Bad Deeds for 5-20-2008

Six-Term Republican in Scandal – Rep. Vito Fossella, a six-term Republican, a New York congressman who admitted to fathering a child out of wedlock with a woman who bailed him out of jail on a drunk driving charge this month, announced Monday that he will not run for re-election. Fossella, who represents Staten Island and part of Brooklyn, is the 30th Republican to announce they would not seek re-election to the U. S. House of Representatives.


US is Fueling Middle East Turmoil – Egypt’s foreign minister criticized President Bush’ Mideast policies Monday, a day after the American leader lectured Arab leaders on their approach to governing. (Bush is telling other people how to govern? – JLV)


Coal Industry Blowing the Tops Off the Appalachian Mountains – The coal industry is blowing up the Appalachian Mountains as a cheap way of getting at the black stuff below, behavior decried by the environmental group Appalachian Voices as “one of the greatest human rights and environmental tragedies in America’s recent history”. Unspeakable ecological violence known as mountaintop removal is creating an upland moonscape, which is incapable of regenerating trees. As far as the eye can see, the land is grey and pockmarked with huge black lakes, filled with toxic coal slurry. The rubble is then tipped into the valleys – more than 7,000 have already been filled – and more than 700 miles of rivers and streams have disappeared under rubble and thousands more soiled with toxic waste.

This has come about because of America’s insatiable appetite for cheap coal to generate electricity. (I suggest you read this entire article. BTW, does your electricity come from coal? If it does, think about switching providers. – JLV)


Texas Attorney General Spent $1.4 Million on “Voter-Fraud” Witch Hunt – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s two year, $1.4 million dollar investigation into what he claims is “an epidemic of voter fraud in Texas” to justify his support for voter ID laws, resulted in just 26 cases. It will come as no surprise to anyone who has been following C&L’s ongoing coverage of this issue that all of the cases were “against Democrats, and almost all involving blacks or Hispanics.” What’s more, of the 26, only 8 were actually cases of fraud. “In 18 of the 26 cases, the voters were eligible, votes were properly cast and no vote was changed – but the people who collected the ballots for mailing were prosecuted,” yet Abbott refused to investigate a serious case of apparent ballot-box stuffing of “more than 100 ballots – potentially more than in all of Mr. Abbott’s other vote-fraud prosecutions combined” – “in Highland Park, one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the country with hundreds of million-dollar homes and where both George W. Bush and Dick Cheney once lived.“

In more than 2/3 of the cases in Greg Abbott’s epidemic, he actually charged volunteers who merely helped elderly and disabled people to be able to vote because they didn’t add their name to the envelope to show that they carried the sealed envelope to a mailbox for them – a crime Abbott saw fit to spend an average of more than $53,000 each to pursue of a Federal Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Grant that is supposed to go to enforce state and local laws with an “emphasis on violent crime and serious offenders.”

Abbot went around Texas training officials to spot voter fraud by way of a 71-slide powerpoint that included only pictures of minorities to look for clues on mailed-in ballots like “Unique Stamps” such as “the ‘sickle cell stamp,’ which depicts an African-American woman and infant.” Abbott’s highly publicized “Special Investigations Unit” into voter fraud even went so far as to actually peer in at least one suspected anonymous ballot mailer’s bathroom window while they were taking a bath.


Fox News Advertizes Karl Rove as a Political Analyst, But He’s Really a McCain Promoter – Fox News hosts routinely introduce Rove as a “former senior advisor to President Bush,” “the architect,” a “political wizard” and a “famed political consultant.” But never has he been introduced as he should be — as an informal advisor and maxed-out donor to John McCain’s presidential campaign. The “most influential pundit” in America, as Fox likes to trumpet, should have to play by the same rules as other high-profile political analysts. For example, Paul Begala and James Carville are regularly identified as supporters of Hillary Clinton when they appear on CNN. But Rove has been able to act as an independent observer while criticizing Clinton and Barack Obama, McCain’s likely general election opponent.

Rove has also admitted to meeting with Sen. McCain recently. On April 22, while doing on-air coverage of the Pennsylvania primary for Fox News, Rove let slip that he “saw Senator McCain recently at a private gathering” where the general election campaign was discussed. An unnamed GOP consultant who “has met with Rove a few times this year” told Stone that “Karl is up to his eyeballs in this.” The Washington Post has also reported that Rove is working with outside groups who aim “to influence the outcome in November.”


Conservative Bill Kristol Wrong Again, Just Like Always – For years now, FOXNews pundit William Kristol has been wrong on nearly every subject he’s chosen to write about or speak to. In his New York Times column on May 19, he said:

On Tuesday night, while the G.O.P. Congressional candidate was losing in a Mississippi district George Bush carried in 2004 by 25 points, Barack Obama was being trounced in the West Virginia Democratic primary — by 41 points. I can’t find a single recent instance of a candidate who ultimately became his party’s nominee losing a primary by this kind of margin.

