New Civilization News: Election '08: You Make Me Feel So Young!    
 Election '08: You Make Me Feel So Young!41 comments
picture31 Aug 2008 @ 12:48, by Richard Carlson

Scripture says, "No one knows the Father but by the Son." Therefore, if you want to know God, you must not only be like the Son, you must be the Son.

---Meister Eckhart

Zen is like a spring coming out of a mountain. It doesn't flow in order to quench the thirst of a traveler, but if the travelers want to help themselves to it, that's fine. It's up to you what you do with the water; the spring's job is just to flow.

---Alan Watts

To be satisfied with a little, is the greatest wisdom; and he that increaseth his riches, increaseth his cares; but a contented mind is a hidden treasure, and trouble findeth it not.


Sarah Palin sports a funny T-shirt during her college days at University of Idaho.
Credits: Heath Family/AP

Yep, I can hear Sinatra singing that tune, Nelson Riddle and his fiddles kickin' the arrangement along. "You make me feel 'sthough Spring has sprung!" We'll be voting with youth and age side by side. Young and tempestuous, old and experienced. Mixed races, mixed religions, the roles of women, Viet Nam, mooseburgers, what else could we want?

They say if you want to stay young, get yourself a younger mate. The younger the better. I know McCain still is the presumptive nominee at this writing, and therefore Palin is too---so the Convention still could change everything. Maybe they'll save money, surprise us again, and not even have a convention. Call it off and send contributions to New Orleans. It's all TV and they want us to stay tuned.

But anyway, if it is McCain/Palin, does McCain look younger to you now with runnerup Miss Alaska by his side? I think he does. How does Obama look next to Biden? If there's another Bush/Cheney situation it's these 2 guys. Joe can't help himself. He always looks as if he's showing Barack around. I even saw him, their arms around each other side by side, turn Obama in the direction of the most cameras. We live in such interesting times.

The press descended on Wasilla, Alaska Friday, and headed for the Heath's A-frame hunting lodge where they got handed the family album. As a result, we get all these candid shots of the small-town girl on the way to marrying her high school sweetheart. Even the Senior Prom picture. Sarah's husband, who works for BP (surprise, surprise!), has parents who know McCain's VP choice pretty darned well. "We don't agree on everything. But I respect her passion," said Faye Palin. "Being pro-life is who Sarah is." [link] (and don't miss the pictures) The Governor also sued Bush when he declared the polar bear endangered. Oil drillers prefer to shoot bears if they come around. Palin's mother-in-law had been thinking of voting for Obama. Maybe not everybody in Alaska is a Republican.

There's so much stuff in the Sunday papers this morning, it's hard to know where to start---or maybe you've decided not to bother at all. There certainly is a great list of assembled reasons as to the advantages and risks of the Republican choice. I can direct your attention to a couple of articles if you like. One is in this morning's Long Island Newsday...and the other is Maureen Dowd's hilarious piece today.
Why Obama treads carefully on GOP's veep pick
August 31, 2008

PITTSBURGH - With one calculating ad and a surprising vice-presidential nomination, Republican John McCain is seeking to turn the tables on Democrat Barack Obama.

After treading lightly for months to avoid a slip or slight that could be seen as a racial attack, McCain's camp converted the glass ceiling into thin ice for the Obama campaign. They did it with a pick that almost dares Democrats to criticize Sarah Palin and risk charges of insensitivity or sexism.

"I think the Clinton campaign has heightened the sensitivity of women about any kind of implied or inferred slight," said Ruth Mandel, director of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University.

"The Palin nomination," she said, "has kind of reopened those sensitive feelings."

The trap was set when McCain aired an ad congratulating Obama on his historic nomination as the Democratic candidate on Thursday. The next day, McCain made history by tapping Palin, the Alaska governor, as the first woman running mate on a GOP ticket.

Obama's campaign quickly fell into the net, firing out a statement hitting Palin as inexperienced - before Obama had second thoughts and issued a statement praising Palin for her own historic moment.

Yesterday the McCain campaign signaled it's ready to debate whether Palin actually has more experience than Obama, a first-term U.S. senator and former state legislator.

That move carries the implied threat that if Obama's camp dismisses Palin's accomplishments as a businesswoman, small town mayor and Alaska governor of 19 months as inadequate, McCain's backers will charge it's because she's a woman.

The Obama campaign is approaching this new minefield carefully. After its first misstep, the campaign has been careful to praise her for making history when they mention her. But it might have decided it's safer not to even bring her up, except as an extension of McCain.

"We are not attacking her personally, and we are not attacking McCain," said Obama campaign manager David Axelrod.

"We are attacking a philosophy that has taken this country down the wrong road ... and the fact that she embraces that philosophy, and that's why she's on the ticket is notable."

A new Obama ad about her released yesterday simply links her to McCain and Bush.

Hillary Rodham Clinton did not mention Palin in her radio address yesterday. But surrogates such as Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida may well attack, Obama aides said.

On the stump, folks who are introducing Obama and Biden are reciting talking points, comparing the size of Alaska to their own states and the size the place where Palin was mayor to local towns and cities.

Even Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) hedged, calling Palin's selection "potentially reckless" in an e-mailed statement yesterday.

But Obama appears to be trying subtlety and finesse.

In excerpts from a CBS "60 Minutes" interview with Obama to air tonight, he responds to a question about Palin by saying, "She seems to have a compelling life story. Obviously, she's a fine mother and an up and coming public servant."

Later, Obama says about his own running mate: "Let me tell you the reason I picked Joe Biden. No. 1 - he can step in and become president. And I don't think anybody has any doubt about that."

But both campaigns are still feeling their way through the sensitive politics of race and gender, Mandel said. "Competitive elections always are played out on minefields," she said. "This year the battlefield and minefield may be a little more dangerous than in the past."

- Staff writer Nia-Malika Henderson reported from Dublin, Ohio.

Copyright © 2008, Newsday Inc.

The New York Times
August 31, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist
Vice in Go-Go Boots?

The guilty pleasure I miss most when I’m out slogging on the campaign trail is the chance to sprawl on the chaise and watch a vacuously spunky and generically sassy chick flick.

So imagine my delight, my absolute astonishment, when the hokey chick flick came out on the trail, a Cinderella story so preposterous it’s hard to believe it’s not premiering on Lifetime. Instead of going home and watching “Miss Congeniality” with Sandra Bullock, I get to stay here and watch “Miss Congeniality” with Sarah Palin.

Sheer heaven.

It’s easy to see where this movie is going. It begins, of course, with a cute, cool unknown from Alaska who has never even been on “Meet the Press” triumphing over a cute, cool unknowable from Hawaii who has been on “Meet the Press” a lot.

Americans, suspicious that the Obamas have benefited from affirmative action without being properly grateful, and skeptical that Michelle really likes “The Brady Bunch” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” reject the 47-year-old black contender as too uppity and untested.

Instead, they embrace 72-year-old John McCain and 44-year-old Sarah Palin, whose average age is 58, a mere two years older than the average age of the Obama-Biden ticket. Enthusiastic Republicans don’t see the choice of Palin as affirmative action, despite her thin résumé and gaping absence of foreign policy knowledge, because they expect Republicans to put an underqualified “babe,” as Rush Limbaugh calls her, on the ticket. They have a tradition of nominating fun, bantamweight cheerleaders from the West, like the previous Miss Congeniality types Dan Quayle and W., and then letting them learn on the job. So they crash into the globe a few times while they’re learning to drive, what’s the big deal?

Obama may have been president of The Harvard Law Review, but Palin graduated from the University of Idaho with a minor in poli-sci and worked briefly as a TV sports reporter. And she was tougher on the basketball court than the ethereal Obama, earning the nickname “Sarah Barracuda.”

The legacy of Geraldine Ferraro was supposed to be that no one would ever go on a blind date with history again. But that crazy maverick and gambler McCain does it, and conservatives and evangelicals rally around him in admiration of his refreshingly cynical choice of Sarah, an evangelical Protestant and anti-abortion crusader who became a hero when she decided to have her baby, who has Down syndrome, and when she urged schools to debate creationism as well as that stuffy old evolution thing.

Palinistas, as they are called, love Sarah’s spunky, relentlessly quirky “Northern Exposure” story from being a Miss Alaska runner-up, and winning Miss Congeniality, to being mayor and hockey mom in Wasilla, a rural Alaskan town of 6,715, to being governor for two years to being the first woman ever to run on a national Republican ticket. (Why do men only pick women as running mates when they need a Hail Mary pass? It’s a little insulting.)

Sarah is a zealot, but she’s a fun zealot. She has a beehive and sexy shoes, and the day she’s named she goes shopping with McCain in Ohio for a cheerleader outfit for her daughter.

As she once told Vogue, she’s learned the hard way to deal with press comments about her looks. “I wish they’d stick with the issues instead of discussing my black go-go boots,” she said. “A reporter once asked me about it during the campaign, and I assured him I was trying to be as frumpy as I could by wearing my hair on top of my head and these schoolmarm glasses.”

This chick flick, naturally, features a wild stroke of fate, when the two-year governor of an oversized igloo becomes commander in chief after the president-elect chokes on a pretzel on day one.

The movie ends with the former beauty queen shaking out her pinned-up hair, taking off her glasses, slipping on ruby red peep-toe platform heels that reveal a pink French-style pedicure, and facing down Vladimir Putin in an island in the Bering Strait. Putting away her breast pump, she points her rifle and informs him frostily that she has some expertise in Russia because it’s close to Alaska. “Back off, Commie dude,” she says. “I’m a much better shot than Cheney.”

Then she takes off in her seaplane and lands on the White House lawn, near the new ice fishing hole and hockey rink. The “First Dude,” as she calls the hunky Eskimo in the East Wing, waits on his snowmobile with the kids — Track (named after high school track meets), Bristol (after Bristol Bay where they did commercial fishing), Willow (after a community in Alaska), Piper (just a cool name) and Trig (Norse for “strength.”)

“The P.T.A. is great preparation for dealing with the K.G.B.,” President Palin murmurs to Todd, as they kiss in the final scene while she changes Trig’s diaper. “Now that Georgia’s safe, how ’bout I cook you up some caribou hot dogs and moose stew for dinner, babe?”

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

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31 Aug 2008 @ 16:31 by Quinty @ : Why
does this whole thing remind me of Animal House?

And Dean Wirmer's side won!

Dowd? Hilarious!  

3 Sep 2008 @ 02:21 by jmarc : It makes me feel old
Last time I talked to my city's Mayor, I'd joked with him that he was the first guy I'd voted for who was younger than me. I guess the same would be true if I were to vote the McCain / Palin ticket.

It makes me pause and reflect on my own mortality, is what I guess I'm trying to say.

If you believe that the Presidency and vice-presidency count for anything these days, and we could debate that one till the cows come home, I'd say that it's a plus to have children back in the white house, or the naval observatory. This should have a good effect on any decisions made by these people, I hope.

On the R side, it's probably also a good thing that family is serving now in the armed forces, but that's a bit off topic.

May November relationships in politics? Yeah, Biden gives a bit more gravitas to Obama, and Palin surely helps to soften McCains image.

And it really all is just image with these people and their offices these days. Corporations and large Media conglomerates are the real decision makers.  

3 Sep 2008 @ 16:16 by jazzolog : Repubs Actually Getting Away With It
I heard the obedient lapdog, NPR Morning Edition, actually report this morning that all media questions about Palin's background must go through the Republican will all answers, no matter what the source. The report said the Party is determined to "control Sarah Palin's image." CNN is a little feistier with the treatment it's been getting. This from the Washington Post this morning, as we see all-out aggression in response to media attention to the various questions about Palin. I want to do more with this comment, and hope to get to it later today. As before, my computering schedule has become limited by nevertheless beloved family houseguests.  

6 Sep 2008 @ 12:01 by jazzolog : Roping Mavericks
Anyone with a TV set 50 years ago knows what a Maverick is. Was your favorite Bret or Bart? James Garner showed up in the 1994 movie version too, in which Jody Foster's character steals the show...and the money of course. Hmmmm. Are the Republicans sure they want us to think of their candidates this way?
Sarah and Bristol Palin in 2006
Anchorage Daily News/MCT

Anybody who grew up with westerns, as I'm sure John McCain did, knows about mavericks. They're steers, often young and ornery, that won't stay with the herd. If you're going to lay around today, and have access to American cable, you could spend the whole day reviewing at AMC where they're showing some of the greatest westerns ever made. Or switch over to TCM tonight for a few Robert Mitchum flicks. Now there was a maverick!

So is it really true that John McCain and Sarah Palin fit this portrait of mavericks...or are we being handed some kind of hype---again?
Photo: Getty Images

Jeffrey St. Clair is author of a book called Grand Theft Pentagon, published 3 years ago. Adapted from the book, this article at Counterpunch Thursday presented the following view of McCain~~~

"He is the senator of the hollow protest. McCain is nothing if not a political stunt man. His chief stunt is the evocation of political piety. From his pulpit in the well of the senate, McCain gestures and fumes about the evils of Pentagon porkbarrel. He rails about useless and expensive weapons systems, contractor malfeasance, and bloated R&B budgets.
"But he does nothing about them. McCain pontificates, but never obstructs. Few senators have his political capital. But he does nothing with it. Under the arcane rules of the senate, one senator can gum up the works, derail a bad (or good, though those are increasingly rare in this environment) bill, dislodge non-germane riders, usually loaded with pork, from big appropriations bills. McCain is never that senator. He is content to let ride that which he claims to detest in press releases and senate speeches."

That sounds like politics-as-usual to me. How about Palin then? Judging from Time magazine's profile of her last Tuesday, her own description of herself as a "pitbull with lipstick" seems more appropriate than maverick---especially because a pitbull operates best with a handler who tells when and who to attack.

"Governing was no less contentious than campaigning, at least to begin with. She ended up dismissing almost all the city department heads who had been loyal to (previous mayor John) Stein, including a few who had been instrumental in getting her into politics to begin with. Some saw it as a betrayal. (Irl) Stambaugh, the police chief and member of Palin's step aerobics class, filed a lawsuit for wrongful termination, alleging that Palin terminated him in part at the behest of the National Rifle Association, because he had opposed a concealed-gun law the NRA supported. He eventually lost the suit. The animosity spawned some talk of a recall attempt, but eventually Palin's opponents on the City Council opted for a more conciliatory route.
"At some point in those the fractious first days, Palin told the department heads they needed her permission to talk to reporters. 'She put a gag order on those people, something that you'd expect to find in the big city, not here,' says (Frontiersman editor Vicki) Naegle. 'She flew in there like a big city gal, which she's not. It was a strange time, and [the Frontiersman] came out very harshly against her.'
"Stein says that as mayor, Palin continued to inject religious beliefs into her policy at times. 'She asked the library how she could go about banning books,' he says, because some voters thought they had inappropriate language in them. 'The librarian was aghast.' The librarian, Mary Ellen Baker, couldn't be reached for comment, but news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire her for not giving 'full support' to the mayor."


