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Debunking the McCain Myth

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Jack O’Spades

Hello dear readers, there is something I feel that I need to discuss with you. Many people hold misconceptions about Senator McCain. He is widely seen as being more of a maverick and more progressive than he actually is. These distortions are not held by one segment of society, but are nearly universal, affecting everyone from the lunatic right to even moderately progressive individuals. Most recently we have seen this erupt from the right wing luna-pundits, who seemed to believe that McCain was horribly progressive because he appeared on The Daily Show to often, and *gasp*, actually questioned the Republican line. He also did the unthinkable for a conservative politician by calling the amazingly dickish pastor Jerry Falwell one of the political “agents of intolerance”.

Granted for a progressive these things are amazingly refreshing to see in conservative leaders, but it certainly isn’t enough. Going on the Daily Show isn’t going to make you more progressive, just as appearing on Fox News doesn’t turn you into a complete duchebag, and everyone knows Jerry Falwell was a jackass. However, for all his maverick posturing it simply hasn’t been enough to win him the White House for the last two times he has ran. So in short order our friend McCain has completely ditched whatever claim he had to being a maverick to become what he is now, a neocon boot licker. Going so far as to prostrating himself before religious conservatives by giving the commencement address at Falwell’s Liberty University back in 2006.

McCain’s voting record eliminates any doubt as to his conservative credentials. He has consistently low ratings from unions and womens’ groups (rough average of about 20%), often low rankings from environmental groups, dismal ratings from peace minded organizations, and nearly consistent 0% ratings from the ACLU, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and Planned Parenthood. While he supports the neo-liberal (as in “Free Trade”, not to be interpreted as, in any way, liberal) CATO-Institute about 80% of the time, is fast friends with tax cut groups and big business lobbies (although he has made enemies among government contractors), and has a life time rating with the American Conservative Union at 83.2%. All of this information was obtained from Project Vote Smart (www.votesmart.org), an organization that is ironically supported by John Sidney McCain III himself.

Although this refreshingly available voting record has already hit the blogosphere, many on the right hemisphere of it are still choking on the “maverick” image of John McCain. Their claim, in a nutshell, is that 82.3% isn’t really that much, and that he is one of the most progressive republicans. First off, I’d challenge anyone to argue that being 82.3% dead, or 82.3% paralyzed, is not really that bad. For those of you who really don’t think that’s too bad, you may want to talk to some of our Iraq war wounded, although they’re probably still over there. If you can’t get a hold of them, you could always try it yourself, although from a moral standpoint I should probably tell you not to.

As for being one of the most progressive Republicans in the Senate today, thats not exactly a big deal. We are perhaps the most conservative nation of the advanced industrial democracies, and being the most progressive of the most conservative party in our country, in one of the (or just the) most conservative eras in our history, is that really saying anything? Uh, probably not.

McCain has accepted virtually all of Bush’s policies verbatim. If anything he is even more dangerous than Bush, who’s own effectiveness has been limited by his obvious cronyism and incompetence. McCain is replaying the same Republican political maneuvers of 2000 and 2004, which seem to be still effective. Employing his “outsider” status, the oldest, perhaps most effective American political tactic, of which issues such as being a longtime Senator never seem to offer much of a damper to. In addition, he holds the Republican ideological trump card, “stability” which is achieved both through martial action abroad and prisons at home.

It is perhaps the former where McCain is the most dangerous. He has accepted the ideological framework of “Islamo-facisim” to a tee, the basic concept of which is that Islamic militants are going to take over the world unless we bomb all Islamic countries into a fine slurry of rock an bone. The ones that we don’t bomb must have a pro-western government, regardless of how undemocratic it will be.

McCain has a multitude of ideas which will help to further strain our military and diplomatic capacity to the breaking point. In addition to wanting to bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran (to which he has been quoted singing to the Beach Boys’ “Barbara Ann”) he also seems bent on re-starting the Cold War, because James Bond movies are so much better when you have those rascally Russians with their funny accents and furry hats. He has openly advocated expanding NATO to the Ukraine and Georgia, and placing missile defenses there. Such a move would infuriate Russia, and place it on the defensive, not a move that you want to make with a nuclear superpower.

