Saturday, December 6, 2008

Quick Thoughts from Kansas

By: nate silver

Six points of general consensus among the reporters, strategists and analysts that were present at the Dole Institute.

1. Obama will have a relatively long honeymoon period, and the public will be inclined to be relatively sympathetic toward him.
1a. The Democrats' largest problem is with the public perception of their Congressional leadership.

2. Obama, politically speaking, has handled his transition very well. The Republicans on the panel felt extremely reassured by appointments like Jim Jones and Robert Gates. This bought Obama a huge amount of political capital.

3. The Republican bench is relatively inadequate at the present time in terms of candidates for national office.
3a. On the other hand, the 2012 Presidential cycle is already being looked at as something of a lost cause. Some of the stronger candidates -- both known and unknown -- might want to wait until 2016 to run.
3b. In the long-term, the future of the party probably lies in governor's offices. If the Republicans are smart, this may be their major focus in 2010-12, as opposed to the Congress and even perhaps the Presidency.

4. Sarah Palin is, for the time being, the public face of the Republican Party.
4a. This is not necessarily a good thing for the Republican Party.

5. The compressed primary calendar is problematic.
5a. The compressed primary calendar is unlikely to change.

6. Obama ran the best campaign we have seen in a generation.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Center Left Nation

Conservatives started spinning even before the dancing stopped on election night. Obama's victory is impressive, but "this is still a center right nation," went the mantra. "This was a good Democratic year, says Bill Kristol, "but this is still a center-right country. Conservative and the Republican Party will have a real chance for a comeback. National Review editor Rich Lowry is less sanguine, but concludes:

"Even in unimaginably challenging conditions for Republicans, the ideological composition of the election was essentially unchanged from 2004. Only 22 percent of voters identified themselves as liberals. The rest were moderates or conservatives. It is indeed, as conservatives have been insisting in recent days, a center-right country. The question is how to appeal to the center again."

Sure, this is a center-right country, but only if you substitute addition for analysis. There are more conservatives than liberals - as there has been for years. So add them to the 44% of the electorate that says they are "moderates," and you get a center-right majority.

But do a little analysis. "Moderate" isn't a place holder, as voters who describe themselves that way have attitudes on the issues of the day. And when you look at attitudes, rather than addition, there is no question: Conservatives have had their day. This is a center-left, not a center-right nation.

The Center for America's Future joined with Democracy Corps to do a nation wide poll on election eve and with an expanded sample, we could probe attitudes of voters by political identification. What we found was clear: on both values and issues, moderates line up with liberals to form a strong majority that isolates conservatives.

On national security, does our security depend on building strong ties with other nations or on our own military strength? Liberals say ties with other nations 76-20; moderates 63-31. Conservatives go the other way 51-43.

Should we begin to take troops out of Iraq or stay the course until we reach stability? Liberals 92-7 for getting troops out; moderates 64-33. Conservatives? By two to one -- 66-33 -- they would stay the course.

Does government regulation do more good or more harm? Liberals believe it does more good than harm by 75-18; moderates by 60-36. Conservatives go the other way, even after the financial collapse, 52-44.

Are you worried that we will fail to make investments we need to create jobs or worry that we will spend too much and have to raise taxes? Liberals worry about not making needed investments 73-23; moderates by 53-44. Conservatives worry about spending and taxes 69-29.

Did you worry more that Barack Obama would raise taxes or that John McCain would continue Bush's economic policies? Liberals by a margin of 58% worry about McCain; moderates the same by 29%. Conservatives by 46 - 70-24 - worry about Obama.

Should homosexuality be accepted or discouraged by society. Liberals say accepted by 82-17; moderates by 61-28. Conservatives want homosexuality discouraged by 63-31.

When we asked whether Republicans lost because they were too conservative or not conservative enough, or whether they should move to the center or reaffirm their principles and stay on the right, liberals and moderates were clear. They lost because they were too conservative and should move back towards the center. Conservatives, not surprisingly, reaffirmed the faith.

On issue after issue, moderates stand with liberals, not conservatives. This is a center-left nation.

Republicans are not only an aging, monochromatic, regional minority party. They not only must now suffer the circular firing squad that follows defeat. They not only struggle to find a compelling leader or a relevant agenda. They swim against the tide. They are a largely conservative party in a center-left nation. Obama's mandate is clear. And they'd be well advised to get out of the way.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Crystal Stilts: Alight of Night

click cover to download

1. The Dazzled
2. Crystal Stilts
3. Graveyard Orbit
4. Prismatic Room
5. The Sinking
6. Departure
7. Shattered Shine
8. Verdant Gaze
9. Bright Night
10. Spiral Transit
11. The City in the Sea

enjoy 3

A Center-Left Agenda for the First 100 Days

By: Katrina vanden Heuvel

At the end of this remarkable week, we're starting to look ahead to the First 100 Days of the Obama presidency. Already, we're hearing calls in the mainstream media warning the new administration "not to overreach." And working overtime, the Inside-the-Beltway Punditocracy continues to reveal its ability to ignore reality -- even while describing itself as "realist" -- with its claims that this is still a center-right nation, despite all evidence to the contrary.

But as Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman writes in yesterday's New York Times, "Let's hope that Mr. Obama has the good sense to ignore this advice...this year's presidential election was a clear referendum on political philosophies -- and the progressive philosophy won."

Obama himself his talked about needing to measure his accomplishments over the first 1,000 Days, rather than 100, given the problems he has inherited from arguably the worst president ever (my words, not Obama's). Indeed, it will take years to undo the damage of the Bush administration and the conservative ideology that has dominated this country for nearly thirty years. But the First 100 Days are still crucial -- not only in signaling to the American people and the world that the administration will take determined steps to repair this nation -- but there is a historical precedent for the need to move forward expeditiously in order to seize the moment and the mandate.

President Obama will need to be bold to deal with the challenges he faces: a cratering economy, broken healthcare system, two wars, poverty and inequality, and the stained US reputation in the world. The millions who were mobilized and inspired by Obama's campaign and candidacy also have their work cut out for them -- continuing to drive a bold agenda to respond to these crises -- just as progressives have in recent years on the war, energy independence, trade, healthcare, and other issues that are defining the new "center" of American politics and hearts and minds.

Here is a list of actions -- ones I care deeply about -- that President Obama can take in the First 100 Days to immediately achieve real and significant change. Some of these he can literally achieve on Day 1 with the stroke of a pen, others will demand coalition building and an inside-outside strategy to push legislation. Many of these ideas are drawn from good groups like the Center for Constitutional Rights, Amnesty International USA, the Apollo Alliance, and Public Citizen. You may have others and I'd welcome hearing yours -- just post a comment.

Bush Executive Orders: As Obama himself said of his first 100 days when campaigning in Denver, "I would call my attorney general in and review every single executive order issued by George Bush and overturn those laws or executive decisions that I feel violate the constitution."

Economic Stimulus: Stop the bleeding -- through expanded health and unemployment benefits and providing real aid to beleaguered state and local governments so they can sustain essential public services.

Iraq: Present plan and hold to your timeline for withdrawal.

Health Care Reform: Begin immediately by expanding health insurance to kids and passing the State Children's Health Insurance Program legislation vetoed by Bush.

Women's Health and Reproductive Rights: Repeal the Global Gag Rule that requires NGOs receiving federal funding to neither promote nor perform abortions in other countries.

Energy and the Economy: Announce a clean energy strategy that will reduce oil dependence, address global warming, create thousands of green jobs, and improve national security. Groups like the Apollo Alliance, Center for American Progress, and Natural Resources Defense Council have strong and concrete plans in this regard. Incorporate elements of this plan into stimulus package.

Bailout for Main Street: Work to ensure that homeowners have real opportunities to renegotiate mortgages and remain in their homes.

Poverty and Inequality: Appoint a Hunger Czar -- as Senator George McGovern and Congressman Jim McGovern call for in a recent op-ed -- who would "coordinate the various food, nutrition and anti-poverty programs... to increase the independence, purchasing power and food security of every human being." Announce your commitment to the goal of cutting poverty in half in ten years.

Labor and Trade: Reject Colombia, Korea and Panama trade agreements as currently written and ensure future agreements promote the public interest. Work towards passage of Employee Free Choice Act.

Science: Allow federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.

Global Warming: Reverse the Bush EPA decision and allow California to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks. Call for a new climate treaty and ask Al Gore to lead that effort.

Guantánamo: Close it, and try people in the US or resettle in countries where they face no risk of persecution or torture. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof offers a compelling idea to "turn it into an international center for research on tropical diseases that afflict poor countries... [serving as] an example of multilateral humanitarianism."

Detention: Close all CIA black sites and secret detention sites. End extraordinary rendition. Abolish preventive detention that allows people to be held indefinitely without charge. Initiate criminal investigations into programs of rendition and secret detention. End trials by military commission. End opposition to full habeas corpus hearings for detainees in Guantánamo and other similar situations. Make known the names and whereabouts of all those detained in rendition and secret detention programs.

Torture: End use in court of any evidence obtained through torture. Officially reject all memos, signing statements and executive orders that justify the use of torture. Establish an independent commission of inquiry into all aspects of detention and interrogation practices in the "war on terror." Announce administration will work for redress and remedy for victims of human rights violations for which US authorities are found to be responsible.

Protect Dissent: Ensure that the FBI adheres to surveillance guidelines. Open Justice Department investigation into surveillance related misconduct. Pledge to end all secret surveillance programs not reviewed by courts or congressional committees.

Limit State Secrets Privilege: Issue new Executive Orders that reverse the expansion of state secrets privilege and the over-classification of documents. Pass legislation making it clear that military contractors are accountable for abuses.

