Friday, October 31, 2008

Competence and nuance are overrated!

Not long ago, David Brooks sounded the alarm for the latest incarnation of the Republican Party, alleging that its primary foundation is...anti-intellectualism, anti-competence, anti-ideas. The only quality that counts is absolute, slavish fidelity to a set of narrow ideological principles. We've certainly seen plenty of evidence of that in the last 48 hours, which have seen, among other things:

Joe the Plumber, whose education seems to be limited to high school, if that, elevated to foreign-affairs expert at a McCain-Palin
event. Joe says electing Barack Obama will mean "death for Israel," since Barack's going to wave the white flag of surrender in Iraq and invite Ahmadinejad to sit in the front row at the inaugural, etc.

Joe the Plumber elevated to the status of domestic policy expert and historian. Joe claimed at another McCain-Palin event--he's become a fixture on the trail lately--that "progressive taxation is straight out of the mouth of Karl Marx." So now our income tax is Marxian socialism, even though it was advocated by none other than Theodore Roosevelt, who is...John McCain's hero.

The distinguished Middle East scholar Rashid Khalidi branded as a "neo-Nazi" because he happens to have advised Palestinian politicians AND associated with Barack Obama. In the McCain-Palin universe, you are Adolf Hitler if you believe Israel is subject to criticism.

These people know nothing, will say anything, and are proud of all of it. I think David Brooks is absolutely right to be alarmed, and maybe he ought to jump ship-- it is astonishing to me that any thinking person would agree to share a political affiliation with them.

Ok, They've Convinced Me. I've Changed My Mind

I was going to do it, but I've changed my mind and my vote. I can't help it, but after all those commercials, all of those comments on cable news, all of those people weighing in on this election, well I have to finally admit they make sense.

So I'm changing my vote. I will NOT be voting for Bill Ayres in November. Now if I can just find where he is on the ballot!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Les mots justes

I had posed this question to myself, i.e. how does Obama manage to hide all of his alleged nefarious associations and activities while making a show of being this clear-eyed, rational, middle-of-the-road acceptable alternative to John "Bomb,Bomb,Bomb Iran" McCain. But maybe it takes a wordsmith like David Kurtz over at Talking Points Memo to put it this way...

"Barack Obama is noted for his powerful intellect, but I don't think he gets nearly enough credit for the mental dexterity it takes to be simultaneously an Islamic theocrat, atheistic communist and national socialist while posing as a center left candidate. Those must be the compartmentalization skills they taught him at that Manchurian madrasah in Indonesia."

What David said!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Take Them Down - Let's Start with Sununu

Beyond the presidency are senate and house races across the country - where rabid Republicans are clinging to seats they deserve to lose. In New Hampshire, John Sununu, whose father shilled for the first Bush in the White House, is running against Jeanne Shaheen. Where does Sununu stand on the issues, you ask? Well he's definitely got the Sarah Palin anti-choice views, among other things.
• Voted YES on prohibiting minors crossing state lines for abortion. (Mar 2008)
• Voted YES on barring HHS grants to organizations that perform abortions. (Oct 2007)
• Voted NO on expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines. (Apr 2007)
• Voted NO on $100M to reduce teen pregnancy by education & contraceptives. (Mar 2005)
• Voted YES on criminal penalty for harming unborn fetus during other crime. (Mar 2004)
• Voted YES on funding for health providers who don't provide abortion info. (Sep 2002)
• Voted YES on banning Family Planning funding in US aid abroad. (May 2001)
• Voted YES on federal crime to harm fetus while committing other crimes. (Apr 2001)
• Voted YES on banning partial-birth abortions. (Apr 2000)
• Voted YES on barring transporting minors to get an abortion. (Jun 1999)
• Voted YES on recommending Constitutional ban on flag desecration. (Jun 2006)
• Voted NO on constitutional ban of same-sex marriage. (Jun 2006)
• Voted YES on ending preferential treatment by race in college admissions. (May 1998)
• Supports anti-flag desecration amendment. (Mar 2001)
• Voted NO on tax incentives for energy production and conservation. (Jun 2008)
• Voted NO on $3.1B for emergency oil assistance for hurricane-hit areas. (Oct 2005)
• Voted NO on reducing oil usage by 40% by 2025 (instead of 5%). (Jun 2005)
• Voted NO on banning drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (Mar 2005)
• Voted NO on targeting 100,000 hydrogen-powered vehicles by 2010. (Jun 2003)
• Voted NO on raising CAFE standards; incentives for alternative fuels. (Aug 2001)
• Support the PATRIOT act with additional civil safeguards. (Aug 2008)
• Military tribunals OK; reading domestic mail & email OK. (Nov 2002)
• Voted YES on cutting $221M in benefits to Filipinos who served in WWII US Army. (Apr 2008)
• Voted YES on removing need for FISA warrant for wiretapping abroad. (Aug 2007)
• Voted NO on limiting soldiers' deployment to 12 months. (Jul 2007)
• Voted NO on implementing the 9/11 Commission report. (Mar 2007)
• Voted NO on requiring CIA reports on detainees & interrogation methods. (Sep 2006)
• Voted YES on reauthorizing the PATRIOT Act. (Mar 2006)
• Voted NO on increasing tax rate for people earning over $1 million. (Mar 2008)

