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October 6, 2008

McCain: pass it on
Posted by Teresa at 12:48 AM * 246 comments

The McCain campaign has stepped up their campaign of fraudulent personal attacks on Obama. They’re coming down hard on tenuous connections between Obama and Bill Ayers, who was a Weatherman back in the Pleistocene, and other supposed connections that are equally inconsequential. It’s complete BS—the kind of thing you used to only see coming from marginal cranks—but the McCain campaign has apparently given up even the appearance of legitimacy.

I don’t know what they can be thinking. Obama’s past is well documented and as close to squeaky clean as real humans get. McCain’s past is the one that doesn’t stand close scrutiny. All I can say is, please pass on the following:

The Keating Economics: John McCain and the Making of a Financial Crisis website, which just went live, was paid for by Obama for America. There’s nothing underhanded about it. This isn’t a bunch of artfully deniable statements about undefined “ties” to undefined “terrorists”. It’s a mass of research, documentation, and news story reprints about McCain having been in the thick of the Keating 5 scandal and the collapse of the Savings and Loan industry. Short version: it started with respectable-sounding “deregulation”, and quickly turned into massive fraud, the collapse of a formerly stable area of the financial services industry, and a bailout that cost taxpayers about $120 billion. IMO, the biggest thing we learn is that between that financial scandal and the current one, McCain professed to have learned his lesson, but actually learned nothing at all.

As of this Monday morning, 06 October 2008, with the global economy severely destabilized and in panic mode, here’s the McCain campaign’s take on the important issues.

Amy Silverman’s Postmodern John McCain: the presidential candidate some Arizonans know—and loathe is a mother lode of local Arizonan coverage of McCain’s vile past. It’s a big article. Pack a lunch. If you need help sorting out Silverman’s article, John McCain Detested in Arizona is a summary of the high points, and Phoenix Reporter Details McCain’s Sordid Political Past breaks it out as a timeline.

Make-Believe Maverick, subtitled A closer look at the life and career of John McCain reveals a disturbing record of recklessness and dishonesty, is a long and very solid article from the latest issue of Rolling Stone. Early on, it quotes the nearly legendary Air Force Lieutenant Colonel John A. Dramesi. Not long after McCain and Dramesi were released by the North Vietnamese, they fell to comparing notes about their next career moves:

“I’m going to the Middle East,” Dramesi says. “Turkey, Kuwait, Lebanon, Iran.”
“Why are you going to the Middle East?” McCain asks, dismissively.
“It’s a place we’re probably going to have some problems,” Dramesi says.
“Why? Where are you going to, John?”
“Oh, I’m going to Rio.”
“What the hell are you going to Rio for?”
McCain, a married father of three, shrugs.
“I got a better chance of getting laid.”

Dramesi, who went on to serve as chief war planner for U.S. Air Forces in Europe and commander of a wing of the Strategic Air Command, was not surprised. “McCain says his life changed while he was in Vietnam, and he is now a different man,” Dramesi says today. “But he’s still the undisciplined, spoiled brat that he was when he went in.”

John McCain’s Sweet Ride. Sheikhs on a plane! Remember how all flights were grounded after 9/11, only somehow a bunch of highly-placed Saudis managed to get themselves quietly flown out of the country? And remember that blonde lobbyist, Vicky Iseman, who certainly was getting a lot of favors out of McCain for a while there? Watch the discreditable connections stack up in all directions.

Further discreditable connections involving Vicky Iseman, from the Huffington Post.

The U.S. Veteran Dispatch is a somewhat obsessive site, and I certainly don’t agree with everything on it, but they have interesting information. (1.) McCain’s divorce. Came home from Vietnam, ditched the crippled wife, and married a beer heiress seventeen years his junior. (2.) Not that that kept him from jumping anything that moves. (3.) Did you ever think we’d see a major national politician whose military record would make George W. Bush’s look like a string of peccadillos? Try John McCain: Unfit to Serve as Commander-in-Chief.

Meanwhile, we have Governor Palin proclaiming that Barack Obama is a good buddy to terrorists. When the AP Truth Squad reported today that Ms. Palin’s attacks on Obama were bogus, she replied that the AP is wrong. Essentially, she’s given up all pretense to being a serious politician, and is letting herself be used as a cheap right-wing attack bimbo in the style of Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin. It’s an ill-advised long-term move for her. Politicians have established careers and regular salaries, even after they get boring. Attack bimbos are only as good as their most recent numbers.

Comments on McCain: pass it on:
#1 ::: Leslie in CA ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 01:07 AM:

Good collection - thanks. There's also the new site, documenting that particular period in his history.

#2 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 01:24 AM:

Don't forget McCain's friendliness with convicted felon G. Gordon "aim for the head, ATF agents wear bulletproof vests" Liddy.

(1994: Liddy makes the "aim for the head" comment. 1998: Liddy hosts a McCain fundraiser. 2007: McCain appears on Liddy's radio show.)

#3 ::: Marna Nightingale ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 01:31 AM:

Meanwhile, up in Canada, distressingly enough, we have someone in Toronto cutting the brake lines of people with Liberal signs on their lawns.

#4 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 01:31 AM: is (and announces itself as) an organ of the Obama campaign.

I do not say that to discredit it -- the Keating situation has been well-discussed for weeks, and I'm sure the site's facts will be analyzed in minute detail by the time I'm back online tomorrow morning.

Rather, my reaction is... yow. *That's* what campaign strategy looks like. McCain has been attempting to drop bombshells and flash campaign stunts for weeks now. Has he unleashed anything as comprehensive or well-documented as this?

#5 ::: Marna Nightingale ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 01:39 AM:

Although this is making me wonder if what we have is a well-travelled nutter whose politics are strictly peripheral, and who is getting more and more vicious. Or else mass, anonymous brake-line slashing as a form of violently anti-social behaviour is way more popular than I ever thought it was.

#6 ::: Thalia ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 02:06 AM:

My immediate reaction when I heard of the Ayers story is that McCain's early association with Keating is a lot more dangerous to his campaign than Ayers is to Obama's. Unless, of course, they manage to paint him as the "dark skinned terrorist" which is where I think they're going.

#7 ::: p mac ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 02:21 AM:

I found another "swiftboating" ad, mentioning some even more dubious connections, people Barack is in contact with on an almost daily basis.

#8 ::: Liz Ditz ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 02:24 AM:

What about McCain's gambling ties? What happened to the big NYT article -- it sank without a stone.

How much does McCain gamble? How often? Does he have unpaid debts? How much is he in thrall to the gaming interests? What does his gambling habit reveal about his decision-making process?

etc. etc. etc.

Clip from the 9/28/08 NYT article:

As a two-time chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee, Mr. McCain has done more than any other member of Congress to shape the laws governing America’s casinos, helping to transform the once-sleepy Indian gambling business into a $26-billion-a-year behemoth with 423 casinos across the country. He has won praise as a champion of economic development and self-governance on reservations.

“One of the founding fathers of Indian gaming” is what Steven Light, a University of North Dakota professor and a leading Indian gambling expert, called Mr. McCain.

As factions of the ferociously competitive gambling industry have vied for an edge, they have found it advantageous to cultivate a relationship with Mr. McCain or hire someone who has one, according to an examination based on more than 70 interviews and thousands of pages of documents.

Mr. McCain portrays himself as a Washington maverick unswayed by special interests, referring recently to lobbyists as “birds of prey.” Yet in his current campaign, more than 40 fund-raisers and top advisers have lobbied or worked for an array of gambling interests — including tribal and Las Vegas casinos, lottery companies and online poker purveyors.

#9 ::: Matthew Daly ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 02:27 AM:

Because look, I love John McCain. He is one of my dearest friends. But at the same time, he's also dangerously unbalanced. I mean, let's be frank, John McCain -- and again, this is a man I would take a bullet for -- is bad at his job and mentally unstable. As my mother would say, 'God love him', but he's a raging maniac. And a dear, dear friend.

#10 ::: Giacomo ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 02:51 AM:

McCain's and Palin's efforts to link Obama to "anyone you might hate" is just a desperate attempt at finding a Willie Horton, but it's poorly executed. Lee Atwater would not be proud.

#11 ::: Zander ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 03:32 AM:

I have two ideas about what they're thinking, and they both revolve around the idea that, whatever they may say or do, the Republicans knew they were never going to win this election right from the start, and so the whole campaign has had the feel of the last day of term where it doesn't really matter what you do.

The first, completely tinfoil-hat idea, which I've voiced before, is that someone on the right is going to stage and escalate some sort of incident and Bush will "be forced" to postpone the election indefinitely and declare martial law. I'm trying hard not to think about that one.

The other, more boring idea is that since they know they aren't going to win, they're just making as much of a mess as possible so that Obama has to spend the next four years just getting things back to something like where they were, by which time he will be more unpopular than Bush and they can run Palin or somebody against him in the certain knowledge that Americans will be sick and tired of having to pay for things and be responsible and so on, and ready for a little laissez-faire again. *deep breath* Thus the whole campaign is just making it look convincing before taking a dive in the eighth round. Which is more plausible if we're dealing with sane persons here.

#12 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 04:01 AM:

The "John McCain's Sweet Ride" link is, well, somewhat fact-shy. I'm given unpleasantly creepy feelings by its language. "John McCain had good relations(!) with a working woman(!). Now, we don't know for sure that they had kinky extramarital sex..." Then it starts talking about gambling and the Mob and I can't deal with some Foucault's Pendulum shit like this in the morning without coffee.

He who fucks rats should look to it that he himself does not become a rat.

#13 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 04:21 AM:

Since there's a new political thread...

Scary thought: what if Palin is INTENDED as a stalking horse? That is, Palin is chosen as VP, everyone thinks that's crazy, but has to be careful in saying so so as not to come across looking sexist. Then the Troopergate judgement goes against her, she bows out "gracefully", "for the good of the country and the Republican Party" - THEN the Republicans nominate a new VP who is staid, respectable and boring (so wouldn't have been a vote winner normally) - but looks like a really nice safe pair of hands in contrast?

Any bets?

#14 ::: Sten ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 04:23 AM:

Pty Pln nd McCn, wh ply fr th wrng tm.

ll hl th bmtn!

#15 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 04:35 AM:

dcb #12: We can but hope. I'm trying to think of missteps that would be worse for the McCain campaign while still remaining in the bounds of credibility. McCain uses a racial slur during a speech? McCain suffers a stroke? Sarah Palin shoots David Letterman?

McCain has to try to keep up the impression that Palin was a good pick. Anything that made her leave the ticket now makes him look completely erratic and utterly lacking in judgment. This is the way he looks already to most of America, it seems, but if he actually admits the hideous glaring mistake and jettisons Palin it'll all be over.

#16 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 04:35 AM:

There's a correct tense in there somewhere, but I'm buggered if I know when it is.

#17 ::: Lindra ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 05:23 AM:

SeanH @14/15:

It looks to me more like McCain is the stalking horse and Palin is presenting herself as the dependable far-right-wing backup in case McCain dies in office. I wouldn't put it past them to bank on her mediocrity looking safe and reliable in comparison to (as you put it) his erratic lack of judgment.

#18 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 05:29 AM:

Entertained by the RS article, which points out that McCain is everything Bush is, except that Bush was a much better pilot...

#19 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 05:48 AM:

Sten? Come back and explain. What's that all about?

#20 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 05:55 AM:

Marna Nightingale @ 3... In Toronto? And against members of the Liberal Party? Things have changed since I left 20 years ago. I still remember, when I was living in the Bay Area, having to disappoint a local who was excited at the Liberal Party's leader having become the Prime Minister, that it wasn't quite the Party of his kind of Liberal.

#21 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 06:21 AM:

Serge @ 19 ... I'm still vastly entertained at my Canadian slightly-left-of-center politics being tagged as "commie pinko leftist bastard" by a gentleman from a certain part of the US...

#22 ::: Sten ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 06:25 AM:


Prhps t ws nvtbl tht Mkng Lght wld b plld nt bm's grvttnl mbrc. Bt sm t rcll Ptrck tllng bm t fck ff n 2006, nd ws srt hpng tht Mkng Lght wldn't jn th rst f th ntrnt n bcmng n npd gldtrl cmbtnt n ths yr's lctrl cycl.

Nw, y mght rg tht y'r nt fr bm-Bdn s mch s y'r gnst McCn-Pln, nd 'd b prprd t ccpt tht.

Bt rlly, psts lk ths sm t ndct tht Mkng Lght s n th bm bndwgn, nd rdy t fght!

Myb m jst wstfl fr my yngr dys whn lf, nd ll my frnds nd rltvs nd c-wrkrs, wr nt sndwchd btwn th Lbrl snglrty n n sd, nd th Cnsrvtv snglrty n th thr. stll blv ll f s r pltcl mlgms, nd tht n n prty cn rprsnt s ll th tm n ll wys. Crtnly n cnddt cn d ths.

Yt r crrnt pplr pltcl ztgst prtnds tht th rtfcl blck/wht dchtmy s nt nly ntrl, bt prfrbl.

Hnc bth cnddts bcm svrly dmnzd, nd thr spprtrs bcm dmnzd n th prcss, nd thn t's hlf f th .S. lnd p lng th trnchs gnst th thr hlf. Th ntrr htng th csts. Th csts htng th ntrr. Flksy chrm vrss lrnd ntllct. xprnc vrss ttrctvnss. ld vrss yng.

Yt gt ths sck flng, thrgh th whl thng, bcs sspct t ll bls dwn t tm sprts. Trblsm. Whvr th Thm s, s gnst th s, nd whtvr th s gy hppns t b, w wll chmpn t ll csts. nd whtvr th Thm gy hppns t b, w wll xcrt t ll csts.

Sch tht McCn nd Pln r snnrs, nt s mch fr wh thy r, bt bcs thy r wh thy r whl bng prt f th wrng trb.

Dtt fr bm nd Bdn.

Mthnks r crrnt ntnl crss (plrl) r th rslt f r wllngnss t b trblzd by frcs whch stnd t xplt ths trblztn. nd n, thy r nt strctly f cnsrvtv prssn. Th Lft s s ctvly nggd n th ht-mngrng s th Rght.

Myb m flsh t wsh fr d-trblztn. Myb ppl, by nd lrg, rlly d lk t ths wy? ndlssly svgng th thr, bcs th thr bvsly dsrvs t bsd n thr flgrnt thrnss?

gn, cn lrdy hr th crs f, "THY'R WY WRS THN W R!"


Cn rs my hnd nd pt n vt f n-cnfdnc, n th trbl mntlty? n th nd fr md prsnlts nd md prfssnls (y nd Ptrck qlfy) t dn th gldtr's hlm nd mrch nt th rn wth vryn ls?

#23 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 06:40 AM:

Meanwhile, Palin is continuing to put her foot in her mouth, this time on the media's role in reporting the news.

Responding to a question about how she wants the media to be more "balanced" and "objective" (this is on Fox but reported by ABC), she says:

"As we send our young men and women overseas in a war zone to fight for democracy and freedoms, including freedom of the press, we've really got to have a mutually beneficial relationship here with those fighting the freedom of the press, and then the press, though not taking advantage and exploiting a situation, perhaps they would want to capture and abuse the privilege. We just want truth, we want fairness, we want balance."

The rest of her interview on Fox was used as a "do over" from the Couric interviews. NOW she can name newspapers she reads. NOW she can name Supreme Court decisions she disagrees with. Well duh, of course she can remember them NOW; she's had two weeks of intense briefing and instruction, but she still tends to have diarrhea of the mouth when asked her personal opinion, and not even Fox News can keep her from it!

#24 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 06:46 AM:

John L #22: diarrhea of the mouth

Can I recommend "logorrhea" to you? It is slightly more pretentious, but has the advantage of not inducing such unpleasant images when I'm about to eat.

#25 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 07:02 AM:

Sten: "Methinks our current national crises (plural) are the result of our willingness to be tribalized by forces which stand to exploit this tribalization." No, they're not. They're the result of criminal collusion on the part of a fairly small group of people to profit from the nation at any expense to the rest of us, and also (in some of their cases) to deliberately destabilize the lives of the rest of us so that in a weakened and isolated condition, we will be better subjects.

There is a tribe of people for whom this is all okay. They are Altermeyer's authoritarians, in leader and follower flavors. There are people who are confused and deceived about it, who follow any flag that captures their attention. There are people posing as alternatives who aren't. And there are a variety of overlapping but often conflicting groups interested in doing something about the malefactors.

