Monday, September 29, 2008


The Conservative Republican Caucus held back votes in a most under-handed fashion in order to defeat the bailout vote in Congress this afternoon.

As a result, the Dow has dropped 700 points, and gas per barrel is dropping for fear of inflation.

The Republicans are making the pretense that the vote failed because of partisan remarks by Speaker Pelosi.

Minority Leader Boehner knew where every vote was when he earlier announced that the bill would pass. And he no doubt directed several to vote against the bill on the first go-round.

You may ask why they would do that.

They are posturing to make a pretense, so that when the bailout does pass this evening or tomorrow (after a news cycle), the Republicans will take credit for solving the problem they created, all the time blaming the questionable intervening chaos on Pelosi, when it was McCain who compromised this settlement.

Fox News is all atwitter with nonsense about allowing our economy to correct itself by the “invisible hand.” Who could say if they believe this nonsense? But you have to ask yourself where was the “invisible hand” to avoid this crisis. No doubt you’ve seen the economists saying that what caused the crash was that no one acted when they saw the banks were failing, to shore up capital, to restore confidence in the market.

J. Flannery

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

McCain suspends his campaign and bails out on the debate w/ Obama

Senator John McCain is suspending his presidential campaign and trying to bail out of the debate scheduled for this Friday evening at 9 PM with Senator Barack Obama.

The most moderate criticism is to say that McCain can't multi-task.

Mores seriously, it appears that McCain is making a politically desperate move to revive his own campaign, rather than to revive the US economy.

McCain says he is suspending his campaign to fly to Washington, DC Thursday morning to help with the economic crisis.

But McCain has no committee responsibility or expertise to deal with the substantial issues now pending before the US Congress.

We all remember how McCain confided his inexpertise to the Wall Street Journal, and then proved that point last week when he showed himself out of touch with the economic crisis and conflicted in his message of an influence-free staff when his campaign manager has been by Fannie Mae.

McCain's intervention leaves the impression of a bull in a China Shop -- as he still cannot temper his alarmist and defeatist rhetoric.

McCain announced this afternoon that he believes it is unlikely that the Congress and the Administration can agree on a bailout bill when both Congress and the Administration have made reassuring statements to the contrary - that they have achieved consensus on a number of issues, and are working toward a compromise that they hope to ink by the end of the week.

McCain's hurriedly announced initiative - his latest "Hail Mary" pass - may have more to do with the polls released today and late yesterday showing McCain dropping like a stone by 9 points as compared with Obama, and precisely because of the contrasting favorable reaction to Obama's approach to the national economic crisis.

McCain is therefore posturing, not leading.

We may discover that this political stunt was coordinate with the remarks President Bush plans to make this evening.

If there are going to be any changes regarding this Friday's debate, it might be to change the subject matter to the economy from foreign policy.

But it shouldn't be canceled.

Now more than ever, no matter what happens with the debate, unlike any other presidential election in our time, we are getting a chance to see how McCain or Obama would lead us if either was our Chief Executive.

Impetuous Opportunistic McCain or Sure and Steady Obama.

You decide.

J. Flannery

Sunday, September 21, 2008


John McCain was thrust into ice water in a bath tub by his parents to curb his anger when he was young.

However questionable this parental chilling may have been, McCain’s anger and outbursts have persisted into his adult life, and into this campaign; thus, has McCain rightly earned the nickname, “McNasty”.

This week saw McCain’s magma rise and erupt again in the face of the economic crisis that he helped create, little understands and has not a clue how to cure.

It is all the more personally tragic because McCain’s “let it alone” attitude toward Wall Street has allowed this greed and fraud to up-end the stability of our economic engine and compromise the entire world market.

It is difficult to understand why anyone would take a moment to consider anything McCain has to say on the economy after thirty years in Washington, including his role in another significant crash and burn scandal involving Savings and Loans Banks, starring Senator McCain in a leading role, who carried water for a prominent corrupt banker named Keating who made McCain’s congressional career possible.

McCain first made his Hoover-like assurance that our economy was “fundamentally sound” early this past week – when no one else saw it that way.

When Senator Barack Obama, moments later, castigated McCain for his Pollyannish nonsense, McCain disappeared into a sea of dissembling “explanations” of what he really meant, then asked for a study to avoid committing himself to any course of action, and then demanded we fire the SEC Chairman and get even with Wall Street and reform the Congress – as if he was some bystander who hadn’t created the problem in the first place.

