 flip-flops:

1) Was against the Bush tax cuts; now is for making them permanent and even bigger.

2) Was against the GI Bill; now is for the GI Bill.

3) Was for immigration reform; now is against immigration reform - and repudiated his own prior position on immigration reform.

4) Opposed the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill - which had his name on it.

5) Was for gay marriage, and then opposed gay marriage.

6) Was for Roe v. Wade, then was against Roe v. Wade; then for it, sort of; then against it, sort of.

7) Was for storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain; then was against it.

8) In 2000 was for military action against rogue states; now is against it, EXCEPT for Iran….which he sings about bombing and says it's good to sell them cigarettes so we can kill them.

9) Negotiating with North Korea; was against it; then for it, especially when Bush did it.

10) Negotiating with Castro's Cuba - in 2000 was for it, now against it.

11) No negotiating with terrorists except when Colin Powell went to Syria in 2002 and when, in 2006, said we'd eventually have to deal with Hamas.

12) Unilateral military action against terrorists in Pakistan - against it when Obama said it was good; for it when Bush did it in the spring of 2008.

13) Warrantless wiretaps - against them 6 months ago; for them now.

14) Torturing detainees - always against it; since he was tortured he should know. Now, in favor of torturing detainees.

15) Perpetual detention of detainees - bad a few years ago, good now.

16) Iraq - the right course in 2004; stay the course in 2005 and now he was always against the flawed strategy - especially when Rumsfeld was there.

17) Estate tax - for it in 2006; against it now.

18) 2004 - for privatizing Social Security; 2008 against privatizing Social Security.

19) February 2008 promised a balanced budget in 4 years. April 2008 said it will take 8 years. June 2008…..back to 4 years. [And, since he is now for the Bush tax cuts, balancing the budget EVER will be impossible.]

20) In 2008 - first glad to look at oil windfall profits tax; then it's a bad idea - Jimmy Carter's bad idea.

21) In 2000 - no new offshore oil drilling; now, just very recently, it's a great idea.

22) In 2000 - attacked Bush fundraising leaders; in 2006 had some of the same people co-chair his own fundraisers.

23) In 2000 - Jerry Falwell was an "agent of intolerance"; in 2006 McCain delivered the commencement address at Falwell's Liberty University and in 2008 McCain was big buddies with Rev. Hagee and Pastor Parsley.

24) Opposed and voted against the Martin Luther King holiday; now says he was for it.

25) 1986 - opposed South African divestment to attack apartheid; June 2008, praised it.

26) In 2000 - defended South Carolina's Confederate flag as a symbol of heritage; in 2002 said it should come down and it was an "act of political cowardice to not take it down."

27) 2000 - against teaching creationism in schools; 2005 - alternatives to evolution should be taught.

Now THAT is honest-to-goodness flip-flopping. For real.

Those who can't lead - follow


Despite the obvious failure of the Republican plan for Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran throughout dubya’s tenure, they “stayed the course”. They were undaunted by history, facts and the advice of actual experts on the ground. Further, they kept repeating the talking point that anyone deviating from the GOP plan wanted the terrorists to win.

Barack Obama was one of those “deviants”. He has long advocated that “dubya’s war” against Iraq was a dangerous distraction from the war on terrorism. A battle whose primary front is in Afghanistan – namely the border region with Pakistan. Part of his plan has always been to get troops out of Iraq, and reassign some to Afghanistan. Further, he long has advocated dialog with Iran, as opposed to a military-posturing-only approach like the Republicans took. For this they labeled him as weak, naïve, unfit to lead, any much worse name-calling. These attacks continue, despite the fact that Obama’s policies are rooted in the advice of actual experts, rather than political spinsters.

Now that a Presidential election draws near, we see headlines like this:

Now the Republicans are doing exactly what Obama has been advocating all along. The same courses of action that they previously ridiculed. The same courses of action that real experts have been advising for some time. The same courses of action that their political talking points said would “aid and comfort” the terrorists that want to attack America.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Dubya's big day

Bush was busy today. First he vetoed a bill to halt a massive cut to Medicare, calling it “objectionable”. Despite an aging population that is counting on Medicare – something they have already paid for – Bush still wants to gut it, probably because his cronies don’t profit from it, and won't unless it is privatized. Senate Republicans who are not up for re-election, following the party line, tried to prevent the bill from being discussed or voted on. Fortunately, not only were there enough votes to break the filibuster, but there are also enough votes to override Bush. That’s because enough Senate Republicans are up for re-election that they must listen to the will of the people, and therefore must break with their party’s mandate.

