Tuesday, October 28, 2008

John McCain is attempting to sell his soul to the devil. Woe to America if he succeeds.

It’s an old story that gets told in many ways, but the plot is always pretty much the same.

Some person, in search of wealth, or glory, or love, or vast unfettered power, sells his soul in exchange for what he wants.

He bargains away morality, decency, and civility. And then becomes a helpless tool of a devil until he is whisked off to hell.

Such is the story of John McCain.

Once, or at least we are told so, John McCain was a man of honor. Once, at least on some issues, he stood firmly on principle.

Once, his word was trusted.

But then John McCain decided he needed to be President. That personal feeling of need became more important to him than anything. More important than the truth. More important than the future of the United States. More important than his own highly touted honor.

So John McCain lies about his own record, claiming he is a "maverick" — a baldfaced lie from a man who voted with the President 90% of the time to claim.

John McCain directly or through the people working to get him elected lies constantly about his opponent, Barack Obama. McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin incite mob violence and skinhead assassination plots by falsely implying that Obama is a terrorist, or some unstated-but-unimaginable thing worse.

John McCain sews seeds of doubt and hatred in a society that Barack Obama is attempting to bring together.

McCain lies about big things like the economy and the war in Iraq. He lies about inconsequential things like Obama’s heritage. He repeats lies. And repeats them. And repeats them again — all in a desperate sell-your-soul attempt to win the Presidency.

It is a presidency that in the hands of John McCain will create a living hell for most Americans.

It will be a hell plagued by wars, terrorist attacks, the end of the successful Social Security and Medicare programs, increasingly unaffordable health care for most Americans, simultaneous inflation and recession, the U.S. Government's financial collapse, forest and wildlife dieoffs, polluted water supplies, police intrusion into the homes of peaceful Americans, and eventually, as Sarah Palin’s power grows, even the death penalty for first degree murder meted out to hapless young rape victims who dare to abort the babies of their rapists.

But McCain’s deal with the devil only can work if you stay home and fail to vote for Obama.

Please, on Election Day remember this: your vote for Barack Obama will do more than help him become President. It will also save America from a living hell.

Give Barack Obama your vote and let McCain and Palin go to hell by themselves.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

“What, your hand got shredded with a saw? No health insurance? Bummer, pal. Now scram.”

“I recently took care of a young contractor who had shredded his hand using a saw and cut right through one of his tendons,” an emergency room doctor from Massachusetts writes.

"This is a serious injury that requires expert attention. After cleaning and closing his wounds to the best of my ability, I referred him to an orthopedic doctor for outpatient surgery. A couple of days later, I called him up to see how he was doing. I was shocked to hear his story: he had called every orthopedic doctor in the area, but no surgeon would see him because he had no health insurance. This man is young, hardworking, and needs the use of his hands to provide for himself and his family, yet his lack of health insurance put his career and family in serious jeopardy."
Nor was this the only medical insurance horror story this same ER doctor encountered. For example:
"On the last shift I worked, the paramedics brought in a 95 year old man who was found on the floor. No one knew how long he had been lying there. Our paramedics were horrified by the sight of this man's home. They described a disheveled apartment that hadn't been cleaned in months; no food in the fridge; and no signs of anyone helping. When I went to examine this man, he was covered in urine and stool that was days old. After taking care of him, I decided to call Elder Protective Services to report the situation. I was surprised to find out that they already knew about his situation and "see him regularly." The last time they saw this man was two weeks prior to his visit to our ED."
This and other stories come from a website established by Doctors for Obama. It’s generously seasoned with horror stories from concerned doctors about what happens when a nation does far too little to medically insure its citizens.

Stories from doctors? Didn’t they used to be opposed to government involvement in medical insurance? Not any more.
"This is why I am so frustrated with my job. Our healthcare system does not allow paramedics, nurses, and doctors to take care of the people who need it the most: 1. hard working Americans who are simply trying to provide for their families; and, 2. elderly Americans who have worked so hard to make sure our lives are better than theirs. In this election year, I believe that solving the healthcare crisis is the most serious issue on the agenda. After reviewing the candidates' plans, I have concluded that the choice is clear: Senator Obama's plan provides a road map to meaningful, realistic reform; Senator McCain's plan will make matters worse."
Please read more of what the doctors say about the disgraceful healthcare situation in America. And remember, the McCain healthcare proposal wants to tax your health benefits under a plan that would do little or nothing to alleviate the situation for people like the man with the shredded hand, or the 90 year old American starving to death in a pool of his own feces.

