Saturday, September 6, 2008

Palinic bumper sticker

This is just too good. Thanks to the Pensito Review!


Bumper Sticker du Jour

Jesus was a community organizer; Pontius Pilate was a governor

--Bumper sticker in Lincoln, Mont. submitted by Thomas Kent


I want one! And you can buy one here for $3.95.

Business as usual - Republicans try to derail Palin investigation

You can read some tidbits about the Palin investigation here.

Yesterday Newsweek reported that some friends of John McCain are busily trying to derail the investigation of Sarah Palin by the Alaska State Legislature. Why is that not surprising?

They are afraid. They are very afraid. They don't know what to expect and it could be bad, bad, bad for the McCain team!

John Coghill, who is the Republican chair of the state House Rules Committee, "wrote a letter seeking a meeting of Alaska's bipartisan Legislative Council in order to remove the Democratic state senator in charge of the so-called 'troopergate' investigation."

This action was "endorsed" by the McCain campaign last night!

Coghill is charging that Hollis French, the senator in question, has "politicized" the investigation by making various comments in public! He even had the gall to suggest to ABC News that Palin had a "credibility problem." Furthermore, Senator French expressed the thought that "the investigation into the firing of public safety commissioner Walter Monegan was 'likely to be damaging to the administration' and could be an 'October surprise.'"

Senator French hired a special counsel to discover whether or not Palin "used her public office to settle a private score." [Here's some unsolicited advice: Check Palin's emails to see if she's been corresponding with Karl Rove or Dickie Cheney!]

Coghill, who claims to have the support of the Republican Speaker of the House, wants the investigation shut down completely. He says it has been "botched."

Newsweek reports that a Democratic legislative aide asked, "How can this possibly be read as anything but a partisan attempt to shut down a legitimate investigation that was approved and funded with bipartisan support?"

It gets juicier. Todd Palin has hired his own lawyer. It's been said that he was one of those who made phone calls on behalf of the governor to get Wooten fired.


Now here's the problem. Palin strongly denied that anyone in her administration had put any pressure on Walter Monegon to fire Wooten. Oops! A few weeks later a tape recording came to light where one of her aides, Frank Baily, talking to a police lieutenant, said "Todd and Sarah are scratching their heads, 'Why on earth hasn't this, why is this guy [Wooten] still representing the department?'"

Bailey has, in a deposition, said that "Palin had herself raised Wooten's name with the state police during her first security briefing after she won election as governor in November 2006." She was concerned, he said, about the safety of "their family, their kids, their nieces, nephews, her father, regarding Trooper Wooten."

Additionally, Bailey claimed Palin "never asked him to do anything about Trooper Wooten, but that Todd Palin did talk to him about 'issues about Trooper Wooten,' and expressed 'frustration' that the state police were doing nothing to respond to the Palins' concerns."


It just never ends. Why, if Sarah Palin was not personally involved in trying to get Trooper Wooten fired, do they worry about the investigation?

Well, hell, they're Republicans. They always worry about investigations because they don't tell the truth about their chicanery.

One thing for sure. If the Repugs win this election, Sarah Palin can move right into Dick Cheney's chair without breaking stride. We're finding out she can dissemble as well as he can - or better!

(h/t to Andrew Sullivan)

Palin to hide out in the tundra

[Photo from wiredblogs.typepad.com]

Well, I don't know if she'll actually hide in the tundra, but she is going to hide - from the press, mainly. That's unusual, as for the last few years, the press has given the Republicans just about every talking point they made - without question. Lately, thank god, the MSM has been asking real questions about real issues and some, at least, have even pointed out when the Repugs are lying through their teeth - which is most of the time!

So Sarah's going to hide - somewhere in Alaska. Perhaps at her lake house. Surrounded by guns, no doubt. And kids.

Other than hide, she's supposed to study the Republican playbook. From all I've seen so far, she knows that playbook pretty well: Lie, and then lie some more, and, if criticized, cry "sexism" and show anger at the "elitist" Eastern media who are mostly martini-drinking weenies, anyway.

And never, ever, talk about real issues.
Talk about what kind of coffee you drink in the morning, or how many mooses (sic) you've shot, or how exciting it was when you were named "Miss Wasilla," or how you "sold" a plane on eBay, or the massive amount of executive experience you gained while mayor of a piddly-ass little town of 5,000 people. Or maybe you could talk about that SOB who married your sister.

I've got an idea! She can talk about the importance of the vice president's job. Oh, that's right. She doesn't know what a vice president does!


I found this at The Daily Dish, Andrew Sullivan's sumptuous fare...

"This is incredible, totally incredible. A vice presidential candidate isn't going to be available to the press for two weeks? Two weeks? In September. We have this total unknown who could be president of the United States next January. And she's in hiding for two weeks. ... She needs to be in front of the press now. The United States and the world cannot have this total unknown foisted on the presidency without any serious vetting and without any press interaction. This is absolutely third world. Since when is the governor of a state give tow weeks in hiding?"


Has McCain gone totally batshit crazy?

Mistaken Mansions - a sign of things to come

The Republicans come off as being just plain incompetent. The major proof for that statement lies in the choice of Sarah Palin as vice presidential candidate; a choice that was not even made by McCain, but by the powers of the Religious Right; a choice that was not properly vetted, if at all.

