Saturday, September 13, 2008

Palin's foreign policy cred - illustrated

By Libby Spencer

So we've been listening to the McCain campaign insist that their VP is well aware of foreign policy concerns because after all, Alaska shares a border with Russia. In fact, as Palin herself cheerily volunteered in her interview with Gibson, you can actually see Russia from Alaska. So I'm thinking, you know, maybe she has a point here. I mean if you can see Russia, that's got to be a little scary, knowing the big bad Bear is lurking right on your doorstep. I figured why not, through the magic of the intertubes, have a look at this junction myself.

Russia's Big Diomede Island and Alaska's Little Diomede Island, are indeed less than 3 miles apart and on a clear day you can see Russia from lovely downtown Little Diomede. Here it is.

The village is located on the western shore of the island, 2.5 miles from the Russian island Big Diomede, and 1.25 miles from the International Dateline. The island is home to about 200 native Alaskans, 2 Arctic fox and thousands of sea birds. Seals, whales, walrus and polar bears frequent the surrounding water and sea ice. There is a school, ice cream machine, washeteria and bingo three times a week for fun!

It's quite a hot spot. Check out the travelogues here, here and here. Why even Michael Palin has been there. He tells us:

They may not have fridge-freezers (they bury food in the permafrost instead) but they do have satellite television and it's not long before word gets around that one of the actors from Monty Python and the Holy Grail is on the island. The last thing I have to do before leaving one of the most remote corners of the world is to sign autographs.

And it's true you could walk to Russia in the winter when the ice forms, assuming it does anymore, but it hardly seems worth the effort, since Big Diomede is unihabited. According to this doctor, who made made a medical trip there, the Russians moved the people off that island years ago. Or you could save yourself the travel expenses and simply view the Big D via this handy live webcam -- with operable controls on the camera. Hours of fascinating viewing there, I'll tell you. I put it on the sidebar at my place just in case you want to help out Sarah in keeping an eye out for an impending Russian invasion. As you can see, the threat is imminent.

Note that is not Sarah Palin. But I'm sure Sarah visits it regularly, just to keep an eye out for Putin.

(Cross-posted at The Impolitic.)

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Dimwittedness: Sarah Palin, American democracy, and the corruption of the Jeffersonian ideal

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Today's must-read comes from the NYT's Bob Herbert. Here's a taste:

While watching the Sarah Palin interview with Charlie Gibson Thursday night, and the coverage of the Palin phenomenon in general, I've gotten the scary feeling, for the first time in my life, that dimwittedness is not just on the march in the U.S., but that it might actually prevail.

How is it that this woman could have been selected to be the vice presidential candidate on a major party ticket? How is it that so much of the mainstream media has dropped all pretense of seriousness to hop aboard the bandwagon and go along for the giddy ride?

For those who haven't noticed, we're electing a president and vice president, not selecting a winner on "American Idol."

Ms. Palin may be a perfectly competent and reasonably intelligent woman (however troubling her views on evolution and global warming may be), but she is not ready to be vice president.

With most candidates for high public office, the question is whether one agrees with them on the major issues of the day. With Ms. Palin, it's not about agreeing or disagreeing. She doesn't appear to understand some of the most important issues.

The problem is, much of the American electorate seems to find little difference between voting for president (and vice president) and voting for "your next... American Idol."

There are so many serious issues facing the United States -- the Iraq War, terrorism, global warming, health care, the economy, education, the erosion of civil liberties -- and yet the country's democratic process has been turned into one huge popularity contest, with candidates required to prove themselves worthy by pandering to the lowest common denominator.

"I'm one of you, I'm just like you," is the requisite refrain -- and it is certainly Palin's appeal (she is very much the lowest common denominator, just one who has succeeded in being plucked out of the crowd and who has both the drive and the arrogance to succeed) -- but what Americans should want is not one of them but the best of them, that is, those who have distinguished themselves enough to be democratic leaders, who have genuinely proven themselves worthy of elected office. (This should be the case for all democracies, including my own.)

But, again, this doesn't seem to be of much concern to much of the American electorate. The fact that Palin doesn't know anything about anything that is going on beyond America's borders, nor about much of what is going on within those borders, doesn't seem to bother her supporters, including those who chant "USA! USA!" at every opportunity and who delusionally believe that their country is not just the greatest in the world but God's gift to humanity. Apparently it's fine for an ignorant twit like Palin to occupy the second highest elected office in the greatest country in the world. Indeed, for much of the electorate -- Republicans, that is -- it's actually a sign of America's greatness that an ignorant twit like Palin could be vice president.

It's the cult of the lowest common denominator, Republican-style populism, a corruption of the Jeffersonian ideal and its emphasis on common virtue. Palin's popularity, however partisan in nature, is evidence of democracy at its worst, of what is possible when the righteous celebration of mediocrity trumps even basic competence.

Sarah Palin may not have a clue, but dimwittedness can take you a long way.

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The personal politics of Sarah Palin; or, using politics to reward friends and punish foes

By Michael J.W. Stickings

From today's Times:

Ms. Palin walks the national stage as a small-town foe of "good old boy" politics and a champion of ethics reform. The charismatic 44-year-old governor draws enthusiastic audiences and high approval ratings. And as the Republican vice-presidential nominee, she points to her management experience while deriding her Democratic rivals, Senators Barack Obama and Joseph R. Biden Jr., as speechmakers who never have run anything.

But an examination of her swift rise and record as mayor of Wasilla and then governor finds that her visceral style and penchant for attacking critics -- she sometimes calls local opponents "haters" -- contrasts with her carefully crafted public image.

Throughout her political career, she has pursued vendettas, fired officials who crossed her and sometimes blurred the line between government and personal grievance, according to a review of public records and interviews with 60 Republican and Democratic legislators and local officials.

Let's be blunt: She's an ignorant twit and an arrogant thug. And, as I keep saying:


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GOP will steal another election if we don't stop them

By Libby Spencer

Once again, here we are at the 11th hour and it's becomes increasingly clear that our biggest problem is not the polling but rather the polls, meaning the ballot box. Early races are turning up disturbing problems with the voting machines that remain unresolved eight years after the debacle of 2000.