But it does not begin with group identity in the sense you're talking about. It begins with people deciding that their gain and our loss is what they want, and being willing to work at it for decades, and getting away with it when they should have been checked long ago.

Obama has many bad features, and he listens to some people on the left side of that self-enrichment-driven conglomeration. But he also has good features. McCain, meanwhile, is hip deep among the enrichers, and has personally helped many of them, individually and in groups.

Furthermore, what exactly do you want us to say about the effectiveness of Obama's campaign, whether we agree with the specific policies or not? Are we not supposed to notice and be impressed by a well-crafted delivery and intelligent use of the net, or is it just not okay when a Democrat does something effective for a change in a contested campaign? If I look at it and think "That says something very well, and furthermore, this is something I've long thought needed to be forcefully said in public", should I be ashamed of it? It's not like it wipes out the blots of, say, Obama's FISA vote, but it's a good thing despite that.

#26 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 07:06 AM:

#21: Sten, so you're making the Both Sides Are Just As Awful argument?

That means you think quality and content of argument is irrelevant? A variety of reputable organizations are making credible, substantive allegations against McCain. OTOH, McCain's allegations against Obama are flimsy guilt-by-association attacks.

The logical extension to your argument is that the media should simply take every candidate at his or her word. Any sort of fact checking, or digging back into a candidate's past might expose something unsavory. And, well, that might lead to the well-researched Rolling Stone article you seem so unhappy with.

#27 ::: Jörg Raddatz ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 07:10 AM:

Sten @ 21

While I have the advantage of having not to delve that deeply into US electoral politics, your post still moves me to write a reaction.

But since I have now browsed your other posts, I will keep it short.
You do not like the two-party-system, forcing you to choose between just two candidates, and think of staying at home since no candidate is exactly on your side. Those who support on candidate, hoping for the lesser evil keeping the catastrophical evil at bay, are un-nuanced tribalists.

This is a very high-minded and morally pure conviction, staying above the fray and all that. I sincerely hope that there will be very, very few people in the US who share it.

#28 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 07:13 AM:

Sten #21, I cannot recommend any effort to persuade people not to speak out against evil; categorizing the will to do good as "tribalism" does nothing to actually solve any of the problems of the day.

#29 ::: Connie H. ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 07:39 AM:

Regardless of "tribalism" -- which seems to me to be another version of identity politics -- I think that McCain's Keating 5 past should be closely examined particularly in light of our current financial situation and how we got here. Especially when so many of McCain's campaign staff (!!Phil Gramm!!) are arguably the architects of the disaster.

#30 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 08:00 AM:

Sten's criticism of ML supposedly getting into partisan politics would be more credible if Sten had ever posted anything on ML that was not about partisan politics.

In the words of that great liberal political hero* Jack Ryan: "Not black and white, Mr President. Right and wrong."

*I could wheel out the Why Tom Clancy Is A Liberal Writer rant now but choose not to...

#31 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 08:04 AM:

Sten #21: It is, undoubtedly, very nice to be so high-minded. The reality, however, is that the structure of the American political system impels voters to choose between two large political blocs, and all other votes at the national level are wasted.

That structure is created by

(1) The single-member district system for election to the House of Representatives.

(2) The one-at-a-time electoral system for election to the Senate (in effect a single-member district system)

(3) The fact that there can be only one president.

This creates a situation in which there can be only two viable political parties (a condition known to political science as Duverger's Law, after the French political scientist who first identified it back in 1951 in relation to the British political system). That is, only two parties capable of forming legislative majorities or winning the presidency.

It isn't a matter of McCain/Palin being evil, or Obama/Biden being agents of light. McCain and Palin promise the continuation of the past eight years of failed policies. Obama and Biden promise change, and change based on policies that have been carefully thought-through.

You may want other options, but there aren't any.

#32 ::: Daniel Martin ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 08:35 AM:


I know Republicans, even of the evangelical Christian tribe, who are wonderful people. In fact, I usually eat breakfast with one since an odd confluence of schedules makes us the only people around that early in the office.

And for the sake of my breakfast conversation, I am looking forward to a decrease in political heat and a general smoothing out of political waters. During the primaries, we could talk politics so long as it was still a horse race on both sides. Now, though, we have to confine ourselves to other topics, such as the wrongness of turkey bacon. Frankly, we beat that topic to a pulp months ago.

So, I get it. You're uncomfortable with this direct political rhetoric implying that the choice between candidates matters enough that ML would appear to take sides. And indeed, my breakfast conversation would go much smoother if we could safely wander over to politics and comfortably agree that everyone had both good sides and bad sides. There have been some awkward silences lately.

But you know what? I do more than eat breakfast. I am not completely insulated from what policies get enacted in Washington. I have to live with whatever happens, and do strongly believe that my life will be materially different given different policies.

And, yes, Obama isn't perfect. He veered way to hard to center after getting the nomination for my tastes. He has shown repeated issues with addressing grown women he's not close to as "Sweetie". My first reaction on hearing his VP pick was "He picked Biden? Edwards was irresponsible running for President with that affair waiting to explode, but you know what Edwards wouldn't have done? He wouldn't have picked Joe Bankruptcy Biden." I still think Biden has a lot to answer for his role in shaping and supporting the bankruptcy bill.

That being said, are you surprised that our hosts and the vast majority of commenters here see the Obama/Biden ticket as far, far preferable to the McCain/Palin ticket? Are you honestly surprised that Theresa would link to sites that, while partisan, make an argument from well-documented history, (*) and condemn the tactic of guilt-by-osmosis?

What site did you think you were reading? Our hosts are very well known to be: 1) progressives, and 2) political pragmatists. They've never shown to hold with the protest-left tactic of voting third party because the Democrats are ideologically sullied. I find your surprise and disappointment - if genuine - very puzzling.

(*) Mostly. The Keating five stuff is well documented, but I concur with SeanH@11 on the quality of "John McCain's Sweet Ride"

#33 ::: Nora ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 08:42 AM:

Ugh. I knew about a lot of this stuff (though not that McCain broke under torture -- thanks for that), but looking at the articles on that US Veteran Dispatch site made me ill. Are you sure you want to cite articles from a publication that thinks it's OK to sell shirts reading "Osama has a crush on Barack Hussein Obama"? That kind of crap makes everything they say suspect, IMO.

#34 ::: Leva Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 08:56 AM:

Palin's trying to imply Obama's associated with Ayers. I think it would be fair of the Obama camp to reply with questions about her connections to Muthee as a response.

In short: He's the pastor who blessed her against witchcraft, who she says nice things about, and who, among other things, she credits for her gubernatorial win. In Kenya, he's implicated in at least one honest-to-God witch hunt, for his own political gain. He accused a little old lady of being a witch, had her jailed, forced her to "accept" his brand of Christianity, and then she fled town in fear of her life.

#35 ::: Wakboth ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 09:01 AM:

I, personally, found the Rolling Stone article both surprising and illuminating. I've had no illusions about McCain's behavior over the last several years, and I knew about his part in the Keating Five, but most of the older stuff about his youth and Navy career was news to me.

As far as I'm concerned, the most troubling aspect in him is not the opportunism and selfishness, but the temper.

#36 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 09:08 AM:

I'd hold my nose and vote Biden for Pres if it came down to a choice between him and any of the Republican candidates.

The Republican party has already identified GLBT people as the other tribe. Dems, not quite as much. I have a choice between candidates who'll try to enact a federal Civil Unions bill, and will accept states that choose to allow full marriage, and ones who, while they won't vote for a federal marriage amendment, won't do anything else other than natter about how they really like certain gay people as friends.

GLBT people have been kicked in the teeth by Republicans enough to know who to vote against. After 8 years of dealing with Republicans, I'm a little gleeful at the prospect of having a President AND a Congress who'll probably work on something to advance the rights of same sex couples. I'm not thrilled with seperate but equal, but at least it's a step past nonexistent.

Also, I'd like a SCOTUS who won't overturn Roe v. Wade/ McCain has promised (for what that's worth) to point a judge who will overturn it if he can, and god knows what else. Scalia would overturn Griswold if he could. McCain wants more judges in that vein.

And finally, anyone who thinks the Iraq war was a good idea, and says he'd do it again is a fecking idjit, and should be kept way from political office by all right thinking folk.

I'm not so much on the Obama bandwagon, though there are things about him I admire. I'm hoping that the McCain bandwagon burns down, and I'd like to salt the earth under it afterward.

#37 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 09:43 AM:

Sten, I believe I'm a bit offended by your notion that this all boils down to tribalism and team sports. My support for Obama was not lightly arrived at.

our current popular political zeitgeist pretends that the artificial black/white dichotomy is not only natural, but preferable.
Wrong. Yon black/white dichotomy isn't a matter of opinion. It's real. Our political system has a strong, persistent tendency to sort itself out into two opposed parties and candidates. There will be an election. One candidate will win. The other candidate will not. The loser wll not become president of everyone who voted for him. The winner will become president of everyone.
I still believe all of us are political amalgams, and that no one party can represent us all the time in all ways. Certainly no candidate can do this.
Well, there's your problem: you think the point of our democratic government is to perfectly mirror you and your views, and do the same for everyone else a well. It isn't. Our political system is there to allow us to govern ourselves, provide for the common good, and figure out ways to get along together. If you don't accept that, you'll spend your life being governed by those who do.

#38 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 09:52 AM:

Nora (32), I freely acknowledge that the U.S. Veteran Dispatch site ranges from "unreliable" to "loony" on a lot of issues, but I believe it's solid on his record when he was in the military.

#39 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 09:55 AM:

Teresa @ 36... there's your problem

Cue in Adam Savage saying that after he looks at what remains of a concrete-mixer truck after it's been loaded with hundreds of pounds of explosives.

#40 ::: Micah ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 09:59 AM:

Every time I see someone arguing that the entire choice in politics is brought down to a lesser-of-two-evils choice, something of a tribalistic rivalry between two artificial ideologies, I remember something my brother did:

He has always been very into politics (now he's a lawyer with the UN), and the first time he was old enough to vote was 2000. He argued with my mother a great deal about how it truly didn't matter which one he backed, because both Gore and Bush were totally unacceptable. In the end, he did not vote.

When the US invaded Iraq, he called my mother up and apologized, saying that he wouldn't make that same mistake again.

It may be a lesser-of-two-evil's situation, but don't ignore how much greater the evil in that greater-of-two-evils is. Too often, it's the difference between a fistfight and a gunfight.

I hope that nobody has to see much more of the greater-of-two-evils in action before people realize just how much of a difference there is between the lesser-evil and the greater-evil.

(Note that I do not in fact think either parties are in fact evil, but rather lesser/greater goods, but the terminology is standard and the same basics apply.)

#41 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 10:07 AM:

Micah, kudos to your brother for making the connection, and then phoning to apologize.

#42 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 10:09 AM:

What kind of Christian would believe in African witch doctors and their alleged powers?

#43 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 10:21 AM:

PJ Evans: the kind who has realized that if they actually believe that their god is all-powerful, they can't feed their own sense of self-importance by being a Soldier of Christ. So they do the double-think thing, whereby God Always Triumphs at the same time that The Devil Is Mighty.

#44 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 10:31 AM:

Teresa @ 36... I'm a bit offended by your notion that this all boils down to tribalism

If memory serves me right, following 9/11, Democrats put aside their dislike of Bush, for the good of the country. After which he and many Republican politicians proceeded to squander everybody's goodwill for their own personal, financial and political gains. So, I too am quite offended at being accused of tribalism.

#45 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 10:57 AM:

P J Evans (#41): A maverick! (To be said in the same tone of voice as "The Aristocrats!")

#46 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 11:05 AM:

Maver... ...ick.

#47 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 11:17 AM:

I think I parsed Sten's comment at #21 rather differently than most other folks. I agree with him that the country is becoming uncomfortably polarized--indeed, I think that's more-or-less an element of the strategy employed by both parties, but I think rather more by the Republicans, because they have little else to unite their voters. And I've also been a bit dismayed by the willingness of lots of people here to apply radically different standards to their side and the other side. (Something similar seems to be happening on the right, but with a lot more hatred directed inward at the Republicans. But I'm not sure that's a widespread phenomenon.)

That doesn't remotely mean that both sides are the same, or that there's nothing to choose from between them. The Republican party had unified control of the government for six years, about four of them in a widely-accepted state of national emergency. They made a hell of a mess, one we'll be trying to clean up for the next decade or two. For that alone, the current Republican candidate needs to lose the election, because (despite the common claims to the contrary) election results really do send a strong signal to political parties. If the Republicans suffer a crushing defeat this November, which I very much expect they will, it will shake things up within the party. With luck, the pain of losing power and patronage will encourage Republicans to find some better people, strategies, and (hopefully) ideas. That's important, because as Fragano says, our political system pretty much guarantees two big parties. We need them both to be mostly sane and decent. If we arrive in 2012 or 2016 with a Republican party that's no longer the party of torture or unlimited government power or invading half the countries on the globe, maybe one that marries the "thou shalt not" side of Christianity with the "do unto others as you'd have them do to you" side, then we will end up with a much better nation. Along with that, McCain has demonstrated time and again that he's not a great choice for president. IMO, his VP choice, alone, is enough to call his executive decisionmaking into question.

But that doesn't change the fact that a hell of a lot of folks on the left and right are playing rather fast and loose with logic and rules of evidence, in order to find ways to accuse each other of being devils.

#48 ::: Marna Nightingale ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 11:20 AM:

Serge@19: Two ridings in Toronto this weekend, and apparently Willowdale and Guelph during the byelections.

Various links in my lj here, to avoid sticking so many links in this comment that it gets moderated.

#49 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 11:34 AM:

Zander #10:

The most plausible explanation, to me, is desperation. They can see that the wheels are coming off, that the band-aid they've managed to apply to the financial markets won't mask the disaster there for long, that they've chosen an embarrassment as a VP candidate, that the legacy of the Bush administration is too painful to overcome. They can look at the per-state polling numbers, where the economic pain is happening and is going to happen. They know how much of their base is mad as hell at them, how many folks aren't coming in to volunteer, how many aren't sending any money this year.

And so, they're desperate. The only thing they have left is fear--get people scared that Obama is a secret terrorist, that he'll nationalize the Fortune 500 (no, wait, I think that's a Bush Administration policy now), surrender to all our enemies, impose massive affirmative action and similar policies, etc. That he's an atheistic, elitist[1] super liberal, or a member of a radical black Christian church, or a fundamentalist Muslim, or maybe all three at once. Because if they can't scare a whole lot of their base to come out and vote, they've had it. They're making a lot of high-risk, moderate-reward decisions right now. Outside of incompetence, the best explanation is that they see themselves losing and are trying to salvage something.

It's going to be a brutal election for the Republicans this year. They've earned it.

[1] Because when you're the black child of a divorced white mom who was largely raised by your grandparents, and you're running against the son and grandson of admirals who is presently a multi-millionaire by marrying well, it's clear that you are the elitist. What could be more obvious?

#50 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 12:04 PM:

#46: I agree that there are people of all political dispositions playing fast and loose. However, Sten spoke only in general. He didn't cite anything in what Teresa had written that was a case of anyone playing fast and loose. That's why it read to me like he was flogging the "Both sides are the same argument."

If that's not what he'd meant, I apologize for misunderstanding him.

#51 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 12:14 PM:

SeanH @ #15

What you're reaching for isn't a tense, but the subjunctive mood. Currently on its way to extinction by most accounts, but useful for indicating hypothetical or counterfactual scenarios. Thus:

McCain has to try to keep up the impression that Palin was a good pick. -- Ok in the indicative.

Anything that made her leave the ticket now makes him look completely erratic and utterly lacking in judgment. -- You set up the hypothetical proposition correctly in the subjunctive, but the second clause, being the hypothetical consequence of that hypothetical scenario also needs the subjunctive: "... would make him look ...."

This is the way he looks already to most of America, it seems, -- Ok in the indicative.

but if he actually admits the hideous glaring mistake and jettisons Palin it'll all be over. -- "If" is always a good sign that we're entering hypothetical (and so, subjunctive) territory. Again, both the premise and its consequence are hypotheticals and call for the subjunctive: "... if he actually admitted ... it'd all be over."