Then we have the Mansion thingy.

The Republican National Committee had been months or maybe years in the planning of the Convention just concluded in St. Paul.

How could it be that on the night of McCain's big speech - that's the one in which he told the story that he is really reluctant to talk about - his POW experience; the one in which he proceeded to spill lies about the Democrats and Obama (energy and taxes, for two); the one in which he was supposed to show the country what a great leader he would be if they would only give him the chance; the one that put everybody outside the Convention floor in a deep stupor - that the Convention planners would show a huge mansion on the huge screen that dwarfed Mr. McCain's balding pate?

My first thought was, "My god, they're showing off one of his many mansions!"

Could that be possible?

Well, no. That's not what they had in mind. But I don't think anyone knows what they had in mind. It turns out the photo on the screen was of the Walter Reed Middle School in North Hollywood, California!

What the Walter Reed Middle School has to do with anything, no one knows. I read that personnel from the school initially said they were happy to see their school displayed before the Convention, but they didn't know anything about it. Now the principal of the school has expressed a muted outrage that the photo was used without their permission and wanted the world to know they knew nothing about this and they do not support any political party!

Could it be that the RNC intended to show a photo of Walter Reed Army Medical Center as some kind of link to McCain's long-ago military service? Did they intend to intimate that McCain was pro-military or pro-veterans or pro-war?

But it wouldn't make sense to show the Walter Reed Medical Center for McCain has voted against improving the care of veterans at every opportunity for the past several years!

The Repubs are refusing comment. Naturally.

Whatever. It does make you wonder, though, how these clowns think they can ask for your vote to put them in charge of running the country, when they can't even run a convention!

Palin, the Pit Bull behind a stone wall

[Photo of Pit Bull without lipstick]

Ah, Sarah. You promised you would practice "open and transparent, ethical and accountable government when running for governor." Now, you brag about yourself on the "national stage," but you are not living up to your promise!

As reported by the Anchorage Daily News, Ms. Palin "has begun stonewalling the Legislature's attempt to get [to] the bottom of allegations that she, her family or staff violated ethical or state personnel rules."

The allegations are old news - she or someone in her administration or her family put pressure on Walt Monegan, the Public Safety Commissioner, to fire her ex-brother-in-law, state trooper Mike Wooten. Mr. Wooten had become embroiled in a bitter divorce settlement with Palin's sister.

At first, Palin denied any complicity in the incident "and said she welcomed an investigation.

"'Hold me accountable," she said."


Now, she doesn't want to be held accountable. Her lawyer has requested the Legislature to stop the investigation. Then, in either a crazy or brilliant move, her lawyer had her "file an ethics complaint against herself, in a bid to turn the entire matter over to the state Personnel Board, which would hire an independent investigator."

As I recall, the state Personnel Board is comprised of Palin cronies - people whom she appointed to the Board.

Furthermore, as the Anchorage Daily News points out, "This is not an open and transparent attempt to establish Gov. Palin's accountability. It is an attempt to drag out the investigation until after voters decide the fate of her vice-presidential bid."


It gets worse. The ADN says that Palin's lawyer threatened to bring in the Secret Service! A legislative investigator, Steve Branchflower attempted to phone Todd Palin on "a secure and confidential line." Palin's lawyer, one Thomas Van Flein, called that a "serious security breach that we may be obligated to report to the Secret Service."

Hello? "Security breach?" Please! Branchflower is working for the state Legislature!


My god, this is a replay of Bush/Cheney and now McCain politics: Operate as if there is no law. Use your office to push people around. Deny that it ever happened. When someone tries to discover the truth, stonewall. When that doesn't work, threaten to use the powers of government to silence them!

It absolutely sick! The Republican Party hasn't changed. McCain has become just like the gang who for eight long years have brought our country to its knees. And Sarah Palin is just another attack dog sporting an American flag lapel pin. Pit Bull fits perfectly!

Track Palin in Michigan

Some say, including Obama, that a candidate's children are off-limits. That is a good policy.

But...but...when the candidate herself and the McCain campaign brings them into the spotlight as a means of showing off the candidate's "mothering" skills, they become fair game, so to speak; not in a way to purposely demean them, but to ensure that the truth be told.

There may be nothing to any of this, as we have said about other Palin rumors.

Yet, there is something very odd about this woman who attended six colleges in six years in various states prior to finally completing the courses necessary for a degree.

There is more than just "something" in her attempting for get her ex-brother-in-law fired. There is more than just "something" in the saga of her last presumed pregnancy when her own staff didn't know she was pregnant at seven months.

There is more than just "something" when one reads the history of her rise to power in the hardscrabble town of Wasilla.

There is more than just "something" when her teenage daughter turns up unwed and pregnant-- the same daughter who was pulled out of school for 5-8 months for mono, but who, during that time, is in a car accident for which she is given a ticket.

There is more than just "something" when her first major political speech for the McCain bunch is peppered with obvious lies.

Now there's "something" about her son, Track. Track is the young man who is off to war or something like it. He is being lauded as, if not a hero, certainly "heroic," for donning the uniform and promising to protect his country, even if his mother did put him in possible danger by informing the world when he was deploying to Iraq.