Roll Back Executive Power: Repudiate unitary presidency. Renounce use of signing statements as a tool for altering legislation. Pledge to abide by the War Powers Act and end abuse of Authorization to Use Military Force. (Or as Bruce Fein -- a key player in the Reagan Justice Department -- said, "Renounce presidential power to initiate war anywhere on the planet, including Iran.")

These are doable, and by taking these steps -- with deliberate haste -- President Obama would get a real start on repairing our nation and people's lives


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Peter & The Wolf - Mellow Owl

click cover to download

"Mellow Owl was written and recorded on a farm in Canada, and an undisclosed location in Vermont, according to liner notes. As Red Hunter told Splice Today in a recent interview, "I'm trying out all kinds of new stuff here to see what works. I'm really influenced by these native dudes I met in Fiji who sang super mellow beach harmonies, so I guess it'll be some island jams."

1. Supermellofied
2. Moondance Of Nightowl
3. Ballad of Redhook
4. Fireflies
5. Bottle Rockettes
6. Dime Novel Afterparty
7. Trainhopper
8. City Birds
9. Fiji Boy Part VII
10. The Owl Speaks
11. This Kid I Knew
12. The Bride Of S. Travels

enjoy 3

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Christian Right Killed the Republican Party

By: Jane Devin

When Ronald Reagan began courting the religious right in his bid to win the Presidency, I doubt he knew he was spelling death to the lean tenets of Goldwater conservatism. Yet soon afterward, under the thumb of right-wing religion, the Republican party became a bloated fool, stuffed with hypocrisy, greed, and anti-intellectualism. In 2008, the price is being paid through lost elections and a loss of public trust.

While Bush railed about the axis of evil, there was another axis that gathered steam during the Reagan years. The Moral Majority, Focus on the Family, and The Christian Coalition were all formed within years of each other as religiopolitical groups. Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, and Pat Robertson, the respective leaders of these movements, formed a triad that sought to influence politics through a gospel of neo-conservative Christian rhetoric aimed at millions of faithful adherents whose votes, it was hoped, could swing the socio-political pendulum away from progress and back to "traditional values."

In order to win the votes of the triad's faithful followers, Republican politicians bartered themselves into a hear-no-wrong, see-no-wrong trade-off. This trade-off allowed Falwell to hold sway with politicians, and appear as a respected political pundit on right-wing shows, even after outlandishly insisting that the purple Tinky Winky children's character was gay, or that the anti-Christ was coming in the form of a Jew. He could promote the idea of ending the public school system in favor of church-run schools, as he did in his book, America Can Be Saved, yet still wield considerable influence in Washington.

In trading endorsements for blindness, Pat Robertson could say that feminism "is a socialist, anti-family, political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians" -- and even suggest that a nuclear device should be used to blow up the State Department -- yet Senators and other politicians would still appear on his CBN network, even after other controversies, such as the use of Operation Blessing planes for mining activities, splintered his Coalition.

Republican politicians continued to cater to James Dobson even after he distorted the research of scientists to promote his anti-gay agenda in Time magazine. Dobson, who operates several non-profits, has used millions in tax-free donations to try to influence nominations for the Supreme Court and to subvert the First Amendment separation of church and State, but legislators, rather than reining in the 800-pound gorilla, quaked under threat of being targeted by Dobson's political media machine.

There was a mutuality to the trade-off between the Christian right and its adopted Republican politicians. In exchange for being given credibility and influence in Washington, the triad and their various branches would justify the intrusive Patriot Act, torture at Guantanamo Bay, and massive governmental debt to their audience of millions -- if politicians would stand against Roe v. Wade. They wouldn't make a stink about outrageously expensive no-bid contracts -- if it meant that their "faith-based" charities could get governmental grants. They would support war against a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 -- if politicians went on the record against same-sex marriage.

The would ignore or excuse the fact that a large percentage of corporations paid no taxes at all -- if it meant no new taxes for them. They'd support Bush even as he misled the public about weapons of mass destruction, and they'd excuse the unethical actions of henchmen like Rove and Libby -- if it meant that school vouchers would be put on the agenda.

Working in tandem with their pocketed politicians, the Christian right would rejoice at the FCC's repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, which gave rise to a slew of unchecked right-wing programs that hawked the myth of a vast "liberal media", even as markets narrowed and became dominated by a handful of corporations.

Right-wing provocateurs like Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh were encouraged to truck in fear, loathing, and controversy, mirroring the religious right's mission to divide the country into red/blue, good/evil, conservative/liberal, Christian/un-Christian factions. There was no room for the moderate middle in this "with us or against us" equation, as witnessed by the public shredding of moderate Republican politicians like Arlen Specter, a Jew, and a vocal critic of the Christian right. "What some are trying to do is take over the party," Specter warned in 1994. "That's bad for the Republican Party and bad for the country." Specter became a target of the religious right for his support of Roe v. Wade, and his refusal to bend to the will of religious power brokers like Dobson, who attempted to use his influence to block Specter's 2005 bid to become chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee

Today, Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann are among two of the more prominent Republican figures that have become mouthpieces for the religious right. Their attempts to split a diverse, multi-cultural country into "pro-America" and "anti-America" factions have left little doubt who is to be considered patriotic and who is not.

Those who are right-wing Christians -- anti-abortion, anti-feminism, anti-gay, anti-evolution, anti-taxes, pro-gun, and pro-deregulation -- and who are willing to ignore or justify massive governmental debt, corporate welfare, bank nationalization, unjustified war, falling markets, depleted retirement accounts, record foreclosures, government spying, broken treaties, torture, the impingement of a free press, the subversion of the First Amendment, the hiding of official records, the missing millions from Halliburton, and more - are patriotic. Everyone else is not.

Barry Goldwater once said that he was "sick and tired of the political preachers" that tried to dictate his morality.

"And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of "conservatism."
Goldwater, I think, would be rolling in his grave at the hijacking of his party by religious fundamentalists. It remains to be seen if the Republican party can recover from its long and seedy affair with the extreme right, but there is no doubt that many socially moderate, fiscally conservative Republicans are waiting for a leadership that is driven more by Goldwater ethics than by the bogeyman of a separatist, neo-con God.


Evangelical Leaders Using God Like a Hired Gun

By: Christine Wicker

They tried branding Obama the anti-Christ. They tried linking him with Islamic terrorists. They've implied that unknown powers bought his allegiance by financing his education at Ivy League universities. They've used their pulpits to endorse McCain, hoping to spur a fight with the I.R.S. that would rouse their troops.

None of these tactics has brought their errant minions under control.

So using God like a hired gun to terrorize the town's people, the evangelical Christian mullahs are declaring that Obamageddon is at hand, using that very word and asking as the Religious Right/Republican Townhall magazine did in a September headline, "Could We Survive a Barack Presidency?"

Evangelical publisher James Strang answers the survival question by warning his readers that people who hate Christianity will take over the country once Obama is elected.

In fact, "life as we know it will end," Strang writes.

Last week Focus on the Family's James Dobson added his own doomsday predictions with a 16-page rant about evils that will befall the United States by 2012 if Obama is elected. A British commentator dubbed Dobson's list of a parade of horrors.

As a warm up Dobson blames misguided young evangelicals for putting Obama in office. It's them he's hoping to scare most. But they and emergent church leaders such as Brian McLaren, who endorsed Obama, have broken ranks and won't be coming back. He's truly delusional if he thinks they're listening to him.

A great mass of other evangelicals, who never followed the evangelical mullahs and never will, are also going for Obama. Maybe Dobson thinks they'll listen to him.

Not likely. They're using tried-and true-evangelical tactics on behalf of their own cause.

Seattle's Jim Henderson, a former Pentecostal preacher and head of, is trying guilt.

He recently sent a mass email urging his friends to support Obama because he has the character and bearing to be president, and because his election gives Christians the opportunity to transform historical wrong.

The enslavement of Africans contributed greatly to our nation's wealth and has never been addressed directly and concretely by our leaders, Henderson wrote. Linking that lack of repentance to the country's $13 trillion of debt, he told his friends that our current troubles are a matter of reaping what we've sown. He then cited the chance to elect Obama as an example of "God's mercy - as a way through this historic dilemma and one that will do for our national character what reparations never could."

He and his ilk won't be convinced by Dobson's scare tactics. They're more likely to agree with a new bumper sticker popular in Colorado, where Focus on the Family is based.

It reads, "Focus on your own damn family."

So which evangelicals are left? Oh, I know. How could I have left them until last? The true faithful. The ones who always listen to Dobson.

He's going after evangelicals who may stay home on election day because they paid too much attention to his reasons for refusing to support McCain earlier in the year.

At that time, thinking that he was powerful enough to quash McCain's nomination, Dobson chastised fellow evangelical Gary Bauer for supporting the senator from Arizona.

"The Senator," Dobson said in a press release from Focus on the Family, "is being touted by the media as a man of principle, yet he was involved with other women while married to his first wife, and was implicated in the so-called Keating scandal with four other senators. He was eventually reprimanded by the Congress for the 'appearance of impropriety.' The Senator reportedly has a violent temper and can be extremely confrontational and profane when angry. These red flags about Senator McCain's character are reminiscent of the man who now occupies the White House."

The man who now occupies the White House? Oh yeah. That guy. Isn't he the last president the Religious Right elected?

But let's forget about that. Many of God's men have fallen. God's people move on.

Dobson's jeremiad against McCain also noted the senator's love of alcohol and gambling, as well as his acceptance of support from Log Cabin Republicans, a gay group.

Pretty strong stuff. All true. But let's forget about that.

The Republicans anointed McCain anyway.

