Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye, best friend

It was hard enough writing in my blog yesterday, I did it as a diversion to take my mind off my sadness. But these last few days have been pretty awful for me.

On Monday morning, my best friend, Lexas, passed away. She had only been sick for a week and her sudden death at the vet's on Monday morning was devastating to me.

She was my always-loving companion and my beacon through some tough times I've gone through over the years, including the death of my mother. The grief I now feel is hard to even put into words. But I loved this dog very much and I'm just glad she didn't suffer too much before her end.

This adorable pooch had 11 good years and was loved by everybody who ever met her, or came in contact with her. The love she gave back is a gift I will take with me forever.

This new year I wish for all of you to have a similar type of love in your own lives, if it isn't already there. There are news stories abounding, over the increased number of pets that have been brought to shelters because economic times have prevented families from keeping them. Because many shelters can't handle the load, an increasing number of lovable dogs and cats are being euthanized.

If just one of you rescues a pet from that fate, that would be a wonderful blessing for the new year to come. I need some time to grieve, but it is something I would like to do myself in the coming year.

Once again, goodbye my sweet girl, who loved, and never asked for anything in return. I will never, ever forget you.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Will Offensive Barack Parody Help Propel The GOP Into Obscurity?

Apparently, my commentary on the GOP was more on the mark than I realized.

In my last post I feature the "Barack, The Magic Negro" video and included a link to the NY Times article that suggested that there was actually dissent from within the GOP.

However, that dissent smacked of opportunism, and it struck me as more telling that it took so long for some Republicans to even come out against it.

Now, as it turns out, the core of the GOP doesn't really have much of a problem with a tasteless song, sung with a stereotypical black accent.

According to an article in Politico, the parody may help Chip Saltsman, the Tennessee GOP chair who gave them out as holiday gifts, achieve the leadership position in the party.

As written in Andy Barr's story:
Four days after news broke that the former Tennessee GOP chairman had sent a CD including a song titled “Barack the Magic Negro” to the RNC members he is courting, some of those officials are rallying around the embattled Saltsman, with a few questioning whether the national media and his opponents are piling on.

“When I heard about the story, I had to figure out what was going on for myself,” said Mark Ellis, the chairman of the Maine Republican Party. “When I found out what this was about I had to ask, ‘Boy, what’s the big deal here?’ because there wasn’t any.”

Alabama Republican Committeeman Paul Reynolds said the fact the Saltsman sent him a CD with the song on it “didn’t bother me one bit.”

“Chip probably could have thought it through a bit more, but he was doing everyone a favor by giving us a gift,” he said. “This is just people looking for something to make an issue of.”

“I don’t think he intended it as any kind of racial slur. I think he intended it as a humor gift,” Oklahoma GOP Committeewoman Carolyn McClarty added. “I think it was innocently done by Chip.”

You have to hand it to the GOP, they are alarmingly out of touch with the mood of this country. If they feel that perpetuating racial stereotypes, instead of at least making an attempt to rally around our new leader in these difficult times, is good strategy, than they will go the way of the abacus, Betamax tapes (pictured above) and the Whig party.

That would be fine by me.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

GOP -- The Grand Ol' Racist Party

I have been on hiatus over the holidays, but am back, after a 2-week break, to talk about a video that Rush Limbaugh has been airing on his show since March.

The song is a parody of "Puff, The Magic Dragon," titled, "Barack, The Magic Negro."

I debated as to whether or not to even repost it, but here it is, so you can gauge its offensive for yourselves.

I am one of those progressives who has not been overtly pleased, since the election, with the man I supported (I will get to the Warren inauguration controversy in due time). Yet, every time I read the racism and hatred that permeates the comments section of right-wing blogs, I realize how important it was for him to have won this election. The Republicans have become an assemblage of divisive hate-mongers, with the level of civility hitting new lows by the day.

The GOP is, in fact, the party of intolerance. The very fact that it took a GOP leader so long to even denounce the piece speaks volumes. Many in the party have embraced it.

It wasn't until a candidate for the chairmanship of the RNC, Chip Saltsman, distributed the song as a "light-hearted" holiday treat, as he was campaigning for the top slot, that adverse reaction began.

Wouldn't you know...that is what got the current chairman, Mike Duncan, up in arms. "I am shocked and appalled," Duncan said. Shocked at how easily he found a way to make political hay out of the incident, no doubt. And now, some prominent Republicans are even speaking out against it. I'll bet I know why.

Somebody must have shown them the polling on this. Pssst...overt racists turn off most Americans. Go back to your more subtle form of bigotry.

For a New York Times look at some of the intra-party GOP fighting over this, point your browser here.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Bush & Iraq: If The Shoe Fits...

Just how unpopular is George Bush?

We know his approval rating is at rock bottom. He has been spurned by world leaders, and, now, gets 2 shoes thrown at him by an Iraqi journalist, at a news conference at the beginning of the lame-duck president's farewell trip to Iraq.

As per usual, the story is covered better by the foreign press. Here is how the incident was described by the BBC:
In the middle of the news conference with Mr Maliki, Iraqi television journalist Muntadar al-Zaidi stood up and shouted "this is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, dog," before hurling a shoe at Mr Bush which narrowly missed him.

Showing the soles of shoes to someone is a sign of contempt in Arab culture.

With his second shoe, which the president also managed to dodge, Mr Zaidi said: "This is for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq."

Mr Zaidi, a correspondent for Cairo-based al-Baghdadiya TV, was then wrestled to the ground by security personnel and hauled away.
Bush later joked about the shoe being a size 10, though it didn't generate quite the guffaws his skit on the fruitless search for weapons of mass destruction did at a Washington press function back in 2004.

How George must long for the good old days, when making a protracted sick joke of what led us into war was greeted so warmly by the alleged journalists that cover him.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Turn A Zealot's Frown Upside Down For Christmas

In looking at the postings from the religious right, I took pity, after viewing some of their Thanksgiving messages from the past week.

For example Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition called on his flock to buck up and celebrate the spirit of Thanksgiving, despite the fact that the preferred Christian ticket (you know, the one that placed a premium on pre-emptive war, torture, and crumbs for the poor) was allowed by God to lose to a man who dared to not even be more than 50% white.

Well, he didn't quite phrase it that way, but you catch my drift.

In the spirit of Christmas (see, I am feeling so charitable, I didn't write 'holiday), I think I found some ideal gifts to pass along to the wing-nuts in your life.

For the sports fan who went to the polls and found themselves struck out by Socialists, consider giving "Jesus at bat."

You can give the above inspirational statue, found at the Catholic Shopper, for the low price of $21.95. I still haven't decided if Jesus is a pitcher or a catcher. He is versatile, however. You can also get statues of the Messiah playing football and soccer.

For those who would like to remind thoughtless drivers that they need to put the Lord in the driver's seat, there's this inspirational message:

Putting that on the bumper of one's God-mobile is a snappier alternative that will set your favorite zealot apart from the images and slogans normally displayed by God's chosen motorists, such as the sign of the fish, or "honk, if you love Jesus" (or if I am driving like an ignoramus).

And they are so affordable at Cafe Press. Just one bumper sticker only sets you back $3.99!

Finally, what says "Christ, you're a good friend," more than a selection of cheddar, gouda, edam, and, for the budget-minded, Velveeta, from the Holy Land. Perhaps you can personalize it by making your own nativity scene carved from your favorite coagulated dairy product. This gift of "Cheeses of Nazareth" will put a smile on your favorite warrior of God.