When a Terrorist is Not a Terrorist

When he or she agrees with your point of view, of course. Sarah's latest piece of interview fun.

We've all heard Gov. Palin complain about Bill "domestic terrorist" Ayers. So when asked by Brian Williams in an interview if that term also applies to conservative religious activists who bombed abortion clinics, Sarah's response was, of course: "I don’t know if you’re going to use the word ‘terrorist’ there."

I'm sure those domestic bombers are only just trying to "warm up" medical waiting rooms to keep everyone comfortable.

Keeping Track

Having trouble keeping track of this or that "tongue slippage" from McCain? Well fortunately someone is keeping track - on Count the Lies and Truthdig, you can check those "facts" for yourselves. Stay informed - and share with friends. And for kids - check out factcheckED.

Guilt

We're all familiar with that old chestnut "liberal guilt." That an overwhelming sense of guilt over what we have done to "them" (pick your oppressed) in the past makes a liberal bend over backwards to accommodate "their" demands today.

What I don't hear under discussion is what I would call "conservative guilt." There have been more than a few examples of that in this election. My definition of "conservative guilt" is more commonly called fear. But what is driving that fear? I believe it's an unconscious admission of guilt. The fear comes when racists subconsciously acknowledge that they've harmed someone or some group to such an extent that if that person or group were to ever be put in a position of power, he, she, or they would use that power to attack. How many quotes have you heard from people who are afraid that if Obama wins then "the blacks" will take over - with an agenda that will look to punish whites. An inane and bizarre concept to a rational human becomes an uncontrollable fear in the minds of the conservative racist.

One of the most recent examples is Ashley Todd, the 20-year-old McCain volunteer who claimed she was attacked by a "big black man" who carved the letter "B" for Barack in her face. Not long after Palin called to offer the campaign's sympathies, Todd admitted she made the whole thing up. What kind of fear can drive someone to do something like that? Conservative guilt. (Ok, and probably a long troubled mental-health history in this case).

Ex-weatherman Bill Ayers and pastor Wright have provided Republicans with their best tools of fear, and the party is making the best of both. In Nevada, Republicans have distributed a 4-page mailer that pairs an old picture of Ayres with one of a 1/2 darkened Obama - between the two photos is the quote: "I don't regret setting bombs. I feel we didn't do enough." Wonderfully vague, allowing the quote to be attributed to either men. A wonderful piece of fear-mongering, of that unknown "other" the one who is not like us - the one who will enact revenge upon us if allowed into power.

Beyond the quotes of "real Americans" from the Palin rally I posted below, Ohio has other victims of conservative fear. Like Sandy Reed, who says she doesn't "trust Obama, I think he has a hidden agenda. I think he's involved with terrorism." Or this from Lori Raynor, a biochemist in Virginia, "I'm scared of Obama - from what I have read and his associations which are questionable, his so-called terrorist associations, and even his church. Some of my friends have even told me they think he is the anti-Christ." From a "nobama" blogger, "I’ll admit it, I’m actually afraid of this man now. I’m actually afraid of who he is, what his intentions are, and what he would do to us, our government, OUR country."

It's a sorry sight to watch as guilt overwhelms rational thought.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Well if Opie Says So

Then I'm on board!

It's a thought, anyway...

Glimpsed in the comment section of the Washington Monthly, Steve Benen's blog, in response to GOPers' habitual branding of Democrats as "un-American:"


"The quick solution to the Bachmann problem---and all the other unhinged groupies of the G. Gordon Lilly edition of Jack-handle Joe McCarthyism---would be to coat them all with a generous quantity of peanut butter (an off-brand will do; we're dealing with an economic crisis, after all), and fling them into a deep pit filled with half-starved squirrels."