Then there's Wasilla Bible Church where Governor Palin remains an active member and, until now, a regular parishioner on Sunday. Maybe she'll fly up there tomorrow too, since there are reports she won't be a talking head on the regular Sunday morning TV news shows. The preacher there is Larry Kroon but he likes to bring in guests. The transcripts of all the sermons are at the church's site---and since Obama was given such a tough time about his church affiliation, maybe you'd like to read a few. If that's not your idea of happy Saturday morning fun, you might at least attend to Ben Smith's concern Tuesday at Politico about the sermon 3 weeks ago. Given by David Brickner, executive director of Jews For Jesus, it explains the real nature of what he calls "The Jerusalem Problem." Brickner reveals the terrorist attacks on Israelis are God's "judgment of unbelief" upon Jews who haven't embraced Christianity. Sounds like another pitbull for Christ...but probably without lipstick.

I'm still looking at photos of 3-month-old Trig Palin, and wondering if he isn't a bit big for that age. I thought the ponderings about whether Governor Palin could have given birth to the child were best summed up by Bryan Zepp on Labor Day. He says he only reluctantly put together this essay. The real issue must be whether the VP nominee is lying...even though that's what mavericks supposedly do. What if Bristol has a mysterious miscarriage for an October surprise?

Oh well, back to the real issues as presented last week at what the Washington Post characterized as "A Mostly White Convention." The Associated Press took a look at a number of charges leveled against Democrats and claims by Republicans and compared them to pesky facts. {link:;_ylt=AhszAmPCUA4SxEMTrIQhoWSs0NUE} Of particular concern to Barack Obama was Sarah Palin's ridicule of community organizers. A bit of a maverick himself he wrote, "With the nation watching, the Republicans mocked, dismissed, and actually laughed out loud at Americans who engage in community service and organizing... But what the McCain attack squad doesn't understand is that people like you -- who devote part of their busy lives to organizing and building their communities -- have the power to change this country." One community organizing site is .

Nor did the arrests of various reporters and journalists in Minneapolis last week fit very well into the welcoming maverick mode. Here's Time's account and analysis of how the McCain campaign views the press. Amy Goodman's arrest got her handled with particular rudeness. Here's the last photo found on AP photographer Matt Rourke's camera before he was arrested.

What's interesting to me is the original Maverick was somebody McCain and Palin might admire. Yes, there was an actual Samuel Maverick in the real rootin' tootin' 19th Century, who was a Texas lawyer, politician, and land baron. Among other things he was a cattleman who refused to brand his steers---which meant that any cow he ran into without a brand must be his. Ah yes, the maverick style. So a maverick is somebody without a brand, who belongs to no one...maybe. Oh yes, Sam Maverick was a Texas Democrat.

6 Sep 2008 @ 14:50 by jmarc : Maverick

6 Sep 2008 @ 20:13 by Quinty @ : Norm Solomon on the two parties
Some claim it doesn't make a difference who we vote for. That "they're all the same."

Bush and Iraq war should be exhibit A on the fallacy of that.....

Beyond the Conventions

Sep 05, 2008 By Norman Solomon

With varying degrees of confidence or even complacency, many people have assumed that the jig is almost up for the horrendous political era that began when George W. Bush became president. Always dubious, the assumption is now on very shaky ground.

The Bush-Cheney regime may be on its last legs, but a new incarnation of right-wing populism is shadowing the near horizon.

Much as modern capitalism is always driven to promote new products in the marketplace, the corporate-fundamentalist partnership must reinvent and remarket itself. We're now seeing the rollout of a hybrid product under the McCain-Palin brand.

After watching Sarah Palin's acceptance speech and the laudatory responses from many TV journalists, I remembered wandering around the floor of the Democratic convention in Denver. At the base, the two major parties are even more different than the speeches are apt to indicate.

Under the roof of the Democratic Party, notwithstanding its shades of corporatism and militarism and numerous other grave faults, there's a lot of longstanding and ongoing involvement from key progressive constituencies -- including labor unions, African Americans, gay rights activists, human rights defenders, environmentalists, fair-trade advocates, healthcare-for-all organizers, feminists, and on and on.

In contrast, the Republican Party is a political institution that views all such constituencies and activists (including the new target of GOP derision, "community organizers") as enemies to be smothered and crushed. The party's latest "populist" packaging is another wrinkle in a timeworn pattern; the most avid political servants of corporate elites are eager to keep generating the anti-elites rhetoric and imagery of down-home regular folks.

At the 2008 Democratic National Convention, some of the speeches ran counter to basic progressive tenets of peace and social justice. But none came close to the zeal for social Darwinism, jingoism and militarism routinely spewing from the Republican convention's podium.

In ways too numerous to count and in realms too profound to truly evoke, this decade has grimly underscored that -- notwithstanding theoretical claims to the contrary -- it matters greatly who is president. From the Supreme Court to thousands of subcabinet positions to executive orders to a vast array of foreign-policy decisions including the potential use of nuclear weapons, the president is able to wield state power with consequences huge enough to be unfathomable.

A popular strand of analysis on the left has downplayed the importance of the president. The story goes that corporate forces rule, and the person in the Oval Office is little more than a figurehead for those rulers. There's some validity to that assessment, but in the face of experience it has tended to calcify into a form of denial.

With right-wing Republicans running the White House for 20 of the last 28 years, maybe the downplaying of the importance of the presidency has become a kind of coping mechanism for some progressives. Accustomed to a status quo that grows increasingly dire, we've settled into an uncomfortable "comfort zone" as familiar as it is macabre. At the same time, the cascading effects of right-wing control over most of the federal government have been cumulative and devastating.

Of course progressives should always keep organizing, educating, protesting and agitating. But the potential for achieving progressive changes in government policies is severely limited while the right wing is entrenched in the White House. The changes we need can only be propelled from the grassroots, but the possibilities are badly circumscribed when the far right maintains a grip on state power.

After the election in early November, it'll be President McCain or President Obama.

We'll never pass this way again.


Norman Solomon, a national co-chair of the Healthcare NOT Warfare campaign, is the author of "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death." A documentary film of the same name, based on the book, has been released on home video. For information, go to:  

7 Sep 2008 @ 10:04 by jazzolog : Community Organizers
have poured out of neighborhood projects and rural action to stand up for themselves in the face of Palin's venom Wednesday night. My wife linked me to the blogsite of The American Prospect magazine last night, where a retort was mounted. There are several comments there that are very good. One of them reminds the so-called Christian Governor Palin as follows:

Jesus Christ was a community organizer and it was a governor that had him arrested and crucified.

Posted by: namekarB | September 4, 2008 5:38 PM

Another comment revealed a new site set up especially by organizers to assert the work they do---and to receive any apology Ms. Palin might become convinced to offer. At this writing their are 508 comments on its Front Page.

Maureen Dowd laments that Senator Clinton isn't Obama's choice this morning, if only for the V-P debate we'd have gotten to see. She imagines her running against Palin next time around...and there are a few laughs. The thing is had Obama chosen Clinton, McCain never would have picked Palin.

Frank Rich disagrees with me that Sarah makes John look younger. Mr. Rich is a distinguished theatre critic and so I'll yield the point to him. He really gets after McCain this morning~~~

The New York Times
September 7, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist
Palin and McCain’s Shotgun Marriage

Sarah Palin makes John McCain look even older than he is. And he seemed more than willing to play that part on Thursday night. By the time he slogged through his nearly 50-minute acceptance speech — longer even than Barack Obama’s — you half-expected some brazen younger Republican (Mitt Romney, perhaps?) to dash onstage to give him a gold watch and the bum’s rush.

Still, attention must be paid. McCain’s address, though largely a repetitive slew of stump-speech lines and worn G.O.P. orthodoxy, reminded us of what we once liked about the guy: his aspirations to bipartisanship, his heroic service in Vietnam, his twinkle. He took his (often inaccurate) swipes at Obama, but, in winning contrast to Palin and Rudy Giuliani, he wasn’t smug or nasty.

The only problem, of course, is that the entire thing was a sham.

As is nakedly evident, the speech’s central argument, that the 72-year-old McCain will magically morph into a powerful change agent as president, is a non sequitur. In his 26 years in Washington, most of it with a Republican in the White House and roughly half of it with Republicans in charge of Congress, he was better at lecturing his party about reform than leading a reform movement. G.O.P. corruption and governmental dysfunction only grew. So did his cynical flip-flops on the most destructive policies of the president who remained nameless Thursday night. (In the G.O.P., Bush love is now the second most popular love that dare not speak its name.)

Even more fraudulent, if that’s possible, is the contrast between McCain’s platonic presentation of his personal code of honor and the man he has become. He always puts his country first, he told us: “I’ve been called a maverick.” If there was any doubt that that McCain has fled, confirmation arrived with his last-minute embrace of Sarah Palin.

We still don’t know a lot about Palin except that she’s better at delivering a speech than McCain and that she defends her own pregnant daughter’s right to privacy even as she would have the government intrude to police the reproductive choices of all other women. Most of the rest of the biography supplied by her and the McCain camp is fiction.

She didn’t say “no thanks” to the “Bridge to Nowhere” until after Congress had already abandoned it but given Alaska a blank check for $223 million in taxpayers’ money anyway. Far from rejecting federal pork, she hired lobbyists to secure her town a disproportionate share of earmarks ($1,000 per resident in 2002, 20 times the per capita average in other states). Though McCain claimed “she has had national security as one of her primary responsibilities,” she has never issued a single command as head of the Alaska National Guard. As for her “executive experience” as mayor, she told her hometown paper in Wasilla, Alaska, in 1996, the year of her election: “It’s not rocket science. It’s $6 million and 53 employees.” Her much-advertised crusade against officials abusing their office is now compromised by a bipartisan ethics investigation into charges that she did the same.

How long before we learn she never shot a moose?

Given the actuarial odds that could make Palin our 45th president, it would be helpful to know who this mystery woman actually is. Meanwhile, two eternal axioms of our politics remain in place. Americans vote for the top of the ticket, not the bottom. And in judging the top of the ticket, voters look first at the candidates’ maiden executive decision, their selection of running mates. Whatever we do and don’t know about Palin’s character at this point, there is no ambiguity in what her ascent tells us about McCain’s character and potential presidency.

He wanted to choose the pro-abortion-rights Joe Lieberman as his vice president. If he were still a true maverick, he would have done so. But instead he chose partisanship and politics over country. “God only made one John McCain, and he is his own man,” said the shafted Lieberman in his own tedious convention speech last week. What a pathetic dupe. McCain is now the man of James Dobson and Tony Perkins. The “no surrender” warrior surrendered to the agents of intolerance not just by dumping his pal for Palin but by moving so far to the right on abortion that even Cindy McCain seemed unaware of his radical shift when being interviewed by Katie Couric last week.

That ideological sellout, unfortunately, was not the worst leadership trait the last-minute vice presidential pick revealed about McCain. His speed-dating of Palin reaffirmed a more dangerous personality tic that has dogged his entire career. His decision-making process is impetuous and, in its Bush-like preference for gut instinct over facts, potentially reckless.

As The New York Times reported last Tuesday, Palin was sloppily vetted, at best. McCain operatives and some of their press surrogates responded to this revelation by trying to discredit The Times article. After all, The Washington Post had cited McCain aides (including his campaign manager, Rick Davis) last weekend to assure us that Palin had a “full vetting process.” She had been subjected to “an F.B.I. background check,” we were told, and “the McCain camp had reviewed everything it could find on her.”

The Times had it right. The McCain campaign’s claims of a “full vetting process” for Palin were as much a lie as the biographical details they’ve invented for her. There was no F.B.I. background check. The Times found no evidence that a McCain representative spoke to anyone in the State Legislature or business community. Nor did anyone talk to the fired state public safety commissioner at the center of the Palin ethics investigation. No McCain researcher even bothered to consult the relevant back issues of the Wasilla paper. Apparently when McCain said in June that his vice presidential vetting process was basically “a Google,” he wasn’t joking.

This is a roll of the dice beyond even Bill Clinton’s imagination. “Often my haste is a mistake,” McCain conceded in his 2002 memoir, “but I live with the consequences without complaint.” Well, maybe it’s fine if he wants to live with the consequences, but what about his country? Should the unexamined Palin prove unfit to serve at the pinnacle of American power, it will be too late for the rest of us to complain.

We’ve already seen where such visceral decision-making by McCain can lead. In October 2001, he speculated that Saddam Hussein might have been behind the anthrax attacks in America. That same month he out-Cheneyed Cheney in his repeated public insistence that Iraq had a role in 9/11 — even after both American and foreign intelligence services found that unlikely. He was similarly rash in his reading of the supposed evidence of Saddam’s W.M.D. and in his estimate of the number of troops needed to occupy Iraq. (McCain told MSNBC in late 2001 that we could do with fewer than 100,000.) It wasn’t until months after “Mission Accomplished” that he called for more American forces to be tossed into the bloodbath. The whole fiasco might have been prevented had he listened to those like Gen. Eric Shinseki who faulted the Rumsfeld war plan from the start.

In other words, McCain’s hasty vetting of Palin was all too reminiscent of his grave dereliction of due diligence on the war. He has been no less hasty in implying that we might somehow ride to the military rescue of Georgia (“Today, we are all Georgians”) or in reaffirming as late as December 2007 that the crumbling anti-democratic regime of Pervez Musharraf deserved “the benefit of the doubt” even as it was enabling the resurgence of the Taliban and Al Qaeda. McCain’s blanket endorsement of Bush administration policy in Pakistan could have consequences for years to come.

“This election is not about issues” so much as the candidates’ images, said the McCain campaign manager, Davis, in one of the season’s most notable pronouncements. Going into the Republican convention, we thought we knew what he meant: the McCain strategy is about tearing down Obama. But last week made clear that the McCain campaign will be equally ruthless about deflecting attention from its own candidate’s deterioration.

What was most striking about McCain’s acceptance speech is that it had almost nothing in common with the strident right-wing convention that preceded it. We were pointedly given a rerun of McCain 2000 — cobbled together from scraps of the old Straight Talk repertory. The ensuing tedium was in all likelihood intentional. It’s in the campaign’s interest that we nod off and assume McCain is unchanged in 2008.

That’s why the Palin choice was brilliant politics — not because it rallied the G.O.P.’s shrinking religious-right base. America loves nothing more than a new celebrity face, and the talking heads marched in lock step last week to proclaim her a star. Palin is a high-energy distraction from the top of the ticket, even if the provenance of her stardom is in itself a reflection of exactly what’s frightening about the top of the ticket.

By hurling charges of sexism and elitism at any easily cowed journalist who raises a question about Palin, McCain operatives are hoping to ensure that whatever happened in Alaska with Sarah Palin stays in Alaska. Given how little vetting McCain himself has received this year — and that only 58 days remain until Nov. 4 — they just might pull it off.

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company  

7 Sep 2008 @ 19:05 by quinty : Groan, Palin and McCain.....

A good piece..... and pretty well outlines much of what’s scary about McCain. His brand of western conservatism is wealth oriented and often nasty. He can be cruel at times, laughing at the sufferings of the poor. I’ve seen him do it. Goldwater was cut much the same.

Had not Bush and the Neocons so blurred who was actually responsible for 9/11 some of McCain’s bellicose rhetoric might be more clear. For those who believe the “surge” basically solved our problems in Iraq might remember the tangle of lies which got us there. Which McCain, as Rich points out, eagerly supported.

The far right is gloating over the response of progressives to the choice of Palin. They seem to take pleasure in our alarm and concerns. What, are the headless leading the charge?

