Monday, October 27, 2008


Elected officials can talk a good game at election time- they all want to cut your taxes, reduce health care costs, support the troops (always the troops- they will never say "support the defense contractors"), but what are they really doing and who are they really listening to day in and day out? A typical example of who really exerts influence over Congress is Georgia's first term Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss. A small town trial lawyer out of Moultrie, Georgia, he ran for Congress in 1994 and won a seat in the new Republican majority that swept the Democrats out of power that year. After his election, Saxby morphed into a loyal Republican who had no particular influence or prominence until the infamous 2002 Senate election when his campaign ads were so viciously unfair (photos of incumbent Democratic Senator Max Cleland next to photos of Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein) that even renegade Democrat Zell Miller took to the air waves to denounce them. But his voting record has been pure big business, never once bucking his party or President Bush on any issue relevant to the average voter.

Of particular interest in 2008 is the fact that Senator Chambliss has supported deregulation of financial institutions while opposing any protections for consumers, regulations of credit, or relief for homeowners, leading to the subprime mortgage crisis and the current credit freeze. A look at who has given to his campaign illustrates where his true allegiances lie:


American Bankers Assn $9,000
Bank of America $5,500
Branch Banking & Trust $1,000
Cash America International $-500
Citigroup Inc $5,500
Credit Union National Assn $7,500
Financial Services Roundtable $2,000
Independent Community Bankers of America $1,000
JPMorgan Chase & Co $6,498
Regions Financial $2,500
SunTrust Banks/Georgia $5,500
Wachovia Corp $2,500
Washington Mutual $1,000
Wells Fargo $5,000


Fannie Mae $10,000
Fidelity National Financial $5,000
Mortgage Bankers Assn $1,000
National Assn of Realtors $4,000
Wells Real Estate Funds $5,000

Saxby Chambliss also opposed any health care plan that would provide low cost insurance to individuals or which would have allowed family members with pre-existing conditions to purchase insurance, because that would hurt the bottom line of insurance companies and HMO's. Although Senator Chambliss claims to be a champion of reducing government spending, his actions were the opposite-- he supported the disastrously expensive Medicare prescription drug benefit which prohibited the federal government from negotiating discounts from pharmaceutical companies. Again, one need only to follow the money to see why he voted the way he did:


American Academy of Ophthalmology $2,500
American Assn of Clinical Urologists $1,000
American Assn of Orthopaedic Surgeons $6,500
American Assn/Oral & Maxillofacial Surg $1,000
American Chiropractic Assn $1,000
American College of Radiology $2,500
American Dental Assn $5,500
American Dietetic Assn $1,000
American Interventional Pain Physicians $5,000
American Physical Therapy Assn $4,000
American Society of Anesthesiologists $5,000
Cooperative of American Physicians $2,000
American Hospital Assn $4,000
Federation of American Hospitals $1,000
HCA Inc $2,500
Tenet Healthcare $1,000
Triad Hospitals $2,500
Universal Health Services $1,000


Acadian Ambulance Service $500
Aetna Inc $3,250
Centene Corp $0
Express Scripts $2,000
Louisiana Healthcare Group $2,000
United Surgical Partners International $1,000
UnitedHealth Group $2,000
Wellpoint Inc $8,000


Abbott Laboratories $5,000
Amgen Inc $4,500
AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals $5,000
Biotechnology Industry Organization $1,000
Bristol-Myers Squibb $2,500
Covidien US $5,000
CR Bard Inc $2,000
Cryolife Inc $600
Edwards Lifesciences $500
Invacare Corp $1,000
Johnson & Johnson $4,500
Novartis Corp $6,000
Solvay Pharmaceuticals $6,000
Steris Corp $2,000
Wyeth $1,000

Finally, to explain why Senator Chambliss failed to take any action to ensure that there were enough troops, adequate body armor, and proper equipment when he voted for war in 2002, and to explain his continued unwavering support for spending over $10 billion a month in Iraq- over $600 billion total to date (much of which went to large American defense contractors), one need simply look at who has put money into his campaign:


BAE Systems Inc $1,000
Boeing Co $3,500
EADS North America $1,000
General Electric $8,500
Goodrich Corp $4,000
Honeywell International $6,500
Lockheed Martin $10,000
Rolls-Royce North America $3,500
Textron Inc $5,000
United Technologies $6,000
Vought Aircraft $1,000


Advanced Solutions for Tomorrow $3,000
Ball Corp $1,000
DRS Technologies $4,000
General Dynamics $8,500
Harris Corp $2,500
Raytheon Co $6,000
SAIC Inc $2,000
Sierra Nevada Corp $1,000


Alliant Techsystems $1,000
Armor Holdings $1,000
Emergent BioSolutions $9,700
General Atomics $1,000
Northrop Grumman $7,500
SRA International $1,000
Washington Group International $1,000

It's sad that this is the legacy that Saxby Chambliss will leave behind when he finally exits the Senate. Anyone who votes to keep him in office should forswear complaining about big spenders in Washington or an unresponsive government. The government is responding-- but only to those who can afford to pay for influence.

If you have read this far (and I congratulate you), here is a bonus for the voter who craves information. This is the questionnaire I sent with the responses from Senator Chambliss' compaign which they were kind enough to send me whilst in the middle of a hard fought campaign. Note his responses to questions 12 and 13 on campaign reform and his acceptance of contributions from companies which have federal contracts:

1. Would you support or oppose a constitutional amendment to ban flag burning, and what are the reasons for your position?

a. I have previously voted in favor of a Constitutional amendment regarding the desecration of the flag to restore the Constitution to what it was before unelected jurists, in a 5 to 4 decision, changed it. In 1989, five justices ruled that flag desecration, including burning the flag or any number of similar offensive acts, is speech. The amendment I supported would have returned the power to protect our flag back to the Congress of the United States. Every state legislature in the Union called for this amendment and I was disappointed it failed. The desecration of this unique symbol, our national symbol, causes everyone in the communities in which it occurs to suffer. Out of respect for those who gave their lives defending our flag and out of appreciate for this symbol for so many around the world who seek the freedoms and opportunities our country offers, we should not allow our flag to be desecrated.