Palm Beach County held an election on August 26. One of the races for judge ended up extremely close, only 60 votes separated two candidates. As election officials began preparations for a recount, they found that 3,500 ballots were missing.

Rumors abounded that the ballots ended up in a landfill. Assistant County Administrator Brad Merriman, who was investigating the missing ballots, found them at the vote-tabulating center.

A somewhat proud-sounding Merriman reported, “The ballots were found in this room, not in garbage bags, not in the trunks of cars.”

Some of the uncounted votes came from an electronic cartridge on a voting machine. The votes were counted but were never transferred to the tabulating center.

These are not Diebolds. This is the Sequoia Voting Systems, the other major machine in use across the country. And this is not the only anomaly that's turned up in just the past week. Brad blog pointed to this WaPo report yesterday.

D.C. election officials blamed a defective computer memory cartridge yesterday for producing what appeared to be thousands of write-in votes that officials say did not exist.

The glitch caused initially inaccurate results in several contests, including two high-profile council races, ...

Those answers were still in short supply yesterday, although the board said the confusion did not change the outcomes of the contests. They included the defeat of longtime Republican council member Carol Schwartz.

The episode has sparked uncertainty over whether the board, after apparently botching a routine local primary that drew about 13 percent of registered voters, can handle the general election in November. Officials expect the presidential race to drive a record number of voters to the polls.

I'd like to know how they can be so sure that the glitch didn't affect the outcome and who were the mysterious write-in votes for anyway? The piece doesn't say. One thing is clear though. The problems are unlikely to be resolved before November.

So the question is, what are we going to do if the GOP steal another election? And is it too late to raise a demand for paper ballots? I know that's not perfect either, but at least there's a little more transparency.

(Cross-posted at The Impolitic.)

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Quote of the Day

By LindaBeth

Quote of the day…unfortunately, it was from a somewhat offensive and bullshit post at Huff-Po. But the end is excellent:

Stop voting for people you want to have a beer with. Stop voting for folksy. Stop voting for people who remind you of your neighbor. Stop voting for the ideologically intransigent, the staggeringly ignorant, and the blazingly incompetent.

Vote for someone smarter than you. Vote for someone who inspires you. Vote for someone who has not only traveled the world but who has also shown a deep understanding and compassion for it. The stakes are real and they’re terrifyingly high. This election matters. It matters. It really matters. Let me say that one more time. This. Really. Matters.

(Cross-posted to Smart Like Me.)

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The Reaction in Review (Sept.12, 2008)

A week's Reactions that deserve a second look:


By Michael J.W. Stickings: "Sullivan on Krystol on Palin" -- Stickings, with his Straussian beginnings, likes it when Andrew Sullivan calls Krazy Kristol's hand on (Doug Feith neocon) Sarah Palin.

By Michael J.W. Stickings: "Palin and the polls" -- Comparing state-by-state polls with nationals shows a much more nuanced picture of the race than the CW would lead us to believe.

By Capt. Fogg: "The secret Cindy" -- Tom Gosinski knew the truth about Cindy McCain's substance abuse, but it was supposed to be a secret.


By Capt. Fogg: "9/11" -- On regaining a more appropriate perspective about the day and its implications.

By Carol Gee: "Seventh Anniversary -- 9/11/2001" -- Obama, McCain mark the solemn day together, U.N. tackles terrorism, Bin Laden not the mastermind?

By Michael J.W. Stickings: "Delusions of the way we were" -- The presidential election is turning into a referendum on the myth of America and all romanticization; HT to Joe Klein on Palin's myth that isn't real.


By Edward Copeland: "Nattering nabobs of nonsense" -- McCain campaign makes issue out of trivialities with partners in stupidity, cable news; they need to return to the role gatekeeper.

By Libby Spencer: "Meghan McCain on war and lipstick" -- Meghan says, "No one knows what war is like other than my family. Period!" (+2 videos).

By Carl: "When worlds collide" -- Thoughts on the Switzerland big success with a super-collider.

By J. Thomas Duffy: "Yeah... but was she a good tipper?" -- Per Diem Plus on Governor Palin; includes Per Diem Bonus Riffs.


By Michael J.W. Stickings: "Obama's fight: Taking on the lies and smears of McCain, Palin, and the GOP machine" -- We can all join Michael who says, "I do think Obama needs to fight back, and hard."

By Carol Gee: "Looking For the Light" -- Congress, though back in session, is preoccupied with the election and bipartisanship is needed.


By J. Thomas Duffy: "Elmera Gantry" -- Sarah Palin prayed for a pipeline, + bonus "Jesus, Bring The Pipeline" Riffs.

By Carl: "The MacGuffin" -- Alfred Hitchcock's "macguffin" is a pointless, useless piece that advanced the narrative but in the end had little to nothing to do with the actual movie; meet Sarah Palin.

By Creature: "Do not underestimate Sarah Palin" - A warning that "the Palin-McCain momentum may just snowball" brought some comments.

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Looking for victory in deceit

By Libby Spencer

Krugman has a good column today on the slimy tactics that have become the hallmark of the McCain campaign. I think the sex-ed ad really pushed a lot of pundits over the edge. Read it all of course, it's short, but a few choice cuts here.

Or take the story of Mr. Obama’s alleged advocacy of kindergarten sex-ed. In reality, he supported legislation calling for “age and developmentally appropriate education”; in the case of young children, that would have meant guidance to help them avoid sexual predators.

One answer is that the muck being hurled by the McCain campaign is preventing a debate on real issues — on whether the country really wants, for example, to continue the economic policies of the last eight years.

But there’s another answer, which may be even more important: how a politician campaigns tells you a lot about how he or she would govern.

And now the team that hopes to form the next administration is running a campaign that makes Bush-Cheney 2000 look like something out of a civics class. What does that say about how that team would run the country?

What it says, I’d argue, is that the Obama campaign is wrong to suggest that a McCain-Palin administration would just be a continuation of Bush-Cheney. If the way John McCain and Sarah Palin are campaigning is any indication, it would be much, much worse.

That's the understatement of the year. Cheney, although he may be evil incarnate, at least understands how world politics work. If by some ill fortune this pair manages to win the race, we would have two clueless "leaders" at the helm. Even more frightening, between the two of them, Palin is the smart one.