That comment about Christ as a “community organizer” was right on, but I don’t think it will penetrate Palin and her admirers. They’re too caught up in the blind hysterics of their hate filled rhetoric.

As for earmarks I rather like them. If our Congressman, Patrick Kennedy, would come home with the money to put street signs up in Providence - we are woefully lacking - that would be great. After all, that’s what government is for.  

9 Sep 2008 @ 07:35 by jazzolog : That Sense Of Dread
There has been some kind of heavy silence in the air since the Republican Convention. People of my acquaintance don't seem to know what to say...although a few have confessed some jitters. The righties I know aren't talking...although the paranoid old man at work asked if I was plotting more activism as he listened to my phone conversation yesterday. Actually I was talking to my credit union about our accounts, but like McCain Bill still is fighting the Chinese in Viet Nam. One must be careful around such people: they're always on the alert for opportunity.

I've been bugged by obvious, annoying paradoxes in Republican strategy shifts. At first Inexperience was the charge leveled at Obama, but since Palin inexperience is OK. You can learn on the job. Then it was Celebrity. That's what was wrong with Barack and Michelle. But now Palin's the celebrity and of course it's to be expected. We were going to debate issues---after we're sure we understand McCain was a POW...and Alaska is right next to Russia---but now Image is what we all need to see. And the media toddles right along with it if they've been trained by experts these past 8 years.

I've been hoping someone somewhere would sum it up for me, help me grab something I can use to continue the climb and the work. Maybe we've been in the eye of the election hurricane. Finally this morning an article has popped up. It's not so much about what went on inside the "America First" convention hall, but what was going on just outside. I find myself thinking back to almost exactly 4 years ago, when I tried to catch a glimpse of President Bush at a campaign rally in Parkersburg, West Virginia. Apparently such aspects of citizenship are even more gravely threatened this time.

The author of this essay is Chris Hedges, a member of the team of reporters that won the 2002 Pulitzer for The New York Times' coverage of global terrorism. The following year he gave a commencement speech at a college in Illinois, in which he condemned the Iraq occupation. The incident got him a formal reprimand from the newspaper because his address showed bias. He resigned...and since then has been writing for numerous publications including Foreign Affairs, Harper’s magazine, The New York Review of Books, Granta and Mother Jones. Hedges, the son of a Presbyterian minister, has a B.A. in English Literature from Colgate University and a Master of Divinity from Harvard University. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard during the academic year of 1998-1999. He has a strong grounding in the classics and knows Greek and Latin, as well as Arabic, French and Spanish. Chris Hedges currently is a senior fellow at The Nation Institute and a Lecturer in the Council of the Humanities and the Anschutz Distinguished Fellow at Princeton University, and spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, where he spent fifteen years.

Tyranny on Display at the Republican Convention
Posted on Sep 8, 2008
By Chris Hedges

The AP photo is another by Matt Rourke that shows police using pepper spray on a woman as she approaches them with a flower during a rally at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul.

St. Paul is a window into our future. It is a future where, as one protester told me by phone, “people have been pepper-gassed, thrown on the ground by police who had drawn their weapons, had their documents seized and their tattoos photographed before being taken away to jail.” It is a future where illegal house raids are carried out. It is a future where vans containing heavily armed paramilitary units circle and film protesters. It is a future where, as the protester said, “people have been pulled from cars because their license plates were on a database and handcuffed, thrown in the back of a squad car and then watched as their vehicles were ransacked and their personal possessions from computers to literature seized.” It is a future where constitutional rights mean nothing and where lawful dissent is branded a form of terrorism.

The rise of the corporate state means the rise of the surveillance state. The Janus-like face of America swings from packaged and canned spectacles, from nationalist slogans, from seas of flags and Christian crosses, from professions of faith and patriotism, to widespread surveillance, illegal mass detentions, informants, provocateurs and crude acts of repression and violence. We barrel toward a world filled with stupendous lies and blood.

What difference is there between the crowds of flag-waving Republicans and the apparatchiks I covered as a reporter in the old East German Communist Party? These Republican delegates, like the fat and compromised party functionaries in East Berlin, all fawned on cue over an inept and corrupt party hierarchy. They all purported to champion workers’ rights and freedom while they systematically fleeced, disempowered and impoverished the workers they lauded. They all celebrated the virtue of a state that was morally bankrupt. And while they played this con game, one that gave them special privileges, power and wealth, they unleashed their goons and thugs on all who dared to challenge them. We are not East Germany, but we are well on our way. An economic meltdown, another catastrophic terrorist attack on American soil, a war with Iran, and we could easily swing into an authoritarian model that would look very familiar to anyone who lived in the former communist East Bloc.

A few of those arrested in St. Paul, including eight leaders of the RNC Welcoming Committee— one of the groups organizing protests at the GOP convention in St. Paul —now face terrorism-related charges. Monica Bicking, Eryn Trimmer, Luce Guillen Givins, Erik Oseland, Nathanael Secor, Robert Czernik, Garrett Fitzgerald and Max Spector could get up to seven and a half years in prison under the terrorism enhancement charge, which allows for a 50 percent increase in the maximum penalty. This is the first time criminal charges have been filed under the 2002 Minnesota version of the federal Patriot Act.

The Patriot Act, which was put in place as much to silence domestic opposition as to ferret out real terrorists, has largely lain dormant. It has authorized the government to monitor our phone conversations, e-mails, meetings and political opinions. It has authorized the government to shut down anti-war groups and lock up innocents as terrorists. It has abolished habeas corpus. But until now we have not grasped its full implications for our open society. We catch glimpses, as in St. Paul or in our offshore penal colonies where we torture detainees, of its awful destructive power.

The commercial media told us that what was important in St. Paul was happening inside the convention hall. The vapid interviews, the ridiculous soap opera sagas about Sarah Palin’s daughter and the debate about whether John McCain or Barack Obama has proprietary rights to “Change” divert us from the truth of who we have become. You had to search out , , , , along with a few other independent outlets, to see, hear or read real journalism from St. Paul.

It does not matter that the RNC Welcoming Committee describes itself as an “anarchist/anti-authoritarian” organization. We don’t have to embrace a political agenda to protect the right to be heard. Shut down free speech and radicals only burrow deeper underground, splitting ossified political systems into fractured extremes. We may well end up with the Christian right on one side, with politicians like Sarah Palin providing an ideological veneer to a Christian fascism, and embittered leftist radicals who turn to violence on the other.

St. Paul was not ultimately about selecting a presidential candidate. It was about the power of the corporate state to carry out pre-emptive searches, seizures and arrests. It was about squads of police in high-tech riot gear, many with drawn semiautomatic weapons, bursting into houses. It was about seized computers, journals and political literature. It was about shutting down independent journalism, even at gunpoint. It was about charging protesters with “conspiracy to commit riot,” a rarely used statute that criminalizes legal dissent. It was about 500 people held in open-air detention centers. It was about the rising Orwellian state that has hollowed out the insides of America, cast away all that was good and vital, and donned its skin to shackle us all.

Toles today shows a VP candidate, in her designer glasses (frames $400, $600-800 with lenses---so hot now stores can't keep 'em in stock!), planning things out at an undisclosed location~~~  

9 Sep 2008 @ 16:14 by quinty : While
all that was going on there was next to no mention on the non-stop cable coverage of the convention. Only a few "dramatic" shots of police roughing up protestors. No probing or digging on the part of the media. Nothing which could tarnish the image of the RNC.

But do you want something else scary? This was on Wolf Blitzer last night, on CNN news: a prediction that a new "Cold War" with Russia is about to begin with Hugo Chavez taking the part of Fidel Castro.

I won't go into the whole sordid story, but Chavez could have been our friend. Instead, we are insuring he will be our enemy. All because he strayed off the range and went his own way, trying to improve life for the Venezuelan poor.

Our media is complicit, too, clinging to that unending "dictatorship" story. There have been eight or nine elections in Venezuela, all free and honest. Chavez lost one, and abided by the results. How many more free elections does he have to have before he ceases to be a "dictator?"

This whole new "Cold War" approach to Russia and Hugo Chavez as Castro is worse than ignorant and stupid: it is an insane self-fulfilling prophecy.  

9 Sep 2008 @ 16:22 by Quinty @ : I should have
mentioned that Chavez is seen as the new Castro because Venezuela bought arms from Russia. That Russia is arming them the way the Soviet Union did Castro. (So, would the US ever sell arms to Chavez?)

McCain, I'm sure, will all too readily see it that way. With Obama let's hope there is more sanity, though the far right in this country would love to have a new "cold war." And there will be pressure on Obama to be "t;ough" and "realistic."  

10 Sep 2008 @ 17:11 by quinty : We do seem
to be at a crossroads this years. The ugliness has always been with us (McCarthyism was a lark too.... all the violent “progressive” struggles of the past.... the rise of fascism, etc.) and this time Obama is fighting back. Which makes a difference. After all, when a candidate slinks away from the mud that’s not very reassuring. And can Obama, through the deep candy coated corporate fog calling itself news, reach most American voters? Well, maybe. A lot is coming out on Palin which is a good sign.

Americans live by many myths. Some Republicans I’m acquainted with will not vote for McCain because Palin scares them. She and McCain should scare all of us. But if a voter lives within the same narrow world Palin lives and breathes in then the voter will be comfortable there, and his or her myths won’t be disturbed. We are separated, after all, from the rest of the world by two enormous oceans. We also look down upon our neighbors. When I lived in Terre Haute, Indiana, there were people there who literally believed Terre Haute was the center of the world. You find people like that everywhere.

There was plenty of outrage against Bush in 2004 from those who opposed the war. But I believe that at that time the country still supported it. Bush won because many Americans still believed he could protect the US from the hobgoblins (some were actually real) he exploited. And it wasn’t until Katrina that the Bush bubble finally began to burst. That is the difference between 2004 and 2008. Only true believers don’t think Bush has been totally discredited. And how much will race have to do with this election?

As Pogo put it: “we have met the enemy and he is us.”  

11 Sep 2008 @ 09:11 by jazzolog : Nostalgia And The Republicans
I just Googled "Palin Reagan" and was surprised to get an inside glimpse of how Republicans are powering up for the campaign. The woman is being compared to Ronald Reagan all over the place---when she isn't labeled the new Margaret Thatcher. Many articles refer to Reagan nostalgia, calling the faithful back to the excitement of those days when the neo-cons took over. It's Morning again in Smalltown America. Smell the coffee and the bacon...but now Mom has to go to work too. We know the Bible says she should keep the apron on and get to the washing and ironing, but these days Mom has to help with the plowing. Other than that, Plain Palin brings back those golden days of yesteryear just like Reagan. Ronnie's son Michael even has written a piece about all this called "Welcome Back Dad."

But here's the deal: few people ravaged small towns more than Reagan. Where did the rust belt come from? It came from the destruction of the unions, tax cuts for the rich, deregulation, and consequent export of jobs. With the decline of the unions has come the decline of the middle class. Coincidence? No way. Union benefits were how working people climbed into the middle class. Reagan's first act as president was to declare a threatened strike by air traffic controllers to be illegal. I had employment in industry when Reagan dismantled CETA, whereupon 600 workers, many of them VietNam veterans who just had started a family and bought a home, were laid off in a single day in my hometown. I was among them, with a wife 6 months pregnant. It took that small town 25 years to begin to get back on its feet---and downtown still is full of empty shops and crumbling old stores. That's the reality of smalltown America. See here~~~

The Wall Street Journal
The Tilting Yard
The GOP Loves the Heartland To Death
September 10, 2008

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.

There's no evidence that Mrs. Palin shares the trademark Pegler bloodlust -- except maybe when it comes to moose and wolves. Nevertheless, the red-state myth that Mrs. Palin reiterated for her adoring audience owes far more to the venomous spirit of Pegler than it does to Norman Rockwell.

Small town people, Mrs. Palin went on, are "the ones who do some of the hardest work in America, who grow our food and run our factories and fight our wars." They are authentic; they are noble, and they are her own: "I grew up with those people."

But what really defines them in Mrs. Palin's telling is their enemies, the people who supposedly "look down" on them. The opposite of the heartland is the loathsome array of snobs and fakers, "reporters and commentators," lobbyists and others who make up "the Washington elite."

Presumably the various elite Washington lobbyists who have guided John McCain's presidential campaign were exempt from Mrs. Palin's criticism. As would be former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, now a "senior adviser" to the Dickstein Shapiro lobby firm, who hymned the "Sarah Palin part of the party" thus: "Their kids aren't going to go to Ivy League schools. Their sons leave high school and join the military to serve our country. Their husbands and wives work two jobs to make sure the family is sustained."

Generally speaking, though, when husbands and wives work two jobs each it is not merely because they are virtuous but because working one job doesn't earn them enough to get by. The two-job workers in Middle America aren't spurning the Ivy League and joining the military straight out of high school just because they're people of principle, although many of them are. It is because they can't afford to do otherwise.

Leave the fantasy land of convention rhetoric, and you will find that small-town America, this legendary place of honesty and sincerity and dignity, is not doing very well. If you drive west from Kansas City, Mo., you will find towns where Main Street is largely boarded up. You will see closed schools and hospitals. You will hear about depleted groundwater and massive depopulation.

And eventually you will ask yourself, how did this happen? Did Hollywood do this? Was it those "reporters and commentators" with their fancy college degrees who wrecked Main Street, U.S.A.?

No. For decades now we have been electing people like Sarah Palin who claimed to love and respect the folksy conservatism of small towns, and yet who have unfailingly enacted laws to aid the small town's mortal enemies.

Without raising an antitrust finger they have permitted fantastic concentration in the various industries that buy the farmer's crops. They have undone the New Deal system of agricultural price supports in favor of schemes called "Freedom to Farm" and loan deficiency payments -- each reform apparently designed to secure just one thing out of small town America: cheap commodities for the big food processors. Richard Nixon's Agriculture Secretary Earl Butz put the conservative attitude toward small farmers most bluntly back in the 1970s when he warned, "Get big or get out."

A few days ago I talked politics with Donn Teske, the president of the Kansas Farmers Union and a former Republican. Barack Obama may come from a big city, he admits, but the Farmers Union gives him a 100% rating for his votes in Congress. John McCain gets a 0%. "If any farmer in the Plains States looked at McCain's voting record on ag issues," Mr. Teske says, "no one would vote for him."

Now, Mr. McCain is known for his straight talk with industrial workers, telling them their jobs are never coming back, that the almighty market took them away for good, and that retraining is their only hope.

But he seems to think that small-town people can be easily played. Just choose a running mate who knows how to skin a moose and all will be forgiven. Drive them off the land, shutter their towns, toss their life chances into the grinders of big agriculture . . . and praise their values. The TV eminences will coo in appreciation of your in-touch authenticity, and the carnival will move on.

Write to Frank@wsj.com1
Copyright 2008 Dow Jones & Company
Thanks to Nausicaa for referring me to that article.

Joe Klein went even further yesterday in a piece for Time, in which he asserts that smalltown America was gone in Reagan's time...and that his magic was all fantasized nostalgia too. It seems the Republican fire is pure theatrical imagination. Is that mental health in the 21st Century?