I have sometimes contemplated founding a Society for the Promotion of Subjunctivity. But then I fall back on settling for correcting affect/effect errors in all my co-workers' writing.

#52 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 12:16 PM:

It's fine by me for people who actually are elite to act in a manner which is consistent with their abilities.

#53 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 12:17 PM:

Albatross --

The voting machines are still there. If the Republicans have the big brass ones, all they need is for polling results to be reported in such a way that the race seems close enough to swing on election day. (Cue much pious head-shaking about latent and un-admitted racism.) They can certainly get that; I can't imagine why they wouldn't get that.

Polarization in general, well, y'all are in a situation where you have very real differences of opinion about very substantial things. It looks, from outside and far away, like the syncretic Americanism civil religion is making a bid for long term survival through forcible suppression of all possible sources of dissent or contradiction. That this is crazy doesn't mean those involved are going to give up of their own will.

Forms of organization able to support large cities, distributed collaboration, and the advancement of science require a willingness to admit that you're wrong, readily and directly. It is not in any way optional.

If you're from a rigid hierarchy culture, where admitting to error is permission for others to abuse you, this is somewhere between really difficult and a hideous sin.

The two forms of social organization cannot co-exist in the long term; the rigid hierarchy types figured that out at least a generation ago, and are fine with the probable costs of destroying the collaborative, post-industrial, information age culture. The thing itself they hate, because by existing it means they're wrong, and they've been working for a generation to get rid of it.

Look at how much of the energy comes from making the "Liberal" side admit that it was in error to tell the "Conservative" side it was or is wrong about civil rights, full legal status of women, contraception, equitable labour laws, the entire New Deal package of financial reforms...

It's "how dare you tell us we're wrong", from a culture where admission of error is supinate surrender, not a normal part of building a consensus, and it's backed by a lot of money and effort. (In part because "wealth" is an unrestricted good in that syncretic religion; it doesn't matter how you got that way. Something that will tell you your means weren't wrong is presumably of value to all but the complete sociopaths.)

The two cultural streams are not compatible. Economic marginalization isn't enough. This one really is going to have to be comprehensively resolved, one way or another, and the electorate has started to notice.

#54 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 12:21 PM:

Heather 50: Actually I think "If he...jettisons Palin" is OK in the indicative too. It has a slightly different meaning: it's a real conditional, and means that if McCain does this dumb thing in the future, the consequences will be thus-and-so.

The subjunctive version is more of an explanation of why he has NOT done that, because if he did, the consequences WOULD BE thus-and-so. I think you're correct in that that was SeanH's intent, but the other isn't bad either.

Btw, a friend of mine in college had a button that said "Save the subjunctive! ...would that we could."

#55 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 12:39 PM:

Xopher @53, Heather @ 50: Sorry to digress, but I can't resist adding an anecdote about the subjective. There's a marvelous story about John Voelker, Michigan's "literary justice" (aka Robert Traver, author of Anatomy of a Murder)--he evidently once used a double subjective in the peroration to one of his state supreme court decisions, to the awe and delight of his colleagues. If I remember the line correctly, it was "If eccentricity were a crime, then all of us were felons."

Okay. I'll go back to lurking on-topic, now.

#56 ::: Carol Maltby ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 12:40 PM:

If the McCain campaign feels that it is appropriate to bring up William Ayers, perhaps it would also be appropriate to review and compare the bombing careers of both McCain and Ayers.

McCain will probably come out ahead because he was a professional bomber, with his institutional support and funding more severely impacting the people he bombed. Ayers was more of a hobbyist in comparison.

#57 ::: Leva Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 12:51 PM:

Re: voting ... given the rising groundswell of distaste for McCain, and polls that show Obama with a *clear* and growing lead, what do you think would happen if McCain won by Diebold? At this point, if they held the vote today, I think the fraud would be painfully obvious.

I am thinking the outrage this time around would be a bit more hot.

#58 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 12:54 PM:

Nice to see you posting in full form again, Ms. T

#59 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 01:01 PM:

Leva --

What kind of outrage would be required for the folks who own the voting machines to care?

Remember that they are in favour of a collapse of governmental legitimacy; no legitimate (meaning, people agree it's legitimate even when they disagree with it) government clears the field for the direct application of money and guns. They want that.

Were any to be required, this would be full, sufficient, and ample proof that those owners of the voting machines are not suffused with cleverness, but to do the experiment should prove it were a full grievous thing to have seen done.

#60 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 02:33 PM:

#13 ::: Sten :::

All hail the Obamaton!

Woo. That's right out of the slaveholding disunionists' playbook for referencing President Lincoln. They had so many charming and intelligent appellations for him, such as 'President Apious', 'First Ape,' etc,

Love, C.

#61 ::: Nangleator ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 02:36 PM:

Leva, Graydon:

And that sounds just like the emergency situation that King George would need to begin his reign.

#62 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 02:39 PM:

May I include an encouraging word?

From today's Columbus Dispatch, in an article "Rock the Early Vote:"

"Preliminary data indicate that more than 60 percent of those who also registered to vote in Frankling County during the early voting period were younger than 34 years old -- and more than 80 percent of voters already registered with a party who cast absentee ballot were Democrats."

#63 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 02:42 PM:

IIRC, the material in the RS article has been known for a very long time. Only a few weeks ago it was up on CounterPunch. Daily Kos has talked about it for years.

I've referenced these articles now and again, particularly the mavrik's history with his planes.

Love, C.

#64 ::: Jon Baker ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 02:51 PM:

But G Gordon Liddy is "cool" to potential McCain voters. He's a popular talk-show host, advocate of conservative causes, etc. So associating McCain with him can only help, not hinder.

And according to Wikipedia, McCain's involvement with the Keating Five was minimal - he was pretty much exonerated by the Ethics Committee - "you did wrong, but not so wrong we should punish you."

So these "McCain Association" attacks may not work as well as the Obama Association attacks. Also, are we trying to exaggerate McCain's connection to these people, as the Right Wing Noise Machine is doing for Obama?

FOX News demonstrated that it was a wholly owned subsidiary of the Republican Party yesterday. Just after McSame announced his stepped-up personal attacks, Hannity had a special program on "Obama's History of Radicalism", playing up the Ayers and Rashid Khalidi connections, at least in the 7 minutes I saw.

SeanH @ 23: my mother's version of that is "mental constipation and verbal diarrhea". Which describes Palin's debate performance pretty well - not thinking much, but boy a lot of words come out.

#65 ::: Jaime ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 02:55 PM:

I read ML everyday, but almost never comment.

But I got a piece of mail last week that disturbs me and in all my travels on the web I haven't seen anyone mention it. The timing is such that I'm betting it is tied to the upswing in attacks against Obama and his supposed ties to terrorists. Actually, I'd be amazed if it wasn't.

Has anyone else gotten a mailing from a group called The Clarion Fund containing a DVD titled Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against The West?

This is touted as a "pre-release" special one hour edition of what I think started as a legitimate documentary. The group mailing this out cites reviews and film festival awards and a short four word quote from the executive producer of the TV show "24", all to try to shore up that this is the real deal. All that is on the outside of the mailer.

When you open it, the hate starts. There is a picture of a tiny child holding a rifle on the right and links to a website, where you can go to learn "activism ideas" for fighting radical Islam. The website is extremely twisted. I didn't spend much time there because swimming in filth is not my idea of a good time.

The kicker lines for me were where they urge you to use this information to make the right decision when voting in November.

I've been a registered Democrat since I was eighteen years old, which was a long time ago. I have to wonder how I got on The Clarion Fund's mailing list or why they thought I'd be receptive to this brand of hate mongering.

Has anyone else seen this or is this a special treat for living in Ohio?

#66 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 02:59 PM:

I'm in Cleveland, and I received that DVD too. From what I understand, other people in other states (was it just swing states?) got it as well. I haven't watched it, nor do I intend to. Right now, I'm trying to think of something appropriately symbolic to do with it. I think we actually got three, one for each registered voter in the house.

#67 ::: Daniel Martin ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 03:04 PM:


It's not just you, but it is targeting the swing states primarily. There's strong suspicion that the distribution of this DVD was behind the terrorist attack described here.

#68 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 03:07 PM:

Daniel: Yes, I'd heard that too, and share that suspicion.

#69 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 03:11 PM:

That DVD has been linked to an act of domestic terrorism in Ohio. Incidentally I had a weird difficulty finding that report on mainstream news sites.

#70 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 03:13 PM:

#63 Jon Baker: And according to Wikipedia, McCain's involvement with the Keating Five was minimal

According to Wikipedia? Wow!

McCain used to vacation in the Bahamas with Charlie Keating, on Keating's dime. McCain's wife and father-in-law had a business relationship with Charlie Keating.

McCain's involvement with Keating was deep, close, and long-standing.

#71 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 03:14 PM:

Ach, pipped in the ten minutes it takes me to write a comment while playing Advance Wars.

#72 ::: Lighthill ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 03:16 PM:

In other news, it's neat to see the Obama campaign come out with a "McCain/Keating Five" website/documentary 'in response' to the McCain campaign's recent Ayers insinuations.

Some observations in search of comment from people wiser than I:
1) I think the McCain campaign started pushing on the Ayers stuff only last week. Can you really do a documentary like this over a weekend? When was this made? Have they been holding on to this for a while now, waiting for the right occasion?

1') If I ever need to follow a "taking the high road, but pragmatically" strategy, I should remember to frame all of my negative stuff as "in response" to the other side's scurrilous attacks.

2) Prosecuting corruption cases is a matter of proving a "quid pro quo". The "quid" and the "quo" are usually easy to prove. But if you're even a little good at playing stupid, the "pro" is basically unprovable, unless you were dumb enough to put things in writing, or unless the quid you delivered was so bizarre as to be inexplicable except as "pro quo."

2') If somebody bribes me, I should remember to be their friend. That way, if I'm ever accused of being bribed, I'll be able to say that it was all a matter of friendship: I never sold influence for money; it's simply a case of my good friend giving me contributions for the sake of friendship, and me making sure that my old dear friend is getting a fair shake.

3) Random language aside: What happened to all the wonderful American accents we used to have on TV? Are there any more congresspeople who sound like Sen. Howell Heflin? I haven't heard that voice in the news since I was a kid, and it's a kind of a shame. What happened? Has Southern American English changed, or are people who speak so it so strongly getting elected less by their neighbors?

4) Does the swiftness of the Obama campaign's response here, plus the claims that this is in response to the McCain campaign's negative thrust, send a signal that they're sitting on several more of these?

[Note: Despite my sympathy for the a-plague-on-both-your-houses argument, I'm voting for Obama this year: looking at the last 16 years, I think rather spend the next four years being disappointed as I was by Clinton than being outraged as I have been by Bush the Younger. IMO, if an elected official you like does not disappoint you, this is a sign that your expectations are too low.]

#73 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 03:22 PM:

I'm in Florida right now, where the airwaves are blanketed by political ads.

The McCain campaign seems to be fielding only smear ads. The Obama campaign is fielding mostly positive ads. I'm also impressed by the production quality and the way they strive to paint Obama as a raving Moderate. Yay!

Sighted today, a car with an Obama sticker and "Choose Life" plates.

Note - I've absolutely no intention to turn this into an brtn thread - just amazed at the juxtaposition.

#74 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 03:38 PM:

I have been quite amused by the McCain ad depicting Obama as the stereotypical tax-loving Democrat, whose shadow spreads all over the Land. That reminds me I should watch Lord of the Rings again.

#75 ::: Matt Austern ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 03:41 PM:

It's not true that Liddy is "cool" to potential McCain voters. He's "cool" to a proper subset of potential McCain voters: people whose support McCain can already count on. (And even that overstates things. A political party is a coalition. Not all members of the Republican coalition are snarling culture warriors.)

If McCain has already exhausted his potential, if there are no potential McCain voters beyond the ones who are already committed to him, then he will lose big. Elections take place at the margin.

#76 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 03:53 PM:

Re the "Obsession" DVD

From The Denver Post, Oct. 1:

"The discs were included as advertising supplements in newspapers including The Denver Post and via direct mail."

Neither of my newspapers has included it, but apparently it's shown up in a lot of Sunday supplements over the past two weeks.

#77 ::: Jon Baker ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 03:55 PM:

Jim @ 69: Of course Wikipedia is biased, according to the whim of the last person to edit the article. But it may be a second source that people look to, after coming across the McSame/Cheating Five website.

The "Obsession" video(s) have been making the rounds in Orthodox Jewish circles for the past year or two. You can watch it in 10-minute segments on YouTube; that's where I saw it. It's mostly to remind us how the Arabs hate us. I find it bizarre/appalling that it's being circulated to encourage people to vote for Republicans in swing states, though.

I think there are different versions of different lengths, but they're all pretty repetitive, and mostly about Arab antisemitism, rather than anti-Americanism, although there was some anti-Americanism mixed into the version I've seen.

#78 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 03:56 PM:

Ours came via direct mail.

#79 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 03:57 PM:

We got a copy of the 60-minute _Obsession_ a few weeks ago, as a paid insert into the Sunday Philadelphia Inquirer. Pennsylvania (like most of the other places I've heard of this DVD going) is a battleground state where lots of ad time is being bought, but Obama's lead has been lengthening of late.

I saved my copy in case the library where I work would find it of interest, but it turns out they've already got a copy. I might take a look at it after the election, if that goes well, to analyze its persuasion techniques, but I don't think I'd be detached enough for it to do much now than raise my blood pressure.

On the hitting back against personal attacks, Obsidian Wings has some useful discussions going on now. I'd agree with the sentiment over there that the way to do it is to keep it focused, and tied to bad policy decisions on issues that voters care about. So if the Keating video, which I haven't yet seen, focuses on McCain's poor judgment in deregulation in that case, it should work well-- it's an issue salient right now, and you don't have to prove criminal wrongdoing on McCain's part for it to stick; horrible judgment suffices.

Some of the other stuff at the top of the post (like the HuffPo stuff) doesn't appear to be as focused, or (like the USVD stuff) is via questionable sources, so it may just come off as scattering mud to see what sticks. Obama's campaign shouldn't need to do that, and they can credibly call out McCain for doing it if Obama sticks to counterattacks related to the issues of governance.

#80 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 04:01 PM:

I suggest you take a look at Krugman's editorial in the Times.

I think it would be very effective to tell people that "McCain wants to do to your health-care what the administration just did to the banking industry - make the whole industry collapse, and then spend more of your money to bail it out." (And he wants to start by taking away any insurance you have.)

#81 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 04:07 PM:

Larry #72:

In the DC area (I don't remember if the station is in VA or MD), I've heard one Obama radio ad play several times in Spanish, quoting McCain's comment about how the fundamentals of the economy are sound in English, then translating it into Spanish and pointing out that his party and ideas are responsible for the present disaster. I burst into laughter hearing Obama's voice at the end: "Yo soy Barrack Obama, y yo apruebo esta mensaje."

The only other local media I get much of is public radio, which is thankfully free of ads. But MD is not a battleground state.

#82 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 04:10 PM:

Also: I have made essentially no political contributions this year up until now. That's because I was waiting until I thought they'd do the most good. This last month of the campaign cycle is when ads are likely to stick most with the undecided.

Yesterday I made a number of donations, both direct to the Obama and DNC organizations, and to outside PACs like Moveon and Planned Parenthood Action. (I think I might have just made more political donations than I'd made in my life up til now.)

The independent groups can run more aggressively critical (but still truthful) ads that dig a little harder. For example, Planned Parenthood Action has a TV ad about Palin's billing Wasilla rape victims for the evidence kits. I don't see how anyone normal can hear that and not go "Oh, ick."

#83 ::: Rosa ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 04:11 PM:

Summer Storms @77

The direct mail piece could have been through the newspaper. When our local paper was a McClatchy paper (and I worked there) they sold packages where you put your insert in the Sunday paper and it would also be bulk-mailed to any nonsubscribers in certain ZIP codes.

We don't subscribe and still get their ad package in our mail, so I assume they still do that.

#84 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 04:13 PM:

As further support for my desperation theory, check out, which currently shows a massive blowout in favor of Obama. I have no idea how closely the real results will track with this, but it sure as hell doesn't look good for McCain right now. And that's what you'd expect. IMO, the financial system meltdown all but guaranteed he would lose the election--the combination of his votes in the Senate, his party apparently being most responsible for the meltdown, his ugly involvement in the previous disaster of this kind, and his choice of someone with essentially no relevant experience or (apparently) understanding of the issues as VP, doomed him.