Then there’s the issue of offshore and Arctic oil drilling. Bush just issued an executive order to allow the drilling, and blames Democrats for blocking the drilling. The problem is that it was HIS FATHER that signed the executive order blocking the drilling, to avoid the disaster of widespread environmental damage from the inevitable oil spills. But now that he has overruled George HW Bush, he is claiming that Congressional inaction has been the problem with gas prices all along. Um, dubya, who was in charge of Congress from your inauguration until 2007? How come your party refused to allow this drilling for six years when you had carte blanche to pass any law you wanted, but now you’re blaming Democrats for it? Could it possibly be that you all knew that drilling is not a solution to our short-term or long-term energy problems – but now that you need a scapegoat you’re saying that it is? Here’s a novel thought – how about working for the good of THE PEOPLE OF THE US, instead of always just focusing on political agendas and profits for your friends.

Israel approves Hezbollah prisoner swap
So, when someone like Barack Obama says we should have discussions with Iran instead of simply replacing all diplomacy with military posturing, the right blasts him for being a traitor because this somehow means he wants to surrender to our enemies. The GOP party line that they give to the public is that they will never talk to terrorists because they’re tough (of course, don’t compare that with their actions if you want consistency).

So here we have Israel negotiating with Hezbollah. How come we don’t see Bush and McCain insulting Israel and the Israeli people for being traitors to their own country and for surrendering to the terrorists? How come the neocon talking heads aren’t proclaiming their moral superiority to the leadership of Israel because those leaders aren’t following the GOP party rhetoric? Where are the insults, the taunting, the belittling? Isn’t that what they do when someone so much as suggests talking to someone that the Republican leadership decrees should not be talked to? Or could this all just be a bunch of political BS that they stir around to make their image different from reality? Perhaps they care more about the political façade of complex global issues than the issues themselves.

Given their history, especially since 1998, I know we shouldn’t expect any kind of consistency from the GOP leadership, but once and a while it would be nice if consistency and a match between words and actions replaced political rhetoric.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Energy solution?

We have had a growing energy problem in this country for a long time, and now that gas prices have skyrocketed under Bush, the problem is finally being recognized by the mainstream. Now that gas prices are over $4/gallon, due in no small part to the GOP energy policy, everybody wants a solution, and of course it’s hard to find a politician without one.

The general Democratic position is largely unchanged – get off of foreign oil by investing in the technology of renewable energy. Jobs will be created as the solar panels, wind turbines, geothermal plants, and tidal/wave energy turbines are constructed and installed. Existing coal plants can be retrofitted to be cleaner, gas mileage on cars and trucks can be increased, and transportation can transition to hybrid, electricity or natural gas. Granted, this will take time and cost money, but it will take just as much time as the Republican plan, cost taxpayers far, far less than wars for oil, and will leave us with a real solution for the future of energy in America.

The centerpiece of the Republican plan is more oil. Drilling offshore and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would take about 10 years to see the results, and that result would be an increase, according to oil experts, of 2% of the world’s supply. The results would therefore be about a 2% reduction in the price of gas, and an enormous amount of pollution. Drilling expansion is being pushed for hard right now by Bush and McCain, even though it was President Bush the first that signed the executive order banning offshore drilling. But if this is their solution, why did they wait through dubya’s entire two terms to start talking about it? Because they expected to lose the 2008 election, and if they implemented their drilling policy in 2000, the marginal positive effect would be felt during a Democratic presidency. By waiting for 7-8 years, they’re hoping to recapture the White House in 2012 or 2016, and be in place when that 2% price decrease hits so they can declare victory. So what’s their plan for now? Well, they’re beating the war drums for attacking the Iranian people, which would create global chaos for President Obama, but could result in US oil companies taking over Iranian oil fields years from now, in the aftermath. Until then, get ready for $10/gallon gas if they succeed with the war expansion. Nice, huh?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Want some torture with your peanuts?

