Thursday, October 30, 2008

Calling a Spade a Spade

What a nasty business this has all been. While there are occasional flashes of sublimity in politics, mostly it reflects the dirt of human nature, the squalor and blind competitiveness of the brain stem. And I know that the lust for power and the tendency to believe the worst about other people and the ability to manipulate and lie are not restricted to one end of the political spectrum.

But after eight years of incompetent and malign stewardship of our country's institutions, I am out of patience with these latest rounds of proud ignorance and paranoia and baldfaced manipulation from the political Right. I remember feeling a bit panicky and sick to my stomach for both of W's elections, but I don't recall death threats and effigies and groundless appeals to the fears of the great unwashed coming from any portion of the Left. It's all very easy now to say "I told you so," and certainly I was not an expert on what each four years under W would yield. And I sure never expected nor predicted the kind of catastrophic misgovernance we've seen. But the worries about George W. Bush were plentiful and well-founded, and there were well-reasoned arguments why electing him was a bad idea.

But it seems the Right just doesn't do well-reasoned arguing. Maybe there are sound reasons why Barack Obama ought not to be elected President. But clearly they don't get the faithful whipped up into the proper froth. So instead we get labels--"terrorist," "socialist"--and ludicrous charges and accusations that appeal to the basest fears of the semi-educated. We all claim to despise negative advertising, yet this has been a starkly negative campaign. Obama has not always stuck to issues, but McCain has far outrun him in terms of character smears and ugly innuendo and outrageous charges.

We get these tactics because Republicans no longer have credibility on issues. They've had their chance with two terms of a far-right president (much of it with a Republican House and Senate--the dreaded "one party rule" that McCain is now decrying as dangerous) and they've made an absolutely titanic cockup of it: the economy is melting down and taking the rest of the world with it; our infrastructure is crumbling; our budgets are heavily in deficit with a staggering national debt to show for it; our government is now engaged in the torture of prisoners of war; American citizens are being spied upon by our own government; our military is stretched thin in Iraq and Afghanistan, with our best hope being that we will leave it in about the same condition it was in when we invaded (the fact that they may have some form of democratic government will neither make them fail to despise us, nor necessarily stop the region's rampant killing--one of the rationales given for the war). This list can go on for paragraphs. It's a very sad comedown from what Bill Clinton turned over in 2000.

So instead of issues, we get attacks. And lies.

Here's one a family member received in his email recently. At first glance it looks possibly legitimate, but its last-minute urgency and the extremity of its claims make it suspect. There are a few quasi-reasonable details thrown in, the sugar to help the medicine of paranoia go down.

But of course it's a fake. And it's telling that the Right goes to such extremes to stay in power. Given that Democrats are often tarred with the "tax and spend" brush (even though Bush has been the biggest-spending President in history), isn't it enough to stick to the facts? Why must one lie openly to reach one's goal? Why would a victory thus gained be OK?

Because it isn't about truth or decency or honor: it's about power and money.

Please read before you vote!


For those among you who have more money than you will ever need, save your time and delete this email.

For the rest of us who are still working with mortgages, children and grandchildren or retired living on a pension and or Social Security perhaps you will take a couple of minutes to read the proposed changes in the American tax system.

Sharing this email with others can make a difference on November 4, 2008; for our citizens and our country.


This is something you should be aware of so you don't get blind-sided. This is really going to catch a lot of families off guard. It should make you worry.

Proposed changes in taxes after 2008 General election:


0% on home sales up to $500,000 per home (couples) McCain does not propose
any change in existing home sales income tax.

28% on profit from ALL home sales

How does this affect you? If you sell your home and make a profit, you will
pay 28% of your gain on taxes. If you are heading toward retirement and
would like to down-size your home or move into a retirement community, 28%
of the money you make from your home will go to taxes. This proposal will
adversely affect the elderly who are counting on the income from their homes
as part of their retirement income.


MCCAIN 15% (no change)

OBAMA 39.6%

How will this affect you? If you have any money invested in stock market,
IRA, mutual funds, college funds, life insurance, retirement accounts, or
anything that pays or reinvests dividends, you will now be paying nearly 40%
of the money earned on taxes if Obama become president. The experts predict
that higher tax rates on dividends and capital gains would crash the stock
market yet do absolutely nothing to cut the deficit.


MCCAIN (no changes)

Single making 30K - tax $4,500
Single making 50K - tax $12,500
Single making 75K - tax $18,750
Married making 60K- tax $9,000
Married making 75K - tax $18,750
Married making 125K - tax $31,250

(Reversion to pre-Bush tax cuts)
Single making 30K - tax $8,400
Single making 50K - tax $14,000
Single making 75K - tax $23,250
Married making 60K - tax $16,800
Married making 75K - tax $21,000
Married making 125K - tax $38,750

Under Obama your taxes will more than double! How does this affect you?
No explanation needed. This is pretty straight forward.


MCCAIN 0% (No change, Bush repealed this tax)

OBAMA Restore the inheritance tax

How does this affect you? Many families have lost businesses, farms and
ranches, and homes that have been in their families for generations because
they could not afford the inheritance tax. Those willing their assets to
loved ones will not only lose them to these taxes.


* New government taxes proposed on homes that are more than 2400 square feet

* New gasoline taxes (as if gas weren't high enough already)

* New taxes on natural resources consumption (heating gas, water, electricity)

* New taxes on retirement accounts and last but not least....

* New taxes to pay for socialized medicine so we can receive the same level
of medical care as other third-world countries!!!

Thank You

Robert D. Jenkins
Vice President - Investments
Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor
Wachovia Securities, LLC
800-999-4448 toll-free

The whole slimy business is debunked over at

There's also a good overview of federal budgets--including W's massive spending increases and the trouble toward which we're hurtling--over at Wikipedia.

Aren't we better than this? I want to believe that Americans are smarter and more decent than to fall for, let alone sanction, the kind of lying power-grab this email seeks. McCain stopping a trailer-tramp from calling Obama "an Arab" and countering that he is a decent family man with whom he has policy differences is one of the few moments of light from this tottering, black-hole party in the whole campaign.


shrimplate said...

I'm just sick of it, of course, but resigned to the high probability that lies, personal attacks, smears, and possibly violence will continue throughout the Obama presidency.

It all has to stop, and it needs to be punished in order to discourage more of it.

wunelle said...

...and it needs to be punished in order to discourage more of it.

I think I've always been dismissive of punishment generally as an ineffectual, biblical kind of tactic, something that satisfies our bloodlust and ugly need for revenge.

But in this case, I think you may be right. The beasts need to be constrained until their ignorant premonitions of calamity are proven wrong. Let's hope law enforcement is properly zealous about enforcing the law...

dbackdad said...

It's truly frustrating. Logic, facts, science, truth -- these are practically useless against the Right because that is not their currency. Faith, fear, innuendo, ends-justifying-the-means -- these they understand. They don't seem to understand that a victory obtained by ill means is not a true victory. It should eat them up inside. They should feel guilty. But they don't, because they are empty inside.