Monday, November 10, 2008

Poll: Bush Less Popular Than Nixon In Final Days

From Politico:

With 71 days left in office, President Bush is less popular than President Nixon was at the time of his resignation, according to data released Monday by CNN and Opinion Research Corporation.

The new poll, taken Thursday through Sunday, showed an approval rating of 24 percent and a disapproval rating of 76 percent.

CNN released a chart showing presidential "disapproval" ratings in CNN or Gallup polls for each president dating back to Harry Truman. This list shows the percentage of Americans who disapproved of the way each president was handling his job.

More here.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Despite GM's Staggering Losses, CEO Still Rakes In Millions


It's difficult to imagine a more poorly run corporation than General Motors these days. The company reported a $2.5 billion loss in the third quarter and warned that it could run out of cash in 2009. GM's share price is down 78 percent this year.

A lot of people at GM are feeling a lot of pain these days. GM has been shedding jobs left and right and announced it will lay off 3,600 workers beginning early next year.

One person who is not feeling the pain, though, is GM Chief Executive Rick Wagoner.

This year, Wagoner will pull down a salary of $2.2 million, in addition to other CEO perks. And last year, Wagoner's total compensation was $14.4 million. That works out to $39,452.05 per day, including weekends. (Note that in 2007, GM lost a staggering $38.7 billion).

And now, Wagoner has the gall to push for a government bailout for his company. In other words, Wagoner is a firm believer in the "capitalist" system when it comes to defending his obscene pay. But he apparently has no qualms about asking for billions of our tax dollars to help fix his sinking company.

Perhaps the most troubling aspect of all this is that GM's woes are entirely self-inflicted and the result of poor management over the years. While Toyota was perfecting hybrid technology for its now wildly popular Prius, GM was betting the farm on clunky gas-guzzling SUVs. Now that the latter are out of favor, thanks to sky-high gas prices, GM is on the ropes, because it was too short-sighted and stupid to have a "Plan B."

Actually, I guess GM does have a Plan B---stick out its hand and beg for the government to give it billions of our tax dollars.

So in the end, all of us will wind up paying for this fiasco. GM's workers, who're being laid off by the thousands will suffer the brunt of the pain. We taxpayers will also likely suffer. In fact, just about everyone is going to suffer, in the end. That is, except for the people directly responsible for GM's mess: the over-paid GM executives like Wagoner whose short-sightedness and poor decisions led to the fiasco at GM in the first place.

What's even more astonishing about this story is that Wagoner's fat paychecks dwarf the pay of Toyota's executives (who have traditionally earned only a small fraction of what their Detroit CEO counterparts earn).

Although Japanese CEO pay is not publicly disclosed, it is estimated to be only a fraction of what U.S. automaker CEOs make. For example, the estimated pay of Toyota's CEO in 2005 was under $1 million.

In fact, in recent years, U.S. CEOs have made vastly more than what their counterparts make in other nations. For example, in 2005, a typical Japanese executive made 11 times what a typical Japanese worker earned. In the U.S., the average CEO pulled down a staggering 475 times what the typical American worker earned.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Al Franken's Bid For Senate Still Alive

From the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON — The Associated Press is uncalling the Minnesota Senate race.

Republican Sen. Norm Coleman finished ahead of Democrat Al Franken early Wednesday in the final vote count, but his 571-vote margin falls within the state's mandatory recount law. That law requires a recount any time the margin between the top two candidates is less than one-half of one percent.

The AP called the race prematurely.

Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie said the recount won’t begin until mid-November at the earliest and will probably stretch into December. It will involve local election officials from around the state.

In this video, Franken makes a strong case for his campaign, as well as what the Democratic Party stands for. Franken's arguments are so compelling that I really have to wonder: who the f*ck ARE these morons who vote GOP these days?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election 2008 Voting Information From

Today's the big day. This is from; it includes a lot of useful info for voters:

Election 2008 Voting Information

Today, November 4th, is Election Day! Remember to vote---not just for Barack Obama, but for Congressional, state, and local candidates as well.

Where and when do I vote?

Find your polling place, voting times, and other important information by checking out these sites and the hotline below. These resources are good, but not perfect. To be doubly sure, you can also contact your local elections office.

What should I do before I go?

  • After you've entered your address on either Vote For Change or Vote411, read the voting instructions and special rules for your state.
  • Voting ID laws vary from state to state, but if you have ID, bring it.
  • Check out all the voting myths and misinformation to look out for: Vote411

What if something goes wrong?

