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September 4, 2008

Slime, and several answers to slime
Posted by Patrick at 04:32 PM *

“I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities.”
—Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin, acceptance speech, September 3, 2008

A. Serwer on Tapped:

[C]ommunity organizers aren’t just those rabble-rousers who help keep people from getting evicted or protest police brutality—they’re basically the ordinary people across the political spectrum who to try hold government accountable to its citizens. Mocking that really shows how much contempt the party has for ordinary people. Republicans look down their noses at alleged “elites” while directing their anger at community organizers, who actually live and work among the people politicians only pay attention to when they’re looking for votes. But it’s not surprising that a party that has spent the last eight years running government into the ground would be irritated by an active citizenry demanding that government actually do its job, rather than simply letting incompetent pols go about their business. If there’s any takeaway from this theme, it’s that the right would rather Americans shut up and fall in line.

If I had spent my mayoralty subjecting people to loyalty tests and trying to ban books, a community organizer might make me nervous, too. If I had been mayor of a town that was left with 20 million dollars in debt after my tenure, I wouldn’t be on TV talking about how well I had handled my responsibilities and how awful community organizers are. Because, after all, community organizers have the responsibility of helping regular people cope with the messes irresponsible politicians leave behind.

Christopher Hayes at the Nation:
[M]y dad is a community organizer, so lemme spell this out: the difference between a community organizer and a politician is that a community organizer can’t tell anyone what to do. They have to listen. So they can’t order books banned from a library to indulge their own religious sensibilities. They can’t fire someone because they didn’t follow orders to fire an estranged family member. They can’t ram through a $15 million dollar sports complex that leaves their local town groaning underneath the debt. Unlike politicians, they don’t have any power other than the power of people who want to see something changed.
Al Giordano at The Field:
Palin couldn’t help herself last night. She had to say, in a few fateful words, “I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a ‘community organizer,’ except that you have actual responsibilities.”

Translation: I got elected and therefore I am better than all of you!

Joe Klein at Time magazine’s “Swampland” blog:
This morning, I received a press release from a group called Catholic Democrats about the work—the mission, the witness—that Obama performed after he got out of college. Here’s the first paragraph:
Catholic Democrats is expressing surprise and shock that Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s acceptance speech tonight mocked her opponent’s work in the 1980s for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. She belittled Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama’s experience as a community organizer in Catholic parishes on the South Side of Chicago, work he undertook instead of pursuing a lucrative career on Wall Street. In her acceptance speech, Ms. Palin said, “I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities.” Community organizing is at the heart of Catholic Social Teaching to end poverty and promote social justice.
So here is what Giuliani and Palin didn’t know: Obama was working for a group of churches that were concerned about their parishioners, many of whom had been laid off when the steel mills closed on the south side of Chicago. They hired Obama to help those stunned people recover and get the services they needed—job training, help with housing and so forth—from the local government. It was, dare I say it, the Lord’s work—the sort of mission Jesus preached. (As opposed to the war in Iraq, which Palin described as a “task from God.”)

This is what Palin and Giuliani were mocking. They were making fun of a young man’s decision “to serve a cause greater than himself,” in the words of John McCain. They were, therefore, mocking one of their candidate’s favorite messages. Obama served the poor for three years, then went to law school. To describe this service—the first thing he did out of college, the sort of service every college-educated American should perform, in some form or other—as anything other than noble is cheap and tawdry and cynical in the extreme.

Perhaps La Pasionaria of the Northern Slope didn’t know this when she read the words they gave her. But Giuliani—a profoundly lapsed Catholic, who must have met more than a few religious folk toiling in the inner cities—should have known. (“I don’t even know what that is,” he sneered.”) What a shameful performance.

Christy Hardin Smith on Firedoglake:
Cleaning up a local riverbed or a walking trail with your kid’s scout troop? Republicans think you’re a loser.

Working with a job training or literacy program to help folks move from welfare to work? Republicans think your efforts deserve ridicule. Promoting a spay and neuter program at your local animal shelter? Republicans are laughing at you. Volunteer at your church pantry to help the least of these? Republicans are mocking you.

Christy nails it. If you spend any time whatsoever doing stuff to help other people out, these freaks gathered in the Xcel Energy Center despise you.

No more mercy. These people need to be more than defeated. They need to be driven from our public life.

Comments on Slime, and several answers to slime:
#1 ::: Dave MB ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 05:57 PM:

Here is Barack Obama's own response, via Ezra Klein:

Look — I would argue that doing work in the community to try to create jobs, to bring people together, to rejuvenate communities that have fallen on hard times, to set up job training programs in areas that had been hard-hit when the steel plants close, that is relevant only in understanding where I’m coming from. Who I believe in. Who I am fighting for, and why I’m in this race.

The question I have for them is — why would that kind of work be ridiculous? Who are they fighting for? What are they advocating for? Do they think that the lives of those folks who are struggling each and every day, that working with them to try to improve their lives is somehow not relevant to the Presidency? I think that as part of problem, may be why they are out of touch and do not get it, because they haven’t spent a lot of time working on behalf of those folks.


#2 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 06:06 PM:

So, what she's saying is that as a state representative, and then a state Senator, Obama wasn't responsible to anyone because he wasn't a mayor?

It's a nice insulting slam, but (a) she didn't write that speech, it was written for her and (b) it's not actually relevant.

#3 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 06:08 PM:

Digby:

In the largely white confines of the Republican National Convention, the phrase is a slur, like "ghetto hustler," but lots and lots of people today derive great benefit from community groups, including church groups, and the help they provide ordinary people. Most Americans live in metropolitan areas and actually have experienced the value of community organizing in their lives. Think bake sale.

The whole thing is worth reading; it's link-heavy.

Wasn't one of the phrases used last night about Obama "South Side community organizer?" Seems to me that's a code word for uppity black man, and I see where Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga) actually used that adjective today.

#4 ::: Remus Shepherd ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 06:10 PM:

As the wise man Tom Lehrer said, "I don't want to satirise George Bush and his puppeteers, I want to vaporise them."

I try to remain an independant, but it's hard to do that while watching the republican party's shocking hatred and reliance on lies. They're too disgusting to merely defeat. They have to be consigned to the dustbin of history.

#5 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 06:10 PM:

I would also point out that there are differences between pit bulls and hockey moms besides lipstick.

-Pit bulls can be taught to behave well.
-Pit bulls don't tell vicious lies about others.
-Pit bulls give a flying fuck about the actual PEOPLE they're in charge of.

#6 ::: Geoffrey Kidd ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 06:13 PM:

From the web:

"Mrs. Palin needs to be reminded that Jesus Christ was a community organizer and Pontius Pilate was a governor."

#7 ::: Rulial ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 06:14 PM:

The Republican Party has proven, once again, that one of its core missions is to convince middle class voters to join their rich leaders in dumping on the poor.

#8 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 06:23 PM:

Patrick, you're right on, but when I watched the speech this morning it just plain didn't occur to me that she was serious, that she was claiming literally and seriously that small town majors have, say, more responsibility than volunteers who run large community organizations or even big animal shelters, for that matter. It went right past me.

I guess I thought she was being ironic.

#9 ::: Joe Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 06:26 PM:

http://organizersfightback.wordpress.com has very little content yet, but hopefully will be worth watching.

#10 ::: Connie H. ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 06:27 PM:

"Catholic Campaign for Human Development" sounds suspiciously like a faith-based organization to me. Not that I think Obama walks on water, but at least he's gone out and truly ministered to the poor and sick, which is probably more small-c Christian experience than most of the current crop of presidential nominees.

I bet he was really good at it, too.

#11 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 06:28 PM:

A further thought: "community organizer" is code for something. What was the title of Saul Alinsky's great book on community organizing? Rules for Radicals, possible translation into English: Obama is a community organizaer, therefore he is a radical, therefore he is a terrorist, and did we mention that he's a Muslim?

#12 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 06:36 PM:

Xopher @ 5, I appreciate the humor, but I think it needs an "at least THAT hockey mom" disclaimer, given the Making Light presence of punkrockhockeymom, whom I've never met in person, but who comes across in pixels as a far more admirable person than Gov. Palin.

#13 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 06:36 PM:

Xopher @ 5, I appreciate the humor, but I think it needs an "at least THAT hockey mom" disclaimer, given the Making Light presence of punkrockhockeymom, whom I've never met in person, but who comes across in pixels as a far more admirable person than Gov. Palin.

#14 ::: paul ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 06:37 PM:

Geoffrey Kidd @6, where did you find that? That's not a quote of the day, it's the quote of the century.


#15 ::: Greg Morrow ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 06:39 PM:

Aren't all of the Republican ward bosses who are responsible for getting out the vote in their precincts "community organizers"?

#16 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 06:42 PM:

That slam at Obama and community organizers and activists was also a code that they are Those People -- and immigrants,

The conclusion to be drawn then, by those to whom this narrative is addressed, is that The Great White 'Laskan Gawdess Mayor If Going Against The Uppity, Elitist, Non-White, Non-Christian, Woman-Clinton Cheater And His Wife Who Hates America Activist On Your Behalf. It's racist as hell. It plays beautifully to everyone who is terrified at the news that the 'caucasian race' is going to be a minority among minorities very soon in this great nation.

It's all part of the those end-times xtian mythologies.

Love, C.

#17 ::: Sten ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 06:46 PM:

I think when most Republicans hear the phrase "Community Organizer" or "Community Activist", they picture Al Sharpton with a bullhorn.

Incorrect as the stereotype may be, we have to partially blame the Al Sharptons of the world for perpetuating the stereotype.

Obama needs to work hard in the debates to transcend the stereotype and not let it detract from his pressence as a transcendental figure. Palin has (tactically) tapped the underlying resentment among Rightists that "community activists" are just anti-patriot grievance-peddlers. If Obama can expound successfully on his years in Chicago and how they have taught him the ins and outs of the human condition such that he can now apply those lessons on a national scale, he should do well.

If Palin or, more probably, McCain can successfully push the idea that Obama is merely a grievance-monger with atrophied love of country... Well, it's still Obama's race to lose, but it'll be a much tighter race because lots of Americans, not just Republicans, aren't keen on people who forever see the American glass as being half-empty.

#18 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 06:51 PM:

They got their red meat last night and are feeling the surge. From Georgia Rep. Lynn Westmoreland:

Westmoreland was discussing vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's speech with reporters outside the House chamber and was asked to compare her with Michelle Obama. "Just from what little I’ve seen of her and Mr. Obama, Sen. Obama, they're a member of an elitist-class individual that thinks that they're uppity," Westmoreland said.

Asked to clarify that he used the word “uppity,” Westmoreland said, “Uppity, yeah.”

#19 ::: paul ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 06:53 PM:

This is part of the overarching narrative of the "rugged individual" who doesn't need a community: during her reign, Mrs Thatcher said "A man riding a bus (to work) at age 26 may count himself a failure." As if London, New York, or Tokyo would be the dynamic money generators that they are without public transport . . .

I'm not sure what a small-town mayor in a state that would be even more desolate than it is without federal largesse knows about success or failure, or more to the point, accountability.

It baffles me how people don't see that the same goons who want their votes hate them, mostly for having to rely on their votes, but I wouldn't be surprised if they also hated them for being so ignorant and easily led. This is beyond "voting against your own economic self-interest." This is voting against your birthright, your cultural heritage, what makes America what it is.


#20 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 06:53 PM:

Why yes, Sten. The palins of the world are generally successfully at tapping into racism and playing the race card to win elections.

#21 ::: paul ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 06:54 PM:

@18, this is the same guy who couldn't name the ten commandments on live TV. And the sheep line up to be sheared once more . . .

#22 ::: bipolar2 ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 06:56 PM:


** The people, Ben Franklin, are poised to destroy the Republic **

Lieberman, McCain and Palin are small human beings, intellectually and morally. But like G. W. Bush, they are all the more dangerous for their dull wits and lack of humane values.

McCain's calculated cynicism in selecting ultra-right Palin reveals his lack of judgment and his frivolous nature. He’s no “maverick”. He's mentally unstable.

Palin’s religious delusions are ideological madness. Her fundie xianity is a toxic ersatz for policy, domestic and foreign. She is but one aspect of McCain's death wish for America. As minister for suppression of homeland deviance, Palin becomes dictator of morals and values, while McCain plays dictator of external affairs -- without perpetual war the empire will collapse.

McCain capitulated to the death impulse of dominionists who now control his party. They want to destroy the Constitution and create a theocratic state. They aim to speed a supposed vengeful return of a mythological being by inciting a nuclear Armageddon in the Middle East as a welcome-home party.

That's the Lieberman connection. He's not a mere flack; he's vital to a new holocaust. As "good will" ambassador to Israel’s ultra-conservatives, he’ll do his damnedest to direct God's holy sword of Israel towards a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Bush-McCain’s nuclear war by proxy is already set at its "fail-safe" points on US aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf.

Now, the choice is stark. Keep McCain’s finger off the nuclear trigger. Keep Lieberman from inflaming Israel’s right-wing. Keep Palin from becoming a domionist rising star.

Obama offers more than hope. He may be able to save the Republic and the peace of the world. And, you thought Star Wars was fiction.

bipolar2

#23 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 06:59 PM:

I agree, the way the Republicans are using "community organizer," this year, with the sneer, is code for "uppity n-----r." And when they think that, they don't just mean Scary Black People, they include all people who are not True Believers in God, guns, drilling for oil, and capitalism. Constance at 16, you said it well.

So far, Obama is responding with great grace and with terrific targeted ads, most of which I'll never see except on YouTube, because he's not bothering to show them in California.

I'm going to donate some more money to the Obama campaign. You should too. Imagine McCain and Palin winning -- OMG.

#24 ::: Connie H. ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 07:03 PM:

Paul #21 -- that was when he was interviewed by Stephen Colbert!

This should link to the Comedy Central clip of it:


Better Know a District - Georgia's 8th - Lynn Westmoreland

#25 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 07:09 PM:

Rikibeth: You don't have to tell me twice!

Seriously, you're absolutely right. I mean THAT PARTICULAR evil, slimy, underhanded hypocrite of an unAmerican willfully stupid hockey mom. No offense meant to hockey moms generally, especially to ones who can be told from a pit bull even without lipstick.

#26 ::: Sten ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 07:09 PM:

Constance,

Some would argue that Sharpton is the bigger racist in the equation. I would be one of them.

But this isn't about Sharpton. I used him as an example of street theater run amok. And by pegging Obama as "street theater" the McCain campaign is (again) tactically working to portray Obama as both unserious and potentially dangerous, if given the White House.

The odds are still in Obama's favor. The Republican name brand has been in the toilet for a few years now, with centrists as well as Democrats, and it's that vital centrist vote that McCain must (somehow) attract if he wants to even have a chance.

Prior to Palin, I gave McCain almost no chance to overcome. Less than 5%

With Palin, I think it's 65%-35%, for Obama.

#27 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 07:20 PM:

McCain, the great maverick, showed his maverickitude by selecting as his running mate someone who failed at running a car wash. Good executive experience, that. And it wasn't years ago -- that car wash was in 2007.

Oh, and that ultra-right "Christian" is also a liar: Fired Alaskan Official Says Palin Hasn't Been Truthful

Let's look at that little town where she was mayor. She cut property taxes, which benefited rich folks who owned a lot of land the most. How did she make up the loss of revenue? By instituting a sales tax, including taxing groceries, that hit the poorest people hardest.

This candidate is a revolving disaster. And the judgment of the person who selected her has to be called into serious question.