I'm a peaceful person, but I'm so sick of this recycled McCarthyism, I find myself thinking that this solution might have possiblities...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Not falling into line...

Can you be pro-life and pro-Obama? The Catholic hierarchy says, "absolutely not," but this time around, some of the faithful beg to differ. A sign of the times, perhaps?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I Don't Underestimate it

But I am repulsed by it. GOP strategist Alex Castellanos is quoted as saying, "Don't underestimate the Palin voter. They're still out there, they're still intense, a lot of those voters."

As you can see from the video below, they are certainly intense, and they are out there. I do not underestimate them. But they do sicken me. These are disturbed individuals who harbor delusions of being "true Americans" and do not realize how sad and pathetic they look to Americans and the rest of the world.

The virtues of the VEEP

I was just watching the excellent videography of LBJ on PBS's American Experience tonight. There are so many relevant moments in it--his obsession with politics and power, his checkered record on civil rights, his determination to keep the Vietnam war going despite his forebodings and his essential disinterest. One thing in particular, though, caught my attention...it seems an obvious point, but there it is: Lyndon Johnson gained the Presidency when John F. Kennedy died.

LBJ had always wanted the Presidency. He had climbed the ladder by l960, from local Texas politics to the House to the Senate. He was an outstanding politician in his generation, and the logical choice for President in l960. As we know, the Barack Obama of that day, John F. Kennedy, outdid him in that competition. Kennedy chose his runner-up for Vice President, mostly because he would help the ticket win Texas, a much-coveted southern state. As JFK told his outraged supporters, he wasn't going to die in office, and if LBJ were in the Vice Presidency, he could have Mike Mansfield, a key ally, as Majority Leader in the US Senate. Lyndon Johnson knew he was going to be marginalized, a chief mourner at funerals, a gladhander, a meet-and-greeter. He thought his political life was over, that all of it was behind him.

That all changed in the blink of an eye on November 22, l963. John F. Kennedy's Vice President became President when Kennedy died. Who could ever have predicted that a popular US President could be shot down at mid-day in a major American city in the middle of the 20th century? When the shock and the grief subsided, maybe the American public resented Johnson, but there was no question that he was fully qualified for the job in every way. In fact, as we all know, he took advantage of the public's desire to memorialize the late President by getting his entire program enacted into law. A very skillful and gifted politician was Lyndon B. Johnson.

The point of this rambling, and we are definitely getting there, is that the Vice Presidency MATTERS. The McCain-Palin people were obviously counting on Palin to help elect McCain...there was no thought of anything except her ability to rally and energize the base, to get him over the top. But no one should doubt that she COULD EASILY become President...in the last century, four Vice Presidents, including Johnson, did.

That's way too high a percentage for someone like Sarah Palin. LBJ's experience is the best possible illustration of why your VEEP MATTERS.

A lot.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I Know I Would Love to See it!

Slithering out of Minnesota's 6th Congressional district comes Representative Michele Bachmann, a first term legislator, having won election with 50% of the vote. Bachmann's website notes her support for "Minnesota values," a three-paragraph statement that mostly boasts of her love for guns.

On Hardball last night, Rep. Bachmann, while berating Obama for lacking her same perception as to what constitutes "value," she went a bit further, when asked to name others in Congress who are as anti-American as Obama, she said, "I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress, and find out are they pro America or anti America? I think people would love to see an expose like that."

Hey, I know I'm on board. We know how Bachmann defines the term "values" now - so as soon as she hands over the definition for pro America, we can get going and root out those anti Americans from the US Congress. Because if they don't fit her definition, then by all means they should be tossed out on their ears!

Some Might Say, When Al Jazeera Mocks You,

you know you're in trouble. Freaky psycho right America may fear Al Jazeera as they fear Al-Qaeda (what do you mean they're not the same thing?), but when Al Jazeera shows up on your doorstep with a camera and a reporter who looks like a "real American" (as Sarah herself would put it), then they let that freak flag fly. And boy are they . . . well, freaks.