Chris Christoff, of the Free Press Staff, wrote on August 29, that Track lived in Portage, Michigan "during most of his senior year in high school. He played junior major hockey. During an interview at the National Governors Association conference in 2007, she [Sarah Palin] told a Free Press Reporter that her son went back to Alaska in March to graduate with his class. ...

"Palin said she didn't know much about Michigan until the weekend she spent [there] last summer, but was impressed [with] the Traverse City area.

"'What a stinker,' she said of her son. 'He never told me how wonderful it is.'"

There's more. From an Alaska blog called Mud Flats.

"The newest rumors starting to get teeth involve Track Palin and 3 friends being arrested for vandalizing several school buses. Troopers showed up. And yes, this is Mike Wooten's area."

These young men "disabled a school bus fleet, closing core-area schools for a day in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District..."


One question comes to mind: Was Track given the option of joining the Army or going to jail?

Recycled verbiage by Giuliani and Palin

Sarah Palin's acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention contained that funny line about the difference between a pit bull and a hockey mom. It was "lipstick," in case you forgot.

Dick Cheney used a similar phrase a couple of years ago, only his involved a pig and lipstick. And the punch line was when you took off the lipstick, it was still a pig.

Needless to say, Palin's version was revised. Can't blame her, though, as a Bush speechwriter wrote her speech before anyone knew who would be the Republican vice presidential candidate. Maybe the writer initially intended to use Cheney's version. The McCain campaign admitted the speech had to be "feminized" once the discovered Ms. Palin would be on the ticket.


BarbinMD, writing at Daily Kos was listing to Giuliani's speech -- the part where he attacked Obama's experience:

Giuliani said: "...he's never run a city, never run a state, never run a business. He's never had to lead people in crisis."

BarbinMD recognized those words. They were spoken by Giuliani last year when he was attacking John McCain for his lack of experience and inability to lead:

Giuliani said of McSame: "...has never run a city, never run a state, never run a government. He has never been responsible as a mayor for the safety and security of millions of people."


Talking points. That's all the Republicans have to offer. They are simply devoid of substance or truth! GOPers must stand for "Gobs of perpetual, errant, rotten shit."

Update - McCain praises Sarah selling plane on eBay

Yo, Repugnicans! Are you sure you want this man to be prez?

Yesterday, September 5, after everybody in the world had reported Sarah's lie about selling the plane on eBay, John McCain still hadn't gotten the word.

(He doesn't know how to use the Internet, so maybe that's the problem?)

You remember: In her "acceptance" speech she said "That luxury jet was over the top. I put it on eBay."

Anyway you look at it, the implication slaps you in the face: she sold the damn thing on eBay. But she didn't and what happened is explained here.


Everyone in the world knows the story - except for John McCain - who, in relating Sarah's tall tale once again, said:

"You know what I enjoyed the most? She took the luxury jet that was acquired by her predecessor and sold it on eBay -- made a profit."


Not so, John! She didn't sell it on eBay and she lost a half million of Alaska's taxpayer dollars! Hello? Anyone home?

The Palin Affair

Old news. It is being reported that later this month the National Inquirer will print a story alleging that the Republican vice presidential nominee had an affair with a man who was a friend and business partner of her husband.

You might think that's just blowing smoke. I mean, the National Inquirer? C'mon!

However, it was the National Inquirer that broke the story of Gary Hart's bimbo so many years ago and it was the National Inquirer that discovered and first reported the story of John Edwards' extramarital misdeeds, so...who knows?

Furthermore, the ex-friend and ex-business partner of Sarah's Todd, a man by name Scott Richter, went to court to seek an "emergency" sealing of his divorce records on September 3! That, of course, doesn't mean that Sarah Palin had an affair with Scott Richter, or anyone else.

It is interesting, though. Why would Mr. Richter, all of a sudden, out of the blue, file an emergency motion to seal his divorce papers? There could be a number of reasons. Those papers could reveal some nasty domestic stuff which he wants, naturally, kept quiet. Those papers might indicate shady business dealings. Those papers could show that Mr. Richter believes God is a polar bear. They could prove that Palin's the anti-Christ, not Obama! Who knows?

Still...

The motion was denied, however. Divorce records are open. What I haven't seen is what those records contain.

Here's a link to this whole mess.

And Daily Kos has more here. Check the link to property records here.

Friday, September 5, 2008

They want John McCain to die - for Jesus' sake

Frederick Clarkson tells about certain theocrats hiding in the swamps of theological, biblical and moral idiocy, who are advocating prayers for the death of John McCain so Sarah Palin can ascend to the Oval Office and institute the rule of God!

This kind of thing is not new: "Last year," says Clarkson, "...Rev. Wiley Drake, then a Second Vice President of the Southern Baptist Convention made news when he called on his followers to pray for God to smite members of the staff of Americans United for Separation of Church and State (Drake was angry that the organization had reported Drake to the IRS for endorsing Mike Huckabee on church stationary, among other apparent abuses of his church's 501(c)(d) tax-exemption."


The goofballs on the religious right use the phrase "imprecatory prayer." According to Townhall columnist and radio talk show host Doug Giles, "It is a prayer asking God to crush a clear enemy of His, an enemy which is an aggressive adversary of freedom and peace loving people." In this instance, Giles was speaking of Islam.


