Tuesday, September 30, 2008
FORT MILL, S.C. -- Fort Mill Mayor Danny Funderburk says he was “just curious” when he forwarded a chain e-mail suggesting Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama is the biblical antichrist. “I was just curious if there was any validity to it,” Funderburk said in a telephone interview. “I was trying to get documentation if there was any scripture to back it up.”
Funderburk apparently sent the e-mail from his business account at Gastonia Sheet Metal where he works as a business agent.
The e-mail, which has circulated in the last six months since Obama secured the Democratic nomination, claims the biblical book of Revelation says the antichrist will be in his 40s and of Muslim ancestry.
There is no such scripture. And Obama is not a Muslim. But that hasn’t stopped the e-mail.
The urban legend Web site Snopes.com first exploded the myth in March. Funderburk forwarded the e-mail this month.
When asked if he believed Obama was the antichrist, Funderburk replied, “I’ve got absolutely no way of knowing that.”
Funderburk said it “probably does give that impression” that he believed the e-mail was true “but that was not my intent.”
The mayor said it was a mistake not to include a subject line when he forwarded the chain e-mail.
“I am curious about current events and their connection to the Bible,” he said.
The Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman — the hometown newspaper of Sarah Palin — reports that the Governor has replied to a list of 14 submitted questions. Among the queries was a question about the fact that, while she was mayor of Wasilla, her administration’s policy was to “bill victims” for their rape kits:
Q: During your tenure as mayor in 2000, then police chief Charlie Fannon commented in a May 23, 2000 Frontiersman article about legislation Gov. Tony Knowles signed protecting victims of sexual assault from being billed for rape kits collected by police as part of their investigations. Fannon revealed then that Knowles’ decision would cost Wasilla $5,000 to $14,000 a year, insinuating that the department’s policy was to bill victims for this testing. During your tenure as Mayor, what was the police department and city’s standard operating procedure in recovering costs of rape kits? Were any sexual assault victims ever charged for this testing while you were mayor?
A: The entire notion of making a victim of a crime pay for anything is crazy. I do not believe, nor have I ever believed, that rape victims should have to pay for an evidence-gathering test. As governor, I worked in a variety of ways to tackle the problem of sexual assault and rape, including making domestic violence a priority of my administration.
It is indeed “crazy,” yet charging sexual assault victims for their rape kits (which cost $300 to $1,200 at the time) is exactly what happened while she was mayor of Wasilla. In a budget-cutting move, Palin’s administration began charging rape victims for exams and the kits containing the medical supplies. (Her signature is on the budget.) USA Today reported:
It is not known how many rape victims in Wasilla were required to pay for some or all of the medical exams, but a legislative staffer who worked on the bill for [state legislator Eric] Croft said it happened. “It was more than a couple of cases, and it was standard practice in Wasilla,” Peggy Wilcox said, who now works for the Alaska Public Employees Association. “If you were raped in Wasilla, this was going to happen to you.”
The practice of charging rape victims got the attention of state lawmakers in 2000, who passed a bill to stop the practice.
In her short tenure as Governor, Palin has come under criticism for presiding over a state where rape is “epidemic.” A March study by a state task force found that level of funding only covered the cost of helping women and children hurt by the epidemic of sexual violence. It was not enough to try to prevent assaults from happening or to ensure “accountability of offenders.”
Peggy Brown, executive director of the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, said of Palin: “She’s really done a lot of work on oil and gas, but when it comes to violence against women and children…we haven’t been on her radar as a priority.”
The mother of a Wisconsin soldier who died in Iraq says she was "ecstatic" when Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama mentioned during Friday's debate the bracelet she gave him in honor of her son.
Tracy Jopek of Merrill told The Associated Press on Sunday she was honored that Obama remembered Sgt. Ryan David Jopek, who was killed in 2006 by a roadside bomb.
Jopek criticized Internet reports suggesting Obama, D-Ill., exploited her son for political purposes.
"I don't understand how people can take that and turn it into some garbage on the Internet," she said...
...So, when Barack Obama says he will put some lipstick on my pig, I am, like, Are you calling me a pig? If so, thanks! Pigs are the most non-Élite of all barnyard animals. And also, if you put lipstick on my pig, do you know what the difference will be between that pig and a pit bull? I’ll tell you: a pit bull can easily kill a pig. And, as the pig dies, guess what the Hockey Mom is doing? Going to her car, putting on more lipstick, so that, upon returning, finding that pig dead, she once again looks identical to that pit bull, which, staying on mission, the two of them step over the dead pig, looking exactly like twins, except the pit bull is scratching his lower ass with one frantic leg, whereas the Hockey Mom is carrying an extra hockey stick in case Todd breaks his again. But both are going, like, Ha ha, where’s that dumb pig now? Dead, that’s who, and also: not a smidge of lipstick...