2. Do you want to see Roe v. Wade overturned in the Supreme Court, and what are your reasons?

a. Human life is sacred at all stages of development. As a father and a grandfather, I believe that life is precious and gift from God. We must protect the life of the unborn. I am pro-life and I believe that abortion should be illegal except to protect the life of the mother, or in a case of rape or incest.

3. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, would you support a federal law banning on all abortions? Why or why not?

a. Human life is sacred at all stages of development. As a father and a grandfather, I believe that life is precious and gift from God. We must protect the life of the unborn. I am pro-life and I believe that abortion should be illegal except to protect the life of the mother, or in a case of rape or incest.

4. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, should abortion laws be left to the States? Why or why not?

a. Human life is sacred at all stages of development. As a father and a grandfather, I believe that life is precious and gift from God. We must protect the life of the unborn. I am pro-life and I believe that abortion should be illegal except to protect the life of the mother, or in a case of rape or incest.

5. Should the federal government be allowed to listen to Americans’ telephone conversations and read their e-mails without a warrant issued by a judge, based on probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed or is being planned? Why or why not?

a. The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution has long been interpreted to protect Americans from unreasonable search and seizure, and within that interpretation a warrant issued by a judge has been required in order to listen to the telephone conversations or read the email’s of anyone located within the United States. I believe that this basic Constitutional right has been guaranteed by our Court today. That being said, our Constitution, until recently, had never extended Fourth Amendment rights to individuals, including Americans, overseas. I supported the FISA Amendments Act earlier this year which included additional legal protections for American citizens located overseas. Under the new FISA law, the government must obtain a warrant from a judge in order to listen to the telephone conversations or read the emails of individuals overseas who the government reasonably believes are U.S. persons, which even includes non-U.S. citizen, legal alien residents of the United States.

6. Do you support or oppose an amendment to 42 U.S.C. §1983 which would eliminate defenses of qualified immunity? Why or why not?

a. Qualified immunity does not grant government officials absolute immunity from personal liability or unconstitutional actions, but only in limited situations. The Supreme Court has attempted to define the precise contours of qualified immunity in its jurisprudence over the past thirty years. I do not believe qualified immunity should be eliminated but I do believe it should be narrowly construed according to the tests laid out by the Supreme Court. I believe that individuals who work for the government should be provided with certain protections for work that they are directed to do because of their employment. Our legal system has protected individuals in the private sector who act within the scope of their employment, but these protections are even more important for individuals acting under the color of law. For example, a police officer who is charged with confiscating a drug dealer’s home must be protected from lawsuit for merely carrying out orders. However, if a government employee acts outside of the Constitution or outside of the scope of their employment, they should be held liable without qualified immunity.

7. Do you support or oppose extending the reach of the Constitution to all persons in federal custody or control inside or outside the United States, regardless of their religion, ethnicity, or national origin?

a. I support the application of equal and humane treatment of all in custody of the federal government regardless of religion, ethnicity or national origin. Within the United States, individuals in federal custody benefit from the full reach of the Constitution. Outside of the United States, one must consider the circumstances and all of the relevant and applicable laws and treaties. For example, in time of war, the President may detain enemy combatants under authority derived from Article II of the Constitution as well as under international laws which the U.S. is a party to. In these circumstances it may not be practical or reasonable to offer enemies of war the full legal protection afforded by our Constitution, but in no instance do I support the inhumane or cruel treatment of those individuals.

8. Do you support or oppose a law which would ban all forms of torture, including waterboarding, by any agents, employees, or surrogates (“surrogates” meaning persons acting at the direction of or in cooperation with) of the United States?

a. I do not support torture and have supported legislation which banned specific techniques which Congress and the American public believe to be deplorable. For example, I supported the Detainee Treatment Act which limited the interrogation techniques that could be used by our military. Congress found that certain techniques are so objectionable that they merited explicit prohibition. For example, the U.S. Army Field Manual forbids “forcing a detainee to be naked, perform sexual acts, or pose in a sexual manner; placing hoods or sacks over the head of a detainee; using duct tape over the eyes; applying beatings, electric shock, burns, or other forms of physical pain; waterboarding; using military working dogs; inducing hypothermia or heat injury; conducting mock executions; or depriving the detainee of necessary food, water or medical care.”

9. Do the annual deficits of over $400 billion and the increase in the federal debt of over $5 trillion during the last eight years concern you? Why or why not?

a. We have faced many national crisis and disasters in recent years that have put a strain on our national budget. September 11, 2001; war in Afghanistan and Iraq; natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina; and the current economic crisis. These were things we could not ignore and have put a strain on the national budget. But that said, I do not want to leave the bill for my grandchildren. That is why I believe we need greater spending cuts and John McCain is just the man to lead our country in that direction.

10. If you support deficit reduction, should it be achieved in part by raising taxes? If so, what (and whose) taxes should be raised?

a. Raising taxes is not the answer – raising taxes would only hurt hard working Georgians especially during these tough economic taxes. I do not support raising taxes. We need a focused plan of spending cuts.

11. If you support deficit reduction, should it be achieved in part by cutting spending? Other than “waste and fraud” (an expenditure never supported by any candidate in the history of the United States), which of the following areas in the federal budget should be cut or frozen (and please specifiy whether you are advocating a cut or a freeze): the military, job creation, farm subsidies, Temporary Assistance for Needy Children, Medicaid, energy exploration subsidies to oil companies, ethanol subsidies, Food Stamps, urban renewal, infrastructure repairs, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security, Medicare, Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit, Other (and please specify the “Other(s) to which you refer)?

a. I am an original cosponsor of a bill to establish a Sunset Commission by which government programs would be evaluated for efficiency and effectiveness, ultimately resulting in their termination based on their review.

