Thursday, August 28, 2008

Taxes part 2

A Updated Analysis of the 2008 Presidential Candidates' Tax Plans: Executive Summary - August 28, 2008
Author(s): Roberton Williams, Howard Gleckman
Published: August 28, 2008
Both John McCain and Barack Obama have proposed tax plans that would substantially increase the national debt over the next ten years, according to a newly updated analysis by the non-partisan Tax Policy Center. Compared to current law, TPC estimates the Obama plan would cut taxes by $2.9 trillion from 2009-2018. McCain would reduce taxes by nearly $4.2 trillion. Obama would give larger tax cuts to low- and moderate-income households and pay some of the cost by raising taxes on high-income taxpayers. In contrast, McCain would cut taxes across the board and give the biggest cuts to the highest-income households.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Shiite hits the fanatics

A day after I posted my Iraq rant, the Los Angeles Times came out with an article about how the Shiite led Iraqi government is seeking to disband the CLCs of Sunni fighters.,0,565841.story
Sons of Iraq under arrest, sent into hiding
The article concludes...
If disbanded, their leaders warn, the groups could revolt."In the event that the U.S. military and government don't live up to their promises, it could turn back to a violent form of resistance," said Abu Abed, a leader Adhamiya. "Every action breeds a reaction."

Of course, if you find the whole Shiite/Sunni division confusing, don't feel bad.

Tax Facts Part 1

An unfair Obama ad using dated and out of context quotes to portray McCain as clueless on the economy is debinked on Of course, McCain doesn't seem to be distancing himself from the Bush policies that contributed to the current recession.
There's also an article about McCain misrepresenting Obama's tax proposals again. And again, and again.
Claims that Obama supports raising taxes on "families" making $42,000 and would "raise taxes on middle class," are all false. In reality, Obama's plan has tax cuts for middle-income taxpayers and would increase rates on family incomes above $250,000 or with individual incomes above $200,000.
More articles from Factcheck:
Wind Power Puffery
McCain's talks about"renewable energy," but his energy plan offers little to support it.
Obama's Overstatement
An Obama ad claims McCain's campaign got $2 million from "Big Oil." The total is only a mere $1.3 million.
McCain's Small-Business Bunk
He claims 23 million small-business owners would pay higher tax rates under Obama. He's wrong. The vast majority would see no change, and many would get a cut.
The $32,000 Question
The McCain campaign falsely claims that Obama voted to raise income taxes on individuals earning "as little as $32,000 per year."

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Ron Paul on the Great Republican Neo-Con

Why the Republican party is no longer the party of conservativism. Fox news cut this part of the debate out during its rebroadcast.

Flip Flops

A conservative friend sent me an email of Obama's Top Ten Flip Flops, including taking money from special interests, waffling on illegal immigration, decriminalizing marijuana, NAFTA, handgun control, the death penalty, campaign financing, and the Iraq war. As every political science major knows,  every politician running for president(except for Reagan in 1980), addresses their base in the primaries, then moderates their rhetoric to appeal to the center and capture a majority.

Unlike Obama, McCain finds himself stuck on the right, due to his recent conversion to right wing positions on abortion, torture, immigration, right wing preachers, and the Bush tax cuts. Maybe McCain has got religion and seen the error of his moderate past, or he is so desperate to become President he's willing to give up his maverick straight talking identity. 

Obama excused his apparent contradictions by telling  Forbes magazine that "sometimes during campaigns the rhetoric gets overheated and amplified. Politicians are always guilty of that, and I don't exempt myself."

Friday, August 22, 2008

What do you see when you look at Iraq?

Rorschach inkblot test
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Rorschach inkblot test (pronounced IPA: [ʁoɐʃax]) is a method of psychological evaluation. Psychologists use this test to try to examine the personality characteristics and emotional functioning of their patients... It has been employed in diagnosing underlying thought disorder and differentiating psychotic from nonpsychotic thinking in cases where the patient is reluctant to openly admit to psychotic thinking.[1]

If you listen to President Bush or Senator McCain, the SURGE has worked. Candidate McCain uses Senator Obama's opposition to both the surge and the entire Iraq war as an example of Senator Obama's poor judgement. Of course, as the US surged 30,000 more soldiers into Baghdad, the British got a new leader and got the hell out of Iraq. An un-surge. Americans forces engaged insurgents, increasing the number of Iraqi refugees to over 4 million as Iraqis fled the battles in Baghdad. As the reported violence went down in Iraq, the violence escalated in Afghanistan.

Was it President Bush's strategy of deploying more soldiers into Baghdad that lead to "progress" in Iraq, or was it something else? Other possibilities might be that Iraqis were running out of ethnic neighborhoods to cleanse. Iraq is now much more segregated along religious and ethnic lines. The definition of ethnic violence was also changed, so that someone shot in the front was no longer considered a target of the ethnic civil war and chaos, but merely a victim of crime. Then of course, there are the CLCs. The White House website described them this way :

"Concerned Local Citizens (CLCs) continue to play a key role in the decreasing trends of violence and improving stability across Iraq.
More than 130 different CLC groups are volunteering to support security in their neighborhoods, with more than 80,000 active members.
More than 10,000 Iraqis from the original Anbar Awakening were hired and now serve in the Iraqi Security Forces. "
The Congressional Research Service describes them differently, noting "the CLCs are made up of former insurgents."
The CRS noted that during the surge, U.S. commanders were turning over "informal security responsibility to 91,000 former militants called 'Concerned Local Citizens' (CLC’s) or 'Sons of Iraq' in exchange for an end to their anti-U.S. operations. "
According to , the U.S. is paying about $16 million dollars a month to members of the Sons of Iraq. "General Petraeus emphasized during his testimony that the 'savings in vehicles not lost because of reduced violence — not to mention the priceless lives saved — have far outweighed the cost of their monthly contracts.'"
Will the paychecks convince the Iraqis to embrace a western style democracy, or will the checks mysteriously stop coming after the first week of November when Obama wins?

McMortgage Crisis


During the Illinois primary, I switched parties and voted for Ron Paul. I felt fairly confident Obama would carry Illinois, and voted for the Republican who seemed the least hypocritical. This November I'll probably vote for Nader. If I lived in Florida, Ohio or another battleground state, I would vote for Obama. I'll also be voting for Democrats in the congress. If you're a Republican who is outraged at the Bush deficit, WMD lies, Iraq occupation incompetence, and Neo CON artistry, I urge you to vote for Ron Paul or Bob Barr if you can't bring yourself to vote for a Democrat.

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Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else. -Margaret Mead