Spreading the Wealth

By Alexander Zaitchik, AlterNet.

Posted November 1, 2008.

mIt must come as a surprise to the Republicans that the public favors Obama's style of wealth spreading by a whopping margin. John McCain and Joe the Plumber are campaigning for Barack Obama, and they don't even know it. The more McCain has ramped up his attacks on Obama as a "spreader of wealth," the more the country has lined up behind the Democrat's plan to spread the wealth. If McCain's economic agenda was a gun and his attacks on Obama's agenda the bullets, the old soldier would have shot both his feet clean off a long time ago.

Watching the GOP's coordinated if increasingly delirious attacks on Obama's economic plan, it's clear that the party is even further out of touch with the America of 2008 than previously imagined. After eight years of establishing and then extending America's lead as the most unequal of all industrialized countries, Republicans thought they could deflect a national groundswell of righteous anger by dusting off and hurling every insult in the conservative arsenal, including old favorites "extremist," "radical," "Marxist" and "socialist." One suspects they are saving "anarchist" and "Hessian" for McCain's last-gasp speech on Monday.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the Republican hammer-and-sickle-themed haunted house: Nobody showed. The McCain campaign's attempts to smear Obama as a Trojan donkey for socialistic un-Americanism have belly-flopped, if not backfired. Obama has not only maintained a stable lead under the Republican barrage, he has increased his positives in the traditionally Republican territory of taxes.

Read the rest of the story.

Police Prepare for Unrest

By Alexander Bolton
TheHill.com

qwPolice departments in cities across the country are beefing up their ranks for Election Day, preparing for possible civil unrest and riots after the historic presidential contest.

Public safety officials said in interviews with The Hill that the election, which will end with either the nation’s first black president or its first female vice president, demanded a stronger police presence.

Some worry that if Barack Obama loses and there is suspicion of foul play in the election, violence could ensue in cities with large black populations. Others based the need for enhanced patrols on past riots in urban areas (following professional sports events) and also on Internet rumors . . .

Political observers such as Hilary Shelton and James Carville fear that record voter turnout could overload polling places on Election Day and could raise tension levels.

Read the rest of the story.

Catholics for Obama: a culture of life, not just birth

Catholics for Obama has found common ground on the single most divisive issue in American politics today: abortion.

Their booklet, 'The Catholic Case for Obama', is an expose on Obama's core values and how he put them into practice as a community organizer working with Catholic parishes on the south side of Chicago.

They tackle the big questions head on:

  • Reducing abortion now vs. criminalizing it later
  • Stem cell research and the origins of life
  • On the death penalty
  • On the question of health care for all Americans
  • On the question of preemptive war and the tragedy in Iraq

Here's their abortion stance in a nutshell:

Obama campaign's first ad about Palin

Reagan reprise

"Are you better off than you were four years ago? Is it easier for you to go and buy things in the stores than it was four years ago? Is America as respected throughout the world as it was? If you don't think that this course that we've been on for the last four years is what you would like to see us follow for the next four, then I could suggest another choice that you have."

--- Ronald Reagan, 1980 Presidential Debate

Is 391% interest rate too high? Vote YES on Issue 5

The ad below is currently running on television.

Remember, the payday industry is spending over $15 million, so anything you can do to helps us spread the VOTE YES ON ISSUE 5 message counts!

Forward this video on to your friends, family and colleagues and remember to Vote Yes On Issue 5!

Watch the ad now:

Dispatch features lead op-ed pieces from UAPA members

As part of UAPA's letter writing campaign, two members' Letters to the Editor were published as lead editorials in the Opinion section of the Columbus Dispatch this week --- one on Monday and the other on Tuesday.

Deb Linville and Mike Lorz both made strong progressive arguments that caught the attention of the Dispatch editors. With the volume of editorials submitted in the weeks before an election, this is quite an accomplishment

In case you missed the editorials, Mike's is entitled 'Pro-life means more than anti-abortion' and Deb's is 'Republican Rankin can't rest on record'.

Mike is a pro-life Catholic who makes a strong case that Obama's policies and his Christian values supporting those policies "represent a culture of life, not just birth."

Many other Catholics are supporting Obama, too. Check out the 'Catholics for Obama' web site.

As a long-time Upper Arlington resident, Deb has watched Tim Rankin's divisive political tactics and far-right agenda over the years. In her LTE she calls him out on some of his most divisive wedge issues he championed during his time on City Council in UA.

UAPA has further elaborated on Deb's editorial on Tim Rankin on our web site.

Also this week, the UANews published these two LTEs from UAPA members:

 

GOP Agenda-Driven Journalism

The Jed Report put together this video mashup of WFTV's Barbara West, giving us a nice side-by-side contrast of her respective interviews with Joe Biden and John McCain.

As it turns out, Barbara West is a registered Republican and Barbara's husband, Wade West, is a Republican Media Consultant.

