Why the Supreme Court is a major issue and McCain’s wacky tax policy

Dahlia Lithwick notes that the Supreme Court might be about to take a recess and thus be out of the spotlight, but The Supreme Court matters next election. Seriously. Of course she’s correct, but we live in a country where one third of students polled in 2005 think the First Amendment to the Constitution goes too far in granting rights and in another survey of the general population 55% of Americans erroneously believe that the Constitution provides Christianity as the nation’s religion. Figures like those are difficult to reconcile with having much optimism about the future of this democracy regardless of who becomes the nest president. These surveys might also account for the reason that a quarter of the population still thinks Bush is a pretty good president and hasn’t done anything wrong. They’re measuring Bush’s job performance against the way they imagine our government and the Constitution works rather then the way they actually do.

For eight years the Bush administration has treated the courts almost like an enemy: meddlers and elitists who cannot understand what it means to be at war. As a consequence, we find ourselves in a country where the rule of law is reduced to an occasional luxury, like heated seats. As you contemplate what you want your next Supreme Court to look like, ask yourself what happens when judges are sidelined—or when they’re chosen for their inclination to sideline themselves. If we really want to restore the rule of law in America, and the reputation of the United States as a land in which laws matter, we need to vote for a president who believes that we still call it a Supreme Court for a reason.

Old print of the original Star Spangled Banner. The flag still exists and is in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington D.C. They even have a color photo.

Three Questions for McCain on his tax policy

To anyone who has been following the campaign closely, however, there were some strange things in the report’s summary. The alternative minimum tax? Mr. McCain apparently no longer wants to abolish it. The write-off for corporate equipment? It exists for a few years, but then it disappears. The simple new tax system? Gone.

[  ]…The Obama campaign claims it can pay for all this, and even reduce the deficit, through tax increases and spending cuts. I think a more skeptical look at its budget leaves you worried it may add something like $50 billion a year to the deficit. But applying the same arched brow to Mr. McCain’s stated plans leaves you worried that he will add $200 billion or $300 billion or, depending on his voluntary tax system, even more.

For those concerned about the nation carrying a nearly 10 trillion dollar debt that has been run up by borrow and spend Republicans. Its bad news and really really bad news. Obama’s plan slows the hemorrhage to a slow bleed, while McCain wants to continue to party on the national credit card.

Remember when Bush was in Europe and used the opportunity to make veiled childishly hypocritical remarks about Obama’s willingness to engage the international community in talks even as Ambassador Crocker has been holding talks with Iran. Turns out the hypocrisy piling up a little more, Bush’s chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen thinks we should engage Iran on the diplomatic front if they’re willing to do so.

Get Smart shoe phone. A dial phone in your shoe is so impractical in this day and age that it could be considered deviously clever because the bad guys wouldn’t think to check for one.