When Dobson saw that threats to take his toys and go home didn't keep McCain from winning the nomination, he forgot his previous scruples. Now Dobson sees McCain as God's man. It's Obama who's the devil. And under God's direction, as he always is, Dobson is speaking out again. But this time he is no longer dealing in truth.

As he notes in the letter's preface, Dobson is now imagining things, things that could happen if Christians don't unite behind McCain and give that adulterous, profane, violent, scandal-tainted, bought-out-by-the-homsexuals drinker and gambler the most powerful elective office in the world.

In the letter Dobson imagines Boy Scouts disbanding rather than allowing gay scout leaders the complete license they will get if Obama is elected. He imagines the Pledge of Allegiance being banned in schools. He imagines Communism gaining new power. He imagines doctors killing children just minutes before birth. He imagines Americans forbidden to own guns. He imagines television and radio stations forbidden to preach the Bible. He imagines ministers, lawyers, doctors, social workers all being punished for following their consciences.

Dobson may have gotten his letter idea from Christian radio's Janet Porter who wrote an imaginary "Letter from a Future Prisoner" last year. She was fear mongering over the idea the Hillary might be elected. If that happened "thought crimes" would be instituted. Christian books would be banned. Christian speech would be called hate speech.

Porter, an even bigger drama queen than Dobson, imagined herself in prison doing hard labor merely for defending her faith. And who does she imagine in the cell next to her?

No, no. Not Jesus. Don't be ridiculous.

It's a home-schooling mother weeping inconsolably because her innocent children have been put in foster care.

All because they loved Jesus.

All because that adulterous, profane, violent, scandal-tainted, bought-out-by-the-homsexuals drinker and gambler didn't win the presidential election.

It's enough to make Mickey Rooney weep.

Monday, October 27, 2008

We Are Bulletproof Atease Vol. 1

Click Cover for Free Artist Supported Download

1. The Gadflies - Weight Of The World
( )
2. Companions In The Haze - There She Goes
( )
3. Luna Park Rescue - Paperplastic
( )
4. Dead Ringer - Where The Fuck Are My Keys?
( )
5. Harry Burgess - Hold On Forget Me
( )
6. William H. Bonney - Bigger Than Me
( )
7. Martijn Duiven - Stop Videotaping
( )
8. A Clever Name Here - X'd
( )
9. Elliott Mor - Fire Rabbit
( )
10. Steady Downhill - Open The Window
( )
11. Popular Mechanics - Voiceless Motion ( demo )
( )
12. Tandem Felix - Yooden Vranx
( )
13. Wes Scott - Lie
( )
14. Man's Small Step - The Day Has Slowly Passed
( )
15. Primm And Propeller - Daniel Day-Lewis In Boxing Vs. Terrorism
( )
16. William Cremin - Army Ants
( )

Enjoy 3

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tobacco : Fucked-Up Friends

Dude from Black Moth Super Rainbow Solo Album

Click Cover to Download

1 Street Trash
2 Truck Sweat
3 Hairy Candy
4 Hawker Boat
5 Side 8 (Big Gums Version)
6 Yum Yum Cult
7 Berries That Burn
8 Get My Nails Did
9 Dirt (with Aesop Rock)
10 Gross Magik
11 Little Pink Riding Hood
12 Backwoods Altar
13 -
14 Tape Eater
15 Pink Goo
16 Grease Wizard

Enjoy 3

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Let the Blame Game Begin

By: James Carville and Paul Begala

As Barack Obama and the Democrats appear poised for an historic sweep, we have a message for our Republican friends: It is time to point fingers.

We are pro-finger-pointing. We disagree strongly with Gov. Sarah Palin who said recently, "Do you notice that our opponents sure have spent a lot of time looking at the past and pointing fingers? You look to the past because that's where you find blame, but we're...looking to the future, because that's where you find solutions." On the contrary, Governor, blame assignment, while much maligned, is essential to determining what went wrong and how to set it right. Besides, it's a hell of a spectator sport. Here's our primer for a little game we like to call Big Losers Always Make Excuses (BLAME):

First -- a couple of ground rules. You can't blame the press or minorities. Sure, media-bashing is part of the conservative catechism, and minority voters are likely to support Barack Obama in record numbers. But finger-pointing is only interesting when you point at someone on your team. Republicans need a civil war -- a steel cage death match -- to sort out what they stand for. Scapegoating outsiders won't purge the party of what's rotting it on the inside.

Here's the most important thing about finger-pointing: you have to start early. If you're a Republican who wants to avoid blame for the current meltdown, you cannot afford to wait until after the election is over.

The smartest people in the conservative movement are already pointing like a bird dog on a South Georgia quail hunt. David Brooks and Bill Kristol are leading the way. Mr. Brooks, representing the intellectual wing of the conservative movement, called Ms. Palin, "a fatal cancer to the Republican Party." Attaboy, Brooksie. Score one for the brainiacs.

Mr. Kristol, on the other hand, blames neither Ms. Palin nor Sen. John McCain, but rather McCain's campaign advisers, writing of the campaign: "Its combination of strategic incoherence and operational incompetence has become toxic." See? That's how you do it. Kristol can't say McCain's problem is that he supported the Iraq war, (which Kristol advocated) or that he chose Sarah Palin (whom Kristol praised). So rather than play defense, Bill went on offense, blaming McCain's Steve Schmidt-led campaign. But we have a feeling this fight will only begin when the Schmidt hits the fan.

But where are the other voices? We need to hear, for example, from Karl Rove. Whom will he blame? We stipulate that Karl is a genius -- albeit a genius whose advice took Pres. Bush from a 91 percent approval rating down to 26. With the House of Bush ablaze, Karl is going to have to do some quick finger-pointing before they change they change his nickname from The Architect to The Arsonist.

How about Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and other radio personalities? They never liked McCain much -- but his campaign cratered only when he embraced their wild attacks on Sen. Obama. It was only after Mr. McCain borrowed the Limbaugh-Hannity line on Bill Ayers, only after Gov. Palin accused Mr. Obama of "pallin' around with terrorists," that the bottom fell out for Mr. McCain and Ms. Palin. We're betting the hot air boys will blame the intellectuals. After all, if you want to make an omelet, you've got to break a few eggheads.

The Republican Party is atomizing, and each faction must participate in Project BLAME. The neocons may want to blame the theocons. The economic conservatives will likely blame the big spenders. The conflagration will be so multi-dimensional we'll need a program to sort out the players. They will need to answer fundamental questions: What does it mean to be a Republican? Do Republicans support laissez-faire or nationalized banking? Do Republicans support a balanced budget or half-trillion-dollar deficits? Do Republicans want a "humble foreign policy" like George W. Bush, or preventive war against countries that pose no threat, like, umm, George W. Bush? Are Republicans the party of limited government or a vast Medicare prescription drug benefit? Are they wary of Big Brother or eager to expand warrantless wiretaps? Do they support Christian values or torture? Are they the party that believes that cutting-edge technology can shoot a missile out of the sky or the party that believes humans and dinosaurs walked the earth simultaneously?

These questions should define the 2012 GOP presidential primaries. So start blaming, all you would-be candidates. That means you, Ms. Palin, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush and Charlie Crist. Hurry up. You only have 1,165 days left until the Iowa Caucuses.

Yeah 3

Valet :: Naked Acid


Click Cover To Download

1. We Went There
2. Drum Movie
3. Kehaar
4. Fuck It
5. Babylon 4 Eva
6. Fire
7. Streets

Enjoy 3

Monday, October 20, 2008

Weird Tapes : Get Religion

Check Out the Gram Parsons Sample on "Home"

Click Cover for Artist Supported Download

1. The Heavens
2. Glorious
3. Home
4. Nikki
5. Party Trash

He posts new songs on his blog all the time


Meet John McCain's Pals

By: Menachem Rosensaft

Ok, who would you like to see alongside the next President of the United States in a crisis, Warren Buffett or Phil Gramm? General Colin Powell or Randy Scheunemann? Paul Volcker or Nancy Pfotenhauer? We know a great deal about Powell (Republican former Secretary of State, former National Security Advisor and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff), Buffett (CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, one of the richest and most successful influential businessmen in the world), and Volcker (former Chairman of the Federal Reserve), all prominent Obama supporters, but what do we know about some of the luminaries who have John McCain's ear?

First and foremost, there is Phil Gramm, the former Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, whom Nobel Economics Laureate Paul Krugman has called "McCain's guru on economics," and whose deregulation of the banking industry not only enabled banks to go into the subprime mortgage business in the first place, but made possible the "gimmicks" - hybrid instruments, credit swaps and the like - that McCain now rails against. Krugman famously described Gramm in his New York Times column as "the arch-deregulator, who took special care in his Senate days to prevent oversight of financial derivatives -- the very instruments that sank Lehman and A.I.G., and brought the credit markets to the edge of collapse." Gramm, we should all remember, was McCain's most prominent and influential economic adviser until earlier this summer when he dismissed the state of the economy as a "mental recession" and called Americans a "nation of whiners."

