McGhosts and Ogoblins

McGhosts and Ogoblins

by Rosemary and Walter Brasch

         There are a lot of scary things in this world, but one of the scariest is that Halloween and the Presidential election are only five days apart. It’s hard to miss the parallel between tricks-and-treats and the promises-and-panderings of politicians masquerading as the most caring, most vital, most sincere candidate. While standing behind their lapel flag buttons, they are quick to dress their opponents in something less patriotic.

           The Republican right wing wants to dress Barack Obama as a socialist terrorist, putting on him a large black beard, a kufi hat and abaya robe. Instead of handing out candy, these wing nuts have Obama handing out dollar bills, which he stole from hard-working conservative millionaires.

           The Right Wing doesn’t say much about Joe Biden, knowing he’s sharper than any of the candidates about foreign affairs, but he does occasionally put a foot in his mouth. Maybe they can dress him as a podiatrist.

           The Democrats want to glue John McCain to George W. Bush, and parade them door-to-door as conjoined twins. Assuming that isn’t acceptable to McCain-at least now-maybe the Democrats can dress McCain as a Mission: Impossible tape recorder, knowing at some point he’ll self-destruct.

           It shouldn’t be too hard to find a costume for Sarah Palin. During the past two months, the Republicans spent $150,000 on clothes for her and her family, plus at least $23,000 for makeup. After figuring out that the nation is in a Recession, that most Americans don’t even earn $170,000 in three years-and that some outraged Americans found out about her shopping spree-Palin spun out and claimed that the clothes really aren’t hers and will be donated after the election, most probably to starving Republican day traders. For Halloween, and for a truly scary appearance, maybe Mooseburger could remove all the makeup and lipstick her handlers put on her to make salivating middle-aged men believe that outward beauty is an acceptable cover-up to inner vacuousness.

           While large numbers of wolves, polar bears, and moose have been seen registering to vote, hoping that Palin wins and leaves their state, Palin is busy stalking Dick Cheney’s footprint, hoping to continue her mind-meld with him.

           And speaking of Cheney, a nice costume for him might be a repaired heart, assuming he had one. But, since he has again suddenly disappeared from sight, he might be dressed as the Ghost of America Thankfully Past.

           Ralph Nader, who has good ideas, hardly any media coverage, and absolutely no chance to be president, could wear a large fluorescent green leaf, and carry an organic sign-“Hey, I’m over here!”

           Bob Barr is running for president on the Libertarian ticket. He is an NRA board member and was once a conservative Republican who led the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Lately, he’s been on an extended speaking tour for the ACLU. Perhaps we could dress him as the Statue of Liberty, a rifle in one hand and what’s left of a shredded Constitution fiercely clutched in his other hand.

            There are more than 200 other third-party and independent candidates. It would be far too expensive to give them all individual costumes, so why not dress each of them as sheep on steroids, bleating to be free of the pack, and hoping to attract voters who are disgusted with the policies and candidates of the Democratic and Republic parties.

           We’re not scared about the voters. They’ll do whatever it is that voters do for whatever reasons they do it. We’re scared about what happens to their votes after they’re crunched by pro-Bush Republican-dominated Diebold, the company that manufactures most electronic voting machines in the country.

           Like 300 million other Americans and several billion in other countries, we’re scared about the economy. You know, the one that was spurred by a combination of greed, incompetence, and lack of governmental regulation. Children and their parents are all going to be trick-or-treating this Halloween, hoping there are still some families that have extra food to give to those who may soon become homeless.

           Finally, we’re really scared that in a few months we’ll all hear George W. Bush and Dick Cheney tell us, “We’re Baaaack!”

           [Rosemary Brasch is a former Red Cross national disaster family services specialist, secretary, union grievance officer, and labor studies instructor. Walter Brasch’s latest book is the second edition of Sinking the Ship of State: The Presidency of George W. Bush, available at, and other stores. You may contact him at or through his website at]


State Court Weighs In On Election Issues

Commonwealth Court has weighed in on two issues facing voters Tuesday.  An action taken by the Pennsylvania GOP to suppress the vote of minorities registered by ACORN was tossed out by Judge Robert Simpson.  Voters will be able to wear their campaign shirts into the polls.  You cannot wear buttons but if you wish to show your support for your favorite candidate via clothing that will be allowed.

World Champion Phillies

A year ago I was stuck in traffic on the Massachusetts Turnpike amidst Red Sox fans flocking into Boston for their World Series parade.  How nice is it that that parade is in Philadelphia this year?  I understand I am one of the naysayers who didn’t think the Phillies had the pitching to win this year.  Looking at the Cubs staff I didn’t think our Phils could beat them.  Fortunately the Dodgers did for us.