The Obama campaign just launched a new one-stop voter registration website called Vote for Change:
You can check your registration status, register to vote, look up early-vote information for your state, apply to vote absentee, or even find your polling place.
Q: What is the role of the US in Iraq and Afghanistan?
Afghanistan will lead to further security of our best interests to fight against a regime, especially Iran, who would seek to wipe them off the face of the United States. I want to rid not only our democracy, but communities like the idea though of taxpayers being used to talk about, America being the beacon of light and hope for those who maybe came from a background of, you know, that has been overwhelming to me who the bad guys are in this terror. They need to reform government. We have that very narrow maritime border between the United States, in my world, those are the ones who say Israel is a very small percentage of Islamic extremism, terrorists who are concerned about the healthcare reform that we've got to be done in unifying people and companies to get in there and make sure that an eye on Russia and Putin and some of his independent and strong decision he has made, what he decided to do this with you.
... When you stage a train wreck of this magnitude -- trying to pass one underqualified chick off as another highly qualified chick with the lame hope that no one will notice -- well, then, I don't feel bad for you.
When you treat women as your toys, as gullible and insensate pawns in your Big Fat Presidential Bid -- or in Palin's case, in your Big Fat Chance to Be the First Woman Vice President Thanks to All the Cracks Hillary Put in the Ceiling -- I don't feel bad for you.
When you don't take your own career and reputation seriously enough to pause before striding onto a national stage and lying about your record of opposing a Bridge to Nowhere or using your special-needs child to garner the support of Americans in need of healthcare reform you don't support, I don't feel bad for you.
When you don't have enough regard for your country or its politics to cram effectively for the test -- a test that helps determine whether or not you get to run that country and participate in its politics -- I don't feel bad for you.
When your project is reliant on gaining the support of women whose reproductive rights you would limit, whose access to birth control and sex education you would curtail, whose healthcare options you would decrease, whose civil liberties you would take away and whose children and husbands and brothers (and sisters and daughters and friends) you would send to war in Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Russia and wherever else you saw fit without actually understanding international relations, I don't feel bad for you...
David Brooks is not a happy camper:
House Republicans led the way and will get most of the blame. It has been interesting to watch them on their single-minded mission to destroy the Republican Party. Not long ago, they led an anti-immigration crusade that drove away Hispanic support. Then, too, they listened to the loudest and angriest voices in their party, oblivious to the complicated anxieties that lurk in most American minds.
Now they have once again confused talk radio with reality. If this economy slides, they will go down in history as the Smoot-Hawleys of the 21st century. With this vote, they’ve taken responsibility for this economy, and they will be held accountable. The short-term blows will fall on John McCain, the long-term stress on the existence of the G.O.P. as we know it.
This is noteworthy, though I think a little naive of Brooks. The House conservatives who sank the bailout didn’t do so because they were listening to loud and angry voices. They sank the plan by accident. They were trying to double-cross the Democrats. First, they wrung lots of concessions out of Democrats at the negotiating table as the price for delivering 80 votes. Then, by not delivering 80 votes and forcing Pelosi to pass the bill as a partisan Democratic bill, they were going to wage a demagogic anti-bailout campaign. But Pelosi refused to be played for a sucker and so the conservative inadvertently sank a bill that, all evidence suggests, they actually wanted to pass. They just wanted to vote “no” on it for short-term political gain.
Monday, September 29, 2008
...Of concern to McCain's campaign, however, is a remaining and still-undisclosed clip from Palin's interview with Couric last week that has the political world buzzing.
The Palin aide, after first noting how "infuriating" it was for CBS to purportedly leak word about the gaffe, revealed that it came in response to a question about Supreme Court decisions.
After noting Roe vs. Wade, Palin was apparently unable to discuss any major court cases.
There was no verbal fumbling with this particular question as there was with some others, the aide said, but rather silence.
A three-week-old Internet campaign is asking abortion-rights activists to send donations to Planned Parenthood in honor of the Alaska governor.
The origin of the campaign is unknown and Planned Parenthood officials insist it is not their doing.
Palin is a staunch abortion- rights opponent. The campaign is meant to translate anger at her position into money for an agency that provides sex education, women's health care and abortion services.