McCain has been "palling around" with Phil Gramm for decades. The two are close personal friends, and McCain was national chairman of Gramm's short-lived 1996 bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

And then there are the lobbyists. The neo-con Randy Scheunemann, McCain's chief foreign policy adviser, was a registered foreign agent for the Republic of Georgia and several other countries while simultaneously serving as McCain's senior foreign policy advisor. (Scheunemann also has close ties to the discredited Iraqi politician, Ahmad Chalabi.) In November 2007, Scheunemann discussed Georgia with an aide in McCain's Senate office. And according to the Washington Post, on the same day that Scheunemann was prepping McCain for a telephone call with Georgia's president in April of this year, Scheunemann's lobbying firm signed "signed a $200,000 contract to continue providing strategic advice to the Georgian government in Washington." Both McCain and Sarah Palin have made American support for Georgia a cornerstone of their foreign policy. Palin told Charles Gibson in her ABC News interview that she considered the Russian invasion of Georgia to have been "unprovoked," and that the United States might have to go to war against Russia to protect Georgia. Not surprisingly, Scheunemann was one of the McCain advisers who prepped Palin for the Gibson interview. As Kelley Beaucar Vlahos recently asked in The American Conservative (hardly a left-wing publication), "When McCain suggests there will be 'severe, long-term negative consequences' for Russia if it doesn't leave Georgia alone, how do Americans know that isn't the $800,000 Scheunemann's lobbying shop has gotten from Georgia since 2004 talking?"

Charlie Black, McCain's chief campaign adviser, is a long-time lobbyist for Colombian interests, as are numerous major contributors to the McCain campaign. The lobbying firm Black headed until earlier this year earned more than $1.8 million from Occidental Petroleum Company, Colombia's largest oil and gas producer, and has represented numerous other Colombian businesses and individuals. According to the New York Times, Black

"lobbied Congress, the State Department and the White House on Occidental's behalf regarding 'general energy issues' and 'general trade issues' involving Colombia. His list of activities also included winning 'foreign assistance for Colombia' and efforts to block an economic embargo against the country, which has a questionable human rights record."
Small wonder, then, that McCain considers the Colombian Free Trade Agreement "something that's a no-brainer." McCain's instinctive position appears to be that what's good for his lobbyist pals must be good for the United States. This is the same Charlie Black, incidentally, who told Fortune Magazine in June that another terrorist attack on U.S. soil "would be a big advantage" to McCain, and who masterminded Jesse Helms' racist 1990 North Carolina senatorial campaign against Harvey Gantt.

Still others in the McCain entourage have close ties to the mortgage industry. Campaign Manager Rick Davis used to head the Homeownership Alliance, an advocacy group on the behalf of Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac, and Davis Manafort, the lobbying firm that still bears Davis' name, received monthly $15,000 payments from Freddie Mac until August of this year. And Kurt Pfotenhauer, the husband of McCain's senior policy adviser Nancy Pfotenhauer, was the top lobbyist for the Mortgage Bankers Association. The telegenic Nancy Pfotenhauer is also a former Washington lobbyist for Koch Industries whose Koch Oil subsidiary was once cited by a Senate Committee as "the most dramatic example of an oil company stealing by deliberate mismeasurement and fraudulent reporting." Only a few days ago, Ms. Pfotenhauer said that while the Obama-Biden ticket was doing well in Northern Virginia, "the rest of the state, real Virginia, if you will, I think will be very responsive to Senator McCain's message." She apparently believes that the upstate part of the Commonwealth of Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe has somehow turned into a "fake" Virginia.

Davis has another questionable accomplishment to his credit. According to the Washington Post, he "helped arrange an introduction in 2006 between McCain and a Russian billionaire whose suspected links to anti-democratic and organized-crime figures are so controversial that the U.S. government revoked his visa." No one has suggested that McCain ever did any improper favors for Oleg Deripaska, the billionaire in question who just happens to be, again according to the Washington Post, "one of the richest men in Russia and a close ally of President Vladimir Putin." Nevertheless, the very fact that McCain had dinner and drinks, that is, "palled around," with the controversial Deripaska at least once less than three years ago at an exclusive Swiss resort (seven months later, in August 2006, McCain allegedly had dinner again with Deripaska and Davis in Montenegro) is at least as noteworthy as what Colin Powell has called Barack Obama's "very, very limited relationship" with Bill Ayers on the board of a respected Republican-funded educational foundation in Chicago.

At last week's debate, Barack Obama told us that he would look for guidance and advice to individuals like Warren Buffett, Paul Volcker, Joe Biden, and Richard Lugar, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. We must assume that Phil Gramm, Randy Scheunemann, Charlie Black, Rick Davis and Nancy Pfotenhauer would figure prominently in a McCain-Palin administration. Is there anything else anyone needs to know before going into the voting booth?


Friday, October 17, 2008

esau mwamwaya + radioclit :: the very best mixtape

click cover for free artist supported download

"this mixtape is one of the most sincere and uplifting things I've heard in a long time." GVSB

1) Kamphopo (vocals: Esau Mwamwaya, music: Architecture In Helsinki - Heart It Races)
2) Wena (vocals: Esau Mwamwaya & Bleksem, music: DJ Cleo - Wena)
3) Tengazako (vocals: Esau Mwamwaya, music: M.I.A - Paper Planes)
4) Chikondi (vocals: Esau Mwamwaya, music: Hans Zimmer - True Romance Theme)
5) Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa (The Very Best Remix) (vocals: Esau Mwamwaya, music: Radioclit & Vampire Weekend)
6) Hide And Seek (vocals: Esau Mwamwaya & Teki Latex, music: TTC - Batards Sensibles)
7) Salota (vocals: Esau Mwamwaya and Blk Jks, music: Cannibal Ox - Life’s Ill)
8) Boyz (vocals: Esau Mwamwaya, Akon & M.I.A, music: M.I.A -Boyz)
9) Sister Betina (vocals: Esau Mwamwaya & Mgarimbe, music: Mgarimbe - Sister Betina)
10) Birthday (vocals: Esau Mwamwaya & The Ruby Suns, music: The Ruby Suns)
11) Funa Funa (vocals: Esau Mwamwaya, music: Radioclit)
12) Kada Manja (classic version) (vocals: Esau Mwamwaya, music: Radioclit)
13) Dinosaur Of The Lost Ark (The Very Best remix) (vocals: Esau Mwamwaya & Ben Brewer, music: Bermuda)
14) Get it Up (The Very Best Remix) (vocals : Esau Mwamwaya, Santogold, M.I.A & Northern Cree, music: Radioclit)
15) Will You Be There (vocals: Esau Mwamwaya & Michael Jackson, music: Michael Jackson - Will You Be There)



Monday, October 13, 2008

Women: Women

One of the best albums of the year!!!

Click cover to download

Women: Women

1. Cameras
2. Lawncare
3. Woodbine
4. Black Rice
5. Sag Harbor Bridge
6. Group Transport Hall
7. Shaking Hand
8. Upstairs
9. January 8th
10. Flashlights

Enjoy 3

Three Questions that Bob Schieffer Probably Won't Ask John McCain, But He Should

By: Paul Slansky

"Senator McCain, you used to say that the main thing you were looking for in a running mate was the ability to take over as president, if necessary, on Day One. Given how many people there are in government that clearly meet that criterion, how do you justify picking someone who so many of the most intelligent and respected members of your own party believe clearly does not? Your campaign slogan is Country First, sir. Can you tell the American people exactly how you were putting Country First when you chose a congenitally dishonest, proudly ignorant, cold-blooded demagogue with no presidential qualifications whatsoever to sit just one of your 72-year-old cancer-ridden heartbeats away from running the country in these spectacularly perilous times of almost unprecedented economic and international crises?"

"Senator McCain, your campaign has spent the last ten days impugning your opponent's character. We've seen Sarah Palin doing it, we've seen your wife Cindy doing it, and we've even seen you doing it yourself. Well, there he is right across the table from you. Is there anything you want to say to Senator Obama about Bill Ayers or Reverend Wright or Tony Rezko? Because it would be nice if he could respond to these allegations and insinuations and put this utter bullshit behind us so you could spend the next twenty days explaining to the American people why they should vote for you instead of scaring them about why they shouldn't vote for him."

"Senator McCain, your campaign rallies lately have become forums for foaming-at-the-mouth cretins who are so certain that your opponent is a terrorist that some have actually shouted out, "Kill him!" and "Off with his head!" Given the nation's history of intolerance against those perceived to be somehow different - be it by virtue of sexual orientation, religion, or race - can you tell the American people how you're putting Country First by fanning the fires of hatred and why they shouldn't hold you and your rabid running mate personally responsible if those fires explode into violence?"

Okay, I know Bob Schieffer's not going to say any of the above, but I urge anyone who knows him to press him to find some less prosecutorial way to ask these questions, because John McCain's efforts to make Barack Obama's character the deciding factor in the election have served only to shine a spotlight on his own galaxies-beyond-shame cravenness, and he deserves to be called out on it to his face. I'd be more than happy to do it but no one's going to let me near him, so I'm dependent on Bob.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

"Trust" in the Economy and Electoral Politics

By: Michael Roth

I've been thinking a lot about trust recently. When it is abundant everything goes more smoothly: from love to commerce, from sports to politics. When it is lacking, everything else can seem broken or meaningless.

Nowadays we hear the word "trust" used all the time in relation to the credit crunch and the steep decline in stock markets. It's bad enough for the economy when a business can't provide credit to a consumer. No car loan, no sales; no sales, no dealership; no dealership, no factory and so on. But lately even banks are afraid to loan money to one another. There are certainly many reasons why trust has evaporated in the credit markets, but the basic fact is that too many financial institutions were making loans (or trading loans) without having any real assurance that the borrower had the capacity to pay back the debt. The number of borrowers multiplied as the loans were traded, and the crisis of confidence spread like a stomach virus on a college campus. It's hard to tell who has deep exposure to these bad loans, who has tried to make lots of money by trading them before anybody realized they weren't going to get paid back. Uncertainty is a lack of faith, and the lack of faith destroys trust.

