Thursday, September 04, 2008

Keep Honking -- We're Reloading

Here comes the money. I mentioned this below in an updated and properly sourced post, but Palin's attack speech has precipitated a wave of fund-raising. For Obama. $8 Mill since last night.

Maybe a little red meat is good for you after all.

Where Is Hillary?

From what I can tell, AWOL on Obama and the Democratic Party. In other words, more or less where she's been for the past eight years while the Republicans have been wrecking the country.

Oh Well

The Dow records a 300-point loss after a jump in unemployment, The Associated Press reports.

I'm sure this is good news for John McCain.


The number of African-American delegates to the GOP national conventions in 2004 and 2008 respectively.

Almost to zero. But not there yet.

The GOP is already well known for its viciousness and nastiness. Want to imagine what their conventions will be like when non-whites are a majority of the population?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Sarah Palin -- Book Burner

I'd be remiss not to mention, among Commander Super General Palin's other fine accomplishments and endeavors, the Wusilli Mayor's shot at getting certain unspecified books burned, er, banned, from her high-school sized town's library while heartlessly canning the librarian (a non-partisan position if there ever was one, yes?) along the way. And have you ever noticed that seemingly every election year Republicans spread some rumor or another about how the Democrat wants to confiscate your Bible, but the only people ever on record as ever having tried or succeeded in confiscating or banning books are conservative, Christianist Republicans, like Palin?

Each day, each moment that goes by, makes me more offended and outraged at McCain's VP selection. It's hard to believe his contempt for America is as deep as this. And I haven't even said anything about Palin and how she hopes all the Polar Bears starve, drown and die. Really. Palin is a flat-out despicable human being.

And yes, I just coughed up my first $1,000 for the Obama/Biden campaign. Congrats, John McCain and Sarah Palin. Mission Accomplished.

Update: Ezra Klein laments:

I may be a political reporter, but I'm only human. It is simply not possible to keep up with quantity of scandals spilling out of Sarah Palin's extremely short political career.

What Will McCain Say Tomorrow Night?

Tonight is obviously Cult-Worship night at the GOP convention when the party's beleagured VP choice, whom most of the delegates, let alone most Republicans across America, had never heard of one week ago, comes out to rapturous applause from the party faithful and Christian Dominionists. I wonder if Palin will, like the Pentecostal "Name it, Claim it", prosperity gospel cajoling scam artist preachers Palin appears to know so well, will descend into the mosh pit of Phyllis Shaflies and practice a little laying on of hands to dispel whatever evil spirits might have invaded the souls of the faithful after the Democrats conventioned in Denver.

Anyway, after all of this, what will McCain say tomorrow night? What can he possibly say? Revert to form and trumpet the wide array of threats facing America from the Islamicistics facisictss muslmisiticsts, asserting that he, of POW and twenty five plus years of national government service alone possesses the attributes to confront them, hoping any thoughts of the youngster he picked for the ticket and who spoke the night before is conveniently forgotten? Does he go on a Cultural War rampage, which has never been his strong suit? Does he wax poetic about earmarks, many of which were favored by Palin before she became The One? Does he promise to unleash the fires of hell against Iran, Syria, and Venezuela? Will anyone left breathless from tonight's speech by The One bother staying around to hear from that old wrinkly dude guy?

Inspiring the Base--The Democratic Base (Updated Below)

There's been a lot of talk since the Palin pick was announced of how this has rapidly animated the Republican Christianist base.

But if my own response is anything like those of others who gave to Obama during the primary season--but have held off donating since--then maybe the Republican base isn't the only one getting motivated.

McCain could have gone any number of directions with his campaign and his VP selection, but that he's chosen the path he has, has made the prospect of his and his party's continuing in the executive branch of government catastrophic.

Sure, maybe that would have happened anyway, that no matter how "centrist" McCain's public persona, his actual record is anything but, and activist Democrats would have gone all out for Obama eventually. But McCain's choices, both in campaign style and in executive decision-making, are reinforcing the travesties of government mangling and abuse of power during the past eight years. At least in its original roll-out period, George W's promise of a "compassionate conservatism", combined with the experience of Dick Cheney, suggested something resembling competency and deliberateness about the 2000 ticket (even if it didn't turn out that way). The 2008 team, however, is arguably on its face, the most ideological and reckless pairing since at least 1968. And where past candidates, like to a certain extent Obama, have campaigned to their party's base in the primaries and returned to the center during the general, McCain appears to be doing the opposite.

I suspect many of us who have been nearly lulled to sleep by Obama's turn to the center, have been sufficiently stirred up now.

Update: Here's some empirical evidence in support of the speculation. Maybe there's something to be said for having your opponent go last in the convention cycle. (h/t Andrew Sullivan).