In a truly remarkable political pirouhette, he even tried to blame Senator Obama for the crisis.
It was quite a spectacle: Multi-millionaire McCain, agent of Wall Street, playing populist, with full-throated cries of pain and anger, assuring us he’d get even for us when he did nothing to stave off the disaster that has overrun our economy.

At the end of the week, McCain was upset with reporters that the final iteration of “his economic solution” didn’t get coverage by the press, when it looked suspiciously identical to the “solution” offered by the Administration.

Finally, as McCain embraced the “prescription” to save our economic ills, let’s consider what the proposal says and how it adversely affects all us real folk.

The Administration proposes to pay out one trillion dollars (or so)(sort of like “real money”) to protect these economic pigs who got us into this mess, and to bail them out with our hard-earned tax dollars, and to allow these same ill-run companies to keep the profits that we all underwrite because we were so “stupid” as to be self-reliant in our lives when they all knew that their friends in the Administration would protect them from their economic debauchery.

This “solution” has been described in various simple formulae by the array of tv radio and print pundits but the most accurate one is to characterize this as Bush and his friends “socializing” their financial losses (so we pay), and “privatizing” the profits (so they get to keep what they “make”).

But what does that really mean to us?

The answer is simple because there are limits to what we have in our treasury or can get (meaning tax or borrow) to spend on wars and failed businesses, and spending on the war and the economy means that Congress and the next Administration will have to compromise “entitlements” meaning your Medicare, Social Security, and much much more that affects each and every one of “us” working stiffs, and not the economic pigs who literally sold out America.
Conservative columnist George Will today called this Administration’s plan a prescription for “trickle down misery.”

There is an interesting and poignant parallel we should consider between the Iraq war and what has gone wrong with the economy, how something is done wrongly, and then we are all expected to pay for it.

The Bush Administration lied us into a war that former Secretary of State Colin Powell warned against, and we are paying for that lie to war with our nation’s treasure and the blood of young fighting men and women.

The Bush Administration allowed business to lie us into this crisis, looking the other way while banks cheated, granting 0% loans to borrowers who they knew couldn’t make the payments when there were due; and they did this because they knew they were going to pass the bad paper on, irresponsibly, and hoped that this house of bad paper would never collapse, because, at the end of the day, we taxpayers would pick up the tab.

Millions of Americans now live lives of quiet desperation, insecurity is everywhere, in their life’s investments, afraid that they’ll lose their jobs, concerned they may fall ill and not be able to afford treatment, maybe not be able to retire at all, because of the greed, fraud and incompetence that the government now would protect with their hard-earned money.
If there’s anyone who should be mad, it is the people who have been betrayed by this Administration, by greedy businessmen, and, yes, Senator McCain, now found out once again, for posing as our savior when he was in fact among the predatory class that made this disaster possible.

This election is a special historical opportunity to set matters right – and that answer is not Senator McCain and his cohort of self-serving corporate socialists.

J. Flannery

Friday, September 12, 2008

They paint us as strangers giving candy to kids - time to fight back

What the Republican smear machine does is line up smudged slandering images side by side, big lies, and causes the voters to hate and fear based on the false demeaning conclusions about the person at issue, making that person a pariah, an outcast, not one of us.

That's how they silence disagreement. And that's how they win elections.

When the Republicans falsely state that Obama wanted to teach sex to tots, they go way past the candy from strangers stereotype that causes us all to recoil from such conduct.

A disciplined mind would see through this.

It might wonder if this was some misdirection to undercut sex education in every context - and wonder why anyone would want to do that.

I suggest that the republicans are hoping to make taboo any discussion of teaching the young about sex because then we might wonder why an alaskan governor had unmarried sex leading to a "love" child who herself had unmarried sex leading to another "love" child without sex education.

The Times wrote a fair editorial saying we should ask her questions at a press conference (see below). It's a good point but a more rigid mind would say we already have enough information about how unsuited she is to ever be president and turn its attention to why McCain, at his age, would choose her if he was in his right mind - and truly cared about America (as he says he does).

In the example at hand, the Republicans seek to innoculate the public debate from teen pregnancies that might be avoided by sex education AND they get to punch Obama in the face at the same time - a twofer.