12. Would you support a law banning federal campaign contributions from companies and their employees who are doing business with the federal government?

a. No. Corporations or companies may not contribute to a federal election. Individuals or employees of any corporation or company may participate in the political process by making personal contributions to federal candidates or, if their employer has a authorized Political Action Committee (PAC), they may voluntarily participate through the employer’s PAC. Every American has the right to participate in the political process. Political contributions are a form of speech and are protected under our Constitution. Furthermore, candidates are required to disclose contributions in excess of $200.

13. Have you accepted any campaign contributions from companies or their employees which have federal contracts? If so, why? If not, why not?

a. Yes. Please see answer to 12.

14. Would you support or oppose a law which would ban all solicitations by candidates for federal office, and all contributions to candidates for federal office, and which would fully fund federal elections from public funds? Why or why not?

a. No. As I mentioned in my answer to 12, I believe that it is important for citizens to have the opportunity to participate in the political process and contributions within the proscribed limits of the law are appropriate.

15. What were the stated reasons of the United States government for invading Iraq in March of 2003? Did you agree or disagree with those reasons at the time? Why or why not?

a. In the wake of 9/11, the U.S. needed to reevaluate the threats it faced from foreign enemies and terrorists. In the fall of 2001, the U.S. went to war in Afghanistan in response to the attacks and effectively eliminated al-Qa’ida’s safehaven there under the Taliban. As al-Qa’ida fled Afghanistan, the U.S. began to examine other nations which were sympathetic to or state sponsors of terrorism which could pose a threat to the U.S. On top of that list was Iraq. By the fall of 2002, the available intelligence stated that Iraq had WMD and ties to terrorism. Based on the available intelligence which supported the threat that Saddam posed to the United States, I supported the October 2002 congressional authorization for the use of force against Iraq as did a bi-partisan group of 76 other Senators. After the United States went to war with Iraq, it was proven that the prewar intelligence was severely flawed due to poor analytic tradecraft, poor intelligence collection, and a general misunderstanding of Saddam and his intentions by our intelligence analysts. I supported the Iraq War because, along with the majority of Congress, I was convinced that Saddam Hussein needed to be dealt with decisively and that the status quo—of intentional deceit to UN inspectors, regional aggression, human rights violations, and support to terrorism—was neither sustainable nor acceptable.

16. What are the stated reasons of the United States government for remaining in Iraq in 2008? Do you agree or disagree with those reasons? Why or why not?

a. I continue to support the war to ensure that Iraq does not pose a threat to the U.S. or foster instability across the Middle East in the future. The U.S. needs to help provide the security and stability the Iraqi people and government need to effectuate their own governance. Only when this happens will Iraq be able to deny permanently safe haven for terrorists. All responsible observers of the situation in Iraq agree that a precipitous U.S. withdrawal at this time would leave a power vacuum which would lead to chaos resulting in perhaps the largest and most dangerous failed state in the world. This is an unacceptable outcome that must be avoided, and to dramatically withdraw our support to Iraq at this time is the wrong approach. I agree with my colleagues who argue that there is no purely military solution in Iraq. However, I also believe that establishing safety and security in Iraq is a pre-requisite to any meaningful political progress. This belief has proved to be correct as improvements in security are – in fact - leading to political progress, reconciliation, and cooperation, particularly at the local level.

17. How much has the United States spent on the War in Iraq since March 20, 2003?

a. Approximately $540B

18. How many Americans have died in Iraq since March 2003?

a. 4,185

19. How many Americans have been wounded in Iraq since March of 2003?

a. 30,723

20. What have Americans received in return for these sacrifices?

a. These sacrifices have helped Americans and other nations avoid Iraq becoming a failed state and a haven for terrorists that poses a grave threat to the Middle East and the rest of the world for decades to come.
21. Do you think there would have been a less expensive means of achieving this goal, and if so, what?

a. The less expensive means for achieving this goal would have been for Saddam Hussein to have complied with the countless UN Security Council Resolutions and provided unfettered access to UN weapons inspectors from 1991-2003.

22. Whose fault is it that, as Donald Rumsfeld famously said (I'm paraphrasing), "you go to war with the army you have, not the army you wish you had", in which he was responding to questions as to why, when the invasion was launched and for several years afterwards, the military didn't have sufficient or effective body armor, armored vehicles, or counterinsurgency plans?

a. Rarely do countries have the privilege of deciding when they go to war. When the United States went to war with Iraq in 2003 we did so based on what we and other countries perceived to be a clear and present danger which had to be dealt with without delay. Had we waited ten years to go to war with Iraq we may possibly have been better prepared to do so. However, it is impossible to know precisely what equipment, skills, personnel, or plans will be required before entering into any conflict.

23. How much are we spending each year on the War in Iraq now?

a. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the cost of our operations in Iraq to be between $9B and $10B per month.

24. Should we increase, decrease, or keep the same number of American forces in Afghanistan? Why?

a. The US needs additional forces in Afghanistan, and as troops rotate out of Iraq, additional troops will be sent. We also need additional NATO troops and, most importantly an increased number of Afghan Security Forces. This is necessary to establish security across Afghanistan and assist the Afghan Army in their efforts to provide security and defeat insurgents.

25. Should there be a "war tax" on all Americans to pay for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq? Why or why not? If not, how should we pay for the wars?
a. I do not support additional taxes to pay for our operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Expenses related to these wars will be paid for through the normal process of Federal Revenues. The costs of these wars pales in comparison to the cost of allowing Iraq to be a safe haven for terrorists or allowing Saddam Hussein to place the world by possessing weapons of mass destruction and the means to use them against the United States and other nations. In the long term, our operations in Iraq and Afghanistan will create lower costs for key resources, including oil, which will result in a cost-savings to the US, US consumers, as well as other nations around the globe.