In addition, McCain has also called for Russia to be removed from the Group of Eight, a relatively informal meeting of some of the world’s leading industrial and military powers. Although this is mostly a petty gesture, it is the diplomatic equivalent of the bitch slap. Considering his already threatening stance towards Russia, this will only exacerbate diplomatic problems of his own making. Granted, Russia has problems with democracy and civil liberties, but confronting them in a martial fashion will only give Russia more of an excuse to continue such practices. Furthermore, it should be remembered that Russia’s potent nuclear arsenal puts it in a powerful position, and it will not be frightened into negotiations from a military standpoint, particularly when it knows that we are already overstretched in our military capacity. We’re not even in a position to start a good ol’ fashioned proxy war.

Further “brilliant” foreign policy ideas by Mr. McCain include developing a “League of Democracies” and reviving the Office of Special Services. The first of which sounds like a brilliant plan, reminiscent of President Wilson’s League of Nations or perhaps the UN. The big difference is that the League of Democracies is not an inclusive body, it is essentially to be a forum for nations that the US believes to be democracies. Considering our track record of what we will be willing to accept as a “democracy”, such as nations ruled by one time American allies Mobutu Sese Soku and Saddam Hussein, I’m not terribly enthusiastic. It will essentially be a UN in the model of the “Coalition of the Willing”, ie. anyone willing to get on board with American hegemony. More than likely it will be used to provide the fig leaf of international support that the UN was unwilling to grant the Bush administration back in 2003, when Saddam had his magical, vanishing, anthrax warheads.

The idea of reviving the OSS, is yet another foreign policy idea from hell. The Office of Special Services was the precursor to the modern CIA. It has been considered, if it can be at all possible, even more reckless than the CIA has been. This comment has been made due to the more lax regulation that was afforded to the OSS and also to the early CIA. McCain believes that the CIA is over regulated, and that we need a “can do” intelligence organization. While I certainly do not dismiss off hand the necessity of an intelligence organization, I would argue that having yet another one would simply add to the alleged problem McCain is trying to solve. We already have the FBI, the Homeland Security Administration (AKA FBI II), the National Security Administration, and Dick Cheney, adding yet another voice to the cacophony doesn’t seem prudent. If anything it will only provide a greater ability to tailor military intelligence to fit whatever mold you want it to. CIA not being agreeable enough about telling us what we want to heat? Set up a new intelligence agency!

To conclude, McCain is NOT a maverick, he is for all intensive purposes Reagan III or W II. Although he has made some appreciated headway in issues of campaign finance reform and has taken military contractors to task, these achievements do not make up for his nonexistent social policy and militant foreign policy. He will only stay the course into America’s economic, military, and cultural ruin.

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Delegates, Superdelegates, and Drama

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by Jack O’Spades

As I write this, I’m sitting looking over the results of Democratic conventions at: http://demconwatch.blogspot.com. I’m doing this because; A: I have no social life, B: I seem sustain myself off of the anger and cynicism inherit in politics, and C: I have no social life. The latest results are somewhat worrying to me.

 

 

Long time readers are possibly aware of my distrust of Hillary Clinton, and my strong belief that she would be slaughtered in a race against McCain. Nothing will bring out Republicans to the polls, like flies to a corpse, than the prospect of another Clinton presidency, not too mention their fear of the HRC from the early years of the Clinton administration. Although I no longer see her as she was back then, the Republicans sure do, and the left isn’t exactly thrilled about her either. Her stance on foreign policy pisses off anti-war, populists and socialists are distrustful of the possible return of Rubinomic style neoliberalism, and some in labor are fearful of more NAFTA like polices.