Just wait until they take their first bite out of the manger!

Jesus, I love the holidays.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Significant Difference In Coverage Of Mumbai Terrorist Attack

This is not a post on politics or even a commentary on the political ramifications of the terrorist attack in Mumbai. I noticed stark differences in the way this story is being covered Thanksgiving morning and I had to point it out.

The emphasis on CNN and the news nets, in general, has been to focus on the ongoing violence and get as many eyewitness accounts on as possible. However, when it comes to giving background information on the attack itself, the difference between how these outlets have covered the story, and coverage by news outlets within India and other India-centric news sites, is like night and day.

A stark example of why one should go beyond traditional cable coverage

A Thanksgiving morning story on CNN, headlined,"Terrified Americans describe Mumbai chaos," had the following to say about those who may have planned the attack:
Indian Prime Minister Moanmohan Singh said the attackers were likely foreigners, but he did not name a country where he believed they were from. Officially, the Indian authorities are saying no one has claimed responsibility. A group called the Deccan Mujahideen took credit in e-mails sent to several Indian news outlets.
Contrast that, with the following story posted at Express India, via reports from Reuters and other news agencies. In an in-depth piece titled, "Terrorists came from Karachi via sea to Mumbai," comes this:
The terrorists who attacked Mumbai came via sea routes from Karachi in Pakistan, according to an intelligence report.

The reports had warned that there could be a possible entry of terrorists into Mumbai through the sea route, a top police official claimed.

"This intelligence was available six months ago and subsequently a barge was found by the locals on Shrivardhan coast in Raigad district four months back," the official, who did not wish to be identified, said.

Locals feared that the barge might have contained explosives but nothing was found when customs and naval personnel inspected it.

The terrorists, who created havoc in Mumbai overnight, came by boats, Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh has said.
In another article, at India Express alone, we learn the following:
Intelligence sources said 12 terrorists in two batches had been frequenting the two hotels for the last one month and were well aware of the topography.

Among the dead were nine foreigners and 14 police personnel including ATS chief Hemant Karkare and four other senior officers.

Security agencies have sought to blame LeT, one of whose activists was captured alive in Trident. He is said to be Abu Ismail hailing from Faridkot in Pakistan. The terrorists numbering about 20-25 are believed to have landed on Mumbai shores after a mother vessel dropped them in three inflatable boats. Seven of them have been gunned down.

The Indian Navy claimed that they have spotted the mother vessel and giving it a hot chase.

Tourist venues were not the only target

This same article also includes important coverage that is being left out of cable net reports on this tragedy,
The other scene of action was at Nariman House, a Jewish residential complex, where some Israelis have been held hostage by some three-four terrorists.
One would hardly know, judging by coverage on CNN, MSNBC and Fox, that there was any other ongoing activity, beyond what was happening at the resort hotels.

After this tragedy resolves itself, look back at the earlier reporting

When this crisis is resolved, it may turn out that CNN and the cable nets were correct in simply going with official Indian governmental reporting of the tragedy. I am not a fan of following the government line on anything, but there are times that speculation is not the best route.

However, I suspect, that for those who desire to dig a little deeper for, at the very least, the background of what is going on, alternate, India-centric news sources may be a more informed choice to make. The accounts seem to go beyond mere speculation and provide far deeper background information than what one finds on the news nets, where the focus is the emotional drama of the moment.

The Iraqi parallel

I learned the most about what was happening inside Iraq by reading Iraqi blogs that did not have an official filter attached to the information. It is always better to go closer to the source when getting our information. Thanks to the ever-evolving internet, this has become increasingly easy to do.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Joe Lieberman Hardly Repentant On "Meet The Press"

Joe isn't going

It is no secret that this blog, and other progressive blogs, have been clamoring for Joe Lieberman's ouster from the Democratic caucus.

Today on Meet The Press, Senator Lieberman was very eager to put his betrayal of Democrats behind him. Unfortunately, the closest he came to an apology was saying that there were statements he made that he regretted saying. He did not say what those statements were.

In fact, Lieberman was indicating that his removal from a committee that he had served on for 20 years wasn't even a reprimand. But in the alternate reality world of McCain/Palin and friends, truth was never high on the list of GOP priorities.

Lieberman's unpardonable sin

I could have forgiven Lieberman, had he merely supported and praised his friend John McCain. We all know he wanted to run with him. What is unforgiveable was his decision to speak at the GOP convention and make the comments he made about Obama, both at the convention and on the campaign trail.

We may be stuck with Lieberman for now, as President-elect Obama attempts to unite the country, and with the Democrats within very close range of possessing a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

But I will not forget. And I will be watching his performance during the next 4 years.

I did find it encouraging that Obama will at least let Lieberman stew on something. He has apparently not responded to a direct call from Lieberman, leaving the job of contacting him to surrogates.

The Katrina parallel

Interestingly, Lieberman once again adopted a let's move forward posture on something that made him personally uncomfortable.

As was once pointed out at Think Progress, he made much of the same arguments in the investigation of the Bush Administration's handling of Hurricane Katrina.

Examining the errors of Katrina, according to Lieberman, was playing "gotcha" politics. He wanted to ignore what had been done and, as he put it, move forward. In other words, no one need take resposibility.

I don't recall that being Lieberman's mantra when it came to former President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky.

Meet The Press Video

Here is the latter 2/3 of the Joe Lieberman interview. I could not find the first third of the interview posted on You Tube, but it really should be seen. You can access the first part of the interview directly from the MSNBC site. Details below.

For the first part of the Lieberman video, point your browser here. Click on the November 23rd netcast and select the video that says "Lieberman: We must unite behind Obama."

It requires the viewing of a 30-second commercial.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fight The AFA Boycott

The extremist-right group AFA is advocating a boycott of stores because they will not be bullied into referring to the season as a 'Christmas season.'

Because enlightened stores show deference to the recognition that America is made up of many faiths that celebrate religious holidays this time of year, Judaism, and Muslim among them, not to mention out of respect for atheists who take part in the secular celebration of the holiday, the AFA has announced a boycott against the following (see list below).

Please counter the boycott by purchasing products from these companies and thank them for not being held hostage to the religious right-wing.

Share this with your family and friends. Ask them to purchase products from the following list of stores and encourage others to thank these stores for not caving in to religious blackmail. Please spread the message around.

Put the right-wing bullies in their place.

From the AFA:
Companies against "Christmas"

updated 11-14-08

Barnes&Noble 1-800-843-2665 - Offers "Holiday Gift Guide." Christmas not found on website. Online feedback form (bottom of page)

Best Buy 1-800-BEST-BUY - AFA's top SCROOGE Award winner. The 2008 "Holiday Gift Guide" goes out of its way to avoid Christmas. In an online survey, Best Buy refers to Christmas as "this holiday."

Costco 800-774-2678 - Costo's "Holiday Catalog" is obvious in purposely avoiding the use of Christmas. Heavily references "holiday" in its Gift Guide Catalog. email Costco

CVS Pharmacy 1-800-746-7287 - CVS offers a "Holiday Center" on its website. The Nov. paper insert avoids using the term "Christmas." Phone: 888-607-4287 or email

Dollar General 615-855-4000 - Offers "holiday" shopping on its website. No reference to Christmas. online form

Gap Stores (Gap, Old Navy) 1-800-427-7895 - Gap stores avoid using Christmas at every opportunity, being a very secular company.