TIME in partnership with CNN
Wednesday, Sep. 10, 2008
Sarah Palin's Myth of America

Sarah Palin has arrived in our midst with the force of a rocket-propelled grenade. She has boosted John McCain's candidacy and overwhelmed the presidential process in a way that no vice-presidential pick has since Thomas Eagleton did the precise opposite — sinking his sponsor, George McGovern, in 1972. Obviously, something beyond politics is happening here. We don't really know Palin as a politician yet, whether she is wise or foolhardy, substantive or empty. Our fascination with her — and it is a nonpartisan phenomenon — is driven by something more primal. The Palin surge illuminates the mythic power of the Republican Party's message since the advent of Ronald Reagan.

To start with the obvious, she's attractive. Her husband ("And two decades and five children later, he's still my guy...") is a hunk. They have a gorgeous family, made more touching and credible by the challenges their children face. Her voice is more distinctive than her looks: that flat, northern twang that screams, I'm just like you! Actually, the real message is: I'm just like you want to be, a brilliantly spectacular...average American. The Palins win elections and snowmobile races in a state that represents the last, lingering hint of that most basic Huckleberry Finn fantasy — lighting out for the territories. She quoted Westbrook Pegler, the F.D.R.-era conservative columnist, in her acceptance speech: "We grow good people in our small towns..." And then added, "I grew up with those people. They're the ones who do some of the hardest work in America, who grow our food and run our factories and fight our wars. They love their country in good times and bad, and they're always proud of America."

Except that's not really true. We haven't been a nation of small towns for nearly a century. It is the suburbanites and city dwellers who do the fighting and hourly-wage work now, and the corporations who grow our food. But Palin's embrace of small-town values is where her hold on the national imagination begins. She embodies the most basic American myth — Jefferson's yeoman farmer, the fantasia of rural righteousness — updated in a crucial way: now Mom works too. Palin's story stands with one foot squarely in the nostalgia for small-town America and the other in the new middle-class reality. She brings home the bacon, raises the kids — with a significant assist from Mr. Mom — hunts moose and looks great in the process. I can't imagine a more powerful, or current, American Dream.

Nearly 50 years ago, in The Burden of Southern History, the historian C. Vann Woodward argued that the South was profoundly different from the rest of America because it was the only part of the country that had lost a war: "Southern history, unlike American...includes not only an overwhelming military defeat but long decades of defeat in the provinces of economic, social and political life." Woodward believed that this heritage led Southerners to be more obsessed with the past than other Americans were — at its worst, in popular works like Gone With the Wind, there was a gagging nostalgia for a courtly antebellum South that never really existed.

During the past 50 years, the rest of the country has caught up to the South in the nostalgia department. We lost a war in Vietnam; Iraq hasn't gone so well either. And there are two other developments that have cut into the sense of American perfection. The middle class has begun to lose altitude — there isn't the certainty anymore that our children will live better than we do. More important, the patina of cultural homogeneity that camouflaged 1950s suburbia has vanished. We have become more obviously multiracial. There are lifestyle choices that were nearly unimaginable in 1960 — the widespread use of the birth control pill, the legalization of abortion, the feminist and gay-rights revolutions, the breakdown of the two-parent family. With the advent of television, these changes became inescapable. They intruded upon the most traditional families in the smallest towns. The political impact was a conservative reaction of enormous vehemence.

Enter Reagan. His vision of the future was the past. He offered the temporal pleasures of tax cuts and an unambiguous anticommunism, but his real tug was on the heartstrings — it was "Morning in America." The Republican Party of Wall Street faded before the power of nostalgia for Main least a Main Street that existed before America began losing wars, became ostentatiously sexy and casually interracial. In his presidential debate with Jimmy Carter, Reagan talked about an America that existed "when I was young and when this country didn't even know it had a racial problem." The blinding whiteness and fervent religiosity of the party he created are an enduring testament to the power of the myth of an America that existed before we had all these problems. The power of Sarah Palin is that she is the latest, freshest iteration of that myth.

The Republican Party's subliminal message seems stronger than ever this year because of the nature of the Democratic nominee for President. Barack Obama could not exist in the small-town America that Reagan fantasized. He's the product of what used to be called miscegenation, a scenario that may still be more terrifying than a teen daughter's pregnancy in many American households. Furthermore, he has thrived in the culture and economy that displaced Main Street America — an economy where people no longer work in factories or make things with their hands, but where lawyers and traders prosper unduly. (Of course, this is the economy the Republican Party has promoted — but facts are powerless in the face of a potent mythology.) Obama is the precise opposite of Mountain Man Todd Palin: an entirely urban creature. He lives within the hilarious conundrum of being both too "cosmopolitan" and intellectual for Republican tastes — at least as Rudy Giuliani described it — while also being the sort of fellow suspected of getting ahead by affirmative action.

The Democrats have no myth to counter this powerful Republican fantasy. They had to spend their convention on the biographical defensive: Barack Obama really is "one of us," speaker after speaker insisted. Really. Democrats do have the facts in their favor. Polls show that Americans agree with them on the issues. The Bush Administration has been a disaster on many fronts. The McCain campaign has provided only the sketchiest policy proposals; it has spent most of its time trying to divert the national conversation away from matters of substance. But Americans like stories more than issues. Policy proposals are useful in the theater of presidential politics only inasmuch as they illuminate character: far more people are aware of the fact that Palin put the state jet on eBay than know that she imposed a windfall-profits tax on oil companies as governor and was a porkaholic as mayor of Wasilla.

So Obama faces an uphill struggle between now and Nov. 4. He has no personal anecdotes to match Palin's mooseburgers. His story of a boy whose father came from Kenya and mother from Kansas takes place in an America not yet mythologized, a country that is struggling to be born — a multiracial country whose greatest cultural and economic strength is its diversity. It is the country where our children already live and that our parents will never really know, a country with a much greater potential for justice and creativity — and perhaps even prosperity — than the sepia-tinted version of Main Street America. But that vision is not sellable right now to a critical mass of Americans. They live in a place, not unlike C. Vann Woodward's South, where myths are more potent than the hope of getting past the dour realities they face each day.

Copyright � 2008 Time

11 Sep 2008 @ 19:26 by quinty : Myths....

Yes, we live by many myths as well as within many limitations. The Republican Party truly does attract and bring together the ugliest aspects of human nature. Ignorance, fear, nativism, racism, greed, bigotry, religious fanaticism, cruelty, homophobia: all find their expression in the Party through various self justifying fantasies.

Look at Palin, still running about with her scripted two liner about the Bridge to Nowhere. Never mind that numerous mainstream news outlets have debunked her claim.

She still hands out the same repetitive lie and, worse yet, the crowds still shout with joy. They seem mesmerized, and don’t appear to care. Or do they even know her claims are false? Palin is the latest Jesus face found within a sea shell or cantaloup rind.

Frank is great, his finger on the pulse. Two very excellent pieces. Too bad their audience is limited.  

12 Sep 2008 @ 10:18 by jazzolog : Fury On 9/11
It is in the nature of imperialism that citizens of the imperial power are always among the last to know--or care--about circumstances in the colonies.

---Bertrand Russell

I lay in bed an extra hour this morning because I thought, with both campaigns praying for the victims of 9/11 yesterday, it would have been a slow news day. Good grief, a bunch of writers took advantage of the quiet to let loose!

Garrison Keillor posted his at the Chicago Trib on Wednesday, but it showed up in our local paper yesterday. Since the Repubs convened in his hometown, I was eager to learn what he had to say. The column concludes~~~

"When you check the actuarial tables on a 72-year-old guy who's had three bouts with cancer, you guess you may be looking at the first woman president, a hustling evangelical with ethics issues and a chip on her shoulder who, not counting Canada, has set foot outside the country once—a trip to Germany, Iraq and Kuwait in 2007 to visit Alaskans in the armed services. And who listed a refueling stop in Ireland as a fourth country visited. She's like the Current Occupant but with big hair. If you want inexperience, there were better choices."


Speaking of pigs at the trough, Katha Pollitt exceeds even her own typical brilliance with "Lipstick On A Wing Nut"~~~

"John McCain chose the supremely under-qualified Sarah Palin as his running mate partly because she is a woman. If you have a problem with that, you're a sexist. She talks incessantly about being a mother of five and uses her newborn, Trig, who has Down syndrome, as a campaign prop. If you wonder how she'll handle all those kids and the Veep job too, you're a super-sexist. 'When do they ever ask a man that question?' charges that fiery feminist Rudy Giuliani. Indeed, Palin, who went back to work when Trig was three days old, gets nothing but praise from Phyllis Schlafly, James Dobson and the folks at National Review, who usually blame all the ills of modern America on those neurotic, harried, selfish, frustrated, child-neglecting, husband-castrating working mothers. Even stranger, her five-months-pregnant 17-year-old, Bristol, gets nothing but compassion and respect from Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and others who have spent their careers slut-shaming teens for having sex--and blaming their parents for letting it happen.
"If there were an Olympics for hypocrisy, the Republican Party would have more gold medals than Michael Phelps. And Palin would be wearing quite a few of them. It takes chutzpah for a mother to thrust her pregnant teen into the world's harshest spotlight and then demand the world respect the girl's privacy. But then it takes chutzpah to support criminalizing abortion and then praise Bristol's 'decision' to have the baby. The right to decide, and privacy, after all, are two of the things Palin wants to deny every other woman, and every other family, in America."

Keith Olbermann unleashed his rage Wednesday night at how the Repubs continue to cash in on 9/11 solemnity~~~

"9/11 has become… 9/11 **with a trademark logo.**
"9/11 (**TM**) has sustained a president who long ago should have been dismissed, or impeached. It has kept him and his gang of financial and constitutional **crooks** in office without - literally - any visible means of support.
"9/11 (**TM**) has made possible the greatest sleight-of-hand in our nation’s history.
"The political party in office at the time of the attacks, at the local, state and national levels, the party which **uniformly** ignored the warnings — and the presidential administration already through twenty percent of its first term and no longer wet behind the ears — have not only thus far escaped any **blame** for the malfeasance and criminal neglect that allowed the attacks to occur, but that presidency and that party, have managed to make it seem as if the **other** political party would be solely and irredeemably responsible for any similar catastrophe in the future."

Paul Krugman also wonders at the hypocrisy in this morning's column~~~

"I can’t think of any precedent, at least in America, for the blizzard of lies since the Republican convention. The Bush campaign’s lies in 2000 were artful — you needed some grasp of arithmetic to realize that you were being conned. This year, however, the McCain campaign keeps making assertions that anyone with an Internet connection can disprove in a minute, and repeating these assertions over and over again."

George Lakoff stepped forward yesterday with the obvious explanation~~~

"In 1980, Richard Wirthlin - Ronald Reagan's chief strategist - made a fateful discovery. In his first poll he discovered that most people didn't like Reagan's positions on the issues, but nevertheless wanted to vote for Reagan. The reason, he figured out, is that voters vote for a president not primarily on the issues, but on five other 'character' factors; values; authenticity; communication and connection; trust; and identity. In the Reagan-Carter and Reagan-Mondale debates, Mondale and Carter were ahead on the issues and lost the debates because the debates were not about the issues, but about those other five character factors. George W. Bush used the same observation in his two races. Gore and Kerry ran on the issues. Bush ran on those five factors.
"In the 2008 nomination campaign, Hillary ran on the issues, while Obama ran on those five factors and won. McCain is now running a Reagan-Bush style character-based campaign on the Big Five factors. But Obama has switched to a campaign based 'on the issues,' like Hillary, Gore and Kerry. Obama has reality on his side. And the campaign is assuming that if you just tell people the truth, they will reason to the right conclusion. That's false and they should know better."\

Amy Goodman has written now about the violence she suffered in St. Paul, and intimates similar actions occured in Denver...but I haven't searched out confirmation.

Need a laugh? Well, we'll see. Obama and Michael Phelps will share the stage for the season premiere of Saturday Night Live~~~  

12 Sep 2008 @ 19:14 by quinty : La Palin
These comments are all true.

And the comments preceding Lakoff’s make his observations all the more poignant, since each writer is crying out against the blatant scam.

The irrational safely cushions Palin from criticism. And becoming quite naturally appalled by her performance with ABC’s Charles Gibson is brushed off as “liberal hate” and “media bias.”

Palin sat there like a high school student facing her teacher. And Gibson looked like an old school master grilling his student. I know, I’ve been there: as the student. And have felt the same way as Palin did. Hoping I could somehow pass the viva voce.

Problem is, the student hadn’t done her homework. And hoped to somehow weasel her way past the teacher. Who knew she hadn’t touched her homework but remained too polite to openly confront her. Though the truth was in the air.

“War? Oh sure, that’s what great powers do when the bad guys get out of line. We’re good so we put them back in their place. I mean, war is a part of being in NATO. And Georgia is our friend. What’s the Bush Doctrine? They’re all the rules, aren’t they? Like how to behave in gym, no rough housing or loud radios. No goosing the girls. Things like that....”

Yet, the media, following the interview, lauded Palin for her “performance.” After all, not to do so would be impolite and “biased.” No one wants to do that.

I’m very pessimistic about this election. I think race is going to come out. It may only require three or five percent to tip it over to McCain. It appears to me that Obama’s good nature won’t help or save him in this. There are those on the right who even claim he is “stupid.” Lakoff’s arguments are very astute.

It could be some of us just feel the jitters, but the mountain of foolishness out there is piling ever higher.

President Palin? The irrational has won out.  

13 Sep 2008 @ 15:51 by quinty : John Fund and Bill Maher
Anyone see Bill Maher last night?

The weasel lies of John Fund of the Wall Street Journal were memorable and impressive. When one opens the floodgates of imagination one can proceed in any direction. That is the rhetorical gift of those who are footloose and fancy free with the truth. What Sartre very nicely called "bad faith."

Oh, so now the "left wing" media cleverly explains what the Bush Doctrine is to Democratic candidates when asking their questions? Fund says they did at the debates and that Gibson cleverly set Palin up for flunking the Bush Doctrine question. Because most real people don't know what the Bush Doctrine is.

Sure. Being "regular" is more important than being knowledgeable and competent. So, who cares if a doctor doesn't know where the spleen is? Most regular people don't know either. Never mind the Bush Doctrine is one of the major policy justifications for this war in Iraq.

With the exception of Salmon Rushdie (how archaic great writers appear today!) Maher's guests leapt all over Fund over this and the other handy BS he energetically came out with. And, yes, it must have made the "liberals" appear like a pack of howling wolves to the audience on the far right. Fund kept tearing down Maher's "elitism" for decrying Palin's ignorance. Kept shouting that if he kept it up the Democrats would only lose another election. It just shows, doesn’t it, that we can’t win. In Spain they have a nice saying for this: “You can keep hitting me but you’re still a son of a bitch.”

This is what we're up against.

For the whole thing, or most of it......


14 Sep 2008 @ 09:33 by jazzolog : Are You An Elitist?
Are you an elitist?
18 revealing ways to know for sure
By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist
Friday, September 12, 2008

1. You don't talk like a normal person. Only normal people talk like normal people. Sarah "no questions please, I'm Alaskan" Palin, according to House Minority leader John Boehner, she talks like a normal person... if by "normal" you mean "chillingly antagonistic toward anything resembling progress or political insight or women's civil liberties."

