Friday, August 8, 2008

Behind Enemy Lies

Recently, I got something in my email box from a cousin back in Milwaukee. Let me say, I love Milwaukee, and I'm proud to be from there. But it is as "middle-America" as you might hope to get, and in the up-coming campaign, these are the people we must rely on to make a well-informed choice when it comes to voting. And sadly, there's a large portion of middle-America that isn't well-informed, nor looks to be well-informed.

Case in point: an email I received speculating that Senator Obama may not legally be able to run for president because he is not a legal citizen of the US. Now, it occurs to me that the reason we're questioning Obama's birthright has a little something to do with the fact that he don't look like the "rest" of us Americans. In fact, few Americans know that John McCain was not actually born on U.S. soil (which makes his own elligibility for Presidency more complicated than Obama's, although equally as valid.)
The truth of the Obama matter lies here. And for the especially doubting Thomas, a picture of his birth certificate lies here.

In the email, the article questioning Obama's elligibility was supposedly written by Thomas Sowell who, among his other credentials, is a black writer for - a conservative website/periodical. I contacted Mr. Sowell to bring his attention to the email, and he confirmed that he did NOT write it (it has also been attributed to Pat Shannon, asst. editor of "The American Free Press", though this is probably also false.)

It comes as no surprise to me that some anonymous person, from the right-side of things, circulates a speculative lie, without any question to its validity. It also, sadly, comes as no surprise that my cousin continues to circulate the email without any fact checking. This is how rumors become truth.

Because of my getting in contact with Mr. Sowell, I had to sign in to the Townhall website, and subsequently recieved a magazine from them in the mail. What hit me the most about the material was how sarcastic and belittling this conservative rag was toward democratic (or liberal) ideology. Now, don't get me wrong - the liberals do it JUST as much, though more generally in private. The republican, conservative machine seems to do it outright, and with no apology, indeed with righteousness. Clean campaigning my foot.

So I thought, "As important as it is for me to be educated about what I support, it's probably even MORE important that I be educated about what I DON'T support." And thus I signed on to Mr. McCain's website to see what I could see. (Browser Beware! You'll be bombarred by a barrage of fake smiling everywhere you turn!)

And now to the point of this posting. I leave this entirely up to discussion and debate, but I would like to point out one of my findings on McCain's website interested me, and hopefully will interest the average middle-american voter.

The McCain camp recently released an onslaught of anti-Obama ads, including this one aptly titled "Painful." I encourage you to go here and sift through the "fact-checking" and see what conclusions you can come to on your own (it seems that there is a debate about taxable income equalling $41,500 or the more probable $32,550, but it was a bit above my basic economic education.)

What DID catch my eye was the report that: "Barack Obama Has Called For Higher Income Taxes, Social Security Taxes, Capital Gains And Dividend Taxes, And Corporate Taxes, As Well As 'Massive New Domestic Spending.'"

A wide sweeping statement for sure. But examining the details you find:
"Obama's proposal ... would impose social security taxes on income above $250,000 per year. He would continue to exempt income between $102,000 and $250,000 from social security taxes."

To be even clearer, let's hear from the man himself:
Barack Obama Would Raise Income Taxes. Obama: "[I] would roll back the Bush tax cuts for those making over $250,000." (Sen. Barack Obama, CNN Democrat Presidential Candidate Debate, Manchester, NH, 6/3/07)

Now, if someone told me that there were going to be "HIGHER INCOME TAXES!" and "SOCIAL SECURITY TAXES!" and I was an independent artist, barely raking in under $35,000 a year, I'd be pretty damn nervous. Oh wait. I am

What they didn't tell me is that it applies only to those lucky individuals making over $250,000 a year. In other words, my taxes, my parents' taxes, the Mexican lady who works at Coffee Bean's taxes are not going to be affected. What it DOES mean, is that John McCain's taxes, President Bush's taxes, and yes, Senator Barack Obama's taxes WILL be affected. And though one's personal expenses are an entirely private affair, I can't imagine they wouldn't be able to afford it. Or that they might even have, god forbid, a responsibility to afford it.

Personally, I dream of being in the $250,000 a year tax bracket. My god, who wouldn't?

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