#28 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 07:30 PM:

From the Community Organizers Fight Back website:

“Community organizers work in neighborhoods that have been hit hardest by the failing economy,” said John Raskin, founder of Community Organizers of America and a community organizer on the West Side of Manhattan. “The last thing we need is for Republican officials to mock us on television when we’re trying to rebuild the neighborhoods they have destroyed. Maybe if everyone had more houses than they can count, we wouldn’t need community organizers. But I work with people who are getting evicted from their only home. If John McCain and the Republicans understood that, maybe they wouldn’t be so quick to make fun of community organizers like me.”

#29 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 07:31 PM:

This bit from the NY Times article linked above really caught my eye:

"Sarah comes in with all this ideological stuff, and I was like, 'Whoa, " said [John C.] Stein, who lost the election. "But that got her elected: abortion, gun rights, term limits and the religious born-again thing. I'm not a churchgoing guy, and that was another issue: 'We will have our first Christian mayor.' "

"I thought: 'Holy cow, what's happening here? Does that mean she thinks I'm Jewish or Islamic?' " recalled Mr. Stein, who was raised Lutheran, and later went to work as the administrator for the city of Sitka in southeast Alaska. "The point was that she was a born-again Christian."

Now that would be a good point for the Obama campaign to hammer on. "Are you Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Catholic? Sarah Palin calls America a Christian country -- but she doesn't consider you to be a Christian." Extra points because they don't even have to mention the significant number of voters who really aren't Christian; that's all in the subtext. We need to find a citation of her actually using the phrase "Christian country" or "Christian nation", but that shouldn't be hard.

Also, how are all these Republicans getting elected -- to everything from local school boards to governors' offices -- without community organizers? Once again, the McCain campaign disses its own people. (And I see Greg beat me to that thought, back at #15.)

#30 ::: Darth Paradox ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 07:31 PM:

Every time you hear the word "uppity" come up this election, bear in mind that they're leaving off the second half of the phrase - the one that starts with an N and is six letters long.

They don't need to say the word in order for the target audience of those remarks to hear and understand it. A perfect example of dogwhistling.

#31 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 07:33 PM:

Paul @ #14, Politico described it as an e-mail from a reader. Dunno if that's where it originated, though.

#32 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 07:36 PM:

Linkmeister, #28: Wow. The Obama campaign needs to get that man on TV now, saying exactly what he says there. If that's not a perfect 30-second soundbite, I've never seen one.

#33 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 08:04 PM:

James D. McDonald @ #27: Sales tax is actually a better idea for Wasilla. It's a Mat-Su Valley hub, with a significant amount of city infrastructure being used by people who don't live there. I usually stop and use a bathroom and grab a meal when I'm driving through, and I don't mind paying sales tax to support the facilities. If they only had property taxes, we'd not be paying for what we're using.

#34 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 08:11 PM:

We listen to the claims of truth and grit,
lights are placed carefully to mark the highs,
from this great distance no one smells the shit.

The primed crowd laughs, though we can't find the wit,
but they are ready there to storm the skies;
we listen to the claims of truth and grit.

The universe seems narrowed to a slit
and no one listens to a child who cries;
from this great distance no one smells the shit.

Each falsehood is turned into one more hit
as monster is transformed before our eyes,
we listen to the claims of truth and grit.

The human mouth will fill with normal spit
to respond to the cavalcade of lies;
from this great distance no one smells the shit.

We wait to see if she might have a fit
before she is awarded with the prize;
we listen to the claims of truth and grit,
from this great distance no one smells the shit.

#35 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 08:31 PM:

#27: Lots of Christians are liars, there's no need for the scare quotes.

But then, lots of people of any belief system are liars. It's like Sturgeon's Law for humans, or something.

Christians aren't really particularly worse than anyone else. (But they also aren't particularly better, which is worth pointing out on the frequent occasions when they *claim* to be better just because they're Christian. Ain't so.)

#26: I don't see how Palin gets McCain anywhere with centrists. She's unqualified, corrupt and extremist - the only thing about that someone could *possibly* like is the extremism, and then only if you share it. Which moderates, ipso facto, don't.

#36 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 08:39 PM:

#27: Lots of Christians are liars, there's no need for the scare quotes.

I put "Christian" in quotes when describing Palin because I'm quoting her. Without the quotes it would be me saying that she's a Christian.

BTW, I live in a state that has no sales tax, only property taxes. That works very, very well.

#37 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 08:44 PM:

Obama's response to Palin's speech

I liked it, especially the whole "I've been called worse on the basketball court" line.

#38 ::: KB ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 08:46 PM:

And yet Republicans everywhere are all a-quiver, certain that they have the killer candidate that will bring them to victory. There was a caller on the Randi Rhodes show this morning declaiming that the Democrats had their chance to put a woman in office and blew it. Now the Republicans have a woman, and she's their winning ticket. "You guys are gonna lose!" the caller crowed repeatedly.

They really, truly think that Hillary's supporters, or perhaps women in general, are so stupid and sexist that they'll vote for anyone with two X chromosomes.

McCain has revealed himself the hypocrite that he his when, after repeatedly slamming Obama for being "inexperienced," now slams the media for questioning -- "attacking" in McCain's words -- Palin's experience.

I cringe at the very thought of this country ending up in the hands of this madman and his nutjob running mate. But somehow this choice of his has caused him to rise in the polls.

Suddenly I feel like pricing real estate in New Zealand.

#39 ::: deathbird ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 08:46 PM:

All this almost makes me wish I was a US citizen, just so I could vote for Obama and against McCain/Palin. Almost. But I'm happy to be an Aussie.

BTW, does anyone else think McCain looks even more doddery and old when he stands next to Palin? Not a good look for a president wannabe. He looks like he's about to fall off the twig any minute. No wonder they keep showing photos of him in his Vietnam War days, where he look young and vigourous.

#40 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 08:48 PM:

The thing that I admire and appreciate most about Obama is his background as a community organizer. Also, it gives me confidence that we can work with him as a leader. His campaign has succeeded so far because it did so much more to organize and empower the grass roots. He wants the grass roots to speak truth to power. When he's in power, we'll speak truth to him. As he said, "It's not about me, it's about you."

Palin's statement is true if you substitute "authority" for "responsibilities.” Community organizers take responsibility for some aspect of a community and, without any authority, try to improve it. They have to go up against authority to make the system work for the community. Palin, on the other hand, represents authority, and I'm increasingly concerned that it is authority without responsibility.

#41 ::: Adam Rice ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 08:52 PM:

Don't any of these people remember George I's "thousand points of light" speech? Or George II's office of faith-based initiatives?

It seems as if Obama was working to fulfill the Republican approach to social services (ie, let other people take care of it). And for that he gets mocked?

#42 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 09:08 PM:

#38: I think Palin actually will help in getting the Republicans who are otherwise luke-warm about McCain to vote on Election Day (as opposed to staying home). All they needed was an excuse to vote for McCain. (It's not like they were ever going to vote for Obama.) I really doubt women in general will vote for McCain because of her. (Then again, I don't understand how she can hold policy positions which serve to undermine gender equality.)

The other thought that occurred to me is that this is yet another case of Republicans trying to create their own reality. i.e., if they say it enough times it will be treated as fact and perhaps actually become so. It's sort of like the end of the 2000 campaign when Bush was boasting that he was going to win California. (He didn't, but he certainly acted as if he was going to.)

#43 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 09:10 PM:

#41: You thought they actually believed in that?

#44 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 09:18 PM:

Lee @ 29
I get that feeling every time I hear someone say 'I became a Christian', because so often what they really mean is becoming a 'born-again Christian' after being in a mainstream church. And yes, a lot of them don't really think other denominations - even other conservative/evangelical/fundamentalist groups - are really Christian, only the one that they themselves belong to.

Can we say just a bit narrow in their thinking?

#45 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 09:31 PM:

Something I don't understand regarding qualifications. I'm certain that when Senator Obama decided he wanted to be President he started studying up on all the things a President should know. My State's Governor, when asked about the Vice Presidency, asked what the job would entail...

::slams head into desk::

How can people think that she's more/at least as qualified as Senator Obama? How??? He's been learning about what he needs to know while she's been giggling on talk radio about pulling the hair of the Senate President*. And exploiting her kids for effect.


*Yeah, it's been annoying me since January when it happened, ok? It was completely unprofessional.

#46 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 09:39 PM:

Lee #29: "I thought: 'Holy cow, what's happening here? Does that mean she thinks I'm Jewish or Islamic?'" recalled Mr. Stein, who was raised Lutheran, and later went to work as the administrator for the city of Sitka in southeast Alaska.

Sitka, Alaska? No wonder she thinks he's Jewish.

#47 ::: Emily H. ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 09:40 PM:

I've spent all of my professional career (which admittedly amounts to a tender two years) in urban libraries. I know community organizers. They're in the library hustling on behalf of the people they're trying to help, from getting preschoolers into storytime to getting high school dropouts prepared for the GED. I wouldn't trust all of them with the country I live in, but by and large I'd trust them a lot further than I'd trust Sarah Palin.

But then, I guess I'm a failure - I do indeed ride the bus (and the subway, and another subway) to work at the age of 26. So what would I know?

#48 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 09:42 PM:

One thing that particularly irritates me about Palin's speech is the sharp contrast with Obama's declaration, just a couple of days ago, that Palin's children were off-limits. He was courteous to her; she was slimy and noxious back.

Does she take courtesy as a sign of weakness?

#49 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 09:50 PM:

Katie, my eldest, and I are watching the RNC tonight for her 7th grade civics class. Her observation: "Doesn't John McCain's wife make you think she's the White Witch from Narnia?"

Now I can't get the association out of my head.

#50 ::: Adrian ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 10:01 PM:

My mother just called to tell me how terrible it was that some horrible liberal had presumed to ask Sarah Palin about banana clips or scrunchies. (When did it become definitively liberal to patronize a woman just because she's a woman?) She went on to describe Bristol Palin's marriage as "wonderful," and tell me Governor Palin's advocacy did not have anything to do with what was taught in Alaska schools so nobody had any right to talk about what she might have wanted them to teach.

I am at a loss.

#51 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 10:19 PM:

McCain has started his speech. CNN is showing protestors who have unfolded a sign reading "YOU CAN'T WIN AN OCCUPATION" in the upper rows of seats.

The crowd is interrupting McCain with shouts of "USA! USA!" which I infer are covering heckling from the unamplified dissenters.


#52 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 10:23 PM:

Tania @33 - you do realize, of course, that when you are stopping for a meal, the restaurant you're using is located on property?

#53 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 10:23 PM:

Bill 51: I wonder if they're talking about Iraq, or the hostile cop-army occupation of St. Paul?

#54 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 11:09 PM:

Xopher - HA!

#55 ::: Joyce Reynolds-Ward ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 11:33 PM:

Geez. I guess that my community organizing experience as a 4-H leader--including running a county Fair division--makes me as qualified if not more than Sarah Palin. Oh yeah, I did a stint in the PTA as an officer, too.

But oh. Forgot. I'm not only employed as an evil godless teacher, I'm an evil, bead-jiggling Catholic teacher who worships idols and drinks wine (well, I prefer a good single malt, to be honest).

Woe is me.

(And, darn it, Gloria Steinem stole the concept I came up with last night, that Sarah Palin is the Second Coming of Phyllis Schafly. Oh well. I'm sure Beverly LaHaye would like to claim credit as well).

#56 ::: George Smiley ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 11:36 PM:

Josh Jasper @2 typed:

"So, what she's saying is that as a state representative, and then a state Senator, Obama wasn't responsible to anyone because he wasn't a mayor?

It's a nice insulting slam, but (a) she didn't write that speech, it was written for her and (b) it's not actually relevant."

She clearly did not write it (nuclear was, in the text, written phnetically as new-clear, presumably becase in practice runs she was to obtuse tp pronounce the word correctly). But it doesn't matter if she wrote it. Shestood up, in front of 38 million people, and delivered it. Sarah Palin is responsible for the words formed under orders from her brain, transmitted by motorneurons to her vocal cords, and vomited from her mouth.

She is responsible for her words.

#57 ::: ADM ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 11:55 PM:

http://kali921.livejournal.com/250945.html

#58 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 11:55 PM:

George Smiley writes at #56:

She clearly did not write it (nuclear was, in the text, written phnetically as new-clear, presumably becase in practice runs she was to obtuse tp pronounce the word correctly).

Giving the Governor the benefit of the doubt, I prefer to think that she and the speechwriter were just making really sure to get it right.

#59 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 12:07 AM:

WRT the speeches: I have heard that they were all run by the McCain speechwriters before being delivered (which may explain some of the stuff), and also that Palin's speech last night was rewritten, possibly in haste, because they'd written it up last week for a man to be doing the delivery. (Can we say surprises for McCain's own campaign people?)

#60 ::: Judith ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 12:26 AM:

Governor Palin apparently believes in an enemies list. Scary stuff. When the author has to say "I can write this because I'm a housewife and don't have a job to lose"... and "this will cost me anyway"...

... she hired or elevated new, inexperienced, obscure people,
creating a staff totally dependent on her for their jobs and eternally
grateful and fiercely loyal–loyal to the point of abusing their power
to further her personal agenda,

Sounds like Nixon plus Bush.

#61 ::: Russell Letson ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 12:45 AM:

Fragano @34: Huzzah! How the hell do you cook up an apt villanelle in 24 hours? Lovely.

In other news: As I watched the crowd's responses to Palin's speech (and then the entity-in-the-street pieces on today's NPR coverage), I kept thinking, "Monkey politics, monkey politics, monkey politics. . . ." (Not to be confused with "money politics," though that certainly applies as well.) For some reason, to a lot of people, she smells right--even over basic cable. Can memes act as mental-emotional pheromones?

#62 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 01:38 AM:


Christian Dominionists spreading their creed,
Theocrats plotting their coup.
Christian Dominionists shouting their prayers,
Telling all what one should do.

Secure in their values they know they shall win
All of the world to their side.
Christian Dominionists know in their hearts
They shall not let anyone hide.

They know that their creed shall take over the world
And those not acceding shall die,
Christian Dominionists triumphant shall
Impose a new order thereby.

Stonings and slav'ry and death there shall be
For sinners have sinned and must pay,
And if the sin is a capital crime
The sinner shall be killed that day,

Christian Dominionists soldiers of God
Inexorably make their way
Person by person they work to convert
And they look forward to say,

Someday soon they shall have their Kingdom of God
And those not compliant shall die,
Theocracy shall reign over the world
And no one allowed to ask why


#63 ::: George Smiley ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 01:48 AM:

Bill Higgins @58: assuming that Palin might forget how to pronounce "nuclear" -- a word pronounced the way it is spelled is giving her the benefit of the doubt? Dude. That is some seriously faint praise.

#64 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 02:26 AM:

Re "new-clear": Isn't it obvious? They don't want there to be ANY risk that she might sound like Bush!

#65 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 03:31 AM:

A sudden late-night thought:

I think Palin is trying to run too many conflicting images simultaneously. She's trying to be the Good Mother, the Down-To-Earth Woman, and the Tough Broad all at the same time. And she's doing this in an environment (i.e. the Republican Party) where (1) the threat of being perceived instead as the Goddamn Bitch hangs over her head 24/7 like a Sword of Damocles, and (2) there is not a lot of margin for error. Frankly, I don't think she's got the chops to pull it off for very long.

#66 ::: A.R.Yngve ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 04:01 AM:

Why is it, that every election another word is turned (by Republicans) into something negative?

"Liberal" used to be a neutral term.
So did "elite", or "community organizer".

I fully anticipate the next word being turned into a pejorative term:
SNEERING VOICE-OVER: "Obama is a *Democrat* who believes in *Democracy*..."

#67 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 04:09 AM:

Excerpt from Conan The Parliamentarian (forthcoming in November 2012):

Campaign Chairman: "We have won. This is good! But what is best in life?"

Nameless RNC Operative: "The White House rose garden, Air Force One, the JCS to command, and the cheers of your loyal supporters."

Campaign Chairman: "Wrong! Conan, what is best in life?"