"Interesting" article from the Washington Times
This bracelet would:
• Take the place of an airline boarding pass
• Contain personal information about the traveler
• Be able to monitor the whereabouts of each passenger and his/her luggage
• Shock the wearer on command, completely immobilizing him/her for several minutes

I wouldn't normally attribute credibility to Revered "I am God" Moon's rag at all. In this case, a quick check of Google News does turn up other references. Even so, I just have to assume this is a complete hoax. It's just too ludicrous. However, let's imagine for a moment that it's for real, because it might be fun...

Given that assumption, here's my first thought - so, a hijacker would leave the bracelet on while the crew starts pressing buttons to taser him, seeing various passengers start to convulse as they hit the wrong buttons in their panic.

Reminds me of the bazillion dollar 18-foot fence to separate us from Mexico, a country that presumably does not have 20-foot ladder technology. So, we're going to subject all airline passengers to this because we're counting on terrorists, who are smart enough to plan a coordinated 4-plane hijack, overpower flight crews and take control of planes, not being smart enough to figure out how to remove or disable a bracelet. Better yet, if they simply mimic the signal of the transmitter, they can take out all of the passengers instantly.

Anyone who for a moment could actually believe that shock bracelets would be even the slightest deterrent to terrorism would be completely delusional. Clearly the other "features" of such a bracelet would be 100% of the motivation.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Follow-up on Iran post

To understand what's going on in Iran, let's take a look at the Republican strategy with North Korea. During the 90's, the Clinton approach to North Korea was to keep diplomatic channels open, and maintain the previous agreement - they suspend all nuclear weapons activity and the US and others would supply fuel oil until a nuclear power plant was completed. This was a workable solution to the problem: their existing nuclear power plant could produce weapons-grade plutonium, and the new one being built with international assistance could not produce the plutonium. We did not want them to have nuclear weapons.

When the Bush regime took over, the agreement with North Korea was broken by the US, diplomatic channels were closed, and Bush personally and publicly insulted the leader. As experts predicted, this resulted in North Korea restarting their nuclear weapons program, so Bush declared them as "evil". North Korea continued development until they had a working nuclear weapon, which they detonated with marginal success. Once that happened, the Republican plan was to revert back to the successful Clinton plan of diplomacy and providing North Korea with non-nuclear fuel. So, we're back where we were 8 years ago, except now we don't know how many nuclear weapons they may have produced.

Understanding that action is the key to understanding the Republican approach to Iran. Just like Iraq, the neocons really, really wanted to take military action against Iran, so their massive oil and natural gas fields could be seized. The problem was that there was no justification at all for attacking them outright, so something had to be done to manufacture this justification. That's when the saber-rattling began. While we were still supplying them with military goods, we kept provoking and threatening them. Just as predictably as North Korea's reaction to the Bush doctrine, Iran's path was to massively ramp up their long-range missile and nuclear weapons programs. They have seen through example that the best way to get the Republican-led US to do what they want is to develop nuclear weapons - because once that happens, then the concessions flow like water from Bush and company.

That leads us to McCain's recent comments on Obama on Iran. McCain tows the party line of tough talk and military posturing to the public, while actually advocating diplomacy. To illustrate the myth that Republicans are good for the military and Democrats are always week, he said about Iran's Revolutionary Gard:
“This is the same organization that I voted to condemn as a terrorist organization when an amendment was on the floor of the United States Senate. Senator Obama refused to vote.”
The problem with the critique? McCain also missed that vote on the Kyl-Lieberman amendment on September 26, 2007. Records show that Obama was in New Hampshire and McCain was in New York instead of being in the Senate chamber for the vote in question.

Same old Republican political plan - talk tough, even if you're lying, and don't worry about your words matching your actions - the important thing is to keep up the rhetoric.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

GOP policy on Iran

So what is the Republican policy on Iran? Well, let's look at the facts that we know:

  • Bush declared Iran evil, and states that he wants to isolate Iran from the rest of the world though increased sanctions

  • The war drums are beating, and the Bush Administration is using much of the same pre-war rhetoric that they did with Iraq, just before bombing them

  • Experience: during Cheney's tenure at Haliburton, they did business with Iran, in violation of US law, with sham offices were set up to skirt US law

  • Under Bush, US/Iran business transactions have increased tenfold

  • Under Bush, the US has sold military weapons directly to Iran, including military rifles and fighter jet launch gear