  • Not on the voter list? Make sure you're at the right polling place, then demand a provisional ballot.
  • If you're voting on an electronic machine with a paper record, verify that the record is accurate.
  • Need legal help? Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE.
  • If you encounter a problem, try to videotape the situation and submit it to

Want to do more?

Now, everybody go vote!!!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Republicans Who Call Obama A Socialist Are Showing Either Ignorance Or Desperation


In the demented spirit of a godfather of American fascism, Joe McCarthy, plenty of Republicans, led by McCain attack dog Sarah Palin, are hurling the dreaded "S" word at Barack Obama. It's right-wing regurgitation.

The dreaded word in McCarthy's time was "communist." Now it is "socialist," and the far right bases this on Obama's clearly stated intention to enact very limited income redistribution for the benefit of working-class and middle-income Americans.

This misnomer reveals the stupidity of those who use it with any sincerity, and the desperation of those who actually took political science and economics in college and surely know better.

Socialism defined

Here's a basic dictionary definition of "socialism," from Webster's New World College Dictionary:

1. any of various theories or systems of the ownership and operation of the means of production and distribution by society or the community rather than by private individuals, with all members of the society or the community sharing in the work and the products.

Please note that the crucial part of the definition has to the with "the means of production and distribution." I am unaware that Obama has ever advocated nationalization of industries, Israeli-style kibbutzes or anything else that characterizes bona fide socialism. He is clearly, like almost all other American progressives, a welfare capitalist. He favors a system of private ownership, but with restraints, checks and balances, and limited intervention in the public interest.

Many conservatives, being ignorant, disingenuous, or both, have greatly expanded the definition of "socialism" to include any and all kinds of income redistribution that works for the benefit of those roughly at or below median income. To broadly paraphrase one of their heroes, Adam Smith, the richer people among them say nothing of their own gains; they complain only of those of other people.

Any time any public entity, whether a local hospital district or the federal government, makes any decision about taxation and/or appropriates money for anything, income is redistributed. It's a question of to whom.

What Americans have seen for about 35 years, more rapidly at times but always steadily, has been socialism for the rich, certainly by the "broader" definition of the right. A federal tax structure that was once progressive, and remains so on paper in some senses with the retention of brackets, has been gradually rendered impotent by the fine scalpel of legislators and tax lawyers. Most corporations now pay little if any income tax, and the very wealthy have myriad shelters with which they happily dodge responsibility for upkeep of the infrastructure, or even for bankrolling the latest war meant to increase their profits.

Socialism for the rich

As for socialism for the rich, I won't even go into corporate welfare, intrinsic advantages of the rich in the legal system, the system of legal bribery we call campaign finance, etc. I'm just sticking with their definition -- redistribution of income. The distribution of wealth is more unequal than it has been since 1929. (Remember what happened that year?) And this hasn't happened by accident. The '80s supply-side economists led by Arthur Laffer and David Stockman were quite above board in their intention to favor corporations and the rich in taxation, in the apparent belief that such policy would spur investment, create jobs, actually increase tax revenue, and result in "trickle-down."

For the most part, with some interruptions during the Clinton administration, the program of socialism for the rich was put over, and with accompanying indoctrination against anything faintly liberal or progressive. The New Deal was ancient history; and in the minds of many, the opportunistic right succeeded in perversely melding it with the failure of Soviet socialism, or with anything that strayed in the very least from a laissez-faire, supply-side party line.

I stopped being a fan of Ralph Nader after he ensured the presidency for an apocalyptic buffoon like George W. Bush. But Nader said something on a debate show that has stuck with me since: "They (the big corporations) want to socialize their losses and privatize their profits." Never was anything truer said.

Obama, though merely bringing a rather mild bourgeois liberalism back to the table, faces the wrath of fools conned by this right-wing economic nonsense, and the venom of those who would use ignorant "fellow travelers" of the far right to stay in control of the wheel.

But, with two days left until the deciding moment, history appears to be tilting toward Obama. Americans have had 28 years to endure "upscale" socialism. Many who don't listen to frothing-at-the-mouth rhetoric know firsthand what such policies have done to them. Indications are that a large turnout of such folks will hugely favor Obama.

Here's a link that shines more light on the subject. There aren't many real socialists left in America, but here's what their presidential candidate thinks about Obama. And, here's one more from the MSM, its own nasty self.

Manifesto Joe is an underground writer living in Texas. Check out his blog at Manifesto Joe's Texas Blues.