Kroger 1-866-221-4141 -Website uses "holiday" extensively. Weekly ad uses "holiday." email Kroger

Office Depot 1-800-463-3768 - Newspaper inserts reference "holiday" only. Website void of Christmas references. Online form

Olive Garden 800-331-2729 -

Petsmart 1-888-839-9638 - In-store signage avoids using Christmas altogether. Online form

Radio Shack 1-800-843-7422 - Website search for "Christmas" results in "holiday" page. No mention of Christmas anywhere. Online feedback form

Staples 508-253-0879 - Staples' press release referred to "holiday" 13 times without a single mention of Christmas. Last year, Staples emailed a customer to say it refused to post "Christmas" signs in their store. Live chat with Staples online or email Staples.

SUPERVALU 952-828-4000 -Owns Albertsons and Jewel-Osco. Refers to Christmas decorations as "holiday" on website and weekly ads. email SUPERVALUE

The Video That Shows What World Leaders Think Of Bush

I have to admit. I watched this video in amazement more than once. Observe how the leaders before and after him are recieved, compared to the total lack of hand-shaking between Bush and the others.

Either George Bush chooses to be an isolationist representative of America at the G-20 summit, or he is held in nearly uniform disdain.

I suspect the latter, but view this CNN footage for yourselves, and decide.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Michael Weiner Says Obama's Grandmother's Death Is Suspicious

Michael Alan Weiner has crossed the line. Recent remarks of his suggest that he believes that President-elect Obama allegedly flew to Hawaii shortly before Election Day, to somehow doctor evidence in the matter of his supposededly illegitimate birth certificate. He then suggests a diabolical end for Obama's now-deceased grandmother, without coming right out and saying it.

Weiner, better known by his macho-sounding, on-air surname Savage, can officially consider himself the prime spokesperson of the right-wing loony fringe.

Move over Ann Coulter.

According to a transcript from Media Matters, Michael Weiner (so much more appropriate than Savage), made the following comment:
Well, we don't even know where Obama was born. His grandmother died the night before the election. There's a lot of questions around this character that the media won't answer. Let's start with what country he's from. Why was the birth certificate never produced? Why in the world did he take time off from the campaign to visit the grandmother who then suddenly and suspiciously died virtually the night before the election? Tell me about that.
Did he really just say Obama's grandmother died "suspiciously?" Just what is this man trying to insinuate? And how manly of him to not make direct assertions himself, but take the coward's way out and throw it out there...deliberately spreading misleading gossip and innuendo?

What do you think happened, Mr. Weiner? Do you think somebody took her out to gain a few electoral votes? Then come out and say it.

Further, we do know where Obama was born. All of the false rumors and innuendo have been thoroughly debunked.

But for that right-wing talking mouthpiece to suggest what he has is beyond the pale.

As has been reported in numerous locations, the recent election of a black man as president has caused an outpouring of hateful, racial incidents, by those of lesser intellect and humanity, so easily led by manipulators, such as Weiner, egging them on

If ever a situation was begging for a sponsor boycott, this may be it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lieberman Must Go

Give President-elect Barack Obama credit, if he can forgive back-stabber Joe Lieberman, he can forgive anybody.

Senator Lieberman, it should be reminded, couldn't even clearly state that Obama is not Muslim. He attacked and questioned Obama's patriotism. It would be one thing if Lieberman were merely supporting and praising his long-time friend John McCain. It is quite another to demonize Obama as he did.

In that spirit, Brave New Films has put out a video that calls for Lieberman to be stripped of his committee chairmanship. I could not agree more.

Watch the video and you will understand why Joe must go. As for Lieberman's threats, can you imagine the reaction from his state if he decided to start voting like a right-wing Republican on most issues? Let him try.

For more, visit "Lieberman Must Go."

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The International Press Looks At The Obama Victory

The following is a sampling of editorials and articles from newspapers worldwide on the victory of President-elect Barack Obama. I have deliberately sought to highlight some of the lesser-read papers.

Highlights from each selection are posted below. Just click on each paper's link for the full piece.

From Kenya's The Standard:
Obama’s victory will bolster the faith of many in democracies the world over who seek to create societies in which everyone has the freedom and opportunity to decide their future. At a time when many, including this paper, will be glad to see the back of an America infatuated with its military might and ready to trample values it espouses, voters in the US have reminded us of the "enduring power of their nation’s ideals — democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope".

This, as Obama said yesterday, is the true strength of the nation, not the might of its arms or the scale of its wealth.
At Aswat al Iraq, an interesting article focused on the reaction of various Iraqi papers. Among those observations:
Iraqi political analysts asserted that the U.S. policy does not change with a new president, taking into account that the United States is a country of institutions that draw up and enforce this policy, noting that Obama’s statements about withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq was for “media consumption.”

“The proposed security pact is part of a long-term American strategy that has nothing to do with a president who stays for one or two terms. It’s all about the U.S. national security,” aval Zakhoy, the editor-in-chief of al-Ahali newspaper, told Aswat al-Iraq.

“Even the coming president cannot reject the agreement or pursue policies that differ from those of President Bush as far as the agreement was concerned,” he said.
The report concludes with this nugget from analyst,Saeed Abdelhadi,
“Perhaps the fall of Saddam Hussein needed Republicans while the withdrawal of U.S. forces needs Democrats.”
An editorial at the Japan Times showed a sophisticated assessment of American politics, noting,
Mr. Obama raised $640 million, the most money ever raised by a presidential candidate. Most significantly, it came from individuals, small donors who were reaching into their pockets for the first time, a sign of how he galvanized ordinary Americans. Just as important was the decision to conduct his campaign in all 50 states — to reach out to all Americans and try to construct an enduring Democratic majority in the U.S. Only four years ago, Republicans were talking about constructing a new and permanent Republican majority. That project is dead and the electoral map is in flux. Time will tell how the GOP responds to this defeat — whether it regroups and moves to the center of American politics or embraces the base and moves further toward the fringe of U.S. opinion.
They conclude with the following:
He inherits a nation that is diving into recession, whose financial system is broken, and a government and a society that are living well beyond its means. He must rein in spending while reducing taxes, find ways to provide health care for all Americans, get the economy back on track, and provide assistance to the millions of people suffering through the downturn. Most important, he must bridge the partisan divide that has poisoned American politics. His victory is a reminder that such dreams are not beyond reach. We wish him good luck.
At the New Zealand Herald, a major demarcation in American politics was noted:
This is a once-in-a-lifetime event. At odd intervals - 1800, 1860, 1932, 1980 - the United States reaches a "pivot point", an election that draws the line between the past and the future. And 2008 appears to be just such a line in the shifting sands of convulsive times.

Reagan-style conservative supremacy? Over. The era of baby-boomer leadership? Waning.

And maybe something new has arrived: a post-partisan approach to governing, founded on the Obama Coalition, fuelled by young and minority voters, powered by the 21st century technologies that helped to turn a first-term senator into a historic lodestone.
Finally, a short, but interesting piece of corporate panic was found at the website of Ireland Online, which had this to say:
There is growing concern about the impact Barack Obama's tax reforms would have on jobs in American multi-nationals with bases in Ireland.

Such companies support up to 100,000 jobs here.

The Government has already had talks with the Obama camp on the issue and more intense lobbying is planned.

American politicians with ties to Ireland will also be approached for support.
One presumes that McCain would not be the first pol to be called upon,.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Melissa Etheridge Rightly Tells California What They Can Do With Proposition 8

Bravo to award-winning performer Melissa Etheridge, who has basically told California where they can stick their newly-passed Proposition 8.