26. What are the chief causes of the Wall Street financial meltdown?

a. Our economic crisis was not created overnight and will not be turned around overnight. This was years in the making and includes at it root sub-prime lending practices, excessive greed at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and other financial institutions, and unenforced regulations.

27. Which political party, Democrat or Republican, bears the greater share of the blame for the Wall Street melt down (or is it a tie)? and why?

a. There is plenty of blame to go around to both political parties.

28. What should be done to prevent another financial crisis in the future?

a. We need greater transparency and stronger oversight in our financial markets to protect not only the average investor but also small businesses that rely on our community banks for day to day access to credit for things like payroll and inventory.

29. Do you support making health care a right for all Americans? Why or why not?

a. All Americans should have the opportunity to receive affordable healthcare. I believe a public-private partnership between insurance companies and the government to provide individuals with the healthcare they need.

30. Do you support or oppose extending the same health care benefits that Congress enjoys to all Americans? Why or why not?

a. I am open to any suggestions to begin the discussion on fixing our healthcare problems in this country as long as it does not increase the burden on tax payers.

31. Can there be a plan to publicly insure all Americans for health care which allows doctors to remain in private practice and not be public employees?

a. I support a plan that would provide individuals and families with tax incentives to allow them to afford to purchase their own health insurance. It would also focus on promoting prevention, allowing the purchase of health insurance across state lines, and transparency among healthcare providers.

32. If you listed "opposition to socialized medicine" as a reason for opposing national health insurance, state whether you support dismantling the current socialized medical programs of Medicare and Medicaid? If not, then what would be your reason(s) to oppose extending Medicare to all Americans?

a. America’s healthcare system is severely flawed and in need of serious change and reform. Quality affordable healthcare is becoming less and less accessible.
There is plenty of Medicare fraud that is currently taking place and curbing this would be a good start to reforming our healthcare system.

33. Would large businesses, which currently bear millions or billions of dollars in health care expenses, benefit from a national health care plan based on public financing rather than private insurance? Why or why not?

a. I support a plan that would put people on the same playing field as corporations, and employees would no longer have to pay more for the same coverage provided through work and could take their coverage with them if they decided to change jobs.

34. If you oppose a national health care plan, is there a better way to treat non-insured Americans than President Bush’s suggestion, which was to use hospital emergency rooms? If so, what is your proposal?

a. I support a plan that would provide individuals and families with tax incentives to allow them to afford to purchase their own health insurance. It would also focus on promoting prevention, allowing the purchase of health insurance across state lines, and transparency among healthcare providers.

35. Would you support or oppose a national plan to eliminate medical malpractice lawsuits, eliminate medical malpractice insurance, and instead to create a no-fault insurance plan for injuries caused during medical procedures? Why or why not?

a. I support caps on punitive damages.

36. Do you support or oppose a Constitutional Amendment which would ban same sex marriage and take this option away from the States? Why or why not?

a. Yes. I am currently supporting a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman. Americans have traditionally recognized this definition as being the most beneficial arrangement for the creation of stable family structures and for the upbringing of children. Americans have also repeatedly shown their preference for the traditional definition of one-man, one-woman marriage by passing state and federal laws or by amending state constitutions to preserve the traditional definition.

37. Do you consider the United States to be a Christian nation? Why or why not?

a. Our nation was built on Christian principles and our founding documents reflect those Christian values. Quotations from our founding fathers indicate we are a Christian nation, and our legal code is based upon Judeo-Christian values and beliefs.

38. Do you support restoring prayer and/or Bible reading in public school classrooms? Why or why not?

a. In 2006, the Georgia General Assembly passed legislation encouraging public schools to offer an elective course that teaches both the Old and the New Testaments in the context of history and literature, using the Bible as the primary textbook. I support this legislation. I support prayer in schools. I believe the First Amendment protects the rights of students to pray in schools.

39. If you support school prayer, then if a school district is 51% Muslim, would you support allowing school officials to conduct Muslim prayers in public school classrooms? Why or why not?

a. I do not believe Muslim prayers should be conducted in public school classrooms. I believe Muslims should be allowed to pray privately or in groups, just as Christians, and Jewish students can.

40. Should Christianity receive a national preference in areas like school prayer and funding of religious groups? Why or why not?

a. I believe every religious group seeking federal funding should compete on the merits of the people they would serve and what they would do with the funding. I believe there is a natural tendency towards Christianity because the majority of Americans are Christians, so there will likely be more organized Christian activity as compared to activities by other religious groups.

41. Assuming that a candidate is otherwise legally qualified and competent, would you urge Americans to vote against an atheist running for President? A Muslim? An American of Arab ethnicity? Why or why not (for each)?

a. I would not support an atheist running for President because I do not believe that atheist would share my values and beliefs. I do not think any Presidential candidate should be judged by race or ethnicity but by their policies, values, and beliefs.

42. Which notable decisions of the United States Supreme Court since 1940 do you think have made a great contribution to America and the rule of law?
a. I believe the case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, decided in 1954, was a landmark decision, overturning almost 100 years of segregation, going back to the Plessy v. Ferguson decision in 1896. This unanimous decision by the Supreme Court declared state laws establishing separate schools for black and white children to be a constitutional violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Chief Justice Warren wrote, “We conclude that the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” This decision paved the way for integration of our schools.