Angry Candidates, Angry Parties

Although the video-conferenced-in Republican president complained last night to GOP delegates that its opponents amount to an "angry left", look at who's getting angry today:

McCain campaign angrily defends Sarah Palin

Note also that this AP piece is by the infamous Ron Fournier. About him you can read here.

GOP to America: Just Bend Over and Take It

McCain Team's explanation for "punishing" CNN by canceling it's interview with Larry King:

“As a presidential campaign, we reserve the right to adjust Senator McCain’s media schedule in order to ensure the most effective use of his time,” said Maria Comella, a spokeswoman. “After a relentless refusal by certain on-air reporters to come to terms with John McCain’s selection of Alaska’s sitting governor as our party’s nominee for vice president, we decided John McCain’s time would be better served elsewhere.”

Get it? The media's role, the American public's role, is to "come to terms" with McCain's VP picks, not ask questions. You know, just like the Iraq war, the NSA surveillance, the torturing and indefinite detaining and isolation of prisoners, etc. Whatever the Republican Party does, whoever it nominates for anything, is outside the bounds of inquiry. Even though the GOP trumpets its alleged dedication to "family values", what it really means is that its own families are not up for discussion, only yours and ours are.

Just as the media is finally, finally, starting to take the McCain camp and the Republicans to task for their reckless decision-making and incompetence, it would be a shame were it to suddenly cave to Republican pressure to go soft on its nominees and policies. If it does, the Democratic Party and its nominees should not.

"We have to start speaking English again."

Andrew Sullivan on the GOP's Orwellian, Know-Nothing-ism about McCain and torture:

I've noted the bizarre locution Bush used last night to describe the torture endured by John McCain. I hope the press corps will follow up. But one piece of evidence that the omission of the t-word by Bush was deliberate comes in Fred Thompson's speech as well. He went on at length about the hideous treatment handed down to John McCain in Vietnam. It was the longest section of the speech. Wanna guess if the word "torture" came up at all?


What was done to John McCain was a war crime. His enduring of it, and his refusal to be released ahead of his fellows does indeed speak to enormous character, which is why so many of us love the man. But today's great crime is that what was done to him is now being done to others ... under orders from the president of the United States. You can either defend this, or you can use semantics to cover it up. The Bush administration has chosen the worst of all paths in this, and the taint of their actions is now spreading.

We have to start speaking English again. Asking Fred Thompson directly whether he believes John McCain was tortured in Vietnam is a start.

Update: one other thing. Thompson does not mention, again bizarrely, the stress positions that feature very prominently in McCain's own account of his torture. Why not?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


From Yahoo! dot com:

Obama's DNC Bounce Smaller Than Others and Shrinking

From TPM:

Bevy of Polls Show Expanding Obama Lead

The Southern Gulag and the Myth of Southern Patriotism

In a break from all things Palin all the time, might I heartily recommend these posts by Nathan Newman at TPM Cafe on Douglas Blackmon's Slavery By Another Name.

As I've noted previously, the past year or so has seen the publication of several books debunking Southern mythology, of which Blackmon's Slavery is only the most recent and thorough.

Unintended Consequences

Arianna Huffington:

Minneapolis-St. Paul -- Even without George Bush in the Twin Cities, the GOP cannot escape its miserable record over the last eight years. (Indeed, trying to spot a recognizable Republican in town has become a favorite early-convention game.)

So you can see why Sarah Palin was such an appealing pick for John McCain. Along with all the things she brings to the table -- fresh face, mother of five, hockey mom -- Palin is notable for what she doesn't bring: a track record.

If McCain had picked any of the far more experienced candidates on his short list, they would have come fully equipped with a long paper trail implicating them in the horror show that is the Republican Party of the last eight years.

Palin has barely left a footprint on the GOP scene. And the McCain camp immediately scrubbed one of the few marks -- an ad on her campaign website featuring an endorsement from newly indicted Alaska Senator Ted Stevens.

So with a party brand as damaged as the GOP's is right now, lack of experience isn't a bug, it's a feature.


Andrew Sullivan:

The drama that could unfold in the next few days is simply immense. The emotions involved - especially among the Christianist base who have immediately bonded on purely religious and cultural terms with Palin - are epic. What I fear is some kind of pure emotional-religious wave that redefines the GOP for ever as a purely religious party, swamps all genuine questions about governance, celebrates this woman as the epitome of modern conservatism and rides the tidal wave of fundamentalist fervor to the White House.

This is not what McCain intended or wanted.