(Cross-posted at The Impolitic.)

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Banning books in Wasilla; or, the arrogant thuggery of Sarah Palin

By Michael J.W. Stickings

The stories just keep coming out. Here's another despicable example -- add it to Troopergate and the rape kit business, among others -- of Palin's "executive experience":

Shortly after taking office in 1996 as mayor of Wasilla, a city of about 7,000 people, Palin asked the city's head librarian about banning books. Later, the librarian was notified by Palin that she was being fired, although Palin backed off under pressure...

Taylor Griffin, a spokesman for the McCain campaign, said Thursday that Palin asked the head librarian, Mary Ellen Emmons, on three occasions how she would react to attempts at banning books. He said the questions, in the fall of 1996, were hypothetical and entirely appropriate. He said a patron had asked the library to remove a title the year before and the mayor wanted to understand how such disputes were handled.

Records on the city's Web site, however, do not show any books were challenged in Wasilla in the 10 years before Palin took office.

Palin notified Emmons she would be fired in January 1997 because the mayor didn't feel she had the librarian's "full support." Emmons was reinstated the next day after public outcry, according to newspaper reports at the time.

Still, one longtime library staffer recalls that the run-in made everyone fear for their jobs.

This one pretty much encapsulates the very essence of Sarah Palin: self-righteous fundamentalist conservative, ignorant anti-intellectual philistine, arrogant thug.

She wanted to ban books, because she has a problem with free speech and other civil liberties, and, when she didn't get what she wanted, she pushed her weight around, trying to ruin the life of the person who didn't give her what she wanted and creating a culture of fear.

Hey, sounds like Dick Cheney, except disturbingly ignorant and completely unqualified. At least Cheney, to give him his due, had been around.

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Calling McCain a liar to his face

By Creature

Good for The View hosts calling a spade a spade. Now, if only someone would explain to John McCain that Barack Obama didn't force him to be a lying, sleazy ass by not agreeing to town-hall meetings. This is how he justifies his slime. Incredible. Anyhoo, The View:

Update: The Obama campaign responds and how...

Today on "The View," John McCain defended his campaign's latest ad campaign, which has been debunked repeatedly as both false and sleazy. In running the sleaziest campaign since South Carolina in 2000 and standing by completely debunked lies on national television, it's clear that John McCain would rather lose his integrity than lose an election.

South Carolina in 2000. Wow.

(Cross-posted at State of the Day.)

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Sullivan on Kristol on Palin

By Michael J.W. Stickings

This (from Sullivan), a response to this (from Krazy Kristol), is brilliant:

Memo to Kristol: you may think Palin is sophisticated enough to grasp the high-level fantasies and abstractions that you have devised in your own head to defend the indefensible. But she isn't, buddy. She has a degree in sports journalism from the University of Idaho, and went to several colleges in several years. She thinks Leo Strauss is a brand of jeans. She doesn't have a clue what she's talking about. Remember: she doesn't know what the Bush Doctrine is and heard about the surge "on the news."

This is your lipsticked pitbull, buddy. Own it. And all the immense incuriosity, minimal education, and fact-resistant ambition that comes with it.

I especially like the line about Strauss -- you know, being myself an ex-Straussian, or liberal Straussian, or Straussian apostate, or heterodox Straussian, or whatever the hell I am now.

Make sure to read Andrew's post for context. Basically, Palin, like the neocons and warmongers within and without the Bush Administration, is connecting the Iraq War straight back to al Qaeda and 9/11. Even Bush doesn't do that anymore.

This puts Palin right in with the Doug Feith crowd. She is the "stupid or malicious" one, to borrow Kristol's phrase, not her critics, who are simply pointing out the truth (and how far removed she is from it).

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The past few days with candidate Obama

By Carol Gee

This post references the 2008 presidential campaign of Senator Barack Obama. It begins with a general overview of what went on recently with the senator. The Democrats are saying, "Today is the first day of the rest of the campaign." The Obama campaign is vowing to be more aggressive with push-back against John McCain.

Two of the three biggest Democrats got together for lunch Thursday. Politico's John Harris speculates (9/12/08) about the advice Bill Clinton may have given Barack Obama. To summarize this excellent read:

1. Don’t make this about you. . . 2. Define yourself through policies—yours and theirs. . . 3. Have more fun. . . 4. Make the election about something big. . . 5. Spend more time speaking to your opponents. . . 6. Don’t take Hillary voters for granted. . . 7. Stop smoking whatever it is you are smoking. . . 8. And while you are it, give me an apology.

If Barack Obama uses President Clinton's advice, we can look for more defining McCain through policies, rather than getting distracted by the Palin phenomenon. That is what many Democrats would also say to Obama. This from, on 9/5/08, opines that is, "Obama's Palin strategy: Sit and Wait." It is by Ben Smith and Carrie Budoff Brown. To quote:

The Obama campaign has no silver bullet to use against the Palin. Instead, Obama has decided to largely avoid directly engaging her and will instead keep his focus largely on John McCain and on linking the Republican ticket to President George W. Bush. The Obama campaign will leave Palin to navigate the same cycle of celebrity that Obama has weathered, and the same peril that her nascent image will be defined by questions and contradictions from her Alaska past.

Thursday, Obama and his senior aides cast Palin as little more than a surrogate for McCain and her party, leaving the more direct engagement to a newly prominent group of female surrogates. Chief campaign strategist David Axelrod called Palin a "skilled politician" who "had an assignment, and she went out and she discharged it."

If Barack Obama uses President Clinton's advice to make this campaign about something big, we can look for more on national Security and the military, and I would add, civil liberties. "Intel Dump" is a blog by Phillip Carter at the Washington Post. Carter has gone on leave of absence to work with the Barack Obama Campaign as the National Veterans Director. Guest blogger experts will fill in for him in the interim. Back in April he wrote a very interesting post titled, "Whither the 4th Amendment." To quote:

A great deal was written this past week [early April] about the latest torture memo to surface. . . Buried within the memo, however, is an extremely interesting and potentially important footnote alluding to far-reaching uses of executive power within the United States.

[footnoted in original] What exactly does this mean?