43. Which notable decisions of the United States Supreme Court since 1940 do you think have caused harm to America and the rule of law?

a. The Supreme Court decided Korematsu v. United States in 1944. President Roosevelt in 1942 signed Executive Order 9066, which allowed military authorities to enact curfews, forbid people from certain areas, and to move them to new areas. Many Japanese and Japanese Americans on the West Coast were interned at camps farther inland. They were forced to sell their homes and their belongings and move to these camps, where they lived in barracks with no running water or cooking facilities. Fred Korematsu was arrested and convicted of violating an order that banned people of Japanese descent from the area of San Leandro, CA. He challenged his conviction in the courts. The government argued that the evacuation of all Japanese Americans was necessary to protect the country because there was evidence that some were working for the Japanese government, and that because there was no way to tell the loyal from the disloyal, all Japanese Americans had to be treated as though they were disloyal.
The Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision, sided with the government and ruled the exclusion order was constitutional because the need to protect against espionage outweighed Fred Korematsu’s individual rights and the rights of Americans of Japanese descent.

44. Who are the Supreme Court justices who best embody, in your opinion, what a future Supreme Court justice nominee should be like? Why?

a. One Supreme Court justice I greatly admire is Chief Justice John Roberts. Chief Justice Roberts is an able jurist and a decent man. His unwavering fidelity to the Constitution and commitment to the Rule of Law is evident both by his professional career and his behavior and substantive answers to questions during his confirmation process.

45. Who are the Supreme Court justices who least embody, in your opinion, what a future Supreme Court justice nominee should be like? Why?

a. Out of respect of the position of Supreme Court Justice, I decline to answer this question.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


For once the lie chases- but can't catch up to- the truth

The recent brouhaha over allegations of voter fraud by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) has given me an idea on how to cash in on right wing fairy tales. During a Presidential debate John McCain said ACORN “is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history ... maybe destroying the fabric of democracy." Rush Limbaugh accused ACORN of vote fraud, calling them " filthy and [Obama's] corrupt ... bunch of leftist radicals" on his October 9th radio show.

Unfortunately, a portion of the American public- those who think Fox news tells it like it is- has swallowed this rotten fish whole. In fact ACORN was the victim- not the perpetrator- of fraud by persons ACORN hired to register new voters but who decided to include fictitious names to pad their lists submitted to registrars . But unless Mickey Mouse or the Dallas Cowboys actually show up to vote at precincts in Nevada (where the lists were submitted), not a single instance of vote fraud will occur. There were over 120 million votes cast in the 2004 Presidential election, and the closest States were still decided by far more than 1,000 votes, so without thousands of fake voters showing up at the polls on November 4th, the fabric of democracy is safe.

Here's my proposal to Senator McCain and Mr. Limbaugh: I'll pay you both $1,000 for every ACORN registered fake voter who shows up at the polls on November 4th if you will each pay me $1,000 per ACORN registered fake voter who doesn't show up to vote. And if the total number of ACORN registered fake voters who show up is under 10 for the whole United States, you pay me $1,000,000 for the difference between 10 and the number who show up. In this economy, I can really use the $20 million I'll make if McCain and Limbaugh put their money where their mouths have been.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Incumbent Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss was visibly worried. The Associated Press story which had run in that morning's paper had made light of the fact that he and his Democratic opponent, former Georgia Department of Human Resources Commissioner Jim Martin, were Sigma Chi fraternity brothers at the University of Georgia in the mid 1960's. The story made it clear that while young Jim Martin was involved in political affairs at a tender age ("he was always off running to one meeting or another" a classmate recalled), young Saxby was sampling the night life of downtown Athens. As his old roommate, Clark Fain, put it, "Saxby and I, we liked the Miss Modern Venus contest." The Senator, who looks like a Hollywood central casting concept of a United States Senator from the deep South, with his ruddy face, silver hair, and trim physique, wryly observed to a local columnist after the WALB-TV debate in Albany: "that's what happens when your old friends are asked about your college days."

The October 20th debate, to be televised in Albany, Columbus, Savannah, and on C-Span, was not as cordial as one might have expected of old fraternity brothers. The candidates, including perennial Libertarian candidate Allen Buckley, an earnest and passionate Atlanta attorney/CPA specializing in employee benefits and tax law who originally hales from Cleveland, Ohio, exchanged some barbed comments that evidenced the stress that accrues after weeks of debates on the campaign trail:

Jim Martin: "I'm standing between two people who don't believe in government."

Saxby Chambliss: "Mr. Buckley, now I understand why you didn't sell very many copies of your book."

Jim Martin: "Saxby, the people don't believe you."

The last comment came after Mr. Chambliss made the rather incredible assertion that Barack Obama had said in a press handout that he would protect Florida's water resources in the Chattahoochee River Valley at the expense of Alabama and Georgia. As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported in an October 17th story with a link to the Obama press release-- a release which Chambliss had waved in Martin's direction-- Chambliss' assertion was untrue. In fact, the Obama campaign's rather bland announcement had said nothing about favoring any State, calling "... on the Governors of Florida, Georgia and Alabama to ... reach equitable water sharing solutions... [that] .... would provide the scientific basis for reaching an equitable solution; ... that protects the drinking water of Atlanta’s citizens and provides sustainable flows for productive agriculture in South Georgia and Alabama, and for the fish and wildlife that inhabit Florida’s Northwest region and the industries they support."

The Iraq War, which earlier in the year would have been a central issue, took a back seat as most of the debate focused on the economy, who caused the mess, and how to fix it. When asked how to cut spending, Mr. Chambliss touted his "fair tax" proposal that would eliminate all income taxes- and the IRS- and replace them with a national sales tax in the 23% range. Mr. Buckley responded by noting that under Mr. Chambliss' plan, retirees receiving $27,000 a year in Social Security benefits who currently pay no federal income tax would pay over $10,000 a year in federal taxes.