He wanted a reformer. He's got a saint. He doesn't understand the profound forces he has unleashed with this pick, especially when all the facts are on the table. I predict that as this story develops, it will be Palin who is effectively running for president for the GOP. Or if she is forced to withdraw, McCain will be forced back to Romney, but they will blame Palin's demise on the librul media, and hoist Palin like a martyred mascot on a freight train.

The Colors of Teen Pregnancy

Colbert King:

A few weeks ago, I wrote a column about the problem of teen pregnancy and the tragic impact it has had on so many aspects of life in the nation's capital. Reader response was heavy and, in some ways, disturbing. While I never used the terms "black or "African American" in the column, many readers saw the teen pregnancy problem in only racial terms.

What brings this to mind is today's statement from Sarah and Todd Palin disclosing that their unmarried 17-year-old daughter Bristol is pregnant. The presumptive Republican vice presidential nominee and her husband expressed their pride in becoming grandparents. As a grandparent of six, I can appreciate their feelings, and extend to them a hearty welcome into the enviable grandparents' club.

I'm also happy to learn that their daughter will have the unconditional love and support of the entire family as she and her husband-to-be raise their baby.

I only wish the angry readers who weighed in on my column showed similar understanding and, if not love, then at least a little respect for the young women I wrote about.

Instead, this is some of what I got:

"How long has this 'problem' been going on in the black community? Since the dark ages, er, the 60's, say. From day one they should be held accountable for their behavior…Remove the kid if necessary and establish some kind of homes for them. Better the state rear them instead of the current crop. The girls have so little self-love they long for getting knocked up or just believing they're being loved." 7/19/2008 3:12 PM.

"One often reads, hears or sees profiles of young men who grow up poor in gang infested areas and try to understand the tough choices they make that lead them astray. Stories of young women who fail to keep their knees together until a man fit to be a father comes along are rare." 7/19/2008 5:59 PM

"What children see they will do and what they do they will become." 7/19/2008 5:46 PM.

"Stop handing out welfare and housing to teen mothers and teen pregnancy will be cut by ½ in a few years." 7/19/2008 10:59 AM.

Sarah Palin, husband Todd, and daughter Bristol are well suited to tell the rest of America that there is more to the problem than that.

Republican Chaos Theory

I know some others have begun drawing connections between McCain's reckless Palin pick and his other reckless policy choices, but I think the connection with the Bush-McCain Iraq invasion is particularly illustrative.

The basic reason why Bush I, along with Cheney and Powell, didn't press onto Baghdad in Gulf War I was the fear of miring the U.S. Army in a decades-long, perhaps brutal occupation of Iraq. When Bush II came on the scene, and with the nudging of neocons like Rumsfeld and Kristol, this fear basically became a virtue of sorts. Sure, it would have been preferable from the neocon viewpoint for Iraq to have been a "cakewalk" as was projected, but the fact that it wasn't, wasn't bad either. Heads they win, tails we lose. In this chaos theory of the world, either outcome was considered conducive to the neocon policy goals. A quick, easy win and exit from Iraq would have obviously both enhanced the neocons credibility while freeing the U.S. army for deployment elsewhere (say, Iran). But a prolonged Iraqi occupation served other goals: the emersion of the U.S. in the Middle East, and the furtherence of Permanent War either way.

The Palin pick strikes me as being very similar. Sure, it would have been much preferable for the McCain camp had the media and everyone swooned over Palin. But the fact that the Palin pick has instead unleashed a whirlwind of controversy, well, that isn't so bad, either, from the standpoint of a chaos theory driven campaign strategy. After all, as some conservatives like Bill Kristol have already claimed, if the McCain campaign was doomed anyway (and I don't see how that would have been case, but for the sake of argument...) than controversy or no, the Palin pick explodes the political dynamic, enlivens the conservative base (itself a double-edged sword for generating opposition among liberals and the public to the GOP's Christianist authoritarians), which serves the McCain team and his party just fine as well.

Vett This

A lot of people have been talking about this NY Times piece on the McCain team's non-vettin of Palin, and for good reason. But it's a hard story to quote from without quoting the whole thing because the incompetence and recklessness it points to makes it hard to isolate any one or two paragraphs.

Nevertheless, since much of the article has been quoted already, I'll just point out the last few paragraphs:

A number of Republicans said the McCain campaign had to some degree tied its hands in its effort to keep the selection process so secret.

“If you really want it to be a surprise, the circle of people that you’re going to allow to know about it is going to be small, and that’s just the nature of it,” said Dan Bartlett, a former counselor to President Bush.

Former McCain strategists disagreed on whether it would have been useful for Ms. Palin’s name to have been more publicly floated before her selection so that issues like the trooper investigation and her daughter’s pregnancy might have already been aired and not seemed so new at the time of her announcement.