One e-mail making the rounds on the Internet says: "Instead of (actually, in addition to) all of us all sending more e-mails about how absolutely horrible she is, let's all make a donation to Planned Parenthood in Sarah Palin's name."
Katie Groke Ellis, field manager for the Planned Parenthood of the Rockies Action Fund, predicts that the five-state chapter of the group alone could draw $100,000 in donations.
"We are so excited to see that people are writing checks to us instead of just complaining about it," Ellis said Tuesday.
Palin is not only anti-abortion but opposes abortion even in the case of rape or incest, a point she hammered home in the 2006 Alaska governor's race by saying she would oppose her daughter getting an abortion if she were raped. She said this month that she wants to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion, but will work with abortion-rights activists to find common ground on reducing the number of abortions.
Planned Parenthood sends a handwritten thank-you card to the donor. If a donation is made in someone's name, he or she gets one, too.
In this case, the Palin cards will go to Republican presidential nominee John McCain's national headquarters.
Jeff Sadosky, director of regional communications for the McCain campaign, said: "This crass political stunt is yet another reminder that the Barack Obama campaign and its surrogates has given up on the 'new politics of hope' that they were so proud of a few short months ago."
sealovere@RockyMountainNews.com or 303-954-5438
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Barack Obama, John McCain and the Language of Race
September 21, 2008
"...This obsession with black subservience was based in nostalgia for slavery. No sane person would openly express such a sentiment today. But the discomfort with certain forms of black assertiveness is too deeply rooted in the national psyche — and the national language — to just disappear. It has been a persistent theme in the public discourse since Barack Obama became a plausible candidate for the presidency.
...The throwback references that have surfaced in the campaign suggest that Republicans are fighting on racial grounds, even when express references to race are not evident. In a replay of elections past, the G.O.P. will try to leverage racial ghosts and fears without getting its hands visibly dirty. The Democrats try to parry in customary ways."
...Then came Black Wednesday — not for the stock market, which was holding steady in anticipation of Washington action, but for McCain. As the widely accepted narrative has it, his come-to-Jesus moment arrived that morning, when he awoke to discover that Barack Obama had surged ahead by nine percentage points in the Washington Post/ABC News poll. The McCain campaign hastily suited up its own pollster to belittle that finding — only to be drowned out by a fusillade of new polls from Fox News, Marist and CNN/Time, each with numbers closer to Post/ABC than not. Obama was rising most everywhere except the moose strongholds of Alaska and Montana.
That was not the only bad news raining down on McCain. His camp knew what Katie Couric had in the can from her interview with Sarah Palin. The first excerpt was to be broadcast by CBS that night, and it had to be upstaged fast.
But even that wasn’t the top political threat McCain faced last week. Bigger still was the mounting evidence of the seamless synergy between his campaign and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage monsters at the heart of the housing bust that set off our current calamity. Most of all, it was the fast-moving events on that front that precipitated his panic to roll out his diversionary, over-the-top theatrics on Wednesday...
...Palin told him that "dinosaurs and humans walked the Earth at the same time," Munger said. When he asked her about prehistoric fossils and tracks dating back millions of years, Palin said "she had seen pictures of human footprints inside the tracks," recalled Munger, who teaches music at the University of Alaska in Anchorage and has regularly criticized Palin in recent years on his liberal political blog, called Progressive Alaska.
The idea of a "young Earth" -- that God created the Earth about 6,000 years ago, and dinosaurs and humans coexisted early on -- is a popular strain of creationism...
Saturday, September 27, 2008
CBC Presses Republicans: Do You Agree With Bachmann’s Asssertion That ‘Minorities’ Caused Financial Crisis?»
During a Senate hearing on Thursday, Rep. Michele Bachmann pinned blame for financial crisis on President Clinton, “blacks,” and “other minorities.” To make her point, she read from an article written by Terry Jones in the right-wing publication Investor’s Business Daily. Jones criticized the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and said Clinton was misguided for pushing “homeownership as a way to open the door for blacks and other minorities to enter the middle class.” Watch Bachmann’s speech, followed by sharp criticism from Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) here.