Something else has happened now and imprecatory prayer is being spoken of as the method for ensuring God's will be done with regard to the election. Clarkson notes that "at least two people have written in recent days that hope that McCain/Palin are elected so that they can pray for God to crush John McCain and to elevate Sarah Palin to her rendevous with destiny.

"Antiabortion militant and all-round theocratic activisit Jay Rogers of Florida, [naturally! damn!] whose blog is called The Forerunner, writes:

"'Pray for John McCain's salvation and speedy death' (Google The Forerunner's articles on Imprecatory Prayer in you think this is harsh.)

"And then there is this guy, a self-described Christian Reconstructionist whose blog handle is Ixion and is apparently from Tennessee:

"'McCain's VP choice, Sarah Palin, suddenly made me want to vote for him, as long as the LORD smites him while he's in office. She's consistently conservative on all the issues, and if she's good enough for The Forerunner, she's good enough for me. The Forerunner agrees with me that McCain must be smitten, as well, so I'm obviously not alone in my viewpoints.'"

But Ixion isn't done. "May the LORD cause McCain/Palin to win the White House in 2008, and then smite the godless McCain in favor of Palin. Amen.'"


I wonder if old John knew why certain members of his base were so excited about Sarah Palin? I'll betcha James Dobson and crew kept him in the dark about that!

Palin energizes Obama supporters!

No doubt ol' John McCain thought that Palin would revive his base - all those fundamentalist, extremist Christian theocrats and dominionists who want to put their particular Jesus in the White House and substitute the Old Testament for the Constitution.

From all indications, that happened.

But something else happened. A nice surprise for those of us across the aisle and miles away, theologically and philosophically, from the fundamentalist fruitcakes!

NBC first reported that after Palin's speech the Obama campaign had raised $8 million dollars. I have since read that figure is now $11 million and growing.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the RNC raised $1 million after Palin's speech.

Obama's spokesman, Bill Burton, echoed the elation many of us felt (although we certainly would not want to listen to any more of Palin's falsehoods): "I hope she gives a speech every day until the election."

Palin and the pipeline - another lie

Sarah Palin is, as we have come to realize, is severely truth-challenged. Her lies relative to the "bridge to nowhere" are now part of her baggage, but Americablog points out another, perhaps more important lie, which she fed to her adoring fans at the Republican Convention.

Palin said: "I fought to bring about the largest private-sector infrastructure project in North American history. [Wow, that's really impressive!] And when that deal was struck, we began a nearly forty billion dollar natural gas pipeline to help lead America to energy independence. [Again, very impressive!] That pipeline, when the last section is laid and its valves are opened, will lead America one step farther away from dependence on dangerous foreign powers that do not have our interests at heart."

[Don't you just love the fear tactic: "...dependence on dangerous foreign powers." Actually, one of the most dangerous is Exxon-Mobil.]

This speech could have been written by Karl Rove.

Here's the truth - from Joe Sudbay at Americablog:

"Palin implies that construction has begun on a major natural gas pipeline from the top of Alaska into Canada. That is not correct.

"In fact, no building has begun and actual construction is years away, if it ever happens. This summer the Alaska Legislature, at Palin's request, passed a bill under which the state will issue a 'license' to a Canadian energy company, TransCanada Corp., and pay it up to $500 million as an incentive to someday build this enormous project, which Alaska politicians have long sought with little success. The license is not a contruction contract, and federal energy regulators have not yet approved the project.

"Palin also puts the price tag for the project at $40 billion, an exaggeration. This is roughly $10 billion more than most cost estimates industry players and consultants have made to date."


Okay. So, it's a dream of Ms. Palins. She did not make that clear. Everyone thought she was a hero for bringing energy independence to the good ol' U.S. of A. Everyone thought we'd soon be free of those "dangerous foreign powers."

Another question: With all the talk about jobs departing this country for foreign lands, why in god's name would Palin strike a deal with a Canadian company to maybe, someday, build this pipeline?

Maybe there are no American companies that are capable to handling this type of project. Maybe. But I don't think so.

Perhaps Ms. Palin should buy back her jet. She's flying on a wing and a prayer and she's gonna crash one of these days. You can only lie so long until you're caught. The American people seem to have finally caught on to the fact that the Bush administration was built on lies from the very beginning. It may take a while, Ms. Palin, but your time will come.

The GOP - God's own people - Christian and white

The demographics of the United States are in flux. The percentage of "people of color" is growing dramatically and social scientists predict that Hispanics will be the majority by the middle of this century.

You'd never know the extent of our cultural and racial diversity by looking at the Republican Party in convention!

"Only 36 of the 2,380 delegates seated on the convention floor are black, the lowest number since the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies began tracking diversity at political conventions 40 years ago. Each night, the overwhelmingly white audience watches a series of white politicians step to the lectern -- a visual reminder that no black Republican has served as a governor, U.S. Senator or U.S. House member in the past six years."

John Amato at Crooks and Liars tells what happened when Republican Congressman Lynn Westmoreland from Georgia appeared as a guest on The Colbert Report.
While Westmoreland is not the Republican Party, he represents the GOP base of which there are millions!

After admitting he had not introduced one piece of legislation since he was elected to Congress, Colbert asked him how we could balance the budget. Westmoreland thought we could get rid of the Department of Education [note how this conflicts with Mr. McCain's speech of last night!].