#85 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 04:15 PM:

Summer Storms: We got the DVD via direct mail, as well. (It went directly in the trash.) We're in the Boulder/Denver area, and we don't subscribe to any of the papers.

We do get (would that we didn't*, though perhaps it's just as well that we do, as I don't know what else we'd use to get our fireplace started) a free newspaper-insert-style advertisement/grocery ads/outdated community news stories circular in our direct mail. I cannot swear that the DVD didn't arrive on the day that the circular did.

*Obligatory subjunctive content, and not any of this weaselly indicative conditional tense, nor that sneaky indicative future tensed used in the conditional sense! Discerning customers accept no substitutes for the Gen-yoo-ine Subjunctive Mode!

#86 ::: Jp ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 04:17 PM:


4. The domain was registered on 25th September, which suggests to me that it originated as a response to McCain's campaign suspension chicanery on the 24th. A week and a half is ample time to put something like this together. So I'd say that this isn't something from a general heap of prepped ammo.

#87 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 04:18 PM:

Re: "Obsession" -- we got ours in the paper here in Durham, NC (and I got two, since they insist on giving me a second copy of the Durham News even though I'm a paid subscriber of the Raleigh N&O, which includes a copy of the Durham News). This was probably a month ago.

You can see at how well it encouraged NC to break for McCain.

I have not yet watched it. On the one hand I want to. I want to know what is out there so I can fight it. On the other hand, I know it will make me physically ill. Raw hatred always does.

#88 ::: Kimberly ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 04:28 PM:

Long time lurker, first time poster:

A few days ago I was talking politics with my dad and, while we agree on most things, there was one point on which we could not agree -- whether McCain is, in fact, a decent guy.

Thank you for posting these links. I'm definitely passing some of them his way later.

#89 ::: Jaime ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 04:45 PM:

Thanks to all of you for the information on the Obsession DVD. I have no plans to watch it. The website was enough for me.

It did come direct mail, and no, I don't subscribe to any of the newspapers here in Columbus. I get news via the web or news magazines I buy on the newsstand. They could be pulling names off voting rolls for all I know.

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that amidst the flood of election year mailings and ads that campaigns like this aren't commented on or reported more widely. When I don't see any mention anywhere I have to wonder if the hate campaigns are completely flying under the radar.

Or maybe there are so many of them these days no one has time to document them all.

#90 ::: Lighthill ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 04:55 PM:

Jp @ #85: Even assuming that this effort hadn't gotten started before the domain was registered, having the domain registered as early as Sep 25 does kind of suggest that the Obama campaign had at least been considering something of this kind before the McCain campaign started re-dredging the bottom of the barrel, no? (AFAICT, the Ayers slander started getting uptake by the McCain campaign only after the too-little-too-late VP debate on ... Oct 2, I think?)

- The Obama campaign had been planning this website, and they were only waiting for an opportune moment.
- They had been planning this as a possibility, but intended to hold off unless the McCain campaign went negative.
- They had been planning to do this no matter what, but seized on the McCain campaign going negative first as a justification.
- I am giving too much weight to the sources that say that the Obama did this in reaction to McCain's negative turn; they are all just engaged in the post hoc ergo prompter hoc dance that forces all of history to make sense after the fact.
- Other.

#91 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 05:07 PM:

FYI: Unwanted CDs and DVDs make good Christmas ornaments. You can also use them as clock faces (clockworks are available at any good artist-supplies store), or cut them up and use them in jewelry if you're so inclined.

#92 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 05:35 PM:

I've been trying to figure out what to do with the entire season of 24 a friend gifted me with. I think the jewelry/ornament idea has merit, but I'd rather burn them on a banishing fire. (I won't, because ick, burning plastic and hot, sharp aluminum, but it's where my heart is.)

As for Obsession, I think collecting a bunch of them and frisbeeing them into your local McCain HQ has merit. Let's let these bastards know we weren't born yesterday.

#93 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 05:41 PM:

Xopher... DVDs make excellent coasters.

#94 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 05:48 PM:

Interesting billboard spotted over the weekend in Dallas. It was advertising for a "progressive talk radio" station.

In Dallas. The reddest big city in Texas, a city nearly owned by the Southern Baptists and Church of Christ. Just about the last place where I'd expect to see such a thing.

Somebody with a fair amount of money is convinced enough that the bottom is falling out of the Christianist takeover attempt to gamble in the other direction. I hope they're right.

#95 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 05:51 PM:

FYI: Unwanted CDs and DVDs make good Christmas ornaments. You can also use them as clock faces (clockworks are available at any good artist-supplies store), or cut them up and use them in jewelry if you're so inclined.

Thanks for the suggestion, but I'm not sure I'd want to use a hate-filled DVD as a Christmas ornament.

I have no objection to careful production of pretty blue arcs from DVDs inserted into a microwave oven, though.

#96 ::: Matt Austern ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 06:05 PM:

If you are planning to frisbee them into a McPalin HQ, I'd recommend destroying them first so that they can't just turn around and hand them out to someone else.

If you don't already have a favorite DVD destruction technique, I second Bill's suggestion of microwaving them. Very pretty indeed! (And if you haven't yet read Jon Singer's microwave page, you should.)

#97 ::: Arachne Jericho ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 06:13 PM:

@ Lee #90 - I used to like to microwave the various ill-aimed CDs I got in the mail, but apparently this hurts the microwave.

I like this bit in the make-ornaments article:

Now, the first step is to Glue two CDs together. Glue them together so that the label is facing in and the shiny side is facing out.


#98 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 06:18 PM:

Nora: Of course McCain broke under torture, it's what torture does. Doing so is not a moral failing. Looking back, and making it possible for the laws of the U.S. to permit its agents to commit toture that's a moral failing.

#99 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 06:29 PM:

They can also be hung in fruit trees (or from poles with arms) as bird-scarers.
Of course, there's always the CD used as a coaster.

I've been following the 'Obsession' story at Talking Points Memo, where they're saying that the Clarion Fund has close ties to at least one extremely pro-Israel group. What's weird (to me) is that Obama hasn't given any indication that he won't back Israel (although he might not be as pro-Israel as, say, Palin, who needs it for her 'End Times' lunacy).

#100 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 06:31 PM:

I expected McCain to go negative in just this way, so I'm not outraged and it's not a surprise. It is interesting to me that they are recycling Wright and Ayers (and I expect, Rezko, though I haven't heard about it yet) -- it suggests they don't have anything else.

I am furious, still and always, with the media, who are treating the sleazy, fear-mongering attacks on Obama and the well-documented and unanswered attacks on McCain regarding the Keating 5 history as if the two campaigns were doing the same thing. Even NPR does this. When did the Lehrer Report turn into Fox News?

#101 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 06:35 PM:

If there's some way of cutting hexagons neatly out of CDs/DVDs, in quantity, one could make diffraction-grating tiles for covering large surfaces. One would want to mark each tile on the label side, before cutting, to indicate the orientation. But I haven't thought of a good way of doing the cutting.

#102 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 06:36 PM:

Snapping an offending CD or DVD in two with your hands is not a good idea; I did that once, and it shattered into a bunch of pieces that flew across the room with surprising force.

Also, if you intend to Xena a DVD, don't forget about the possibility that you've left your fingerprints on the disc.

#103 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 06:38 PM:

Arachne: For this the thing to do is superglue them, with the labels out, so the content is plain, and the disks ruined. A single scratch, straight across the painted top (deep enough to cut the aluminum layer) is also good. If it was just the right balance of wide/thin it might even look as if the disk were still good, and get it sent out; unable to play.

#104 ::: Arachne Jericho ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 07:12 PM:

@ Terry #102

Awww but I want to dip it in suet for the birds....

#105 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 07:22 PM:

My wife incorporates microwaved (and blowtorched) CDs (and LPs) into her sculptures. Destruction can be so lovely.

#106 ::: mcz ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 07:29 PM:

CD and DVDs can be destroyed quite easily with a cheap pair of scissors -- a single cut from the edge to the centre hole is sufficient.

#107 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 07:38 PM:

I was quite surprised to see something favorable to McCain in the Rolling Stone article:

McCain has called Paul Weyrich, who helped steer the Republican Party to the right, a "pompous self-serving son of a bitch" who "possesses the attributes of a Dickensian villain."
Anyone who dislikes Weyrich can't be all bad*, and that quote's got to be at least half true. I have a hard time imagining McCain reading Dickens, though. Maybe he read the cliff notes.

IMO the article drops the ball when they describe McCain switching from sincerely (their interpretation) opposed to excessive use of the U.S. military to sincerely backing neoconservatism. There's no doubt that he has backed both positions, but I don't think he was ever committed to either one.

People** keep trying to invent a virtue for McCain because he would look too cardboard-villain-y otherwise (well, at LEAST he MUST have the courage of his convictions, right?), but reality isn't constrained by the need to eschew melodrama. Some people really are pompous self-serving sons of bitches who possess the attributes of a Dickensian villain, and while it may not strictly speaking take one to know one, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that that's what happened at least in this instance.

*This is only a figure of speech. Actually, it's quite possible and even fairly common for one evil person to dislike another.

**Or maybe what I really mean is that media people do this, and they do it because they don't want to look partisan. (Well, they don't want to look liberal. It's fine to look conservative - their bosses won't mind.)

#108 ::: Leva Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 07:52 PM:

I used to collect AOL CDs and string them up in the garden to scare birds. They worked pretty good. Right wingnut fundy racist DVDs might actually be even more scary than AOL CDs. ;-)

Oh, and Teresa? Was it you who compared Palin to Glory? I've been watching Buffy Season 5 with my boyfriend (who has just discovered Buffy) and I keep giggling at inappropriate moments. Thanks for the mental imagery ...

#109 ::: Max Kaehn ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 07:53 PM:

If you are unhappy with having our electoral choices reduced to only two by Duverger’s Law, I commend your attention to the work of the Center for Voting and Democracy. Isn’t it odd that our politicians pay great lip service to the free market, but won’t give us a free market in politicians?

#110 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 08:06 PM:

Bruce @ 24:

Sten: "Methinks our current national crises (plural) are the result of our willingness to be tribalized by forces which stand to exploit this tribalization." No, they're not. They're the result of criminal collusion on the part of a fairly small group of people to profit from the nation at any expense to the rest of us, and also (in some of their cases) to deliberately destabilize the lives of the rest of us so that in a weakened and isolated condition, we will be better subjects.

Actually I think it's some of each. But the criminal collusion is the part I hope we can do something about this time.

#111 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 08:18 PM:

#64 Jaime Has anyone else gotten a mailing from a group called The Clarion Fund containing a DVD titled Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against The West?

Yes, and I intend to post about it here very soon.

It's an astounding piece of work.

#112 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 08:19 PM:

The "Obsession" DVD turned up in the Iowa City Press-Citizen, too, apparently because the group bought ad space nationally with Gannett. The opinion editor ran an editorial column afterwards, in which he advised that "Anyone looking to refute the inaccuracies or misleading conclusions in 'Obsession' needs to remember that attempts to end rumors sometimes reinforce the negative emotions inspired by the rumors." Which I suspect is editor speak for "Stop hassling me about the DVD, dudes!"

#113 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 08:22 PM:

Bill, #94: I understand your viewpoint, but consider this: by turning the emblem of hate into a commemoration of the season of love, you completely frustrate and subvert the designs of its creators. To me, that's a Good Thing, and the best kind of use for something like this.

#114 ::: Shinydan Howells ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 08:28 PM:

Re: A Plague On Both Your

Back in 1997, while I didn't vote for them, I cheered as loudly as anyone when New Labour under Tony Blair got into office. At that point the Conservative Party was unelectable and had lost the trust of the nation. It was true, even then, that many of the changes in the Labour Party made their policies much more like the Conservatives, but there was still a core of big-statism and social safety-net thinking that made me confident that things would improve.

And they did. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Britain in 2000 was a better place to live than it was in 1996. I was there, I remember.

But then all hell broke loose. Blair became Dubya's poodle and sent Our Brave Boys(tm) in alongside US troops. At which point people from all political walks of life started ignoring the positive changes that had occurred in the previous few years and started putting the boot into Blair. And again I was cheering, not because I am a flip-flopper, but because the government was wrong and needed to hear that it was wrong.

The world seems to think that America should vote for Obama. I'm inclined to agree, and I don't belong to either tribe in the argument. Of course he's wrong about some stuff. But if he's broadly right, which seems to be the opinion of the majority of the commenters above and elsewhere on the site, then vote him in and then agitate about the details afterwards.

#115 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 08:41 PM:

Wesley @ 111: Ha ha ha. Our newspaper gave ye olde "FREE SPEECH!" line, which likewise translated into "Stop hassling me about the DVD."

The VP in charge of advertising got downright snippy about it:

"Jim McClure, vice president of display advertising for The N&O, declined to say what it is charging to deliver the DVD as part of today's newspaper. He dismissed allegations that it is inflammatory.

"'In the beginning of the DVD it clearly states it's not about Islam. It's about radical Islam,' McClure said."

#116 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 08:56 PM:

Isn’t it odd that our politicians pay great lip service to the free market, but won’t give us a free market in politicians?

We need a better regulated market in politicians. The free market is not that free for the likes of you and me. It has bid the price of politicians up to the point where only rich folks and corporations can afford to buy one. This kind of market power should be stopped before it grows into a monopoly. Also, we could use better product labeling; many politicians once purchased fail to perform as described in the sales literature.

#117 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 09:52 PM:

Allan @ 109: I just got a cold chill and a sense of déjà vu in reading your post. I don't even mean that metaphorically, I mean it literally. And I don't know why it happened.

But it was downright weird.

#118 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 10:03 PM:

Rosa @ 82: The postage permit on the DVD was given as "Permit No. 49, Freeport, NY". A little digging reveals that the Cleveland Plain Dealer (my local paper) is owned by Advance Publications, which gives Staten Island as its address. I suppose it's possible that the Clarion Fund contracted with Advance to mass-mail the DVDs to people in the markets served by Advance's newspapers, but I'm not sure how to tell whether this is the case or not. Since I didn't bring in the mail that day, I don't know for sure whether this was folded in with that week's ad flyers or not. We don't subscribe to the PD, preferring instead to read it online.

#119 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 10:10 PM:

From the Ted Vaden column linked to by Caroline @ 114:

Omid Safi, a professor of Islamic studies at UNC-CH, has researched the video and the Clarion Fund. He says the producer of the video is a Canadian native who now is a rabbi and Zionist leader in Israel. Distribution was aided by a Christian Zionist organization headed by Texas evangelist John Hagee, he said, and a Clarion Fund Web site recently published, then removed, an article that endorsed John McCain over Barack Obama for president.

Safi noted that the DVD was placed in newspapers only in key election swing states, suggesting it's intended to scare voters into the McCain camp. "The whole premise of this film is that the West doesn't know what radical Islam represents," Safi said. "Fair enough. Tell us what you represent." My calls to the Clarion Fund were not returned.

The plot either thickens or becomes clearer, depending upon how one reads this.

#120 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 10:54 PM:

There's smearing, and then there's worse: whipping up a lynch mob.

Which is something to watch very closely for in the campaign rallies in this month. Today, the Washington Post reported that one man at a Palin rally responded "Kill him" in response to Palin's description of Obama and Ayers.

I don't want this exaggerated. TPM is already claiming that Palin was "getting members of the crowd to yell out 'Kill Him'". But the reporter only mentions hearing one person say it, and it's not clear that Palin heard him. I'm not aware of any video or audio recordings where we can hear it yelled out. And I don't know how others in the crowd reacted to the speaker. (Though the comments make it clear that the Secret Service has been informed, by readers of the article if no one else.)

That said, that kind of sentiment is something to take very seriously, and now that it's been reported, Palin and the rest of the McCain campaign should make it very clear that they categorically reject any call or threat of violence against their opponents. Particularly if there are any more incidents like this as campaign rallies. And folks who are worried about this nation's political climate going all Godwin's-Law on us may want to monitor, record, and if appropriate, report what's going on at these rallies.

#121 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 11:27 PM:

JMO@119 - Imagine the media outcry if a similar thing happened at an Obama rally. I expect that the piece you linked to will be the extent of the MSM coverage.

