McCain More Radical Than Bush — on Economy

16 09 2008

More Radical Than Bush by Jonathan Cohn
The full horror of John McCain’s economic agenda.
Post Date Wednesday, September 24, 2008

John Goodman is a conservative economist who thinks all the fuss over people without health insurance is just hooey. . . .As the Morning News noted, Goodman had helped craft McCain’s health care plan. In other words, he is a McCain adviser.

Or, at least, he used to be. When Goodman’s quote got the attention of reporters, a McCain spokesman issued a terse statement: “John Goodman is not an adviser to this campaign.” When that position became untenable–it turns out Goodman had identified himself as an adviser not only to the Morning News but also in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, to which the McCain campaign never objected–the official story changed.

Yes, Goodman had offered advice to McCain. But it was on an unpaid, voluntary basis, and McCain had since made clear that Goodman’s input was not necessary. “John McCain could not disagree more strongly with Mr. Goodman,” a spokesman said. “John McCain believes that addressing the problem of the nation’s uninsured is one of our most pressing national priorities.” (Goodman has been traveling and unavailable for comment.)

It wasn’t the first time this campaign season that McCain distanced himself from a conservative adviser over controversial statements. Former Texas senator Phil Gramm, as a top economic adviser, had far more influence than Goodman. Fortune magazine actually called him “McCain’s econ brain.” But, in June, Gramm told a Washington Times reporter that the economy was stronger than most Americans realized.

The real problem, he suggested, was a “mental recession”–that “we have sort of become a nation of whiners.” Again, Gramm was offering a refrain common among conservatives, who think the press constantly dwells on bad economic news. But did McCain believe it, too? This time, McCain himself issued a denial.

“Phil Gramm does not speak for me,” he said. “America is in great difficulty. And we are experiencing enormous challenges.” Soon Gramm was told his services, too, were no longer required.

Goodman and Gramm had, of course, committed political crimes. But, while they were guilty of ill-chosen rhetoric, they had also told the truth. Read the rest of this entry »


Stupid Power of Story — Just Got Trapped in a Gas Panic

12 09 2008

Betty’s right. The American people in cynically whipped-up news-cycle crowds, are just downright stupid. A danger to themselves and OTHERS, which would include me and my kids. . .so if Sarah Palin is the patron saint of Big Oil and Stupid People, this is what her ticket’s America would be like?

JJ is quite hungry and cross.

From the afternoon update to my Tallahassee Democrat, too late to save me innocently venturing out into the middle of bedlam:
. . .Rumors of a fuel shortage spread like wildfire across the state, prompting Agriculture and Consumers Services Commissioner Charlie Bronson to call a late afternoon press conference.

“There is no fuel shortage in Florida,” Bronson said. “There’s hundreds of millions of gallons available.”

. . .A fuel panic swept Gainesville on Thursday, where long gas lines spilled over onto a busy thoroughfare, tempers flared and the police were called, said Randy Bly, a spokesman for AAA Auto Club South.

“Our office has been flooded with calls,” Bly said “This was consumer -driven, it was like a run on the bank. There really is no shortage, we are well supplied. . .”

Rumpy-Pumpy Minerals Management in Peep-Toe Patent Leather?

12 09 2008

Honestly, who needs to write whole posts anymore?

I heard on morning radio that someone has a new book out: Eccentric Glamour. Probably it’s not about our country’s newest campaign combatant, The People’s Pitbull tricked out for war with Russia in lipstick and patent leather, but who knows or has the capacity to care anymore?

It was led by news that the Japanese spectacle frame suppliers for the naughty librarian’s look, are back-ordered, and followed by sex-drugs-and-corruption among the ethically challenged Bush administration’s Big Oil um, drill-me-here, drill-me-now female regulators (is that sexist to mention?):

. . .revelations of rumpy-pumpy may finally inspire a real shake-up. . .It all gives a whole new meaning to getting screwed by the oil industry.

Revelations of rumpy-pumpy?
Which side deserves credit or blame for “election protection” in Ohio?
Just grab a few words for a headline and you’re exhausted . . .
And absent adrenal glands in perpetual hyperdrive like yours and mine — fight-flight, fight-flight, FIGHT-FLIGHT!!!! — who could believe anything we’d truthfully write, anyway?

Is this the Republicans’ secret master plan for renewable domestic energy? Adrenaline?
It’s certainly cheap!
And yeah, we do “actually” control it ourselves, no need to depend on foreign powers to generate it.
Its potential to animate America appears to be unlimited.
But calling the end result “clean” is just going too far, a bridge to nowhere. . .

The Only Other Woman Governor With Kids at Home

10 09 2008

according to an MSNBC interview just now, is Jennifer Granholm, governor of Michigan, where 400,000 jobs already have been lost in this Bush-McCain economy.

“We are the poster child for this global shift in manufacturing jobs” said Granholm . . .

Governor Granholm responded to the Detroit mayor’s scandal and the McCain-Palin ad regarding same: “this is exactly what they want to do, is create a divisive atmosphere. . .by race. . . it is a cynical and wrong attack” —

Thinking Parents so enthusiastically defending Gov. Sarah Palin’s virtues, might ask themselves whether they “feel” the same about Granholm — and if not, why not?