I'll let them speak for themselves - welcome to one of Sarah's "real Americas" - St. Clairsville, Ohio. October 12, 2008, where interviewer Casey Kauffman meets some McCain/Palin fans.

video

It's Getting Freaky Out There

Was just watching a McCain speech, one of the biggest applause lines he got was "I'm not George Bush." Poor George, is there anyone out there anymore besides his family who likes the guy? I have this visual of W as a mosquito buzzing around McCain. Maverick is spinning himself silly trying to knock W off as the pres/mosquito hangs on for dear life.

We've got a veep candidate who gives the term lightweight a bad name goading on her crowds by basically calling her opponent a terrorist. The top half of the ticket calms a woman down at one rally by saying that Obama isn't an Arab (the horror, the horror, and arab!!), and sends off robo calls to voters saying the Obama-Ayers link puts him in league with bombings and killing Americans, or in NC, ratcheting the game up several steps by basically calling Obama a baby killer. What? Surely he also kicks puppies! You remember the last time McCain's name was linked with robo calls - it was when the Bush/Rove machine was smearing McCain in 2000. Well consider that a lesson learned by McCain - Bush won, so that must work, right? If adapting the techniques of your enemy aren't the actions of a maverick, what are?! Many folks who have gotten those calls have complained about them - and who has the maverick apologized to? David Letterman. What are some disgruntled possible voters compared with the ire of a comedian scored?

McCain suggests Obama's fiscal policies are socialist. More socialist than nationalizing Freddie Mac/Fannie Mae and banks? I mean really folks, talk about a line that has gotten seriously fuzzy in the last few months.

The Alfred Smith dinner was a wonderful thing to see. Two guys who disagreed with each other making pleasant jokes at each other's and their own expense. It had elements of what elections could be - polite, but still making a point. It was a nice respite from the mess we're enmeshed in these days. Sadly, it was just a brief break. And now back to the lowest common denominators screaming and wrenching their garments in fear of what they can not understand, finding comfort more in their fears than in facing the world as it is - or as it could, and should, be.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

If You Aren't Watching it Now

Try and catch Obama's roast/speech at the Al Smith Dinner tonight in NYC. He's got some really good writers working for him right now.

The mask slips(yet again)


Bob Herbert's column the other day spoke of the mask the Republican party likes to wear--an open, honest face of aGod-fearing, down home, salt-of-the-earth, unpretentious individual who likes his taxes low and the government "off his backs(except in cases where it can help him and his enterprises)." But beneath the mask you can find a really ugly mug, that of a xenophobic, nativist, mean, misogynistic racist--not always, but you don't have to look at too many people to find one. Like today, in this flyer distributed by a Republican woman's club in California. This will be the coin of the realm under President Obama--food stamps decorated with racist images. There IS an explanation, of course: the woman responsible for the flyer explains earnestly that she was just reacting to Obama's "outrageous" statement that he doesn't look like all the Presidents on the dollar bill. And she's not a racist, she continues, because she voted for Alan Keyes(!)...

That nice, heartland Republican mask just slipped for a moment again, revealing to the world what a substantial part of the Republican Party is all about. That's what we're running against, and I am going to go offer supplementary daily prayers to the God who determines election for a tsunami-sized, epic, gargantuan, add-your-own-measure-of-hugeness, landslide victory!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A real eye-opener from Beantown

I am taking the liberty of offering a Boston Globe editorial in its entirety today. It wasn't exactly surprising that the editorial board would endorse Barack Obama for president, but I have seldom heard superlatives about politicians from any newspaper. If you read through the first couple of paragraphs, you will see that the Globe endorses Barack "with great enthusiasm(!!!!)." This is a red-letter event, so here is the editorial for your perusal and enjoyment:

"COME JANUARY, a new president will take charge of a nation diminished, an America that is far shakier economically, less secure militarily, and less respected internationally than it was eight years before. The nation needs a chief executive who has the temperament and the nerves to shepherd Americans through what promises to be a grueling period - and who has the vision to restore this country to its place of leadership in the world.

Such a leader is at hand. With great enthusiasm, the Globe endorses Senator Barack Obama for president. The charismatic Democrat from Illinois has the ability to channel Americans' hopes and rally the public together, at a time when the winds are picking up and the clouds keep on darkening.

Unlike many of his rivals this year of either party, Obama isn't refighting the political or cultural battles of the 1960s. Instead, he is asking Americans to take responsibility for the nation's problems now; no one else will take care of them, and the consequences of years of disunity and profligacy should not be visited upon future generations.