 

 

Although the race is still neck and neck, two things may conspire to favor the Clinton campaign: Superdelegates and the return of Michigan and Florida delegates to the nomination process. Although Hillary’s lead in superdelegates has dropped sharply in the last few weeks, she still leads Obama in their support. If this were the end of the story Obama has a good chance of besting her for the nomination, that is if he continues his winning streak through the Ohio and Texas primaries. However, there is a possibility arising that could give the Clinton campaign a crucial edge, us.

 

 

As you may recall, the national Democratic National Convention stripped Michigan and Florida of our delegates because they’re quite possibly nut cases. I don’t know how they expected us to magically force our Republican state legislature (who for some strange reason controls the primaries of both parties) into not moving our state primaries forward. Particularly, when they tacked this primary switch up to a bill that would force a paper trail into Floridian voting. What Floridian Democrat could oppose such legislation, particularly if their district has many minority supporters? It would be a major middle finger to voters who are too often the target of voter suppression.

 

 

Anyway, to get back on track, apparently the Clinton campaign is trying to find a way to get our delegates back. She won big in both states, and now apparently we are important to her. I’m sorry Mrs. Clinton, you can’t have it both ways. You choose to snub us along with every other Democrat (well except for Gravel, he counts right?), you can’t change the rules because you’re loosing. Not to mention the fact that Obama wasn’t even on the ballot in Michigan! Not exactly a fair fight, huh?

 

 

Look, I don’t hate Hillary, I just don’t like her. Not to say I’m a big fan of Obama either, they’re both pretty bland politicians who speak of change with hollow words. The only major difference is that Obama at least has a chance against McCain. I’d rather have the worst excesses of the Clinton administration, which both candidates seem to represent, rather than someone who seems all too willing to continue the present course.

 

 

So with all that rage vented I can properly welcome you to the March issue of the Populist Press. This month we have some interesting articles from near and far. We also welcome Mr. Scott Tess, organizer for the Fair Trade for a Greater Orlando Coalition, as a regular contributor to the Press, with an excellent editorial on contrasting the virtues of fair trade with problems inherit to so-called “free trade”. As always we have an article by our favorite investigative journalist, Mr. Greg Palast, on McCain’s transformation into a Republican hardliner.

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The new issue of The Populist Press can be found at http://www.populistpress.com.

Written by jackofspades83

March 9, 2008 at 3:14 pm

Of Ballots and B.S. Eternal

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by Jack O’Spades

The cable and print news outlets tell me this is an exciting time for politics. While I can’t disagree with that generalization, I certainly don’t buy the implicit message of hope. Yeah, yeah, curious George and Dick “the Dick” Cheney® are about to get the boot, but I’m not spellbound by Obama-mania or Clinton fever. I want someone who will take on the madness of the last four administrations, (not just the last one!) and not someone who will, at best, ‘hold the line’.

 

Unlike the famous “Colbert Bump”, it seems that an endorsement from this paper may be a political death sentence, sorry Mr. Edwards! We’ll be voting for Obama (note – NOT AN ENDORSEMENT), since he’s still much better than ANY Republican president. That’s right preachers of the Ron Paul, we don’t like your candidate. No amount of angry letters will change the fact that he is xenophobic, libertarian nut job, who probably hates both brown AND black people.

 

So we’re certainly more cynical and stimulated than normal, hopefully that means that the parts I wrote will be at least interesting drivel. In addition, we have an editorial from one Mr. E. Smith-Jones. A quality piece on president Bush’s grand scheme to save the economy by giving us each about $600. As you can see Mr. Bush’s plan is incredibly complicated, so make sure you’re awake when reading it. If you can’t detect the sarcasm please put down the paper, it’s not for you. Also, consider making toast while you take a bath. Remember, electricity and water are nature’s best friends.