 

You can see the full Biden interview here and the full McCain video here. The latter is especially instructive in that we see just how far out there West is.

Matt Stoller's done a series of posts recently about issues of bias in local media, and repeated use of hand-fed GOP talking points as "research" which is worth watching closely.

With the advent of media consolidation, more and more local stations are in the hands of fewer and fewer large corporate conglomerates, and that's not good for fact-checking or diversity of opinion.

The Top Ten Reasons Conservatives Should Vote For Obama

10. A body blow to racial identity politics. An end to the era of Jesse Jackson in black America.

9. Less debt. Yes, Obama will raise taxes on those earning over a quarter of a million. And he will spend on healthcare, Iraq, Afghanistan and the environment. But so will McCain. He plans more spending on health, the environment and won't touch defense of entitlements. And McCain's refusal to touch taxes means an extra $4 trillion in debt over the massive increase presided over by Bush. And the CBO estimates that McCain's plans will add more to the debt over four years than Obama's. Fiscal conservatives have a clear choice.

8. A return to realism and prudence in foreign policy. Obama has consistently cited the foreign policy of George H. W. Bush as his inspiration. McCain's knee-jerk reaction to the Georgian conflict, his commitment to stay in Iraq indefinitely, and his brinksmanship over Iran's nuclear ambitions make him a far riskier choice for conservatives. The choice between Obama and McCain is like the choice between George H.W. Bush's first term and George W.'s.

7. An ability to understand the difference between listening to generals and delegating foreign policy to them.

Rankin's past record shows where he'll go

Tim Rankin helped lead a small, vocal group of social conservatives in Upper Arlington on a series of divisive wedge issue campaigns that divided our community. These included an attempt to ban gay-oriented newspapers from the Upper Arlington Library, supporting a creationist for the UA Library Board of Trustees, and hand-picking then endorsing a far-right social conservative candidate for UA City Council.

Tim Rankin, candidate for the Ohio House 24th District, says he stands on his record. And that concerns us.

We've followed Rankin's divisive tactics, agenda and voting record as a City Councilman in Upper Arlington for several years now.

Divisive Politics

Rankin's far-right ideology made him a polarizing figure in our community --- leading to gridlock and infighting on Council.

Were he to be elected to higher office, the polarizing effects of Rankin's Bush-style divisive political tactics would be greatly amplified.

By the end of his term as a Councilman, Rankin became so unpopular with UA citizens that he held his endorsement of two City Council candidates -- even the one he had handpicked -- until the day before the election to avoid the inevitable letters-to-the-editor pinning Rankin's controversial agenda on their foreheads. With the lightning speed communication of the Internet, the endorsements still became the kiss of death, and both of Rankin's candidates lost to moderates.

Rankin is a far-right social conserative, and his beliefs do not reflect those of the mainstream voters of the 24th District. Here are three examples: library censorship, predatory lending and creationism.

Library Censorship

In Upper Arlington, there was a growing intolerance of others’ views by a small, vocal minority influenced by outgoing Council member Tim Rankin. One of the most egregious examples is the 2005 dispute about the distribution of gay publications at the Upper Arlington Public Library. A group of conservatives tried to sway the Library Board with the claim it was protecting children.

During the effort to censor library holdings, Rankin is quoted in the September 14, 2005, Upper Arlington News as declaring that “There is a lot of talk about doing what is legally right … it’s up to the board to do what is morally right … If we have to put people on this board who reflect the values of this community, we’ll do that.” (This Week, Sept. 1, 2005)

Predatory Lending

Even in the face of the credit crisis faced by so many Ohioans, Rankin is siding with the banking lobby pushing to increase interest rates on payday loans from the currrent cap of 28% to 391%! This would trap even more Ohioans in a debt trap and further erode Ohio's economy.

Unlike Rankin, Ted Celeste joins nearly every major newspaper in Ohio, the governor, the speaker, the senate president, big-city mayors and city councils, and religious, business, civic and social leaders in preserving the current 28 percent rate cap on these short term loans.

Creationism

And guess who he then supported for the Library Board of Directors? Bryce Kurfees, a proponent of intelligent design.

This winter, Kurfees sponsored a presentation at the Upper Arlington High School of a “young earth” creationist who argues that the world is less than 10,000 years old. According Kurfees’ invitation, the speaker also offered “potential curriculum for public schools to use in order to better address this topic via encouraging more critical thinking in the classroom.” (Our emphasis.)

The Ohio School Board and the Ohio Department of Education have determined that this “critical thinking” curriculum is an unscientific philosophy not suitable for life science instruction.

Why does Rankin think Kurfees’ creationist stance reflects the values of our highly educated, well informed community? And do we want a state representative who would entertain the idea of mixing church and state?

We don’t.

Vote for Ted Celeste.

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