  • Iran is the only air force in the world using US F-14 fighter jets, and they need replacement parts

  • Under Bush, the US freely sold replacement parts for F-14s to the world market, with no oversight as to whether they would end up in Iran (only after this operation was exposed to the public did Bush act to stop further sales)

  • Under Bush, F-14 fighters, which cost the US roughly $38,000,000 each when new, have been sold for $2,000 to $4,000 each

  • Under Bush, the Securities and Exchange Commission started to look into companies actively doing illegal business with Iran, but was ordered to stop

  • Under Bush, the Treasury Department allowed some companies and individuals suspected of illegal trading with Iran to escape punishment

  • Neither the Treasury data nor trade data compiled by the Census Bureau identify exporters [to Iran] or specify what they shipped. The AP requested those details under the Freedom of Information Act in 2005 and still is waiting for Bush's Treasury Department to provide them.

  • The United States sent Iran $546 million in goods from 2001 through last year, government figures show. It exported roughly $146 million worth last year, compared with $8.3 million in 2001, Bush's first year in office. Even adjusted for inflation, that is more than a tenfold increase.

So, what is the Republican policy on Iran? It's hard to tell when you hear their rhetoric but see their actions...

"Sometimes money trumps peace"
      --George W. Bush


Just saw this blurb on CNN about the book "Nixonland".

Here's some good quotes:

  • "the guy who exploited these tensions to create a new kind of politics that we're still living with now"

  • "conservative Americans buffeted on all sides by change, taking refuge in the familiar"

  • "The generational divide went so deep as to form a fundamental argument about what was moral and what was immoral"

  • "a controlling man who, in trying to stay at least one move ahead of everyone else, ends up consumed by his own power"

Now, if I hadn't said those quotes were about the Nixon era, I'll bet you would have assumed they referred to the Bush regime. The similarities - the secrecy, survailence on Americans, politicization of justice, the whole air of "if the President does it, then it's not a crime", even players like Cheney, Rumsfeld and the behind-the-scenes neocons - are eerie and disturbing. Much like Nixon during his time, Bush has many supporters that so desperately want to believe that he is righteous, they cannot recognize the seriousness and extent of his crimes while they are happening.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Comparing economic plans

Obama continues to tout his economic plan. While elements sound very similar to Clinton’s economic path to success, the changes sound like legitimate and significant improvements. Meanwhile, McCain is now distancing himself from his previous 7 years of support for the Bush economic plan and incorporating elements of Obama’s plan in his speeches. So, what is one to believe about the economic plans of the two candidates? Let’s examine past promises and how they panned out:

Old Promise: will balance the budget and reduce taxes by cutting government spending
Results: Clinton’s 8 years in office finally stopped the runaway national debt, and policies put us on track to eliminate the debt during Bush’s tenure
Current promise: return to balancing the budget by cutting government spending, removing tax subsidies to oil companies and the very rich, while finally providing actual tax relief to the middle class. Eliminating the debt means our money can work for the US, rather than going towards interest payments to China and the Middle East.
Prospects: they’ve done it before, so there’s no reason to believe they can’t do it again

Old Promise: will balance the budget by cutting government spending
Results: The successful economic policies of the previous 8 years before Bush were dismantled and reversed. The budget was thrown wildly out of balance by the 1-2 punch of massive increases in government spending while reducing available money because of massive tax subsidies to the largest corporations and the wealthy (although the middle class tax increase via the AMT did give the government more money). The ultimate result of the actual economic policies implemented is increased inflation, unemployment and job outsourcing, a shrinking dollar, a weakened economy, massive debt for future generations to clean up, and gas prices out of control. However, economic success has been declared due to the increased profits of some preferred companies and lowered tax bills for the very rich.
Current promise: will balance the budget by cutting government spending and giving further tax breaks to the wealthiest individuals and corporations
(buzzword alert: McCain is touting “entitlement reforms”. The last time that code word was used, Bush tried to privatize Social Security – which would have put the social security checks of current and future retirees at great risk!)
Prospects: since the identical rhetoric was hauled out by Bush, and McCain was fully on board with dubya’s economic policies, there is no reason to believe that the GOP would suddenly change their economic plan if McCain were to win.