“It’s a risk,” said Dan Schnur, a former McCain aide who now directs the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California. “No matter how great the candidate, it’s a significant risk to put someone on the ticket” who hasn’t been publicly scrutinized.

“They obviously felt it was worth the risk to rev up the base and potentially reach out to Clinton supporters,” Mr. Schnur said.

So, in order to keep the pick a "surprise", the McCain team essentially sacrificed any virtue to be derived from either a public or private vetting. It's hard to believe it came down to that. Truly staggering. Clearly the McCain team doesn't take the job of being president and any threats the country faces all that seriously.

Palin believes you're going to hell

As noted at TAPPED by Sarah Posner, the theocratic Christianist preacher at Palin's Juneau church had this to say:

“Those that die without Christ have a horrible, horrible surprise.”

What this pastor means by "horrible, horrible surprise" is of course, hell-fire and eternal torment (from the God who loves you of course). Now, as Posner notes, this is pretty standard fare at most evangelical Christianist churches. Essentially, most Christianists believe, or at least read and hear taught in their churches, that when non-Christianists die, they go straight to H. E. double-hockey-sticks. But this is a rather remarkable belief to hold, is it not? Surely this idea deserves some kind of serious scrutiny as to its validity. What are the implications of such a belief? If you seriously believe that most human beings do not "have Christ" and will therefore, have a "horrible, horrible surprise" awaiting them at death, then what would your feelings be towards humanity in general, to the value of human life, to the effects of natural disasters, war, poverty, hunger, and death? Well, if the people are not Christianist, then for the believer, these catastrophes are not only unremarkable, they may actually indicate that those who face them are only getting what they deserve for not "having Christ". Aside from the inability to prove such a belief, the Christianist doctrine of hell would be pretty damnable itself if a religion, oh say, Islam, believed such a thing (which it appears they do).

Was Palin in church that day? Does Palin believe this? If Obama can be questioned about his pastor's sermons, surely our media could ask Palin to comment on this.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Banana Republicans, III

Is this true?

In fact, as Palin's cultural views become better known -- she oppose abortion in all cases and opposes the use of birth control pills and condoms even among married couples -- she will undoubtedly scare the hell out of the soccer moms and 98% of Hillary voters.

Maybe the media could ask the McCain campaign about this, that is, once the McCain campaign gets back from vetting the VP it's already selected.

Banana Republicans II

As another weird disclosure about Palin emerges--she apparently belonged to some sort of fringe, Alaskan Independence group in the nineties--it occurs to me that not only has McCain basically thrown away the entire basis of his candidacy, his experience visa via Obama, but in throwing the hail mary with Palin, he's also discarded the other pillar of his candidacy, his "pass" from fawning American media types, unwilling to call Senator "Maverick" on his gaffes, policy inconsistencies, flip flops, or other problems, because the media thought it "knew" McCain. Not so with Palin.

Banana Republicans


For the past few months, McCain and his campaign have been launching vicious attacks on Barack Obama -- challenging his patriotism and linking him to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. Those attacks apparently sucked up all the McCain campaign's time and energy, because, it's obvious no one was thinking about the most important decision McCain would make during the campaign: naming someone to succeed him should the 72 year old McCain, who has had 4 bouts of cancer, die or be incapacitated in office.

Meanwhile, the Republican-friendly Time magazine mozies on up to the 5,000 person town Palin was once Mayor of and says of Palin's 17-year old daughter's pregnancy:

"'s really nobody's business..."

Really? What if the unmarried Bristol wanted to abort? Would it really be "nobody's business" then? Not according to the McCain-Palin tandem and the conservative nanny state party they head.

Oh well, IOKIYAR.

In other news, Palin also appears to be a member in good standing with the Know-Nothing Party, recently revived from its ante-bellum origins.

But fear not. It now appears that the McCain campaign has begun vetting its choice for VP.

Ooops Baby

Been away from the Internets for two whole stinking days, and I come back to hear you guys have gotten 17-year old Jamie Lynn Spears preggers out of wedlock. Er, wait. I mean, Bristol Palin, 17-year old dependent daughter of GOP VP pick Palin, is pregnant, which we found out only after rumors began circulating that the VP pick's four month old baby, Trig, is actually Bristol's, not Sarah's. Good grief. And we also know, now, that McCain apparently knew about Bristol's pregnancy before he picked Palin to run with him, but Governor Palin's own spokesperson didn't know as recently as two days ago.

To which Sullivan responds:

Marc files a dispatch on McCain's minimal vetting of Palin. All you can say from this - regardless of what happens with this Desperate Housewives subplot beginning to play out - is that McCain is more incompetent as an executive than Bush.