Conan The Parliamentarian: "To crush your opponents, to see them disgraced, indicted and unemployable, and to hear the lamentations of their K-street slaves."

Campaign Chairman: "Ah yes, that is good."

Don't laugh. They've pretty much trashed most of the first fourteen amendments. Don't be too shocked if they forget about section 1 of article II.

#68 ::: Alan Braggins ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 04:22 AM:

> She's unqualified, corrupt and extremist - the only thing about that someone could *possibly* like is the extremism, and then only if you share it.

There are people who like having corrupt politicians so long as they think they can do the corrupting and control the politicians. And "unqualified" might even make it easier to do that.

(But whether any of those people are centrists who wouldn't vote for McCain without Palin, I have no idea.)

#69 ::: Brian ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 05:07 AM:

Full list of books Palin wanted banned from libraries as mayor has leaked:

Sarah Palin Banned Books List

#70 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 05:24 AM:

Brian @69:
Dead link.

Remember to put quotes around the url, and use http:// at the start of it.

#71 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 05:38 AM:

Maybe it's just me, but whenever I see Palin, I think of Jean Grey when she is first seen in the original X-men movie. It's the glasses. If Palin starts wearing red though, then the Earth is really in trouble.

#72 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 06:20 AM:

In the "you've got to be kidding me" category:

McCain's staff has loftily announced that voters will learn about Sarah Palin through canned ads and scheduled appearances, not from any media interviews or press meetings:

http://www.politicalbase.com/profile/Mark%20Nickolas/blog/&blogId=3591

#73 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 06:24 AM:

Lance Weber @49: "Doesn't John McCain's wife make you think she's the White Witch from Narnia?"

I sent a copy of this photo (from this story on the Crooks and Liars site) to a friend with the note: "If this was Babylon 5, you'd know Cindy was in the PsiCorp".

#74 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 07:41 AM:

My name is Legion, for we are many.
For the sentimental, I am the Hockey Mom.
For the fearful, I am the Tough Broad.
For the gullible, I am the Stealth Dominionist.
For the feminists, I am the Sixth Wave.
For the bluenoses, I am the Eyes and the Lips Sewn Shut.
For the enemies list, I am the Sword of Damocles.
Send us into the elephants, that we may enter into them.

#75 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 07:56 AM:

Brian, #69: Full list of books Palin wanted banned from libraries as mayor has leaked:

Where is it from? Because on the library blog that Boing Boing linked to when they pointed out Palin's book-banning attempt, somebody in the comments tried to pass off what turned out to be just a list of commonly banned books as Palin's list.

#76 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 08:04 AM:

Brian's list of Palin's banned books is, of course, an astounding worldwide exclusive.

#77 ::: Ce'ine ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 08:13 AM:

One of the big problems I have with the whole thing is that republicans seem to feel they are better than anybody else and they stand accused of the very things they accuse others of. Any race I have seen (and that is years worth) there is a lot of trying to convince the people (as if they are mindless cattle) that the other party is not worthy of representing the concerns of the whole. This is sad that we have not moved beyond name calling on the playground. Then there is a lot of worthless promises made that nobody ever intends to keep (still after the cattle, "I promise that I will make the pasture safer for your kids" stuff). The point is, nothing up until this time has worked. They can talk all about how prosperous we were way back when so and so was in office and such but what does that do for us now? What we need is a change to the very basic ways that we do business. We need change. Nothing else has worked so why would we keep voting for the same stuff over and over again? It blows my mind. I may not be a politician (thank the graces) but I do know what works and what doesn't and all the games, and lies, and innuendos and such are not necessary. People this time around need to vote their heart and what is best for the whole. Don't vote for what is best for the Christians, or the Catholics, or the Black people, or the White. Vote for what will help raise us all. We are one and we need to start actng as one. Forget the special interests.

I will tell you the truth. I favor both candidates but I do not favor any party. I like that Barack does represent change, and fresh approaches to things but I doubt that he might be strong enough to oust a few of those old time death dealers in the political circles. You know the ones I am speaking of. They are the ones that wave the flag and scream for God and Country and immeditely try to figure out ways they can line their pockets with the end results. This country was not founded on any particular concept of what God we should all be worshipping but on free choice to worship and be represented as we chose. Some factions would have you believe otherwise. It is not about God. It should not ever boil down to that. It is about what is best for us, for ALL of us. Freedom of Religion means all religion. We shoud coin the phrase "Freedom From Religion". So Barack would get my vote.

I also favor McCain. I do feel he is a man of integrity and anybody that has been in the military will tell you that when you are dedicated to protecting the man next to you there is little time for flag waving. The main reason that veterans wave the flag and get political is not because they just overwhelming want to be political and such, they simply want the country to remember what the initial promises to them and their families were back when and they want the american public to recognize their service and see that they get the care they so desperately need and deserve. Not many of you folks have been subjected to the 24/7 duties and lifestyle they have been subjected to. Not many have gone through the rigors of military life and adjustments required to be able to function correctly. Ye, after a certain point, they were all volunteers and that makes them even mor special. They volunteerede to be there when they were needed and they want and need adequate representation. They want that and as a country of free thinkers (supposedly) we should demand that and more. Whose country is this anyway and why should somebody else be in charge of our very life pulse? Shoot they cannot even take care of business within let alone on a world wide scale. Now, back to John. I sense he is a man that is on a mission to do all that he can to be what we need and he just happened to need a sponsoring group that could help get him in that position. If he gets it I hope he is strong enough to do some house cleaning. I tell you I felt kinda used badly when I wrote and told the powers that be that they needed to all be fired and they needed term limitations to make sure that the kitchen stays fresh and a couple weeks later I got audited by the IRS. What's with that? People, you need to open your eyes and vote with your hearts and do what is best for ALL of us. Think about what you are doing and think about what is representing you. Both political machines have their agendas, but are they for us?

#78 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 08:23 AM:

So we should "vote our conscience", right? Hmmm, that sounds familiar....

#79 ::: Ce'ine ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 08:29 AM:

And do you know what is really funny? The more irrational statements that either party makes about the other, the more shocked and preocupied the other gets about making up "lost ground" with the voters. They lose their focus on what issues the voters are concerned with. They lose us. They then focus on the silly games being played and forget why they are there. Hence the wild accusations and empty promises. Give them anything as long as it works the spin doctors will tell you. At what cost? Sooner or later maybe enough of us are going to get tired of the whole circus and bring down the big top and try it all over again. This time, minus the clowns.

#80 ::: Ce'ine ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 08:32 AM:

Actually, if I had meant conscience I would have stated it. Many times your conscience will lie to you but your heart is a different matter. The conscience can rational why you are doing something, give you excuses but the heart doesn't lie. It is called being congruent or in touch with your true nature. It is called living in radical honesty.

#81 ::: DaveL ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 08:52 AM:

#11 Kathryn Cramer got it right early in the thread. I would guess that to more people than Republicans "community organizer" = "radical." A raft of quotes where left of center bloggers talk about how awesome community organizers are would only amplify the impression.

More and more, this election looks not to be about Iraq, nor about the economy, but about the culture wars. /*sigh*/

#82 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 09:08 AM:

Ce'ine, similar phrases have been used here as dogwhistling for support of third party candidates.

#83 ::: Ce'ine ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 09:12 AM:

What is really too bad is that we are the American Culture; not the Christian Culture, not the Black Culture, not the White Culture, none of that. We are the American Culture. Where is that outside the group that is wildly waving the flag declaring us the biggest, baddest kid on the playground? Why is it so important to be remembered as the greatest nation one earth? In what terms do they wish to see us as that way? Because we have the best military, thus the most aggressive in enforcing our will and ideals on other nations? Why not let them take care of their own problems for the most part? You know offer advise. The government, our goverment makes us take care of our own and even gives our assets away when we should be, could be taking care of our hungry, our homeless, our starving, our weak.....We are not even sure that our people who have worked years to get social security will even receive any of it because the till has been robbed so freely. Our country robs Peter to pay Paul and we pay for the ticket. Our children pay for that ticket and it does no good to point fingers because if we had to point a finger it would be squarely on the people as a whole for allowing it. If we want to be remembered for something let it be said that we were generous and caring of all of our people and stood as a shining model to be admired by others for it. Do you know that the hero has the hardest position to maintain, especially if he begins to believe his own press :)))

#84 ::: Kevin J. Maroney ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 09:16 AM:

Al Giordano has the right instinct in his translation ("I got elected and therefore I am better than all of you!"), but uses more words than necessary. In fact, the Bush-McCain philosophy is "Shut up and be ruled."

#85 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 09:18 AM:

Here is a lovely video clip in which a McCain campaign rep explains to Jay Carney, TIME Bureau Chief that Sarah Palin will not talk to the press: No Questions, Please. We'll Tell You What You Need To Know.

You must see this to believe it.

#86 ::: Ce'ine ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 09:21 AM:

I do not belong to any party, hhehehe not even fourth or fifth. I am making an attempt to say something without being accused of supporting anybody. Just pointing out observations, giving voice to frustration. So, our conversation here is not open to observation nor heartfelt inspiration? Surely, and I am not trying to sound cynical here, you do sound a bit unreachable and I suppose that is a pose for some people to take that is firm in their stand. My stand is also firm. I think what we need is to clean house, and get back to the business of taking care (really taking care of what is ours). If Bozo the Clown could do it I would vote for him (minus all the makeup hehehe). I hate masks.I was also under the impression that folks might actually be interested in what normal folks have to say rather than just banding words and smart phrases around.

#87 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 09:31 AM:

Palin's speech, what I can stomach of it, convinces me that all the Republican issues in this election are religious. Palin represents the Proprietarians, who hold property and ownership sacred, and worship the use of property to gain more property. And what sort of ownership could be more holy than owning a government?

#88 ::: Ce'ine ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 09:41 AM:

Thank you #87, my point exactly. BTW I just watched the U-Tube thing #85 talked about and I was pleased to see that they did not let me down. As usual they dismissed what the man was trying to accomplish and pretty much said "the people will know what we want them to know about this woman that we want the poeple to accept as their Vice President". It is the usual and that folks should say is "What kinda of Crap is that?" I got horses to feed, and animals to take care of, it's been nice, it's been real hehehe. Later.

#89 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 09:48 AM:

Bruce @87:

So...some conflation between the terms "elect" and "elected"?

#90 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 09:51 AM:

James D. Macdonald @ 36
Jim, I live in a different state with property taxes and no sales tax, and it works exceptionally poorly* here. The property owners have a habit of using the initiative ballot system to cut the taxes or build loopholes into them**.They also have a habit of voting against spending that doesn't benefit them, like education†, transportation, and other "city" issues. Now that I think of their voting patterns and who sponsors those initiatives, I wonder if they don't think of them as "gay" issues.

As a result we have one of the worst educational systems, primary, secondary, and higher education, in the US (and we moved here for the really good educational system that was here 30 years ago, so we've seen the whole devolution personally, with 2 kids going through all those levels here).

* Not that I think there should be a sales tax; I agree that it's a regressive tax that mostly hits those who can least afford it, and who have less margin between wages and payments, if any.
** Ever wonder how the wealthy third-ring suburbs and exurbs around cities like Portland, OR got to be filled with Christmas tree farms? Turns out the land used to be farms, and is still zoned as agricultural land; developers just bought the land in 10 acre parcels, built 10 or 12,000 square foot "houses" on it, then planted evergreen saplings on the rest.
† Yes, I know, educating our young helps all of us in a lot of ways. These ingrates, who suck off the public teat in more ways than I can count, but refuse to give back, don't admit this.

ETA: NOTE TO MODERATOR - I got a "Suspicious cross-site scripting denied from http://www.nielsenhayden.com/mt/spqr.cgi" warning from NoScript when I hit preview on this comment. This is the first time I've seen that here.

#91 ::: JJ Fozz ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 09:51 AM:

Why would the Republicans even take this view? They prattle on and on about how "christian" they are, but they attack someone who wanted to go out and help others? Isn't that the foundation of just about every religion out there?

My grandfather was a life long Dem because he benefitted from FDR's programs. He worked in the CCC and was able to eat regular meals.

I don't see this wave of Palinmania lasting longer than another week. There's something snarky about her that I don't like.

#92 ::: Ce'ine ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 09:58 AM:

Oh, one last thing and I will check back later. What does the word "conflation" mean. I know it sounds silly but when I run across words I am not familiar with I look them up and no where was I able to find the meaning so I am having trouble putting it into context. Thanks.

#93 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 10:02 AM:

#70 Ce'ine

I'm a veteran. Terry Karney is in the National Guard and has recent service in the Middle East. Jim/James/Yog Macdonald is a mustang Navy veteran.

McCain's military service was at the same time and in the same theater of combat as that disgraced former US Representative from California who I think is rotting in jail for corrupting these days.

The fellow who lost his seat and in Congress and went to jail was collecting all sorts of bribes for giving contracts to the companies which bribed him.... he was a War Hero, but it didn't stop he from being a corrupt legislator. Nope, his being a War Hero it made him a more attractive target for bribery instead, with a Strong Defense Military Record.... and the ability on the House Armed Services Committee to give fat plum contracts to the companies who made his life more personally comfortable!

McCain isn't the only veteran on the Hanoi Hilton, he's merely the best known, and the one who's gotten the most political mileage out of it.

His moral character has apparently NEVER been particularly impressive--a party boy who is "pro-life" with the anti-birth control and anti-abortion lobby but apparently never missed an opportunity to play stick the frankfurter in an attractive female, a man whose vows of fidelity to his first wife were so strong that he was involved with an affair with his current wife, a booze distributor heiress in advance of divorcing his first wife (and the current wife was far from his only marital infidelity... if he hadn't gotten shot down perhaps he would have gotten "the black syph[illis] instead....)...

And then there is the "torture" issue. McCain claims he was tortured in the Hanoi Hilton, HOWEVER, he voted in the US Congress for the use of "cruel and unusual punishment" which is banned outright in the Bill of Rights! on prisoners conveniently labelled "enemy combatants."

Now, just what is the definition of "enemy combatants"? Why, an enemy combatant is anyone the Executive Branch of US Government claims is an enemy combatant--could be anyone from someone who actually is Al Qaida, to someone whose neighbor seeing a reward of $100 for denoucing someone as an alleged terrorist, "informed" on the neighbor telling the Authorities that the neighbor is a suspicious person--with absolutely no substantiation. Or, the person taken prison was in the wrong place at the wrong time when the US military came busting through a door or looking to round up some people, and the person was, again, in the wrong place at the wrong time--the same way all those people getting arrested in St Paul were jailed, they were outside in the wrong place at the wrong time.

McCain originally objects to prisoner abuse, saying that he had been tortured in North Vietnam--but then he acceded and voted to allow it.

His military service was long ago. His current moral actions--or rather immoral actions--put him into the category of hypocrite, and oathbreaker. He swore oaths--at his military commissioning, at each term of office as a Senator, to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. In voting for the FISA act, in voting for torturing prisoners, he's an oathbreaker, and traitor.

His military service was long ago. His abrogation of the Constitution he vowed to uphold, is contemporary. He's not worth the spit to spit on him with.

John McCain, who avoided the black syph by getting shot down....

#94 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 10:17 AM:

JJ Fozz @91:

I suspect it's the desperate desire to win at all costs.

I have always reckoned that a certain proportion of people don't really believe in anything except that Winning is Everything. And that they don't, deep down, understand that anyone is different than them, that words like patriotism, or principles, or faith, actually have meaning to anyone. People who sacrifice, or even die, for such things are just losers in their books. Sportsmanship, fair play, and honor are for wimps.

Such people will gravitate to a party or a group that rewards the relentless pursuit of victory, and their presence will mold it still further into a tool for them to achieve that aim.