We all know they think this way. Bush has done this for years.

That is the political challenge of this campaign - how to speak truth to a lying unscrupulous opponent who trashes american values even while pretending to represent them.

Could the Rs running McCain really be so sinister?

Yes. Absolutely. We have too many data points to teach us that that's how they do their dirty business.

What must be our response?

More of what Obama did the other day about the faux outrage over lipstick on palin's collar.

What we can't do is presume that the media will "do it for us" - as I honestly believe was the wrong-headed short-term stratagem of the Obama campaign following Palin's announcement that has got us off balance and struggling to get ourselves back on course.

And I'm encouraged we're making our own arguments again.

But we've lost valuable time - and days matter now.

As for the media's backbone, to return to a real problem in this nation, consider the proposition that the Obama campaign made that we can expect the media to get it right.

There was a time when this would have been sufficient. But the traditional media has been tamed. The vitality of serious criticism now lurks in the blogs and e-mails, the digital underground. It comes from the ground up, from the people, if they are alerted to what's at stake. The big mistake in most arguments is to assume the unstated proposition is embraced as obvious. You can't blame anyone for missing an argument that is never made. And we must make the argument loud and clear that the only way this McCain gang can win is the way Bush won and that is by lying.

If the "legitimate" media could be coerced, coddled and coopted into a role as quiescent observers of the lies that took us into the Iraq war, instead of irate critics or straight reporters of that lying policy, then why in the world would we expect them to find a transforming backbone in the remaining 50 days of this presidential campaign.

We have to think politically in terms of self-help, doing it ourselves, by talk, door-knocking, blogs, e-mail, snail mail, tv, radio, flyers, whatever it takes.

As one Dem told me, we dems are bringing a martini to a knife fight.

Every democrat should be required to watch Rocky, hear those bells and horns, think about fighting as a down and dirty slug fest, of right against wrong, because we have to, and then run out the door and grab the lapels of a friend or neighbor and tell them what these thugs are doing to this nation and our public discourse.

In other words, we need more bare-knuckled fighting and the process and the lies spewing from the McCain machine is as fair an issue as any in the "change" theme because, if we "change" how we talk about public policy for the better, we may actually restore a needed public dialogue that hasn't been free or truthful for years.

Process is out-come determinative and not to challenge the McCain's slash and burn process including its demeaning choice of a back bench governor, posing as ready to be our commander in chief, is to miss how we got into the Iraq war and how we trashed our economy and our individual rights and liberties.

This crowd has been lying and diverting our citizens for so long, they believe it's governing.

We promised America a grand debate and we have that opportunity.

McCain like Bush makes light of serious discussion and demeans the policy choices of our time with sloganeering.

We have got to roll up our sleeves and beat these bullies - and not just to elect Obama and Biden - but to restore the promise of America for this McCain ticket and its roving band of slandering sloganeers are prepared to do worse than they have already done to this country and we fail to stop them at our own nation's peril - at home and abroad.

J. Flannery

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Anyone who heard the speech this evening of Miss Congeniality at the Republican National Convention knows that she is anything but "congenial".

Governor Sarah "Barracuda" Palin showed us her sharp elbows and was the closing act in a low class tag team performance begun with "Rude" Giuliani's attacks on Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee for President of the United States.

When I was taught by the Dominican Nuns at St. Pius’ Grammar School in the South Bronx, they always said that “empty vessels made the most noise.”

Governor Palin, in about thirty minutes, reduced the hi-falutin American dialogue that Senator McCain once promised us to its lowest degrading common denominator, to hurled insults, lies, half truths, and misdirection.

The Bush-Cheney-Rove response to any serious allegation has almost always been to attack and destroy "the allegator".

Governor Palin recited the script the Rove machine wrote for her this evening, in the most recent edition of this deplorable strategy, and proved her disqualification for the office that she seeks, more than anything we’ve heard about her since her candidacy was announced only a few days ago and she went to ground, to avoid shooting from the lip.

"Rude" Giuliani made fun of Senator Obama's efforts to help the poor in the streets of South Side Chicago as a community organizer. Presumably, the brothers from Manhattan College taught the "Rude" Mayor about the Sermon on the Mount - and how we should care for the least of our brethren. But these delegates roared with laughter that Senator Obama would care to take the time to care for the poor.