2. According to the GOP, lower-middle-class voters with minimal educations really like it when people who think they can run the most powerful nation on the planet and steer massive military juggernauts and immense economies and affect the destinies of millions, don't actually speak like they have any idea how the hell to do it. Honey, if the Bush years proved anything, it's that the dumber you sound, the more effective you are at leading the country. Into the sewer. Did you know this already? Typical elitist.

3. You are on a first-name basis with the sushi chef at Whole Foods.

4. You have been to Whole Foods.

5. Look at you, Mr. Fancypants, with your snobbish notion that not every piece of furniture in your bedroom must look like it came from the same 1978 Levitz fire sale.

6. The impressive dimensions of the strap-on system in your dresser would make your average Alaskan redneck hockey player scream in horror even as it openly titillated a dozen Republican senators from Colorado Springs to Idaho, though it would probably still get you arrested in Alabama.

7. You know what a strap-on is. In a good way.

8. Barack Obama's oratory power, strength of character, and subtle understanding of complicated issues have actually served to dissolve a venerable portion of the acidic pessimism that's been eating into your very soul for eight solid years, causing you to actually begin to believe that maybe, just maybe, nuanced intellectual acumen and the nearly bankrupt American experiment do not necessarily have to be mutually exclusive. Only elitist snobs know what "venerable" means. Or "acumen." Or "you."

9. When selecting an effective inebriant with which to numb if not completely drown the searing oatmealy dread that rumbles deep in your core after eight years of Bush and which has now been harshly rekindled by the offensive McPalin nightmare, you skip right past the beer and even the wine and go straight for the absinthe.

10. You arrive at a dinner party at the home of a friend-of-a-friend whom you don't know very well. What's the first thing you notice? A) The quality of the stemware, B) the origins of art on the walls, C) the titles of the books lining the shelves, D) The hugeness of the head of the giant dead polar bear whose face you're nearly sitting on. Answering anything but D makes you an elitist snob. Obviously, that's a grizzly, not a polar bear.

11. A "real American" is A) an obese deer hunter/blue-collar millworker with a giant truck and a gentle smile and a thing for origami B) a tattooed yoga-loving urbanite intellectual hipster who loves A.S. Byatt and red meat C) The Muslim chef/mother of three who was born in Fort Wayne and went to Burning Man for the first time this year and dropped Ecstasy and was struck to giggling wonderment by the gorgeous silliness of all existence, D) the nice family of Sikhs living next door, E) What is this, f--ing alphabet day? Enough with the multiple choice already, elitist hippie.

12. You find it profoundly unfair that, while cretinous Fox News charlatans get to sling "elitist" at anyone of nuanced or open-minded intellect who happens to care about the world, the media refuses to pick up "Karl Rove's toe cheese" as a clever counter-epithet.

13. The hammer with which you often consider striking yourself in the face when listening to Bush speak or when observing McCain's creepy grin or hearing Palin's embarrassing answers to simple questions of policy has never actually been put to use for any "real" work, and has only ever really been used to tap down a few loose nails on the deck of your Martha's Vineyard summer cottage or tighten some planks in the fetish dungeon.

14. You prefer spirituality to religion, fluid self-determinism to Biblical dogma, premium sake to sacramental wine, devising new sins instead of merely indulging the old ones, swallowing instead of spitting, back door to front, Shakti to Mary, and floating instead of kneeling.

15. You speak a foreign language. This implies you might understand something of the world, have an interest in a culture other than your own, or have perhaps even traveled to some exotic foreign land that isn't Texas or New Jersey or Hawaii, a place where they like weird cheeses and don't fear gay people and ride bicycles to the opera.

16. You recognize and appreciate more than 50 percent of the references and enjoy at least a quarter of the featured profiles in the New York Times Arts section. Also, you read the New York Times. Also, you read.

17. You are, for some godforsaken reason, absolutely convinced all the way down to your most profound sense of what is divine and truthful in this strangled world that violence and bloodshed are rarely the answer, that the irrefutable spiritual laws of the universe confirm that like attracts like and even at a quantum level there is a profound pull toward a divine, benevolent dynamic equilibrium, and therefore constructing a malicious national policy of torture and surveillance and pre-emptive aggression merely shames the better nature of the human animal and invites a particularly violent energy into the national bloodstream and poisons the human heart as it creates nothing but more turmoil and unrest and hate in the world. Man, only an elitist jerk would tolerate a ridiculous run-on sentence like that.

18. Your most treasured pieces of writing don't feature Muggles, Hobbits, glossy centerfolds of Dale Earnhardt Jr., dogs named Marley, or an angry and omnipotent patriarch who demands unquestioning subservience and strict adherence to often cruel, arbitrary laws of behavior from on high, who forsakeths thou for months and years at a time and never writes or calls and then suddenly reappears without warning only to rain down hellfire and frogs and locusts and totally inconvenient plagues on everyone, and never even apologizes. And then you're supposed to feel all guilty? For like, 2,000 years? Whatever.

© 2008 Hearst Communications Inc.  

15 Sep 2008 @ 09:10 by jazzolog : An Elitist Father Repents
I'm grateful again to Nausicaa for finding this extraordinary "letter" by columnist Marc Cooper. It's beginning to show up at other sites on the Net, but I imagine she saw it first last week at ~~~

From: Nausicaa
Sent: Sunday, September 14, 2008 4:37 PM

Nausicaa has left a new comment on your post "Election '08: You Make Me Feel So Young!":

When is the last time you’ve seen a president of the United States who just paid off his loan debt?
But, again, maybe I’m out of touch.
---Michelle Obama (April 15, 2008)

What Michelle Obama told the Democratic National Convention in Denver, "that you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond and you do what you say you’re going to do, that you treat people with dignity and respect," is one of the corner stones of what the American Dream is about...

Marc Cooper's "Letter to My Daughter" says it all:

You'll Never Be Vice President: A Letter to My Daughter, the Community Organizer

Daughter Dearest,

It is with great pain and a certain measure of shame that I write you this note. Having grown up in the '60s and watched, sometimes at glaringly close range, the emergence of the women's liberation movement, I had always harbored great dreams and aspirations for you.

But as I listened to Governor Sarah Palin address the nation the other night, I had to confess that — as your father — I have clearly failed. Honey, you will never be able to achieve the greatness of being nominated for vice president of the United States. Forget about it.

And for this sad reality, I accept all blame. 'Twas I who steered you wrong.

Here you are, almost 25, with what your mother and I believed was a solid education behind you, and yet you are nothing but a common community organizer. Yes, the labor union you work for represents nearly 2 million service workers — about three times the population of Alaska. But, alas, as Governor Palin pointed out, you have no real responsibilities. By helping janitors, security guards, nursing aides and orderlies gain a living wage, paid health care insurance and a retirement fund, you have only robbed them of the personal initiative to go out there and make something better of themselves. You have rendered them feebly dependent on Big Labor and tax-and-spend Big Government — and all in their own crass self-interest in survival.

I'm not sure when I helped nudge you on to such a mistaken road. Probably sometime while you were attending that government-run high school in which we enrolled you. You could have joined the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, as Ms. Palin did. Instead, I pushed you to become a columnist on the school paper. You could have spent your afternoons becoming the local barracuda on the courts. But, nope, your mom and I indulged your trivial passions for staging and directing the plays of Shakespeare. You could have competed to be Miss Woodland Hills or even Miss Congenial California, but — no — there were your mom and dad encouraging you to finish writing your first play. Sorry.

From there, the mistakes only multiplied. Instead of letting you wait until the responsible age of 44 before letting you secure a passport, we strained our family budget and squandered who knows how many thousands by putting you on countless Flights to Nowhere: New York, Washington, New Orleans, Rome, Paris, Amsterdam, Santiago, Mexico City. And to what end? So you could return home — as the huggable Mayor Giuliani so neatly put it — some sort of "cosmopolitan"? Exposure to so many foreign ideas (like the notion of spending an idle afternoon reading a book in a café instead of learning to field-dress a moose) only contaminated you, rendering you insensitive and contemptuous to the day-to-day needs of bowling league members in Michigan's Macomb County. Worse, you returned from those European jaunts a brainwashed follower of the elite, angry, left media. By the 12th grade, all the warning signs were there. I'd walk into your room at 1 in the morning and catch you with a flashlight under the covers, reading the book pages of The Atlantic. Why didn't I nip this all in the bud and buy you a well-oiled Remington 12-gauge so you could plink the coyotes south of Ventura Boulevard?

The real disaster came, of course, in college. Four straight years wasted at UCLA, when you could have been following the course of the governor, sampling five different schools in six years. You were reading Orwell. By then she was practicing doublespeak. You were studying public policy, by then she was figuring out how to win the 909 votes she needed to become mayor of Wasilla. You were inclined to donate $100 to the ACLU. She was way ahead of you, sweetie, as she calculated how to avoid the ACLU when she made her inquiries into pruning the local library of un-American and anti-Christian propaganda. She was on her way up and you, dear child, were dead-ended in the silly task of trying to organize seven hospitals back to back.

It's not healthy to dwell on so many regrets, I know. And as I said, this is mostly the fault of your parents. While you are the victim of these reckless choices, your mom and I, nevertheless, pay a heavy price. If we had only been sage enough to bar you from sex-ed class and contraceptives and instead had let you rely on abstinence and prayer, there was an even chance you could have been pregnant by age 17. You'd have a joyous 7-year-old child right now to help you get through your 10-hour workday. The father might have married you. And we'd have a lovely grandchild who a mere decade from now could produce us a great-grandchild and we would all still be young enough to go snowmobiling together — the next time it snows in Woodland Hills.

Ah, but better not to dwell on the negative. Make the best of the little we have given you, and grant us your understanding and forgiveness. And don't despair too much. Remember, when McCain-Palin come to power, real change is gonna come, and we'll all be better off.

Love, Dad

Posted by Nausicaa to jazzoLOG at 4:37 PM  

15 Sep 2008 @ 19:21 by Quinty @ : McCain
has been courting the moron vote for several weeks now. I think it really got under way when he put out that ad comparing Obama to Paris Hilton and Britaney (sp?) Spears.

Considering McCain's health issues he should have been more mindful of the country when choosing a running mate. The choice of Palin indicates recklessness, and a lack of concern for the nation's well being. And it also displays contempt for the intelligence of the voters..... We are all on edge (much to the right's delight) because this cynicism may work.

Will the Palin bubble remain inflated another two months?

Here's something a friend sent out quite recently.....

The nomination of Sarah Palin as VP makes this assessment below even more important, even if this is only a qualified medical opinion based on released records.l

Begin forwarded message:

An interesting letter, below.ï¿∏ Ethical question: How do we take into consideration someone's age and health?ï¿∏ The analogy with airline pilots is relevant, I think.

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

John McCain is a 72 year old man with recurrent melanoma,
hyperlipidemia, degenerative joint disease, and recurrent difficulty
with certain efforts at recall. These are the limited facts the
American people have had access to. Over 1000 pages of medical
records were shown to selected journalists for 3 hours with less than
48 hours of notice. The only medically trained journalist was Sanjey
Gupta, MD from CNN. This is the extent to which the American people
have been informed.

While I am certainly sensitive to the confidential nature of medical
records given the anxiety expressed by many of my patients regarding
the risk of lost coverage or lost jobs in this current health economic
climate, there are certain exceptions for disclosure regarding public
safety. As John McCain knows, a pilots records are comprehensively
available for review by a certifying agency (the FAA, I believe) to
insure the fitness of the pilot and the safety of passengers and the
public at-large. In the election of the President of the United
States of America, that certifying body is the American electorate.

A recurrence of metastatic malignant melanoma would essentially
destroy John McCain's capacity as the Chief Executive and the American
People have yet to receive a full accounting of the facts regarding
his actuarial risk. If he has had regional metastasis, his risk could
be 30% or greater for distant metastasis to the brain, bone, and
lung. As you all know, melanoma is one of the most insidious,
pernicious, and aggressive malignancies our patients must deal with
and that we attempt somewhat pathetically to control with interferon,
interleukins, and dismally active and terribly toxic chemotherapeutic
regimens. In addition, we lack the simple data to sensibly evaluate
his cardiovascular risk as we would any septuagenerian in our exam

John McCain should be held accountable by the american people and its
agents, the free press, to release without restriction the entirety of
his medical records. Any hesitation to do so would clearly imply that
there are significant medical concerns about his ability to fulfill
the duties of the President.


Michael D. Fratkin, MD
Internal Medicine
Hospice and Palliative Medicine
Eureka, California

Please distribute this letter widely.

16 Sep 2008 @ 10:18 by jazzolog : Direct From Anchorage
The much-anticipated (by me) 3-hour town meeting on the Ed Schultz show yesterday, rebroadcast from Alaska, didn't add much to what we already know about the Republican ticket. It certainly was interesting to hear a variety of personalities from up there though, providing confirmation the Paul Bunyan stereotype doesn't capture all Alaskans. Of greatest new concern, I believe, was information about Troopergate provided by either an attorney, staff person or legislator directly involved in the investigation. What he wanted us to know is that Troopergate was initiated by Republican representatives and had at least pledged cooperation from Governor Palin. However, he charges, since the McCain campaign entered the picture, all that has changed. Republican lawyers are taking the investigation out of legislative hands, which promised results toward the end of next month, and given it to some kind of employment commission up there which will not conclude its work until well after the election. The man said also the campaign is spinning the whole thing to make it look like a "Democrat witchhunt" after Palin. Apparently that Fox' characterization of it, while CNN is reporting Troopergate has become "tainted" and that's why Palin no long will cooperate. At any rate, it's unclear what "punishment" Palin would face if guilty of misuse of power.

The typical story of the development is here~~~

and John Nichols from The Nation wrote something up the other day~~~

I might mention, particularly for readers in the Athens area, the transmission of the Schultz program on 770 AM WAIS was positively ghastly here. I don't think I've ever heard 3 hours of airtime, even from smalltown radio, where the volume was turned up so loud that much of the broadcast was distorted beyond any possiblity of intelligibility. I don't know if they have a robot take over there in the afternoon or if the rebroadcast came in that way. I'm eager to learn.  

18 Sep 2008 @ 09:19 by jazzolog : Am I Registered To Vote?
To the Ohio Secretary of State:

I visited the Athens County Board of Elections yesterday. In my hand were postcards mailed recently by the Board to my wife and me. The cards are reminders about Election Day, polling location, and the photo ID requirement. The worker there seemed completely aware the cards were addressed incorrectly. She knew that mail showing both our residential address AND our post office box kicks out of the automatic sorters of the United States Postal Service. She also knew when that happens, postal workers regularly return the mail to sender rather than correct the address by hand to show only the post office box. In this particular case the post office person, perhaps knowing its importance, circled the PO box and sent it on to us.

The Board spokesperson explained that for some reason their printer had produced the notices that way. Since the Board had sent the work late to the printer, someone decided to mail them out anyway. She also was aware that if notices are returned by the Post Office to boards of election, voters can be taken off the registration rolls or their votes challenged at the polls. She said she "would hope" the Board will re-address correctly any returned cards and mail them out again. She declared she had no idea whether this situation for PO box holders prevails only in Athens County, or might be statewide...and beyond.