Case in point: the same party that will brook no criticism of a soldier were handing these out four years ago.

I often think that the culture wars are not really between the Left and the Right, but between those who care about the means and those who care about the ends.

#95 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 10:20 AM:

#90 Bruce

New Hampshire's state income comes from taxes on property and taxes on investments and other tax sources and state liquor store sales.

The state's surrounded by other jurisdictions that have sales taxes, and people travel across jurisdictions to do their purchasing "in tax-free New Hampshire" of goods that have sales taxes where they live.... it's one of the things that turned Haverhill and Lawrence in Massachusetts into blighted cities with the businesses shuttered that used to be in their blighted city centers, all the retail establishments shut down because the populace was driving across the border to Salem or Nashua in New Hampshire to shop (the Pheasant Lane Mall in New Hampshire is a particularly egregious example, the stores are in Nashua, and the parking lot in is Tyngsboro, Massachusetts..... New Hampshire collects tax money from the stores and Tyngsboro gets only the property tax money from the parking lot assessed as empty land without businesses on it...)

#96 ::: Ce'ine ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 10:24 AM:

Thanks for the honesty Paula. Just getting ready to feed a litter of pups and stopped by here. Yeah, I am also a veteran of the days of Viet Nam and my husband a veteran of many overt and covert affairs as he was an Army Ranger. We have all lost much and don't appreciate seeing all the hero stuff paid to a person (who may be trying to actually do something). He might, never know. But I needed that information you gave because I felt odd about his using the hero thing over and over and over again. I think they (he and his party) use it because so many of us now have children over there or who are subject to going over there. All the crap they spew about getting us out of Iraq soon is just crap. Ask my kid in the Air Force that tells me "Mom don't listen to what they tell you about what is really going on. It's not true. Not a word of it. That kid just got a briefing from the commander the other day saying to expect to be there for at least the next 6 years!" I remember being in and knowing what the american public wasn't being told and also being told that to say anything was in violation and made you subject to disciplinary action. We were (even volunteers) subject to that level of control. The hero thing doesn't set well with me because at this point in my life my kids that are in are my heros but not because they are for God and country but because they want to make a difference and to make something of their lives. They do what they do for the person next to them and that is how they make it. That doesn't change. As my husband would say "Rangers Lead the Way". I am very proud of my military but not for the same reasons most folks would think.

#97 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 10:31 AM:

abi @ 94... I often think that the culture wars are not really between the Left and the Right, but between those who care about the means and those who care about the ends.

On the other hand, the Culture War is used by those who care only about winning because the Culture War resonates with people whose support will help them win. Their conception of what is Good can be quite different from ours. We think it's great that George Takei and his long-time companion were finally able to tie the knot, but others see it a s a sign that Things Are Wrong.

#98 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 10:31 AM:

Russell Letson #61: I do the best job I can, that's all I can say. Thanks for the compliment!

#99 ::: BuffySquirrel ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 10:32 AM:

Conflation is when you combine two things into one. So the suggestion is that someone somewhere thinks "elect" and "elected" are the same thing--that if you are elected, you are one of the elect.

Eh.

This isn't my election, nor is it my fight, but my heart/conscience/call-it-what-you-will wouldn't let me vote Labour after Tony Blair said a vote for them would indicate support for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

No.Wars.

#100 ::: Ce'ine ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 10:35 AM:

And one more thing that kills me is that McCains party days and misbehavior was thrown up in such a positive light. Wow, he did all these things not because he may have been an a**hole and a troublemaker, but because he was a rebel and we need rebels, and the same for Palin. If we were discussing the other guys it is wise not to chose them because they bring dishonor and are not to be trusted. The usual crap hey try to dish up. I saw his bad behavior as bad behavior and perhaps that he had learned by his mistakes over the years (sometimes we do grow as we age hehehe). Where he is losing it is that he is either allowing the feeding frenzy to continue against the other side or he is encouraging it. I have a real problem with the backbiting thing. Just like I have a problem with folks that jump to conclusions about how a person stands (even if they do only stand on one leg heheheh). Bright Blessings guys.

#101 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 10:35 AM:

What does the word "conflation" mean.

It means putting two things together. Like, if you think of Alice and Bob as a couple, you're conflating them into one thing. It often implies that the two things being put together aren't necessarily similar in the way the conflation implies. So if you know Alice really likes blue, it would be a conflation to assume that Bob does too just because he's involved with her.

#102 ::: Ce'ine ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 10:38 AM:

Thanks for the explanation #99. It makes more sense now to me. So if a person is the elect (he or she is perhaps the one chosen from within) but if they are the elected then they become the once chosen by all perhaps:) Not the same thing at all but easy to see how they could be mixed up. Thanks again.

#103 ::: JJ Fozz ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 10:45 AM:

When King Bush ran 8 years ago, and McCain was mentioned, I did some research. "Not bad," I thought. My how things have changed.

If you have the time, pick up a book called "The Nightingale's Song." It's about McCain, Ollie North and another man and what happened to them after Annapolis and Vietnam.

I don't understand how people like North, McCain, etc., start out as good men who fight for their country, and are turned into the people they are today. Must be the narcotic effect of power.

The older I get, the less I care about politics and politicans. I'm concerned about the people in my circle, and that's about it.

#104 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 11:20 AM:

I live in a fairly liberal university town, but I work in a nearby small town that is overwhelmingly Republican. Here's what's in the air there:


Sarah Palin: thinks the Founding Fathers wrote the Pledge of Allegiance, including the "under God" part.

Barack Obama: taught Constitutional Law.

Q: which one is more qualified to hold Federal office?

A: Palin. She's so GENUINE!

I need to move the hell out of Georgia before I throw myself under a train.

#105 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 11:22 AM:

Hey, did anyone welcome Ce'ine to Making Light? Welcome, Ce'ine!

One thing I'll say for McCain: he seems to at least remember what it was like to be a decent human being. I think being an oathbreaker locks him out of actually being one, but he's capable of behaving well, as he did on the night of Obama's acceptance speech. This is in sharp contrast to Bush II, who has no experience of every having been a decent human being, and Bush I, who repressed all his memories of being one in order to head the CIA. (Bob Dole seemed to be a pretty good man to me, but I didn't examine his life closely.)

Does anyone else get the strong impression that McCain and Obama really genuinely like each other, I mean personally? Obama saying "It's not that John McCain doesn't care," and McCain said nice things about Obama last night too (though of course he also lied about Obama's policies).

Kathryn 85: It's absolutely wonderful that her name is Nicole Wallace!

#106 ::: Ce'ine ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 11:27 AM:

You know, while I believe that we are the only ones that bring about change (regadless of what the politicians have to say) another side of me says "Hold on." Just hold on to what you have, care for those that you love, and survive. We, many of us, have just gotten to the point where we want to survive it all. We are even planning on moving to another state (this is only because moving out of the country like so many today won't work for us because of our two left at home kids). The reason for moving to this state was because this is where we were when we both got out of the military and the cost of living was pretty good back then. Now the cost of living is so high we are planning on a move to another state so that we can hopefully get by on our retirments. Governmental and military retirement doesn't even take the edge off the cost of really living out here (but then many of you know that). The gas is so high (I'm bitching here hehehe) and the cost of making the electricity to use (the gas fuel factor in this state) make it nearly impossible to make it. We are some of the lucky ones. Many have no retirement to use, no option for a higher paying job, or the ability to go back to school (cost to much) to get one. They don't have medical, and dental is out of reach. The reason I know is that I have many friends like that. They are not deadbeats. They work hard and have all their lives and the country keeps getting more and more expense and even simple necessary things are out of reach. Then to make it even worse is that the medical they are offered by their companies is paid for out of their own salaries and they cannot afford to have it take away from the more immediate needs such as electric and food and such. We are just trying to hold on. Many times we cannot even do that. Shoot since all this problems with the economy we have lost our home and one of our two vehicles. We live from week to week and this is not because of bad planning but just the way it is. My husband, ex-ranger got injured while in the military and will have to go for disability and hope it will pay more than his retirement because he cannot have both. He had two bad tree landings and a busted lung and his back broke in two places and he still crawls up on a hot roof daily as a sheet metalist apprentice at 47 years old (taking pain medication) to make enough money per week to help take care of our needs. He has not gone for disability yet because we cannot afford for him to not work while he waits to find out what he will receive. He has had four major surgeries over the past three years and needs another one soon. I was forced to retire from governmental service and am on a fixed income which I will lose if I go back to work and even if I could I would not last long and then wouldn't get any retirment after thirty years with the government and in the military. Whenever I think that we have it bad, I look around at my friends and see that they struggle with more and I wonder if we can hang on. We need to have something good go right with this country soon or many of us won't make it. The starving kids and people in other countries will thank us for our efforts to help them if they get the money rather than the politicians in their countries that are crooked, but what about us? Our system is badly broken and we need help. What will we do? I don't know, rigt now we are hanging on just to find out I guess. It feels as if it doesn't matter any more who gets in they will just lie to us again and we will be scrambling to try to make it. Do you know why we (so many of us) push our kids to go in the military? Do you know what advice we give them. Don't be a hero dear. Don't volunteer for dangerous things. Just go and get an education and try to make something out of your life. We cannot afford to send you to college. We cannot give you a better start. We have done all that we could. If you gotta be huuuuuah, then do it for the guy next o you and be careful to not believe all the propaganda they will preach at you. I'm off my horse and on to the other things I gotta do to get ready for the weekend. Bright Blessings to you all and have a wonderful weekend :)))

#107 ::: MaryL ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 11:29 AM:

Does anyone else get the strong impression that McCain and Obama really genuinely like each other, I mean personally?

Oh, no. No no no. I see McCain holding Obama in deep contempt, tinged with rage.

#108 ::: Ce'ine ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 11:31 AM:

BTW thanks for the welcome. I hope to come back again if I am welcome. Right now, I really have stuff I gotta do before the weekend hits. My baby will be tired and I want his beginning of the weekend to start well. My kiddos will come in ready to settle in and I have bills to pay and promsies to keep for them. I love inteligent conversation and this has been that. I have learned a lot here this morning and been allowed to vent a bit :)))

#109 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 11:32 AM:

#103 JJ

Not everyone gets corrupted--consider Reps Wexler, Waxman, and Kucinich, for example, and the young enlisted troop who blew the whistle on the atrocities at Abu Ghraib.

As for North.... one of the people I worked with when I was at GTE when GTE Government Systems Corporation existed, was retired military, either a lieutenant colonel or full colonel, who had casually known Oliver North when both were stationed in Washington DC.

GTE Strategic Systems Division, where the retire officer and I worked, in the Advanced Systems Organization part of the division, was in the strategic command, control, and communications business, holding at the time the main contracts for both strategic offense and strategic defense. He was trying to get some information, and called people he'd known back in Washington. He said, with bemusement, words to the effect of, Everyone kept telling me to call Ollie North. But he's a lieutenant colonel--he's occupying the position of the head of the White House Communications Agency, which is a position that ought to be occupied by a full colonel. But everyone is telling me to talk to Ollie North, he's the person to go to who would know the information... what is a lieutenant colonel doing as head of WHCA, there ought to be an 0-6 at least in that position!" The coworker did contact North and got the information, continuing to be bemused that North was in the position he was in and some someone more senior in rank, and bemused that there weren't other people who had the information he was looking for.

When the Irancontragate scandal hit, the coworker said, "If Ollie North did what they say he did, his ass belongs rotting in prison."

=====

Some of what happened seems to have been that there was a power vacuum--North took over as WHCA head because nobody else was there and he stepped in with the power vacuum, and the power went to him, for lack of appointments made of people with the experience and rank who should have been there in a competent, honest, well-run administration/Executive Branch of US Government. It's sort of like a badly run Worldcon in a way, where someone volunteers to say work on Registration and discovers that they're suddenly the Head of Registration in the absence of someone actually appointed with the experience and committee membership and seniority for doing the job, and the person makes bad choices, does things in cowboy fashion, gets megalomania, has the sense of power lead them into inappropriate behavior and actions... (on second thought, very few people who work on Worldcons, has there ever been evidence of siphoning funds from one area and illegally using them for other purposes which are forbidden to pursue).

North was not that senior an officer--he was a lieutenant colonel, whose actual authority and reponsibility, exceeded what he should have been exercising/allowed to exercise with his rank. He reported Admiral Poindexter, without checks or balances or "transparency" and without accountability to Congress. George Herbert Walker Bush's dirty hands were in there manipulating away with the attitude of was it a former CIA director?, and a bunch of other people were involved, who had little to no respect for US law.

The Reagan administration was a disaster which few will admit and few recognize as a disaster. It was a shambles, with the titular hear suffering from Alzheimer's (senility) and situations such as the WHCA power vacuum, people wound up with power who didn't have the rank/experience/maturity appropriate for the positions, or positions went empty--sound familiar? it's even worse these past nearly years with completely unqualified people occupying positions they got as pure patronage job-s given out on the basis of loyalty tests and corporate connections and malice to the idea of regulation.

#110 ::: BuffySquirrel ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 11:39 AM:

You are welcome, Ce'ine, but so would paragraphs :).

#111 ::: BuffySquirrel ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 11:42 AM:

are paragraphs?

meh

#112 ::: JJ Fozz ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 11:46 AM:

Paula, thanks for the deep background answer, gives me some food for thought. I just don't understand how, when people reach a position where they can actually do some good, they forget what "good" really is. If they do remember, they're swatted down by the majority.

All of this has made me apathetic towards those in power and authority. Let them do what they want, they're going to win in the long run.

Might as well use my time here to take care of my own.

#113 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 11:58 AM:

JJ Fozz @112:
Might as well use my time here to take care of my own.

A common and entirely understandable sentiment.

But what happens when your own are soldiers in Iraq, or drinking from a water source that's been contaminated by industrial pollution, or are simply kids in need of schooling or people in need of police protection?

It's hard, and discouraging, but sometimes we find ourselves needing to fix the larger picture so that our own small element of it remains intact.

But also, some of the best politics are local. Election day is going to be about more than the Presidency; there are many state, county, and city issues to be decided. For instance, I am registered in California*, which isn't very exciting as a national state, but my vote is going to count for something on at least one state initiative.

-----
* I live abroad, which has proven to me exactly how American I really am, and how deep and permanent my citizenship goes.

#114 ::: JJ Fozz ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 12:15 PM:

Abi - good points, but even when citizens get invovled, the impact seems almost negligible. Maybe it's the current administration. Maybe it's the media. It's hard to hear good news these days.

#115 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 12:17 PM:

BuffySquirrel @ 111:

I think the construction you're reaching for is, "... but so would paragraphs be."

#116 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 12:33 PM:

JJ Fozz @114:

I have heard theories that The Powers That Be don't want you to get involved. They'd rather you were discouraged, so they can run things to their advantage without the pesky citizens getting in the way.

But this is a hard time to be fired up about anything, if you're not able to join the momentum of either of the two political parties. I think there are a lot of ragged and exhausted people out there, and I think there will be more over the next couple of months.

Don't take on the whole world at once. If you're feeling low and powerless, try getting enough sleep, eating right, and only tackling such matters when you're fresh and rested. Really, truly, a Friday during the second of two party political circuses is a perfectly logical time to feel deathly tired and deeply discouraged.

And make sure you vote on election day. That takes very little effort, no courage whatsoever, and is actually the most important thing in this whole process.

#117 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 12:39 PM:

I notice that each of the answers here shown is much more long-winded than the one-liner it's a reply to. This means that if the discourse is limited to sound bites and words-in-edgewise, the one-liner will win, unfortunately.

#118 ::: moe99 ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 12:43 PM:

Who was it that wrote that it is in the little things, that the greater truths are revealed?

www.talkingpointsmemo.com has a story up that the picture of the building behind McCain when he was speaking was the Walter Reed middle school in LA, not Walter Reed Hospital.