“Moose Killer” Palin, who has never written a book herself and who reportedly wanted to burn books when she was a Mayor, made fun of Senator Obama's two published biographies.

How ironic for her to insult someone who discloses who he is when she has ducked interviews and withheld some vital information about who she is - even to Senator McCain in the “exhaustive” twenty minute "vetting" that delivered her to this “historic” nomination.

The NY Times’ Maureen Dowd remarked that she thought political parties learned not to go on “blind dates” when picking their vice-presidential nominees. It’s rare that they work out well and Governor Palin is no exception to this rule.

If we needed a reminder of what we want and need to change in this nation, we got a birds-eye view tonight when we witnessed the harsh tone and vaporous content of the Republican convention.

Venom spewed forth from the Republican cobra that has entwined and strangled this nation's promise for so long, revealing itself in this convention’s speakers and the inapt cheers from the assembled party faithful.

This convention’s character is a mirror of the outgoing Administration that the Republican party seeks to perpetuate, an Administration that authored the Patriot Act, lied to make the Iraq war, approved torture, imprisoned citizens on the say-so of the Chief Executive, broke our economy, squandered the blood of our young and the treasure of our nation, denied women choice, stymied stem cell research, awarded ceos, short-changed the middle class, appointed Justices who have compromised our rights and liberties and contradicted their sworn assertions to the senate committee that “approved” them, shut out the public on its energy decisions, ignored global warming, created lies and junk science to explain itself, compromised our environment including the air we breathe and the water we drink, denied evolution, preferred risky private retirement accounts over social security, compromised job security, health care, and worker's rights. You can start with this list and add your own grievances.

Everyone is now on notice.

We risk more of the same if these folk steal another election.

That’s why we cannot ignore this barrage of slanders, sophistic sleights of mind, and misdirection begun in earnest with this convention.

We are headed toward another nasty, low ball slimy campaign like those sponsored four and eight years ago.

Remember the "not-so-swift" boat attacks on Senator Kerry.

Remember those same attacks on Senator McCain himself.

Remember as well that these lies stick and stay and destroy hope and change - if you fail or delay to respond to them.

Our course is clear.

We must answer each and every false claim, disintegrate the rhetoric, underscore the reality that they would obscure for this is the only way they can succeed.

We have a campaign based on truth and fundamental fairness, a reform campaign, and the nation is ready to change – if we can only dispel the false smoke that would conceal this coiled snake ready to strike once again.

J. Flannery

Monday, September 1, 2008


When we left the convention hall last thursday night, with almost 80,000 of our closest friends, we decided it was a better idea to walk from the convention hall downtown, rather than take the bus; the night before it had taken an hour and a half from the Pepsi Center to travel by bus to the hotel. Invesco was bigger and further away.
It may not have been any faster to walk -- but it sure was a lot more adventurous.
Jim Turpin, the State Dem Vice Chair for Finance, was my seat mate at the convention.
Our wives, Holly Flannery and Susan Prokop, were seated together in the nose bleed seats watching the grand festivities with tickets promised and delivered for our "guests".
When the fireworks stopped and Jim and I had said our last goodbyes to other delegates, and gave what comments any journalist wanted, our next logistical challenge was where to meet our brides.
What did anyone do before cell phones?
The security forces were directing Holly and Susan to parts unknown. But we made our rendezvous despite their helpful interference, and set out in high spirits with Rachel Rifkind, from Fairfax, VA, who was wary about the walk, and made up the fifth member of the "Walking Virginians Team."
Don't get me wrong about the busses. The busses had been ok, the drivers polite and helpful, you met and had fascinating conversations on whatever bus you snared, and you'd talk with governors and senators and elected reps and party activists from across the country, telling you what it was like where they were, but, after sitting on the floor of the convention a fair amount, sitting on the bus was getting old by Thursday night, and we thought a perambulatory dialogue was much to be preferred.
The best laid plans of tired delegates will often go astray.
We wandered in the dark circling the arena to find the underground path from the arena downtown by which to walk. A good friend from Denver, Steve Holtze, told us where the path downtown was.
Here's the rub, and wouldn't you guess it, there were concrete road dividers topped by fences in almost every direction except where the busses ran and where we could not go.
On our final arc to the south east of Invesco, the crowd massed, pushing slowly toward an opening in the fence, seemingly torn open above the 3-foot high concrete road dividers.
When I say mass, I mean mass of people. No one was shoving or impatient, but we were a crowd in small passageways, patiently waiting for our collective opportunity to make any advance at all.
At this opening in the fence, this is where we felt like Alice dropping down a rabbit hole.
We hopped the concrete divider, although not all "hopped" as well, and that accounted for the crowd delay as the mass pushed up against even the more nimbler hoppers.
Once over, we climbed a slight hill, and found ourselves on eerily lit train tracks, lights pointing toward us, and we made our way up the tracks to a crowd pushing from our left toward a slim overhead bridge (see pix above) en route, we assumed, downtown.
We all found the circumstances engaging, and spirits remained high despite the slow going.
The euphoria of the convention and continuous company and remarks of those around us made what might have been annoying quite insignificant.
The night setting, tracks and walking bridges, surprise button vendors, railroad crossings and flag and sign-waving crowd, made it all fun somehow, even though there were no signs to tell anyone where to go to get downtown.
We were rewarded with our sense of direction, as lemmings sometimes are not, and arrived at a restaurant downtown not two blocks from our hotel, and where Congressman Jim Moran and his bro, Delegate Brian Moran, were settling in.
We enjoyed their warm welcome and then the brothers Moran sent over a small feast of dishes that we consumed in (almost) an instant.
We gave the Moran brothers a triple loud cheer for their good neighborly gesture, toasted and downed our nightcaps, and retired to catch early airport shuttles and planes, courtesy United, back to the Old Dominion.
J. Flannery