It could refer to the National Security Agency's now-well-publicized surveillance program -- a program grounded in many of the same constitutional theories of presidential power that underlie the torture memoranda. It could also refer to deployment of federal military forces within the United States and action they could take against U.S. citizens, such as hypothetically searching someone's bag for suspected explosives at an airport. (It should be noted that most soldiers deployed for homeland security are state National Guard soldiers, who for complex reasons are subject to different legal rules than federal soldiers.) Or the footnote could refer to clandestine domestic military operations conducted by the Defense Department and its intelligence components -- things we can only guess at.

If Barack Obama uses President Clinton's advice, he stands a better chance of getting elected, in my opinion. The nation needs a genuine change in direction. Senator John McCain does not represent change. He and his Vice-President would be more of the same abuses of power, war as opposed to diplomacy, and erosion of civil liberties that went on in the Bush administration. The nation just cannot afford to stay on the Bush path any longer.

Handy-Dandy References --

(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)

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Palin and the polls

By Michael J.W. Stickings

The CW at the moment is that McCain is surging in the polls. (And, indeed, he is ahead of Obama nationally, up by 2.5 points in the RCP Average.) But what are the polls really saying? Specifically, what are the state-by-state polls saying? Here's the indispensable Nate Silver with yesterday's poll numbers:

[T]he popular vote and the Electoral College are significantly diverging. Although the Republicans seem to be polling stronger than they were in the pre-convention period almost everywhere, the differences are much larger in traditionally red states, particularly in the South and the rural West (Colorado and Nevada, by the way, are not rural states). Basically, I think the Republicans are getting the evangelical vote, and a significant fraction of the Perot vote.

Unfortunately, these are not particularly useful votes for them to have in terms of the electoral math.


McCain's gain in our popular vote projection has been 2.1 points. Note, however, that his gains have been less than that in essentially all of the most important swing states, including Ohio, Michigan, Florida, Colorado, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. Only Virginia is on the other side of the line, and then only barely so.

As a result of all this, the Electoral College remains too close to call, even though McCain has a 1-2 point advantage in the popular vote.

In other words, Palin has provided a huge boost for McCain, just not as much of a boost as the CW suggests. While she's helping him pull further ahead in the states he should be win anyway, many of the key swing states remain close.

The question is, has McCain-Palin peaked? They seem to have unified the party and consolidated its support, particularly among conservatives, and especially the social conservatives of the religious right, many of whom were suspicious of, if not downright hostile towards, McCain prior to the Palin pick. They are evidently going after centrist independents with their (substance-free and largely insincere) calls for change and reform, but it's unlikely they'll be able to win many over given their extremist platform and warm embrace of the religious right, which is the very purpose of Palin's presence on the ticket: She's one of them. They now like McCain. Indeed, while Palin is undeniably popular at the moment, a media celebrity, she is popular mainly among conservatives in the Republican base. Centrist independents have not liked what they have seen and heard from her.

Another question is, can Obama rebound? I addressed that question on Tuesday. Quick answer: Yes, he can, but he'll need to fight for it.

Both the narrative and the momentum have been on McCain's side pretty much since the Palin announcement the day after Obama's speech at Invesco, and it has been tough for Obama-Biden to break through in any meaningful way. But, despite all that, and despite McCain's surge into the lead, the polls show a much more nuanced picture of the race than the CW would lead us to believe.

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Covering up Cindy McCain's drug use

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Matt Stoller:

A whistleblower is coming forth against John and Cindy McCain, and the picture he is painting is not a pretty one. You've probably heard about Cindy McCain stealing prescription drugs from her charity in the 1990s. Today, Tom Gosinski, her former employee and a close friend of the McCain's, came out on the record about the entire sordid episode. And it appears that McCain used his Senate staff and resources to cover up Cindy's drug use, and potentially to prevent the Drug Enforcement Agency from investigating his wife's theft of illegal prescription drugs. John McCain certainly used his political connections to begin a campaign of intimidation against Gosinski...

Maybe the mainstream news media can get their heads out of their Palin-obsessed asses and do a little reporting on this.

If McCain wants the election to be about character, after all, well...

Bring. It. On.

(For more, see Capt. Fogg's post from earlier this morning: "The secret Cindy.")

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The secret Cindy

By Capt. Fogg

The smokescreen of "family values" surrounding the distasteful activities of our Republican candidates isn't all that hard to penetrate. Perhaps that's why they have to distract us with constant spurious and concocted attacks on their competitors. Take Cindy McCain's smug little off-center quip that followed Michelle Obama's statement about being really proud of her country for the first time in her adult life: "I don't know about you, if you heard those words earlier, I am very proud of my country." I'm still hearing comments unfavorable to Obama resulting from that, but I'm hearing no comments at all about how proud Cindy founded a charity and used it to steal drugs to feed her habit. Until today I heard nothing about how she payed a doctor to make out prescriptions for her own use in the names of charity employees and summarily fired one Tom Gosinski when he objected to being used as an accessory.

Ariel Levy's New Yorker article on Cindy relates how the McCains retaliated against Gosinski when he rightly filed a wrongful termination of employment suit. The doctor of course lost his license, Gosinski lost his job, while McCain cooly avoided any unpleasant side effects from her multiple felonies and any damage to her flawless makeup. It's good to be rich and white, ask Rush Limbaugh who did much the same thing.

Cindy McCain has been described as being very concerned with secrecy. Perhaps we can begin to understand why when we discover that Cindy, who is fond of calling herself an only child, has two half sisters. Being an only child serves to diminish discussion of why Cindy inherited her father's fortune while her father's other daughter got ten thousand dollars -- and of course it hints at why Cindy avoids her sister or any discussion of possible unfairness resulting from some inexplicable family value. It doesn't explain how she could smoothly eulogize her father's generosity at his funeral and claim to be an only child while her disinherited sister sat there sobbing. However much she values family, one is tempted to think that she values something else far, far more.

Those Americans sober enough to remember John's first run for the presidency remember how the family values party smeared him with allegations of having an illegitimate daughter by a black woman. Of course, the daughter in question was an orphan from Pakistan whom Cindy brought home from a trip claiming Mother Theresa asked her to. It would have been a moving story if Mother Theresa had actually been at that orphanage.