Mr. Martin accused Senator Chambliss of being "joined at the hip" with President Bush and his policies through the last six years, and said if he disagreed with a President Obama, he would speak out: "I'm not a rubber stamp for anybody." Mr. Chambliss retorted that he had "violently disagreed" with President Bush on numerous "major issues," but tellingly could not provide a single example. Mr. Chambliss had supported President Bush in voting for the Iraq War, for deregulation of banks and savings and loans (while he served in the House of Representatives), for over $5 trillion in deficit spending, and to immunize government officials who wrongfully imprisoned and spied upon American citizens.

Mr. Martin, who remarkably has closed the gap to two points on the incumbent Republican in a State which gave Republican Senator Johnny Isakson over 60 percent of the vote four years ago, appeared confident and relaxed both during and after the debate. Afterwards an observer drew a smile from Martin when he teased him that Martin reminded him of the old Saturday Night Live skit with Dan Aykroyd playing an omniscient President Carter who was so smart that he literally knew the answer to everything. One thing is certain: Georgia's next Senator will be a lawyer, as all three have been practicing attorneys. And whoever he is, he will most likely be serving in a Democratic controlled Senate under a Democratic President, as the Democrats are expected to substantially increase their margin in the next Congress, while Senator Obama has a comfortable lead in the polls.

Jim Finkelstein, an Albany attorney, has known Allen Buckley since they met during the 2004 Senate campaign, Saxby Chambliss since Chambliss' days practicing law in Moultrie before he went to Congress in 1994, and Jim Martin since both worked for Georgia Legal Services more than 30 years ago. Mr. Finkelstein caught up with his old friends at the October 20th taping of the Senate debate at WALB-TV's studios in Albany.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I doubt many people will be voting FOR John McCain- most of them will be voting against his opponent. McCain's campaign has little to do with specific proposals to fix eight years of disaster under President Bush. His campaign wants to make people afraid to vote for Barack Obama, using fabrications which have nothing to do with any alleged conduct of Mr. Obama. Bob Schieffer should have asked Senator McCain: So what if Barack Obama was appointed to a charitable board with a person never convicted of a crime? Tell us how serving on a charitable board would affect our nation if Barack Obama is elected president-- a board created by the wife of Ronald Reagan's ambassador to England, and on which university presidents and notable Republicans served. Instead of trying to smear him with guilt by association, name a single act of misconduct of Mr. Obama. If you can't, then tell voters why you spent millions on irrelevant attack ads rather than telling America how you expect to catch Osama Bin Laden or end the economy's free fall. While you're at it, explain to America why you accepted tens of thousands of dollars from Charles Keating, a convicted felon who looted the Lincoln Savings and Loan, and who got you to pressure federal bank regulators to look the other way while he committed his crimes? Explain why your accepting gifts from and taking family vacations with Charles Keating doesn't disqualify you from the presidency?

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Wouldn't it be nice to see decent questions and follow up that puts a candidate on the spot!

TRIAL LAWYER (TL): Senator McCain, you are a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, isn't that true?

Senator JOHN McCAIN (JM): Yes, my friend, I did. By the skin of my teeth, I'm sorry to say. (quick, nervous grin and mild dry chuckle).

TL: When you were there, the Academy had an honor code which stated something to the effect that:

"Midshipmen are persons of integrity: They stand for that which is right. They tell the truth and ensure that the full truth is known. They do not lie."

JM: (Looking puzzled). Yes, we did. In fact, it was Ross Perot, who graduated a few years before me, who drafted the first code. (quick smile, looks furtively at the audience for signs of approval that he knows this fact, which was drummed into him and the other thousand midshipmen during his plebe year.)

TL: Senator, you would agree, wouldn't you sir, that if that honor code were applied to your presidential campaign, you would have to withdraw in shame, isn't that correct?

JM: (looking nervous and angry at the same time). Absolutely not! I am a man of honor and integrity, and I stand by my statements during this campaign!

TL: Senator, isn't it true that the person you picked to be your Vice Presidential nominee, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, said, and I quote: “Our opponent … is someone who sees America it seems as being so imperfect that he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their own country..."

JM: (hesitates). I'm not sure of her exact words...

TL: Senator, is there any doubt in your mind that Governor Palin was attacking Senator Obama for his alleged ties to Bill Ayers?

JM: Well, no...

TL: And Senator, your campaign ads have accused Senator Obama of being linked to Bill Ayers for one reason and one reason only: because at one time, Bill Ayers was a member of the 1960's radical group called the Weathermen, isn't that true?

JM: Yes, and he was linked to Ayers, and we have to question his judgment for associating with someone like that...

TL: Senator McCain, are you stating as a fact that Barack Obama is a terrorist?

JM: Of course not. I said just the other day that he's a decent man, a family man, with whom I have disagreements...

TL: Senator, are you saying that Barack Obama associated with Bill Ayers when Mr. Ayers was planning to bomb federal buildings?

JM: Of course not, I never suggested any such thing...

TL: In fact, Senator Obama was a child during the Vietnam War when these violent protests occurred, isn't that true?

JM. I'm not sure. I'll have to get back to you on that.

TL: Senator, are you saying that Senator Obama is "palling around with domestic terrorists?"

JM: No, I'm questioning his judgment...

TL: Because Governor Palin didn't use the past tense, she said "he's palling around" as in something that is happening currently. Isn't that true?

JM. (stuttering) I, I, I already said, that I wasn't sure of her exact words...

TL: Senator, are you saying that your campaign can legitimately attack Barack Obama and try to link him to domestic terrorism because he served on a school charity board founded by Mrs. Walter Annenberg, wife of Ronald Reagan's ambassador to London and former publisher of TV Guide? A board on which numerous notable Republicans also served?

JM: Of course not. (turning to audience). My friends, I would never... I didn't... but his judgment in who he chooses to associate with is legitimately in question...

TL: Are you saying that associating with persons who committed violent acts against the United States and killed American citizens disqualifies a person from the presidency?