It's a cliché that trust is a lot easier to destroy than it is to build. When children tell us that this time they are telling the truth, and that they lie only some of the time, they are about to learn that even one lie destroys the credibility of all your other statements -- even when these other claims are true. One lie creates general uncertainty. We are seeing this everyday on Wall Street and in the banking sector. Governments are desperately trying to restore trust, but as long as there is lingering (and, I might add, reasonable) uncertainty about who is holding the bad debts they once tried to profit from, it will be impossible to have the basic trust that makes our credit systems work.

"Trust" is also a big issue in the political world. Lately, Sarah Palin has been trying to undermine the confidence that many have developed in Barack Obama by insinuating that he has had associations with unsavory, radical characters -- terrorists even. When John McCain calls Obama naïve about foreign leaders, he is saying, "My friends, this young man is likeable enough, but he just doesn't deserve the trust you must place in the Commander in Chief." And of course, when the junior senator from Illinois fires back on McCain's singing about bombing Iran, he is saying: "Hey, you just can't trust this guy. He's too hot-headed and impetuous."

The problem with the politics of attack that the Rovesque McCain-Palin ticket is now employing, and the problem with Obama's defense through recrimination, is that both strategies erode trust in democracy itself. People get fed up with the electoral system and become less likely to participate in it. Sure, attack ads get our attention, but once their manipulations are exposed, we feel less likely to believe anything. And, as in the case of the credit crisis, once we lose trust in the political process, it is very difficult to restore our confidence enough to care about any election at all.

The erosion of trust in our economy and in our leaders is not exactly news. But what can we do about it? Scientists last year reported that oxytocin can retard the erosion of trust, but I don't think mass medication is a path worth exploring here (despite the jump-start it would provide the ailing pharmaceutical industry). After all, we have good reasons for losing trust.

The cure for the erosion of trust is not medicinal; it's social. Participation builds trust. On the university campus where I work, the only ways I've seen trust successfully restored is to involve people once again in whatever activity they'd become uncertain about. From athletics to music, from lab science to poetry workshops, participation reduces uncertainty and builds faith through practice. When you begin again to seek or offer credit in secure ways, when investments can be protected, then you feel prepared to take a few new risks. When you get involved with your fellow-citizens in a political campaign or make your voice heard with your neighbors, you begin to see that democracy isn't only about attack. Democracy is about participating with people who you grow to trust by working together.

Teachers know this. We have to earn the trust of our students everyday so that they can risk making mistakes, so that they can take the chance to open themselves to learning. That's why we encourage the participation of our students.

Our current, acute crisis of confidence will pass. Then we must rebuild trust by participating in our economy and polity rather than just try to tear down others who are doing so.


Monday, October 6, 2008

Battleground State Breakdown

By: Michael Fauntroy

This is the point in a presidential election cycle when the "battleground states" -- those which are undecided and likely to be close for the rest of the contest -- begin to take shape. That's in part because of state developments including "hot" state and congressional races and controversial ballot initiatives. The hot races and ballot initiatives are critical in that they help drive voters to the polls and may have an impact on which presidential candidate wins the state. Indeed, George W. Bush did as well as he did in some states during the 2000 and 2004 presidential because of the high turnouts attributed to the use of initiatives on gay marriage. Following is a breakdown of five battleground states that Senators John McCain and Barack Obama are fighting over.


Virginia has 13 electoral votes and Obama has a slim lead of about two points in most polls. The race will be decided in the northern Washington, D.C. suburbs, where growth in the immigrant population, coupled with large numbers of hyper-educated government contractors and technology workers have changed the demography of the region and made the state "bluer" in recent years. There is also economic anxiety as the western D.C. suburbs are choking under the force of foreclosure rates that rival some of the worst in the country.

The hot race is for the 11th congressional district seat being vacated by Republican Representative Tom Davis, who is retiring. Gerry Connolly, a popular Democrat, is poised to win the seat, which would represent a significant Democratic pickup. There are also two former governors - Democrat Mark Warner and Republican Jim Gilmore - seeking to succeed retiring Senator John Warner. Mark Warner's lead is north of 20 points.

Much has been made of the "bluing" of Virginia and this election will show us just how much change has occurred in the Old Dominion. Long a conservative bastion and birthplace of the Christian Conservative Movement, the state has begun a movement toward the Democratic Party. The current governor and his predecessor, who is contesting a U.S. Senate seat this year, both supported Obama and are putting their operations to work for him. The northern suburbs of Washington, D.C. have become home to many highly educated professionals and immigrants that have not been as receptive to the GOP's message. Obama also is doing surprisingly well in the Tidewater section of the state which, with its military bases and Rev. Pat Robertson, who is based in Virginia Beach, is usually solid Republican. Virginia presents a big pickup opportunity for Obama.


Florida is the biggest prize among states that are too close to call and Obama has a three-point lead in a state that usually goes Republican. There are two interesting races to watch, with Miami-area Representatives - Mario Diaz-Balart and Lincoln Diaz-Balart - both engaged in closer than expected contests.

There are six ballot initiatives this year, some of which are likely to drive conservatives to the polls. The most notable of the questions is one that will define marriage as a union between a husband and wife and does not recognize civil unions. This could help McCain pull out a squeaker.

Florida, with it's diverse mix of residents, has a history of close presidential contests. This likely will be no different. The Cuban population, which is critical in the southern part of the state, is going through a generation divide here with younger voters showing signs of breaking for Obama, the Democrat. Cubans have historically been loyal to the GOP.


Ohio, a perennial swing state, has 20 electoral votes and Obama is clinging to a two-point lead. He will likely benefit from high turnout in the race to succeed retiring Republican Representative Deborah Pryce. She barely beat Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy, who is back to take on Republican nominee Steve Stivers.

A ballot initiative on casino gaming in Wilmington, with statewide proceed distribution, could possibly help boost conservative turnout. However, there aren't any exceptionally controversial ballot initiatives this year and, given the drubbing the GOP took in 2006, there isn't much of a Republican turnout infrastructure, so GOP turnout could be a problem.


The "Show Me" state has 11 electoral votes and McCain has a two-point lead in most polls. There is a hot House race featuring the former mayor of Kansas City trying to unseat a Republican incumbent. There is a big ballot initiative that could spur Republican turnout - a constitutional change that would make English the official state language. Obama barely squeaked by Hilary Clinton in the primary and Black turnout will be critical for him. If Black voters show up in unusually high numbers, then Obama likely will win.


Colorado's nine electoral votes may be decisive this year and Obama holds a four-point lead. Current Representative Mark Udall and former Representative Bob Schaffer are vying to succeed Senator Wayne Allard, who is retiring; Udall has a mid-single digit lead in most polls.

Colorado leads the nation with 18 ballot initiatives, some of which seem designed to bring Republicans to the polls including, abortion, anti-affirmative action, campaign finance reform, and a prohibition on mandatory labor union membership and dues.

Look for the Latino/Latina vote to play a big role here, as the proportion of voters in this bloc has increased tremendously over the years. The Republican Party, through it's immigration stance, has really been damaged among these voters, which complicates McCain's task. His western roots, coupled with a high conservative turnout may be enough to bring him across the line.


Gentleman Jesse & His Men - Gentleman Jesse & His Men

click cover to download

ridiculously great garage pop band

1. Highland Crawler
2. Black Hole
3. All I Need Tonight (Is You)
4. The Rest Of My Days
5. Attention
6. Butterfingers
7. You Don't Have To (If You Don't Want To)
8. I Get So Excited
9. Sidewalks
10. You Got Me Where You Want Me
11. Wrong Time
12. If I Can See You (You're Too Close To Me)
13. Put Your Hands Together

enjoy 3

Vivian Girls - Vivian Girls

22 minutes of punky noisy 60s girl group goodness

click cover to download

1. All the Time
2. Such a Joke
3. Wild Eyes
4. Going Insane
5. Tell the World
6. Where Do You Run To
7. Damaged
8. No
9. Never See Me Again
10. I Believe in Nothing

Enjoy 3

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Deerhoof - Offend Maggie

Sounds like Yoko Ono fronting a tonally perfect art rock band!!!

click cover to download

1. The Tears and Music of Love
2. Chandelier Searchlight
3. Buck and Judy
4. Snoopy Waves
5. Offend Maggie
6. Basket Ball Get Your Groove Back
7. Don't Get Born
8. My Purple Past
9. Family of Others
10. Fresh Born
11. Eaguro Guro
12. This Is God Speaking
13. Numina o
14. Jagged Fruit

enjoy 3

Stock Dive Is Bookend Of Bush Economics

By: Sam Stein

The headline from the world of politics and economics today seems fairly self-evident: in the wake of the House of Representative's failure to pass a bailout package for Wall Street, the Dow dropped by the largest point margin in any single day in history.

But that number told only half the story. Indeed, much of what transpired on Wall Street and in the halls of politics put a bookend on what now seems to the final - poor - chapter of the Bush administration's economic record.

On Monday, the Dow finished lower than when George W. Bush assumed the presidency: 10,587.59 on January 19, 2001 compared to 10,365.45 at its close on September 29, 2008

NASDAQ, the American stock exchange, too, was lower now than it was when Bush took office: 2770.38 on January 19, 2001 compared to 1983.73 on September 29, 2008. The dollar exchange with the Euro was lower than when Bush was elected: 1.068 on January 19, 2001 compared to .695 on September 29, 2008.

Some things have risen, but not the good economic indicators. The Consumer Price Index was at 175 on January 19, 2001 and 219 by September 29, 2008. Unemployment, meanwhile, stood at 4.2 percent when Bush came into power. Today, it is at 6.1 percent.

"It's a striking phenomenon," said Robert Shapiro, undersecretary of commerce during the Clinton White House years. "The reckless negligence and mismanagement of the country's financial markets by the White House, the Treasury and the Fed over the last several years has now produced a crisis that has wiped out all of the increase in the market value of America's companies from five years of record corporate profits, strong productivity gains, and reasonable growth. Bush has now run the table on presidential failure."