#122 ::: little light ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 11:38 PM:

Jaime @64:
"Obsession" went into direct-mail and was inserted in newspapers nationwide, and I've heard the mailings and papers chosen were heavily focused on swing states.
I know Oregon was blanketed by them at the exact same time. And the Oregonian had to print an editorial right after about how they don't regulate the content of ads, and they don't turn away paying customers for advertisement, and it was an advertisement, and it's free speech, and anyway, they couldn't find a reason to legitimately not include the DVD. I know there was a protest outside their editorial office.

I'm beyond angry about the whole thing. And no, I don't think it'll be as transparent to everyone all over.

Summer @118:
I've vetted Omid Safi pretty well in research of my own, and I'd definitely consider him a reliable source on the matter--if your quote needs backup.

#123 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 11:52 PM:

The story John Mark Ockerbloom tells at 119 is all over Left Blogistan, but I don't know if it's hit the mainstream media. Hope so. Talk about chills...! I'm sure the Secret Service has heard about it.

I'm finding it increasingly difficult not to hate McCain and Palin for stimulating and encouraging this kind of madness.

#124 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 11:52 PM:

Larry @72

A trend I consider heartening is that more Catholics are organizing around providing for the poor as their founder advised. The Pope made a public statement in May that caring for the poor is central to Catholic life. Church leaders have said that people should vote for whoever will best care for the poor and downtrodden. The license and bumper sticker juxtaposition may be a result of this trend.

Wouldn't it be nice if the Christians actually followed the teachings of Christ? (I know many do, of course, but the ones that are center stage right now seem pretty weak on the gospel, IMHO.)

#125 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 12:25 AM:

Caroline's post at 114 reminds me of something which annoys me several times a day: newspaper websites which do not include their geographic location at the top of the page, the bottom of the page, heck, the middle would be fine, honest. The internet is everywhere, and the News Observer could be anywhere.

#126 ::: siriosa ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 12:28 AM:

Xopher @91: I've been trying to figure out what to do with the entire season of 24 a friend gifted me with.

You could use them as fish scales for an art car. There were several of those at Burning Man, the year I went.

#127 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 01:30 AM:

According to last night's The Unit, you can place a CD half on the edge of a counter, half off, press your hand down and snap it in two, giving you two nice sharp edges.

#128 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 01:37 AM:

#65 Summer Storms

Videorecord microwaving the DVD.


I wonder, would charging the McCain campaign or associated 527s with hate crimes, be likely to stick?!

#129 ::: Pajuale Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 01:44 AM:

#21 Sten
Now, you might argue that you're not for Obama-Biden as much as you're against McCain-Palin, and I'd be prepared to accept that.

At least one Making Light contributor has denoted that, specifically, I expressed the sentiment of being in favor of Obama not for endearment to Obama, but out of loathing for McCain and his agenda (appoint more judges like Scalia and his clone appointed by the Schmuck last year?!)(and at least as much loathing for Palin.... I think I mentioned that she reminds me of every noxious female schoolyard bully who contributed to making time in public school a living hell? (dI let out a cheer when graduation was done, I felt like the gate of hell and opened up and let me out at long last...)

#130 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 02:31 AM:

(The Verse Demon did some juxtaposing, and the results, er, um....)

Not Samson....

Well it's late at night here on Making Light, but the thread has a hundred plus posts,
And the pro-McCain posters are whining and nasty and bringing up rotten dead ghosts,
And the links from the thread start have webs that have spread but McCain's lies have corporate support,
And the rest of us read getting more and more upset that Karl Rove's not jailed by some court...

I'll make one more post on the thread, moderators, and hope that my vowels will stay,
And if it's full of typoes and malaprop'ed words, I hope that won't get in the way,
Cause it took me too many neutrons to fire to get through to words on the screen,
Here is a verse and I hope its not worse though the topic of Palin's obscene.....

And it's shortening times to the voting booths but the damned Diebold crap is still there,
And McCain and that Palin's hatemongering speeches designed very much to all scare,
And the blocking the phonelines with autodial calls was but one more Republican fraud,
But they're back by the media broadcasting cartel whose influence is way too broach...

I'll have one more try at warpversing Zander, as I try to work out what to say,
And to point out the world in deadly danger, please don't let McCain take the day,
For it took too many years to build up the good things ere 2001,
McCain and Palin will take what's left away and will blot out the rays of the sun

It's not peaceful down in a Christian hell that the church Palin goes to does claim
That everyone who is not of their beliefs to eternity shall twist in pain
And I sitting alone in my bed full of books and and disgusted to think of McCain....

I'll do one more verse of this thing I'm writing, the newest one as I compose,
To post in the forum against John McCain and that Palin who lies through her nose,
Cause it took me too many neutrons to fire to get through to words on the screen,
Here is a verse and I hope its not worse though the topic of Palin's obscene.....
Cause it took me too many neutrons to fire to get through to words on the screen,
Here is a verse and I hope its not worse though the topic of Palin's obscene.....

#131 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 02:57 AM:

One of the scary things about that damn DVD is it provides a wedge for all manner of hate speech, dressed up as political advertising. Just one more casualty of this election.

The radical right wing has broken out the nukes. They know if they lose this one, they're going down and the only thing they have left to run on is hate. It continues to astonish me that this election is close. Obama/Biden is superior to McCain/Palin from just about any viewpoint. A little common sense, please; this is the choice. I wish we had another, but we don't. It's not a hard choice, it's not like both tickets have substantial virtues. And yet somehow there are people of good will waffling. WtF?

#132 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 04:15 AM:

PJ Evans @ 98: "(although he might not be as pro-Israel as, say, Palin, who needs it for her 'End Times' lunacy)"

I'm constantly amazed to hear that mentality described as "Pro-Israel." Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the End Times scenario end with all non-Christians, Israelis included, suffering horribly?

#133 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 04:40 AM:

Shinydan Howells @ 113: "Of course he's wrong about some stuff. But if he's broadly right, which seems to be the opinion of the majority of the commenters above and elsewhere on the site, then vote him in and then agitate about the details afterwards."

That's how I see it. There are a number of issues on which I disagree with Obama quite passionately; on the other hand, there's a reasonably good chance that he's at least talking with someone like me. The Republicans make spiting liberals and progressives at every turn a point of pride. Obama might actually care what I think, and I might be able to tug him in my direction. McCain? Not so much.

#134 ::: Jan Vaněk jr. ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 06:21 AM:

A technical note: the "John McCain Detested in Arizona" post at Daily Kos by one AxmxZ (I don't know DK's structure; is that just a reader's blog, or somebody closer to the homepage?) offered as a summary of Amy Silverman's article is - admittedly, of course - "ganked" from "Top Ten Crooked Things About McCain From This Phoenix Alt-Weekly Article" by Wonkette, losing several supplementary links she had inserted, with the only added value being "some people from Arizona whose family is close to the McCains [...] have only this to say about him". Wouldn't it be better, both netiquette- and usability-wise, to link to the original?

Also, let me say I am not impressed by Wonkette's summarizing skills. (Oh well; isn't this kind of implicit in the difference between the two sites?)

(OT technical whining dept: I'd love to have the textarea for comments wide enough for an URL of average length to fit in.)

#135 ::: Jp ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 06:35 AM:


Either you misread what I said or I'm misreading your reply - my point was that I don't think the website was created in response to McCain campaign's return to smears (on the 2nd), but was instead created in response to McCain's attempt to claim that he was suspending his campaign to rescue the economy (on the 24th).

#136 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 06:57 AM:

Heather #50: Thanks very much, I occasionally have trouble with the subjunctive. Though Xopher is right (#53) about my intentions with the latter sentence.

Back to electoral strategy - Obama's doing fine. Yesterday was his best polling day so far, and 538 is currently giving two to one odds on a landslide, never mind a victory (the odds of which are approaching 90%). Which isn't to say "relax, boys and girls, this one's in the bag", just that Obama's campaign should be fine doing exactly what it's been doing so far: outstripping McCain on the ground and remaining calm and competent while his opponent flails. Why suddenly switch to the negative? Because McCain's doing it? Copying the guy who's losing isn't usually a good idea...

#137 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 07:00 AM:

Jan #133: have you tried Chrome? It's still in beta, but it lets you drag text boxes to any side (I've used it on the Making Light comment boxes myself).

#138 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 07:06 AM:

Shinydan howells- with the caveat that the first general election I voted in was in 1997, being too young to remember stuff, exactly what do you think Blair et al did so much better up until 2001?

Maybe I'm some sort of extremist, but as far as I can see, almost everything Blair et al did that seemed good, turned out to be bad. Eg putting more money into the NHS, but doing so via the criminally expensive PFI, and they kept the bureacratic internal market. On the economy, they maintained a sort of steady hand, but then let a huge bubble develop.
And so on and so forth. I think they did something for child poverty, and havn't managed to completely wreck the schools, but the armed forces will tell you how much they were loved under the New labour gvt, and it doesn't seem to have been much.

#139 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 07:11 AM:

#99: I heard that NPR report. Isn't false balance annoying? It does what I suggest in #25 as a bad thing. That report presents the attacked candidate's side as a "corrective." There's even a piece of actuality (from a McCain defender) tying the two attacks together, suggesting they're both unfounded. This neatly ignores the difference that McCain is attacking Obama for something that Obama could not have been responsible for while Obama is attacking McCain for exercising poor judgment. *sigh*

#130: Right now, the election isn't that close. He has something like a 5 point lead in the meaningless national poll. This is outside the margin of error. What's important though is that the electoral count projections have Obama winning with over 300 electoral votes. Even taking into account the uncertainties of election day, gives him an 88.1% chance of winning.

This doesn't count as close. During the primary season, I suggested that Clinton was misguided because she campaigned as if the rules for the primary were the same as the rules for the general election. i.e., winner take all. IMHO, she campaigned stupidly. However, if the primary campaign had ended up in an effective tie, she could salvage this. She might point out that if she'd won the states in the general election that she did during the primaries, she would have trounced Obama. That might be a tactic to argue for winning the candidacy in the event of a tie. [Note that she did eventually do this. It was the exercise in futility we all expected.]

I got roundly trounced for either changing the rules in the middle of the game or evaluating the candidates by meaningless measures. One poster was especially scathing suggesting metrics even more meaningless than hypothetical electoral count.

So, no, right now, the election is not close. The battleground states are mostly breaking for Obama. He's polling well in Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia. He's in an effective tie in Ohio. McCain no long contests Michigan, closing off many possible scenarios for him to reach 270 EVs.

The election is a month away. Obama hasn't completely put McCain away, and McCain hasn't imploded himself yet. Obama still has work to do. However, he stands a far better chance of winning than McCain.

I, like you though, am amazed that 46% of people polled would vote for McCain. It makes me wonder what their criteria are.

#133: Which web browser are you using? Safari lets you resize the textarea. Firefox has an optional add-on for the same.

#140 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 08:38 AM:

137: child poverty and social issues generally were - and still are for that matter - big success stories. I'd add to that the success of Operation Palliser, constitutional reform and the Human Rights Act. Education is a bit of a minefield but at worst it hasn't been catastrophic - especially at primary school level there has been some real improvement. Also I don't think you can write off ten years of uninterrupted economic growth as entirely driven by a bubble.

Measuring NHS performance is largely a question of choosing your yardstick, but there are tens of thousands more doctors and nurses and it's reasonable to believe that they must be doing something healingish with their time. Whether the money has all been well spent or wasted through PFIs is a different issue, but general health of the population has increased.

The armed forces have been generally screwed over by both parties in the last few decades. The awful SA80 rifle was a Conservative purchase (to sweeten the soon-to-be-privatised manufacturer) but Labour made the decision to overhaul it at great expense rather than ditching it at the earliest opportunity and buying something sane like the C7 or the G36. Bowman, Westland Apache, Merlin, Nimrod MRA4, Eurofighter - all horrible, but all legacy projects from the Conservatives.

The infantry, at least, are now getting some really good kit (PRR, Javelin, Minimi, GMG, Viking, Vector, Cougar), but I think that's largely because of the wars.

#141 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 08:48 AM:

I think we are seeing the complete unravelling of what used to be the Party of Lincoln.

#142 ::: Cat Meadors ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 08:55 AM:

Albatross @ 80 - but VA is a battleground state, for like the first time ever. It's nice actually being cared about for once! (I didn't get that DVD, though. Which is fine with me. Although if they are sending it out here, I'd guess they'd target the non-metro parts of the state.)

Clifton Royston @ 81 - I like those PP ads too. But, like I said somewhere else, I think anyone who needs to hear that will just look at the messenger and assume it's some kind of bizarre truth-twisting. It's so... outside the bounds of basic humanity, it's easy to disbelieve. (I figured it was some kind of distortion at first, and I'm inclined to believe that Palin eats puppies for breakfast. But I looked into it, and lo and behold - she really did. What a piece of work.)

#143 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 09:03 AM:

Ajay #139- sure, the human rights act. But what they give, they take away, with repressive legislation enacted banning demonstrations outside parliament without an appropriate permission form; locking up people you don't like for a long time; and of course the wars.

Simply to look at the good stuff and then say it was the wars what did it overlooks the very odd split mindedness of the party, and I have no idea how it is so. I have no problem with extra drs and nurses, but the simple fact is that billions have been wasted on the PFI (look up Coventry for example) and the gvt deliberately made it clear that no other possibility was allowed. It was PFI or nothing. The point is that the two things are not linked- you don't recruit lots more personnel and get a free PFI project, they could have happily recruited more personnel and not done PFI like a sensible person.
So, New Labour- a very strange fish indeed, part fowl as well, but the two parts are forever pulling in opposite directions.

I quite understand that such tendencies would not be clear to many people for a year or two. But even uneducated little old me could see them before 2001, and oddly enough I have never voted Labour...
(And of course looking at old Steve Bell cartoons, they seem quite prescient)

#144 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 09:15 AM:

Down here in NC the media is reporting we are a battleground state for the first time in, well, nearly forever. NC has ALWAYS voted Republican, but recent polls show we're starting to lean towards Obama, and he and his wife are campaigning heavily here.

Of course, we're also getting Palin in Greenville today the same day Michele Obama is in Jacksonville. I'll be interested in seeing how much press time both women get this afternoon...

Since both my wife and I are registered Republicans, we've only gotten their campaign literature trying to bolster their voting base. However, last weekend for the first time ever, we had volunteers knocking on doors encouraging everyone to register and making sure we knew where we voted. I told the second volunteer she was covering ground already covered by the first couple (both groups from the Democrats), and she thanked me and said she'd revise her maps...

#145 ::: Irene Delse ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 09:20 AM:

Every time I come across the "maverick" nickname for McCain, what jumps to my mind is the phrase loose cannon...

#146 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 09:24 AM:

#183 John

You are leaving out fraud, fear-mongering, uncertainty, deceit, hatermongering, swindling (a term that massively applies to the neocons and their bootlickers such as McCain), phone jamming, rigged ballot, rigged balloting machines, voter registration rejection and removal of voters from the rolls which they can;t find out about until it's unremediable for the election, interference in voting such as directing would-be voters to inapplicable places for them to allegedly vote at, selectively delivering voting equipment causing hours of delays for would be voters who then either go home or are still lined up when the polls close, and all manner of other fraud, deceit, misguidance, misdirection, and general maleovolence.

"Fair" elections would have have Gore in the White House and Kerry in the White House, instead of two terms of the most vicious slime to have ever has his ass in the Presidency of the United States of America. Harding was merely incompetent and inept and Grant unable to recognize swindlers who pretended to be friends (they bilked him personally, in addition to looting the taxpayers....)

#147 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 09:25 AM:

Here's some of the filth Palin's throwing out there in the hope it will stick:

"Barack Obama, she told 8,000 fans at a rally here Monday afternoon, "launched his political career in the living room of a domestic terrorist!" This followed her earlier accusation that the Democrat pals around with terrorists. "This is not a man who sees America the way you and I see America," she told the Clearwater crowd. "I'm afraid this is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to work with a former domestic terrorist who had targeted his own country." The crowd replied with boos.

McCain had said that racially explosive attacks related to Obama's former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, are off-limits. But Palin told New York Times columnist Bill Kristol in an interview published Monday: "I don't know why that association isn't discussed more."