Obama has a plan that might finally bring America’s medical insurance into the modern world — instead of leaving it where it is now, in the Third World. Give him your vote.

Monday, October 20, 2008

"Help, I’m on trial for capital murder! Get me the dumbest representation you can find!"

Actually, none of the people shown above ever came close to a law degree. Which in a way is part of my point. Bear with me through a few hypothetical questions:

If you were in trial for your life on a bogus murder charge,
would you want a lawyer who only got into law school because of family connections, and who graduated despite miserable grades — most probably with the help of those same connections?

Yet America has twice “hired” George W. Bush to be President of the United States — a life-and-death matter connected to national security, the economy, the ability of future generations of Americans to survive in this world, and more.

That’s the same George Bush who was a Yale legacy and got a “low pass,” from the Harvard Graduate School of Business, most probably because of who his father and grandfather were, rather than his embarrassingly lackluster showing.

Suppose you needed brain surgery. Would you say, “Hey, this is a matter of life or death. Get me a surgeon who was such an irresponsibly wildass student that he graduated fifth from the bottom of his class in medical school?”

Well, if you wanted someone who “knows” national security, economic policy and diplomacy — matters arguably as important to your health and future safety as good brain surgeon — would you ask for the guy who graduated fifth from the bottom of his class at the United States Naval Academy? That would be John McCain.

McCain's grades at Annapolis were "marginal." He drew so many demerits for breaking curfew and other disciplinary issues that he graduated fifth from the bottom of the Naval Academy class of 1958. Despite his low class standing, and no doubt because of the legacy of his family of famous Admirals, McCain was leap-frogged ahead of more qualified applicants and granted a coveted slot to be trained as a navy pilot.

Suppose your house for mysterious reasons suddenly was in danger of collapse. Would you pick up the phone and call for a house engineer, insisting on one who had to go to five different second and third-rate colleges to get a degree — in a subject other than engineering?

Well, the economy is collapsing and if John McCain gets elected President at the age of 72 and anything happens this cancer survivor who isn’t making full disclosure of his medical records, your President will be Sarah Palin.

Palin attended such highly regarded (ahem) institutions as Matanuska-Susitna College (one term); North Idaho College (three terms) Hawaii Pacific University (one term) and the so-so University of Idaho (total of five terms) before she finally got her degree in journalism. Perhaps that helped her get a job as a sportscaster, but she surely didn’t learn very much in her journalism classes about international relations and policy, or economics, or history, or even — odd, somehow for a journalism major — the name of a single newspaper.

Barack Obama, on the other hand, attended highly-regarded Occidental college for two years and then earned his B.A. from prestigious Columbia University, where he majored in International Relations.

He received his Juris Doctor law degree from Harvard University, where he also had the prestigious job of Editor of the Harvard Law Review. (Ask any practicing lawyer.) And he graduated magna cum laude — the highest honor for scholarship in his class.

He got this education without any legacy or family connections.

He is the author of two books on government policy and his own personality history. He taught law at the prestigious University of Chicago law school.

So, with the economy and national security hanging in the balance, with your ability to make a living hanging in the balance, with your 401(k) hanging in the balance, with your ability to keep your health insurance hanging in the balance — with all that, do you once again want to hire the dumbest guys in the room?

Or will you wise up and vote for somebody with the smarts to save this nation from disaster — Barack Obama?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Does John McCain support and honor disabled vets? Not according to the disabled vets.

Disabled American Veterans say he voted with them a paltry 20% of the time. They explain here:

The votes listed under the Key Votes section of the DAV web site are recorded roll call votes. They are related to important issues, such as:

* Budget
* Appropriations
* Amendments to increase funding
* Emergency supplemental funding for VA

In most cases, with recorded votes, we have notified members of Congress of what our position is, how we wanted them to vote, and why.
And how did Barack Obama do by comparison? He voted for the disabled vets 80% of the time.

So now, when that white haired patriot sneers that Obama doesn’t support the troops, ask him what kind of support he gives when they come home wounded and maimed.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Yeah, let’s deregulate everything. How about starting with traffic regulations? Hungry for a flesh-and-steel sandwich?

What caused the subprime market meltdown?

“Greed,” says John McCain.

“Greed,” echoes Sarah Palin.

Yeah, they say, and we gotta get those greedy, conniving, evil, predatory Wall Street lenders and show 'em what for.

Give me a break!

John McCain—deregulate, baby, deregulate—seems never to have met an economic problem that deregulation (and perhaps a few more tax cuts for rich corporations and individuals) couldn’t fix. After all, “market forces” balance everything out after a while. Right?