In a post on the Daily Beast blog, Etheridge, a lesbian who has been married for the past 5 years to actress Tammy Lynn Michaels, announced her plans to stop paying the California state income tax.

Regarding the vote, Etheridge wrote:
I am taking that to mean I do not have to pay my state taxes because I am not a full citizen. I mean that would just be wrong, to make someone pay taxes and not give them the same rights, sounds sort of like that taxation without representation thing from the history books.

Okay, cool I don't mean to get too personal here but there is a lot I can do with the extra half a million dollars that I will be keeping instead of handing it over to the state of California. Oh, and I am sure Ellen will be a little excited to keep her bazillion bucks that she pays in taxes too. Wow, come to think of it, there are quite a few of us fortunate gay folks that will be having some extra cash this year. What recession? We're gay! I am sure there will be a little box on the tax forms now single, married, divorced, gay, check here if you are gay, yeah, that's not so bad. Of course all of the waiters and hairdressers and UPS workers and gym teachers and such, they won't have to pay their taxes either.
Good for Etheridge, she is absolutely right. I just hope that many follow in her footsteps.

How can a state's Constitution be amended by simple majority vote? This is insane.

Can you imagine the chaos that would have ensued if the United States Constitution was amendable by a simple plurality of 1 in a popular vote? Would women or blacks have ever been given the right to vote?

The fact that the civil rights of countless Californians has been revoked by the slimmest of majorities in a popular vote needs to be challenged in court.

Think this is frivolous? I know a man who lost everything, including his home, after his partner died. They were together for over a decade, but the deceased's bitter, greedy parents pretended that the 2 men were never a couple. And the surviving partner had little recourse. 'Marriage' isn't a luxury. It is a way for committed couples to protect each other legally, among other things.

Ms. Etheridge is correct in the stance she is taking. And I will take it one step further...I think anybody planning a trip to California should rethink whether or not that they want to give their hard-earned money to a state that supports bigotry and hate.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

McCain Aides Unload On Palin?

Can this be true? Did Sarah Palin think that Africa was a country? Pretty stunning.

And to see it reported on Fox News. Does it get any better than that?


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

President Obama

Words can't express how proud I was of the election results tonight.

Senator Barack Obama overcame an initial disadvantage of lack of funds, a favored primary opponent, and ultimately the most base sort of slime campaign against him, to win the presidency.

Senator John McCain, choosing to bow to the religious right, selected as Vice President a woman he hardly knew, who had been barely vetted, But he chose her because she brought in the important religious core. I will save this for another time, but I believe the selection of Palin to be the biggest mistake McCain ever made, and it makes one question his overall judgement.

McCain spent so much time attacking Obama, that there was little time to tout his own credentials. It was a disastrous choice for him. Nothing stuck. And it cost him his reputation.

The margin of victory turned out to be impressive. I will sleep well, knowing we are in President-Elect Barack Obama's capable hands.

Normally I would take this time to reach across the aisle, but something happened today to make me question it. I was sent nasty, threatening comments here. Additionally, I have seem some outrageous e-mails about Obama that really upset me, passed along by people I really care about. Some from family, others by friends.

The e-mails originated from the same people who accused Obama about lying for the reasoning behind his Hawaiian trip to visit his dying grandmother. They mocked the story. Yet, now that she has passed on, you know they will not bother with an apology.

Bottom line: no olive branch. John McCain and Sarah Palin ran a dishonorable campaign that was incredibly offensive to me. I would rather let them wallow in the sour fruit of their own making.

Maybe this will change in the future. For now I just want to celebrate the Obama win.

I may take a few days off to savor the moment.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day Quotes To Remember

The stakes in the 2008 presidential elections are higher than they have ever been.

If we cannot get a decent turnout...if we allow ourselves to be apathetic and complacent...and if we allow dirty tricks to steal our votes...then we are seriously in danger of losing America's soul.

I urge everybody to not just vote, but actively encourage your friends, family and colleagues to do the same. Imagine the scenario that would occur if, with the current state of affairs under Bush, he emerges on Wednesday with continued unchecked power.

In that spirit, here are some quotes to remember, as we prepare to alter the course of American history.

James Garfield
Now more than ever the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
The future of this republic is in the hands of the American voter.
George Jean Nathan
Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote.
Gilbert K. Chesterton
The average man votes below himself; he votes with half a mind or a hundredth part of one. A man ought to vote with the whole of himself, as he worships or gets married. A man ought to vote with his head and heart, his soul and stomach, his eye for faces and his ear for music; also (when sufficiently provoked) with his hands and feet. If he has ever seen a fine sunset, the crimson color of it should creep into his vote. The question is not so much whether only a minority of the electorate votes. The point is that only a minority of the voter votes.
John F. Kennedy
The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.
Abraham Lincoln
The ballot is stronger than the bullet.
Tom Stoppard
It's not the voting that's democracy, it's the counting.
Matthias Burnett
Look well to the characters and qualifications of those you elect and raise to office and places of trust.
Marian Wright Edelman
People who don't vote have no line of credit with people who are elected and thus pose no threat to those who act against our interests.
The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.

Let's hope we don't fall victim to the apathy Plato refers to.

Have a productive Election Day and know that each vote has the potential to change the disastrous course our nation has taken under BushCo.

It's time to take back America.

(The above was an updated re-post of a piece I put up 2 years ago. The validity remains.)

Monday, November 03, 2008

The Shame Of The Mean-Spirited, Extremist Right

Senator Obama lost his grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, to cancer earlier today. She was 86.

Mr. Obama deserves an apology. He won't get it, but he deserves it.

The sickening, mean-spirited attack dogs on the right-wing of our society ridiculed and derided Obama for making a trip to visit her while she was dying.

There are many to choose for dishonor, but I will single out 2.

Brad Blakeman, from MSNBC, who appallingly commented:
...taking a 767 campaign plane to go visit Grandma.

Forget about the energy that is wasted, what about the hundreds of thousands of dollars to take a private trip when this guy should be humping his bags on a commercial plane or taking a smaller plane. Taking a 767 of campaign money from people who could least afford it is more of an outrage in my opinion.
This blowhard actually used this to deflect criticism from Sarah Palin's $150,000 wardrobe.

Where is his apology?

Rush Limbaugh is in a class by himself for dishonor. He has repeatedly suggested that the Obama trip was really a cover so that Obama could supposedly clear up an alleged mystery about his birth certificate. You see, Limbaugh's slander is that he wants you to think Obama is not a citizen. Pretty crafty of him to actually have his grandmother die, eh Rush? Pop another Oxycontin. Swill it down with a few beers, while you're at it.

Limbaugh, this utterly disgusting excuse for a human being, said the following on his September 23rd program:
Who announces days in advance they're rushing to the side of a loved one who is deathly ill, but keeps campaigning in a race that's said to be over, only to go to the loved one's side days later? See, I think this is about something else. You know what's really percolating out there? And I've been laying low on this because it just -- it hasn't met the threshold to pass the smell test on this program. But this birth certificate business, this lawsuit that a guy named Phillip Berg filed in Philadelphia in August for Obama to produce his genuine birth certificate, and he still hasn't replied, he hasn't done so.

Listen to him ,courtesy of Media Matters, and ask yourself, where is his apology?

However, the rhetoric does not stop there. Talk show host Randi Rhodes played a recent clip from Limbaugh, repeating the garbage. Raw Story has the clip from her show. You can access it here.

It is not just Blakeman and Limbaugh. This became a GOP talking point over the last week. I would be utterly ashamed to even be in the same room with these, and I can't think of anything better to call them, inhuman monsters.