Westmoreland was a co-sponsor of a bill that would re-introduce the Ten Commandments to public areas of American life. Colbert asked him to name the Ten Commandments. Westmoreland was flummoxed - he couldn't do it.

The worst is yet to come. Politico describes what happened when Westmoreland "was discussing vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's speech with reporters outside the House chamber." Reporters asked him to compare Palin with Michelle Obama.

Here's what the moron said: "Just from what little I've seen of her and Mr. Obama, Sen. Obama, they're a member of an elitist-class individual that thinks that they're uppity."

When he was asked to clarify that he actually said "uppity," Rep. Westmoreland replied, "Uppity, yeah."

As Amato notes, "Westmoreland is from Georgia. He knows full well the import of the word he used:

"Political consultant David Gergen, who has worked in both Republican and Democratic White Houses, said on ABC's 'This Week' that 'As a native of the south, I can tell you, when you see this Charlton Heston ad, "The One," that's code for "He's uppity, he ought to stay in his place." Everybody gets that who is from a Southern background.'"

Hell, I get it and I was raised in the Midwest and the West!

Amato is right on target: "They're not even pretending anymore. The mask of inclusivity has shattered."

Palin and eBay

[Photo of a Westwind II jet]

From what she said in her "acceptance" speech given the night before she was nominated, Sarah Palin, with a glint of snark in her eyes, said she turned things upside down when she reached the governor's office in Juneau, Alaska.

She got rid of the governor's chef. A major achievement to be sure, and an unhappy one, she indicated, for the governor's children. Does that mean she can't cook? Or maybe she doesn't have time to cook?

Then, she told the story about the governor's jet. High-minded and reform-minded as she was, she said, she just didn't need a jet to go jetting about the Alaskan tundra. "I came to office promising major ethics reform to end the culture of self-dealing, and today that ethics reform is the law. While I was at it, I got rid of a few things in the Governor's Office that I didn't believe our citizens should have to pay for. That luxury jet was over the top. I put it on eBay."

Here endeth her story. [Except for the part about her being the center of an ethics investigation by the state legislature regarding the firing of a state trooper who was giving her sister a hard time in a divorce case.]

What Ms. Palin, the reformer, also failed to mention, was that the jet sat "on eBay" for many months until finally, as Booman Tribune say, it "was put into the hands of Turbo North Aviation, an Anchorage aircraft broker, which put an asking price of $2.45 million on the nearly $2.7 million jet. It quickly sold to Alaska businessman Larry Reynolds for $2.1 million ($31,000) of which went to Turbo Aviation). Today the Westwind II jet spends its days ushering wealthy hunters around Alaska and Russia."

Ms. Palin didn't bother explaining all that. She let the Convention and the world think that she was one resourceful governor, selling a plane on eBay! Not a big deal, you say, but it does reflect her casual disregard for the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Not only so, but the people of Alaska took a hit of more that $600,000.

Soulless executives - only in GOP land

The GOP choose as Sarah Palin's "theme" song, the 1977 hit, "Barracuda," by Heart.

It is about "soulless executives"!!!

Heart was irate.

The GOP, dissolute and soulless, played it after McCain's acceptance speech.

What the hell, it fits perfectly!

McCain is small change

John McCain is not a nice man. There. I've said it. Just ask his colleagues in the Senate about his terrible temper, his vindictiveness, his passion for vengeance against those he believes have wronged him.

The John McCain we saw last night was covered in makeup. But all the makeup in the world cannot cover up the kind of person that is John McCain.

And can we please get over this POW stuff? That was 40 years ago! But he can't let go of it because it is major reason why McCain himself and his Republican followers believe he should be elected president. He was a POW. He was a POW. He was a POW. Over and over again.

Then, last night, from the mouth of the same man who, when he's asked about his POW experience, gets all coy and smirky and says he really doesn't like to talk about it, spent a good portion of his speech recalling in boring detail how he was such an unassuming hero. Yes, he was tortured. Yes, it was hard. Yes, he wanted to give up. But, with the help of his friends, he stood up to his tormentors and became a true American hero.

Enough, already!

In fact, John McCain has nothing else to say and nothing else to sell. His speech was devoid of substance, but filled with snarky personal attacks (many of which were flat-out lies) against his Democratic opponent.

David Corn describes the speech as "a Tour of His Vietnamese Prison Cell," and rates it "a no-better-than-par speech that was mostly a series of tradition GOP buzz phrases: lower taxes, cut spending, open markets."

McCain, of course, couldn't run on Bush's record, even though he has been supportive of nearly everything Bush did in the past eight years, so he had to talk about "change." With a look of serious determination on his face, he warned the Washington "insiders" that he and Palin were coming and look out, 'cause they were gonna change things.

How do you not laugh at such nonsense? No one is a bigger Washington "insider" than John McCain! He's been inside Washington for nigh on to 30 years! He's the "go-to" guy when lobbyists want a favor. He's got 100 plus lobbyists working on his staff. He's a close personal friend of many of most notorious lobbyists in the country. He was involved in the Keating scandal, which brought him a reprimand, but brought the American people a bill in the billions!

The speech also replayed the old GOP record of fear. "The terrorists are coming! The terrorists are coming!" John McCain, the POW, is the man to deal with the bad guys! He knows how to fight wars and how to win wars.