Obama shows great faith in the possibility of persuasion overseas and in the ingenuity of the American economy. While intransigent rogue states can't be finger-wagged into giving up on nuclear weapons, perhaps they can be talked back from the brink. As fossil fuels become scarcer, and the ecological damage more evident, Americans can put up windmills and solar panels and drive more efficient cars.

Encouragingly, Obama has assembled an impressive economic team that understands both the power of the market and the need to discourage recklessness and promote social equity. He would broaden access to health insurance, using a mechanism akin to this state's Commonwealth Connector. And he offers a tax plan that, in offering modest cuts to most taxpayers and taking back some past cuts for the highest earners, acknowledges the widening gap between the wealthiest Americans and everyone else.

The question, of course, is whether Obama can make good on his promises under the circumstances. For George W. Bush will leave a woeful legacy. The Iraq war, which was sold to Congress and the public on false pretenses, continues to consume billions upon billions of dollars, even as many of the plotters of Sept. 11 are still at large. In his efforts to cultivate democracy abroad, Bush has hacked away at its roots here: due process, the separation of powers, the conviction that there are some things that government must not do. Waterboarding and secret prisons abroad, warrantless wiretapping at home - these acts belie America's image of forthrightness, the nation's greatest asset in world affairs.

Meanwhile, as the planet gets warmer, its top energy consumer has no plan to wean itself from fossil fuels. Healthcare costs are strangling businesses. Real wages have declined for the average worker, even as the cost of food and fuel has skyrocketed. Vague unease about the economy has turned into outright fear as the financial system sank into quicksand and 500-point-plus plunges on the stock market have become a near-daily occurrence. Obama's opponent, Senator John McCain, would try to solve all these problems by going back to the same Republican set of tools: tough talk abroad, tax cuts for the richest at home.

In contrast, Obama's presidency would benefit from the Illinois senator's formidable political gifts. A graduate of Harvard Law School and a former community organizer on Chicago's South Side, Obama debuted on the national political scene with a dazzling speech at the Democratic National Convention four years ago. Since then, every word of his books and his speeches has been closely parsed. Evident from all that scrutiny is a nimble mind, an ever more impressive grasp of policy detail, and an ability to listen to contradictory viewpoints. Obama is clearly a liberal. But when he led the Harvard Law Review, he won praise from conservative thinkers because he genuinely wanted to hear what they had to say.

Obama is hardly immune to political calculation. Though he has positioned himself as a supporter of campaign finance reform, he backed out of the public financing system after his ability to raise jaw-dropping sums over the Internet became apparent. In the general election campaign, he has been slow to admit how much the financial crisis would limit his policy options come January.

Even so, the way Obama has run his campaign has been a marvel of sound management: He laid down principles, put the right people in positions of authority, and spent money strategically. And he has shown a remarkable steadiness. Whether he was far behind Hillary Clinton before the Iowa caucuses or on the verge of locking up the Democratic nomination, whether he was leading or trailing McCain in the general election contest, Obama made the same forward-looking appeal to voters' best instincts.

As the first black major-party presidential nominee, Obama has strived to make voters comfortable with a "skinny kid with a funny name." And yet the historical significance of his bid is impossible to ignore. Voters can make no more powerful statement about America's commitment to inclusion and opportunity than to put forward this man - Barack Hussein Obama, son of a father from Kenya and a mother from Kansas - as the nation's representative to the world.

An early Obama campaign slogan declared, "We are the ones we've been waiting for." His critics deemed such rhetoric too ethereal. Now it seems prescient, as the nation confronts a financial crisis of historic proportions, as well as all the other policy failures and debt-fueled excesses of the last eight years. The United States has to dig itself out. Barack Obama is the one to lead the way."

I've always said how much I was looking forward to casting a ballot for someone with joy in my heart rather than a clothespin on my nose. Reading this was pretty special, too.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Reprogramming the Republican Veep

Here's some fun for your Indigenous People's Day vacation: you can help Governor Sarah Palin make sense. That would appear to be an impossible task, but this site will give you the essential technical help. I doubt you could accomplish this relying on your mortal faculties.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

"I Won't Vote For a . . . Colored Guy"

A quote this morning from a white male who is one of the few I've seen on TV admitting that they won't vote for Obama because of his race. In the interview, the guy paused briefly before saying the word "colored," as you could see him mentally trying to find a more acceptable word than he probably more commonly uses. Is race a factor in this race? Well duh, of course it is. But will the guy from this morning's interview have ever voted for a Democrat, black or white? Is that a vote Obama really lost for not being white? From Minnesota's Pioneer Press came this example (one of too many, sad to say, that are out there):