In a new letter to House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) obtained by ThinkProgress, 31 members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) call Bachmann’s claims “ridiculous” and ask Boehner whether her comments represent the views of the Republican Caucus:
It is clear from Rep. Bachmann’s comments that she believes that the bipartisan laws enacted over the past decade ensuring that minority communities have equal access to banking and other financial services are the cause of this financial situation. […]
There is no evidence to support Rep. Bachmann’s assertion that “minorities” caused the current financial crisis. Laws designed to open opportunities for equal access to credit do not require banks or thrifts to make loans that are unsafe or unprofitable. In fact, laws like the CRA mandate exactly the opposite. […] Additionally, research clearly shows that the majority of the predatory loans that have led us to this financial mess were originated by non-bank financial institutions and other entities that did NOT have a CRA obligation and lacked strong federal regulatory oversight. Shifting the blame for the current economic crisis to laws that allow equal access and opportunities to communities of color is ridiculous.
As members of the CBC, we simply ask if Rep. Bachmann’s position that it was lending to minority communities that caused the current financial crisis, represent the position of Republican Caucus?
The least self-aware moment for John McCain in last night's debate came at the half-way point, when he said, "I'm afraid Senator Obama doesn't understand the difference between a tactic and a strategy."
In a sense McCain was sticking to his battle plan in saying this -- the plan being on-message hammering-home of the "Obama doesn't understand" theme. In another sense, he lost his way, since he immediately segued not into a discussion of strategic matters in Iraq and Afghanistan but into an anecdote. But that kind of literal parsing of his answer -- tactical analysis, you might call it -- really misses the point.
There has been no greater contrast between the Obama and McCain campaigns than the tactical-vs-strategic difference, with McCain demonstrating the primacy of short-term tactics and Obama sticking to a more coherent long-term strategy. And McCain's dismissive comment suggests that he still does not realize this.
Some examples are so familiar as to need no explanation: McCain choosing the ten-day tactical "bounce" from the surprise choice of Sarah Palin, in exchange for the enormous strategic risk in choosing an un-vetted and now obviously unqualified running mate. Or McCain rolling the dice with his threat to boycott the debate -- and then, once on stage, appearing to be only mildly interested in the financial-bailout deal that 72 hours earlier was the stated reason for overturning all agreements about the debates .
But the personas that the two men chose to present in the debate indicated the difference in a profound way. The truths of debates are these:
* Emotional messages, which are variants on "how do I feel about this person?", are all that matter in presidential debates. Issues discussions are significant mainly to the extent they shape these impressions. For instance: a candidate's view on the economy feeds the impression of whether he sympathizes with "people like me." Or views on foreign policy feed the impression on whether he would be "a leader we can trust."
* Barring a truly disastrous performance, each side's partisans will think their candidate did well, and will be reinforced in the reasons for supporting the person they already like. Thus John McCain supporters will think he sounded confident and masterful; Obama supporters will think he kept presenting the big-picture perspective on national security and the economy. Which means therefore:
* The audience that matters is people who start out undecided or uncertain -- and finally are looking for emotional reassurance about who they can imagine as president for the next four years. In general, such viewers are only now starting to pay serious attention to the campaign -- in contrast to people already committed to helping (or stopping) one of the candidates. That is why the first debate is a unique "re-launch" opportunity for the candidates to present themselves to people who realize it's time to make up their minds.
Everything John McCain did on stage last night was consistent with trying to score tactical points in those 90 minutes. He belittled Obama with the repeated "he doesn't understand"s; he was explicitly insulting to him in saying at the end "I honestly don't believe that Senator Obama has the knowledge or experience" for the job (a line Joe Biden dare not use so bluntly on Sarah Palin); and implicitly he was shockingly rude and dismissive in refusing ever to look Obama in the eye. Points scored -- in the short term, to the cheers of those already on his side.
Obama would have pleased his base better if he had fought back more harshly in those 90 minutes -- cutting McCain off, delivering a similarly harsh closing judgment, using comparably hostile body language, and in general acting more like a combative House of Commons debater. Those would have been effective tactics minute by minute.
But Obama either figured out, or instinctively understood, that the real battle was to make himself seem comfortable, reasonable, responsible, well-versed, and in all ways "safe" and non-outsiderish to the audience just making up its mind about him. (And yes, of course, his being a young black man challenging an older white man complicated everything he did and said, which is why his most wittily aggressive debate performance was against another black man, Alan Keyes, in his 2004 Senate race.) The evidence of the polls suggests that he achieved exactly this strategic goal. He was the more "likeable," the more knowledgeable, the more temperate, etc.
For years and years, Democrats have wondered how their candidates could "win" the debates on logical points -- that is, tactics -- but lose the larger struggle because these seemed too aggressive, supercilious, cold-blooded, or whatever. To put it in tactical/strategic terms, Democrats have gotten used to winning battles and losing wars. Last night, the Democratic candidate showed a far keener grasp of this distinction than did the Republican who accused him of not understanding it.