#119 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 12:45 PM:

Ce'ine: I've been in the military. I confess that knowing someone was in the service gives me a slight tendency to trust. McCain lost that a ling time ago.

He could have defended his fellow Navy Man John Kerry. He didn't. All he had to do was stand for the truth. He didn't.

That was nail one in the coffin. Then he went out of his way to posture on torture, declaiming that he wouldn't stand for it, that no bill would pass without a ban on torture being added; and Bush could veto everything, or accept the ban.

Then he negotiated a "compromise" which gave the White House more than it had asked for, and made it perfectly possible for the White House to make torture allowable under the legal framework of the United States.

Fuck him. If that's integrity, I don't want it. I don't need the sort of lying sack of shit who pretends to be a maverick and bends over to take whatever the big dog wants to dish out. I sure as hell don't want one who is willing to lie to me about what was really done.

Conflate means to mix together. A stew is a conflation of meat and vegetables. As a term in argument it usually means to mix to disparate things as if they were one; and is used to show an error of thought.

abi: Do you get your balloting information in time? If not, I can send you my thoughts on the various initiatives.

#120 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 12:46 PM:

#117 Erik:

Getting shot down saved McCain from getting Black Syphilis.

(How's that for short?)

#121 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 12:57 PM:

Palin's method of dealing with an issue--get in a plane, and kill it from the air with a machine gun.

Palin on the economy--hire a lobbyist to get more federal pork funds. Who cares about the rest of the USA?

McCain on torture: It's not torture unless he's the prisoner.

Palin on healthcare: I'm a tough woman, I don't need any, and what's good enough for me should be good enough for you!

The Republican Party on women's health issues: If you're rich money will buy you anything. If you're poor, we need more cheap disposable labor. Either breed more cheap labor or be disposed of."

Republican Party on labor: There's cheap labor in China. The US public isn't cheap enough labor yet. Keep cutting until it is.

#122 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 12:59 PM:

Palin's method of dealing with an issue--get in a plane, and kill it from the air with a machine gun.

Palin on the economy--hire a lobbyist to get more federal pork funds. Who cares about the rest of the USA?

McCain on torture: It's not torture unless he's the prisoner.

Palin on healthcare: I'm a tough woman, I don't need any, and what's good enough for me should be good enough for you!

The Republican Party on women's health issues: If you're rich money will buy you anything. If you're poor, we need more cheap disposable labor. Either breed more cheap labor or be disposed of."

Republican Party on labor: There's cheap labor in China. The US public isn't cheap enough labor yet. Keep cutting until it is.

#123 ::: Adrian Smith ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 01:04 PM:

Getting shot down saved McCain from getting Black Syphilis.

Does it come in a range of colours, of which black is the most fearsome?

(Yes, yes, I only think I want to know.)

#124 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 01:06 PM:

Ce'ine;

If your web browser is firefox, there's a really useful plug in here:

"https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/4037"

That will let you highlight a word, right click and get a dictionary definition. Of course, sometimes the folks here at ML are a mite cleverer than the dictionary, but generally it's very helpful.

Also - and I hope you won't take this amiss - I found what you have to say interesting enough to make the effort to read it, but I'm with buffysquirrel on the paragraph breaks: More space makes long text much more legible.

I'm not a frequent enough poster to in any way speak for the community, but let me say "welcome" all the same!

#125 ::: BuffySquirrel ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 01:27 PM:

Thank you Heather @115! That makes a lot more sense than I did :D.

#126 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 01:28 PM:

the 'cain loathes Obama, as you can see in the nasty letters he sent when Obama didn't behave as 'cain thought he should in terms of putting ethic reform to the vote 'now' -- Feb. 2006 -- instead of tabling it for more 'discussion.'

Love, C.

#127 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 01:35 PM:

Russ, #124: Googling "define $WORD" is also useful... most of the time. But in Ce'ine's defense, when I went looking for a definition of "conflate", most of what I found only made sense because I already know what it means! Most of the Web-based definitions just aren't very precise, and a lot of them only cover the literary usage of the term, not the way we use it in discourse.

Ce'ine, I second (third? fourth?) the request that you break your longer posts up into paragraphs. Reading those long blocks of uninterrupted text is hard on aging eyes. A little white space helps more than you'd think.

#128 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 01:42 PM:

Terry @119:
The California Registrar of Voters is prompt in all things: responding to queries (less than an hour for an email, once), processing paperwork, and sending ballots and materials.

I'm mostly interested in hometown stuff and voting against that marriage amendment.

#129 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 01:57 PM:

abi: Hunh. I never thought of sending e-mails.

But I am in the state/country, and can find things easily. Yes, the marriage amendment has to go down.

#130 ::: Lisa Padol ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 02:40 PM:

Hm. I think Palin has it backwards. A community organizer has -- freely accepts -- many, many responsibilities. What the organizer does not have is legally binding authority, correct?

Ah, I see someone beat me to it. Well, it still bears repeating.

#131 ::: JJ Fozz ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 02:40 PM:

Gay marriage, I'm all for it. They should be able to share in the misery.

#132 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 02:56 PM:

JJ 131: I'm sure you can understand why that's less funny a) than the first time I heard it some years ago, and b) to those of us who've been longing for that "misery" for an extended period?

#133 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 02:57 PM:

Re Paula@121 and following:

My current list:

Obama: Because the government needs adult supervision

McCain: Did not in fact spend five years in a Presidential training seminar

McCain: Don't you think he looks tired?

So why did McCain decide to drag them into the center of his campaign
and the national spotlight? Or was he just ignorant of the situation?

Palin: Great job getting state and federal earmarks for Wasilla, AK.

Because the Republicans hate your community and fear when you organize.

McCain: Just another Republican for American torture.

Republican plan for health care: try the emergency room.

Palin: Because a hasty, ill-advised second choice after Joe Lieberman
is the "most qualified candidate".

#134 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 03:24 PM:

As with everything you find on the net, this should be taken with a grain of salt; these kind of testimonies are liable to get modified as they get posted and reposted. But here goes:

A letter from someone who has known Sarah Palin since 1992

#135 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 03:38 PM:

I haven't seen it mentioned, but McCain's description of Palin as "most qualified" reminded me instantly of GHW Bush's description of Clarence Thomas when nominating him for SCOTUS. We all know how that turned out.

#136 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 03:43 PM:

Stefan: A better link to that letter is probably here.

It's a newspaper website, and has some contact information to lend credence to the provenance.

#137 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 03:51 PM:

Stefan @134,

While you're right about information put out on the net, that letter fits well with other quotes and data I've read on Palin ever since McCain nominated her, and even news articles from before that day.

I work in a state DOT and stay informed on big highway projects nationwide, so when the "bridge to nowhere" became a political hot potato, for example, I recall Palin staunchly defending the project. There were other articles at that time about her possible misuse of her office, how many times she redecorated it, etc, etc.

Then there are the quotes from supporters of Palin who helped her get the Mayor's job and then the Governorship, who became disaffected with her. I always wondered why they changed their minds about her; this letter helps answer those questions.

Basically, she's all appearance and no substance. That fits right in with the McCain strategy of focusing on appearance and not issues, of not letting her speak without a script, about him complaining when the media questions his vetting process. She's a figurehead to prop up his support in McCain's own party, and he intends to use her charisma and background to avoid any discussion or debate on his policies or positions.

#138 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 04:03 PM:

Lee@127

Thanks! I didn't know about that. One small thing though - the syntax actually seems to be "define: $WORD".

If you leave out the colon, you just get a standard search (which will probably include a dictionary definition, but I don't think that's what you meant).

#139 ::: Fred Moulton ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 04:30 PM:

John @137 wrote "he intends to use her charisma and background to avoid any discussion or debate on his policies or positions."

A good point. Of course it could backfire if the press really goes after some of the negatives in her background. One benefit for McCain is that Palin makes the right wing religious camp happy.

#140 ::: JJ Fozz ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 06:09 PM:

Xopher, I added that as I was posting to show that I am indeed in favor of gay marriage. I think that joke is made to show how it should be a non issue. That was it.

#141 ::: sherrold ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 06:54 PM:

Came home from work a coule of days ago, and was startled how testy and out-of-sorts my partner was. She finally admitted that she'd been listening to the RNC all day on the radio.

I have to take breaks from it, too. It's important; it matters, but if I'm not careful, I get so angry that I'm probably a danger to the cause if I get talking to anyone.

One of my hot buttons right now is "they're both basically the same." I hear/read this daily. Honestly, after eight years of Bush, I thought we'd killed that meme, but no, here it is, rising stinking from the dead.

and
> People this time around need to vote their heart

I respectfully disagree. People need to look at candidate's histories, economic plans, health care plans, beliefs about American Exceptionalism, and vote that knowledge.

"vote their heart" is too close (to me, I hasten to add) to "I could imagine having a drink with that guy."

#143 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 08:32 PM:

One more:

Wanted: Decent opposition party, to fill position left after GOP
collapse. Must have *credible* conservative policy ideas, suitable for
challenging Democratic agenda -- no knee-jerk reactionary whining,
please. Don't let this become a one-party country!

(I remember thinking "They're both basically the same." I was eighteen and
all it got me was this lousy t-shirt^H^H^H^H^H Bush the First. I got
better.)

#144 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 09:19 PM:

I'll vote my heart this time.

My head is telling me that no matter what they say in their speeches and platforms, both parties are mainly interested in cocnentrating more and more power in Washington.

It's my heart or some other organ that realizes the Republicans are the ones who scare the shit out of me.

I guess that means I'll be voting my bowels.

#145 ::: Matt Austern ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 10:00 PM:

My favorite: "Has McCain ever met a war he wasn't for?"

It almost fits on a bumper sticker, and seriously, has he ever met a war he wasn't for? He supported both Iraq wars, and the Afghan war, and the Serbian war, and he's been calling for war against Iran, and making threatening noises about Russia and Syria.

Maybe McCain is telling the truth when he says he hates war, but boy, for someone who doesn't like wars, he sure seems to want to fight a whole bunch of them.

#146 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 10:13 PM:

#141: The idea of voting with various bodily organs* reminds me of this quote from Carl Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World:

I try not to think with my gut. If I'm serious about understanding the world, thinking with anything besides my brain, as tempting as that might be, is likely to get me into trouble. Really, it's okay to reserve judgment until the evidence is in.

Voting with anything besides your brain, if it becomes a widespread practice, is likely to get your whole damn political unit into trouble.

Think - with your brain - about the potential consequences of each candidate's election. Then vote for effect. The time for making statements is, well, now for instance. Or pretty much any time *other* than when you're actually voting.


#94:

I have always reckoned that a certain proportion of people don't really believe in anything except that Winning is Everything. And that they don't, deep down, understand that anyone is different than them, that words like patriotism, or principles, or faith, actually have meaning to anyone. People who sacrifice, or even die, for such things are just losers in their books. Sportsmanship, fair play, and honor are for wimps.

Yes, exactly. The technical term for this is Social Dominance Orientation, and you can find out more about it in chapter 5 of Altemeyer's The Authoritarians (and other places, I'm sure, that's just the one I'm most familiar with). They tend to score high on the evocatively named "Power Mad" and "Exploitive Manipulative Amoral Dishonesty" scales. (I am not making this up.)


[*] Yes, I know it isn't actually voting with your heart - it's a limited, primitive part of your brain incapable of abstract thought which is sometimes metaphorically referred to as your heart, for historical reasons. That doesn't really make the prospect of allowing it to control your decisions any *more* attractive. Why is it nobody extols the virtues of following your heart when your heart is convinced that regardless of nerds and their statistics, *you* can drive just fine after eight beers?

#147 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 10:30 PM:

No, Matt, McCain wants other, younger Americans to fight those wars -- he's not going to have to leave home. But I take your point.

According to the current blog news, the Rs are sequestering Palin for the next 3 weeks -- no TV, no media interviews, nothing that will expose her to rude questions. This is excellent news. She can't energize the campaign if she's not front and center, taking on all comers, and if she's not out there, the face of the Republican "change" (yeah, right) agenda is a 72 year old man who can't get online without help.

FWIW, I think the ugly "Sambo beat the bitch" story is pure Republican disinformation, a big fat lie -- nice worm, nice worm, fishie want a big fat worm -- gotcha!

#148 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 10:43 PM:

Bruce Cohen @90, speaking as a citizen of a neighboring high sales tax/property tax /no income tax state just north of yours, one of the results of that difference is that Oregon has a whole lot more "retail choice" than Washington; there are few decent fabric stores north of the Columbia and west of the mountains, and Powell's may have killed every independant bookstore south of Olympia. We've actually set down together to compute the difference in gas prices between the 60-so (one way) miles to the IKEA in Renton and the just about twice as far distance to the one out by the Portland Airport (which does not have smorgasbord and is thus a thing of fail) against the King County sales tax on our standard twice-a-year household goods supply trip.

Clark County, of course, is jammed with people who live in Washington, where there is no income tax, and shop in Portland, where there is no sales tax, and rent, so they think they're getting away without paying real estate taxes. I say fie on them.

#149 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 11:02 PM:

My own goal at this point is well summed up in Patrick's phrase "the restoration of normal politics". I want a reasonably competent, reasonably law-abiding administration interested in the well-being of all Americans and of America's infrastructure, and interested in dealing peaceably and equably with as much of the rest of the world as possible. I have much loftier ambitions in my heart, but they're not attainable until we're into an era where the basics can once again be counted upon.

Obama will be a constant heartache to me if he's elected, for opportunities to improve the condition of America and the world missed and for capitulations made to the movement conservative machine. But for all of that, he does understand the value of enforcing most laws (even though he's willing to trade them away for designated crises), and his career is laden with opportunities taken to support competence and citizens' access to info about (and therefore opportunities to participate in) decision-making. He listens to some people I'd much prefer he didn't, but at least he does take counsel and aim to make decisions after getting informed and hashing it out. He understands how much the well-being of the whole nation hinges on the well-being of those down toward the bottom - in fact, in this he's decidedly less revolution-courting than McCain. Even though it seems that Obama will let many things slide that I think need stomping on, his administration is likely to be a big step back toward the the pre-Goldwater era of presumptive competence.

None of these things strike me as true of McCain.

#150 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2008, 01:47 AM:

#142 Madison

Tailgunner Sarah isn't quite accurate, I don't think she's in the tail of the plane when shooting moose from a plane....

#151 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2008, 04:22 AM:

I never vote with my heart, nor with any other part of myself so entirely unprotected by skin. First of all, I don't know where my ballot's been, and secondly, I don't want whoever opens the envelope to get my blood and other internal goo all over themselves.

I just use my fingers.

(Someone had to say it, and you all are asleep right now. Time zone advantage!)

#152 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2008, 07:23 AM:

sherrold and Andrew Plotkin, that's one of my hot buttons too. I have to go away and forcibly prevent myself from getting into arguments about it online these days.

#153 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2008, 07:59 AM:

abi @ 151... Ba-da-bing!

#154 ::: loozegear ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2008, 08:38 AM:

We are all community organizers in some shape or form, some do it for a living and others do it out of necessity.The thing all have in common is the
common good.

#155 ::: pedantic peasant ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2008, 09:36 AM:

Linkmeister @ #3, Constance @ #18, and Connie @ #24:

The only "good point" about Westmoreland's inexcusable and unforgiveable statement is that it does also showcase the fact that bigotry and racism are the hallmark of the ignorant:

"they're a member of an elitist-class individual that thinks that they're uppity"

- How, exactly can one be a member of an individual?
- And what exactly is the antecedent of "that," which identifies who thinks that the Obamas are "uppity"? Is he trying to say that it's the Obamas themselves, or that the "individual" they are somehow a "member" of thinks so?