JM. (relaxing a bit). Now I think you're starting to understand. I don't attack "that one's" character, I'm just questioning his judgment...

TL: So if a presidential candidate associated with persons who killed over 58,000 Americans, would that disqualify him from the presidency?

JM: (getting angry, again). Wait a minute, now, are you suggesting...

TL: Senator, you met over seven times with terrorists who killed thousands of Americans, who tortured Americans, who kept some of them in tiger cages, and you tried to pal around with them, tried to do business with them, isn't that true?

JM: Now you just hold on. If you're talking about my trips to Vietnam...

TL: So you admit it, you don't deny that you consorted with and associated with known foreign terrorists who had targeted Americans, killed thousands of them, during the same time Bill Ayers and his Weather Underground were committing violence against Americans, isn't that true?

JM: (sputters)

TL: In fact, you also associated with a known criminal who targeted America's financial industry, isn't that true?

JM: No, no way (visibly angry again).

TL: You took hundreds of thousands of dollars from a man who went to prison for defrauding the investors in Lincoln Saving's and Loan, isn't that correct? The man who was part of the last American financial disaster, the Savings and Loan scandal? And that man was Charles Keating, isn't that true?

TL (not waiting for an answer): And that man got you to personally visit and lean on federal regulators who had intended to look into the schemes Mr. Keating was running with his Savings and Loan, isn't that true?

TL: (still not waiting for an answer): And the Senate investigated you and four other senators who attempted to use illegal influence on behalf of your friend, Charles Keating, the man you vacationed with in the Bahamas, your godfather who got you started on your road to congress in your first election, isn't that true?

JM: (finally getting a word in edgewise, and taking a page from Sarah Palin's VP debate handbook). I want to talk about the economy, about our energy plan, so I may not answer the question the way you want me to or the way "that one" wants me to....


Friday, October 10, 2008

Fox News rebuked by Anti-Defamation League

As a Jew, I find it odious when overt anti-Semites like Anthony Martin (sample prose from his insane court filings and career below) are given a platform on network television to spew hate:

"In 1986, he ran for Congress in Illinois under this campaign committee: “The Anthony R. Martin-Trigona Congressional Campaign to Exterminate Jew Power in America,” and he wrote sympathetically of the Holocaust. As The Washington Times described this year:

In a New York bankruptcy case, he referred to a judge as a “crooked, slimy Jew.”

During the bankruptcy dispute, he filed a civil-rights
lawsuit claiming Jewish bankruptcy judges and lawyers were
conspiring to steal his property. He asked a court to bar “any Jew
from having anything to do with plaintiff’s property.”

In another motion in the case, he wrote: “I am able to understand
how the Holocaust took place, and with every passing day feel less
and less sorry that it did, when Jew survivors are operating as a
wolf pack to steal my property.”

Some of you reading this may watch Fox News. You may think that they "tell it like it is" or that they are "fair and balanced." I can't tell you how pissed off it makes me to have a so-called news organization run a program with Sean Hannity featuring this poor excuse for a human being- and they ran it as if he was (as the
caption stated) an "author and reporter." Why did Fox feature a person who would exterminate me if only he had the power? Because he serves Fox's agenda to do everything possible to smear the presidential candidate whom they do not want to win.

From Glenn Greenwald:

"Over the weekend, Sean Hannity hosted a show on Fox News entitled "Obama & Friends: The History of Radicalism." *The star of Hannity’s smear fest was none other than Andy Martin*, who was featured as an honored, credible investigator and source to expose “the real Barack Obama.” There wasn’t a hostile or adversarial word uttered by Hannity about or towards Martin. To the contrary, Martin’s claims were the basis for many of the Fox News show’s allegations against Obama. This is how Fox described him on-screen when he spoke: “*Andy Martin, AUTHOR & JOURNALIST*”:"

Here is what the Anti Defamation League (the organization founded after the lynching and murder of Leo Frank, the Jew wrongly convicted of murdering Mary Phagan in 1915 in north Georgia) had to say to Fox about the program featuring Mr. Martin,

Anti-Defamation League

Sean Hannity
Fox News Channel
1211 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036

October 10, 2008

Dear Mr. Hannity:

We were astonished to see that during the October 5, 2008 edition of Hannity's America, you interviewed Anthony Martin, a man with an extensive track record of making anti-Semitic and anti-Israel remarks.

A person who espouses such odious views ought not to be given the opportunity to enhance his credentials or his standing by appearing on /Hannity's America/.


The Anti-Defamation League



We had to have the garage door repaired. The Sears repairman told us that one of our problems was that we did not have a 'large' enough motor on the opener. I thought for a minute, and said that we had the largest one Sears made at that time, a 1/2 horsepower. He shook his head and said, 'Lady, you need a 1/4 horsepower.' I responded that 1/2 was larger than 1/4. He said, 'NO, it's not.' Four is larger than two..'

We haven't used Sears repair since.


My daughter and I went through the McDonald's take-out window and I gave the clerk a $5 bill. Our total was $4.25, so I also handed her a quarter. She said, 'you gave me too much money.' I said, 'Yes I know, but this way you can just give me a dollar bill back.' She sighed and went to get the manager who asked me to repeat my request. I did so, and he handed me back th! e quart er, and said 'We are sorry but they could not do that kind of thing.' The clerk then proceeded to give me back $1 and 75 cents in change.

Do not confuse the clerks at McD's.


I live in a semi rural area. We recently had a new neighbor call the local township administrative office to request the removal of the DEER CROSSING sign on our road. The reason: 'Too many deer are being hit by cars out here! I don't think this is a good place for them to be crossing anymore.'

From Kingman , KS .


My daughter went to a local Taco Bell and ordered a taco. She asked the person behind the counter for 'minimal lettuce.' He said he was sorry, but they only had iceburg lettuce.