Richard Carlson
4744 Rhoric Road
Athens, OH 45701 (but don't try to send mail here)  

18 Sep 2008 @ 17:53 by Quinty @ : Ye gods.....
and then there's Florida, and Michigan, and Pennsylvania and......  

20 Sep 2008 @ 10:15 by jazzolog : More Voter Registration Problems
Still much work to do on this developing story. Replies have come in from around the country with similar stories. BradBlog also has picked it up and working on it. He's also got this Florida story that's making the rounds, and which showed up Thursday at jazzoLOG {link:}

Anonymous said...
Letters returned as undeliverable can be compiled into "challenge lists" of unverifiable addresses and can be used to challenge voters' eligibility during early voting or on Election Day. The vote suppression technique is known as "vote caging."

Steve Bousquet just reported that a new pitch for John McCain's presidential campaign aimed at older Democratic voters in Florida is causing complaints by Democrats and concern by elections officials.

The piece, paid for by the Republican National Committee and authorized by McCain, tells voters it is seeking to double-check their "unconfirmed" party affiliations while asking for money. A letter signed by McCain tells the Democrats: "We have you registered as a Republican."

"I was a little bit shocked and a little bit surprised," said recipient Bill Smith, 81, of Tampa, who calls himself a lifelong Democrat and has been registered at his current address since 2000. The retired plant engineer is one of about a dozen senior citizens that Democratic Party leaders identified as recipients, all of them longtime Democrats.

The RNC declined to discuss the mailer, which Democrats said has landed in five counties: Duval, Hillsborough, Collier, Miami-Dade and Escambia.

"This is simply a fundraising piece," said spokeswoman Amber Wilkerson, adding in an e-mail it was not "worth writing about."

Two top Florida elections officials, both Republicans, faulted the GOP mailing, calling it "confusing" and "unfortunate" because of a potential to undermine voter confidence by making them question the accuracy of their registrations.

"It is unfortunate, because it does put a lot of doubt in people's minds," said Secretary of State Kurt Browning, the state's top elections official.

After his office received dozens of calls, Duval County Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland issued a media alert that his office had nothing to do with it. "They were upset folks and they were very concerned," said Holland, a Republican. "They mainly said their party (listing) was different than it was."

Some Democrats suspect a motive beyond raising money. The first-class GOP mailing has a "Do not forward" instruction on the envelope, meaning they will be returned to the GOP if a recipient has had mail forwarded, perhaps to a summer address, or has moved.

Letters returned as undeliverable can be compiled into "challenge lists" of unverifiable addresses and can be used to challenge voters' eligibility during early voting or on Election Day. The vote suppression technique is known as "vote caging."

"That postcard is a little disconcerting," said letter-recipient Steve Hemping of Naples, chairman of the Collier County Democratic Party and a state party official. "You don't know if they're going to use it to challenge somebody's right to vote."

The letter asks recipients to note changes on an "RNC File Card" and return it to the party by Sept. 26. The card shows a nine-digit "voter ID" number, but the supervisor of elections in Jacksonville's Duval County said the numbers are wrong and do not match the state's voter database.

Hillsborough Democratic Party Chairman Michael Steinberg said it makes no sense for Republicans to question the party affiliations of Democratic voters. "I don't understand their logic," he said.

Allegations of Republican vote caging in predominantly black Jacksonville precincts in the 2004 presidential election surfaced last year in testimony before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.

Steve Bousquet can be reached at or (850) 224-7263.

jazzolog said...
Steve Bousquet is the St. Petersburg Times' Tallahassee bureau chief. He joined the Times in 2001 after 17 years at the Miami Herald, where he held a variety of positions including Tallahassee bureau chief, and he previously was a reporter at TV stations in Miami and Providence, R.I. He has a B.A. in journalism from the University of Rhode Island and M.A. in history from Florida State University.

He was a contributor to two editions of The Almanac of Florida Politics and to The Miami Herald Report: Democracy Held Hostage, an account of the 2000 presidential recount in Florida.

The story Anonymous was kind enough to post is showing up at many sites now fortunately, and can be sourced in its original form on Tuesday here~~~  

21 Sep 2008 @ 09:34 by jazzolog : Only One Reference To Moose-olini
You may be delighted McCain's VP pick isn't in the headlines much this morning---as she travels to an earth-shaking foreign policy meeting with Henry Kissinger. The big question: will he be able to control himself? But the one opinion column about her is a dandy! In a brilliant essay in this morning's Philadelphia Inquirer, an essay GoogleNews is featuring prominently, Mark Bowden goes after Palin's mocking of Obama about detainees~~~

"But it was in that much-heralded speech at the Republican convention that Palin tossed off a line I found more disturbing than anything unearthed about her since. It got a predictably enthusiastic response from the keyed-up partisan crowd.
'Al-Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America,' said Palin, and then, referring to Barack Obama, quipped: 'He's worried that someone won't read them their rights.'

"Quite apart from the cheap distortion of Obama's position, typical of most campaign rhetoric, this is a classic lynch-mob line. It is the taunt of the drunken lout in the cowboy movie who confronts a sheriff barring the prison door - He wants to give 'im a trial? It is the precise sentiment that Atticus Finch so memorably sets himself against in Harper Lee's masterpiece To Kill a Mockingbird, when he agrees to defend a supposedly indefensible black man charged with rape (falsely, as it turns out)."

Speaking of spreading democracy around the world, Harold Pinter's name is at the top of an open letter in yesterday's UK Guardian, about the latest US black ops in Central America~~~

"On September 10 President Evo Morales of Bolivia declared the US ambassador persona non grata. On September 11 (the 35th anniversary of the military overthrow of Salvador Allende in Chile) the president of Venezuela asked the US ambassador there to leave the country. President Hugo Chávez believed he was facing the possibility of an imminent coup d'etat in which he said the US administration were involved. President Morales believed that his government was facing serious destabilisation which was also being fomented by the US. A third country, Paraguay, announced 10 days previously that it had detected a conspiracy involving military officers and opposition politicians.

"Latin America now faces its most serious crisis since the reintroduction of democracy at the end of the 20th century. The plot against democracy in Venezuela centred on a conspiracy, revealed in telephone conversations between senior military officers broadcast on national television, to assassinate the democratically elected head of state. In Bolivia, the separatist prefects of the five eastern and southern departments have begun a campaign of violence and economic sabotage designed to destabilise the democratic regime.

"These events show unequivocally who defends democracy and who threatens it today. We are appalled by the failure of much of the international media to provide accurate and proportionate coverage of these events. All democrats throughout should rally to defend democracy in Latin America."
Harold Pinter, John Pilger, Tony Benn, Ken Loach, Jean Lambert MEP, Ian Gibson MP, Kelvin Hopkins MP, Billy Hayes, General secretary, CWU, Bill Greenshields, President, NUT, and 23 others

And don't miss Frank Rich this morning, if you'd care to glance over the most blistering attack on John McCain I've seen anywhere~~~  

21 Sep 2008 @ 09:42 by jazzolog : Rich

The New York Times
September 21, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist
Truthiness Stages a Comeback

Not until 2004 could the 9/11 commission at last reveal the title of the intelligence briefing President Bush ignored on Aug. 6, 2001, in Crawford: “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” No wonder John McCain called for a new “9/11 commission” to “get to the bottom” of 9/14, when the collapse of Lehman Brothers set off another kind of blood bath in Lower Manhattan. Put a slo-mo Beltway panel in charge, and Election Day will be ancient history before we get to the bottom of just how little he and the president did to defend America against a devastating new threat on their watch.

For better or worse, the candidacy of Barack Obama, a senator-come-lately, must be evaluated on his judgment, ideas and potential to lead. McCain, by contrast, has been chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, where he claims to have overseen “every part of our economy.” He didn’t, thank heavens, but he does have a long and relevant economic record that begins with the Keating Five scandal of 1989 and extends to this campaign, where his fiscal policies bear the fingerprints of Phil Gramm and Carly Fiorina. It’s not the résumé that a presidential candidate wants to advertise as America faces its worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. That’s why the main thrust of the McCain campaign has been to cover up his history of economic malpractice.

McCain has largely pulled it off so far, under the guidance of Steve Schmidt, a Karl Rove protégé. A Rovian political strategy by definition means all slime, all the time. But the more crucial Rove game plan is to envelop the entire presidential race in a thick fog of truthiness. All campaigns, Obama’s included, engage in false attacks. But McCain, Sarah Palin and their surrogates keep repeating the same lies over and over not just to smear their opponents and not just to mask their own record. Their larger aim is to construct a bogus alternative reality so relentless it can overwhelm any haphazard journalistic stabs at puncturing it.

When a McCain spokesman told Politico a week ago that “we’re not too concerned about what the media filter tries to say” about the campaign’s incessant fictions, he was channeling a famous Bush dictum of 2003: “Somehow you just got to go over the heads of the filter.” In Bush’s case, the lies lobbed over the heads of the press were to sell the war in Iraq. That propaganda blitz, devised by a secret White House Iraq Group that included Rove, was a triumph. In mere months, Americans came to believe that Saddam Hussein had aided the 9/11 attacks and even that Iraqis were among the hijackers. A largely cowed press failed to set the record straight.

Just as the Bushies once flogged uranium from Africa, so Palin ceaselessly repeats her discredited claim that she said “no thanks” to the Bridge to Nowhere. Nothing is too small or sacred for the McCain campaign to lie about. It was even caught (by The Christian Science Monitor) peddling an imaginary encounter between Cindy McCain and Mother Teresa when McCain was adopting her daughter in Bangladesh.

If you doubt that the big lies are sticking, look at the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll. Half of voters now believe in the daily McCain refrain that Obama will raise their taxes. In fact, Obama proposes raising taxes only on the 1.9 percent of households that make more than $250,000 a year and cutting them for nearly everyone else.

You know the press is impotent at unmasking this truthiness when the hardest-hitting interrogation McCain has yet faced on television came on “The View.” Barbara Walters and Joy Behar called him on several falsehoods, including his endlessly repeated fantasy that Palin opposed earmarks for Alaska. Behar used the word “lies” to his face. The McCains are so used to deference from “the filter” that Cindy McCain later complained that “The View” picked “our bones clean.” In our news culture, Behar, a stand-up comic by profession, looms as the new Edward R. Murrow.

Network news, with its dwindling handful of investigative reporters, has barely mentioned, let alone advanced, major new print revelations about Cindy McCain’s drug-addiction history (in The Washington Post) and the rampant cronyism and secrecy in Palin’s governance of Alaska (in last Sunday’s New York Times). At least the networks repeatedly fact-check the low-hanging fruit among the countless Palin lies, but John McCain’s past usually remains off limits.

That’s strange since the indisputable historical antecedent for our current crisis is the Lincoln Savings and Loan scandal of the go-go 1980s. When Charles Keating’s bank went belly up because of risky, unregulated investments, it wiped out its depositors’ savings and cost taxpayers more than $3 billion. More than 1,000 other S.&L. institutions capsized nationwide.

It was ugly for the McCains. He had received more than $100,000 in Keating campaign contributions, and both McCains had repeatedly hopped on Keating’s corporate jet. Cindy McCain and her beer-magnate father had invested nearly $360,000 in a Keating shopping center a year before her husband joined four senators in inappropriate meetings with regulators charged with S.&L. oversight.

After Congressional hearings, McCain was reprimanded for “poor judgment.” He had committed no crime and had not intervened to protect Keating from ruin. Yet he, like many deregulators in his party, was guilty of bankrupt policy-making before disaster struck. He was among the sponsors of a House resolution calling for the delay of regulations intended to deter risky investments just like those that brought down Lincoln and its ilk.

Ever since, McCain has publicly thrashed himself for his mistakes back then — and boasted of the lessons he learned. He embraced campaign finance reform to rebrand himself as a “maverick.” But whatever lessons he learned are now forgotten.

For all his fiery calls last week for a Wall Street crackdown, McCain opposed the very regulations that might have helped avert the current catastrophe. In 1999, he supported a law co-authored by Gramm (and ultimately signed by Bill Clinton) that revoked the New Deal reforms intended to prevent commercial banks, insurance companies and investment banks from mingling their businesses. Equally laughable is the McCain-Palin ticket’s born-again outrage over the greed of Wall Street C.E.O.’s. When McCain’s chief financial surrogate, Fiorina, was fired as Hewlett-Packard’s chief executive after a 50 percent drop in shareholders’ value and 20,000 pink slips, she took home a package worth $42 million.

The McCain campaign canceled Fiorina’s television appearances last week after she inadvertently admitted that Palin was unqualified to run a corporation. But that doesn’t mean Fiorina is gone. Gramm, too, was ostentatiously exiled after he blamed the economic meltdown on our “nation of whiners” and “mental recession,” but he remains in the McCain loop.

The corporate jets, lobbyists and sleazes that gravitated around McCain in the Keating era have also reappeared in new incarnations. The Nation’s Web site recently unearthed a photo of the resolutely anticelebrity McCain being greeted by the con man Raffaello Follieri and his then girlfriend, the Hollywood actress Anne Hathaway, as McCain celebrated his 70th birthday on Follieri’s rented yacht in Montenegro in August 2006. It’s the perfect bookend to the old pictures of McCain in a funny hat partying with Keating in the Bahamas.

Whatever blanks are yet to be filled in on Obama, we at least know his economic plans and the known quantities who are shaping them (Lawrence Summers, Robert Rubin, Paul Volcker). McCain has reversed himself on every single economic issue this year, often within a 24-hour period, whether he’s judging the strength of the economy’s fundamentals or the wisdom of the government bailout of A.I.G. He once promised that he’d run every decision past Alan Greenspan — and even have him write a new tax code — but Greenspan has jumped ship rather than support McCain’s biggest flip-flop, his expansion of the Bush tax cuts. McCain’s official chief economic adviser is now Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who last week declared that McCain had “helped create” the BlackBerry.

But Holtz-Eakin’s most telling statement was about McCain’s economic plans — namely, that the details are irrelevant. “I don’t think it’s imperative at this moment to write down what the plan should be,” he said. “The real issue here is a leadership issue.” This, too, is a Rove-Bush replay. We want a tough guy who will “fix” things with his own two hands — let’s take out the S.E.C. chairman! — instead of wimpy Frenchified Democrats who just “talk.” The fine print of policy is superfluous if there’s a quick-draw decider in the White House.

The twin-pronged strategy of truculence and propaganda that sold Bush and his war could yet work for McCain. Even now his campaign has kept the “filter” from learning the very basics about his fitness to serve as president — his finances and his health. The McCain multihousehold’s multimillion-dollar mother lode is buried in Cindy McCain’s still-unreleased complete tax returns. John McCain’s full medical records, our sole index to the odds of an imminent Palin presidency, also remain locked away. The McCain campaign instead invited 20 chosen reporters to speed-read through 1,173 pages of medical history for a mere three hours on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend. No photocopying was permitted.

This is the same tactic of selective document release that the Bush White House used to bamboozle Congress and the press about Saddam’s nonexistent W.M.D. As truthiness repeats itself, so may history, and not as farce.

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company
Hyperlinked references throughout the original.  

24 Sep 2008 @ 13:14 by jazzolog : Am I Registered Update
I was pleased to see the Athens Messenger story on page 3 Tuesday about the 33,000 notification cards sent out by the Athens County Board of Elections. Thanks to staff writer Danaline Bryant and Athens Elections Director Debbie Quivey for attempting to clarify and calm concerns. My problem reflected those of us with post office boxes, whose notices had our residential addresses printed on them too. Lots of us end up paying the Post Office a hundred bucks a year for a container rental because we've lost too many residential mailboxes to the pranks of drunken merrymakers. Therefore even the wisest mail carrier cannot get a mis-addressed card or letter to our house unless he slips it under the door.