Every Thursday night, Jeanine Owusu, of St. Paul, works at a United Food and Commercial Workers phone bank, calling her union brothers and sisters to encourage them to vote for Barack Obama and other labor-endorsed candidates. Once or twice each night, "people tell me, 'I'm not voting for a nigger,' " Owusu said last week. "Others hang up on me. Nicer people will say, 'I'm voting Republican,' even though they usually vote Democratic."
The one race-related comment I hear that makes me just laugh out loud is that being black "helps Obama." The concept that a white man with the same issues wouldn't have made it this far. It is a stunning bit of nonsense that flies in the face of any number of polls and studies on race and politics. While few men and women let themselves be named in interviews saying they won't vote for Obama because he's 1/2 Black; more than a few people interviewed on the issue say they know at least one person who won't vote Democratic because of race. Is this the below-the-waterline Bradley Effect that we've all become so familiar with this year? Or will all of this be trumped by fears for personal economic futures? After all, is it ok to vote for a Black guy for president if he'll help protect your money? For an election that both sides is claiming to be all about change, what I'm seeing is one that is all about fear.

The question is, which fear will drive the election in November? Fear of economic despair? Or fear of Painting the White House Black (to quote an old, but good George Clinton song)?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

It's Gonna Be a Rough One

I don't mean Obama vs. McCain, I mean the election itself. I mean the ballots, computers and election officials -- the cogs and wheels of our election process. We've lived through butterfly ballots, chads and computer voting machines that seem to pull votes from thin air (or hide them there).

If you haven't seen the documentary Hacking Democracy yet, then don't, it'll just depress you. Don't check out Bev Harris' website (black box voting). And stop reading this post. Go outside and take a nice walk in the woods or play in your garden.

But if you've already dipped your toe into the messy pool of the electoral world, then stick with us and we'll get depressed together. Perhaps you've heard about the Rensselaer County, New York absantee ballots that were mailed out with the names of candidates listed as McCain and Osama. Republican Commissioner Larry Bugbee begged off, noting that "we have three different staff members who proof these things and somehow the typo got by us." Yes, that's a hard one to notice, the name of America's #1 enemy as a candidate for president.

The persistence of the 20th century(and before)!

One of the things I most like about my man Barack is that he is thoroughly a 21st century leader IN the 21st century. He's thoroughly a man of his times, one of the best of his generation. Conversely, one of the things that bugs me about their man Johnny Mac is that he is so...well, 20th century. He barely knows how to use a computer. He thinks military power is the be-all and end-all. Insofar as he thinks about religion, it's Christianity uber alles...I could go on and on. And speaking of religion and the 20th century and before...by their friends and religious people ye shall know them. This is what the Grace Evangelical Church minister Arnold Conrad said in introducing John McCain at a rally in Iowa today:

"I would also pray, Lord, that your reputation is involved in all that happens between now and November, because there are millions of people around this world praying to their god — whether it's Hindu, Buddha, Allah — that his opponent wins, for a variety of reasons...and Lord, I pray that you would guard your own reputation, because they're going to think that their god is bigger than you, if that happens. So I pray that you will step forward and honor your own name with all that happens between now and Election Day."

That's just great...we are more diverse, more ecumenical with each passing day, and this minister dismisses all faiths except Christianity and makes this election a referendum on the God inhabiting a Christian universe.

That's SOOOOO last century, just one manifestation among many in the McCain campaign.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

These are Democratic Dogs




They are barking for Barack, jumpin' for Joe, orating for Obama, and baying for Biden...these are DEMDOGS, the HOUNDS of HELL for any and all McPalin supporters. Go, dogs, go!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Well on His Way to Being Number One!

Way to Go George!

Bush has now tied Nixon's worst rating ever, taken in a poll just before he resigned in 1974.

He's only 2 points higher than the worst presidential approval rating in history, Harry Truman's 22 percent mark in February 1952.

Come on George, just 3 more points and you've got the record, not only are you already the worst president in history, but with 3 more points, you'll have the lowest approval rating to go with it.

I have faith in you George, I know you can do it!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Way to Go Waxman!

Grilling Lehman Bros. CEO today in hearings - does he think he's entitled to the money he's getting given that he's driven his company into bankruptcy. Watch CEO squirm.