Cindy's a Republican. As a Republican, you say what sounds good and you do what you do in secret and you scream at the "biased" press when you trip on the facts. As a newly minted Republican saint, she has enough hounds at her side to drown out any protest with their barking.

(Cross-posted from Human Voices.)

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"Is Sarah Palin politicizing son's military service?"

By Michael J.W. Stickings

That's the question posed by ABC News.

But it is even a question? Of course she is.

Just as she seems to think that living near Russia gives her foreign policy expertise, so does she seem to think that having a son deployed to Iraq gives her military and national security expertise.

Which is why she keeps bringing up Private First Class Track Palin's imminent deployment. She's using it to try to score political points, to boost her credibility, of which she has none, and to try to reinforce her small-town family values myth, much of which is connected to military service.

Unfortunately, if predictably, the article doesn't go there. It fails to consider Palin's political motives, which are, as ever, completely transparent. It fails even to answer the question it asks in its headline. Instead, it contrasts Palin's talking up of her son's deployment to McCain's barely even mentioning his son's military service in Iraq. (Biden's, as well, but only in passing. His son Beau is off to Iraq soon.) Even then, though, it does so only casually, without delving into, or anywhere near, the not-so-small matter of political opportunism.

Then again, this is the media outlet -- ABC, that is -- that is giving Palin a cozy, high-profile platform from which to continue to lie to American people... and to spew with arrogant ignorance the usual Republican talking points on national security, about which she knows nothing (like Bush and McCain, she wants Georgia and the Ukraine in NATO, which is dangerously insensitive to Russia's concerns and the source of much of the current tension)... and, most crazily of all, to commit to war with Russia.

So what do you expect?

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Troopergate: Just the facts

By Michael J.W. Stickings

I've written about it here and here.

Make sure to check out TPM Muckraker's "everything you need to know" overview here.



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Bubba Pundit

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Bill Clinton: "I predict that Sen. Obama will win and win handily."

I'm not sure I've ever been more hopeful that Clinton is right than I am right now.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Palin meets Charlie

By Creature

She may be the only wing-nut in America that does not know what the Bush Doctrine is. I'm embarrassed for her. I'm embarrassed for John McCain. I'm embarrassed [and, a bit scared] for America [via TPM].

(Cross-posted at State of the Day.)

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Cocky wacko

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Well, I've called Palin "an arrogant twit," among other things, so I think former Sen. Lincoln Chafee was pretty much right on the money with his "cocky wacko" remark.

I just don't think he's doing Obama any favours, as a surrogate or otherwise. Perhaps he could speak more artfully next time, at least when calling a spade a spade.

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How Palin screwed the victims of rape (revisited)

By Michael J.W. Stickings

While Sarah Palin was mayor of Wasilla, rape victims had to pay for their own rape kits.


I wrote about this yesterday (from Feministing), and it's nice to see the media -- McClatchy and USA Today, for example -- pick up on what is surely one of the more disgusting stories about Palin's "executive experience."

Here's USA Today:

In 2000, Alaska lawmakers learned that rural police agencies had been billing rape victims or their insurance companies $500 to $1,200 for the costs of the forensic medical examinations used to gather evidence. They quickly passed a law prohibiting the practice.

According to the sponsor, Democrat Eric Croft, the law was aimed in part at Wasilla, where now-Gov. Sarah Palin was mayor. When it was signed, Wasilla's police chief expressed displeasure.

We need more of this. So far, the McCain campaign, Palin, and their surrogates have been largely successful in driving the narrative despite ever more revelations about Palin's past, despite ever more evidence that Palin is a liar, despite ever more proof of a massive disconnect between the truth on one hand and the the myth that is being spun about Palin on the other. The media admirably reported many of the revelations, evidence, and proof early on, but in recent days their love/lust affair with her, and with the sensation she has brought to the campaign, has not surprisingly gotten the better of them. (Last night, for example, around 11:30 pm ET, CNN was glowingly transfixed on her arrival back home in Alaska.)

Americans deserve to know the truth about Sarah Palin.


For more on the rape-kit story, see Steve Benen, John Aravosis (and again), Kevin Hayden, Taylor Marsh, John Cole, and Jed (who rightly notes that Joe Biden has, with the Violence Against Women Act, done so much good in contrast to Palin).

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Delusions of the way we were: How the presidential election is turning into a referendum on the myth of America

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Wait, am I about to praise Joe Klein yet again? Yes. (Just as I did here.)


It's called "Sarah Palin's Myth of America," and it's Klein's latest piece at Time. It gets to the heart of Palin's appeal... and of the manufactured mythology, both about Palin herself and about America more broadly, that makes that appeal so vacuous, and so much of a lie.

I wrote about this myself a week ago: "Sarah Palin's Utopia of Wasilla." What's Palin's appeal? She genuine, authentic, a small-town gal with small-town values, your average American, your all-American.

But it's a lie.

Wasilla isn't the utopia Palin makes it out to be -- if anything, it's a utopia only in the literal sense, a place that is nowhere, that doesn't exist except in the imagination. Palin's Wasilla of the mind, a Wasilla of her own fictitious storytelling. She wants to be seen as an ordinary hockey mom from a town with "real" people and "real" values. Lacking experience and expertise, and even basic knowledge, her average-ness is her credential. Along with an extremist right-wing ideology -- or, rather, collection of opinions, for it is not nearly as unified as an ideology -- that is what, both to her and her supporters, qualifies her to be vice president.

But it is all romanticization and mythologization. It isn't real. Here's how Klein puts it:

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

Yes, I get her appeal. But, putting aside her extremist opinions, none of this qualifies her to be vice president.

And yet her popularity has very much to do with the fact that Americans want desperately to believe in some idyllic Jeffersonian past, a time when everything was good and just. This is historical revisionism, but it is also national self-forgetting to a disturbing degree, the disease of national self-delusion.

The explains not just Palin but also Reagan, and hence modern American conservatism generally. For Reagan, Klein writes, it was all about "the power of nostalgia for Main Street... at least a Main Street that existed before America began losing wars, became ostentatiously sexy and casually interracial." It was "Morning in America," but Reagan's "vision of the future was the past." It was going forwards by going backwards. Progress, such as there was any, was regress. "The blinding whiteness and fervent religiosity of the party he created are an enduring testament to the power of the myth of an America that existed before we had all these problems. The power of Sarah Palin is that she is the latest, freshest iteration of that myth."