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Bailout Plan: Welcome to Economic Shock and Awe

See if this sounds familiar:

There is a gathering threat to the safety of the United States. We must take immediate action. Congress must quickly grant the President and the Secretary what they want and also give them full and unfettered authority to execute the plan.

Welcome to Economic Shock and Awe (or as some have dubbed it, according to Paul Krugman, "the Authorization for Use of Financial Force").

Even the amount of taxpayer money being bandied about -- $1 trillion -- is similar. Think you got your money's worth for the Iraq war? Congratulations -- you're about to buy another pricey debacle.

We've seen how negligent the Bush administration is with our money -- flushing billions on wasteful, mismanaged Iraq reconstruction and Katrina recovery projects.

Now the same folks who brought us those no-bid, profit-guaranteed, crony-friendly, war-and-disaster-profiteering boondoggles want us to hand them control of a $700 billion Wall Street slush fund -- with no strings attached. How dumb -- or frightened -- do they think we are?

This is, as Matt Yglesias calls it, "a crisis point for American liberalism." The battle lines are already clear: Paulson and Bush and the Republican Party want a license to reward the worst actors in the financial industry and do nothing for American families suffering the consequences.

Remember a few years ago when lawmaker after lawmaker -- mostly Democrats, but a few Republicans -- said of Iraq, "If I'd known then what I know now, I'd have voted differently."

Well, this time at least some lawmakers -- mostly Democrats, but a few Republicans -- are not being so easily bamboozled. Congressional Democrats, led by Chris Dodd in the Senate and Barney Frank in the House, have put forth proposals doing away with the Paulson's demand for unprecedented authoritarian power and adding a requirement that the government do more to help troubled borrowers refinance their mortgages.

The Treasury appears willing to bend on those elements but sticking points remain, including efforts to limit the pay of executives and Dodd's proposal that taxpayers get a share of the profits if the bad debt being bought rises in value.

Let's hope Democratic resolve holds up against the inevitable charges by the Bush administration that demands for oversight, limits on executive compensation, profit sharing for taxpayers, and aid for struggling homeowners will lead to an economic Armageddon.

There is no question that the need to address this crisis is urgent and that the issues involved are complex. But urgency and complexity cannot be allowed to become excuses for lawmakers, the media, and the public to throw up their hands and allow themselves to be bull-rushed into disastrous public policy.

Over the past 30 years, Americans have been bombarded with sermons evangelizing for the free market religion of the Right, and the supposed correlation between unregulated markets and progress. In the process, the American people have been demoted from citizens to consumers, and sold a bill of goods (rather than a Bill of Rights) about how the almighty market was the essential foundation of democracy.

In the course of selling us on buying, the market-worshippers shredded the modern social contract, the hard-fought consensus that had emerged since the New Deal, which ordered our political priorities, and expressed both our communal concern for the most vulnerable members of society and our disapproval of huge inequalities. We were now supposed to believe that all could be left up to the soulless, self-correcting calculus of supply and demand. Government involvement was an anachronism, regulatory oversight an impediment.

The last few weeks have demolished that notion. In the battle over the proper role of government, the forces of the Right, the high priests of the church of the Free Market -- including Bush, Paulson, and the Masters of Wall Street -- have suffered a monumental defeat. So why are we allowing them to dictate the terms of their surrender?

Monday, September 15, 2008

RIP Rick Wright

Richard William Wright (July 28, 1943 - September 15, 2008) was a self-taught pianist and keyboardist best known for his long career with Pink Floyd. Though not as prolific a songwriter as his bandmates Syd Barrett, Roger Waters and David Gilmour, he did write significant parts of the music for classic albums like Meddle, Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here, as well as for Pink Floyd's final studio album The Division Bell. Wright’s richly textured keyboard layers have been a vital ingredient and a distinctive characteristic of Pink Floyd's sound. In addition, Wright frequently sang background and occasionally lead vocals onstage and in the studio with Pink Floyd (most notably on the songs "Time," "Echoes," and on the Syd Barrett composition "Astronomy Domine").

On 15 September 2008, it was reported that Wright had died following a battle with cancer.

from wikipedia

what a sad day for the world


John McCain's Allegiance

By: R.O. Blechman


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Animal Collective - Water Curses [SINGLE] [EP]


1. Water Curses
2. Street Flash
3. Cobwebs
4. Seal Eyeing


Fuck Buttons - Street Horrrsing

noise stuff

click cover to download

1. Sweet Love for Planet Earth
2. Ribs Out
3. Okay, Let's Talk About Magic
4. Race You to My Bedroom/Spirit Rise
5. Bright Tomorrow
6. Colours Move


El Guincho - Alegranza

"El Guincho is Pablo Diaz-Reixa, born in Spain. This release is a mix of afro-beat percussion, calypso harmonies, psych tropicalia, world music samplers, doo wop, trance repetition, underwater pop, steel drums, and island feeling plus club oriented song structures, uptempo beats, and exotica production." AMAZON

click cover to download

1. Palmitos Park
2. Antillas
3. Fata Morgana
4. Kalise
5. Cuando Maavilla Fui
6. Buenos Matrimonios Ahi Fuera
7. Costa Paraiso
8. Prez Lagarto
9. Polca Mazurca

a really fun record

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

This Election is Not a Soap Opera or a Football Game: It is About the Future of Our Country

By: Sen. Bernie Sanders

The corporate media would have us believe, based on their coverage, that the most important issues in this presidential campaign are political tactics and the "character" of the four candidates. But what is at stake right now is not primarily the life stories of Barack Obama, John McCain, Joe Biden or Sarah Palin. An election is not a soap opera which deals with the trials and tribulations of the candidates and their family members. Election coverage must not descend into becoming a pre-game football show, one which deals only with "who's going to win" polling data and never-ending tactical discussions of "what the candidate must do" to win this or that state.

In a democracy, elections are not beauty pageants or reality shows, or soap operas for political junkies. Elections are the real business of democracy, and they should be about real things.

Without sounding too corny, what this election is about is the well-being of hundreds of millions of Americans and about what kind of country we will be leaving to our kids and grandchildren. And, at a time of global warming and severe environmental problems, this campaign is also about whether our planet survives in a condition that can sustain human life in the decades and centuries to come.

Given all that is at stake, as American citizens we must demand that the media not continue to trivialize our democratic process, dumb down coverage and, in the process, deflect attention away from the most important issues impacting our lives. This election must, first and foremost, be about the needs of the American people. As Vermont's senator and the longest-serving Independent in American congressional history, let me lay out what I believe some of those issues are:

In the United States today, the middle-class is shrinking, poverty is increasing and the gap between the very rich and everyone else is growing wider. There are many economists who believe that, if we do not reverse course, for the first time in modern history our children will have a lower standard of living than their parents. Our country also has the dubious distinctions of having both the highest rate of childhood poverty in the industrialized world and more people in jail than any other country. Question: What specific ideas do the candidates have as to how we can grow the middle class and create good paying jobs, while protecting our children and the most vulnerable members of our society?

In the United States today, 46 million Americans have no health insurance, even more are underinsured, and we are the only major country on earth without universal coverage. Health care costs are soaring despite the fact that we already spend twice as much per person as any other country. Many employers, large and small, are now cutting back on the coverage they provide their employees making a tough economy even tougher for millions of workers. Question: Do the candidates believe that all Americans are entitled to health care as a right of citizenship? What are their plans for assuring that quality health care is delivered in a cost-effective manner?

Most of the leading scientists in the world believe that global warming, if not reversed, will lead to severe weather disturbances, flooding, drought, hunger, and mass human migration. These scientists also believe that global warming is a more threatening problem than previously perceived, and that bold action is needed to reverse greenhouse gas emissions. Question: Do the candidates believe that global warming is real and a man-made phenomenon? If so, what specific actions are they proposing to reverse global warming? On a related energy issue, what ideas do they have to make our country energy independent?

The United States is now in the sixth year of the war in Iraq, the Taliban is gaining military strength in Afghanistan, the political situation in Pakistan is becoming more unstable, Russia and Georgia have just completed a bloody war, and little progress has been made in easing tensions between Israel and her neighbors. Question: What are the principles that will guide the candidates' foreign policy? What specific steps will they take to combat international terrorism? How will they restore America's position in the international community and help create a more peaceful world?

These are just a few of the major issues facing our nation. I realize there are many more. It seems to me that no matter what our political views are, or what we may consider the most important issues to be, as a democratic society we must demand of the media and the candidates that this campaign focus on the great challenges facing our country and the world. Gossip, melodrama and political tactics just won't do.


Monday, September 8, 2008

8 Questions for Palin -- If You Really "Work For Me," Then Interview for the Job

By: Michael Seitzman

The McCain campaign has now said publicly that they don't think Sarah Palin should have to answer any questions from the media. Since a free press is the only way the People can ask the questions we have a right to know, maybe the media should stop granting access to McCain "spokesmen" until their candidate for Vice President of The United States answers some questions. There are legitimate questions to be asked and, as one of The People, I'd like to start with the following:

1 - Did you really ban books from that library up there? Did you fire a librarian over it? Can you tell us your feelings about censorship in a democracy?

2 - Did you really tell the secessionist group in Alaska that they were doing great work? This same group whose leader said in an interview that, "The fires of hell are frozen glaciers compared to my hatred for the American government?"

3 - Did you abuse the governor's office by trying to get your brother-in-law fired from the state police?

4 - Exactly what is it about Alaska's "proximity to Russia" that qualifies as "foreign policy experience?"