Small problem: “Market Forces” are a hanging judge. And the judge is currently hanging the entire economy of the United States from a very tall tree.

Of course the Wall Street guys were greedy. Greed is as American as apple pie. But blaming greedy bankers and predator lenders is like blaming a bullet for shooting you. Greed and predation is what they do. Regulating greed to keep it under control and thwart predatory behavior is what governments are supposed to do.

It’s deregulation that
shot the economy dead

It’s the function of government to protect us from the market manipulations that are a byproduct of rampant greed. Just as it used to protect us from greedy usurers. People used to go to prison for charging the kind of interest rates the banks are getting on credit caards now.

Marketplace regulation is no more onerous than government traffic regulations that help to shield us from highway traffic accidents. In fact, imagine that highway traffic accidents were the major campaign issue now.

People are still getting killed with a 65 MPH speed limit? Tell yuh what. Let’s deregulate speed and eliminate all speed limits. Get rid of those speed limit signs. Get rid of those rumble speed bumps. Get rid of that radar.

Even more people are getting killed with no speed limits? Easy fix. Just get rid of the highway patrol.

Still more people getting killed? Well, let’s take the dividers out between the eastbound and westbound lanes so that cars can go in any lane, any direction they want. And just to encourage “innovative” driving, we’ll give a tax break to anybody who takes a spin on the Freeforall Highway.

The “gotcha” doofus
will strike again

I should interrupt this rant to mention that some doofus with his finger on the “gotcha” button shoots me either an e-mail or a post every time I discuss this subject, reminding me that Bill Clinton signed the repeal of the Glass-Steagall act, one of the more important regulations that used to protect us.

Well, yes Clinton did—when it was attached to other legislation that he really needed and it all got shoved down his throat by mischief-making Republicans. And if Republicans are so offended now by its repeal, why didn’t they reinstate it during the six years they controlled both houses of Congress and the White House? And why didn't John McCain complaint about it once in those eight years?

There's no point in
bailing out the boat if you
don't fix the leak

Bailing out the banks will do us no good at all if once the bankers are bailed out (or even before that) they can jump into their 500 horsepower Greedsters and go roaring down the highway again.

But of course, I never met a Republican—John McCain and Sarah Whatzername most certainly included— who could think ten seconds ahead.

Oh, for those of you who are interested in such things, the Direct Marketing Association— those wonderful folks who brought you spam and junk mail—are holding their convention this week.

And just take a wild guess what they’re complaining about.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Michael Bloomberg attempts to declare himself "Emperor And Beloved Mayor Of New York For Life"

New York:- Mayor Michael Bloomberg has decided to shred the will of the voters and declare himself Emperor.

Oh well, actually just Mayor for a third term (and perhaps a fourth and fifth term after that) which would in effect make him Mayor For Life.

New York City has a term limits law, which limits the Mayor and City Council members to two terms in office. Bloomberg is determined to trash that law, which was approved in two different referendums by the city's voters.

Bloomberg is supported in his decision to usurp the law by former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who at the end of his own mayoralty briefly considered seizing power and continuing on as mayor “for an extra three months” on the grounds that after 9-11 he was “indispensable.” Turns out he wasn’t.

City Council members say it’s
easier than finding honest work

Under the the city’s bizarre charter, the City Council can overrule voters by writing a new election law eliminating term limits, then passing it without voter approval. By going along with the mayor, Council members get to save their rear ends when their own terms expire.

With an extra term, they will be able to go back to drawing city pay for what is essentially a do-nothing job in this strong mayoralty city, rather than having to seek work as low-level lobbyists, influence peddlers or ambulance chasers.

The Emperor-To-Be is declaring this a “one time only” deal until, of course, the next time. However, his usurpation of the law theoretically would not extend to future mayors, if there ever are any. 

“Let them spend their own billions to seize power,” somebody close to City Hall — well, anyway, somebody only a few blocks away — declared huffily.

Lauder capitulates and 

saves himself billions

Emperor Napoleon Bloomberg had feared loud opposition to this power grab from fellow billionaire Ronald Lauder, who himself twice tried unsuccessfully to run for mayor. In 1989, Lauder spent $12 million in the Republican mayoralty primary and won 37,000 votes for his money — the equivalent of almost $350 a vote.

Lauder in the past had been a champion of term limits and it was feared at Bloomberg Palace that Lauder might launch an advertising campaign against the Bloombergeonic power grab. This would force both Lauder and His Majesty, Emperor Napoloen Bloomberg into a political advertising war in which they’d have to match each other’s spending, billion for billion.