With Palin's pick as McCain's nominee, the election is turning into a referendum not on the Bush presidency, or on the GOP, or even on Obama's inspiration and leadership, but on the myth of America, on the Reagan-Palin myth. And with the Republican brand weak, with Bush deeply unpopular, and with most Americans fully behind Obama on the issues, this is precisely what McCain wants. Indeed, it is McCain's only hope. For while Palin's popularity could not have been foreseen, or at least not its astounding magnitude, and while her pick was both a convenient and cynical one, it is by tapping into that myth, inadvertantly or not, that McCain has surged out of the Republican convention and drawn even with, and even passed, Obama in the polls.

An election that is a referendum on the myth of America pits mythology against reality, lies against truth, delusion against honesty, regress against progress. But it is an election that McCain can win:

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

And, alas: "The Democrats have no myth to counter this powerful Republican fantasy."

"Americans like stories more than issues," after all.

And the myth more than reality.

For with reality not looking so good -- with an economy struggling, with wars ongoing, with gas prices rising, with the globe warming, with terrorists plotting, with jobs evaporating, with an empire declining, with hopelessness and restlessness growing -- Americans would rather long to be back in a place that never was, with values that never were, than face up to the challenges now and ahead.

The myth of Sarah Palin is their own myth, the myth of eternal small-town values, the myth that Republicans have traditionally exploited to win elections. And, to Americans, or at least to many of them, Palin is, quite simply, one of them, the lowest common denominator turned success story, the American Idol of politics.

She may be a self- and party-manufactured opportunist, an extremist and a liar, but the myth, the fantasy, may yet win out in November.

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It's the lies, dummy

By Capt. Fogg

It keeps rolling in. The latest was titled I never thought of that and perhaps that was an inadvertently apt title. The central theme, or gravamen of the argument, if you prefer, was that Obama has had only143 days of government experience and is therefore not qualified to be President. Now for my part, I think experience is vastly overrated, particularly when intelligence, education and integrity are balanced against it. After all Nixon was superbly qualified in the experience department and Goerge Bush certainly was the governor of a largish state.

But, of course the recurrent 143 day motif was designed to slip by unnoticed -- that is to say it was designed to be read by people who still haven't decided whether the Harvard review editor, University of Chicago Law instructor with two terms in the Illinois senate and about 3 1/2 years experience in the US senate, is more presidential than the proven liar, failed pilot and class dummy who got into school with political connections and never says the same thing twice. Such people are more likely to find only 143 days in 11 1/2 years or at least to be afraid to ask.

Of course as sheer idiocy it pales in comparison with another one by some "retired Marine" screaming about how Clinton got us into a war in Somalia and was too busy with Monica to retaliate against terrorists. Do I really have to explore this one?

Yes, these things are of dubious origin, but the speechwriters who created Sarah Palin's acceptance speech, entered it onto the teleprompter and coached her in it's delivery aren't any more honest, and the millions who thought it was wonderful aren't any more intelligent than those who pass along these e-mails.

[T]his is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or even a reform, not even in the state senate

slipped past the lipstick as smoothly as the clear water of an Alaskan stream over polished stones. It's a lie of course.

Al Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America and he's worried that someone won't read them their rights.

That's far more than hyperbole, far more than a lie, actually. Not to dwell too much on the fact that she also thinks God is plotting to destroy all life but that which subscribes to her religious belief, but there is a gulf of unsurpassed size between ignoring constitutional rights and civil liberties even for citizens, a gap as wide as the space between galaxies between years of torture, indefinite imprisonment without trial in secret prisons and the kidnapping of people because of rumors or similarity of name and "worry about reading them their rights."

Would this be an administration we could trust to be more honest and open than the Bush/Cheney lunigarchy? They're not off to a good start if they would like us to believe it. Smearing one's opponent with this kind of disregard to moral scruple and common decency makes the crapulous claims to piety and "values" reek all the more. I think we have to conclude that this is simply a would-be administration with no qualms about saying and doing whatever it needed to do to promote the Christian/industrial domination or our waning republic.

McCain's goals are nebulous. Palin's are obvious: no birth control, no abortion, no books sympathetic to homosexuals, no sex education, no paleontology, no geology (except for petroleum exploration) no evolution, no heresy, no social services, no subsidized medical care, no equality for people who don't fit in to her religious utopia. Her personal and official record of feeding at the public trough while posing as a cost-cutter is there for all of us to see.

Is it too much of an extrapolation to see in her cynicism about civil rights an affinity for domestic spying and torture, or contempt for freedom of speech, assembly and religion? It doesn't matter. She has so little qualification in terms of common decency, intelligence or even sanity anyway. In that respect she's a mirror for the Republicans.

(Cross-posted from Human Voices.)

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Seventh Anniversary -- 9/11/2001

By Carol Gee

Today will be a solemn occasion for all of us here in the United States, not an anniversary celebration. The only "celebrations" will be those in our individual hearts, as we celebrate the lives of those thousands who died on that tragic day. We must also remember the others who lost their lives later as a result of illness brought on by their prolonged work in the aftermath at Ground Zero.

Barack Obama suggested to John McCain, in a phone call after the Republican convention, that they appear jointly at the September 11 commemoration at Ground Zero. The political opponents will not be so today as they mark the tragedy of the terrorist attacks of that day several years ago. To find out all about what is going on today, we are indebted to David C. Morrison who writes the terrific newsletter, CQ Behind the Lines. On 9/8/08, he wrote a piece that included, "Grounded at zero." To quote from it (author's links):

McCain and Barack Obama will appear jointly — with partisanship tuned way down — at Ground Zero on Thursday, the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, The Wall Street Journal spotlights. As the commemorative date looms, the World Trade Center Medical Working Group has released its first annual report related to the aftermath of the attacks, The Chicago Tribune tells. The results of a biopsy, published by The New Yorker, suggest that an NYPD detective whose 2006 death has been held up as an example of the toxic illnesses suffered by Ground Zero workers, actually died of some other cause, the Times tells. Construction workers last week installed the first steel column for New York’s Sept. 11 memorial, Newsday relays — while the Post previews the dedication of the Pentagon’s 9/11 monument, and USA Today notes that the other major memorials are at least three years off.