Limbaugh, Blakeman, not to mention, Hannity, Levin, Savage, Coulter, Malkin....all cut from the same cloth. It's at the point that one needs to literally shower, merely after listening to them speak.

But I take comfort in knowing that Senator Obama's beloved grandmother will be looking down with pride on her grandson tomorrow, from a better place. A place devoid of the nasty, mean-spirited, hate-filled demagoguery that these men represent.

Senator Obama deserves an apology, but these spineless hacks are totally incapable of taking responsibility for their incendiary rhetoric.

It makes them too much money.

Maybe we can use our own freedom of speech and start targeting their sponsors.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Anti-Obama Ad The Networks Will Not Run

The McCain – Palin campaign has featured attack charges of virtually every stripe against Barack Obama, but there is still an ad you just won’t see the networks run this year.

Inspired by actual events.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Campbell Brown Blasts Elizabeth Dole

CNN's Campbell Brown has given a prominent voice to those of us who have had enough of the disgusting Republican campaigning, that has finally reached its nadir in the 2008 elections.

In trying to retain her seat in Congress, Dole insinuates, in her newest ad, that her opponent is a Godless American.

After Brown takes you through the video, she absolutely shreds Senator Dole, and those running similarly offensive campaigns, ending her slam, by saying:
Just say no to your own craven ambition. Just cut it out. Reclaim your dignity! And with only a few days to go, please please just tell us what you think you can do to get this country back on track.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Why are we not learning more about who spread the PA hoax?

I find it more than a bit odd that there has not been much further scrutiny of Peter Feldman, Team McCain's Pennsylvania communications director.

As TPM has been aggressively reporting, something smells funny when 2 separate reporters covering the story indicated that details of the alleged crime came from Feldman and not the police.

The reason we need to know is that the implications are enormous. If details came initially from the police, it would follow the normal course of reporting an alleged criminal incident.

However, if this story was passed on to reporters by the McCain campaign, before the police even had gotten wind of it, that would mean something far more insidious. It would mean that this was a planned dirty trick from the McCain campaign.

We deserve some answers.

Please, read more on this important story by clicking the TPM article here.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Obama Spokesman Takes On Fox News Anchor`

Senator Obama spokesperson Bill Burton appeared on Fox News on Monday and pushed back on Fox anchor (aka McCain cheerleader) Megyn Kelly.

Watch this video and please tell me where Ms. Kelly's journalistic impartiality is anywhere on display.

I appreciate the way Mr. Burton handled the hypocrisy. The utter joke that a journalist would portray Obama as a socialist, let alone an entire network, is treated with the scorn that they deserve.

Burton was asked to appear after slamming Fox News in a statement earlier in the day.

According to the New York Times:
"This is a fake news controversy drummed up by the all-too-common alliance of Fox News, the Drudge Report and John McCain, who apparently decided to close out his campaign with the same false, desperate attacks that have failed for months,” Mr. Burton said. “In this seven-year-old interview, Senator Obama did not say that the courts should get into the business of redistributing wealth at all.”

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Latest Alaskan Press Not Pretty For McCain/Palin

If a heavily GOP state, like Alaska, is having trouble stomaching John McCain and native daughter, Sarah Palin, this race is over.

In an earlier post, I showed you some interesting comments from the Alaskan press. Today's columns and editorials are even more revealing.

The Anchorage Daily News endorses Barack Obama for president

In endorsing Barack Obama for president today, the Anchorage Daily News wrote:
Gov. Palin's nomination clearly alters the landscape for Alaskans as we survey this race for the presidency -- but it does not overwhelm all other judgment. The election, after all is said and done, is not about Sarah Palin, and our sober view is that her running mate, Sen. John McCain, is the wrong choice for president at this critical time for our nation.

Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee, brings far more promise to the office. In a time of grave economic crisis, he displays thoughtful analysis, enlists wise counsel and operates with a cool, steady hand. The same cannot be said of Sen. McCain.
On the economy, they said:
Sen. Obama warned regulators and the nation 19 months ago that the subprime lending crisis was a disaster in the making. Sen. McCain backed tighter rules for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but didn't do much to advance that legislation. Of the two candidates, Sen. Obama better understands the mortgage meltdown's root causes and has the judgment and intelligence to shape a solution, as well as the leadership to rally the country behind it. It is easy to look at Sen. Obama and see a return to the smart, bipartisan economic policies of the last Democratic administration in Washington, which left the country with the momentum of growth and a budget surplus that President George Bush has squandered.

On the most important issue of the day, Sen. Obama is a clear choice.
On McCain's being an alleged 'maverick.':
Sadly, maverick John McCain didn't show up for the campaign. Instead we have candidate McCain, who embraces the extreme Republican orthodoxy he once resisted and cynically asks Americans to buy for another four years.
Ironically, Sarah Palin represented the final nail in the coffin of their endorsement:
Yet despite her formidable gifts, few who have worked closely with the governor would argue she is truly ready to assume command of the most important, powerful nation on earth. To step in and juggle the demands of an economic meltdown, two deadly wars and a deteriorating climate crisis would stretch the governor beyond her range. Like picking Sen. McCain for president, putting her one 72-year-old heartbeat from the leadership of the free world is just too risky at this time.
The link to the editorial can be found here.

Sarah Palin is America's real Bridge to Nowhere

In an op-ed in the Juneau Empire, stunningly titled "Sarah Palin is America's real Bridge to Nowhere," Seth Kantner lets it all hang out. Kantner begins:
I'm sitting on my bearskin chair beside the stove, in Kotzebue, while outside the ocean freezes over. Inside I have 49 things to say to you, America.

I'm an Alaskan - born in an igloo, enjoy whale muktuk, all that - and in case you aren't sick of our state by now, I'll start with an apology for one of our residents: Sarah Palin.

We Alaskans are not generally so magazine-pretty like her, nor are we so confrontational and vapid. Most of us don't have peachy cheeks - we have sunburn, windburn, frostbite. Our fingernails are dirty from actually gutting moose, our hands chapped from picking thousands of salmon, not holding one up for the camera.

Having said that, here in Alaska we are accustomed to getting jobs we're not qualified to fill.
In a stinging rebuke of the Alaskan Governor, he writes:
By now the world knows Palin is an expert at swishing around, color coordinated, with her makeup and mooseburger and mean-spirited commentary. We can only hope people realize she's a pretty atypical Alaskan, one who is simply skimming the gravy off our hard-earned Alaskan mystique to mix with her varnished nonsense.

Here where global warming is melting our world regardless of Palin's lone charge against reality, her alleged appeal leaves many of us cold. With long winters and tough trails, we still value a beaver hat and common sense more than high heels and fancy clothes. We don't want another leader less intelligent than we are.
Kantner concludes by writing:
From up here in the Arctic - not left or right but north of the campaign trail - the reality is clear and cold: When McCain chose Palin he wrote America out of his will. It's time for us to write him out of our future.
Access the full op-ed here.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

GOP Mouthpiece Ridicules Obama's Trip To Visit 'Grandma'

Republican 'strategist' Brad Blakeman has just employed the strategy of how to lose in a landslide.

This poor excuse for a pundit actually defended Sarah Palin's $150,000 fashion spree by comparing it to a real 'outrage,' Barack Obama's flying off to see his seriously ill grandmother.

One wonders if the GOP is just trying to get the lion's share of the mean-spirited vote.

Blakeman griped to MSNBC's David Schuster that Senator Obama was,
...taking a 767 campaign plane to go visit Grandma.