John McCain's reversal of his pledge not to attend tonight's debate unless there was an agreement on a Wall Street bailout illustrates the dangers of chasing news cycles.
McCain's decision to suspend campaigning must have seemed like a good idea at the time--his poll numbers were falling and his campaign was getting hammered by the press for its lobbying ties.
The move was guaranteed to dominate the headlines, change the discussion and in so doing "win the day."
And it did.
But then the next news cycle began, and Senator McCain was boxed in by his pledge.
He attended a summit that he had called for and had nothing of substance to add or say. Worse, the collapse of a tentative deal among lawmakers on a bailout has been attributed to his presence there.
Now, forced to choose between ducking the debate or breaking his promise not to attend absent a deal, he has decided to go back on his word.
This is a campaign flying by the seat of its pants, chasing news cycles without a real plan once it has caught them.
The Obama campaign gets up every day and asks themselves how they can make the case for change vs more of the same, just as they did yesterday, and they will do tomorrow.
The McCain campaign wakes up and figures out how to try to win the day.
Its the difference between strategy and tactics, between a message and a war room, and it is among the reasons why Barack Obama, and not John McCain, is the clear favorite to be our next President.
The point of these debates is that "the American people" realize who will be the better president. Last night was "round one" and the first presidential debate. I found this off of the Guanabee blog and it seemed like an excellent post-debate wrap up video. Obama was so kind and gentle to McCain. McCain used his ever breath to over answer each question by plenty of time. Obama was in my opinion, constantly on the defense to all the lies that McCain stated.
McCain seriously misstated his vote concerning the marines in Lebanon. He said that when he went into Congress in 1983, he voted against deploying them in Beirut. The Marines went in Lebanon in 1982, before McCain came to Congress. The vote came up a year into their deployment, when the Marines had already suffered 54 casualties. What McCain voted against was a measure to invoke the War Powers Act and to authorize the deployment of U.S. Marines in Lebanon for an additional 18 months. The measure passed 270-161, with 26 other Republicans (including McCain) and 134 Democrats voting against it.
I’m not even really sure why McCain felt the need to lie about this. It is, however, interesting that he brought it up at all. Back in the 1980s, McCain hewed more or less to a realist line that’s very different from the neoconservative foreign policy he’s adhered to for the past 10 years.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Sarah Palin took questions from reporters for the first time since she became the GOP Vice-Presidential candidate today, after visiting the September 11th Tribute Center at Ground Zero.
According to a pool report, Palin was asked what she thought of the bailout package before Congress, “I don’t support that until the provisions that Senator McCain has offered are implemented in Paulson’s proposals.”
Palin said she supports the way President Bush has carried out the War on Terror, “I agree with the Bush administration that we take the fight to them. We never again let them come onto our soil and try to destroy not only our democracy, but communities like the community of New York. Never again. So yes, I do agree with taking the fight to the terrorists and stopping them over there.”
She disagrees that continued American military presences in Iraq and Afghanistan have inflamed Islamic extremists, “I think our presence in Iraq and Afghanistan will lead to further security of our nation, again, because the mission is to take the fight over there. Do not let them come over here and attempt again what they accomplished here, and that was some destruction–terrible destruction on that day. But, since September 11th, Americans uniting and rebuilding and committing to never letting that happen again.”
...Palin’s recent interviews with Charles Gibson, Sean Hannity, and now Katie Couric have all revealed an attractive, earnest, confident candidate. Who Is Clearly Out Of Her League.
No one hates saying that more than I do. Like so many women, I’ve been pulling for Palin, wishing her the best, hoping she will perform brilliantly. I’ve also noticed that I watch her interviews with the held breath of an anxious parent, my finger poised over the mute button in case it gets too painful. Unfortunately, it often does. My cringe reflex is exhausted.
Palin filibusters. She repeats words, filling space with deadwood. Cut the verbiage and there’s not much content there. Here’s but one example of many from her interview with Hannity: “Well, there is a danger in allowing some obsessive partisanship to get into the issue that we’re talking about today. And that’s something that John McCain, too, his track record, proving that he can work both sides of the aisle, he can surpass the partisanship that must be surpassed to deal with an issue like this...”