Worse, Palin's routine attacks on the media have begun to spill into ugliness. In Clearwater, arriving reporters were greeted with shouts and taunts by the crowd of about 3,000. Palin then went on to blame Katie Couric's questions for her "less-than-successful interview with kinda mainstream media." At that, Palin supporters turned on reporters in the press area, waving thunder sticks and shouting abuse. Others hurled obscenities at a camera crew. One Palin supporter shouted a racial epithet at an African American sound man for a network and told him, "Sit down, boy."

"The reception had been better in Clearwater, where Palin, speaking to a sea of "Palin Power" and "Sarahcuda" T-shirts, tried to link Obama to the 1960s Weather Underground. "One of his earliest supporters is a man named Bill Ayers," she said. ("Boooo!" said the crowd.) "And, according to the New York Times, he was a domestic terrorist and part of a group that, quote, 'launched a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and our U.S. Capitol,' " she continued. ("Boooo!" the crowd repeated.)

"Kill him!" proposed one man in the audience."

(When the Florida Republican Party leader tried to suggest to Palin to tone down her rhetoric, she responded by banning him from riding in her campaign planes.)

#148 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 09:44 AM:

Palin's got rabies, as do various apparatchiks of the religious sects she is affiliated with....

#149 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 09:47 AM:

heresiarch @ 131

Yes, and most of the Christians will, too. The people who think that way don't believe anyone outside their church will be saved. (I think if they're going to run the world, I'd rather not be saved. And Ghu probably has other plans.)

#150 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 09:54 AM:

Something's changing. The AP wire at Earthlink is running a story about McCain's association with ex-General Singlaub, who was involved with Iran-Contra; he ran a group trying to overthrow the Nicaraguan government. McCain apparently was a member of the board of his group, until the Keating scandal got hot. (McCain's people claim he resigned about 1985, but neither Singlaub nor the then-secretary remember that.)

#151 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 10:27 AM:

#149 P. J.

Is it a Hallowe'en influence, all the skeletons starting to rattle in the closets, and the ghosts and skeletons coming out of McCain's closets?

Meanwhile, what is the situation now with Troopergate?

Perhaps the smell of blood in the water is getting strong enough that the former colluders for the fascist-promoting politicians, are doing the turncoat and attack the former allies things, to avoid an perceived vindicative massacre if/when the fascists go down?

Is it de-Ba'athification House cleaning time, and anyone too closely associated with those on the skids and headed out the door and with the covered-over illegalities of the departing misadministation, afraid of Fury-like wrath and retribution?

#152 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 10:46 AM:

I heard Sara's coming to Pittsburgh on Friday, and there's already a very nice rally being planned to..."greet" her. One of the nice things about underemployment is having the time to join the anti-Palin rally.

One of my favorite notes from the Rolling Stone article was that McCain graduated 894 in a class of 899 at Annapolis. Time for a smart president for a change!

#153 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 10:53 AM:

Wait a second, why was Palin speaking in Clearwater, Florida, of all places? Were there any celebrity supporters in attendance? (Note that I'm trying to ask this question in such a way that does not unduly alert the Google indexing spider; that may be an ultimately futile attempt, however.)

#154 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 11:08 AM:

Chris 106: Anyone who dislikes Weyrich can't be all bad...This is only a figure of speech. Actually, it's quite possible and even fairly common for one evil person to dislike another.

While that's certainly true, I've always taken the phrase 'can't be all bad' to be a slightly ironic way of saying "has at least one good trait." McCain cannot be utterly without virtues if he dislikes Weyrich, because disliking Weyrich is itself a virtue. This does not make him, overall, a good person by any stretch of the imagination. In my opinion people who are all bad do not exist, and failing to see any virtues in someone is either a failure of data or a failure to resist allowing ideology to distort data.

I'm certain that Margaret Thatcher must have, and Jesse Helms must have had, some virtues. I'm unable to see them because I'm blinded by their terrible crimes.

Why this matters: Because finding a single virtue in a person should not be viewed as redeeming them entirely. Only if their virtues outweigh their faults should they be considered a good person. Claiming that your enemy is completely without virtues is foolish, because it's easily refuted and makes people disinclined to listen to your other, sounder arguments. As you point out, making someone a cardboard villain makes you look silly.

I agree wholeheartedly with everything else in this comment.

heresiarch 131: I'm constantly amazed to hear that mentality described as "Pro-Israel." Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the End Times scenario end with all non-Christians, Israelis included, suffering horribly?

See, you're confusing Israel with the Jewish People. (A common error, especially around here.) Israel doesn't always act in the best interest of the Jews as a whole (pause for shocked gasps). Supporting Israel (in a military sense, as opposed to, say, supporting peace) is a strategic move designed to draw Armageddon closer. Building up terrible weapons on both sides of a conflict is a good way to bring about the End of Days, whether in the BOR sense or just in the sense of humanity being wiped out.

They don't actually care about Israel, that's true. But Israel often mistakes itself for the Jewish People as well, and they'll take anything they can get.

#155 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 11:16 AM:

They don't actually care about Israel, that's true. But Israel often mistakes itself for the Jewish People as well, and they'll take anything they can get.

I've talked with Jews who don't mistake Israel for the Jewish People (and there probably are a lot of them). They're not backing McCain either.

#156 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 11:21 AM:

Well, I never said all Jews thought they were Israel. Far from true, of course. It's Israel that makes the mistake, not non-Israeli Jews.

#157 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 11:40 AM:

#153 Xopher

Israel is the only country in the world where Jews have rights as the majority rather than a(n oft-despised and discriminated institutionally against) minority.

Theodore Herzl founded Zionism specifically as a result of the realization that he couldn't assimilate into European mainstream society--converting to Christianity would not have put him on a equal playing field with the born-Christians. And when he came to that conscious realization, he looked for and created a paradigm change--all the other large tribal affialitions had been pushing nationalism for having their own territory where they wouldn't be subjected to second-class citizen treatment and denial of right;, Herzl decided there should be one for Jews. Jerusalem--which has been majority Jewish throughout most of recorded historical-- and its environs wasn't the only part of the world looked at, part of the "Pale of Settlement" where a large fraction of the Jews in the world lived--Lithuania, Ukraine, Belarus, parts of Poland, etc., and were all massively discriminated against (40 year mandatory military service for Jewish males with continuing proselytization in the Russian Army, for one example; Cossacks rampaging through the streets skewering anything that moved riding hanging from one foot in a stirrup, according to the descriptions my mother and her sisters gave me of their mother's eyewitness view peering out through a window to outside; pogroms and blood libel, bans on participation in various activities and work, special taxes... etc.), and other places. The final decision was the Levant, where Jewish communities in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and number other localities had been in continuous occupation by Jews for at least as far back as the records went, with the historical ties and continuing presence.

It was a very strange feeling for me in Israel, to be in a country where the default religion was Jewish and the civil services arranged for the convenience of Jews rather than being inconveniencing to Jews, as is the situation here--civil offices in the USA are closed on Sunday, there are local votes on Saturday, and Sunday is regarded as a Day of Rest civil-wise here. Jewish holidays aren't vacation days, but Christmas is, and Easter being a Sunday, most people have the day off other than retail which got the Blue Laws that used to ban Sunday business, torpedoed, and the hospitality industry, and critical services people.

There are lots of countries where Islam is a majority religion and usually the state religion--oh, that was something else about Europe in Herzl's time, state religions... which contributed to the abusive treatment of Jews.

Meanwhile, here the in USA, the Christian Dominionists, to which Palin has affiliations, are determined to make their brand of Christianity a state religion.... as are various other evangelizing Christian denominations, which have made life miserable for non-Christians at the federal military academies, and various military bases, etc.

#158 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 11:47 AM:

JESR @ 124, the city names are at top right of the N&O page, in admittedly small text.

#159 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 11:58 AM:

Many but not all Israelis mistake Israel for the Jewish people. The government there often makes statements that conflate the two. Israel as a country is only a little more unified than the USA.

McCain's low finish at Annapolis is not entirely related to his intelligence, Laurie@151. A good part of that was his demerits for not following procedures/orders and being a (party animal) (maverick) [choose one, depending on your party affiliation].

#160 ::: Seth Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 12:26 PM:

Christian dominionist leaders are "pro-Israel" in much the same way that oil sheikhs who finance Hamas are "pro-Palestinian". They stir up fights between a tribe they look down on and a tribe they despise.

#161 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 12:37 PM:

Paula 156: I'm sure that's all true, but I don't see that it has any relevance to my point. Could you explain the connection? I mean beyond the fact that I mentioned Israel.

#162 ::: Torrilin ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 12:42 PM:

Jewish holidays aren't vacation days

One of the nicest places I've ever worked was run by fairly Orthodox Jews. It was very easy for me to get work hours, since I was willing to work Fridays and Saturdays, and having the High Holy Days off was a nice treat.

I'm not much on Blue Laws either... workers do need holidays and breaks, but a Blue Law isn't going to do much to get them for people. OSHA and knowing federal labor law has always done more for me.

#163 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 12:45 PM:

Just like the gop nom con was a lynch mob -- their howling wasn't cheering, but blood lust and hatred.

Why is this not being reported more, one wonders. It's on the Ron Paul website and others, and now the huffpo has reported it. It has been reported in the New Mexico papers, according to those who live there. It was absolutely chilling, they have said.

He and she are howling at their rallies that Obama -- HUSSEIN -- is a terrorist, a traitor, a muslim and not an American, and he's supposedly tartled that his audience that he's whipped up these people (that begs to be whipped up) to lynch mob state, to where a member can howl "Kill him!" How can he be surprised, and how can he not be held responsible? Just. Farkin'. How. Can. McCain. Not. Be. Responsible.

Judging by McCain's slightly startled reaction, he clearly didn't anticipate that reaction, and McCain's in no way responsible for the utterances of anybody in his audience. But he must have some idea of how deeply this fear/outsider/other meme has spread. A tripartite strategy isn't needed.

Even now the media cuts him undeserved slack. You choose to target such words to describe your opponent to people like that and then are surprised by the reaction? Then why use?b> those terms? No, this is what he wants to happen. There large elements of belief and behavior in each of us here that he could characterize in such a way to these same people and get the same response. Remember there were some white people lynched too during that long century of lynch seasons in this nation post the Civil War.

His lynch mob mentality is also part and parcel of palin's displays.

Both of them are doing it. She doesn't flinch, not even the first time. This is who she is. You saw it at the gop nom con -- she reveled in bringing up the howls.

Love, C.

#164 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 01:09 PM:

John Chu, #138: I was running on outdated data, so your correction is welcome.

Constance, #162: the bloodthirsty mobs are both predictable and terrifying. The Republicans have nothing else left and in Palin they've found someone willing to reap all the hate they've been sowing for the past 25 years. I've been predicting violence on election day for some time--I was expecting anti-Latino violence in LA--but now it seems it may be more widespread and more general. May law and cooler heads prevail.

#165 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 01:14 PM:

#156 Xopher

It's because there is a lot of Israel-bashing, it seems to come in for special abuse compared to other democracies where one religion is perceived as being more privileged than others--particularly considering that when "Saudi Arabia" or "Indonesia" or Kazakhistan, or Uzbekistan, or Libya, or Egypt, or Turkey, or Albania, Malaysia, or Nigeria, or Sudan, or Somalia, or Morocco, or Algeria, Japan, the various European countries... get mentioned, I don't see the same identification and implicit religion-civil bashing going on... nor do I see Catholic bashing generally when mentioning the Vatican or Vatican-bashing when mentioning Catholics other than when discussing something which specifically involves Papal Bulls or other policy promulgated on Catholics from the Vatican, even though the Vatican is fully a monarchical theocracy.

I also don't see Christian bashing when condemning the USA/US Government for something unless it's from a particular denomination or alliance of them attempting to impose their religion on the rest of the country and the world (in which case the denomination(s)/their leaders and the promulgating politicians get bashed), or USA bashing when bashing a particular collection of Christians who live in the USA (unless the conditions immediate above are involved).

That is, there is an identification of Jews and Israel, however, LEGALLY, is it is significantly less intense than England and the Church of England, Indonesia and Islam, Turkey and Islam, most of the USA and Christianity (Christmas -is- a federal holiday and Sundays state, local, and federal offices are all closes and the voting is never on Sundays...), Iraq and Islam, Iran and Islam... all of which have elected governmental official running the countries.

Islam's holiest two sites are in Saudi Arabia, and there are sites sacred to various branches of Islam in Iraq and other countries... yet, again, the instant those countries get mentioned, I don;t getting see people popping up with "remember, the country and the religion that most of (in the case of Saudi Arabia, I think it's all of....) the citizens are, are NOT the same thing!"

And my perspective, again, is that there are two main reasons, one of them much more overwhelming than that other:
#1, Israel, again, is the ONLY country in the world that is majority Jewish
#2, the minor reason, all the Jewish religious sites are in or within proximity of Jerusalem--and the most important of those sites not only were completely inaccessible to Jews from 1948-1967, some of them REMAIN inaccessible. Please name a holy-to-Muslims site in Saudi Arabia, which Jews or Christians have access to, but not Muslims, or a similiar situation in a country that's has Christianity as state religion which allows people of other religions access but not Christians to their holy sites....

#166 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 01:16 PM:

I repeat, what about charging Palin with civil rights abuses, conspiring to incite/commit hate crimes, and RICO?

#167 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 01:23 PM:

I'm certain that Margaret Thatcher must have... some virtues.

Her coat of arms has Sir Isaac Newton, an Admiral and the motto "Cherish Freedom". That's a good thing surely?

#168 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 01:23 PM:

Xopher #153:

Yep. All kinds of horrible villains have redeeming qualities. Frex, the German army in WW2 was full of capable, determined, brave men fighting for an evil cause, as was the Confederate army in the US Civil War. People often get terribly angry when you point this out, as it's more comfortable to imagine your enemies as without any redeeming qualities.

McCain no doubt has many redeeming qualities, and so does Sarah Palin. They're just terribly unsuited to be president, is all. That doesn't mean they're bad people (though their behavior in this campaign and before (especially in Palin's case) suggests the possibility rather strongly), just that they're the wrong folks for the job.

The millenialist types may support Israel because they think they will bring about the End Times and the return of Jesus. But if you don't believe in any of that stuff (and surely, the leadership of Israel, AIPAC, etc., don't), then it's not too worrying.

#169 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 01:31 PM:

Paula #165:

I'm chilled by the report of Palin's hate-mongering, and enraged by reports of the go-bash-some-Muslims DVD. But it will be a good cold day in hell before I'm in favor of having political campaigns prosecuted for advocating even evil ideas. I'd like at least an even chance of not having the country of my birth turn into a nightmare state.

Among other things, consider who has appointed the people in charge of the Justice Department right now, and how likely it is that those political hacks would launch investigations against anything a Republican was doing. (They would be far too busy with the interrogation of the last of the holdouts.)

#170 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 01:51 PM:

Ob Turtledove reference: "I'm Sarah Palin, and I'm here to tell you the truth."

What the f--k is going to be left of the Republican party when this election is over? They have driven away a great many of their own supporters, betrayed most of their good ideas, and led the country and the world into several disasters. Now, they're running a campaign so nasty it almost can't help but backfire in big ways.

If there is anything resembling adult supervision in the Republican party, they need to find some way to reassert themselves and put a brake on this, because along with potentially doing horrible damage to the country, they're risking the near destruction of their party. Now, they didn't assert themselves when Bush and Rove were doing their worst for the country, and a lot of them have been pushed out of any position of power. Probably, they either can't or won't--most likely, such adult supervision as they once had has all been driven out.

But the worst case here is very, very fkng bad for the country and even worse for their party.

Two likely explanations suggest themselves from Teresa's earlier comments:

a. Palin is narcisistic and McCain is unable or unwilling to check her. She's doing stuff she doesn't know or care is insanely destructive and risky, and he's not stopping her. (My guess is that McCain and Palin at the top of the ticket means there is no adult supervision.)

b. Some folks in the Republican party deeply fear loss of control over the Justice department, and know that when the Democrats come to power and all the books are opened to them, a whole lot of them are going to prison. They fear that enough to take insane, destructive risks with their country in order to hang onto the white house.

#171 ::: Leva Mevis ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 01:53 PM:

Re: mob mentality

Did they ever fix the problems Obama was having with security and the secret service? If I recall correctly, his protection was less than optimal.