From Kansas City


I was at the airport, checking in at the gate when an airport employee asked, 'Has anyone put anything in your baggage without your knowledge?' To which I replied, 'If it was without my knowledge, how would I know?' He smiled knowingly and nodded,

'That's why we ask.'

Happened in Birmingham , Ala.


The stoplight on the corner buzzes when it's safe to cross the street. I was crossing with an intellectually challenged coworker of mine. She asked if I knew what the buzzer was for. I explained that it signals blind people when the light is red. Appalled, she responded, 'What on earth are blind people doing driving?!'

She was a probation officer in Wichita , KS


Couric: You’ve cited Alaska’s proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that?

Sarah Palin: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and, on our other side, the land-boundary that we have with Canada. It’s funny that a comment like that was kinda made to … I don’t know, you know … reporters.

Couric: Mocked?

Palin: Yeah, mocked, I guess that’s the word, yeah.

Couric: Well, explain to me why that enhances your foreign-policy credentials.

Palin: Well, it certainly does, because our, our next-door neighbors are foreign countries, there in the state that I am the executive of. And there…

Couric: Have you ever been involved in any negotiations, for example, with the Russians?

Palin: We have trade missions back and forth, we do. It’s very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia. As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where do they go? It’s Alaska. It’s just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there, they are right next to our state.

She wants to be Vice President of the United States!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Questions I'd like to hear asked of John McCain at the next presidential debate (Barack, feel free to turn towards Senator McCain and ask him!):

(Click to enlarge- And don't forget to wink!

Senator McCain, you've claimed over and over that "the surge has worked" and that you were right on Iraq. Knowing what you know now, if you had been President of the United States and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces on March 19, 2003, would you have given the order to invade Iraq?

How many Iraqi women, children, babies, and senior citizens have perished because President Bush gave the order to invade Iraq in 2003? [If he says he doesn't know, then ask: Is it more or less than 50,000?]

How many Iraqis have fled their homes since President Bush gave the order to invade Iraq? Is it more or less than a million?

How many Iraqis have become refugees in other countries such as Syria, Iran, and Jordan since President Bush gave the order to invade Iraq?

Senator McCain, you've stated that you were OK with American troops staying in Iraq for 100 years so long as American troops weren't being killed? What is the relative value of an innocent Iraqi's life compared to the life of an American soldier occupying that country? 100%? 75% 50% 0%?

Senator McCain, Governor Palin claimed in the Vice Presidential debate that " John McCain ... knows how to win a war." What wars have you won?

Senator McCain, you've said that it would be a mistake for a President of the United States to meet with the President of Iran without "preconditions." If the purpose of the meeting is to stop a war from taking place, and if the meeting accomplishes that goal and a war is averted, how is that a mistake?

Senator McCain, I have a simple question for you: is it better to win a war, or is it better to get what you want without going to war?

If you could save one American soldier's life by sitting at a table with the President of Iran without preconditions, would you do it?

Senator McCain, going back to October of 2002 when you voted to authorize President Bush to go to war against Iraq, please tell the American people what steps you took to make sure that American troops had up armored vehicles, sufficient body armor, enough Arabic interpreters, and all the other tools and weapons they needed to successfully invade Iraq, occupy it, and suppress an insurgency? If the answer is "nothing," are you saying that in your judgment your only role was to vote for war and not to make sure that America was ready to go to war? How many American lives were lost because you didn't do your job properly?

Senator McCain, please point out what speech you gave, what letter or memo you wrote, prior to the invasion of March 19, 2003, in which you predicted that an insurgency would occur after our invasion and occupation of Iraq, and in which you requested that the Bush Administration take adequate steps to prevent it from occurring or to quickly suppress it?

[AUTHOR'S NOTE: I'm just a guy- not a government official. Just a guy with common sense and the ability to read a newspaper. Here's what I wrote in an email on April 19, 2003- two weeks before the infamous "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" -- to another parent of a Marine in my son's unit in Iraq: 

"Why the UN should take over is simple whether or not they do a better job, the perception among the people in the region will be hugely different regarding a UN sponsored trusteeship of the country. It simply is in our national interest to have a respected international organization take over the rebuilding of Iraq. The sooner American and British soldiers are out of there, the less likely that terrorists or suicide bombers will attack our loved ones there or here. And a quick exit will defeat the absurd arguments that we are a colonialist country seeking to exploit Iraq's oil."]

Senator McCain, when you voted on October 11, 2002, to authorize President Bush to invade Iraq, how many years did you then think that American troops would be occupying the country? Did you think we would still be there in 2004? 2005? 2006? 2007? 2008? In October of 2002, did you foresee that almost five years later, in 2007, you would be arguing that we needed a "surge" of tens of thousands of additional troops costing tens of billions of dollars in order to secure the country?

Senator McCain, how much has the War in Iraq cost from the day that the troops were sent overseas until the present date?

Senator McCain, are American dollars being used to build hospitals in Iraq? Schools? Rebuild their electric generating capacity? Rebuild their infrastructure?

Senator McCain, what does the phrase "opportunity cost" mean?

What was the opportunity cost of the invasion and occupation of Iraq with regard to how our resources could have been used at home- in other words, what could we have done here in America with $640 billion dollars we've spent over the last 5 1/2 years to occupy and rebuild Iraq?

Senator McCain, former Senator Phil Gramm has been one of your key economic advisers. Would you care to explain to the American people how former Senator Gramm's role in the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 (a.k.a. Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act) kept regulators away from investment banks, allowed investment banks to break the wall which had kept them out of commercial banking, and allowed them to create the house of financial cards which nearly destroyed the American economy and is costing taxpayers over $700 billion to bail out Wall Street? Or, if it's too painful a memory, since you voted for Senator Gramm's bill which allowed America's investment banks to overrreach themselves, would you like me to explain the role you and Senator Gramm played in hosing American homeowners and taxpayers?