1. Returns to Vietnam and jails himself.
2. Offers the post of "vice vice president" to Warren Buffett.
3. Challenges Obama to suspend campaign so they both can go and personally drill for oil offshore.
4. Learns to use computer.
5. Does bombing run over Taliban-controlled tribal areas of Pakistan.
6. Offers to forgo salary, sell one house.
7. Sex-change operation.
8. Suspends campaign until Nov. 4, offers to start being president right now.
9. Sells Alaska to Russia for $700 billion.
10. Pledges to serve only one term. OK, half a term.
I suppose this should come as no surprise:
"I have opposed federal funding for the National Endowment for the Arts because I believe it is not proper to use tax dollars for what many Americans feel are the obscene and inappropriate projects this organization has supported. I support providing federal block grants to the states for arts education and artistic endeavors pursued by state and local authorities, while assuring that federal tax dollars are not spent on obscene or offensive material."
—John McCain, 1999
Originally posted by Paul Schmelzer from Eyeteeth: A journal of incisive ideas., ReBlogged by Other Options on Sep 26, 2008 at 10:50 AM
Thursday, September 25, 2008
...Now John McCain has chosen as his running mate Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, a diligent student of Big Oil's crib sheets. She's something of a flat-earther who shares the current administration's contempt for science. Palin has expressed skepticism about evolution (which is like not believing in gravity), putting it on par with "creationism," which posits that the Earth was created 6,000 years ago.
She used to insist that human activities have nothing to do with climate change. "I'm not one ... who would attribute it to being man-made," she said in August. After she joined the GOP ticket, she magically reversed herself, to a point. "Man's activities certainly can be contributing to the issue of global warming," she told Charles Gibson two weeks ago.
Meanwhile, Alaska is melting before our eyes; entire villages erode as sea ice vanishes, glaciers are disappearing at a frightening clip, and "dancing forests" caused by disappearing permafrost astonish residents and tourists. Palin had to keep her head buried particularly deep in an oil well to ever have denied that humans are causing climate change. But, as Upton Sinclair pointed out, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."
Palin's enthusiastic embrace of Big Oil's agenda (if not always Big Oil itself) has been the platform of her hasty rise in Alaskan politics. In that sense she is as much a product of the oil industry as the current president and his vice president. Palin, whose husband is a production operator for BP on Alaska's North Slope, has sued the federal government over its listing of the polar bear as an endangered species threatened by global warming, and she has fought to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Alaska's coast to oil drilling.
When oil profits are at stake, her fantasy world appears to have no boundaries. About American's deadly oil dependence, she mused recently, "I beg to disagree with any candidate who would say we can't drill our way out of our problem."
I guess the only difference between Sarah Palin and Dick Cheney is ... lipstick.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
...But think, what if McCain had picked Mitt Romney as his veep choice, like so many of us were fervently hoping?
Sure, the rollout wouldn't have give McCain a fraction of the attention and excitement that Palin generated. The GOP ticket's (now evaporated) post-convention bump would've been smaller, and maybe Romney would've been less effective at revving up the fundy base.
But right now? Romney would be kicking ass. The media would treat him with deference as an economic expert, and let's be honest, he does looks straight out of central casting for the role of "serious businessman who we should defer to on the economy". McCain wouldn't have to hide him. Romney could make the media rounds, being taken seriously no matter what GOP gibberish he spouted. Rather than flail and cower, a McCain/Romney ticket would look sure-footed and confident, projecting gravitas in a time of uncertainty.
What's more, McCain would no longer look like a political opportunist in his VP choice. He'd be lauded for being such a "maverick", picking his greatest primary rival. The GOP and its apologists could say, with a straight face, that McCain put "country first", and actually get away with it since it's obvious McCain personally loathes Romney.
Good thing Mittens was snubbed. Watching Palin hide from the media as McCain's numbers are battered by this crisis, it's good for us that McCain put politics first before country.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
One of the giant mortgage companies at the heart of the credit crisis paid $15,000 a month from the end of 2005 through last month to a firm owned by Senator John McCain’s campaign manager, according to two people with direct knowledge of the arrangement.
The disclosure undercuts a statement by Mr. McCain on Sunday night that the campaign manager, Rick Davis, had had no involvement with the company for the last several years.
Mr. Davis’s firm received the payments from the company, Freddie Mac, until it was taken over by the government this month along with Fannie Mae, the other big mortgage lender whose deteriorating finances helped precipitate the cascading problems on Wall Street, the people said.