It is not known  precisely how His Royal Majesty, Emperor Napoleon Bloomberg convinced Lauder suddenly to reverse his own highly principled stand on term limits.

While the word passing from Bloomberg Palace to the press is that it’s only because in a financial crisis, His Royal Majesty, Gracious Emperor Napoleon Bloomberg feels just as indispensable as Giuliani felt after 9-11, Lauder must surely know the maxim coined by the late French general and president Charles DeGaulle: “The cemeteries are full of indispensable men.”

More likely, His Royal Majesty, Most Gracious Emperor-for-Life Napoleon Bloomberg hissed into Lauder’s ear, “Listen Ronnie, if you don’t go along with this I’m going to have Ray Kelly send some cops over to squeeze your nuts between two bricks.”

Up next: public hangings
of weeping 10-year-olds

Kelly is the Emperor’s police commissioner. His cops are already known for such draconian measures as roughing up and arresting cyclists on phony charges when they demonstrate against the mayor, confiscating their bicycles and holding them in jails until some judge has an apoplectic fit over the matter. There's one such example here

Now it turns out that the Emperor’s police commissioner is also arresting children and leading them out of school in handcuffs for minor and non-criminal offenses.

A Palace spokesperson who requested anonymity because the Emperor hasn’t officially been crowned yet, confirmed this and added: 

“At His Majesty, Most Beloved Gracious Emperor-for Life Napoleon Bloomberg Dada’s inaugural coronation, there will be a display of imperial power during which any protesters against His Magnificent Imperial Graciousness will be tied to posts and flogged, while approximately 300 ten-year-olds will be executed in a mass simultaneous hanging for grave transgressions — not only smoking pot but also stealing a piece of blackboardchalk or throwing an eraser.”

Monday, October 06, 2008

Suddenly, the U.S. economy makes “The Blunder” a novel for all of us

Life in an advertising agency — the starting point for this book — has for decades been the kind of business that gives the people who work in it nightmares. That goes most especially for the people who actually write and design the ads.

Your survival depends on how people judge your work, and objective judgments are difficult. Is that TV spot you wrote brilliant, mediocre, or just plain stupid? To some extent it depends on what your boss thinks. And what your boss thinks of your work may depend first on what your boss thinks of you.

For example, I once had a hostile boss who belittled a piece of advertising I had done. He didn’t like copywriters who were older than he was, and I was ten years older. I had to go around him to sell an ad to my to one of the agency’s clients. I was initially rewarded for my efforts with scowls, abusive language, a less-than-sterling job rating, and no raise.

Then the work I had sneaked past my my boss won a major advertising industry award. Since he had “creative directed” the work (by telling me it was lousy and that I was a hack for doing it), he was entitled to share the award with me. Guess what. When we got up to the stage, my boss literally straight-armed me to grab his silver trinket and make an acceptance speech before I could accept mine.

The short, uptight
life expectancy of ad people

Even if they’re very good at what they do, advertising people have short career life expectancies. There are always exceptions, of course, but if you’re not the head of your department by age 45, or CEO by 50, your career probably will find itself on a steep downhill trajectory.

There aren’t many creative people who last long past age 50 at most advertising agencies, much less the traditional retirement age of 65. As Piet Verbeck, one of the great creative directors of the 1970s and 1980s, and still writing ads today, once thundered in an industry publication, “The company cafeterias at most advertising agencies look like the Student Union.”

Since the endangered ad makers are often still highly productive when someone decides it’s time for them to go, new and usually younger bosses tend avoid firing them directly by playing mind games or worse to make them quit.

These have included moving a mid-level supervisor from relatively nice office space into the equivalent of a broom closet. Or badmouthing the employee at every opportunity. Or simply failing to invite the employee to critical meetings and briefings.

Consequently, middle-aged advertising people, often still with a child or two in college and a mortgage that isn’t quite paid off tend to suffer panic attacks and nightmares. 

Life in a cardboard box

I once had my own recurring advertising nightmare. In it, I slept in a corrugated refrigerator carton in front of Bloomingdales, the Manhattan department store. It was always during the iciest, windiest day in February. Fear of homelessness made a kind of sense. Why the dreams involved Bloomingdales is beyond me, but I woke up trembling more than once.

So I think every seasoned advertising copywriter and art director will suffer a flash of recognition from the first sentence of Chicago copywriter and creative director Joe Kilgore’s book, “The Blunder.”