I was tempted a few times to retract my statement but was also superstitiously worried that it might jinx them.  I even considered insulting their staff again if that would help.  It’s amazing what baseball fans think may help their team isn’t it?

Kudos to MVP Cole Hamels, unexpected heroes Carlos Ruiz and Pedro Feliz and the rest of the Phillies.  I won’t be in Philly until this evening for a political event so I won’t be stuck in the traffic this year.  How sweet that the jams will be here instead of Boston.

Wall Street Bailout Plan Badly Crafted

The rushed package to save the economy through a massive taxpayer funded bailout program was poorly crafted.  Banks are using the funds to buy other banks forming bigger financial institutions.  Big banks the government couldn’t allow to fail are part of the problem, not the solution.  Banks are also using the funds to pay huge executive bonuses and stock dividends.

There should have been strict provisions on how these funds could be used.  Taxpayers are outraged that their dollars are being misused and rightly so.  They shouldn’t be lining the wallets of already well heeled bankers and investors.  I agree.  The rush to enact something with no public hearings concerned many of us.  Obviously something had to be done but this is very bad.  Congress must address these issues when they reconvene.

Racist McCain Staffer Cops Plea in Fake Mutilation Case

Ashley Todd, the paid McCain-Palin organizer who falsely claimed to being attacked and mutilated by “a large Black man” because she supported John McCain, has copped a plea which will keep her out of jail and guarantees she gets mental health treatment.

If only we could require that for everyone supporting that ticket!

Why I Voted For Cynthia McKinney

I voted via absentee ballot last week and I cast my vote for president for an African American…woman.  I told MSNBC’s Tom Curry last spring that I would have to think long and hard before supporting Barack Obama after the hate campaign waged against me by his supporters.  Following numerous weeks of attempting to get Obama For America to remove my copyrighted intellectual property from their website, including one article of mine which was plagiarized, I gave up on Obama.

People vote their financial interests and I am no different.  Barack Obama’s campaign wrecked my blog, stole my intellectual property and never even had the decency to apologize.  Instead I was told I was being “uncooperative.”  Well, yes, I sure was because you folks were stealing my blog material faster than I could track the illegal activity.

Aside from these problems I have had a problem with Obama on issues.  His health insurance plan is atrocious.  His economic plan scares me when one of his key advisers tells me Naomi Klein is a “whackjob.”  Either you are a Keynesian and Klein is a hero for exposing the failures of Chicago School (Freidman) economics or you embrace that Republican philosophy.  Obama’s vast campaign contributions from Wall Street illustrate he is just another corporate Democrat.

I’ve had enough of corporate Democrats, of bad candidates foisted on us by the DLC.  I am tired of voting for the lesser of two evils.  While there is much to admire about Sen.Obama I decided to vote my personal financial interests.  Since his campaign did everything possible to damage me financially they cannot expect my vote.  that is why I voted for McKinney, a solid liberal with clear, progressive stances on the issues.  As it turned out, it wasn’t a long, hard process after all.

Why I Left The Democratic Party

I changed my voter registration yesterday morning and left The Democratic Party.  I am now an unaffiliated voter.  In Pennsylvania it has become difficult to be a blogger and Party official.  The Pennsylvania Democratic Party regularly undermined my efforts and even suspended me as an elected Committee person because I supported the “wrong” candidate in a primary.

Pennsylvania law empowers political parties as agents of the Commonwealth in primary elections.  As such they are prohibited from violating member’s civil rights.  The Berks County Democratic Committee, based on legal advice from the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, suspended me for supporting Democrat Michael Morrill in a 2008 primary race against incumbent Thomas Caltagirone.  There was no Party endorsement because Berks County doe snot endorse in primary elections.

As such Chair Tom Herman violated my civil right to support the Democratic candidate of my choice.  The Pennsylvania Democratic Party, according to Herman’s diatribes, participated in this travesty which has indebted me for some serious legal fees.  

While we protest the absence of accountability of the Bush Administration the Democratic Party not only refused to hold Herman accountable they rewarded him with a visit from Gov. Dean yesterday.  Following the County’s refusal to hold its Chair accountable I walked out and never returned.  Yesterday I watched Gov. Dean recognize the man who completely undermined his local Democracy For America group and violated my civil rights.

I could no longer continue as a member of such a Party.  The fact the DNC organizer prohibited me, as a working blogger, from the press room at that event made my decision much easier.  You simply cannot be a blogger in Pennsylvania and a member of The Democratic Party.  Not only is there no support they fight you every step of the way.