5 - When Campbell Brown on CNN asked McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds to name one decision that you made concerning the Alaska National Guard that qualifies you for the office you seek, why is that considered "over the line?" Do the People no longer have the right to know the candidates' qualifications before electing them to office?

6 - When you say that the Iraq war is a mission from God, what exactly do you mean? And which God are we talking about? Exactly how far does that God want us to go? When does God think we should withdraw? What does God think about the war in Afghanistan? Russia? China? Does God have any thoughts on the housing crisis?

7 - When you said in your acceptance speech that, "Al Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America ... he's [Obama's] worried that someone won't read them their rights," are you suggesting that we should suspend the use of Miranda Rights for anyone deemed by the government to be a terrorist? What legal process would deem an arrested individual a "terrorist?" What other basic rights do you feel should be abolished in the "War on Terror?"

8 - What are your thoughts about the separation of church and state? When you say you want to teach "creationism" in schools, what other elements of Christianity should be taught in schools? In order to design that curriculum, would priests have to be put on our school boards? Should any other religions be taught in school? Judaism? Islam? Buddhism? Or do the children growing up in those households not have the same rights as the ones growing up in yours? Should Christianity also be incorporated into the offices of government?

Readers, if you have any more questions you'd like to be answered, please post them in the comments. You are The People, you have a right to know. Anyone that tells you that you don't have a right to know should clarify exactly what they mean by the freedom they will defend with their very last breath.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

TV on the Radio - Dear Science


1. Halfway Home
2. Crying
3. Dancing Choose
4. Stork & Owl
5. Golden Age
6. Family Tree
7. Red Dress
8. Love Dog
9. Shout Me Out
10. DLZ
11. Lover's Day


Thursday, September 4, 2008

benoit pioulard - temper

This has gotten a ton of plays around the house the last week or so.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Black Moth Super Rainbow - Drippers

This just leaked!!! Yeah its a little hit and miss but still worth downloading.

click cover to download

1. Zodiac Girls (Pony Version of 7" Single)
2. I Saw Brown (Pre-BMSR from 1999)
3. Black Yogurt (with Mike Watt)
4. Milk Skates
5. Happy Melted City
6. One Day I Had An Extra Toe (Esopus Magazine Compilation)
7. We Are The Pagans (Dandelion Gum Outtake)
8. Changing You All
9. Just For The Night (by Laura Burhenn, BMSR Remix)

enjoy 3


Our friends over at my old kentucky blog posted this bonus ep.

"they(bmsr)are releasing a free .zip of their older, unreleased material called Bonus Drippers."

download link

(Bonus Drippers)

also from myoldkyblog

"Black Moth Super Rainbow will release their new Drippers EP this November. It will be available in 10" and CD formats. Big gift bonus? Both CD and vinyl will be scratch n' sniffable!" cool

8 Reasons Sarah Palin is More Qualified than Barack Obama

BY: Seth Grahame-Smith

Sarah Palin (sp?) has ignited the presidential race and fired up the GOP -- as evidenced by three women at the RNC who took the time to print the words "We," "Love," and "Sarah" on pieces of paper and tape them to the backs of their t-shirts. Sarah's even won the backing of the level-headed Rep. Michele Bachmann (R- MN) -- not exactly known for toeing the party line. Clearly, the liberal left realizes that it can't match this kind of unbridled enthusiasm for its candidate. So what are they doing? Attacking her character. Questioning her qualifications. Imagine a political group attacking an opponent because it can't win on the issues or the record. It's disgusting.

So let's set the record straight. Sarah Pahlen (sp?) is not only more qualified for the Oval Office than Barack Obama -- she might just be the most qualified political candidate in our nation's history:

1. Putting Country First - Her membership in the Alaska Independence Party proves that she's exactly the kind of leader America needs: the kind that will always put country first -- even if that country happens to be The Republic of Alaska. Obama claims he loves America -- but has he ever loved it enough to favor seceding from it? It's called tough love, Senator. Look into it.

2. Independence - Sarah hates indicted Senator Ted Stevens, but raised money for him. She hates the "bridge to nowhere," but supported it. She wants to shatter Hillary's glass ceiling, but wears t-shirts touting the size of her boobs. We're dealing with an innovative politician; one who refuses to be categorized. Obama may call himself the candidate of "change," but Sarah Pailen's (sp?) entire political life has been about saying one thing, and then doing another. Now that's "change we can believe in."

3. Family Values - This is someone who's not afraid to preach abstinence for your daughter, even though her own unmarried 17-year-old daughter is pregnant. This is someone who's not afraid to hop on a plane from Texas to Alaska while she's in premature labor. This is someone who's not afraid to hit the campaign trail with a 5-month-old special needs baby. That's what I call dedication to family. Obama, on the other hand? A Muslim.

4. Intellect - Yes, Sarah recently admitted that she didn't know exactly what it was the Vice President did. Yes, she wants creationism taught in public schools. Yes, she doesn't believe global warming is manmade. But I'd like to point out the fact that she wears glasses -- and that's not something dumb people generally do. Obama? No glasses.

5. Military Affairs - As Governor, Pollen (sp?) is authorized to deploy Alaska's National Guard in times of emergency. And while the Guard's Adjunct General admits that she plays no role in national defense, and isn't briefed on military exercises, the fact is -- she's been photographed holding a machine gun, while Obama has yet to wield so much as a .38 for the cameras. When it comes to keeping me safe, that's all I need to know.

6. Foreign Affairs - While Obama likes to take Middle East tours, meet with Europe's leaders, and brag about his running mate being the foreign policy voice of the Senate, he can't hold a candle to Palenn's (sp?) understanding of today's complex, dangerous world. Yes, Sarah admitted that she hadn't paid much attention to the war in Iraq, but she knew enough to rightly call it a "task from God." Yes, she's only left North America once in her life, but her experience as a local sportscaster gave her the ability to follow events as they unfold at lightning speed. And as Cindy McCain pointed out, while Barack Obama was sipping lattes in Cambridge Square, Sarah Pinkston (sp?) was staring down the barrel of Putin's Kalashnikov -- a one woman wall keeping America safe from invasion.

7. Restoring America's Image - Who better than a former beauty queen to add some new luster to America's battered image? Paylen (sp?) will take a proverbial can of Aqua Net to our nation's unruly hair, and apply liberal (no pun intended) amounts of blush to Lady Liberty's cheekbones. In a word, she'll dazzle the world with her charm and style. Even the most anti-Western extremists will melt when they see the People and Vanity Fair spreads of Sarah warming her fur-lined extremities over burning science textbooks. And how would Obama restore our leadership in the world? The question we should be asking is: why does he only have two children, while Sarah has at least twice that number? What does Senator Obama have against America's children?

8. Her Soul - In one 15-minute meeting, and one follow-up phone call, John McCain was able to determine that Sarah was more than his running mate -- she was his "soul mate." Not only that, but that she was more qualified to be a heartbeat away from the Oval Office than any Republican on earth. Yes, this is a testament to the power and quickness of McCain's decision making. But it's also a testament to the power of Sarah Payton's (sp?) soul. As a Muslim, it's not even clear that Obama has a soul.

So is Sarah Pillston (sp?) qualified to be Vice President? To be one bad biopsy away from being the most powerful human being on earth? To lead America back to prominence and prosperity, while keeping us safe from a world of ever-changing threats?

In her own words: "Yup...yup."


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Abe Vigoda - Skeleton

click cover to download

1. Dead City / Waste Wilderness
2. Bear Face
3. Lantern Lights
4. Whatever Forever
5. Animal Ghosts
6. Cranes
7. Live-Long
8. The Garden
9. Hyacinth Grrls
10. World Heart
11. Gates
12. Visi Rings
13. Endless Sleeper
14. Skeleton

enjoy 3

Republicans Should Have Been Careful What They Prayed For

By: Monroe Anderson

Republicans were performing a rain dance this time last week hoping and praying that a thunderstorm might wash out Barack Obama's parade. Had the skies opened up on Thursday night during the Democrat presidential nominee's acceptance speech, the record crowd for the historic event would not have been. The record television audience of 40 million -- larger than the one in America that watched the opening ceremonies of the Olympics -- would have been much smaller and rather than hear reporters and pundits talk about how spectacular the week was, the TV audience would have heard commentary about how a risky gambit didn't pay off.

As it turns out, the gods smiled on the party gathering in Denver. All was well and ended well.

Not so in the Twin Cities where John McCain had already stolen Obama's media thunder by naming an unknown, unqualified candidate to be a heartbeat away from the presidency, should Americans be foolish enough to elect him president. A thousand miles away, a gathering storm was upstaging the political staging so carefully planned for the John McCain-Sarah Palin Republican duo.

In the twisted-thinking tradition of the far right TV preachers, I believe God was cursing the GOP for sins committed by its president, George W. Bush a mere three years ago. Despite the televised pleas for help, Bush thought it was more important to complete his vacation in Crawford rather than put his leather loafers on the ground in NOLA in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

His inattention, coupled with his administration's incompetence, was then -- and is now -- a national disgrace.

The Republicans are now paying for past failings. The wrath of Hurricane Gustav is forcing the grand old party in St. Paul, Minneapolis to be scaled down and cut back. McCain and Palin have made a beeline to Jackson, Mississippi where they can demonstrate their concern by being available for photo-ops.

This is being done, of course, all for the national good. Remembering his "Country First" message, McCain encouraged colleagues via video hookup to "take off our Republican hats and put on our American hats."

No surprise here. When you've got a musty old hat that's tattered and torn, putting on one that you've not worn in years is bound to make you feel better -- and look better, too.