So, to really know what the results of an Obama economic policy might be, look back to the results of the last Democratic plan, the 90’s Clinton years. To really know what the results of a McCain economic policy might be, look back to the results of the Bush administration’s plan.

Removing the political rhetoric, it really just boils down to these simple questions:
Were you better off 8 years ago as compared to 16 years ago? Was the country?
Are you better off now as compared to 8 years ago? Is the country?

Sunday, July 06, 2008

The McCain environmental policy

First, keep in mind that for the 2000 election, Bush proclaimed himself as "a good steward of the land" and "sensitive to environmental concerns". Of course, we see how well that has worked out, as he dutifully carried out the Party's agenda instead.

Now for the real environmental policy of McCain
CNN article
McCain does not support a government effort to fund renewables, instead relying on the greenhouse gas restrictions and lower corporate taxes to spur private sector investment. McCain wants to issue permits to pollute in an effort to gradually reduce greenhouse gasses - a plan known as "cap-and-trade" - but he doesn't want to charge companies for them.

So, here’s McCain’s plan. Drill for more oil, and if all goes well, supply will be increased by 2% in 10-20 years. Then let companies optionally cap their pollution, and don’t do anything to financially encourage them to do so. Finally, don’t fund renewable energy research or implementation, instead waiting for the existing big oil companies to voluntarily do it. (unless, of course, he's campaigning to a pro-environmental audience, then he's all green talk)

Anybody else see some flaws in that plan (assuming you call “doing nothing because the status quo is great” a plan)?

Personally, I prefer Obama’s approach, where we work towards solving the energy problem. It doesn’t go far enough to end our dependence on foreign oil soon enough, but is light years ahead of the McBush “plan”.

What's the deal with public financing

So, Obama has turned down $80M of taxpayer money in order to finance his own campaign though supporter donations. This allows him to raise money from individual donors, which is expected to be much more than that amount. This most certainly sounds like a logical move, it’s very simple math.

Desperate to find an issue to smear Obama with, the McCain campaign is attempting to portray this differently. McCain is calling Obama “disgraceful” and “a liar” for not accepting taxpayer money for his campaign. There are three major problems with this latest character assassination attempt from the McCain camp.

First, just because they say over and over that Obama solemnly swore to accept public financing does not make it true. The truth is that such a declaration never happened, and therefore the neocons have been unable to produce any audio, video, document – anything to back up their claim. Of course, just like “Iraq = 9/11”, the neocon tactic is to repeat their false claim over and over and over, until it somehow becomes believed.

Second, the GOP has previously railed AGAINST public financing of elections, because they do not want any spending caps on elections, preferring to allow big-money donors to maximize their influence in elections. Now that there’s a new talking point to hammer, however, all of a sudden they’ve become advocates for public financing of elections. Well, that’s just typical hypocrisy from the right.

Third, McCain has NOT turned down the UNLIMITED and UNREGULATED money that they will receive from the Republican National Committee and the PAC organizations that receive anonymous and uncapped funding from big-money interests. McCain wants to portray Obama as unethical because Obama won’t limit his campaign spending to $80M, while McCain rakes in hundreds of millions from the special interests. That most certainly does not pass “the smell test”.

So, once again, lacking an issue of substance to campaign on, the neocons are resorting to their old tricks. Hopefully everyone will see it for what it is…

Games with terrorists

If you thought it was bad when Bush and company would raise the terror alert level during the 2004 presidential election campaign whenever they felt their campaign needed a boost, get ready for the big leagues of manipulating terrorism in the hopes of getting Americans to vote Republican. In second half of June, we’ve seen the fist two salvos from the McCain camp.

It was bad enough when one of McCain’s own top advisor, Charlie Black, stated that a terrorist attack against the US would be good for McCain’s campaign. McCain officially spoke out against that comment, but now one of his biggest Senate supporters, former Democrat Joe Lieberman is now saying that the US is likely to be attacked in 2009. With this pattern of “terrorists will kill you if you don’t keep the Bush agenda rolling” coming from the McCain campaign, it’s getting more and more of a stretch for John to seriously claim that this deplorable tactic is not a central theme of his campaign.