I spend considerable time and money on this blog.  I covered many Democratic candidates this year but not one supported me with advertising.  If the Party refuses to support me why should I continue supporting the Party?  I will not.  I am holding them accountable.  


“Our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there’s not evidence of that in their daily lives,” he said. “You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are going to regenerate and they have not.

“And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

By now many of us know this statement. Obama made it during the Primary and it got pounced on and people in PA got all indignent and upset. Unfortunately despite the relative ease in finding the exact statement the people at Let Freedom Ring don’t seems to know how to read.

The “” people are running a TV ad using his statement as some kind of proof that Barack Obama doesn’t care about Pennsylvanians and showing people vowing to vote for McCain. These people feign insult by insinuating that Obama is attacking the 1st and 2nd Amendments to to the U.S. Constitution and suggesting he will pry those rights away from us.

Oddly, he does neither attacks nor suggests he will take away our relgious or gun rights in the actual statement. Apparently the Let Freedom Ring people think that their Freedom extends to making up things about a candidate they oppose and to “spin” the comments into tricking Pennsylvanians into believing Obama said something he didn’t actually say.

Fact is, Obama is correct. Have you been through some of the towns in PA (small or otherwise)? There are many good people in PA but there are a lot of intolerant people and not just in small towns. John’s videos on this sight are proof of the shamefully intolerant attitude of some Pennsylvanians.

Many people WERE left behind in the Clinton and Bush administrations and they have become disillusioned and a bit bitter. I’m sorry to say that but it’s true. But it’s true all over the country not just in PA. And truth, in PA or elsewhere, is still an absolute defense. But Obama didn’t say that we cling to our guns and religion. READ the actual statement, he said: “And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment (remember Hazelton?) or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

Therefore I call on the “Let Freedon Ring” people to tell the WHOLE truth and not follow the path of dirty politics, mis-direction and spin.

Barletta Calls For Regressive Flat Tax

Lou Barletta embraced the fringe flat tax plan in the Scranton Times Tribune.  A flat tax requires every person to pay the same, identical flat rate of income tax.  It provides for no deductions, credits, or variables.  Kiss your mortgage interest deduction good bye along with that deduction for local taxes.

Taxes are used to reward good behavior (buying a fuel efficient car for example) or punish bad (polluters forced to pay for their handiwork).  The wealthier people are the more is expected of them to contribute to society.  We generally exempt the poor.

Lou Barletta says the minimum wage worker making $7.15/hour should pay the same rate as a corporate CEO earning $20 million a year.  How soon Republicans threw aside their convention mantra of “to whom much is given much is required.”  Pure rhetoric designed to hide their real agenda:  shift the tax burden to working people.

Incumbent Congressman Paul Kanjorksi criticized Barletta’s policy plan:

“How can Republicans like Lou Barletta ask middle class, Northeastern Pennsylvanians to take a hit on their home values so the wealthy can get a tax cut?” asked Congressman Paul E. Kanjorski. “Barletta, like fellow Republicans Mike Huckabee, Sam Brownback and Steve Forbes, love the flat tax. It is another way Republicans try to package a tax cut for the wealthy and sell it as something that’s good for everyone. But just like George W. Bush did when he pushed his tax breaks, Barletta and these Republicans don’t tell you how the middle class pays for this upper class tax break.”

“Part of the idea with the flat tax is it brings to an end the practice of tax credits for your home, charitable contributions and healthcare. You can’t have it both ways. Right now, Lou Barletta either has no tax policy or no way to pay for healthcare.”

“At a time when we should be creating incentives for people to save and protecting the value of their homes, this plan would kill it. Between his plans to privatize Social Security and support for a flat tax, I don’t know how anyone would ever be able to retire in Lou Barletta’s America.”

GOP State Senate Candidate Violates Election Law

The Republican candidate for the 11th State Senate seat held by Mike O’Pake has scattered Berks County with illegal campaign signs.  Steve Fuhs is prohibited by law from accepting campaign contributions from corporations.  Why then do these Fuhs signs say “Paid for by Strategic Reports, Inc?”

He even printed the “Inc.” on the signs!

A close up shot of the disclosure:

There are no disbursements on Fuhs’ campaign finance disclosure reports to such a company so this constitutes an illegal corporate campaign contribution.  Even had the Republican candidate paid Strategic Reports to print the signs this would be illegal because the entire idea of disclosure laws is to educate voters as to who is paying for political signs, fliers, etc.  

This was either a blatant attempt by Steve Fuhs to keep from telling voters these are his signs, paid for by his campaign or it is a blatant violation of state campaign finance law.  Both tell us enough about Steve Fuhs though.