Tell me, please, which war did he ever win? The only war in which he was involved was the war that tore our country apart, a war based upon ignorance and fear--the failed "domino theory," a war begun and continued in order to prop up a thoroughly corrupt and vicious South Vietnamese regime, a war in which millions of Vietnamese died, and in which we gave up 58,000 of our own men and women, a war that the French had fought and lost, a war in which McCain flew bombers over North Vietnam killing women and children. It really isn't surprising that he was tortured after being shot down on one of those killing runs.

But that's in the past. Well, except for John McCain. He's still reliving it every chance he gets and uses it to gain sympathy and support.

John McCain today says he hates war. That's an old mantra I've heard frequently from old vets who, in reality, because they found their souls in war, like war. It was war that gave them a reason to live. John McCain voted in favor of the Iraq war. He's been pounding the drums of war for eight years. The man who claims to hate war is the one who says, "Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran." He doesn't hate war. If it wasn't for war, John McCain would be just one more salesman on a bar stool telling war stories about flying sorties with the U.S. Navy back in the good old days. He sure as hell wouldn't have come back a wounded "hero," able to casually dump his crippled wife and kids and marry a blonde bimbo with scads of beer money!


McCain's speech was one more in a long line of Republican speeches, filled with lies, branding the Democrats as the "enemy," of which the country should be very afraid. McCain's speech, like all the convention speeches, reeked of hypocrisy, but played to the partisans who are frightened to death they may lose their power to wreck the country!

You will notice that Bush was nowhere in sight, nor was Cheney, nor did their names rate more than a passing mention. With good reason. The Bush/Cheney gang have dragged our nation so far down in the muck that any president will have an extremely difficult time making things right. What upstanding Republican would want to be identified with them? Even a Republican like McCain who, after forgiving Bush for 2000, and has walked lock-step with the tryant ever since, doesn't want Bush's blessing!

Even so, McCain offered nothing new. Well, except for serving notice that he's sold his soul to the Christian right. Thus he offered vouchers whereby parents can get government money to send their kids to private (religious) school. Thus he offered up a Christian extremist named Sarah Palin to be his running mate; a woman who thinks she was prayed into the governor's office; who believes that nothing really matters in Alaska unless the people of Alaska are "right with god," and carries the same extremist Christian baggage as the Dobsons, Hagees, Robertsons, and Parsleys of the world.

McCain lied about Obama's tax plan which will reduce taxes for the middle class far more than will his own plan. He mentioned his own tax plan, but lied about it. He failed to tell us that his financial adviser and very likely the Secretary of the Treasury in a McCain administration, Phil Gramm, is the one responsible for the mortgage crisis in American and who is still (as of a few days ago) calling the people of America wrapped in the despair of a terrible economy, "whiners."


When McCain says he puts his country first, one can only stare in amazement. As Scarecrow wrote at firedoglake, "For the last year, we have watched McCain sell out his principles on issue after issue, including, of all things, his opposition to torture. He's changed positions on virtually every policy for which he once claimed to stand above others. [Eric Alterman at Media Matters says up to now McCain has flip-flopped on 74 issues!] He's pandered to and now totally caved to the religious right, extremists he once abhored as a threat to the nation.

"His campaign, now stripped of all integrity, and in complete denial about his responsibility for supporting the last eight years of failed policies, has become little more than pumped up self-praise, relentless narcissism over a sense of honor he no longer displays, while smearing Obama's character and lying about his energy and tax proposals. His strategy has been reduced to a Nixonian cultural war coupled with Rovean partisanship designed to divide the nation he claims to love, all as he cynically promises to end the 'rancor' in Washington.

"He uses his years as a POW -- 30 years ago -- as an excuse for every failing today. As bmaz noted, 'I challenge you to show me any American veteran, ever in history, that has so shamelessly milked and exploited his military heroism.'"


No, you didn't hear much about the issues from John McCain. As his campaign manager said, issues just aren't important in this election; it will be decided on personalities.

Glenn Greenwald at salon.com encapsulated the poverty of the Republican Party and the McCain strategy when he wrote:

"The Republicans are well aware that they can't possibly win the election if it is even partially decided on issues. They need and intend to win despite the fact that Americans hate their positions on the issues, and to do that, they want to ensure that a majority of Americans love and respect the strong, honorable, principled, culturally familiar all-American mavericks John McCain and Sarah Palin (even if they don't agree with them on everything) while strongly disliking that wishy-washy, snooty, foreign, exotic, self-absorbed Eastern elitist Barack Obama (even if he says the right things on issues)."

In other words, the Republican Party thinks we're stupid and won't notice their lack of substance and the vapidity of their proposals.


Perhaps nothing exhibits better what the Republicans really think of the American people than the outfits worn by Laura Bush and Cindy McCain a couple of nights ago. Vanity Fair tells the tale.

Laura Bush wore:

Oscar de la Renta suit: $2,500
Stuart Weitzman heels: $325
Pearl stud earrings: $600-$1,500

Total: Between $3,425 and $4,325


Cindy McCain wore:

Oscar de la Renta dress: $3,000
Chanel J12 White Ceramic Watch: $4,500
Three-carat diamond earrings: $280,000
Four-strand pearl necklace: $11,000-$25,000
Shoes, designer unknown: $600

Total: Between $299,100 and $313,100


Now, these women are both multi-millionaires and have the right to wear just about anything their little hearts desire.