Back to Palintology

I swore I was going on Palin hiatus for at least tonight, but then I was reading Andrew Sullivan's blog, where a reader contributed this thought that brought me back rather quickly:

"I just want to ask: can anyone, anyone, imagine Condoleeza Rice or Margaret Thatcher or even Hillary Clinton for God's sake, winking at the nation and/or being coquettish in any national format?"

Ya know, I can't. I really, really can't.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

A brief hiatus from Palintology...

It's time for a look back, and a quiz. Doggone it, you know you need a break from Sarah. You betcha!

Forty years ago today, civil rights campaigners defied a police order and marched towards the city center in (London)derry, northern Ireland. As promised, Royal Ulster Constabulary police met and began to beat them savagely, a little preview of what was to come in the six counties of "Ulster." One of the leaders in that struggle was reminiscing with a British newspaper about her life after that march, which(of course)got her thrown out of school but also got her elected to Parliament...this is one of the better excerpts:

"She was thrown out of university, but elected as a unity candidate for Mid Ulster. She wrote a book. She was carried on the shoulders of Irish Americans on a trip to New York. She was jailed for inciting a riot and served six months in prison. She also started to upset a lot of people who had voted for her. 'I went away to London and knocked about with the socialists and the Gypsies and the feminists. Best education I could have. But people here said, 'Confine yourself to our issues. And please cut your hair and lengthen your skirt. And don't smoke.' I said, 'I think youse were looking for somebody else!''"

Now, WHO is this person? Extra credit if you can give her maiden as well as married name. NO CHEATING!

BTW, she remains an inveterate human rightser, working to improve the lot of migrant workers in northern Ireland...as Sarah would say, "doggone it, she's quite a gal, you betcha!"

How Dumb Are We? Take 2

One of the many, many benefits of having smart friends & family is that you don't get the bizarro attack Obama emails that are floating around. So I actually have to go looking for these things if I want to see them. And honestly, have felt no need to go hunting. Then something comes along like a story in today's WaPo about a woman trying to make ends meet in Michigan. She's thinking about voting for Obama even though her family is against it. Her boyfriend doesn't want to vote for a Black man (disgusting, but refreshingly honest compared to those interviews I see with racists who you can see digging hard for a publically palatable reason they won't vote for him), and her sister says that Obama would: "take away everyone's guns and control what roads they can and cannot drive on."

Ok, I can see the gun thing, every democrat who has run for president in the past 50 years is labeled with the "take your guns away" fear. But "control what roads" you can drive on? Not only was that a new one to me, but it was so utterly stupid that I decided to see some of the other nonsense that was out there (forget the whole Christian vs. Muslim thing - the folks that belief he's a Muslim are stuck there and the facts aren't ever going to matter - they're beyond hope). The Israeli Insider (no, I'm not providing links to these idiots) ran with the story that Obama's birth certificate was fake, that he probably wasn't even an American. Then there's the claim that his airplane doesn't have an American flag (sorry, it does, in the same place as McCain's plane's flag). Obama is the devil (or for one blogger, not the devil, just one of his minions). Children singing a song for Obama is a symbol of Hitler or Stalin style.

There are more, but I started to feel so nauseous I had to stop. It's one thing to be full of hate and working hard to spread nonsense. But to buy that nonsense without question? The woman in the article says that "you hear so many things, it's hard to believe what's true." Dear, that is what education is all about. Learning as much as you can so you can look at a bowl of information and pull out what is logical and true, and what is utter nonsense. For the sake of the rest of us, I hope that Americans work a little bit harder this year at educating themselves, and a little less time forwarding idiotic emails.

Peggy Noonan, Give Me a Break

On Meet the Press this morning, Noonan bemoaning the state of American politics, that it's this divisive culture is ruining the nation. Gee Peggy, want to step up and take a share of the blame for that? I bet the book you're pushing doesn't mention the great gipper's (and your) role in the Raygun administration of constant and consistent attacks on America's poor, on those who worked to help those with less, or those suffering with AIDS. That administration's bumper sticker concept that Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” And a crew of Raygunites who left the White House for private industry, doing their best to scarf up all they can in their drive to "get theirs" while pushing the nation into debt. The words out of that White House, off of Noonan's pen, as divisive as any.