“Brice Lanning had become a relic,” it begins. And from there the nightmare grows, involving a much younger boss who takes away Lanning’s most important account, followed a drunken binge, an equally drunken attempt at sabotage, and a fast downhill slide into homelessness.

Shades of Steinbeck?

I don’t want to reveal too much more of the story, but I will tell you that Kilgore’s homeless character ends up on a long odyssey that takes him from sleeping on a dock on the Chicago River to the Southwest. (Kilgore grew up and spent his early career in Texas before moving to Chicago.) Somehow, the plot brought to mind the kind of agony and misery in America that I last saw explored in John Steinbeck’s book, The Grapes of Wrath, about migrant farm workers during the last depression.

And that’s what suddenly makes “The Blunder” a novel not just for advertising people, but for everyone in this drowning economy. With banks failing, unemployment growing, George Bush all but hiding out in the White House, and John McCain’s campaign desperately trying to change the subject, the middle class suddenly is grappling with survival issues. Or had better start thinking about it.

The Blunder might be one place to begin, while you still have the $14.95 to pay for it.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Attention Yale and Harvard: Are you proud of yourselves for admitting and graduating this guy on a legacy? Or is it just that in America, idiots rule?

There are several ways to get admitted to an Ivy League college.

You improve your chances if you have outstanding high school grades, perfect scores on your SATs, write a terrific essay, and spend your spare time feeding the homeless, doing insightfully original but reproducible experiments in astrophysics, and serve as captain of the high school football team.

Or you can be a complete idiot but come from a fabulously wealthy family, have a grandfather and father who attended the same Ivy League college, one of them a United States Senator, the other an important senior U.S. Government official.

Guess which one describes how President George W. Bush got into Yale?

Not only Yale, but after that, the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration. He must have been quite an achiever, right?

No such luck. For example, there’s this report from a book by Kitty Kelley.

At Harvard Business School, class of 1975, Bush would sit in the back, "chewing tobacco and spitting it into a dirty paper cup," recalled one unidentified classmate.

Another classmate, Steve Arbeit, said Bush was "so inarticulate it was frightening. The reason I say that he is dumber than dumb is not that I saw his test scores or his grades; it's the comments he made in the classes we had together that scared me."

Macroeconomics professor Yoshi Tsurumi recalled showing the Depression-era movie "Grapes of Wrath" to help the class empathize with the poor.

Bush asked, "Why are you going to show us that Commie movie?"
When Tsurumi called on Bush to discuss how the Depression affected people, Bush answered: "Look. People are poor because they are lazy."

Tsurumi said Bush "came across as totally lacking compassion, with no sense of history, completely devoid of social responsibility and unconcerned with the welfare of others."

Kelley anonymously quotes two of Bush's former classmates at Yale as saying he snorted cocaine. One classmate claimed to have sold cocaine to Bush. The second recalled "doing coke" with Bush.

What troubled other classmates more than the drugs, however, was the future president's generally unimpressive character.
"Georgie, as we called him then, has absolutely no intellectual curiosity about anything," said Tom Wilner, a 1966 Yale grad. "He wasn't interested in ideas or books or causes. He didn't travel; he didn't read the newspapers; he didn't watch the news; he didn't go to movies."
Still more of Kelly's report available on the Internet adds a few additional enchanting details such as:
Alf Nucifora, another classmate, recalled George as a "nonentity with a rich boy's attitude who obviously got into school because of the divine right of kings...You did not see a great future for this man. There's no way that any sane individual could ever have made such a prediction."

During his first year George came to the attention of Yoski Tsunumi ...

Professor Tsurumi continued: "His strong prejudices soon set him apart from the rest of the students. This has nothing to do with politics, because most business students are conservative, but they are not inhumane or unprincipled...even among Republicans his kind was rare....I gave him a 'low pass.' Of the one hundred students in that class, George Bush was in the bottom 10 percent. He was so abysmal that I once asked him how he ever got accepted in the first place. He said, 'I had lots of help.'”
If you want to know why “legacies” at ivy league schools have a bad name, all you have to do is look at the current President of the United States, who evidently still seems to be in the bottom ten percent — this time among presidents. What does this tell us about the value of a Yale or Harvard degree?

I’ll leave that to you. Meanwhile, if you think the military academies are any better, consider the student whose father and grandfather were admirals and who legacied his way into Annapolis, the United States Naval Academy. Guess what? He graduated fifth from the bottom of his class of 899 midshipmen.

His name? You guessed it:

John McCain.