Between the blatant racism in the south and the soft racism in the north, I am both interested and frightened to see whom Obama carries in the final analysis.

#156 ::: pedantic peasant ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2008, 10:08 AM:

One of the points I wanted to make was already touched on obliquely by TomB @ 40, to wit, one of the potential responses to Palin's snide comment about "having responsibilities" is to ennumerate them and ask her if she has them, why she hasn't/didn't fulfill them.

#157 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2008, 10:25 AM:

"My responsibubblies: Let me show you them". Lolcat stub warning.

#158 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2008, 10:27 AM:

Apart from the whole "when did 'community organizer' become a bad thing?'" thing... doesn't it kind of contradict "elitist"?

That, and the "Jewish Muslim atheist fundamentalist Christian" thing, remind me of the old joke about the statisticians who go out hunting. The sad thing is that it does seem to work, at least somewhat.

#159 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2008, 11:00 AM:

And now a question. On Thursday I watched the infamous "Mother... Moosehunter... Maverick" video (which was cut from the RNC convention schedule due to time).

I have no beef with that opening line. It's funny, I'm sure it was intended as wry[*]; if it had played at the convention I think it would have drawn an approving laugh. No, I want to stare at a line a little farther on:

"A remarkable woman who's never been afraid to put her city, her state, or her country first."

And what I've read supports that. When she was mayor she put her city first, at the expense of the rest of the state. When she was governor she put her state first, at the expense of the rest of the country. If she becomes VP? (She'll put her party first, I'm sure.)

How do I even express the toxicity of that underlying point of view?

[* Please don't convince me otherwise.]

#160 ::: Jamie Hall ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2008, 04:48 PM:

On top of everything else, it looks like the McCain team violated copyright for Sarah Palin. Really, how can the Republicans keep presenting themselves as the party aligned with good moral values?

#161 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2008, 07:06 PM:

The Republicans are promoting a pistol-packing [or more accurately rifle-packing...] Mama as Everywoman USA. What percentage of the women in USA are gun owner-users?!!! Yeah, sure, the ordinary USA housewife, goes out moosehunting? The ordinary USA housewife is the Governor of a state? Uh-uh, Gov Palin is not "Everywoman."

Has she ever been out of work jobhunting getting turned down for months, even from low paid retail sales jobs? Has she ever watched her her saving melt anyway while out of work, with the debt load rising? Has she, as opposed to millions of citizens today, ever been threatened with homelessness? Has she ever had to try to get a court restraining order against someone--a stalker, a boyfriend, a husband--who has her in fear of her and/or her children's lives?!

She's ruth-less.

#162 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2008, 07:58 PM:

abi, #151, I was awake, but not online.

#163 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2008, 10:37 PM:

@117: Want a one liner response to the original post? Here ya go:

Sarah Palin doesn't think it counts as a responsible position unless you can fire your political rivals.

#164 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2008, 10:55 PM:

What John McCain and Surah Palin know about poverty--how to put other people into it!

#165 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2008, 11:13 PM:

From DailyKos: an ugly line from U. S. Senator James Inhofe (Oklahoma):

Regardless of what polls show, Inhofe said, voters will have to ask themselves a question once they get behind the curtain in the voting booth on Election Day.

"Do you really want to have a guy as commander in chief of this country when you can question whether or not he really loves his country?" he asked. "That's the big question."

Inhofe's a pig. If I lived in Oklahoma I'd be calling his office Monday.

Anybody here from Oklahoma...?

#166 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2008, 11:27 PM:

Sen Obama did service to America as a community organizer helping the poor. What sort of Christian Good Works assistance to the poor have John McCain and Sarah Palin done?

#167 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2008, 11:38 PM:

James Inhofe is being challenged this year by Andrew Rice. I'm considering making a donation to Rice's campaign, and then sending Inhofe an e-mail letting him know that his stupid, ugly, insulting comment about Obama led me to make a contribution to his opponent.

Oh yeah, for those of you who don't know, he's the Senator who thinks global climate change is a hoax, and has compared "An Inconvenient Truth" to "Mein Kampf."

F*cker.

#168 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 01:22 AM:

Does Inhofe check for polyps when his head is . . . up there? If so, he could save the congressional health plan the cost of expensive colonoscopies.

#169 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 04:45 AM:

Lizzie L. @165, to paraphrase Jon Steward, better that than people where we know for sure that they hate half the people in their country.

Paula Lieberman @161, would you, and half the other progressives on the web, please stop these slly moose hunting quips? There are a lot of things wrong with Sarah Palin, but that she's from a place with moose around isn't one of them. Not to mention that resentment to remarks like this is apparently the core of how Republicans have won elections for the last fourty years.

#170 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 09:42 AM:

#169 Raphael

But I like moose. It's not that she's from a state with moose in it, it's her way of going hunting....

Being a hunter is one thing, going up in an airplane for "sport" shooting animals and claiming it's "hunting" is like claiming that netting koi from an ornamental pond is sport "fishing."

And her future son-in-law was apparently convicted of and fined $250 for taking salmon out of season.... Honorable hunters and fishers, don't seem to be in her circle.

#171 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 10:08 AM:

#169 Raphael

The Republican surge came from a number of things, including:

o FUD tactics--those particularly got used after 9/11, and by Gingrich persecuting the Clintons. arl Rove's attacks and Swift Boating are other prominent examples.
o having cadres of highly dedicated zealous workers imbued with Holy (or unholy...) Spirits going out on missions equipped with propaganda and models for spreading it and reinforcing with (the current incarnation being "Talking Points" with e.g. astroturfers as endemic indications of the strategy)being ubiquitous
o failure of opponents to call and keep calling out the FUD and lies and screed as screed
o a corrupt "Fifth Estate" partisan and paid off by the Republicans, denying the existence of and validity of any who objection on any sane legitimate substantiative basis, and treating the opponents as invisible and non-persons, except for those opponents who show to most effective use as examples of crackpot/stupid/incompetent opposition
-- silencing the opposition and creating the illusion that no sane opposition exists or should exist
-- promoting the Republicans and fascism
o appeals to greed--to those who are well-off and get wealthier by compliance, and those under the delusion of future potential benefit
o contant reinforcement of messages, particularly the demonization of opposing the Republican juggernaut of Faith and Politics
o Creation and reinforcement of illusion/delusion regarding identifying Republican attitudes as American and Holy, and all opponents as traitorous and demonic/unholy.
o Creation of the illusion that non-Republicans are horrible threatening Others.... the "if you're not for us..." and "those disgusting revolting crime-breeding effite liberal snob urban slime Godless people who are not US, Republicans are we ordinary people like Sarah "I'm just an ordinary housewife and mother" [yeah, sure... ] Palin" etc.

#172 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 10:08 AM:

#169 Raphael

The Republican surge came from a number of things, including:

o FUD tactics--those particularly got used after 9/11, and by Gingrich persecuting the Clintons. arl Rove's attacks and Swift Boating are other prominent examples.
o having cadres of highly dedicated zealous workers imbued with Holy (or unholy...) Spirits going out on missions equipped with propaganda and models for spreading it and reinforcing with (the current incarnation being "Talking Points" with e.g. astroturfers as endemic indications of the strategy)being ubiquitous
o failure of opponents to call and keep calling out the FUD and lies and screed as screed
o a corrupt "Fifth Estate" partisan and paid off by the Republicans, denying the existence of and validity of any who objection on any sane legitimate substantiative basis, and treating the opponents as invisible and non-persons, except for those opponents who show to most effective use as examples of crackpot/stupid/incompetent opposition
-- silencing the opposition and creating the illusion that no sane opposition exists or should exist
-- promoting the Republicans and fascism
o appeals to greed--to those who are well-off and get wealthier by compliance, and those under the delusion of future potential benefit
o contant reinforcement of messages, particularly the demonization of opposing the Republican juggernaut of Faith and Politics
o Creation and reinforcement of illusion/delusion regarding identifying Republican attitudes as American and Holy, and all opponents as traitorous and demonic/unholy.
o Creation of the illusion that non-Republicans are horrible threatening Others.... the "if you're not for us..." and "those disgusting revolting crime-breeding effite liberal snob urban slime Godless people who are not US, Republicans are we ordinary people like Sarah "I'm just an ordinary housewife and mother" [yeah, sure... ] Palin" etc.

#173 ::: karen marie ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 01:42 PM:

hey folks, you can call off the war party on this subject. john mccain just answered, on meet the press, that palin was "simply responding to attacks on small-town mayors" by obama and the left, he doesn't believe community organizers are bad at all.

just ignore the fact that his campaign has made this aspect of her speech a centerpiece.

that's right, folks, move along, nothing to see here.

#174 ::: Jason Long ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 11:28 PM:

"No more mercy. These people need to be more than defeated. They need to be driven from our public life."

Is anyone else perturbed by Patrick's quote?

So much for free speech and all that jazz.

#175 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 11:49 PM:

Jason, their lawyers can have all the free speech they want when their clients have been impeached and/or indicted.

#176 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 11:58 PM:

#174 Jason

They've abrogated the Constitution and Bill of Rights. They've conspired to commit election fraud on a nationwide basis and thrown two Presidential elections by doing so. They outed an entire covert worldwide operation out of pure spite at having their phony baloney Yellowcake story questioned. They've committed treason and high crimes, and treason is a capital crime.

They are not honorable people and not people to whom "fair" etc. are words that matter. They don't act in good faith. They advocate and support policies of illegal, immoral, unethical secret "rendition" warrantless arrest and abuse the "detainees" physically and emotionally to the point that there are recorded deaths of malfortunates from the abuse/torture.

There were the slave labor-like work conditions in the Marianas. There are lots of other abuses past and present....

"IMT made the sky fall." They're Mad Dogs.

#177 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 12:11 AM:

Do we have a form letter around here explaining what "free speech" means? Jason, it's not a buzzword meaning "Help, help, I'm being oppressed."

#178 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 01:01 AM:

They will still have ample opportunity for free speech as private citizens.* What, you thought "driven from our public life" meant something else?

* Although their lawyers may advise them not to exercise it...

#179 ::: Jason Long ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 03:28 AM:

#178
Lee, driven from public life could well be interpreted as deprived of the franchise or even driven into hiding like that Dutch legislator who's been threatened by Islamic fundamentalists. Not merely losing an election.

#177
Andrew, I'm not sure what you mean. Explain, please, perhaps I'm being thick today.

#176
Paula, treason is a word lightly thrown around by Bush's opponents. Please explain how Bush and his government have given aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States as fits the definition in Article 3.
And election fraud, even at the presidental level, has a long and dishonorable history in these Yewnited States. Do we need to summon the ghosts of Joe Kennedy or Rutherford B. Hayes to testify? I do not think the hands of either party are clean in this regard, even within the last decade.

#180 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 04:58 AM:

Jason Lee: I'm not. I was saying things like it, even here, some four years ago.

The last time this shit was happening (under Nixon) we didn' drive them from public life. They came back under Nixon, and did it again.

We convicted some of them and they ended up in the this administration; in positions which were related to the evils they did before.

They have conspired to break laws, not onnce, not twice; but in some cases three times. Each time they have done greater damage.

It's not about free speech, it's about seeing to it those who are actively working to undermine the system through illegalities don't get more bites at the apple.

There's only so much apple before all we'll have left is seeds and the hope they will sprout a decent tree.

I do mean deprived of the franchise, and the right to hold public office. The Constitution, and the laws dependant from it allow for that, for just such cases as this.

#181 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 04:59 AM:

Jason Long: I'm sorry, I blew your name. Mea Culpa.

#182 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 06:13 AM:

#180 ::: Terry Karney:

Depriving them of franchise sounds good, but I don't recommend it. I've come around to the point of view that depriving people of franchise is just a bad precedent. The major criminals are too few to affect elections, and it's all too tempting to use limiting the franchise to keep the "wrong" people out of office.

No public office (and no lobbying jobs, if such can be enforced) sounds like a very good idea.

#183 ::: Jörg Raddatz ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 07:11 AM:

#179 (by Jason Long)
"...in these Yewnited States"
Please, all you good people, explain to me that this is not the awful piece of antisemitism it surely looks like.

#184 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 08:19 AM:

Jorg Raddatz @ 183
#179 (by Jason Long)
"...in these Yewnited States"
Please, all you good people, explain to me that this is not the awful piece of antisemitism it surely looks like.

Because in American English, a Y sound is never the result of a J, unless pronouncing non-English words (and Jew is considered an English word). So your name may be "Yorg" but Jew is pronounced "(soft-G sound)ew" and never "Yew".

Yew = a type of tree, or someone trying to write with a southern accent, as in

"Yew All better git yerselves back in thet house, afore I have to beat some asses!"

#185 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 08:27 AM:

It's probably just a representation of dialect. I've seen it used in plenty of places not associated with antisemitism.

#186 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 10:15 AM:

Getting back to Palin for a moment — I'm at the other end of a rather long light cone these days, so I'm running 2-3 days behind in reading and responding to comments here, making my comments a lot less common — I note that several people have mentioned how Palin recruits as her subordinates people who are largely inexperienced and at best marginally competent for the job, so that they owe her extreme loyalty if they want to keep the job. Two points about this:

1. This is the way a cult operates. I spent 6 months working for a company entirely owned and run by EST* graduates, and they worked exactly the same way, in fact the CEO told me as much in so many words.

2. Palin herself is in that position; she's clearly incompetent, unprepared, and inexperienced for that job, so she won't be crossing McCain or contradicting what he says. At least that's the way he sees it, and the probable reason he picked her rather than one of hte dozen or so women who have more experience, more public exposure, and more clout in the Republican Party.

* I'm tired of googling them just to have a footnote; I feel like I need a shower after every hit; they're easy to find with a search.

#187 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 11:10 AM:

Getting back to Palin for a moment — I'm at the other end of a rather long light cone these days, so I'm running 2-3 days behind in reading and responding to comments here, making my comments a lot less common — I note that several people have mentioned how Palin recruits as her subordinates people who are largely inexperienced and at best marginally competent for the job, so that they owe her extreme loyalty if they want to keep the job. Two points about this:

1. This is the way a cult operates. I spent 6 months working for a company entirely owned and run by EST* graduates, and they worked exactly the same way, in fact the CEO told me as much in so many words.

2. Palin herself is in that position; she's clearly incompetent, unprepared, and inexperienced for that job, so she won't be crossing McCain or contradicting what he says. At least that's the way he sees it, and the probable reason he picked her rather than one of hte dozen or so women who have more experience, more public exposure, and more clout in the Republican Party.

* I'm tired of googling them just to have a footnote; I feel like I need a shower after every hit; they're easy to find with a search.

#188 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 11:13 AM:

oops; sorry for the double post. I came back to the computer after posting and the comment entry area was still up, so I hit post again. Not correct, clearly.

#189 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 11:40 AM:

Nancy Lebovitz: We deprive people of Franchise every day. I don't think there is a state in the nation which allows felons to vote (or own firearms; irrespective of offense).

Where we don't have consistency is the return of the franchise when they've finished the sentence.

All in all, I'd be happy if we could just ban them from public, or appointed office; without a presidential pardon (which, can't be given for impeachements). The Elliot Abrams of the world ought not be allowed to keep coming back and making things yet even worse.

#190 ::: Jason Long ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 11:44 AM:

@180
Terry,I'm with Nancy in @181. Other than through a felony conviction I think depriving anyone of the franchise is an extremely dangerous tool that can be turned against you just as easily as you use it against your opponents.

#191 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 12:05 PM:

#189 - Define felons: frex Colorado allows anyone whose sentence has been completed to vote; this includes people on probation but not on parole.

Define firearms: Notice the dominant laws on this are Federal and tend to follow the Federal definition of firearm and so exclude black powder firearms. Lots of oddities in the laws including the mail-order black powder where the mails are open to say blackpowder cap and ball revolvers as not Firearms under the statute and equally the cylinders for a cartridge conversion can be mailed as not being the frame or receiver and so it goes.