 

For those of you I haven’t offended away, or who are not taking a bath with a toaster, you may notice a theme in this volume of the press. As the election gets closer, the incidents of voting related shenanigans are on the rise, so we feel compelled to inform you on possible mischief at the polls. This observer would point out that more worrisome than the Clint Curtis style claims of tampered voting machines, is the legal attempt to stamp out votes and potential voters. Not to say that the illegal attempts are negligible, or that Mr. Curtis is insane (I haven’t any input on that allegation, seriously), but the legal attempts are more likely to sway the vote, and to fall under the radar. For more on the subject of legal, vote theft, refer to the book “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy”, by Mr. Greg Palast.

 

So stay wary, and know your rights! Particularly if you’re black, brown, and/or poor. If you’ve been convicted of a felony, see the local chapter of ACORN, they have plenty of information on your rights. Their contact information is in the ad section, on the last page.

Everyone should be sure to get in contact with the American Civil Liberties Union (http://www.aclu.org/), they are a wealth of information on all of your rights. Enjoy this edition press, folks (www.populsitpress.com)!

Written by jackofspades83

February 20, 2008 at 11:16 pm

Taking Our House Back: The Press Weighs in

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It’s the third year or so of the endless campaign for the white house. Finally we’re getting close to the end, of both the eternal campaign and the nightmare of Bush II reign. Soon we’ll cast our vote for the 11 or so Democrats, and maybe our votes will be counted. So in case the national Democratic party decides not to give in to such “important” states like Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina; you may get to be counted. Yay, Democracy!

 

To those of you who read this regularly, you’re probably as pissed off as I am with the Democrats already. The fact that they can be scared by the political equivalent of house cats, and be bought off almost half as easily as the Republicans (a major feat in and of itself). Thank you national Democratic party fucks for kneecapping those of us here in Florida that still vote for your party.

 

So, if we get to vote in the primaries who should you vote for? Please allow us at the Press to tell you how to live your collective lives. It’s a lot less work for you, and hell, we’re going to voice our opinion regardless of whether anyone actually cares! So you may as well tag along for the ride.

 

We here at the Press are officially supporting John Edwards, for the presidency of the United States of America. Mr. Edwards is the only candidate who has constantly voiced a populist message, and has made fighting poverty and economic bondage the focus of his campaign. While many of the Democratic candidates this year would make at least a decent president, Mr. Edwards is the best of those who actually have a chance of winning.

 

Granted we love Kucinich, and he would probably be just as committed to fighting poverty while providing many other things the front runners are unwilling to do. However, even Kucinich knows that Kucinich isn’t going to win. His recent endorsement of Obama has been a strong indication of that. Not too mention that he lost in Iowa, which is, oddly enough, one of the most anti-war states in the country. If Kucinich can’t come close to winning there, he certainly cannot win at all.

 

Look, we don’t enjoy poking at Kucinich’s ardent followers, and his chances of winning. However, he won’t win if we just believe in him enough. I’d also strongly urge his other supporters against a symbolic vote. I don’t think any of us want someone as pro-war, and with as many corporate links as Clinton. Reality is a bitch, I know.

 

Mr. Edwards is a good candidate, who has strongly allied himself with unions and alternative economic theorists. He is far from perfect, but so is virtually everyone, with the possible exception of Jesus (especially since he can turn water into wine).

 

Mr. Edwards is in many ways like FDR, and we desperately need that sort of politician again. Just like FDR we cannot expect him to end all the follies of capitalism, but who else among the front runners (or any candidate!) is willing to fight so hard to do so? From listening to them, watching their votes, and seeing who they surround themselves with, only Edwards has made the push.

 

Much has been made about Mr. Edward’s wealth, and how it somehow revokes the legitimacy of his message. This sort of argument is patently ridiculous. Mr. Edwards has allied himself with a movement that would help to transfer political power from people of his wealth and status, to the population at large. If anything, his willingness to speak for reform that would go against his material gain only adds to his legitimacy.

 

In the end, Mr. Edwards can only be judged by his actions. However, among all the candidates, he is the best chance for brining the economic and social change that our country desperately needs after the wake of Regan and the Bush dynasty. It is for this reason that the Press has chosen to back Mr. Edwards in ’08.

Written by jackofspades83

January 17, 2008 at 10:39 pm