Since the attacks in 2001 The United Nations has struggled to come to terms with terrorism, unable even to define the term. The current Secretary General is Ban ki-Moon, about whom I have written in the past. with whom the U.S. is not an effective partner. From Yahoo! News 9/11/08 by Howard La Franchi: "At U.N., a bolder approach to terrorism." To quote:

Terrorism is not an easy topic to raise at the UN: The political, religious, and ideological dimensions of the issue always seem to get in the way of a full-on discussion. . . And yet there sat Mr. Ban on Tuesday, using the back door of a conference of his creating about the victims of terrorism – who could disagree with that topic? – as a way to get at the overarching issue of terrorism.

. . . Ban's one-day symposium, the first conference on the topic held by the UN, reflects the determination of the results-oriented chief of the unwieldy institution to address the top issues of the day, as delicate as they may be. When Ban rose to the secretary-general's office in January 2007, many UN hands wondered how the longtime South Korean diplomat's signature efficiency and impatience with no-can-dos would fare in a job prizing the ability to walk on 192 eggshells.

. . . Others say that Ban, while a realist about what can be achieved in the short term, refuses to accept that a central challenge to civilization must be left off the world agenda because of controversy.

"Terrorism has turned into something of a taboo topic, but [Ban] refuses to accept that and stands by his belief that we must be able to have a fair discussion of the main issues of the day," says one UN official who is well acquainted with Ban's thinking but who is not authorized to comment publicly on him. "He realizes this may not result in policy, at least not right away," the official adds.

Tense times are upon us. On 7th Anniversary Of Attacks, White House Claims Bin Laden Was Not The ‘Mastermind’ of Sept. 11," according to Memeorandum. The campaign to be the next President of the United States is fierce. A hurricane is bearing down on my state, and though we live considerably inland, yard stuff must be tied down, extra water saved, and batteries located for when the power goes off. Those activities are absolutely nothing compared with what the survivors of those lost in the 9/11 attacks are faced with today. I will be "sending white light," as my friend Laura says their way. I am hoping that they are finding peace and solace as they visit the various memorials now emerging at the various attack sites. They are in various states of completion. The beautiful Pentagon memorial is now opening. Ground Zero and the Shanksville, Pa. site have a way to go, though many people will gather to pay their respects at all three sites.

Previous South by Southwest "9/11" posts:

(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)

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By Capt. Fogg

How are you observing 9/11, asks I guess the assumption that it's still a day of wailing, sobbing, self pity and recreational anger is still with us.

Perhaps like 12/7 or an endless host of infamous dates, 9/11/01 will continue to live in infamy amongst a dwindling number of old men for a while, but eventually become one with the date on which the battleship Maine sank (2/15) and itself sink into irrelevance to anyone but historians. 4/19, the date on which a right-wing Christian terrorist blew up the Murrah Federal building, has long disappeared from the list of American passion plays.

We're no longer, for the most part, bombarded with daily warnings of mysterious Internet "chatter" and mysterious unattributed warnings or "terror," and fear of invasion by bearded, dark skinned maniacs isn't rampant in the streets of small town America.

To me it's a day. It's a Thursday which means my wife volunteers at the Red Cross and I pay bills, take out the garbage and do chores. Yes, I will be thankful nothing fell on my son and I do remember an old acquaintance who didn't make it out alive, but I'm not going to follow the many e-mail suggestions to put flags on my car, or have moments of silence or forward messages to everyone I know. I'm not going to help inflame more anger or self-pity or any of those things George Bush used to get us to support a bogus war during the first day of which more innocents were killed than died in New York.

I'd rather remember that Osama bin Laden is still unaccounted for, that "the troops" we're supposed to support are being let down by the government who sent them overseas under false pretenses, false assumptions, without proper reinforcements, with insufficient planning and resources. I'd rather remember, if I must remember something today, that this country seems poised to refuse to learn a simple lesson and put people of the same mindset and even less integrity into office to replace him.

I have no way of knowing whether my grandchildren will still be "observing" 9/11 when they are my age, or even if they will have any idea of what happened subsequently. Their ideas of history may very well be wildly different from my ideas about current events. A lot of that depends on what happens on 10/4 of this year. Will it signal a return to sanity, to the basic principles of secular, liberal democracy, or will I be observing it in the coming years from the Windward Islands?

(Cross-posted from Human Voices.)

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The Earmark Queen

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Even the Politico is on to her:

Senator John McCain recently told reporters that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has "learned that earmarks are bad."

But not that bad, apparently. According to a "summary of requests for federal appropriations" posted to her budget office's website earlier this year, Palin requested millions of federal dollars for everything from improving recreational halibut fishing to studying the mating habits of crabs and the DNA of harbor seals.

It's a position at odds with her recasting as an anti-earmarking champion, and with the tone of the biting scorn she's employed toward the budgetary practice this week.

In other words, it's a lie at odds with the truth. (And "learning" based solely on political expediency.)

But that's Sarah Palin for you.

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Top Ten Cloves: Ways Charlie Gibson can screw up interview with Sarah Palin

By J. Thomas Duffy

News Item: What To Expect From The Palin Interview

10. Badgers her about film Mystery, Alaska, and if she got to meet Russell Crowe.

9. Does the interview wearing a Moose Suit.

8. Demands to know where the hell she came up with the names of her children -- Trig? Trak?

7. With expected high viewership, spends the entire interview pitching her on ABC's Fall Line-up.

6. Producers confused, bring in actress Sarah Polley, and Gibson never notices.

5. Taunts her "Bridge To Nowhere" stand by singing "Alaska's bridge has fallen down, fallen down, fallen down..."

4. On the "Hockey Mom" thing, asks her if she is still involved in Field Hockey.

3. Thinking they're off-camera, and into an open mic, Gibson offers Palin, and her husband, help for AIP in Alaska's secession.