While it’s safe to assume that Lieberman and McCain indeed know more than most folk about the Bush Administration’s agenda on whether or not to preemptively start another war, that does not make it right to maintain the new and unethical GOP tactic of “vote for us or die at the hands of terrorists” approach. Fighting terrorism should be done because it’s the right thing to do. It should not be something that is manipulated – and at times intentionally made much, much worse – just to promote the Republican political agenda. Any politician should put the best interests of America ahead of partisan politics, especially when national security is in the balance.

America has real enemies. Those enemies do not play games, they play for keeps. We should not be playing games with them.

Barack me obamadeus!

Cute picture of Gwen

(quote credit to

Leadership in energy independence

No, once again, not from the US. The Republican Party's energy policy ground alternative energy research to a halt, perpetuating our dependence on foreign oil. It seems obvious that this is a threat to our national security and our very independence, but the current "leadership", which includes John McCain, sees only foreign oil and high profits as a solution.

Other countries do not agree. It is sad that we must constantly look abroad to other countries for examples of long-term energy policies that benefit the citizenry. The latest example comes from India where their government has unveiled a national action plan to confront the threat posed by climate change.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the plan envisaged a gradual shift to greater reliance on sustainable sources of energy. Mr Singh said the development of India's capacity to tap solar power would be central to the strategy.

Yet again, America must look to other countries for leadership in dealing with the dependence on foreign oil, global climate change, and developing renewable and clean sources of energy.BBC article

We sooooooooo, need a change in the entrenched Washington mindset of the Bush oil-based energy policy (which McCain, of course, happily went along with, despite his latest words attempting to hide his past votes)

And, should you need it, here's how to talk to a climate skeptic:

Remember Anthrax?

It has been over 7 years since a letter containing highly refined anthrax was opened in the office of the US Senate majority leader, Democrat Tom Daschle. The spores were weaponized, meaning they were created by an advanced bio-weapons program. Few such programs have ever existed on this planet. There was huge public anxiousness due to the attack, and answers were demanded. Under the direction of the Bush Administration, John Ashcroft and the highly politicized Justice Department went after Dr. Stephen Hatfill and offered him up to the public as the big “person of interest”. Since then, they gave up the investigation, did not charge Dr. Hatfill due to his innocence, and quietly hoped the public would forget the attempt on the life of the highest ranking Democrat in the US government, which also resulted in the deaths of 5 innocent people.

Now that the 2008 presidential election is near, the Bush Administration is seeking closure on this issue. Not in the sense of finding out who was behind this biological attack, but closure in the sense of making sure Dr. Hatfill does not speak out. They are giving him $2,800,000 in hush-money up front, plus $150,000/year for the next 20 years.

One would think that a better approach would have been to continue the investigation until the perpetrator(s) was caught. In the political wisdom of the Bush Administration, however, they sought this outcome instead. What do they know that they aren’t saying?

Aging and need of medical care?

Then George W. Bush has a message for you: I'm not running for re-election, so I'm totally free to do what I want, and that is to screw you!

It is no secret that Medicare is hurting due to increased costs and an aging population. Rather than help the situation, the Bush Administration is set to give Medicare-providing doctors a 10.6 pay cut on 7/1/08. Every non-political expert agreed that the effect of this would be doctors refusing to take on new Medicare patients. This would result in untold masses of baby boomers being unable to receive the benefits that they have already paid for with past taxes.

Thankfully, Bush and the GOP no longer have a monopoly on all branches of government. The Democratic-controlled Congress is trying to pass legislation to prevent the Bush medical cut to seniors. However, there’s an uphill battle ahead. Most Senate Republicans are in lock-step unison with Bush’s marching orders, leaving 59 for and 41 against. Under Senate rules, the GOP can block progress of this legislation, plus Bush has threatened to veto it anyway.

So, the Democrats are trying to give seniors what they have already paid for, but it is difficult to overcome the assault on the poor and middle class coming from the other side of the aisle.

Don't like the sound of this? Well, if your state has a Republican Senator, call their office and tell them to NOT support the party's proposed cut to Medicare.

Why was McCain really in Colombia?

So now McCain is not just touting the potential free trade deal with Colombia, he is saying that the alternative is “protectionism and isolationism [that] were a major factor in one of the greatest depressions in the modern history for this country.”
OK, so what’s wrong with McCain’s latest rhetoric?