The point, however, is they pretend to be "normal" folks with the "normal" concerns of the "middle class." The truth is they wouldn't know the middle class if the middle class were to bite them in the ass.

And there's something "elitist" about wearing such expensive garb when millions of Americans are wondering how the hell they're gonna pay the mortgage and feed their kids!

From what John McCain said last night, it is clear: John McCain is small change!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Drill, drill, drill and the changing mind of John McCain


We written a lot recently about the cries of the oil companies and Republicans in their pockets who insist they must be given the right to drill in our coastal waters, in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and anywhere else they think there might be oil.

The Republicans in convention have reiterated those cries, while at the same time chastising the Democrats for not falling in line with their mantra of "drill, drill, drill."

President Bush, ever the opportunist, spoke to reporters the other day about Hurricane Gustav. Well, that was what he was supposed to do, but he soon turned to his real agenda:

"One thing is for certain: When Congress comes back, they've got to understand that we need more domestic energy, not less; that -- and one place to find it is offshore America, lands that have been taken off the books, so to speak, by congressional law. And now they need to give us a chance to find more oil and gas here at home..."


It's all bullshit! Jim Hightower, in his The Hightower Lowdown, explains in detail why the Republican cry for more drilling is nothing more than a scam to line the pockets of the oil industry with even bigger profits. More drilling will not bring prices down in the foreseeable future, nor will it make us less dependent on foreign oil!

"We have only 2.2% of the globe's known reserves, yet we consume 25% of the world's oil, sucking up to 7.5 billion barrels a year. If we extracted all of the oil out of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska, that would be 10.4 billion barrels--just a year-and-a-half supply. Likewise, place a wall of drilling platforms offshore off every beach on our seacoasts, suck up all the oil that exists there--and we'd have enough for only another two years.

"That's it. As reported this year by Bush's own Energy Information Administration (EIA), this amount of crude--even if it began flowing tomorrow--would have an 'insignificant' effect on pump prices."

But there's more. "...once the oil giants start pumping oil from America's publicly owned land and water, this liquid gold is not likely to stay in the U.S. market to help hard-hit consumers here. Exxon et al. are global behemoths that sell on the open market to the highest bidder. They are not public-spirited institutions. They are bottom-line profiteers, with no loyalty whatsoever to the good ol' US of A. ... The big new oil buyers on the world block are China and India, and the Exxons would very likely sell a good part of our oil to them."

Mr. Hightower has much more to say. Please read the entire article here.


Now, on to John McCain, this also credited to Jim Hightower. On June 13, 2008, Senator McCain said,

"I am very angry, frankly, at the oil companies, not only because of the obscene profits they've made, but at their failure to invest in alternate energy to help us eliminate our dependence on foreign oil."

Today, September 4, 2008, McCain is also chanting the "drill, drill, drill" mantra. What happened?

Three days after expressing his anger at the oil companies, on June 16, Mr. McCain "gave another talk in which he abruptly reversed his long-held opposition to offshore drilling. Then, that very same day, he boarded his 'Straight Talk Express' airplane and flew off to Texas for -- guess what? -- a series of fundraisers with oil executives. On June 17, for example, he snuggled with energy honchos at a closed-door luncheon at the San Antonio Country Club--and walked out with a love offering of $1.3 million for his presidential campaign.

"A McCain spokesman said huffily that it is 'completely absurd' for anyone to suggest that the candidate's switch in position had anything to do with oil money. 'McCain takes positions because he thinks it's the right thing to do for America,' the spokesman insisted."

Right.

Furthermore, McCain is a POW.

Giuliani and Romney - the twilight zone

[Photo of Rudy Guiliani, eastern elitist and family values poster boy]

Steven Benen, writing for the Washington Monthly, says "The GOP Loathes Itself."

By George, I think he's right.

Benen notes how the Republicans at convention keep crying about how "Washington is not working." That's fascinating as Republicans have been in charge of just about every nook and cranny in Washington for almost eight years!

But it was the speeches by Giuliani and Romney that made Mr. Benen wonder if he was "stuck in a "Twilight Zone" episode."

For example, Giuliani, "The multi-millionaire former mayor of New York railed against 'cosmopolitans." Giuliani wanted us to believe that being mayor of Wasilla, Alaska is equivalent to being mayor of New York! Giuliani thinks that two terms as mayor of a two-horse town in the middle of nowhere qualifies someone to become president of the United States.

And then Mitt Romney, "The multi-millionaire, Harvard-trained, former governor of Massachusetts railed against 'eastern elites.'" Romney further denigrated his own background by stressing that it was time for the sun to rise in the west -- a metaphorical gibe -- rather than in the east where those elitists have been busy ruining our country!

Benen notes that "Just 48 hours after the party's nominee insisted the convention would be less partisan, we're bombarded with the most ugly and nasty partisanship of any party gathering in years. ...

"Seriously, what's the message of the week in St. Paul? That Republican governing works? No. That Republicans have a legitimate policy agenda? No. That the next four years should be different from the last eight? No. It's simple: 'Your house may be on fire, but don't trust that man standing outside with a hose, because he doesn't share your values.'"

