Sunday, September 07, 2008

RE: McCain: Where's the Beef?

[Jake Berry's response to "The Search for Policy in McCain's Appeal" by Jack Random. Reprinted Below.]

Essay after essay you keep nailing it! The neo-cons are completely transparent in their quest for permanent rule. If they can slip McCain in and he can last for a few years, maybe a full term or more then electing the vapid beauty queen will be easy. The are working for an additional 12-16 years in control of the executive and therefore judicial branches. If they can manage that and keep the people divided among themselves enough to keep the legislative in check or completely submissive they will be able to complete their agenda: the dismantling of the government in favor of a figurehead government that enacts the will of the ruling class. Welcome to the new dark ages.

Regardless of Obama's politics, he is not McCain. This means he is not the chosen vehicle of the powers that be. The skinny kid with the funny name is all that stands between the U.S. and the ascent of a new type of American fascism. There has been a tendency toward this kind of oligarchy since the beginning (the anti-sedition laws under Adams and Wilson, for example). We are perilously close to the end of daylight. The only thing that would awaken the populace in large enough numbers should this election go to McCain would be a great depression.

Only a few thousand people in two or three states will likely make that decision for us. How can anyone remain undecided at this point? It makes you wonder whether or not the majority really wants representative government. Perhaps they prefer a strong central authority accompanied by HDTV and all the amusements they can consume.

I hope that this is cynicism. I fear that it is realism.

Jake Berry (



By Jack Random

Stand up for the wealthy and the ruling elite!

Stand up and fight for lower corporate tax rates!

Stand up for the policies that have placed the nation at the precipice of disaster!

Stand up and fight for oil and coal!

Stand up for labor exploitation!

Stand and fight for the right to work at lower wages!

Stand up for nuclear waste!

Stand up for privatization of Medicare and Social Security!

Stand up and fight to put my finger on the trigger of nuclear extinction!

Listening to John McCain at the Republican National Convention, you would have thought he was opposing eight years of catastrophic Democratic rule. His call to arms should be answered in kind:

Where is the beef?

John McCain says he is his own man. He says he marches to his own beat. He says he stands up to corporate interests. He says he is a different kind of Republican.

He says a lot of things that the Bush-Rove-McCain team believes will win him votes but if we look at his policies, there’s not a dime, not a nickel, not a thin copper penny’s worth of difference between John McCain and George W. Bush.

Those who have been searching McCain’s slogans for real policy reform have consistently come up empty. After his much ballyhooed speech, the search goes on.


McCain’s advocacy of making the most inequitable tax reform in history permanent – the Bush tax cuts that have contributed so much to our current economic crisis – is at once hypocritical (he opposed them as recently as three years ago) and an obvious pander to the corporate elite. His proposal to cut the corporate tax rate by ten percent seems reasonable enough until you look under the hood.

As McCain so often pontificates, America has the second highest corporate tax rate in the developed world. What he does not say is that our internationally based corporations rarely if ever pay them.

“You may have heard: U.S. corporations face one of the highest income tax rates in the world…so that what comes through is the assertion that corporations pay too much in taxes. This is simply untrue if your basis for comparison is the developed world. The truth is that while the 35% corporate income tax rate is high indeed, the creativity and global reach of U.S. corporations make them among the most lightly levied. Between 2000 and 2005, U.S. corporate taxes amounted to 2.2% of the GDP. The average for the 30 mostly rich member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development was 3.4%.”

(Igor Greenwald, “The Invisible Hand: High Corporate Tax Rate Is Misleading.” Smart Money, January 25, 2008.)

So the reform in McCain’s tax cut policy is nothing more than a slight of hand – the same old Bush-Rove tactic of “Let’s not and say we did.” Corporations are not clamoring for lower tax rates because they don’t pay them. Still, it’s nice for them to know McCain cares.


As an afterthought to McCain’s energy policies, he promises to increase spending on solar and wind power. This is one of the Bush-Rove favored tactics. It is the nature of a growing nation combined with the inflationary trend of currency that if we do nothing at all spending will grow. This is why Bush can claim to have spent more money on [fill in the blank] than any president in history.

The truth is: Like Bush, McCain will give tax incentives for renewable energy research to oil companies who will spend a large chunk of it on television commercials.

The cry of “Drill Now!” at the RNC is nothing more than a propaganda campaign. Unless we have found a way to economically steal Canadian and Russian oil reserves from the North Slope of Alaska (we have not) there is not an expert in the world who will claim that drilling will have any significant impact on energy dependence or the cost of gas.