  1. Before becoming the GOP nominee, McCain would talk a lot about creating jobs for US workers. Now that he's the nominee, he has embraced the party platform of outsourcing jobs to increase profits.

  2. Free trade is a race to the bottom – whomever exploits and impoverishes their workers the most gets the most money. FAIR trade is the correct alternative. That gets you the products you want at the lowest possible price, but without exploiting workers.

  3. Fear mongering, that standard Republican talking point – if you don’t go along with our political agenda, Armageddon will occur. Somehow I doubt that if we fail to pass the free trade scheme with Colombia that the US will plunge into a new Great Depression.

  4. If you speak out in favor of workers’ rights in Colombia, you or your family become likely targets for violence and assassination. Workers are extremely oppressed and attempts at organizing for labor rights are met with extreme violence. The Colombian people would benefit from fair trade. Free trade will benefit the oligarchy and the thugs.

  5. Free trade of cocaine trafficking is a bad idea, and that’s exactly what would happen if impediments to the drug trade were removed under the hopes of making trade more open. Sure, a lot of money could be made from this, but drugs are not the answer.

  6. McCain took this position after polls showed that this would sound favorable to US Hispanic voters. Previously he had admitted that he is not particularly knowledgeable on matters of economics. It would be better to learn economic lessons from economists, rather than political polls.

McSame campaign strategy: same as Bush

With the election cycle in full swing, we’ll hear the standard talking points from the conservatives: anyone not agreeing to the GOP policies is a dangerous liberal that cannot be trusted, liberals hate God, liberals will force homosexuality on the populace, liberals will take away your guns, and of course global climate change is a myth.

Smear, smear, smear.

So, more attacks against Obama from the right. This time, $15M is going to be spent by the NRA on a misinformation campaign. As always happens in national elections, the fear-mongering is that Democrats want to abolish the Second Amendment and take away everybody’s guns. This is, of course, not true. Obama does favor a waiting period, supports a ban on automatic weapons, and supports the limit to one handgun purchase per month. To explain the thinking behind his positions, Obama said:
"I'm a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, but I do not think that that precludes local governments being able to provide some kind of common sense gun control laws ... that keep guns out of the hands of gangbangers or children."

One of the members of John McCain’s new Truth Squad — which his campaign says was launched to respond to unfair attacks on his record of military service –- was a member of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, and appeared in an attack ad for the group in 2004. So, McCain has placed, at the highest levels of his campaign, smear artists who have no qualms against calling a patriotic soldier a traitor. You'd think he would not like such people.

CNN article

There have been a lot of character attacks leveled at Barack Obama by his political adversaries. Some have outright questioned his patriotism, using lies and rumors as “proof”. Rather than sink down to their level and similarly try to smear John McCain’s patriotism, Obama flatly vowed never to question the patriotism of others in the campaign. Then, as he has done many times on the campaign trail, he pointed out John McCain’s military service as a shining example of patriotism to one’s country.
"No one should ever devalue that [McCain’s] service, especially for the sake of a political campaign, and that goes for supporters of both sides. We must always express our profound gratitude for the service of our men and women in uniform. Period.”

It’s unfortunate that the ironically-named “straight talk” from the right continues to resort to slander instead of the issues. At least it’s good to see a candidate like Obama rise above the mud-slinging.

So, as the right-wing smear machine tries once again to spread lies about candidate positions, patriotism and even religion, find out for yourself what the actual positions are – not what the conservatives’ ads tell you they are.

Dubyanomics rolls on, with McCain cheerleading the “success”

The US Labor Department just reported a net loss of 62,000 jobs in June -- the sixth straight month of rising unemployment.

Signs still point to more job losses in the months ahead.
CNN article

So what do we hear from the two political parties? The Democratic party is saying that the economy has serious problems and must be addressed. Job losses, massive debt, decreased wages, increasing prices and especially soaring fuel costs are all bad things, and the overall economy is a serious issue and must be improved.

The Republican party, having been in charge for the last 7 years and having successfully implemented their economic strategy, see the fruits of their labor. The wealthiest Americans are much more wealthy now, and huge corporations have had tax breaks massively increased, allowing CEO pay to skyrocket, even while the companies are laying off workers. Therefore, they are declaring victory, and want to continue on this path for 4 more years.