#172 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 01:58 PM:

Leva Mevis @ 170: I can offer anecdotal evidence that, at the Obama rally I attended in Greensboro NC, everyone was metal-detectored, most were wanded, no bags/umbrellas were allowed and personal items examined. There were also snipers on every visible rooftop, actively scanning the crowd with binoculars. There was obvious Secret Service around him and Biden (I saw the Secret Service around Biden close up because I saw Biden close up -- Obama was working the other side of the crowd and I did not get to see him or his security detail close up). There was plenty of local police.

It looked to me like the security was good. But that's anecdotal, and from someone who is very, very far from a security expert.

#173 ::: AntonGarou ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 02:00 PM:

@"Pro-Israel"- there is a very big over representation of the Israeli right side of the map in pro-Israeli lobbying.I would check who mostly funds them:I suspect you'll find that the majority is funded by various orthodox communities, which tend to lean toward the right side of the map on the diplomatic subjects.

Over here(I'm an Israeli) everyone who's in the mainstream publicly accept that talking with the Palestinians will probably be what solves the conflict, including people who opposed Oslo with all their might like Netanyahu.The main arguments are "how much?" and whether we can trust the current crop of Palestinian leadership if they sign an agreement(Arrafat has given us good reason to question this), OTOH there seems to be an opposite move in Palestinian public debate, and I really hope that's just an illusion.

I personally think that Obama may do much good, if he's elected and chooses to try and intervene.If the more militant members of our government don't feel they have Washington's unconditional support it will probably shut them up some.

As to the Jews/Israel question:Israel was created, basically, so that Jewish refugees will have one place they can be assured of having shelter(and before you tout Britain and the US check their WW2 records)- in short, if something *real bad* happens and all the French Jews have to flee for their lives they have one place they know they can turn to.One of my friends characterized Israel once as "having the national equivalent of PTSD", and I don't think she's much wrong.

#174 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 02:04 PM:

#164: yet, again, the instant those countries get mentioned, I don;t getting see people popping up with "remember, the country and the religion that most of (in the case of Saudi Arabia, I think it's all of....) the citizens are, are NOT the same thing!"

In my experience, it's largely an attempt to deflect accusations of anti-Semitism. People about to criticise Israel like to make clear that they are not criticising Jews, for obvious reasons. I should not like to lay every crime of the Israeli government and military on the head of every Jew (nor indeed the crimes of the American government on the head of every American, the UK government on the head of every Briton, etc).

#175 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 02:10 PM:

I was under the impression that Dominionists were pro-Israel because they think that supporting that country has a high probability of making apocalyptic End Times happen sooner rather than later; it's in the same vein as the program that bankrolls the repatriation of Russian Jews to Israel as a cynical method of accelerating the enactment of prophecy.

#176 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 02:11 PM:

Paula 164: Can you quote the part of my comment where you feel that I bashed Israel? As far as I can tell the worst thing I said about them here was that they mistake themselves for the Jewish People, and that they'll take any support they can get. Not exactly a vitriolic indictment of the entire nation.

You seem to be claiming that criticism of Israel (even Israel-bashing) entails Jew-bashing. I suppose it sometimes does. However, citing my name and comment number implies that *I* have done some Jew-bashing, when in fact I have done nothing of the sort at any point. Please either back off that implied claim or back it up with quotes, because your (implied) accusation of Jew-bashing is extremely offensive to me.

In other words, you're really pissing me off now. If you were just using my comment as a jumping-off point for one of your rants, please say so. Otherwise you'd better be able to point to something, anything, in my comments that amounts to Israel-bashing or Jew-bashing.

And incidentally, your claim that everyone just assumes that Saudi Arabia and Islam are equivalent entities is too absurd to bother discussing. Certainly it's a matter of some distress to Moslems of my acquaintance that the repressive Saudi state controls access to Mecca and Medina, and no one here would make such a patently silly claim.

Neil 166: Her coat of arms has Sir Isaac Newton, an Admiral and the motto "Cherish Freedom". That's a good thing surely?

I can't imagine why you would expect me to be rational on this topic, since I have already stated my inability to be fair to the Milk-Snatcher. For example, my reaction to her coat of arms is a) she must mean something different by 'cherish', 'freedom', or both than I or any sane person would mean, and b) how DARE she use Sir Isaac on her coat of arms!

It's a lost cause. Give it up. :-)

albatross 167: Frex, the German army in WW2 was full of capable, determined, brave men fighting for an evil cause, as was the Confederate army in the US Civil War. People often get terribly angry when you point this out, as it's more comfortable to imagine your enemies as without any redeeming qualities.

I agree, and this is one of the most distressing things about human beings. When I find it in myself, it's even more distressing. I think the deaths that occurred on the Confederate side are every bit as tragic as those that occurred on the Union side, and worst of all is the bitterness that persists between the two to this very day.

____ 169: What the f--k is going to be left of the Republican party when this election is over?

Hopefully, nothing. I think the GOP needs to either drastically reform or be utterly driven from American politics. I prefer the latter, personally. I'm just not sure who would be the left in this country once the Democrats are acknowledged to be the right.

...when the Democrats come to power and all the books are opened to them, a whole lot of them are going to prison.

Well, I don't think they can stop the Democratic takeover, and I hope you and they are right about a lot of DOJ people going to prison. Some cleaning needs to be done. I'm tired of living in a country run by a criminal conspiracy.

#177 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 02:26 PM:

Even here in the U.S., during the Depression, in the lead up to WWII, there were 'torchlight' rallies conducted by surrogates of the fascists and the nazis, spewng anti-commie, anti-jew, anti-black howling.

Frequently then, these 'rallies' became mobs that torched neighborhoods, beat up whoever they encountered, and lynched others.

It was the Depression. Lots of time on lots of peoples' hands. No jobs, no need to get up in the morning, not enough money for booze or other entertainment, and certainly not educated.

This is starting to resemble all too much the accounts of these times I've read about. No state was free of them either. The first accounts I ever read were in microfilmed North Dakota newspapers.

Love, C.

#178 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 02:44 PM:

Xopher, what you read was not what I wrote, or at least, not what I thought I was writing/was intending to write.

I was NOT accusing you of conflation! I was pointing out that generally there are these distinctions that I keep seeing/hearing popping up between Jews and Israel, that I rarely see made for other countries and the majority religions in them.

I didn't/don't have the time and attention at the moment to point out that I was concerned that what I was writing was going to get read at first order level where I was lumping in a bunch of diverse issues together, regarding other countries--Saudi Arabia the theocratic state religion monarchy (which however does not ban Shi'ites, Alawites, etc., from Mecca and Medina--Muslims have access to those places, others.... Sir Richard Burton committed cold-blooded murder to prevent his own death, for being a non-Muslim going to Mecca), Turkey the becoming-less-non-sectarian democracy, etc.,--my points were that generally there are not the disclaimers present that have the disclaimer linkages put in for Israel.

The surrounding countries' promotion of Protocols of Zion hatemongering doesn't help things--some of them at the same time condemn Israel and not Jews, while also pushing hatemongering stereotypes of Jews. And they almost all universally condemn "Zionism" while not acknowledging the exodus of Jews from them to what today is Israel, of more than 700,000 people, for institutionalized mistreatment up to and including mass murder versus the hope and aspirations to live in a country with full citizenship, rights, and not being a mistreated rights-denied minority (Islamic Law treats non-Muslims differently than Muslims, giving primacy to Muslims and taxing non-Muslims at higher rates, restricting opportunities, imposing social differentiations making it obvious that the non-Muslims are present on sufferance, etc. The situation with Christian countries in the Middle Ages for non-Christians, or unapproved of denominations, was even worse.... which was why Turkey was a much more desirable place for Jews to relocate to from Spain, than Christian Europe....)

The bottom line is that Israel, again, is the ONLY country in the entire world, where Jews have rights as other than a minority, and where if there were the situation of national hysteria, it wouldn't be Jews as minorities (and other minorities usually face the same types of discrimation and abuse and subjectivity to being made targets/scapegoats of....) who found themselves under attack and the victims of pogroms, riots, bigotry, intolerance, etc.

AND I AM NOT JUSTIFYING HYSTERIA AND ABUSE! I am saying that if/when it happens, it gets directed at minorities... and only in Israel, are Jews not minorities. 2500+ years of abusive treatment by other cultures with majorities, is a lot longer track record than e.g. democracy has of being in existence (Greek democracy was overrated, only white adult males had it, most of the population consisted of slave who had no vote etc., and of foreigners who in Athens were barred from citizenship because they weren't born Athenians....)

#179 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 02:48 PM:

Paula, you're reading things into the discussion that were not stated. I know you're not much for apologies, but at the very least, back off.

Xopher, and indeed everyone, remember that these are tense times, both inside the community and outwith it. Please be unlike wizards*; be clear in what you say and patient with each other.

* I used that quote about Microsoft Visual Studio Team Test today, because its wizards are both of those things, and bloody useless to boot.

#180 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 02:50 PM:

abi @ 178... be unlike wizards

Got something against Bakshi's Avatar?

#181 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 02:55 PM:

I'm writing this off as a misunderstanding. Paula, thank you for explaining.

#182 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 02:58 PM:

Be not like wizards
subtle and quick to anger
doing the wrong thing

#183 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 03:07 PM:

In times of great stress
Misreading can cause anger.
Let us be gentle.

#184 ::: George Smiley ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 03:53 PM:

Now, you might argue that you're not for Obama-Biden as much as you're against McCain-Palin, and I'd be prepared to accept that.

About 75% of the reason I'm stoked to vote for Obama is not to vote for Obama, not to vote against McCain, but to vote against the Republican base, and particularly the racist Republican base (which I take to be about 1/2 of 25% of the population). I will vote with the specific intent of making their vicious little brains explode at the idea of a black U.S. president.

#185 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 04:32 PM:

George Smiley #183: some commenters at 538 have spoken gleefully of making certain sections of the US population hear "President Barack Hussein Obama" for four years. They bitch so much about the middle name, see how they like it in the history books.

#186 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 04:40 PM:


#187 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 05:07 PM:

Joel Polowin #185: Schwarzenfreude?


#188 ::: Tom Barclay ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 05:28 PM:

Joel Polowin #185: Schwarzenfreude?

Double Pie!

#190 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 05:32 PM:

I thought that the Jordan in the Middle East was an US ally? Guess what the last name of the king there is....

#191 ::: sherrold ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 06:19 PM:

I just finished Dreamers of the Day at lunch. (Odd, but eventually very satisfying book.) And its last three (non-spoilery, I swear) sentences are perfect for this thread:

Ernq gb Puvyqera ibgr
Naq arire ohl nalguvat sebz n zna jub'f fryyvat srne.

What I mind most about the polarization is that I can no longer hear the words "I'm voting for McCain" without thinking very rude things about the speaker. Even if I force myself to stay quiet, I still have the conversation in my head about how unbelievable stupid and/or cynically evil that person is. I don't like thinking that about people -- at least not on one piece of evidence -- but right now, that one piece is sufficiently damning in my mind. And yet I know I have friends and family planning to vote for him.

#192 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 06:46 PM:

#190 sherrold

There are some other reasons why people have fixated on voting for the more-interested-in-getting-laid-and-boozing-than-in-more-than-marginally-passing-grades parasite (to the tune of "he can survive on the old man's money," "he does real well on the rich wife's money"). I don't say they are good in my opinion reasons...
1. Inertia
2. Inertia especially of mental processes
3. Big Lie inculcation and osmosis adoption to where it's a given... (chorus of "Credo...")
4. Being bathed with environmental influences promoting McCain/deprecating Obama
5. Overexposure to unfairness doctrine broadcast and cablecast media, and print media, particularly Rupert Murdoch-makes-William-Randolph -Hearst-look-honorable fascist infotainment (add the Sinclair media empire to that, also CBS-Paramount-Viacom, NBC-GE, ABC-Disney...)
6. Lack of fairness doctrine policy, media, and access to distribution information.... the debasing of McCain opponents and critics of the current incumbent administration, involves the actual things that McCain, Rove, Libby, various Cabinet members, gagorder imposer and censoring and report rewriting political officer appartchiks (not to mention the corrupt greedy appointees and Mike Browns etc.), and the misadministration and its reach have done, that sound like stuff out of a really badly written novel full of stuff that makes Breslins The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight seem like everyday cheerful honest competence...
7. Inability to unsuspend the suspension of disbelief and inability to apply credulity filters-- in some cases due to a lack of information that parses as valid/credible (or lack of getting such information), in some cases due to being blind by desensitivization, and especially, due to:
8. Emotional structures which are threatened by having to consider/reconsider that McCain and Palin might be other than honorable and desirable and appropriate....
a) Remember Anita Bryant with her anti-homosexual screed and campaign, who it turned out was using that as emotion dump from marriage gone sour, and trying desperately to pretend to herself how wonderful her life was and how Important her values of homosexual intolerance was, because that's what the narrowminded bigoted values community her husband and she were in in her delusionary view of Real World Importance and Reality? When the last vestiges of her pretense to clinging to a failing/failed marriage and delusions of continued marriage to the fellowed died and the divorce was inevitable or in process, she stuck her head up, looked around, and admitted that she was confused and perhaps could be wrong about her view of homosexuality as vile and evil and despicable and a vile menace to civilization.
b) Membership in a community such as a giant superchurch like the one that Ted Haggerty hypocrite ran, or led by someone otherwise decreeing the community values shall be... which regard McCain and Palin as Upholders of America etc. etc. etc. and Obama and Democrats as unghodly menace... or which have fascist values and want the current wealth distribution status to continue on as it's been going....
c) having to suck up to the boss or someone else who's indicated which way to vote, or else suffering loss of job, excommunication, shunning, etc.
d) having to face the possibility that one has been a complete and utter fool/idiot/gull/chump, and who likes to admit they've been taking in by swindlers, for years?!
e) seeing a personal gain in some way or expecting one
f) single issue voter...

#193 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 07:38 PM:

I think Barack Hussein Obama will be the next president because of the name Hussein. It has a double letter. Every president elected for many years has either a double letter in his name, or a double initial, like Ronald Reagan. The Bushes seem to be the exception, but I wonder if that's because they were not legitimately elected. Albert Arnold Gore (that's Al Gore's full name) was the duly elected president, but was not allowed to take office. John Kerry was elected, but not allowed to take office. McCain has no double letters, and Obama does.

Okay, I'll take off the tinfoil hat now.

#194 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 07:43 PM:

McCain has no double letters?

#195 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 07:52 PM:

Maybe it's balanced out by the misnumbering - the source I've seen for his family tree indicates he's really John Sidney McCain IV, not III, which is what he calls himself.

#196 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 08:00 PM:

If McCain winks at the camera during the debate tonight I'm either going to get drunk or rent a woodchipper and stick my head in it.

I suppose I could avoid the problem by listening on the radio.

#197 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 08:29 PM:

I'd say the taller presidential candidate usually wins (which gives Obama the edge), but W managed to buck the trend twice. Of course, if you eliminate stolen elections from the data set, the trend reasserts itself.

#198 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 08:37 PM:

Paula @ 129: Wonderful! Here's to your neutrons.

#199 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 08:39 PM:

John @ 146:

"This is not a man who sees America the way you and I see America," she [Palin] told the Clearwater crowd.

I should hope not!

#200 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 08:45 PM:

Earl @ 152:

Wait a second, why was Palin speaking in Clearwater, Florida, of all places? Were there any celebrity supporters in attendance? (Note that I'm trying to ask this question in such a way that does not unduly alert the Google indexing spider; that may be an ultimately futile attempt, however.)

I should think Palin's religious pals do not think at all well of the group you are alluding to. After all, they're competitors in the mind-control cult business.

#201 ::: Pfusand ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 09:40 PM:

Many years ago, I was thinking about the fact that no one -- no real person -- was 100% bad, and I was outside on a sunny day, so I composed the aphorism:

"Only a shadow never sees the sun."

#202 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 10:12 PM:

10:07-ish: McCain announces that Ronald Reagan is his hero

10:11-ish: McCain announces that Teddy Roosevelt is his hero


#203 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 10:28 PM:

PJ@98: What's weird (to me) is that Obama hasn't given any indication that he won't back Israel

There are some crowds that apparently believe that whatever Israel wants, Israel should have, regardless of that want's connection to sanity; the thought of POTUS actually talking to the Iranian leadership has probably gotten some of them past the foaming-at-the-mouth stage (to dirty action). It's even possible that some of them believe McCain would be stupider than Bush, whose administration reportedly recently told Israel that it would not have U.S. backing if it attacked Iran. (Granted, this could just mean that Bush wants to pick his time -- but McCain is so impetuous he'd probably follow such an attack if it happened, regardless of how it would bleed the U.S.)