Ms. Quivey states the post office told her that if, for some reason, she needs to put the house address on the card along with the PO box, she must do so in a particular order. A computer visit to the formidable United State Postal Service website reveals what that order is and the consequences for doing it wrong. I went to and, after quite a bit of clicking around, found a Frequently Asked Questions search about post office boxes. The regulation is stated there that the PO box must appear on the line above the city, and the street address has to show up either following it or on the line above.

BUT there also is the matter of the zip code, which contains 5 numerals, a hyphen, and then 4 more numerals. If the card is going to the post office and its zip code is different than where the house is, there's a problem. If the zip code is where the house is, the last 4 numerals locate the building. If the zip sends it to the post office, the last 4 reflect the PO box number. After the FAQ explains all that, the example shown seems to me to be addressed incorrectly. You wonder why postal workers sometimes go "postal!"

The Director blames the error we experienced on an "out-sourced" printing company, which she says also bulk-mailed them all. The company is not named, nor are we told whether other or all the Ohio boards of election used the same one. If so, obviously the confusion is compounded for our state. I'm also hearing from friends and colleagues, who still are able to maintain home mailboxes, that they've received 2, 3 and even 4 copies of these notification cards. Some of them, they say, have postage due on them.

On the same page of the Messenger is a report by David G. Savage about current election problems in Ohio, from the LA Times on Saturday. The Wall Street Journal's Amy Merrick updated the story somewhat on Monday. Brad Friedman posted a lengthy interview with Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner also on Monday at Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was perhaps most alarming of all in an interview he gave Monday at about various election scams that are going on. All of these reports make clear the necessity of being certain absolutely that you are registered correctly before you attempt to vote in this crucial presidential election.




28 Sep 2008 @ 11:26 by jazzolog : Ready For Her Closeup? Yes
but the vice presidency? to say nothing of the next thing, should McCain croak?
(For the Islam-challenged like me, "purdah" is the condition of female seclusion or concealment.)

Palin Is Ready? Please.
McCain says that he always puts country first. In this important case, that is simply not true.
Fareed Zakaria
From the magazine issue dated Oct 6, 2008

Will someone please put Sarah Palin out of her agony? Is it too much to ask that she come to realize that she wants, in that wonderful phrase in American politics, "to spend more time with her family"? Having stayed in purdah for weeks, she finally agreed to a third interview. CBS's Katie Couric questioned her in her trademark sympathetic style. It didn't help. When asked how living in the state closest to Russia gave her foreign-policy experience, Palin responded thus:

"It's very important when you consider even national-security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the airspace of the United States of America. Where—where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to—to our state."

There is, of course, the sheer absurdity of the premise. Two weeks ago I flew to Tokyo, crossing over the North Pole. Does that make me an expert on Santa Claus? (Thanks, Jon Stewart.) But even beyond that, read the rest of her response. "It is from Alaska that we send out those …" What does this mean? This is not an isolated example. Palin has been given a set of talking points by campaign advisers, simple ideological mantras that she repeats and repeats as long as she can. ("We mustn't blink.") But if forced off those rehearsed lines, what she has to say is often, quite frankly, gibberish.

Couric asked her a smart question about the proposed $700 billion bailout of the American financial sector. It was designed to see if Palin understood that the problem in this crisis is that credit and liquidity in the financial system has dried up, and that that's why, in the estimation of Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and Fed chairman Ben Bernanke, the government needs to step in to buy up Wall Street's most toxic liabilities. Here's the entire exchange:

COURIC: Why isn't it better, Governor Palin, to spend $700 billion helping middle-class families who are struggling with health care, housing, gas and groceries; allow them to spend more and put more money into the economy instead of helping these big financial institutions that played a role in creating this mess?

PALIN: That's why I say I, like every American I'm speaking with, were ill about this position that we have been put in where it is the taxpayers looking to bail out. But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health-care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy, helping the—it's got to be all about job creation, too, shoring up our economy and putting it back on the right track. So health-care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions and tax relief for Americans. And trade, we've got to see trade as opportunity, not as a competitive, scary thing. But one in five jobs being created in the trade sector today, we've got to look at that as more opportunity. All those things under the umbrella of job creation. This bailout is a part of that.

This is nonsense—a vapid emptying out of every catchphrase about economics that came into her head. Some commentators, like CNN's Campbell Brown, have argued that it's sexist to keep Sarah Palin under wraps, as if she were a delicate flower who might wilt under the bright lights of the modern media. But the more Palin talks, the more we see that it may not be sexism but common sense that's causing the McCain campaign to treat her like a time bomb.

Can we now admit the obvious? Sarah Palin is utterly unqualified to be vice president. She is a feisty, charismatic politician who has done some good things in Alaska. But she has never spent a day thinking about any important national or international issue, and this is a hell of a time to start. The next administration is going to face a set of challenges unlike any in recent memory. There is an ongoing military operation in Iraq that still costs $10 billion a month, a war against the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan that is not going well and is not easily fixed. Iran, Russia and Venezuela present tough strategic challenges.

Domestically, the bailout and reform of the financial industry will take years and hundreds of billions of dollars. Health-care costs, unless curtailed, will bankrupt the federal government. Social Security, immigration, collapsing infrastructure and education are all going to get much worse if they are not handled soon.

And the American government is stretched to the limit. Between the Bush tax cuts, homeland-security needs, Iraq, Afghanistan and the bailout, the budget is looking bleak. Plus, within a few years, the retirement of the baby boomers begins with its massive and rising costs (in the trillions).

Obviously these are very serious challenges and constraints. In these times, for John McCain to have chosen this person to be his running mate is fundamentally irresponsible. McCain says that he always puts country first. In this important case, it is simply not true.

© 2008  

28 Sep 2008 @ 18:35 by Quinty @ : SNL on Palin
if you missed it....  

2 Oct 2008 @ 09:59 by jazzolog : Gidget Addressing The Reichstag
Illustration by Victor Juhasz

Matt Taibbi is a rare leftie writer in that he's every bit a match for any right wing attack dog---and that includes the candidate the nation will goggle tonight. This slashing profile of Palin was just posted at the Rolling Stone site, and hopefully will show up in the next issue. I'm trying to find an excerpt not too profane to share here~~~

"Right-wingers of the Bush-Rove ilk have had a tough time finding a human face to put on their failed, inhuman, mean-as-hell policies. But it was hard not to recognize the genius of wedding that faltering brand of institutionalized greed to the image of the suburban-American supermom. It's the perfect cover, for there is almost nothing in the world meaner than this species of provincial tyrant.

"Palin herself burned this political symbiosis into the pages of history with her seminal crack about the 'difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull: lipstick,' blurring once and for all the lines between meanness on the grand political scale as understood by the Roves and Bushes of the world, and meanness of the small-town variety as understood by pretty much anyone who has ever sat around in his ranch-house den dreaming of a fourth plasma-screen TV or an extra set of KC HiLites for his truck, while some ghetto family a few miles away shares a husk of government cheese.

"In her speech, Palin presented herself as a raging baby-making furnace of middle-class ambition next to whom the yuppies of the Obama set — who never want anything all that badly except maybe a few afternoons with someone else's wife, or a few kind words in The New York Times Book Review — seem like weak, self-doubting celibates, the kind of people who certainly cannot be trusted to believe in the right God or to defend a nation. We're used to seeing such blatant cultural caricaturing in our politicians. But Sarah Palin is something new. She's all caricature. As the candidate of a party whose positions on individual issues are poll losers almost across the board, her shtick is not even designed to sell a line of policies. It's just designed to sell her. The thing was as much as admitted in the on-air gaffe by former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan, who was inadvertently caught saying on MSNBC that Palin wasn't the most qualified candidate, that the party 'went for this, excuse me, political bullshit about narratives.'

"The great insight of the Palin VP choice is that huge chunks of American voters no longer even demand that their candidates actually have policy positions; they simply consume them as media entertainment, rooting for or against them according to the reflexive prejudices of their demographic, as they would for reality-show contestants or sitcom characters. Hicks root for hicks, moms for moms, born-agains for born-agains. Sure, there was politics in the Palin speech, but it was all either silly lies or merely incidental fluffery buttressing the theatrical performance. A classic example of what was at work here came when Palin proudly introduced her Down-syndrome baby, Trig, then stared into the camera and somberly promised parents of special-needs kids that they would 'have a friend and advocate in the White House.' This was about a half-hour before she raised her hands in triumph with McCain, a man who voted against increasing funding for special-needs education."  

2 Oct 2008 @ 13:44 by quinty : "Upscale white trash?"
as someone close to me put it.

These people are so intellectually dishonest that now the questions Palin couldn't answer have become "Gotcha'" questions.

But all nature's creatures must learn how to defend themselves. And Palin has a great deal of cunning. She may be cute and adorable tonight and find a simple minded "gotcha'' of her own which will impress the simple minded in the audience. Personally, I hope she flames out.

Nothing personal, mind you. It's just that the nation is more important than this woman's personal ambitionsl  

2 Oct 2008 @ 16:10 by jazzolog : Oh Oh
We may have to take Quinty downtown for further questioning.

Best not to make Mother Nature's ambitions angry. What I like about Taibbi's profile is the seriousness he sees in all this. Liberals mock her because she doesn't read newspapers and journals. Apparently they intimate she doesn't read, perhaps can't read. But she does read. She reads the only Text she needs. All the info any president or vice president needs is in God's Holy Word, doncha know? And therein is the fatal danger.  

2 Oct 2008 @ 19:21 by Quinty @ : That was the
strangest answer....

"Oh, I just read them all...."

What? Le Monde? La Prensa? Der Berliner Deutsche Zeitgung?  

3 Oct 2008 @ 09:52 by jazzolog : Doggone It, A Heck Of A Time, You Betcha
She proved she reads another vital text: the talking points with which she was grilled for 2 weeks. Question she can't answer in detail...or at all? Look down and grab a talking point. And they let Sarah be Sarah...with the moms and dads at the soccer game.

Biden got tougher finally in the last half hour, dispensing with that stupid grin everytime she went on the attack. He clearly had underestimated her. He got softer too, recalling his own emotional challenges at home.  

3 Oct 2008 @ 16:07 by quinty : I had hoped
for that "deer in the headlights eyes" moment when she would fully reveal her ignorance.

Unfortunately, that didn't happen. She just reached into her arsenal of talking points and "flung one," as she might say. And kept her rather hard mouth - which tells us volumes about her - flapping. Putting lipstick on truth, so to speak.

I suppose now she will be sheltered from any and all reporters who might ask an intelligent question and demand an answer from her up to the elections, having had her ordeal by fire. We'll see.

The circus has merely moved its tent.  

3 Oct 2008 @ 16:14 by quinty : Another thing
I thought Ifle was awful. Whenever the two candidates wanted to actually debate she would cut in with "a new question." Most of which were inane.

She simply wouldn't let either candidate follow up on the other, until Biden finally took over toward the end and insisted on responding. And her questions couldn't have been more banal. Was she responding to the "favoritism" criticism and therefor toning it down? Had the right attempted to disarm her by alleging bias? Palin herself briefly alleged it during the debate. Overall, I thought, it was a shoddy affair.  

15 Oct 2008 @ 10:10 by jazzolog : Rosanne Cash For Vice President!
Why I'd Be a Better VP than Sarah Palin
(Or, The Bridge to New Zealand)
By Rosanne Cash
October 10, 2008

AP Images

I'd like to formally submit myself to replace Sarah Palin on the GOP ticket. I feel confident that John McCain will see that the very attributes he desired in his VP choice can be met, and even exceeded in some areas, by me. For your consideration, my big, fat résumé:

1. Focus on the Family

I am the mother of five children, just like Governor Palin. I have known the demands of managing a full-time career and motherhood at the same time. I have juggled a breast pump and a BlackBerry, and I know when to put the BlackBerry down. (To be perfectly honest, I did once send a text to the baby and tried to nurse my bass player. You learn from your mistakes.)

2. Reproductive Issues

I also believe that a teenager's pregnancy is a "private family matter." In fact, I believe that every woman's pregnancy is a "private, family matter." (I bet the GOP never thought of making that leap!)

3. Church and State

Like the Governor, I now also believe that my will is perfectly aligned with God's will. When Governor Palin said that it was God's will for the Alaska pipeline to be built and asked for people to pray for that to happen, I was really inspired by her confidence in the absolute, seamless integration of her will and God's will. I have begun practicing this kind of supreme confidence on a smaller scale, but I am sure that I can quickly move to national issues. Starting with the sartorial, I know that it is God's will that I have the entire Chanel collection for the fall season, including those adorable high-heeled booties that were all over the runway shows.

(A couple things I'm still having trouble with regarding the will of God: I knew it was God's will that I win the Grammy in 2007 for my last record, but Bob Dylan won. This is clearly the work of Satan, but shouldn't my will/God's will have been strong enough to override that? And this Alaska pipeline--if it is God's will to have the pipeline built, then why isn't it built already? On a related topic, I don't own a single piece of Chanel.)

4. Environment

Along with Governor Palin, I don't believe that humans cause climate change.

(Okay, that is a bold-faced lie, but I've been paying really close attention to the campaign stump speeches, and I feel certain I am allowed a generous allotment of bold-faced lies.)

5. Foreign policy

Here's where I really shine. Governor Palin got her first passport in 2007. I got my first passport in 1970, when the Governor was only 6 years old! Not only do I have a passport, I have actually been outside of the United States, dozens of times. I have had relationships and conversations with real foreigners, in their own countries, in restaurants, shops, flea markets, museums, nightclubs, spas, hotels, all modes of public transportation, and even in their own homes. My foreign policies are fair, inclusive and sensitive to cultural differences. I don't ask for English Breakfast tea when I'm in France. I never call foreign currency "funny money" (even though it does look funny.) I don't shout at people to help them better understand English and, finally, I act on God's will when in Paris by going to Chanel, and to all the great boutiques, which is just an extension of God's will, as you can surely extrapolate by the above explanation of my will/God's will.

I know Governor Palin has one distinct advantage in living so close to Russia, in that she can keep a close eye on nefarious activity across the Bering Strait, but I, too, live very close to a foreign country. Canada is less than 400 miles from my home in New York City, and you never know when it might become necessary to invade a sovereign nation that has not attacked us, as we learned the hard way. Not only that, I have a girlfriend in Austin, Texas, whom I'm going to ask to keep an eye on Mexico.

6. Legal Experience

My understanding of the law is extensive, but here are a couple of cogent points: a photographer who thought I had used his photograph of me without his permission sued me. (I absolutely didn't use the photo without permission. When McCain does his meticulous vetting and background checks on me, I will explain the whole story. It was all a big misunderstanding.)

More importantly, I renegotiated my contract with the Sony Corporation in 1987. That was huge. You should have seen my legal bills. I negotiated an all-new contract with Capitol Records in 1995 and that, too, was an exhausting, contentious, but ultimately lucrative enterprise. Entertainment law is a blood sport, people. (Speaking of blood sports, I have to give it up to the Governor on the hunting issue. I have never shot a wolf from a helicopter, but I have thrown my cat off the bed. Hundreds of times.)