Monday, September 1, 2008

Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes

There are so many great albums from 2008 that I haven't posted on the blog. So this month I'm going to try to post an album a day and try to catch up. Here is a good stating point with one of the years best.

click cover to download

Fleet Foxes (2008)

1. Sun It Rises
2. White Winter Hymnal
3. Ragged Wood
4. Tiger Mountain Peasant Song
5. Quiet Houses
6. He Doesn't Know Why
7. Heard Them Stirring
8. Your Protector
9. Meadowlarks
10. Blue Ridge Mountains
11. Oliver James

enjoy 3



“Wilco/Fleet Foxes - I Shall Be Released (Spokane)”

McCain's Disastrous Politics of Gustav

By: Moira Whelan

Today, Obama stated that he would stay out of the way as Hurricane Gustav once again threatens the Gulf Coast. Even Bush, who three years ago celebrated Katrina's landfall at John McCain's birthday party, is staying away.

What does McCain do? Just like he did when he traveled to a market place in Baghdad, he puts the lives of Americans in danger, and diverts the mission for his own personal political gain. He will travel to the Gulf Coast to give a speech while emergency professionals are urging people to leave. Not only is it political grandstanding, it's a disgusting display of the type of bad leadership we would see if John McCain became President.

Preparedness for hurricanes is serious business. When it's done right, emergency managers control the airwaves, the message, and urge political leaders to stay out of the way so they can make sure people and property are safe. Senators and Congressmen are briefed, but told to stay out of the way and wait until they find out what resources are needed, and then make it happen. The governor takes cues from the Emergency Management director of the state: brief people to get out, show leadership, be honest, and make the calls for resources that need to be made. The President turns the keys to government over to the FEMA director to make sure resources flow properly and stands by to twist arms if needed. The business of disasters is left to disaster professionals with politicians playing a supporting role.

Now admittedly, we haven't seen that in recent years, but when government works for people, this is how it happens.

But not in 2008, and not when John McCain is sucking wind on a political campaign.

Now, some Americans will see McCain's trip as "leadership" but just as John McCain's visit to a marketplace in Baghdad resulted in three Blackhawk helicopters and hundreds of soldiers being ordered to protect his photo op stroll through the market, this could be deadly.

It's a complete disregard for the mission and the government professionals at all levels attempting to keep people safe.

John McCain's mere suggestion that he should go there shows his horrific and dangerous judgment. If it actually happens, which hopefully it does not, then he will actually be doing harm. Because he is a presidential candidate, air traffic stops when he lands, roads are closed, and press follow him. Secret service and law enforcement personnel have to make sure everything is secure. That means all of these things STOP WORKING to make the area safer for the people getting out and protecting their homes. The only thing working in the favor of emergency management professionals are the noticeably small crowds at McCain perhaps people will not be motivated to stay around.

These are the very reasons Obama and Biden dismissed the suggestion of travel immediately when asked. He's talked to Jindal--a man on McCain's short list for veep--and has expressed help. Trips of politicians often happen after major storms, but when doing these, the main goal is to highlight the devastation in order to secure the resources needed to fix it. It appears these gentlemen get it, and McCain is out of touch in a truly dangerous way.

McCain's suggestion of a visit will waste precious hours in getting resources in at a time when hours and minutes make all the difference. It will impact news coverage which should otherwise be used to urge people to get out through the proper channels, not political parties.

The Republican suggestion that they may postpone their convention is understandable in some ways. This is, after all, a major emergency. I do think there are many who see this as a political opportunity to not have an embarrassing show that follows one that was amazing the Democrats had this week. They've floated the idea of a telethon to raise money. Political grandstanding? Sure, but at least it could do some good and you're not in the way.

But a visit? Senator McCain, that would be a disaster for the country. Your truly reckless act would show once and for all that you actually would be worse than President Bush.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Fujiya & Miyagi - Lightbulbs

1. Knickerbocker
2. Uh
3. Pickpocket
4. Goosebumps
5. Rook to queen's pawn
6. Sore thumb
7. Dishwasher
8. Pterodactyls
9. Pussyfooting
10. Lightbulbs
11. Hundreds & thousands

click cover to download

yeah 3

If You Really Want to Understand What This Race is About, Look at the Two Candidates' Fathers

By: Johann Hari

The tinsel and tinny sound bites of the conventions pushes us to judge the presidential candidates on the most simple -- and simple-minded -- video-version of their biogs. But amidst all this, we seem to be ignoring the best guide we have to John McCain and Barack Obama's hearts. Both men have written strange, searching books about their fathers. It is in their pages that we can find the clearest -- and most haunting -- clues to their potential presidencies.

At first glance, these slabs of non-fiction -- Dreams From My Father by Obama, and Faith of My Fathers by McCain -- are strikingly similar. They both tell the autobiographical story of an insecure young man who flails around for an identity, and finds it by chasing the ghost of his absent father to a dangerous place far beyond the United States. Yet Obama ended up writing a complex story of colonised people -- while McCain wrote a simple celebration of the coloniser.

Barack Obama Snr was a Kenyan goatherd, born into a country ruled by British white supremacists. He had watched his own father move from job to job -- as chef or butler or servant -- because he would not allow white men to beat him when he made a mistake or got "uppity." He saw his father disappear for six months into a British Guantanamo, because he had been (falsely) accused of being part of the resistance. All around them, some 50,000 Kenyans were being slaughtered by the British in an attempt to put down the rebellion. A favoured tactic was bursting their eardrums. Obama was offered a way out when some American aid workers saw he was smart, and helped him apply to study in the U.S.

There, he met Ann Durham, a poor white girl from Kansas. They quickly got married, at a time when "miscegenation" was still illegal in half of all states, and had a baby. He abandoned them in Hawaii when the baby was two, and the younger Obama only met his father once again, fleetingly.

As he grew up, Obama writes: "I was engaged in a fitful interior struggle. I was trying to raise myself to be a black man in America, and no one around me seemed to know exactly what that meant." He tried turning himself into "a caricature of black male adolescence." He tried living as a community organiser in Chicago. And -- when his father died in a car crash -- he tried to find it in Africa, by chasing his memory. But he discovered a father who had failed. Obama Snr. had left children strewn across the world. He had been blacklisted from the Kenyan government for speaking out against corruption; he sank into the bottle, and isolation.

It was in the slums of Kenya that Barack the son realised he was an American, tied inexorably to his country's freedoms and failings. There was no contradiction. He thought of his grandmothers -- one watching her home burned down by colonisers, another hurrying at 6.30am to catch the bus to work in a bank in Hawaii -- and understood: "They all asked the same thing of me, these grandmothers of mine."

The lens through which McCain views the world is radically different. He was born into military royalty, writing: "For two centuries, the men of my family were raised to go to war as officers in America's armed services." He writes of his "pride" in being descended from "the distinguished conqueror" Charlemagne.

McCain's father was mostly absent, away at sea. As a navy child, McCain writes, "you are taught to consider their absence not as a deprivation, but as an honour." But he hungrily sought out stories of his grandfather and father. They were both angry, hard-drinking men, often disciplined for starting fights: his grandfather even drank the alcohol used to fuel torpedoes on his submarine. Warring was all they knew. When the Second World War ended, his grandfather lamented: "I feel lost. I don't know what to do."

Sometimes their strict obedience to the military was put to great causes, like saving the world from Nazism. But just as often, it was used to crush democracy: in 1965, McCain's father led the invasion of the Dominican Republic to destroy the forces loyal to the elected leader and install a fascist thug. In his book, McCain calls this operation "a success".

While Obama's father and grandfather were being whipped and detained without charge, McCain was being taught to revere the people doing it. He writes of his father: "He was a great admirer of the British Empire, crediting it with keeping 'a relative measure of peace' in the world for 'someplace in the neighbourhood of two hundred years.'" This is a view his son holds to this day -- as we can see from the fact that his foreign policy adviser, Niall Ferguson, calls for the U.S. to pick up where Britain left off. He describes his own childhood in the wreckage of Obama's Snr's Kenya as "a magical time" where "scarcely anything had changed since the days of White Mischief".

But McCain feared he would never live up to his father. He too had become a fighting, drinking, bottom-of-the-class Navy brat always on the brink of being thrown out. Then, on one of his first air raids over Vietnam, he was shot down and captured by the Viet Cong. He was held and tortured. They offered to release him early, but US soldiers are told to insist on being released in the order they were captured. So he stayed for five years, and was tortured some more. In Hanoi, he writes, "I fell in love with my country". In its torture cells, he discovered he was worthy of "the faith of my fathers."

When he returned, his father told him the only problem with the war is it wasn't fought hard enough: Nixon and Kissinger should have bombed more civilians, with less restraint. (They killed 3 million.) His son still agrees: he is angry at the "utterly illogical restraints on the use of American power". McCain says of his predecessors: "I still aspire to live my life according to the terms of their approval." It's true. His father's reaction to failure in Vietnam was to urge bombing of Cambodia; his reaction to failure in Iraq is to sing "Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran."

I do not want to exaggerate the difference between Obama and McCain. The U.S. political system is hemmed in by vast blocks of corporate power and geopolitical pressures. Any president can only nudge this system by inches, in either the right or wrong direction -- but when a giant moves by a few inches, the effect is vast.

From his father, Obama learned to eschew "the confidence reserved for those born into imperial cultures" that they should rule the world their way, with "a steady unthinking application of force". He can imagine the mentality of the boy in Basra whose father has vanished into an occupiers' prison, because it happened to his father and grandfather too. McCain learned the opposite from his father: that the natives only ever learn "to behave themselves" at the end of a big stick. So now we have to ask: which ghostly father will America choose?