#192 ::: Adrian Smith ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 12:20 PM:

Other than through a felony conviction I think depriving anyone of the franchise is an extremely dangerous tool that can be turned against you just as easily as you use it against your opponents.

Pretty dangerous if it's done as a result of (alleged) felony convictions as well, or that's what Florida 2000 seemed to indicate to me.

#193 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 12:28 PM:

I think lifelong exclusion from public office, and whatever goes with whatever crimes they're convicted of in whatever jurisdiction convicts them is fine with me as far as voting goes.

I don't care if they own firearms either. Maybe they'll take the "honorable way out" and spare us from them coming back as some kind of elder statesmen the way Nixon did (proving that Ford's pardon had a very high cost indeed).

But really, I want them (Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, maybe some others) to spend the rest of their lives in prison.

#194 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 12:45 PM:

Clark: Felony is a term at law: Each state (as well as the feds) defines them as they see fit.

Since Probation involves a suspension of sentence, loss of franchise rarely attaches (though other restrictions may be placed on the offender). It can be given for felonies, but rarely is.

Jason Long: Were you not paying attention to list of chargeable offenses? Did you not see me discussing them being convicted; of them breaking laws, of this being a procedural function of bringing them to justice for the crimes they have admitted to committing?

Xopher: I don't care if they own firearms either. By, and large, I think the end of a sentence should be the end of it. All rights restored and no one allowed to force one to admit to havng been convicted.

But making that happen is more likely than getting these bastards before the bar, much less in the clink (look at how I. Lewis Libby avoided it, and Cheney skated his destruction of Plame, and her network).

#195 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 12:45 PM:

#191
He did mention return of the franchise after completion of the sentence - that's where the states vary, and where some kind of uniform standard for return would be good.

#196 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 12:46 PM:

Adrian Smith: That's the problem of a state being allowed to revoke a franchise permanently.

#197 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 12:52 PM:

Terry Karney @ 196... That's the problem of a state being allowed to revoke a franchise permanently.

They shall pry my Big Mac from my cold dead fingers.

#198 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 01:09 PM:

Terry #194:

Ideally, the mechanism for barring disgraced people from serving in office again would involve voters with memories not electing them, and reacting in vote-changing outrage when someone appoints them again.

#199 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 01:26 PM:

Paula Lieberman, I misunderstood you. Sorry.

#200 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 01:49 PM:

#179 Jason Long

1) SOMEBODY high up in the Executive Branch set the policy which caused TWO FBI office heads to tell subordinates to cease and desist investigating Saudi Arabian nationals doing what looked to the agents as highly suspicious activities. The agents saw young male Saudi nationals who were in the USA taking jumbo passenger plane flying lessons, who did not fit a profile of people who were taking the lessons aiming for careers as pilots, and who there were NOT any reasonable explanations for where they were getting the funding from to pay for the lessons. Also, they weren't interested in learning how to LAND the planes...

The agents were denied being allowed to go to court to get warrants for search and seizure to investigate deeper and find out funding sources and intent. They were instead told to cease and desist investigating.

This was before 9/11, and there were at least TWO (two that publicized....) cases in independent offices.

The suspicious foreigners died of their own actions on 9/11 -- taking thousands of OTHER people into death with them.

If that is NOT providing aid and assistance and comfort to the Enemy, then what is, enabling the murder of thosands of people in US sovereign territory, destroying hundreds of thousands of livelihoods and causing massive economic and emotional chaos and national demoralization?!

2) Dropping the hunt for Osama bin Laden and failing to follow up on the actions taken against Al Qaeda, which was the non-governmental agency responsible for the thinking up, planning, and carrying out the 9/11 atrocities. Instead of serious reconstruction in Afghanistan and de-Talibanization of the area, the US Government moved most of the troops out to invade Iraq. The US Executive Branch couldn't be bothered with putting in administrators and nation-building and developing reasonable security to get out and keep out the extremists and their terrorist buddies, and squelch the hatemongering and terrorist training. Instead, the US Executive Branch doctored evidence and lied to the US public and to the world regarding the (bogus) threat posed by Saddam Hussein, and turned a country suffering from years of sanctions, into a country full of open sectarian and ethnic violence, women losing their self-determination of having their own income and jobs and being able to be outside without Islamic modest alll-enveloping clothing and a male escort, non-Muslims being attacked, and more than a tenth of the population gone from the country, some permanently from death, others fled to Jordan, Syria, or anywhere else that wasn't hostile to their particular religious affiliation that they could afford to seek refuge.

3) Supporting warlords taking power in Afghanistan whose differentiation from Taliban and Al Qaeda is that they were personal opponents of members of Al Qaeda and/or Taliban or wills accept money from the USA ... their attitudes and policies otherwise are essentially indistinguishable. Some of them put even MORE restrictions on women than Taliban did....

4) Aid and comfort to people who destroy the US Constitution... and the oaths of office are to uphold the Constitution. Oathbreaking at that level ISN'T treason?!

#201 ::: Stefan Joens ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 01:56 PM:

Palin is a fraking rube.

Clueless. Dangerously clueless.

But garsh, she a lifelong NRA member and she no how to hunt and dress her a moose all herself!

#202 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 02:16 PM:

Albatross: Is that four years later of voting outrage? Because that's how long an appointment like Abrams gets to run before anyone has a chance to do anything about it. How long is the outrage to be maintained (and how to maintain it).

We get our ideas about people from the pap the press feeds us. Who recalls Eliot "What death squads" Abrams? Who will explain to them why he's not the man to put in charage of intel? His offenses, after all, were in support of a guy whom the press has sanctified, and in a cause which the Right has declared just. They were also 20 years ago... so what's the big deal?

"Heckuva Job" Brownie is already making money as a disaster relief specialist. There are times the electorate can't be left to themselves. Yes, it sounds nanny-statish when it's put like that, but we accept it all the time.

Coming to grips with how to keep people from abusing things they've been trained to do happens all the time. A doctor abuses the privileges his license gives him, loses it. The Lawyer who commingles funds can be disbarred.

The politician who abuses his office is impeached and loses the right to hold it again.

This is an extention of an extant princible.

Paula: Much as I wish it were, I don't think there is a an actionable charge of treason to be levelled at the present administration. One, it's a hard charge, two you have to get two witness to the intentional act. Absent that, the accused has to testify to it, in open court.

Since the defense will be raised that they didn't think there was anything worthy of investigation, and the FBI had more important things to do, a simple claim of ignorant incompentence will keep the prosecution from being able to meet the burden of proof. Much as I would like to see them tossed in the clink, weakening the charge of treason (already suffering from the abuses put to it by charging John Lind) isn't the way to do it.

#203 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 02:22 PM:

albatross @198:

All that does is get rid of the elected ones. Have you forgotten that most of the people we're talking about were appointed to the offices they hold?

The Criminal-in-Chief appointed them -- the only punishment available is Impeachment. Which WOULD prevent them from ever holding any public office and takes away their pensions. Any Federal official* can be impeached.

*All Federal Civil Service members are appointed.

#204 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 03:02 PM:

Rush Limbaugh was beating the drums for her for a lot of the summer.

Choosing her wasn't a wild shot in the dark, by those who made the choice -- Reed, Limbaugh, that base. They have known her and about her for a long time, and she is what they love -- she is them.

It was take who they wanted or not be supported. So Our Maverick got on his knees and obeyed their will.

Love, C.

#205 ::: Stefan Joens ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 03:08 PM:

" . . . got on his knees and obeyed their will."

Is that what the kids are calling it these days?

Rush chose well. The Some of The People You can Fool All the Time love her with the same passion and for much the same reason that they loved Bush.

Suckers.

#206 ::: Jörg Raddatz ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 05:26 PM:

My post at #183

Thanks a lot for the explanation. It was an earnest question.
Jason Long, I apologize for indirectly accusing you of using antisemitic phrases - I was a bit apalled (no, make that quite apalled) and stopped to read and think clearly: The fact that no one else objected at all should have been a big clue.

Just now, I realize where my mistake came from: I encountered the term "Jewnited States" once (in a clearly antisemitic pamphlet included as background material in the "Watchman" books by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons) and mistook the "y" for an "j". I am sorry.

#207 ::: Jason Long ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 06:31 PM:

@206
Jörg, I took no offense; I was merely trying to lighten things up by mocking the pompous bastards making speeches on CSPAN by transliterating their pronunciation.

#200
Paula, 1) You raise a good question about the FBI's handling of the 9/11 hijackers before 9/11 and I'd really like to see some serious evidence as to how that was handled, but since I doubt that said orders were committed to paper I don't think we'll ever know the full truth of the matter. But the old saying "Never ascribe to a conspiracy what can more plausibly be caused by any combination of stupidity and incompetence" may well apply. Both the CIA and the FBI have had their share of arrogant incompetents over the last few decades.
2 and 3) Our policymakers failed to plan for the occupation and administration of both Iraq and Afghanistan. Arrogant incompetence, IMO, certainly, but it's a bit more understandable in Afghanistan because they wanted to get out as quickly and with as little cost as possible to focus on Iraq. They sure as hell didn't want to try and occupy the country, which would have united the country against us, so they set up the Loya Jurga, which basically divided the country between the various warlords, invited NATO in to help out with security and left fairly minimal forces behind to keep Karzai in power and to fight the Taliban. And they've been keeping Afghanistan on a shoestring while Iraq has absorbed most of the attention and resources. Oh, and by the way, troops were not pulled out of Afghanistan to go to Iraq; they went home, while Iraq was invaded by an entirely different set of troops. But the focus and the resources were certainly diverted from Afghanistan to Iraq, which is probably your fundamental point.

Fighting those warlords directly would certainly turn us into occupiers, something we've been very careful to avoid lest it turn into a replay of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. And we all know how well that went for them. Far preferable, to my mind, is strengthening the authority of the central government so that it can take on the warlords itself, with some assistance for us. But there are a boatload of obstacles in the way for even that approach to work easily.

I really, really don't want to see American proconsuls in Afghanistan or Iraq, even if that would be a significant improvement over the current native governments.

4) It ain't treason as defined in Article 3 of the Constitution. See Terry's comment in @202.

#208 ::: Jason Long ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 06:33 PM:

@193,
Terry, I saw your explication, but not Patrick's, which was my concern as his phrasing was less than felicitous to my ears.

#209 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 06:34 PM:

Re "getting them out of our public life": would it be reasonable to insist that, in the event of conviction of malfeasance in public office, the punishment should include a permanent prohibition against ever holding such office again? That would get both the elected and appointed ones. Of course, then you have to get the convictions in the first place...

#210 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 06:38 PM:

Lori Coulson@203

Actually the Civil Service people are basically the (large majority) of civilian Federal employees who are NOT political appointees.

(There are ways of eventually getting around the "not political appointees" bit without doing anything too visibly illegal. But they're harder. And take longer. So even someone as unscrupulous as Bush is going to limit himself to a couple of target subagencies.)

(You know those pesky civil service regulations that Bush has been trying to get rid of on the grounds that they're "antiquated"? ONE of their effects is to make it extremely difficult to carry out any sort of general political purge. This is not to say that there aren't also some negative effects.)

#211 ::: Jason Long ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 06:40 PM:

Pretty fair-handed assessment of Obama's actual accomplishments as a community organizer at NRO:

http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=OWMxNGUxZWJjYzg1NjA0MTlmZDZmMjUwZGU3ZjAwNmU=&w=Mg==

#212 ::: Adrian Smith ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 08:36 PM:

Paula@200: If that is NOT providing aid and assistance and comfort to the Enemy, then what is, enabling the murder of thosands of people in US sovereign territory, destroying hundreds of thousands of livelihoods and causing massive economic and emotional chaos and national demoralization?!

It still sounds more like culpable negligence than treason, unless you can prove they knew it was going to happen and were thinking, hey, an excuse to invade Iraq, how convenient! They could just have been going along with some shifty Saudi request.

#213 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 09:42 PM:

#189 ::: Terry Karney:

I know we deny the franchise to felons. I think it's a bad idea. My first exposure to the idea that there might be something wrong with denying franchise was something written by a gay man back when sodomy was a felony-- denying franchise makes it harder to overturn bad laws.

And the policy of denying franchise to felons did contribute to the mess in Florida.

Keeping them out of public office is good. Is there any way to keep them from working as lobbyists?

#214 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 09:47 PM:

#205 ::: Stefan Joens

Why, yes! They do! Love her. For the same reasons they loved the chimp, who also won that trifecta of class, race and anti-intellectualism/faith-based reality.

Our Sweetheart did the trifecta: lower class disaffected caucasian -- and sexy! don't forget sexy!, working mom / big family values gal, gun lover, who does not believe Climate Change is Our/Your Fault and loves loves loves to drink and kick ass. She R Us.

(not moi, of curse, but you all know that)

Love, C.

#215 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 11:32 PM:

Nancy #213:

One interesting question: Does anyone have hard data on how many felons vote, in states where that's allowed? I would expect felons to vote at a relatively low rate, given the way poverty and low IQ and lack of education all correlate with both going to jail and with not voting. But I could definitely be missing something.

This doesn't resolve the moral question, but it probably has some impact on the practical question of whether not allowing felons to vote is having a significant effect on the way elections turn out.

#217 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2008, 01:47 AM:

#200 Jason
#212 Adrian

The Marshall Plan involved occupation and administration of Europe, and there was occupation and administration of Japan.
In Afghanistan, more than half the population was being terrorized by the religious fanatics--there were women who risked their lives to videotape Taliban Afghanistan and Taliban areas of Pakistan, and smuggle the tapes to members of the Boston-based organization of physicians who of their own effort and money, go out to the rest of the world to provide healthcare in crisis areas--including when there was the Ebola outbreak that was threatening to become an epidemic.

The women who had healthcare enough to get tested for gender of children and had access to abortions, were choosing to abort female fetuses, because they considered being aborted and never born, a preferable fate to being female under Taliban rules. (Source -- Nightline programs in which the physicians who had been to those places, were reporting on what it had been like--and they showed some of the smuggled videotapes. It was years ago, before Koppel got canned for not being e.g. Rush Limbaugh, and before the current Regime has committed the juntas which put and kept it in power.... )

As for treason... there was also the case of the woman who was denied her day in court against being fired unjustfrom from the FBI when she went to Congress regarding what she said were mistranslations and stamping documents as lacking in merit for translation, from Arabic to English, which CIA agents (I think it was the CIA) had submitted to the FBI asking for translations. The Republican neo-con-appointed judge declared that bringing the case to court would be harmful to the national interest and shut the lawsuit down completely....

"Gross negligence" is a high crime--and there is way too much evidence that's gotten to the public of malfeasance, for "sheer stupidity/incompetence to cover the the breadth and depth and abrogations--the election interference/fraud/tampering, the gross corruption at and near the Cabinet level, the appointment of so many crooks along with the apparent incompetents, the award of contracts to greedy contractors who hired foreign nationals without legitimately granted work permits to be in the USA working for post-Katrina rebuilding,

There is that term, "all enemies, foreign and domestic" -- can/should not one categorize as "enemy" someone who though a US citizen, is intentionally and perniciously abrogating the Constitution and Bill of Rights, thwarting the will of the people and of the letter and spirit of the law, exterminating freedom of speech, implementing warrantless searches and seizures and arrests, exterminating freedom of religion... and acting in such as way as to effect the drawing up of 35 articles of impeachment and the evoking the reading of them on the floor of the House of Representatives? Does not that contain sufficient substantiation of "domestic enemy" to be accused of high crimes and misdemeanors enumerated in 35 separate Articles?!

#218 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2008, 02:11 AM:

Paula: If you can't show intent to give aid and comfort to declared enemies, it's not treason.