Forget about the energy that is wasted, what about the hundreds of thousands of dollars to take a private trip when this guy should be humping his bags on a commercial plane or taking a smaller plane. Taking a 767 of campaign money from people who could least afford it is more of an outrage in my opinion.
With co-horts like that, if I were a Republican I would be almost embarrassed to admit it.

Here is the video, along with commentary by Keith Olbermann and Sam Seder, as showcased on Countdown.

The GOP's Remaining Strategy: Voter Suppression

Paul Weyrich, the Conservative activist and pundit, co-founder of the Heritage Foundation think tank, said something back in 1980 that needs to be seen to understand why the McCain campaign strategy at the end may very well be all about ways to suppress the vote.

Mr. Weyrich currently serves as chairman and CEO of The Free Congress Foundation.

Before looking at the video, read a passage that Weyrich wrote this week, for The Bulletin of Philadelphia. In an article that looks at John McCain's dimming chances to gain the presidency, Mr. Weyrich notes that because Obama has such superior ground forces in place in many states, McCain may be "out of luck." He adds:
We know that, left to their own devices, many voters will skip voting just because they are preoccupied and no one reminded them or, in cases of the elderly, drove them to the polls.
Weyrich instinctively knows that his worldview is not the majority position, which is why he views ground forces as so important to fire up the base.

Now, check out the video below.

What Weyrich said in that video needs to be circulated:
Elections are not won by the majority of the people. They never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now.

As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections, quite candidly, goes up, as the voting populace goes down.
The Republicans don't want you to vote. They know that if everybody who wants to go to the polls does, they lose.

On one hand, Weyrich knows that it's important to galvanize your core. But, at the same time, he knows you might sneak a victory by dampening the enthusiasm (and doing whatever it takes to lower the turnout) of your opponent's supporters.

Please vote, and help others to do the same, on November 4th. If you have the opportunity to vote early, please do, and encourage others to follow your lead.

The only strategy the right-wing has remaining is to suppress the voter turnout. Robocalls now, a shortage of machines the first Tuesday in November in heavily Democratic districts?

We do remember Ohio in 2004 and Florida in 2000, don't we?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

See Sarah Run.....The Senate!

Watching Sarah Palin in action, it is just incredible that Senator Obama is not ahead by 20 points at this juncture.

Can you imagine waking up on November 5th to the prospect of this person being Vice President? It boggles the mind.

Watch her answer a 2nd grader's question on what a Vice President does and tell me that she hasn't spent way too much time around Dick Cheney's handlers.

I especially wanted to post this version from CNN, found on You Tube, because we also get to see her claim she has more experience than Obama. It's almost as if we are living in a parallel SNL universe.

This isn't really happening, is it? And I didn't even get to comment on her $150,000 wardrobe! Alas, tomorrow is another day.

Pass the popcorn and enjoy.....

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Did John McCain Betray The Families Of POW's?

The video that John McCain does not want you to see

Watch the following video of John McCain's alleged betrayal of POW MIA families. Follow it up for yourself....investigate....and you will see some interesting behavior from 'war hero' John McCain.

I am not a fan of Bob Dornan, by any means. But he is totally on target here.

One really has to ask...what would motivate a man who was a POW to go out of his way to prevent information on POWs that were missing in action to become declassified? Why was John McCain so eager to close the book on Vietnam with so many questions unanswered and so many families still grieving?

Was there something that John McCain did not want to have aired publicly?

Decide for yourself.

UPDATE: I thought it important to include a recent, comprehensive report on the topic, for those who would like to follow up. Sydney Schanberg had a major article in The Nation last month, titled, "McCain and the POW Cover-Up." You can access it at TruthOut at this link.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sarah Palin & The Secessionists

Sarah Palin, since she is so comfortable accusing Obama of being someone who "pals around with terrorists," really needs to answer a question.

Why was her husband a member of, and why did she twice address the Alaskan Independence Party, at their annual convention? The AIP was founded on the premise that Alaska needs to secede from the United States. And, speaking of terrorists, its founder, Joe Vogler, was killed, because of a botched plastic explosives sale.

The Last Refuge Of A Scoundrel

As Robert Kennedy Jr. wrote, earlier this month, at the Huffington Post, in a post titled, "The Alaskan Independence Party (The Last Refuge Of A Scoundrel):
If McCarthy-era guilt-by-association is once again a valid political consideration, Palin, it would seem, has more to lose than Obama. Palin, it could be argued, following her own logic, thinks so little of America's perfection that she continues to "pal around" with a man--her husband, actually--who only recently terminated his seven-year membership in the Alaskan Independence Party. Putting plunder above patriotism, the members of this treasonous cabal aim to break our country into pieces and walk away with Alaska's rich federal oil fields and one-fifth of America's land base--an area three-fourths the size of the Civil War Confederacy.

AIP's charter commits the party "to the ultimate independence of Alaska," from the United States which it refers to as "the colonial bureaucracy in Washington." It proclaims Alaska's 1959 induction as a state "as illegal and in violation of the United Nations charter and international law."

AIP's creation was inspired by the rabidly violent anti-Americanism of its founding father Joe Vogler, "I'm an Alaskan, not an American," reads a favorite Vogler quote on AIP's current website, "I've got no use for America or her damned institutions." According to Vogler AIP's central purpose was to drive Alaska's secession from the United States. Alaska, says current Chairwoman Lynette Clark, "should be an independent nation."

Palin's ongoing connection to the AIP

While there has been debate over whether Sarah Palin attended the 1994 AIP convention (I tend to believe the accounts that say she was there), there is no doubt about the fact that her husband joined the party in 1995. And there is no doubt that Sarah Palin has addressed the convention in 2006.

As written by Bob Sommer, at the Kansas City Star blog:
As recently as 2006, Palin addressed the AIP's state convention. Key figures from this party were instrumental in her election as mayor of Wasilla, among them Mark Chryson, who said, "With Sarah as a mayor, there were a number of times when I just showed up at City Hall and said, 'Hey, Sarah, we need help.' I think there was only one time when I wasn't able to talk to her and that was because she was in a meeting."

However, the connection did not end in 2006.

In fact, Governor Palin, had no problem issuing the following video welcome to the 2008 AIP convention, earlier this year. You may notice, that Governor Palin is older than 8, and knows full well, the history of the people she is addressing:

Sarah Palin knows far more about associating with terrorists than anything Senator Obama could even dream up. Her husband was a member of a proudly 'anti-American' political party, that was founded by a man who wasn't dealing in plastic explosives, simply for the sheer fun of it.

The hypocrisy of Sarah and Todd Palin knows no bounds.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Censure Michele Bachmann

Representative Michele Bachmann did something so reprehensible that she deserves to be censured by Congress.

On yesterday's edition of Hardball, with Chris Matthews, the Representative from Minnesota, went one step beyond the familiar Obama/Ayers lies, she indicated that Senator Barack Obama, and others in Congress, share anti-American views.

She even went so far as to recommend that journalists investigate liberal members of Congress.

Watch the video for yourself:

That McCarthy-esque moment was followed by some refreshingly powerful words from Katrina Vanden Heuvel. Watch:

A website has been set up to gather petitions to urge Congress to censure Michele Bachmann. Please visit the site and access the petition here.

If you would like to make a campaign contribution to Bachman's Democratic opponent, Elwyn Tinklenberg, click here.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Only Ad Barack Obama Needs To Run

This one speaks for itself.

Game. Set. Match.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The GOP Will Try To Steal This Election

I believe the Republicans are once again seeking to manipulate the results of the presidential election.