The idea of safe nuclear energy is a myth that has tragically been embraced by both major parties and they ought to know better. Watch the unfolding events in France as they struggle with dying rivers, toxic land and poisoned drinking water. The million-year problem of nuclear waste will not go away. How long will it be acceptable to bury our poisons in other people’s back yards before we accept that nuclear energy is not the answer?

The same holds for the myth of “clean” coal. To the extent that sequestration is possible, it would be so expensive that hamsters generating power on a spinning wheel would be more viable.

The Bush-McCain-Rove people know these realities but they do not care. When push comes to shove, they will scrap the adjective and give us all the dirty coal our lungs can suffer.

Pollution? Climate change? Let’s not and say we did.


Of all the lies the Bush-Rove-McCain team promotes, this may be the most insidious. Under the draconian measures of No Child Left Behind, public schools are beginning to resemble assembly lines. Test scores are up but inspiration, creativity and adaptability are lost.

It is a losing game. The idea is and always has been to transfer public funds to private schools where the righteous can teach young minds the virtues of Republican values. Why is it no one ever asks why private schools are not subjected to the same rigorous testing standards as the public schools? Private schools bolster their results the same way Bush did in Texas: By removing students who hurt the bottom line.

As for the idea that education is the answer to our economic troubles, that is a down and dirty lie. Tell us what jobs we can prepare for that will not be subject to the exportation of labor under the mandates of global free trade?


Recently, Dell Computers announced they were closing down their manufacturing centers, laying off thousands of workers, with the intent of contracting out their manufacturing operation. Translation: They will export those jobs to other countries where workers have little or no rights and are paid slave wages. The stock went up on a down day.

That is free trade in a nutshell: It ought to be called a corporate free ride. The global economy has been used to institutionalize labor exploitation in underdeveloped nations. The cost is born by workers in developed nations in the form of lower wages, loss of labor standards and cutting unions out of the process.

Where does John McCain stand on trade and labor rights? Somewhere to the right of J.P. Morgan. He has never voted against a Free Trade agreement.

“I'm the biggest free marketer and free trader that you will ever see.” (Republican Presidential Debate, December 12, 2007.)

McCain has vehemently embraced “right to work” laws that are nothing but a scheme to outlaw union organization in the workplace. Even in the hard times we are now facing, he voted against raising minimum wage and against extending unemployment benefits.


When you peel back the rhetoric and strip away the phony compassion, the Bush-McCain-Rove policies always come down to privatization. If they had their way, they would privatize Social Security, education and Medicare. McCain supported Bush’s failed initiative to begin a privatization plan for Social Security. He voted to cut Medicare funding and opposed reauthorization and funding for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

His proposal for health care reform would reclassify health care premiums as taxable income. Is that really the kind of reform America wants? Reminiscent of the gas tax holiday, he would hand out tokens in the form of tax breaks while giving a free hand to private insurance companies.

Anyone who believes that the party of rugged individualism, the party that is fundamentally opposed to social services, the party that still believes the New Deal of Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a communist conspiracy, will reform Medicare to the benefit of the people is delusional.

If it were in their power, they would scrap all domestic programs and let the chips fall.


Another of the tricks exploited by the McCain-Bush-Rove machine is that they will speak of small matters in a manner that makes them seem important. McCain has claimed that he could save $100 billion overnight by eliminating the add-on expenditures known as “earmarks.” When pressed, the McCain campaign had to admit they invented the figure.

(Michael Dobbs, The Fact Checker: “McCain’s Fantasy War on Earmarks,” Washington Post, 5/23/08).

If McCain is serious about eliminating this congressional tradition – one that is often used in legislative negotiations – then he is dreaming. If not, he is posturing.

When you examine McCain’s reputation as a Maverick, it is 90% fluff. He postures a lot but when it comes down to action, he generally goes along for the ride.

The most moving part of McCain’s convention speech was the telling of his experience as a Prisoner of War in Vietnam. It was moving to hear a proud man admit that the enemy pushed him until he broke. It is sadder still when you realize that the party he represents in this race for the White House has done the same: They pushed him until he broke. No longer will he speak out for compromise on immigration policy or tolerance for gays and lesbians. No longer will he oppose a tax cut policy favoring the elite at a time of war. No longer will he stand strong against torture and for the Geneva Conventions. The new John McCain knows his limitations and plays his part.

What McCain sacrificed to become his party’s nominee for president was whatever remained of his integrity and individuality.

The Maverick, if he ever truly existed, is long dead. What remains is the typical Bush-Rove politician.

Why mess with a winning formula?



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