Hey Bill, you’re not looking very hard. On Feb. 5, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney beat presumptive GOP nominee Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) by 85 points in the Utah Republican primary. And on the same day, Mike Huckabee beat McCain by 41 points in the Arkansas primary.


John McCain is Confused About Who Has Authority in Iran – McCain has recently accused Obama of wanting to negotiate with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. But Obama never said that. He did say that he would negotiate with the Iranian leadership — but, on matters of foreign policy and Iran’s nuclear program, the guy in charge is the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. When McCain was asked about this at a press conference, McCain insisted that ultimate political authority in Iran rests with Ahmadinejad — even mocking Klein when he challenged him on it. McCain said, “I mean, the fact is he’s [Ahmadinejad] the acknowledged leader of that country and you may disagree, but that’s a uh, that’s your right to do so, but I think if you asked any average American who the leader of Iran is, I think they’d know. Go ahead. Or anyone who’s well-versed in the issue.”

In fact, according to the CIA’s World Factbook, ultimate political authority in Iran rests with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, not the president. For a foreign policy “expert,” McCain clearly has a pattern of getting the basic facts wrong.


McCain only tells half the story of what his health proposal could mean for U.S. workers – McCain says in a new TV ad: “Let’s give every American family a $5,000 refundable tax credit” to buy health insurance.

Sounds good. But McCain failed to mention how existing employer-sponsored health benefits would be affected.

  • Workers would be taxed on the value of any employer-paid health benefits, partially offsetting the $5,000 credit for those now covered by such plans.
  • Experts say a tax credit plan like this would likely cause companies to reduce or eliminate health benefits for their employees.

But McCain’s simplistic ad misleads viewers by promising to give “every American family” a $5,000 benefit while failing to mention what he would also take away.


McCain Misleads on Budget – McCain’s big promise is that he can balance the budget while extending Bush’s tax cuts and adding a few of his own. He likes to leave the impression that this can be done painlessly, for example, by eliminating “wasteful” spending in the form of “earmarks” that lawmakers like to tuck into spending bills to finance home-state projects. We found that not only is this theory full of holes, it’s not even McCain’s actual plan.


McCain Exaggerations and Distortions on Tax Cuts – McCain says that eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax will save “more than 25 million middle-class families more than $2,000 every year.” But McCain’s “middle class” includes families making up to $200,000 per year, and the $2,000 figure is an average. Those earning more money will see the lion’s share of the savings. McCain also leaves out the fact that the proposal could cost as much as $1.6 trillion over 10 years.

By the measure most economists prefer, McCain is wrong in his claim that Sens. Clinton and Obama want to implement “the single largest tax increase since the Second World War;” it would be the fifth largest. At a more basic level, it’s misleading to tag Clinton and Obama for something that was scheduled during the Bush administration – the expiration of the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts, which by law will occur at the end of 2010.
McCain also repeats the mantra that cutting the capital gains tax rate will increase government receipts. In fact, rate cuts produce a spike in revenue, but it’s only temporary. McCain also falsely claims that higher capital gains tax rates will affect 401(k) plans.

McCain was the first to announce the now widely discredited proposal to suspend federal gas taxes. The proposal wouldn’t lower prices at the pump and would result in (effectively) an $8.5 billion windfall to oil companies.


Georgia Republican Party Chairwoman Says “John McCain is kind of like Jesus Christ on the cross” – Georgia Republican Party chairwoman Sue Everhart said “John McCain is kind of like Jesus Christ on the cross,” Because they were both born 2,000 years ago? No! It’s she said it’s because McCain never denounced the United States when he was a war prisoner — just like Christ, when he was in ‘Nam. Ha ha, but McCain did denounce the United States. According to the International Herald Tribune’s profile of McCain, “he was tortured and forced to sign a statement denouncing US policy.”


John McCain Resigns From His Own Campaign – Believing that he has become too much of a drag on his campaign, John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential candidate, and one of the key components of his campaign and id, has stepped down, the latest casualty of a presidential campaign eager to cauterize damage caused by its ties to lobbyists, age and President Bush. McCain, who has appeared in most of his commercials and fundraisers, is the highest profile departure from McCain’s inner circle since a summer 2007 shake-up cost McCain his campaign manager and chief strategist. (Funny, more at the link)





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About Jim Vogas

Texas A&M Aggie, Retired aerospace engineer, former union member, Vietnam vet, Demcratic Party organizer, husband and father.

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