2. Asks Palin if she can get her church to pray for the new addition he's thinking of adding to his house.

1. Suggests, if she can get an earmark to build set, he will pitch network brass on new Sarah in Trees' show.

Bonus Palinpalooza Links

Josh Marshall: Slow Slide Into Oblivion

Attaturk: Predicted Charley Gibson Questions for Palin

The Jed Report: Not Really An Interview

Top Ten Cloves: Reasons McCain Campaign Is Keeping Sarah Palin Away From The Media

Top Ten Cloves: Things About Vetting Sarah Palin In One Day

Charlie and George Go To A Debate ...

Boy, And We Thought Russert and Williams Sucked

(Cross-posted at The Garlic.)

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Thumbs down: The idolatry of Sarah Palin

By Michael J.W. Stickings

It's not exactly original to call Palin "the American Idol candidate" -- I've heard it before and thought it myself -- but Roger Ebert, who's been here in Toronto for the film festival (one of the greatest things about this great city), does just that, and does it well, explaining Palin's populist appeal and rightly slamming her pathetic anti-elitism, a celebration of the lowest common denominator in American life.

Read the whole piece. Here's a sample:

I think I might be able to explain some of Sara Palin's [sic] appeal. She's the "American Idol" candidate. Consider. What defines an "American Idol" finalist? They're good-looking, work well on television, have a sunny personality, are fierce competitors, and so talented, why, they're darned near the real thing. There's a reason "American Idol" gets such high ratings. People identify with the contestants. They think, Hey, that could almost be me up there on that show!

My feeling is, I don't want to be up there. I want a vice president who is better than me, wiser, well-traveled, has met world leaders, who three months ago had an opinion on Iraq. Someone who doesn't repeat bald-faced lies about earmarks and the Bridge to Nowhere. Someone who doesn't appoint Alaskan politicians to "study" global warming, because, hello! It has been studied. The eturns are convincing enough that John McCain and Barack Obama are darned near in agreement.

Ebert's criticism of Palin's glasses in the penultimate paragraph is silly, but his conclusion is solid:

I trust the American people will see through Palin's facade, and save the Republic in November. The most damning indictment against her is that she considered herself a good choice to be a heartbeat away. That shows bad judgment.

I'm just not sure I share that trust. Bad judgment goes a long way in American politics, as does the appeal to the lowest common denominator.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Nattering nabobs of nonsense

By Edward Copeland

Sarah Palin owes Barack Obama and all African-Americans an apology. In her stump speech, she repeatedly boasts of putting a jet for sale on eBay. Obviously, since we all have ESP and the ability to break codes, Palin is really telling a tasteless, racist joke since Jet is a prominent African-American themed magazine and eBay is an online auction site that raises uncomfortable comparisons to slavery. Makes as much sense as finding sexism in using a common phrase in describing someone's policy statements, right?

As idiotic as it is that the McCain campaign has tried to make another issue out of thin air and trivialities since they know they lose if it it's about things that matter, they couldn't get away with it without their partners in stupidity: cable news.

Of course, Fox News always will be there for them, so it doesn't count, but what is the excuse of MSNBC and CNN for giving the lipstick lunacy more coverage than major hurricanes? Where's a mindless car chase when you need it?

MSNBC may be overly sensitive this week since they gave in to pressure and agreed not to let Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews anchor "news" events such as conventions any more because they give opinions. As much as I love Olbermann, I don't disagree with their idea that anchors of political events should be "unbiased." What annoyed me was that they were pushed into it by the likes of CNN and The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz who has whined for a long time about MSNBC's tilt to the left while pretending that Fox's anchors such as Brit Hume and Chris Wallace are fair and balanced.

CNN is such a muddle, who knows what to call it. They dumped shows such as Crossfire but just moved fighting pundits into different formats.

The cable networks seem to equate fairness with equal time and spin from both sides. They don't take the time to actually investigate candidates' claims or how their programs would really work: They just stick on spokesmen or surrogates to put the best possible shine on each side's view and those who might seek actual answers are shit out of luck.

The equal time has been particularly pointless since Palin arrived. They'll show an Obama event which, more often than not, is something new. Then they have to show McCain-Palin where they literally repeat the same stump speech, word for word, day after day. You hear the bridge to nowhere lie again, the luxury jet bit again, the executive chef lie again, etc. They usually cut away before McCain gets too far into his spiel.

The news media needs to return to their most important role: That of gatekeeper. Just because you get a press release doesn't mean you have to report it as news. Get out of the damn broadcast center.

One personal note: Palin botched her joke at the RNC. The difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull isn't lipstick, it's that the pit bull is better suited to ascend to the presidency if something happens to the president.

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Charade you are: McCain, the media, and pigs with lipstick

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Greenwald: "We're fighting multiple wars; our oldest and most established financial institutions are on the verge of collapse; we've fundamentally transformed and then dismantled our constitutional framework over the last eight years, etc. etc. But the Right and their media partners are striving to ensure that our election this year is going to be dominated and determined by whether John Kerry looks stupid in wind-surfing tights Barack Obama called Sarah Palin a 'pig' when he invoked a meaningless cliché." (Read the whole thing.)


Obama today: "They seize on innocent remarks, try to throw them out of context, throw up an outrageous ad because they know that it's catnip for the news media. I don't care what they say about me but I love this country too much to let them take over another election with lies and phony outrage and swift boat politics. Enough is enough."

A fine response, but, of course, enough is never enough for the Republicans and their media mouthpieces. And this is no exception.

The media are obsessed with such matters, after all, eagerly lapping up what the McCain campaign and the Republican Smear Machine are feeding them (and playing it all up), while McCain and his surrogates are, in typical right-wing fashion, claiming victimhood and already using the incident -- or, rather, their willful distortion of the incident -- to score political points. (Yes, there's already an ad.)

It hardly matters, within this dynamic, that Obama did not call Palin a pig. (See Memeorandum for much more reaction.) Obama has used the phrase "lipstick on a pig" before, and so has McCain. In fact, Meghan McCain says that her father has used "the term" before (though she also stupidly claims she has "no idea" if Obama was directing it at Palin or not, which just goes to show that, in her case, the apple is right next to the tree.)

Then again, McCain has also been known to use the 'c' word and Palin herself, it has been reported, has been known to hurl the slurs.

Apparently, what is offensive is in the eye of the (Republican) beholder.


Here's the video of Obama's remarks today:

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