7. Higher Education

Governor Palin went to five different colleges to get her BS in journalism, but none of the colleges had entry requirements, whereas I went to a university that required a trigonometry credit before they would admit me. I had to take it the summer before school started. I don't remember a frigging thing, but I got a B. The other disparities in education are too numerous to mention, but suffice to say that I bet she never met Lee Strasberg.

It is true that I have no background in constitutional law, but I have read the Constitution, except for the amendments that don't have anything to do with me, and I watched the entire John Adams mini-series on HBO. Twice.

8. Ethics

I really think this whole investigation into the firing of the top state law enforcement official in Alaska, who wouldn't fire the state trooper who was mean to the Governor's sister, is just overblown. I once fired my assistant for making a pass at my husband, so I can totally understand this! And I would have fired an assistant who made a pass at my sister's husband, too. I love my sisters. Governor Palin loves her sister. People need to get over it.

But speaking of family, I've also had my fill of no-good boyfriends to my daughters, and boy, do I sympathize with the Governor over this Levi fellow and his MySpace page, with the guns and the cursing. My husband once took a broken chair out into the street to chase away a no-good boyfriend of my oldest daughter, and we didn't see the likes of him anymore. I have a zero-tolerance policy for miscreant youth, and I know I could help the Governor sort out her obviously conflicted feelings about setting limits for teenagers, just for her own peace of mind.

9. Iraq

The Governor says she hasn't "focused" on the war in Iraq, but I think she's just joshing us. No person in an executive position in the government of the United States could be so lazy that they would not familiarize themselves with every angle of what is potentially the greatest American debacle since the nation was founded, including all the terminology, like "Bush Doctrine."

If she's not kidding, then I respectfully submit the hate mail I received in 2003, at the beginning of the war, which came after my press conference with Musicians United To Win Without War, as proof of my "focus."

10. Executive Ability

Governor Palin was the mayor of a real town of 5,000 people. I have never been mayor of anything, but I have performed for crowds bigger than the population of Wasilla, Alaska, and I can tell you it's no picnic getting the monitors just right, working with cranky and egotistical musicians, changing clothes in dirty dressing rooms and eating bad backstage food, handling the hecklers and technical problems during a show, and then getting on the bus to go somewhere else and do it all over again the next night. Also, my last record sold about the population of Wasilla times forty, and they all seemed to like it. But dealing with the public is really difficult and they all have opinions about you, which are usually all wrong, so I've developed a thick skin, another requirement for life as the VP. Lastly, and the importance of this cannot be over-emphasized, the guy's head on the tail of the Alaska Airlines planes looks like my dad.

11. Maverick personality

Finally, there is one subject in which I find I am even more conservative than the Governor, and that is in the area of neo-natal responsibility. The Governor was eight months pregnant and in Texas to give a speech, when her water broke. She reportedly made her speech and then traveled eleven hours, dripping amniotic fluid, bypassing Seattle and Anchorage (major cities with world-class hospitals) to travel to a small hospital in Wasilla that had no neo-natal intensive care unit, and gave birth there. Call me a wimp, call me insecure, but you had better also call me a maverick, because I would have said "Damn the schedule! Damn the speech and the airline ticket!" If this had been me, as soon as my water broke, I'd be at the closest hospital and that baby would have been born in Texas! Just like my mom!

In summation, I present myself to the GOP as a woman, and I repeat, woman, who has held a passport for thirty-eight years, a lip gloss-wearing soccer-volleyball-softball-gymnastics mom of five, who can carry a six-pack home to her husband like nobody's business, whose will is firmly aligned with God's will, a neo-natal conservative and legally savvy public figure, a border-watching, trigonometry-credited, breastfeeding, BlackBerry-tapping, cat-throwing maverick whose daughters are out of their teens, therefore immune to teenage pregnancy (although this is a private, family matter), and whose dad's head (or an eerie facsimile) adorns a state airline.
I could offer more to recommend me to the job of vice president, but one last special quality that I share with Governor Palin is the fact that I also have a husband who wants his state to secede from the Union. Ever since the 2000 election, my husband has been all for the secession of not only New York, but the island of Manhattan! And I have to tell you, if Sarah Palin becomes vice president of the United States, he says we have to personally secede from the whole country. So please, people, write me in on the ballot in November, or write me in New Zealand, where I'll be making my new home.


Rosanne Cash is a singer-songwriter, and even though she has met Presidents Bush and Clinton (who appeared to note her décolletage with great appreciation), the ambassador to the Czech Republic and George Stevens, who produces the Kennedy Center Honors awards show, she does not think her knowledge of world leaders should be held against her, because her experience in Washington is limited to three days during the Million Mom March.  

27 Oct 2008 @ 15:17 by jazzolog : An Immodest Proposal: Strickland vs.Bush
White House Asks for Scrutiny
Saturday 25 October 2008
by: Mary Pat Flaherty, The Washington Post
House Minority leader John Boehner (R-OH) looks on as George W. Bush addresses the White House press corps. At Boehner's request, Bush has directed the Department of Justice to look into whether 200,000 new Ohio voters must reconfirm their registration information before election day. (Photo: Reuters)

200,000 voter registrations in Ohio conflict with other records.

The White House has asked the Department of Justice to look into whether 200,000 new Ohio voters must reconfirm their registration information before Nov. 4, taking up an issue that Republicans and Democrats in the battleground state have been fighting over in court for weeks.

The voter names are in dispute because their registration information conflicts with other official data.

The action comes a week after the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed a case brought by the Ohio Republican Party over the same issue. Republicans have argued that the mismatched information could signal fraudulent registrations, but Democrats have countered that eligible voters could be knocked off the rolls over discrepancies as minor as a transposed number in an address or birth date.

President Bush yesterday asked Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey to review concerns over the voters raised by House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio).

Boehner wrote to Bush yesterday, saying, "I strongly urge you to direct Attorney General Mukasey and the Department of Justice to act." Boehner said in his letter that if the voters remain on the rolls without added checks, "there is a significant risk if not a certainty, that unlawful votes will be cast and counted."

In a news release, Boehner said that a letter he had sent Monday to Mukasey on the matter did not receive a reply. Boehner has asked Mukasey to order Ohio's Democratic Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner to make it easier for county elections officials to access the state list of mismatched voters. Brunner has argued that would require reprogramming election computers and would create chaos in the days before the election.

White House press secretary Dana Perino characterized Bush's referral of the matter to Justice as a routine step that would be taken for any such request from a congressional leader.


Governor Ted Strickland should reply strongly by asserting his total confidence in our Secretary of State, Jennifer Brunner.

He should cite global emergency and national security as his reasons for using Executive Privilege to refuse US Department of Justice access to Ohio's state computers.

Will the White House fratboy jokers use the public or private armies to nationalize Ohio's State Capitol?  

6 Nov 2008 @ 17:11 by jazzolog : Oh Oh, Gov. Sarah: Ms. Scapegoat
Strains Between McCain and Palin Aides Go Public
Report: Palin's Wardrobe Is to Be Audited by GOP
Nov. 6, 2008 —

Now that the defeated team of Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin have gone their separate ways, the knives are out and Palin is the one who is getting filleted.

Revelations from anonymous critics from within the McCain-Palin campaign suggest a number of complaints about the Alaskan governor:

Fox News reports that Palin didn't know Africa was a continent and did not know the member nations of the North American Free Trade Agreement -- the United States, Mexico and Canada -- when she was picked for vice president.

The New York Times reports that McCain aides were outraged when Palin staffers scheduled her to speak with French President Nicholas Sarkozy, a conversation that turned out to be a radio station prank.

Newsweek reports that Palin spent far more than the previously reported $150,000 on clothes for herself and her family.

Several publications say she irked the McCain campaign by asking to make her own concession speech on election night.

The tension is likely to continue or get worse. Lawyers for the Republican National Committee are heading to Alaska to try to account for all the money that was spent on clothing, jewelry and luggage, according to The New York Times.

Reports of agitation between the two camps bubbled up in the final weeks of the campaign as Barack Obama began pulling away and the GOP duo was unable to regain the momentum.

But those reports are no longer in the rumor stage as McCain loyalists are now blasting away at the Alaska governor, who was a favorite of the Republican right during the campaign, but was cited in numerous polls as a reason why many Americans wouldn't vote for the Arizona Republican.

Perhaps the most dangerous allegation for Palin are reports in The New York Times and Newsweek that when she was urged by McCain adviser Nicole Wallace to buy three suits for the Republican convention and three suits for the campaign trail, she went on the now-infamous shopping spree at swank stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus.

A Republican donor who agreed to foot a majority of the expenses was stunned when he received the bill, Newsweek reported. Both the Times and Newsweek report that the budget for the clothing was expected to be between $20,000 and $25,000. Instead, the amount reported by the Republican National Committee was $150,000.

That wasn't the whole tab, however, according to Newsweek. The magazine claims that Palin leaned on some low-level staffers to put thousands of dollars of additional purchases on their credit cards. The national committee and McCain became aware of the extra expenditures, including clothes for husband Todd Palin, when the staffers sought reimbursement, Newsweek reported.

McCain Aide Calls Palin Family 'Wasilla Hillbillies'

There is one comment in particular from a McCain aide that guaranteed to heighten friction between the two camps. The angry aide described the Palin family shopping spree to Newsweek as "Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast."

It's unclear how much McCain knew about the clothing debacle. Reports suggest that he was kept out of the loop for fear that he would not approve.

Both Newsweek and The New York Times say McCain and Palin had little contact with each other.

"I think it was a difficult relationship," one top McCain official confided to The New York Times. But a high level McCain adviser told ABC News that the two had a good working relationship.

"He likes her," this senior McCain adviser said last week. "He's had no problem with her. He's very appreciative of what she's done."

The adviser said McCain and Palin talked at least once a day. He also said McCain frequently joked about how large Palin's crowds were compared to his.

However, press accounts today suggest that Palin rubbed many of the McCain aides the wrong way. On election night when it was clear that McCain would be giving a concession speech instead of an acceptance speech, Palin approached McCain with a speech in hand hoping to make her own concession speech, according to published reports.

Vice presidential candidates traditionally leave the spotlight to the top of the ticket on election night and McCain aides made it clear to Palin that she would be a spectator that night, not a speaker, The New York Times reported.

And when McCain and Palin split up in Arizona Wednesday, the personal differences were stark.

McCain drove himself home in a Toyota sport utility vehicle. Palin's departure was a grander event. She left with an entourage of 18 family members and friends and a Secret Service detail, heading to the airport in a motorcade stretching more than a dozen vehicles, flanked by a dozen more cops on motorcycles.

Interview Prep Lacking, McCain Staffers Say

McCain aides had numerous complaints about Palin. She was unwilling or unable to find the time and energy to prep for her disastrous interview with Couric. And when she did study, she astonished her handlers by her unsophisticated views.

She didn't know Africa was a continent, according to Newsweek. Fox News revealed that during her cramming, she couldn't name the three countries that belong to the North American Free Trade Agreement: the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Questions followed Palin home to Alaska. She was asked about some of the accusations from anonymous sources when she landed there late Wednesday.

Asked about the Fox report that she did not know the NAFTA members or that Africa was a continent, Palin said, "If they're an unnamed source, that says it all. I won't comment on anyone's gossip based on anonymous sources. That's kind of a small of a bitter type of person who anonymously would charge that I didn't know an answer to a question. So until I know who's talking about it, I won't have a comment on a false allegation."

Palin Insists She's No Diva

When pressed on what went wrong with the campaign, she said, "I certainly am not one to ever waste time looking backwards."

She defended herself against the notion that she is to blame for the failure of the McCain-Palin ticket.

"I don't think anybody should give Sarah Palin that much credit, that I would trump an economic, woeful time in this nation that occurred about two months ago, that my presence on the ticket would trump the economic crisis that America found itself in a couple of months ago and attribute John McCain's loss to me," Palin told reporters in Arizona Wednesday.

"Now, having said that, if I cost John McCain even one vote, I'm sorry about that because John McCain I believe is the American hero. I had believed that it was his time. & He being so full of courage and wisdom and experience, that valor he just embodies, I believe he would've been the best pick, but that is not the Americans' choice at this time."

She also rejected the characterization that she was a "diva" on the campaign trail, as one anonymous McCain adviser told CNN.

"If only people, y'know, come on up and travel with us to Alaska and see this 'diva' lifestyle that I supposedly live or would demand, because it's just false," she said.

Asked about her national political ambitions, she said, "I have not given it any thought in the context of making any kind of decisions at all, so no, just happy to be back here."

In one of her favorite coffee shops in Wasilla Tuesday morning, Palin summed it up this way: "Forever, I'm going to be Sarah from Alaska."

Copyright © 2008 ABC News Internet Ventures  

10 Nov 2008 @ 18:56 by jazzolog : Racist Verbal Abuse Creates Jobs
even if only for the Secret Service~~~

UK Telegraph
Sarah Palin blamed by the US Secret Service over death threats against Barack Obama
By Tim Shipman in Washington
Last Updated: 8:38AM GMT 10 Nov 2008

Sarah Palin's attacks on Barack Obama's patriotism provoked a spike in death threats against the future president, Secret Service agents revealed during the final weeks of the campaign.

The Republican vice presidential candidate attracted criticism for accusing Mr Obama of "palling around with terrorists", citing his association with the sixties radical William Ayers.

The attacks provoked a near lynch mob atmosphere at her rallies, with supporters yelling "terrorist" and "kill him" until the McCain campaign ordered her to tone down the rhetoric.

But it has now emerged that her demagogic tone may have unintentionally encouraged white supremacists to go even further.

The Secret Service warned the Obama family in mid October that they had seen a dramatic increase in the number of threats against the Democratic candidate, coinciding with Mrs Palin's attacks.

Michelle Obama, the future First Lady, was so upset that she turned to her friend and campaign adviser Valerie Jarrett and said: "Why would they try to make people hate us?"

The revelations, contained in a Newsweek history of the campaign, are likely to further damage Mrs Palin's credentials as a future presidential candidate. She is already a frontrunner, with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, to take on Mr Obama in four years time.

Details of the spike in threats to Mr Obama come as a report last week by security and intelligence analysts Stratfor, warned that he is a high risk target for racist gunmen. It concluded: "Two plots to assassinate Obama were broken up during the campaign season, and several more remain under investigation. We would expect federal authorities to uncover many more plots to attack the president that have been hatched by white supremacist ideologues."

Irate John McCain aides, who blame Mrs Palin for losing the election, claim Mrs Palin took it upon herself to question Mr Obama's patriotism, before the line of attack had been cleared by Mr McCain.

That claim is part of a campaign of targeted leaks designed to torpedo her ambitions, with claims that she did not know that Africawas a continent rather than a country.

The advisers have branded her a "diva" and a "whack job" and claimed that she did not know which other countries are in the North American Free Trade Area, (Canada and Mexico). They say she spent more than $150,000 on designer clothes, including $40,000 on her husband Todd and that she refused to prepare for the disastrous series of interviews with CBS's Katie Couric.

In a bid to salvage her reputation Mrs Palin came out firing in an interview with CNN, dismissing the anonymous leakers in unpresidential language as "jerks" who had taken "questions or comments I made in debate prep out of context."  

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