I am not happy with what they did, but the constitution is clear,

Section 3. Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

The structure of that paragraph makes it evident it doesn't apply to countries which are opposed to us, but to those in declared hostilities.

Not pursuing what looks like a criminal case, or refusing to allow a trial, does not meet the definitions of Treason in the only place in which the crime is (or can be) defined.

It may have been negligent. It may have been grossly negligent, even criminally, but it wasn't treason.

#219 ::: Ursula L ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2008, 10:04 AM:

Terry Karney wrote:

Section 3. Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

It doesn't say anything about intent, there.

Treason defined giving the aide, and that could include giving the aide without the intent to aide the enemy - such as giving the aide with the intent of personal financial gain, or for the financial gain of others who are not the enemy being aided, or giving the aide out of stupidity.

Not all crimes require intent, and this one doesn't seem to require it, as written.

#220 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2008, 10:08 AM:

Lori @ 203: *All Federal Civil Service members are appointed.

That's not correct; the heads of the Federal agencies are political appointees. The ranks of Federal Civil Service are filled with career employees*, who cannot be summarily dismissed.

*Many of us are Democrats, oddly enough.

#221 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2008, 10:49 AM:

Treason has an exceptionally high standard to pass, with good reason; otherwise, people who give to charities who, without their knowledge or consent, use the contributed money to fund enemies would be guilty of treason. Ummm....

#222 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2008, 11:29 AM:

Ursula L: You can't make it that vague. If you do, then the allegations of the Limbaughs and the Micheal Reagans become true. Anyone who publishes something which increases the Morale of Al Qaeda, the news organisations which report on the tapes bin Laden makes, etc. would count.

Mens rea is an element of Treason, it has to be, or the charge becomes, pretty much meaningless; so much as a kind word about someone could become treason.

#223 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2008, 11:45 AM:

I'm a Federal employee, and the political appointees that I know are the Cabinet Secretaries and Undersecretaries and usually their staff, and some Agency Heads.

Among the career employees, there is not supposed to be political preference, however I know of people who have been promoted because they had a parent who was a heavy contributor to certain Congress-folk...and look at what happened at the Justice Department.

The poster child for this one is Lurita Doan...

#224 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2008, 12:08 PM:

Things that are not in-and-of-themselves treasonous are, and should be, impeachable offenses.

#225 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2008, 12:34 PM:

Lori @223: Yes, the lower ranks got into using the political ways -- Civil Service was supposed to prevent this kind of preferential treatment, and it usually does suppress it. The evangelical Republicans have been working hard for the past few years, haven't they?

I really would like to see Monica Goodling and Lurita Doan face criminal charges. They violated all sorts of regulations.

#226 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2008, 01:25 PM:

Jim: I agree... Which I think is where this whole thing started... what to do about those who've perprtrated this mess.

#227 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2008, 01:43 PM:

Here's a little something that deserves to go viral:

Other Wars

#228 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2008, 09:03 PM:

I found what might be a good counter-metaphor against the Legend Of John McCain Who Was A POW here:

"When you're setting out with a patched tire, you need to have a reliable spare!"

#229 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2008, 01:32 AM:

I have a lot of trouble calling McCain maverick, even more when it's capitalized. That word brings images of James Garner, and Mr. McCain, you're not him.

#230 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2008, 02:07 AM:

Bruce @ 228: Journalists keep using it reflexively -- they can't seem to say McCain without saying maverick. It drives me almost as nuts as when they all started saying regime change instead of invasion. I'm not listening to Fox news or CNN -- this is NPR.
Words matter. They can use whatever terms they like in an editorial, but new stories shouldn't parrot the buzz words provided by the spin doctors. Of course, this is the Liberal Media, harumph.

#231 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2008, 08:06 AM:

"Liberal media" is a right wing falsehood they love to keep saying because so many people believe it now.

That doesn't make it the truth, though. Take a look at who owns your local TV stations; Disney, ComCast, etc, etc. These are major corporations interested in furthering their own ends, and maintaining the status quo. They are NOT "liberal" in any sense of the word.

Same with newspapers; who owns your local? McClatchey, Gannon, etc. Again, big corporations interested in maintaining the status quo. NOT liberal.

The reason why the media keeps calling McCain "maverick" is because it serves their interests to do so. Watch the "interview" that ABC is touting with Palin; I doubt she gets any hard questions asked (and probably already has the question list in front of her), but her campaign (and ABC) will crow that she's not afraid to be interviewed.

#232 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2008, 08:20 AM:

JohnL #230:

I don't think it's nearly that premeditiated. Note that there's bias in both directions in the media (as well as in all those other directions that don't fit on the left/right spectrum). I think folks on the right notice liberal bias, and folks on the left notice conservative bias, because of confirmation bias[1]. For example, you will wait one hell of a long time for a positive (or even neutral) MSM portrayal of private gun ownership or opposition to our old friend Mr Burton. And on the other side, if you were paying attention during the run up to the Iraq war, you probably waited a long time to see any kind of positive (or even neutral) portrayal of opposition to the war.

The media is a distorting filter, in many different directions. Claiming a pervasive liberal media bias works partly because of that distorting filter, plus a bit of confirmation bias that notes and is offended by bias against issues important to conservatives, but which never even notices bias in other issues. Most people, even pretty honest and intelligent ones, tend to see bias in their direction of an argument as evidence of intelligent and good reporting. It took me a hell of a long time to catch this, to recognize that _The Economist_'s pro-market bias was a bias, not evidence that they were smart people.

[1] I first got this in high school, when it occurred to me to wonder why I kept getting really mad at all the bad calls made against our team in the basketball games. What could explain why the refs in every single game hated us so much? I started trying to see the bad calls in the other direction, and it was like being hit upside the head with a clue-by-four.

#233 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2008, 08:31 AM:

Bruce #228:

I think MSM types get married to their characterizations of the candidates, and have a terrible time changing them even when confronted with conflicting evidence. McCain is a Straight Talking Maverick Outsider, and so all those times when he sidesteps contentious issues, changes his position to shore up support among his own party, or votes with his party the overwhelming majority of the time are simply exceptions. For someone who started without that Maverick label, the same actions would imply something quite different.

I imagine this happens partly because journalists have to find something to say about the candidates every single day. New information is hard to find, new insights don't come every day even if you're the kind of person to have big new insights from time to time, the record of a candidate's accomplishments is often sort-of boring and seems like it's all in the past anyway, but you can riff on the Maverick Outsider image (or the Up and Coming Post-Racial Rockstar) all day, every day, without bringing up enough facts to ever be contradicted. Similarly, you can now riff endlessly on the "Gun Totin' Corruption Fightin' Hockey Mom" without ever doing any of that tiresome crap like interviewing people, asking questions, or (God help us) reading background material.

Adding to that, the You Can't Say That defense is being run by both campaigns to some extent. Write a hard-hitting piece on McCain's connections with smarmy lobbyists or Obama's dealings with smarmy Chicago politics, and their supporters will do their best to turn the issue away from their candidates and toward why you are such an immoral, evil bastard that would write such things. (This is exactly analogous to a big spot on the troll bingo card, and for very good reason.) I expect a lot of journalists find it easier to avoid being attacked, avoid losing access to the candidate and other reprisals, and simply write more pap about Maverick Outsiders and Hockey Moms.

#234 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2008, 09:12 AM:

Albatross #231,

I understand what you're saying, but ISTM that the media is at least inadvertantly assisting the McCain campaign with all these articles of "Palin draws women from all walks of life" and "did Obama insult Palin with his 'lipstick on a pig' comment?", and "McCain pushes character, Obama talks issues", and "McCain slams Biden for stem cell comment".

Now, those are all articles from the last few days. Notice how they're written, in ways that portray the McCain/Palin side in a favorable manner. That is not, IMO, coincidence or even serendipitous. That's deliberate, and in a Presidential campaign, how the news is presented is often as important as what is reported. None are from FoxNews either; they are from what are widely called the "liberal media"; i.e.
non-FoxNews media outlets.

Now, in visual media I noticed ABCNews last night reporting on a McCain/Palin speech where she again said she stopped the "bridge to nowhere". After reporting how this attack on earmarks had excited the crowd, the reporter did say that she neglected to say to the crowd that she supported the same project when campaigning for Governor and only cancelled it after it became a lightning rod for criticism. That was good reporting IMO, but those examples are few and far between.

#235 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2008, 10:20 AM:

The problem IMO is not "The Liberal Media", it's "The Lazy Media". Most reporters these days seem quite content to write a story which is a minimal rewording of a press release some PR flack handed them. That's not even reporting, let alone objective reporting.

#236 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2008, 10:30 AM:


The fascist meme in the media
Extolling pow'r and greed,
Their reporting biased is
And justice they don't heed.

They would not challenge the campaign
Of Cheney, Bush, and Rove,
They covered up the doctored vote
Ignored the damning trove--

Liars, liars, liars
As they mouth Karl Rove's lies,
And now they push McCain-Palin
As high corruption thrives--

Liars, liars, liars,
They filter out all truth,
And they are on the frontlines
Pushing regimes without ruth--

Liars, thieves, and scoundrels,
Corrupt beyond spoiled meat,
They've turned the world to a police state
All liberty's defeat.

#237 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2008, 10:58 AM:

albatross #231: You're right when you say that the media's bias isn't to the left or to the right. But they do have a specific bias, and it's towards the American corporate imperial system that's been in place for at least the last fifty years. Basically, if you're worth less than (here's a low guess) a couple million dollars, they're biased against you.

#238 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2008, 12:07 PM:

albatross: I used to think that, back in my reporting days. Time has changed my mind. Bush lies, by commission and ommission. The press ignores it.

His supporters lie about his enemies. They write books in which the commit provable falsehoods to make it seem Bush's opposition is lying.

McCain Lies.

Limbaugh Lies.

Palin lies.

Nothing is said about it.

Gore tells a couple of true stories. They are turned into lies. Kerry explains that he changed his mind and is called names.

McCain changes his mind and is a maverick.

Obama doesn't change his mind, about something where he was truly bucking the stream... and it's ignored.


A democrat speaks an unpleasant truth. The republicans accuse him of all sorts of horrors. The press repeats the horrors, never analyses the truth, and it becomes as though it were false.

A reporter gets a story, and the right howls,and the story (even when true) is lost in, "reporting the controversy."

Big name nasties are paid, again, again, and again, to spew lies, hatred and threats. The press courts them, asks them to be on shows, moves the ideas they spout to the mainstream. Tells us they aren't representive of the "real" republicans.

Minor academics say things which might be seen as hostile to the US (or might be legitimate questions) and they become the spokemen of "the left".

Kerry says the law is one thing, and the canon anothe, and he won't mix the two. His religious faith is said to be insincere. Scalia says the law ought to contravene his religions's tenets (on capital punishment and torture). His faith is still touted as a strong and powerful thing.

Year of analysis (as opposed to the gut level certainties I used to have) and of reading those who have been studying it, have reversed my sentiments. The press, as an institution, is largely in the bag for the right.

A man more cynical than I, would say the idea they are "left-leaning" is one they encourage, so as to increase the tilt rightward they can actually get away with carrying out.

#239 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2008, 05:19 PM:

Has anyone else seen this McCain comment about the MN bridge collapse over at Kos? (Note: The date on the video appears to be 09/08/08, but based on this, it was filmed at an appearance he made in Iowa on/about August 4, 2007.)

I find it interesting that even as recently as April 2008, he was singing the same tune about earmarks and The Bridge to Nowhere.

I wonder if he'd forgotten by the time he picked Palin...

#240 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2008, 06:20 PM:

I think what mainstream news has a bias for is not so much conservative or liberal, but for sensationalism. They want a good story, and the ones who make those decisions define "a good story" as one that is widely read, or viewed, regardless of the factual merits. If it could make a splash, it's a good story. If it's maybe a bit too numbers-heavy, kinda geeky, not sexy, doesn't quite fit with available space or prevailing mood, it's not a good story.

The effect, imo, does favour neocons, as they have a narrow agenda and no qualms about reworking the stories they tell to reporters, or in front of a mike, so as to serve that agenda.

#241 ::: Jason ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2008, 10:53 AM:

pericat @239,
Remember the old saw "if it bleeds, it leads"? That's what the MSM is all about.

I'm not so sure that it lends itself to the neocons over the lefties. Iraq is the classic example; the number of stories about Iraq dropped something like 80% in the last year as the Sunni Awakening and the surge began to roll up Al-Qaeda and the Shiite death squads. Without those horrific car bombings and beheadings Iraq simply wasn't as interesting and wouldn't sell those newspapers or bring in the viewers.

Good news stories simply don't sell as much, no matter whether they're about rebuilding a school in Iraq or some community group rebuilding low-income housing here in the US. Terry ought to be able to attest to that.

#242 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2008, 02:07 PM:

Jason #240:

I think the neocons are very good at coming up with a compelling story for their policies. The story doesn't really hold together on close examination, but few people will subject it to one, so that's not a big problem. Certainly, journalists don't subject the grand story to such a critical examination too often.

Terry #237:

I'm trying to think of a way to test which of us is more likely to be right. What seems clear to me right now (allowing for the thousand natural biases that flesh is heir to):

a. Taking the MSM broadly to mean the entertainment, news, and mixtures, I think there's no way to see the picture of the world they project as being socially conservative.

b. The MSM in the more narrow sense of "serious" news shows and papers seems to have a certain take on the world which is quite different from that of the rest of the country. That translates into a number of biases on issues such as free trade, immigration, gun control, Barton, foreign policy, civil rights laws, etc. They can and do treat ideas hostile to that take on the world in pretty rough ways. Look at how Ron Paul and Tom Tancredo were covered in this election--they're Republicans, just not the right kind. (For this purpose, I think Bill Kristol is the right kind.)

c. Specific politicians, companies, and movements do much better than others at playing the media, and this changes somewhat over time. This isn't as simple as left/right or Democrat/Republican, though the Republicans since 9/11 have been quite good at crying foul at the media and their opponents whenever they didn't like what was being said. I'm not entirely sure why this works so well--maybe it gives editors or publishers an excuse to pull stories they don't want running anyway. But both the Obama campaign and the Clinton campaign did this during the primaries with some success, and the Obama campaign has managed it some since then[1]. (I suspect it's a losing strategy for Obama to do this too often, and he knows it. McCain and the Republicans have little fear of being called whiners for demanding that a professional politician be sheltered from lipstick jokes.)

I think I could come up with counterexamples that make a the point the other direction, but I'm not sure what that proves. Is there a way to objectively choose a few events or people or ideas, and see what the coverage looks like?

I could find a couple papers on this, but the subject looks so politically charged that I despair of finding anyone whose research in a field I know so little about I would trust. I was sure I didn't trust the John Lott paper, but this one looked reasonable at first glance, and I'd seen it mentioned before. It indicates a liberal bias on issues.

Is there good hard data on this anywhere? What data is available?

[1]There must be a good poem in the list of outrage talking points in the last few months, if only I were smart enough to write it. What rhymes with "terrorist fist bump" and "lipstick?"

#243 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2008, 03:08 PM:

The real Maverick family supports Obama.

This Maverick family info was sent to me by a Texan friend. Their Great grandfather is where the term 'maverick' originated.

Their website has great photos.

Love, C.

#244 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2008, 11:37 PM:

The Particle on Russia was not what I was expecting.

#245 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2008, 05:46 PM:

McCain was apparently on The View recently; he got his ass handed to him by Barbara Walters and the other women there (Hasselbeck wasn't there because of a conflict of interest; she works for the McCain campaign). They grilled him hard on his flipflops as well as his choice of Palin for VP. Hopefully the videos are broadcast repeatedly for the next 6 weeks...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/09/12/mccain-grilled-on-the-vie_n_125972.html

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