Friday, August 29, 2008


America began a forced march to restore its historic legacy in Denver last night when an army of 80,000 people, in a mile-high stadium, shouted as in one voice that we had had enough and made a promise to change all that this November.
We have set out to end the Joycean nightmare from which the nation has appeared unable to awake - to cure economic stagnation and end military adventurism - policies that have compromised this nation's vitality.
On the anniversary of a dream, "too noble to ever die," by the lights of one speaker, proclaimed long ago at the Lincoln memorial by Martin Luther King, by a man who gave his life for that dream, a dream only partly realized even today, we re-dedicated ourselves to the promise made in the pristine words of the american constitution, to fulfill that promise made to every American by our founders, that we all are truly equal before the law and before our government, and set ourselves a path to quench "the flames of withering injustice" that have made a lie of that historic promise.
The excited and hopeful crowd in the stadium joined with the millions watching and hearing this convocation from across the nation and bound their souls to ours to put an end to the shame and disgrace that this young democratic experiment has suffered for too long.
This stadium and this event became the focus of hope for the many who have realized how parched they've become, how thirsty they are for fairness and truth, after eight years of political drought.
There is hardly a person who has eyes to see and a mind that can think who would disagree that we are struggling to experience, in the words of King, "a joyous day break to end the long night."
We hope to end a national ethos that has made us captive to the fear and lies that perpetuate these greedy power seekers who have dominated our national debate and made us all less than we could be while all the time saying, lying through their teeth, that they had our best interests at heart.
We hope to find the common ground for common folk who do common things in a kind of quiet courage and dignity that reflects what's in our collective soul.
Senator Barack Obama has raised his voice to say aloud what we have all known and believed for so long but we were worn down by lies and the seeming futility of opposing the wrong-doers who have compromised our American dream.
Senator Obama was right last night when he said this was not about him although it might not have come to pass had he remained silent himself.
It is about us and what we want and we have to stand up and say so for we do not have the luxury of waiting any longer.
Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, a man of faith, whose public service is informed by his deeply held beliefs, spoke of the mustard seed, at Mark 4:31-32, how this most humble of seeds when sown in the earth grows to have such breadth and reach that it can shade the birds that fly above.
Governor Kaine likened our effort to this humble seed and from such humble beings we can become a force to move mountains - standing in the way of this nations dream and promise.
We left a stadium in Denver last night to do nothing less than realize the American Dream compromised so long by unworthy men and women who have made pretense at protecting and caring for us when all along they were only think of themselves.
We have now set our sights on November, our work is cut out for us, but if we do our best, we shall finish this fight with the election of Senator Barack Obama as our next President and Senator Joe Biden as our Vice President.
J. Flannery