Paula: Jerusalem--which has been majority Jewish throughout most of recorded historical

Can you cite a plausible source for this? FWLIW, Wikipedia disagrees, pointing to several periods of legal bars and a tiny fraction when it was taken by the Crusaders. I have a similar opinion of many of your facts.

#204 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 11:12 PM:

P J Evans @ 194:

According to Miss Manners, unless one is royalty, the eldest living holder of a name is First Middle Last, while the next eldest is First Middle Last Jr., and the next younger is First Middle Last 3rd (or III, if they insist) and so on. As the elders drop out, the youngers bump up a place, like it or not.

The only time anyone is 'Sr.' is when the eldest dies leaving a widow. She would be socially Mrs. First Middle Last Sr. "to distinguish her from her son's wife" who is simply Mrs. First Middle Last.

It's apparently a good time to gift one's stationery down the tree, which is why I recall this stuff to begin with. I'm unaccountably fascinated by engraved stationery.

#205 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 11:38 PM:

George, #183: Oh, yeah. In my case it's more like the icing on the cake, but there's a definite frisson of schadenfreude (or, as Joel so delightfully puts it @185, schwarzenfreude!) going on there. I suspect that if I'd been old enough to be aware of the religious issues surrounding JFK, I'd have felt much the same way back then.

#206 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 11:52 PM:

Zander @10:
If this is a plausible campaign, I'd hate to see an implausible one.

Constance @62:
It's not what they said that's important; it's the target demographic.

P J Evans @98:
Jews are traditionally Republicans because the Democrats are perceived as not being willing to immediately jump in should Israel be attacked. (There are so many things wrong about this perception that I can't possibly list them all — but start with the fact that Iran as a problem for Israel was caused by Cheney's pet war.)

George Smiley @183:
This was a dream election almost from the start: no matter what, either a woman or a black was going to be on the ballot in November. (fondly imagining narrow heads exploding)

#207 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2008, 11:56 PM:

McCain bounced one of his local Virginia campaign leaders, Bobby May, because of his massively racist column. (Warning, pdf)

#208 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2008, 12:10 AM:

geekosaur @205: Jews are traditionally Republicans because the Democrats are perceived as not being willing to immediately jump in should Israel be attacked.


87 percent of Jews vote Democrat

#209 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2008, 12:14 AM:

Lee @ 204... I suspect that if I'd been old enough to be aware of the religious issues surrounding JFK, I'd have felt much the same way

This reminds me of Ed Gorman's mystery series about detective Sam McCain, set in the late 1950. One of his buddies is complaining about Kennedy being a Catholic and how we all know what goes on in the basement of catholic churches. When McCain points to the other guy that he used to be a Catholic, and that he had been an altar boy, and he had seen the church's basement, the guy retorts that he was meant the subbasement.

#210 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2008, 12:36 AM:

Paula Lieberman @156:

Jerusalem--which has been majority Jewish throughout most of recorded historical
Pardon? 5(mumblemumble) BCE/end of galut shnei to 2(mumblemumble) CE/murder of G'dalyah and galut shlishi; before it there is insufficient historical evidence to fix a majority population (admittedly in part because the Palestinians refuse to allow any excavation other than their own in the Temple area), after is all too historically not majority Jewish.

(The mumbles are because it depends on whose numbers you use.)

#211 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2008, 12:46 AM:

Jen Roth @207:
Eep, missed an important qualifier: Orthodox Jews. The majority of US Jews are secular/unaffiliated but strongly liberal-leaning, largely due to liberal Judaism's (Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, Aleph/Renewal) historical platform.

#212 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2008, 02:03 AM:

pericat @203, I'm going to have to yodel "Argle, bargle, dribble, burble" to Miss Manners in this particular case. There is no freaking way I'll ever drop the III from my name except by accidental typo. If my headstone and funereal paperwork doesn't include it, I will haunt all of the people and their descendants in the chain of erroneous decision until the ultimate fate of the universe is resolved, or until the error is corrected.

Hmmm, I'd better specify that in my will.

As for the thread where people are invited to mock Cindy McCain, I think I'll pass on that; it's useless except if you think that preaching to the choir is a good thing, and less than useless because such mocking has the potential of damaging the credibility of Making Light, in my opinion.

#213 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2008, 04:45 AM:

Every president elected for many years has either a double letter in his name, or a double initial, like Ronald Reagan.

Except for George Herbert Walker Bush (yes, Bush senior was legitimately elected) James Earl Carter, Richard Milhous Nixon and Lyndon Baines Johnson.

#214 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2008, 04:57 AM:

#106 ::: Chris:

The resistance to describing someone as all bad isn't just that characters like that are (might be?) bad art. There's also a possibly sound feeling that unrestrained hatred is a very bad thing

On the other hand, there certainly are very bad people, whether they have a few minor good points or not. I don't know whether it works to hang on to the idea that giving in to full hatred is just so dangerous that you mustn't, no matter how bad your enemies are. Can this refusal be driven by abstract decency rather than specifics about the person?

Topic change: There's something about Palin's quote "I'm afraid this is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to work with a former domestic terrorist who had targeted his own country." that leaves me feeling as though she's setting up the idea that anyone who thinks America is imperfect is on a path to being a terrorist. Does it hit anyone else that way?

#215 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2008, 10:22 AM:

I wrote "recorded history" and "majority" -- 2500 + years is a long time, and also, every time some invader came in and evicted Jews from Jerusalem, they kept coming back... near-total bans didn't work well for long.

Ottoman Empire--records exist showing Jerusalem majority Jewish
Roman Empire until a certain future emperor marched in and converted Jerusalem into whatever the Roman city name was--majority Jewish... and even then, after the invasion and conversion, apparently the legal prohibition and the actual state of affairs, differed...
Crusader kingdom-=-the city was majority Jewish until the Crusaders sacked it.
Saladin when kicking out the Crusaders, actually invited Jews to repopulate the city....

Other evidence--records from the Cairo Genizah of tribute trains to Jerusalem, from the Fustat community of Jews, because of the taxes and such on Jews in Jerusalem--for as long as the diaspora has existed, there has been money sent by Jews of the diaspora to the Levant for support of the Jewish communities there. It was one of the grudges that the Greek community in Alexandria had in Roman time, that the Jews of Alexandria were sending money they earned out of the area to Jerusalem to support Jews there, instead of spending it in the local economy... one of the results was the near-annihilation of the Jewish communities in Alexandria in massacres of extremely large numbers of people. (The main legacy of Judaism in Alexandria, ironically, is the influence of Philo of Alexandria on Christianity.... his influence on Judaism terminated with the annihilation of the large Alexandrian Jewish community).

#216 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2008, 10:50 AM:

pericat @ 203

I know that, but McCain apparently doesn't.
Actually, any more, a lot of people seem to keep the wrong number, because they're more comfortable with it. (In my family, this kind of naming tends to get you called 'big' or 'little' as appropriate, age notwithstanding.)

#217 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2008, 12:47 PM:

Pericat @203 and Earl Cooley III @211 Miss Manners was, I suspect, never married to the third holder of a name and still saddled with untidy legal loose ends of the late Sr and Jr, or she'd know that whatever the social aspects of naming, on the legal front those numbers are as a flotation device when the kayak sinks in rough water.

#218 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2008, 01:18 PM:

JESR #216:

Not only that, but even socially: when the Sr was fairly notable for all sorts of civic and political stuff, it's useful to the Jr to be able to differentiate. People will still be referring to the Sr thirty years after his death.

IOW, Miss Manners is full of it, I do believe.

And it's not as if there weren't royal precedent. Imagine the state of Henry-ness in England, if when every time one died, the number changed.

#219 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2008, 01:56 PM:

joann @#217: Miss Manners' description of the procedure actually uses the various Henrys as an example of when one does keep one's number. :) Her rule is for regular people, not kings.

Not that it's really her rule; she doesn't make these things up, just communicates them.

#220 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2008, 02:11 PM:

I am not here to lay any blame on you, Johnny Maverick.

No, really.

Just as I'm sure it was a compounding psychological blow to return from captivity after five years and realize how much the world had changed in your absence, I can only imagine the trauma of the reality slowly breaking through to you now.

It's not my place to blame you for being captured by Bush and Rove in 2000, and under their torture anyone would have broken. Any of us might have come to identify with our captors.

Any of us might have given in to Stockholm syndrome, John. Just like you did.

The guilt is about to hit you like a hammer, I know, but you need not be ashamed to ask for help. Your government employee insurance will cover the best psychiatric care so that you can reclaim your dignity and live out the last of your sunset years in peace.

#221 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2008, 02:24 PM:

Earl Cooley III @211: Not to worry; you being the third Earl of Cooley, none of this would apply to you.

#222 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2008, 04:23 PM:

pericat #220: Not to worry; you being the third Earl of Cooley, none of this would apply to you.

Ta da!

#223 ::: MarkR ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2008, 04:41 PM:

A correction about "McCain's sweet ride." The summary states that the Saudis flew out when air traffic was closed after 9/11. That's not true. They left after the skies were reopened to commercial aviation, and after the FBI interviewed who they wanted to interview. None of them have been tied to the attacks in any way. Daniel Hopsicker of MadCow is one of the least reliable sources on earth. He has a long history of making conspiracy crap up.

#225 ::: Seth ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2008, 05:59 PM:

The Saudis (at least one of whom was related to Bin Laden) flew out the day before commercial flights resumed.

#226 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2008, 06:10 PM:

Seth @ 224
That's what I remember hearing, years ago. It was Wednesday, I think, maybe Thursday, that they left.

(BTW, that was the first time MarkR has commented here. Driveby?)

#227 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2008, 06:37 PM:

P J Evans #225: BTW, that was the first time MarkR has commented here. Driveby?

He is a 9/11 conspiracy debunker.

#228 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2008, 08:10 PM:

Earl, #223: This bit in the article:
...[Palin's] love of moose (between buns)...

I think I've been reading too much fanfic; suffice it to say that my first thought was not about mooseburgers!

#229 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2008, 09:20 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @213:

There's something about Palin's quote (...) that leaves me feeling as though she's setting up the idea that anyone who thinks America is imperfect is on a path to being a terrorist. Does it hit anyone else that way?
But Palin and her Dominionists think something is so wrong with the US that they are obligated to take it over and turn it into a theocracy. occurs to me that this might be "accusing your opponent of your own fault". Which in this case is downright terrifying....

#230 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2008, 10:04 PM:

Remember in another thread when we mentioned that under the last Maryland governor, a Republican, activist groups had been infiltrated by police? Well, it turns out the state police actually put 53 non-violent activists on the federal terrorist list. They get to review their files, but not keep a copy. The guy who was the state police superintendent during that time defended it yesterday -- he said they were "fringe people."

What the heck does that make us to them?

#231 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2008, 05:21 AM:

224, 225: not actually true, according to and the 9/11 commission report: they flew out immediately after commercial airspace reopened on the morning of September 13. I thought the same thing you did until I checked it.

#232 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2008, 06:24 AM:

Marilee #229: he said they were "fringe people." What the heck does that make us to them?

Unindicted co-conspirators. "Have a nice day, Citizen!"

#233 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2008, 06:51 AM:

Marilee @ 229... fringe people

As for myself, I like the TV show.

#234 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2008, 06:52 AM:

Not only does the Savage Dragon endorse Obama, but so do Alex Ross and Samuel L. Jackson.

#235 ::: Del Cotter ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2008, 08:03 AM:

Every president elected for many years has either a double letter in his name, or a double initial, like Ronald Reagan. The Bushes seem to be the exception, but I wonder if that's because they were not legitimately elected.

They both have a Double U in their initials :-)

#236 ::: Counterfly ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2008, 06:10 PM:

I found the RS article annoying if only for its unprofessional tone, using language like "shitfaced" and "daddy complex." If you're going to do a hitpiece, at least have some decorum.

#237 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2008, 09:09 AM:

Non Sequitur on "expertise" and campaign logic.

#238 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2008, 11:46 AM:

This just in:

Palin pre-empts state report, clears self in probe

Apparently, in an attempt to head off the embarrassment of the abuse of power scandals, Palin's campaign team have taken the initiative of proclaiming Palin innocent of all wrong-doing.

There's unbiased investigation for you.

#239 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2008, 10:23 PM:

#237: Well, it turns out she had to clear herself, because nobody else was going to do it for her.

The official report is out, stating that Palin abused the power of her office for personal ends.

I was pretty much expecting that part. But there was something in there that surprised even my low expectations [additions in brackets mine]:

MS. BYRNE [executive secretary to Monegan, the commissioner of public safety later fired by Palin]: I think that he [Monegan] was disappointed with the legislative decision about budgeting for public safety, and when he came back I asked him how the meetings went, the hearings, et cetera. He said that it was basically very disheartening at the direction that the legislative session had gone because we were not going to receive the funding that we would need.
MR. BRANCHFLOWER [the investigator]: And was there mention made of Michael Wooten in the context of this conversation?
MR. BRANCHFLOWER: What did he tell you?
MS. BYRNE: That because of the fact that we still had Wooten in our employee, that we would continue to have the problems with budgeting.

[Branchflower Report, p. 95. Assorted verbal infelicities as they appear in the official report.]

In other words, *someone* was willing to monkey with the budget for the Department of Public Safety (which does exactly what it says on the tin) in order to pressure the commissioner to get that trooper fired.

#240 ::: MarkR ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 04:11 PM:

Seth @224, PJ Evans @ 225, and Earl Cooley III @226: in case you see this, no, it wasn't a driveby and yes, I'm a 9/11 conspiracy debunker.

I'm also a friend of Scraps DeSelby and was here checking on his condition. Nice to meet you.

#241 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 04:23 PM:

I apologize for thinking you were a driveby. (I really wish the 9/11 conspiracy theorists would go away.)

#242 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 05:21 PM:

Is there any chance that Palin will face charges or other significant sanctions for her abuses of power? Say, in the next few weeks..?

#243 ::: Jon Baker ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 09:15 PM:

James @ 69:

According to Wikipedia? Wow!

McCain's involvement with Keating was deep, close, and long-standing.

a) That's not what I said. McCain's involvement with the Keating Five was minimal, not with Keating himself. He severed his connection with Keating as soon as he found out there were criminal charges involved, unlike DeConcini, Glenn and Cranston. The Ethics Committee found him the least culpable member of the group. The Wikipedia article discussing this is heavily footnoted, and can thus be checked for accuracy.

It takes a bit of fortitude to break with someone whom you considered a friend.

b) Apparently Posters can quote Wikipedia to establish a fact or set of facts as true (the press' dismissal of the Obama-Ayers connection), but Responders get snarked at for citing the same source? And insulted for pointing out the apparent inconsistency?

Is Wikipedia a reliable source or not, or only when it agrees with one?

#244 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 10:08 PM:

McCain was one of the Keating 5, which is hardly minimal involvement.
He escaped punishment by the Senate because he was in the House at the time of the ethical problems, and escaped punishment by the House because he was no longer a member. (Nice timing, yes?)

His choices in advisers and campaign officials say he's still having ethical problems.

#245 ::: Jon Baker ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 10:53 PM:

Well, if you want to define involvement as binary integers, you won't see maxima and minima. Still, the Ethics Committee found him less culpable than the rest of the group, even if many in the media disagreed.

And yes, his current choice of advisers tell us he hasn't learned to pick friends more carefully. Piece on CrooksAndLiars today about some of his lobbyist campaign officials who also lobby for Russia. It points out that he's a staunch anti-Communist, still...

Maybe it's not such a coincidence that states that support him are called "red" states?

#246 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2008, 04:24 PM:

Jon Baker: Arguendo, I'll grant that of the Keating Five McCain was the least culpable. That doesn't mean his culpability was trivial, just that on a spectrum of bad to worst, he was, "merely" bad.

For the other 530 members of the House and Senate.... there was less involvement (elstwise we'd be talking about the Keatig 6, or 50, or, what have you).

So I think defending him as the least crooked member of that group is praising with, not so faint, damns.

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