Past as prologue

I am one of those who doesn't believe it was an accident that Pat Buchanan, out of the blue, scored an absurdly high number of votes in a heavily Jewish area. In fact, here's a link that shows the bizarre voting patterns that took place that Election Day in 2000. The more I read, the more convinced I am it was voter fraud.

I also believe that the GOP engaged in voter suppression of minorities in Ohio in 2004. Some have reported that the fact tha some people had to wait on line for 12 hours to vote, because there were so few machines available for them, not to mention people directed to the wrong precincts. Robert Kennedy Jr. in Rolling Stone estimated that 350,000 voters were disenfranchised in 2004. Once again it determined the course of the election.

I believe the GOP is in the throes of their latest attempts to manipulate the polls right now.

Sites to bookmark and the Acorn scam

As a reader of Mark Crispin Miller, Greg Palast, the Brad blog and other heavily referenced resources for monitoring and examining Republican voter fraud, I recognize the first signs.

In fact, I was just reading on the Brad blog about the ACORN so-called voter fraud that John McCain is trying to exploit. Go to the link and decide for yourself.

One well-used GOP tactic of the past was to make spurious charges of voter fraud before launching into their own bag of dirty tricks. Then, when Democrats complain, they cow the media into saying that it happens on both sides.

GOP dirty tricks in the news

Some current examples you should examine follow:

1) The robocalls that fraudulently tie-in Senator Obama with William Ayers. But far more insidious than this are alleged calls from the Obama campaign asking for your 3 AM!! I heard a caller speak to a talk show host recently after getting one of these calls. She wanted to warn others of the dishonest tactics that were being used.

2) Voter suppression. Countless examples can be found in places like Michigan, Ohio (with the apparent complicity of the courts?), and Florida, where voters were told to vote by phone.

3) Tampering with the process itself. What a surprise, there appears to be some sort of problem with the ballots in West Virginia.

Or, for the coup de grace, the following should let you know what I think the GOP is capable of.

As a reminder of the possibilities, As posted on Michael Moore's website, here is that video from a couple of years back, showing how you can, as the video is headlined, "Steal an Election with (a) Diebold Machine in One Minute."

Check out the video below and monitor the sites referred to above for the latest on the GOP's efforts to retain the White House, by any means they can.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Keith Olbermann Blasts John McCain

I have to admit, I have been waiting for this one for some time now.

Keith Olbermann, in a 'special comment,' on tonight's Countdown, let Mr. McCain have it, for his enabling of violent rhetoric and utter hypocrisy.

I will let the video do the talking.

I have such great respect and admiration for Keith Olbermann. I highly recommend you go to his site and check out the many features, including access to his other 'special comments.'

He can be accessed here.

Why Is Sarah Palin Lying About Troopergate Report?

Somebody tell Sarah Palin it is 2008.

If a bipartisan commission makes a report and states that you abused your power and violated state ethics laws, we have access to the report. We can read it for ourselves. It isn't hearsay.

Which makes me wonder if Palin is taking up residence down the rabbit hole or through the looking glass.

Since the report has been made public, Palin has been making almost celebratory statements thanking the investigation for clearing her.

But make no mistake, the investigation did not clear her. It said she was within state law to hire or fire who she pleased. But the report also very clearly stated that she abused her power and violated ethics laws.

Tell that to Palin. She has been bragging that the report found she didn't violate ethics laws.

Sarah Palin is a liar.

For confirmation, however, look at Monday's fact checker column in the Washington Post.

They give Palin the lowest possible score for her claim, 4 pinocchios.

As the column reports, in a phone interview with Alaska reporters on Saturday, Palin said this:
"I'm very, very pleased to be cleared of any legal wrongdoing, any hint of any kind of unethical activity there. Very pleased to be cleared of any of that."
It is not the only time she has made that claim.

After presenting the facts, the same facts that we have been reading for the past few days, indicating that Palin violated her state's Ethics Act, the column concludes with this:
What is not debatable is that the report clearly states that she violated the State Ethics Act. Palin has reasonable grounds for arguing that the report cleared her of "legal wrongdoing," since she did have the authority to fire Monegan. But it is the reverse of the truth to claim that she was cleared of "any hint of any kind of unethical activity."
For those keeping score at home, this is another way of stating that Sarah Palin is lying.

It's beginning to come off as pathological.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Fact Check Debunks Lie About Ayers Connection

Senator John McCain, in the tradition of the Bush administration, believes if you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes fact. They also believe that the media will do much of the work for them and they are correct.

As just one example, how many times have we read the Ayers charge, presented as somehow equivalent in nature to John McCain's association with the 'Keating 5?'

2 independent fact checkers expose Team McCain's lies

The fact checker segment of the Washington Post has taken on the charge by John McCain about his allegedly lying about being a pal of William Ayers.

Michael Dobbs, in his column reports:
The claim that Obama "lied" about his relationship with Ayers rests on his response to a question from George Stephanopoulos of ABC News in a Democratic primary debate in Philadelphia on April 16. Invited to describe his relationship with Ayers, Obama played down its significance.
Going on:
That statement can certainly be read as an attempt by Obama to minimize his dealings with a controversial figure. But it is hard to qualify it as a "lie."
The analysis concludes with this blunt assessment:
The New York Times got it right last week when it noted that the Illinois senator had "played down his contacts with Mr. Ayers, 63. But the two men do not appear to have been close. Nor has Mr. Obama ever expressed sympathy for the radical views and actions of Mr. Ayers."

The McCain campaign is distorting the Obama-Ayers relationship, and exaggerating their closeness. There is no evidence that Obama has "lied" about his dealings with Ayers.
The charge was given '2 pinocchios by Dobbs. This means,
Significant omissions and/or exaggerations. Some factual error may be involved but not necessarily. A politician can create a false, misleading impression by playing with words and using legalistic language that means little to ordinary people.
The link to to the article is here.

Seconding that opinion

An even more scathing denunciation comes directly from

This is their conclusion, regarding the same charge:
Voters may differ in how they see Ayers, or how they see Obama’s interactions with him. We’re making no judgment calls on those matters. What we object to are the McCain-Palin campaign’s attempts to sway voters – in ads and on the stump – with false and misleading statements about the relationship, which was never very close. Obama never “lied” about this, just as he never bragged about it. The foundation they both worked with was hardly “radical.” And Ayers is more than a former "terrorist," he’s also a well-known figure in the field of education.
That, very in-depth piece can be found here.

Please use these fact-checking articles as a reference when responding to the lies and distortions of the McCain campaign.

Sarah Palin Booed Dropping The Puck: Video

It was not supposed to work out this way.

24 hours after Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was found to have abused her power in Troopergate, she dropped the puck at the Philadelphia Flyer's home opener.

Despite written reports of a mixed crowd reaction, the above video makes it fairly apparent that the boos were the dominant sound. You can hear the reaction starting about 37 seconds into the video.

Interestingly, Palin, speaking earlier Saturday, had a strategy.

As NBC's Matthew Berger writes:
Perhaps it was Palin’s youngest daughter, Piper, who emerged with her in a Flyers jersey, which helped mollify the crowd. The Alaska governor had even foreshadowed the tactic earlier in the day.

“I’ve been warned that Flyers fans, they get so enthused, that they boo everybody at the drop of the puck,” she said at a Philadelphia fundraiser Saturday afternoon. “But what I thought I’d do is I’d put Piper in a Flyers jersey, bring her out with me. How dare they boo Piper!”
Hiding behind daughter Piper. How cute.