They said they did not recall Mr. Davis’s doing much substantive work for the company in return for the money, other than speak to a political action committee of high-ranking employees in October 2006 on the approaching midterm Congressional elections. They said Mr. Davis’s firm, Davis & Manafort, had been kept on the payroll because of Mr. Davis’s close ties to Mr. McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, who by 2006 was widely expected to run again for the White House. Mr. Davis took a leave from Davis & Manafortfor the presidential campaign, but as a partner and equity-holder continues to benefit from its income....
This morning I interviewed John Stein, the former Wasilla mayor who was defeated by Palin in 1996 by using "a quiet campaign by some Palin supporters raising emotional issues like abortion and gun control, which had no apparent tie to municipal politics" -- and as Phil Munger notes, a whisper campaign that Stein was secretly Jewish (Stein is a Lutheran).
According to Stein, Palin's main base of support in that election (and subsequent Wasilla campaigns) was derived from her fellow congregants at Wasilla Bible Church and the larger evangelical Christian community. But it also included some of the Mat-Su Valley's biggest far-right nutcases -- to the extent that she even attempted to reciprocate by appointing one of them to the city's planning commission.
The connection revolves mostly around three men known to have far-right leanings in the community: a builder named Steven Stoll, a computer repairman named Mark Chryson, and a third man named Mike Christ. All three subscribed to a bellicose, "Patriot" movement brand of politics -- far-right libertarianism with a John Birch streak.
According to Stein, Steven Stoll -- whose local nickname, according to Phil Munger, is "Black Helicopter Steve" -- was involved in militia organizing in Wasilla the 1990s, and subscribed to most of the movement's paranoid conspiracy theories: "The rumor was that he had wrapped his guns in plastic and buried them in his yard so he could get them after the New World Order took over."
This wasn't particularly unusual in the valley at the time. Like much of the rural Northwest, survivalist worldviews often led to Patriot organizing activity and its attendant paranoia: "There were other folks who also got all worked up about the supposed Y2K thing," Stein said, recalling a home he'd looked at with a full array of bunkers and stored food supplies.
But Stoll, Mike Christ, and Mark Chryson were a special case: "They would demonstrate in front of the Wasilla Council," recalled Stein, saying that the causes varied but invariably involved an animus to "socialist" government, such as planning and public education. "This same group [Stoll, Christ, and Chryson] also challenged me on whether my wife and I were married because she had kept her maiden name. So we literally had to produce a marriage certificate. And as I recall, they said, ‘Well, you could have forged that.’ "
And they were a vocal part of Sarah Palin's base of support. "She got support from these guys. I think smart politicians never utter those kind of radical things, but they let other people do it for them. I never recall Sarah saying she supported the militia or taking a public stand like that. But these guys were definitely behind Sarah, thinking she was the more conservative choice..."
From Michael Signiorelli's The Gist: Hypocrisy Bombshell: Antigay John McCain has a Gay Chief of Staff:
What does John McCain’s loyal chief of staff – a man who apparently is in a long-term relationship with another man, and appears to be open about it to John McCain -- think about the fact that Sarah Palin devoutly worships at a church that promotes “converting” gays to heterosexuality? What, conversely, does she think of him? More importantly, what does John McCain think about all of this? And don’t we deserve some answers from the American media?
Over the past month I’ve been contacted by three different individuals (two of them members of the Log Cabin Republicans) claiming that McCain’s Senate chief of staff, Mark Buse, is gay. None of these individuals would be quoted by name, though each described Buse as being rather “open” to those around him and to his family – in a “glass closet” rather than deeply undercover or trying to appear heterosexual.
There's more chatter at DailyKos and Towleroad.
"I have opposed federal funding for the National Endowment for the Arts because I believe it is not proper to use tax dollars for what many Americans feel are the obscene and inappropriate projects this organization has supported. I support providing federal block grants to the states for arts education and artistic endeavors pursued by state and local authorities, while assuring that federal tax dollars are not spent on obscene or offensive material.'
—John McCain, 1999
Monday, September 22, 2008
"...Why say, ever, anything bad about a person? Why don't we like them and celebrate them and be happy for her elevation to the ticket? And just say that she was a good choice for him and we disagree with them?... I come from Arkansas, I get why she's hot out there," Clinton told reporters in New York. Why she's doing well. People look at her, and they say, 'All those kids. Something that happens in everybody's family I'm glad she loves her daughter and she's not ashamed of her. Glad that girl's going around with her boyfriend. Glad they're going to get married.'"
Referencing Palin's 5-month old child who has Down Syndrome, Clinton also said voters will think, "I like that little Down syndrome kid — one of them lives down the street, they're wonderful children..."