Of course, Noonan's own lovely divisive words did not end with Raygun. Here's her take on George W in 2004.
Mr. [George W.] Bush is the triumph of the seemingly average American man. He's normal. He thinks in a sort of common-sense way. He speaks the language of business and sports and politics. You know him. He's not exotic. But if there's a fire on the block, he'll run out and help. He'll help direct the rig to the right house and count the kids coming out and say, "Where's Sally?" He's responsible. He's not an intellectual. Intellectuals start all the trouble in the world. And then when the fire comes they say, "I warned Joe about that furnace." And, "Does Joe have children?" And "I saw a fire once. It spreads like syrup. No, it spreads like explosive syrup. No, it's formidable and yet fleeting." When the fire comes they talk. Bush ain't that guy. Republicans love the guy who ain't that guy. Americans love the guy who ain't that guy.
"Intellectuals start all the trouble in the world?" Well then George W must have had some great intellectual spurts since he took office! Not at all divisive Peg. And now? Noonan's been running as fast as she can to convince her base (hey, need those folks to buy her books, don't you know!) that she really didn't mean an attack against Palin when a mic caught her in that moment of honesty, ""the most qualified? No! I think they [the Republicans] went for this—excuse me—political bullshit about narratives."

Friday, October 03, 2008

On the Off Chance Anyone Cares

Palin's "facts" from the debate:

Obama "would be willing to meet with" Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad "without preconditions being met first."
Obama has said he wouldn't rule out meeting with any foreign leader, he never specifically said he'd meet with the Iranian president.

Obama's opposition to the military "surge" in Iraq and said, "The surge worked. Barack Obama still can't admit the surge works."
Obama has said the surge "succeeded beyond our wildest dreams" from a military perspective.

"As mayor, every year I was in office, I did reduce taxes. I eliminated personal property taxes and eliminated small business inventory taxes. And as governor, we suspended our state fuel tax."
Semi-true - She cut some taxes in both posts, but raised others.

Obama voted against funding troops after promising that he would not do so."
Obama supported a different version of the troop-funding plan — one that McCain spoke against.

asserted that Sen. Joe Biden recently said "higher taxes or asking for higher taxes or paying for higher taxes is patriotic."
He said he and Barack Obama "want to take money and put it back in the pocket of middle-class people." He said anyone who earns more than $250,000 "is going to pay more. It's time to be patriotic, Kate. Time to jump in. Time to be part of the deal. Time to help get America out of the rut. And the way to do that is, they're still going pay less taxes than they paid under Reagan."

Obama "has proposed more than $860 billion in new spending."
Misleading. The figure is based on his campaign's tally of the costs of numerous programs Obama has discussed, but ignores the savings from other policy changes Obama is calling for.

"Barack had 94 opportunities to side on the people's side and reduce taxes, and 94 times he voted to increase taxes or not support a tax reduction — 94 times."
Palin's summary ignores the fact that some of the votes were for measures to lower taxes for many Americans, while increasing them for a much smaller number of taxpayers. The total also includes multiple votes on the same measures and budget votes that would not directly lead to higher taxes.

Quick take on the VEEPs

I channeled my inner Kennedy/Nixon tonight and listened to the Biden-Palin debate on the radio. I thought Biden was his usual substantive self, without some of the tendencies that get him into trouble, i.e. being too folksy, stumbling into the dreaded gaffe. Palin, well, she was...Palin. They were letting her be Palin. What we got was this:

a) Reruns of Ronald Reagan. She kept summoning RR, with quotes about America being a shining city on a hill, with the old line "there you go again," and with the classic mantra, "government isn't a solution, it's the problem."

b) More of the same old, same old. She openly declared herself an American exceptionalist, someone who believes America is on a special mission, can go it alone and is not subject to criticism, and supported the exceptionalist(read: unilateral, aggressive and unresponsive to criticism)foreign policy of GW Bush.

c) The oldest student trick in the book. Palin answered any question she found distasteful by in effect answering the question she WANTED to focus on. She reminded me of me when I got a question in undergrad on the l8th-century in my Russian literature final, and I didn't want to write on the l8th century, because it was boring, so I wrote on the early l9th. There were slightly higher standards in operation in that classroom, so i did not get passed on to the next phase of the campaign and congratulated on my poise and pluck, i got...a C, since i flunked that part of the exam.

I was, uh, pretty underwhelmed by this must-see TV, and felt generally that Governor Palin was stuck in the l980s somehow. oh, and I heard the sound of breaking glass every time she used the n word: NUCLEAR--she pronounces it exactly the same way as our compulsive mountain-biking President!!






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