Now is that a considerate hockey mom, or what?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

What Alaskan Newspapers Are Saying About Sarah Palin

I was checking out the major Alaskan newspapers today and was given quite an eye-opener.

Transparency...replaced by secrecy

Before the trooper-gate report was released, Elstun Lauesen had some interesting observations in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

In a column from last Sunday, titled, "McCain camp occupies Alaska (Palace coup leaves RNC in charge here)," after referencing recent statements by Pat Buchanan that Palin is being politically indoctrinated by Cheneyites, Lauesen writes:
Buchanan frets about Sarah Palin’s radical policy implant by the neo-conservatives; so should “true conservatives” be distressed by the McCain campaign’s political makeover of the woman many Alaskans once believed was a reformer. Transparency has been replaced by secrecy; bipartisan cooperation has been replaced by stonewalling; and rule-of-law is being compromised for political expediency.
Complaining that the Alaskan state legislature is under the thumb of the Republican National Committee, Lauesen adds: is not surprising that the McCain campaign decided that it is the natural law right to occupy and use Alaska any way it sees fit.

Sarah Palin, who believes her destiny is divinely guided and shares a messianic zeal with many of her core supporters, has virtually turned our state government over to the service of her political mission. Alaska’s Department of Law is now under the apparent direction of an outside alpha-dog attorney, Ed O’Callaghan, who was parachuted into Alaska by McCain’s national campaign to scrub the Palin dirt from the national lens. One big piece of that dirt is the so-called the Troopergate inquiry, with which we are all familiar. O’Callaghan reminds me of the Wolf, Harvey Keitel’s character in the movie “Pulp Fiction,” whose job was to clean up the blood and ditch the body for the employer of a couple of careless hit men.

Alaskans have watched helplessly as Attorney General Talis Colberg subverted the authority of the Legislature in Troopergate. Specifically, Colberg counseled state employees to refuse to testify in the Troopergate inquiry after they were subpoenaed. This advice is contrary to his duty to the people of Alaska.

The McCain camp has not only taken over the Department of Law, but it has hijacked the governor’s office as well. As of this writing, the governor’s press office routinely refers outside press inquiries to the McCain campaign.

Does not have what it takes

Reader Laurie Knapp, given a chance to speak her mind about her governor, in the Juneau Empire op-ed, "My Turn," had this to say. after the debate:
Do we not want a vice president who has spent more than 22 months mastering state issues, let alone national?

The energy policies with which Palin claims expertise were the product of her advisers' experience; they address gas alone, not renewable wind/solar/hydro or clean coal, let alone the nuclear agenda McCain promotes or the waste nuclear power produces.

When she spoke of women's rights, what does that mean exactly? Certainly, not reproductive freedom.
Knapp goes on to write:
Palin would be a 72-year-old heartbeat away from being leader of the free world, folks. We need more than a beautiful woman's love affair with the camera and the adulation of the masses. Please think beyond image and spin and take a hard look at what we as a nation can afford.

Palin is not stupid, but not smart enough to see beyond her own ego to realize she does not have what it takes to potentially guide this country through these tumultuous times.

A warning for Steve Branchflower

What can we expect now that the troopergate investigation has found that Sarah Palin abused her power?

Michael Carey, writing in the Anchorage Daily News on September 29th, has an idea of what's in store:
Investigator Steve Branchflower be warned. If you issue a report on Troopergate before the election in any fashion critical of Gov. Palin, you can expect to be made to look like a war criminal. Or worse.

Thanks to Troopergate, the relationship Palin established with Democrats during two legislative sessions -- the trust and accommodation she needed to pass her gas-line and oil-tax legislation -- no longer exists.

Throughout her political career, Palin has benefited from establishing and exploiting contrast favorable to her. The contrast between Palin the woman-of-integrity and dishonest Republican bosses. The contrast between the fresh new Palin and ham-handed incumbent fossil Gov. Frank Murkowski. The contrast between woman-of-the-people Palin and the public-be-damned oil companies. Even the contrast between young, vital Palin and aging, stiff John McCain -- which perversely enough has helped John McCain in the polls.

Now Palin stands in contrast with herself, before and after her nomination. And there's no benefit for her -- at least not in Alaska where she is still the governor.

I suspect that tomorrow will feature Alaskan newspaper editorials on the troopergate commission's report. I am curious as to what their take will be.

However, as this post illustrates, it's not such a bad idea to see what some of Sarah's neighbors, away from a GOP filter, have to say about their governor.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Bipartisan Investigation: Palin Abused Power

Who is the 'real' Sarah Palin?

It's official, the bipartisan 'troopergate' report findings are in. The report, from a committee comprised by a majority of Republicans, says that Sarah Palin, essentially violated state law and the public trust, and abused her authority as Governor of Alaska, in firing Walt Monegan, the Alaskan Public Saftey commissioner.

The dominoes begin to fall

From The Trail blog on the Washington Post:
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) abused her executive power when she fired her public safety commissioner this year in the midst of an intense effort to oust her former brother-in-law from the state police force, a special prosecutor has concluded.
They conclude with the following, which you can expect to hear from the Palin-McCain ticket:
Before the report was released, the campaign of Palin's running mate, Sen. John McCain, denounced the investigation as biased and said that the governor did nothing wrong. The campaign characterized Monegan's firing as a "straightforward personnel decision" that has become "muddied with innuendo, rumor and partisan politics."
According to the Associated Press:
The investigative report concludes that a family grudge wasn't the sole reason for firing Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan but says it likely was a contributing factor.
Go ahead barracuda. Make our day. Talk about how you hold the higher moral ground.

The charade is over.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

McCain Shafts Taxpayers On 'Revised' Mortgage Bailout Plan

Now you see it. Now you don't.

That would be a single line that the McCain campaign removed from their self-described Homeowner Resurgence Plan (note the not-so-subtle implementation of the word 'surge').

But what changed and what does it all mean?

You may find the answer a bit mind-boggling, to say the least.

It was Politico who, according to Keith Olbermann, first noticed the excision. They reported:
The document posted and e-mailed by the McCain campaign on Tuesday night says at the end of its first full paragraph: “Lenders in these cases must recognize the loss that they’ve already suffered.”

So the government would buy the mortgages at a discounted rate, reflecting the declining value of the mortgage paper.

But when McCain reissued the document on Wednesday, that sentence was missing, to the dismay of many conservatives.

That would mean the U.S. would pay face value for the troubled documents, which was the main reason Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) gave for opposing the plan.

To access the original document, click here. For the later version, click here.

The essence of the altered plan is that rather than let the banks absorb the loss of value that had incurred, the burden now shifts to the taxpayers. The financial institutions would not be penalized for their bad business practices.

Keith Olbermann, on his Countdown program, put it this way:
Under the revised plan, taxpayers would have to pay face value for the troubled mortgages, even though they are no longer worth anywhere near that.

That would be a windfall for the banking industry, despite their predatory lending practices, which helped bring about the crisis in the first place.
Senator Obama, as reported by the Los Angeles Times,
...criticized a change the Arizona senator made to the mortgage plan that would give a break to lenders who had made bad loans.

"So banks wouldn't take a loss, but taxpayers would take a loss," said Obama, characterizing the switch as "just the latest in a series of shifting positions. . . . This is the kind of erratic behavior we've been seeing out of Sen. McCain."

We really are reaching in to the surreal with the McCain campaign at this point. The 'Straight Talk Express' is beginning to look like 'The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight.'