Senator John McCain’s campaign manager was paid more than $30,000 a month for five years as president of an advocacy group set up by the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to defend them against stricter regulations, current and former officials say.
Mr. McCain, the Republican candidate for president, has recently begun campaigning as a critic of the two companies and the lobbying army that helped them evade greater regulation as they began buying riskier mortgages with implicit federal backing. He and his Democratic rival, Senator Barack Obama, have donors and advisers who are tied to the companies...
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Saturday, September 20, 2008
...Palin recently told the New Yorker magazine that Alaskans "have such a love, a respect for our environment, for our lands, for our wildlife, for our clean water and our clean air. We know what we've got up here and we want to protect that, so we're gonna make sure that our developments up here do not adversely affect that environment at all. I don't want development if there's going to be that threat to harming our environment."
But as mayor of her hometown, say many local critics, Palin showed no such stewardship.
"Sarah's legacy as mayor was big-box stores and runaway growth," said Patty Stoll, a retired Wasilla schoolteacher who once worked in the same school with Palin's parents, Chuck and Sally Heath. "The truth is, Wasilla is just plain ugly, it's not a pleasant place to live. It's not thought out. And that's a shame.
"Sarah fouled her own nest, and I can't understand why. I hate to think it was simply greed or ambition."
Among the environmental casualties of Wasilla's frenzied development was Palin's own front yard, Lake Lucille. The lake was listed as "impaired" in 1994 by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, and it still carries that grim label. State environmental officials say that leaching sewer lines and fertilizer runoff caused an explosion of plant growth in the lake, which sucked the oxygen out of the water and led to periodic fish kills.
"Sarah," a recent biography of Palin by Kaylene Johnson, features a photo of a beaming Palin, sitting in a rowboat on Lake Lucille clutching a fishing rod. But, according to local fishermen, the Republican vice-presidential candidate would have to be very lucky to reel in something edible.
The Alaska Fish and Game Department dutifully stocks the lake with coho salmon and rainbow trout each year -- but the fish don't last long...
"...Does this show some type of connection between JBS and Palin? It does not connect her to The John Birch Society any more than a copy of the New York Times sitting on her desk would connect her to the New York Times Company. The photo is a symbol of the organized strength of a successful grassroots campaign to protect the U.S. Constitution from calls for a modern-day Constitutional Convention (con-con) that could potentially revise or completely rewrite the Constitution. The JBS printed thousands of that reprint for members to distribute to local, state and federal officials...
...This photo is a great reminder of the effectiveness of The John Birch Society, especially nice to see as we celebrate our 50th anniversary Oct. 2-4.
Fascist writer Westbrook Pegler, an avowed racist who Sarah Palin approvingly quoted in her acceptance speech for the moral superiority of small town values, expressed his fervent hope about my father, Robert F. Kennedy, as he contemplated his own run for the presidency in 1965, that "some white patriot of the Southern tier will spatter his spoonful of brains in public premises before the snow flies."
It might be worth asking Governor Palin for a tally of the other favorites from her reading list.
From the Wall Street Journal op-ed:
It tells us something about Sarah Palin's homage to small-town America, delivered to an enthusiastic GOP convention last week, that she chose to fire it up with an unsourced quotation from the all-time champion of fake populism, the belligerent right-wing columnist Westbrook Pegler.
"We grow good people in our small towns, with honesty and sincerity and dignity," the vice-presidential candidate said, quoting an anonymous "writer," which is to say, Pegler, who must have penned that mellifluous line when not writing his more controversial stuff. As the New York Times pointed out in its obituary of him in 1969, Pegler once lamented that a would-be assassin "hit the wrong man" when gunning for Franklin Roosevelt..."
Friday, September 19, 2008
While I hope you are supporting Obama as well, here's a way to make an impact without having to put out a lot of money.
We may have thought we wanted a woman on a national political ticket, but the joke has really been on us, hasn't it? Are you as sick in your stomach as I am at the thought of Sarah Palin as Vice President of the United States?
Make a donation to Planned Parenthood. In Sarah Palin's name. And here's the good part: when you make a donation to PP in her name, they'll send her a card telling her that the donation has been made in her honor. Here's the link to the Planned Parenthood website: http://www.plannedparenthood.
You'll need to fill in the address to let PP know where to send the 'in Sarah Palin's honor' card. I suggest you use the address for the McCain Campaign headquarters, which is:
McCain for President
1235 S. Clark Street
Arlington, VA 22202