More on Phony and Foolish Political Psychology, For Thinking Parents

10 09 2008

A commenter named Stephanie takes issue with Snook for being politically “one-sided” lately. And she disagrees with all the Edge dot org cognitive psychologists, neuroscientists, anthropologists, linguists and political scientists I linked to yesterday as a banquet for serious thought, as opposed to empty partisan calories served up as “news” lately.

[On my tv right now, Harvard constitutional scholar Barack Obama is speaking not about lipsticked animals gussied up as world leaders, but about real education IDEAS for America’s future, after saying that “enough is enough” of the phony same old same old that Bush-McCain politics have kept our kids dumbed down with:
“They’d rather this election be about phony and foolish diversions . . .I don’t care what they say about ME but I love this country too much to let them take over another election with lies and phony outrage and swiftboat politics. Enough is enough!”]

Anyway,  as I read her comment, Stephanie feels her thinking has no feeling (?) and argues her own politics are pure logic with no emotion or rationalization, no childhood scripts and stories embedded in her intelligent software, nope, nope.  She is a veritable Vulcan, Mr. Spock in lipstick!   😉

All of which I thank her for, because it has my creativity stirring and neurons firing this morning, remembering all sorts of stimulating ideas more worthy of Thinking Parent conversation than the phony fear-mongering and “news” reporting these past couple of weeks. 

Btw, tomorrow is the anniversary of September 11, after all the Republican leadership’s (to me shocking) cynical exploitation of the overwhelming emotions that day evokes. I grew up in the South where “waving the bloody shirt” has been a cynically successful form of politics by division for 150 years:

The Republican party thus continued to depend upon the bloody shirt long after the war was over, with Lewis Gould noting that in the post-Reconstruction years sectionalism was “a genuine and continuing source of Republican strength.”

And it’s similarly shocking to see John McCain now intentionally exploiting for partisan division, another bloody shirt already 50 years old. Talk about playing to emotion! Must we accept for the next 100 years, then, nine-eleven bloody shirts waved by old warriors every election cycle, to keep our past the most powerful enemy of our future, our own divisions making a dysfunctional mockery of this “united” states? Does that make us safer in a third-millennium world and economy finding new equilibrium without following our lead, or make us throwbacks unable to lead even ourselves?

But think about it — we CAN learn to do better. For example, here’s something I remember posting about psychological power of story research, from Wired:

Some scary things are not really as risky as they seem, and others are better handled by staying in the scary situation to set up a more advantageous future response. This means there’s an evolutionary advantage to being able to hold off the reflexive fight-or-flight response while you work out a more sophisticated analysis of the situation and your options for handling it. . .

So here’s the first fundamental problem: Read the rest of this entry »

Beyond the Palin: Political Psychology for “Actual” Thinking Citizens

9 09 2008

It’s my great pleasure to tell you that some really smart people have put together a Thinking Look at this really stupid election!

I guess you could say these essays are words put together to organize ideas, sort of like Palin’s pentecostal PTA pitbullying as leadership, except with ACTUAL IDEAS.

First comes Jonathan Haidt’s thesis of why the Republican party attracts certain voters with emotion, culture and religion, Read the rest of this entry »

Palin’s Pitbull Fangs Bared By Same Old Republican Lip

8 09 2008

GOP = George’s Old Party

SALON: Sarah Palin’s real soul mate
McCain’s veep choice is the reincarnation of George W. Bush, as channeled by Karl Rove.

Quiz: Can you read Republican lips with or without the shiny distraction of lipstick?
See if you know your maverick hockey mom from your President Bush.  Take Salon’s Palin-Bush quiz here.

In their gubernatorial campaigns, they emphasized bold ideas and reform, even touting their lack of experience as an asset rather than a liability; while in state office, they became extraordinarily popular, thanks to deft populist instincts and immense personal magnetism, as well as an unusual ability to project an aura of moderation and post-partisanship (“I reached across the aisle”; “I’m a uniter, not a divider”) even while engaged in viciously political behavior.

Part of what helps them preserve that firewall is the human cocoons with which they’ve surrounded themselves, tight circles of devoted long-term insiders. . .
It’s an environment that encourages a with-us-or-against-us, win-at-all-costs mentality, a mindset that has been expressed in both their politics and their governance. . .

Which fits with what both Republican pitbully littermates exclude from their “actual responsibilities” in American leadership:

If there’s a common cause for Bush and Palin’s less-than-complex worldview — one that should disturb the security minded of both parties — it’s their profound disinterest in understanding or even experiencing other countries and cultures.

If all that makes sense to you, you might assume you’re as well-qualified as any middle-class mom or dad to set the curve on this leadership test, but be smart — put your mind where your mouth is!  Don’t talk to the media until you study up in Rick Warren’s cone of silence, or better yet, spend as much of campaign season as possible making up some new answers in one of Dick Cheney’s underground, undisclosed locations.

And forget about praying for a free pass, here’s your ACTUAL salvation as leader of the free world, the crib she-, oops I mean, curriculum guide:
On rocking the boat
On political hiring and firing
On the Fourth Estate
On experience and why it doesn’t matter
On sweet, sweet crude