Benen then compares this convention with the one in 1992 which had the "Republicans pretending that they haven't been in charge, and blaming Democrats for the Republican failures in the most divisive, pathological way possible."

That's about right!

Teenage mothers feel Palin's pain - Update


Here's a copy of the 2008 spending bill in which Palin allegedly "slashed" funds for Covenant House.

My article below is evidently in error. It appears that last year Covenant House requested funding for a new facility. I'm now informed that the Alaska Legislature approved $5 million for this building, but Palin cut it to $3.9 million.

There's more here.



Paul Kane, at The Trail, washingtonpost.com, writes that "earlier this year [Palin] used her line-item veto to slash funding for a state program benefiting teen mothers in need of a place to live."

"After the legislature passed a spending bill in April, Palin went through the measure reducing and eliminating funds for programs she opposed. Inking her initials on the legislation -- 'SP' -- Palin reduced funding for Covenant House Alaska by more than 20 percent, cutting funds from $5 million to $3.5 million. Covenant House is a mix of programs and shelters for troubled youths, including Passage House, which is a transitional home for teenage mothers."

Passage House provides "'young mothers a place to live with their babies for up to eighteen months while they gain the necessary skills and resources to change their lives ... [it tries to help these young women] become productive, successful, independent adults who create and provide a stable environment for themselves and their families.'"

If you've ever been involved in a charitable organization that depends on outside funding, you know how devastating a 20% cut can be!

But, evidently, in Palin's view, unmarried pregnant teenagers should find mothers who are governors.

Palin's foreign policy experience

BuzzFlash has some information about Sarah Palin's vast foreign policy experience.

Steve Doocy on "Fox and Friends" said this: "But the other thing about her, she does know about international relations because she is right up there in Alaska right next door to Russia."

Cindy McCain echoed that refrain: "...the experience that she comes from is what she's done in government, and remember, Alaska is the closest part of our continent to Russia."


If you follow that logic, I'm an expert heart surgeon because I once lived in the same city as Michael DeBakey.


But it's not just logic that is missing. Sarah Palin received her first passport in 2007. She said she has been to Germany, Kuwait and Ireland.

Ho, ho. Nothing like bending the truth a bit. Ireland was a refueling stop. I suppose she could have gotten off the plane and wandered around the gift shop looking at Irish coffee mugs. Lots of foreign policy experience there!

It's also interesting that she didn't mention she'd been to Canada. She works in Juneau which is almost on the Canadian border. And she has been to Canada. Maybe she couldn't find any foreign policy experience in that country. Looking in the wrong gift shop?


Remember now, prior to 2007, this person who claims to be ready on Day 1 to step into the vice presidential shoes and if necessary, the Oval Office, had been to one "foreign" country -- Canada.

No wonder she thought Pittsburgh was so exotic!

Republicans are good for something - lying!

Republicans know how to do one thing well. We all know it's not the economy and it's not health care and it's not education, and it's not foreign policy, and it's not protecting the environment, and it's not fixing our infrastructure...it has nothing to do with governing.

What the Republicans do really well is lie. We've already written about Palin's lies with regard to the "bridge to nowhere" and her so-called opposition to earmarks, so we'll not rehash her skill at manipulating the truth.

She will be a good "partner" and "soulmate" for old John, though, as both are truth-challenged.

1. John McCain praised Palin saying "She's been governor of our largest state, in charge of 20 percent of America's energy supply ... She's responsible for 20 percent of the nation's energy supply."

That's not quite true. Jim Kuhnhenn notes that "Palin is governor [for 20 months!] of a state that ranks second nationally in crude oil production, but she's no more 'responsible' for that resource than President Bush was when he was governor of Texas, another oil producing state. In fact, her primary power is the ability to tax oil, which she did in concert with the Alaska Legislature. And where Alaska is the largest state in America [geographically], McCain could as easily have called it the 47th largest state -- by population."

In other words, it's the third smallest in terms of number of residents!

2. "She's the commander of the Alaska National Guard. ... She has been in charge, and she has had national security as one of her primary responsibilities."

Makes one want to laugh!

Kuhnhenn points out that "While governors are in charge of their staste guard units, that authority ends whenever those units are called to actual military service." Furthermore, "Alaska's national guard units have a total of about 4,200 personnel, among the smallest of state guard organizations."

I think she did order the guard to fill sandbags once.

3. The former governor of Arkansas, Christian theocrat/dominionist, Mike Huckabee said that Palin "got more votes running for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska than Joe Biden got running for the president of the United States."

This is a huge lie, but it's what we've come to expect from "Christian" pastor Huckabee. "Palin got 616 votes in the 1996 mayor's election, and got 909 in her 1999 re-election race, to a total of 1.525. Biden dropped out of the race after the Iowa caucuses, but he still got 76,165 votes in 23 states and the District of Columbia..."

4. Former governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney also lies. "We need change, all right -- change from a liberal Washington to a conservative Washington! We have a prescription for every American who wants change in Washington -- throw out the big-government liberals, and elect John McCain and Sarah Palin."

Oh, oh. Who's been president for almost eight years? Which party controlled Congress until January of 2007?

Sheesh!

5. Mitt Romney again. "Just like you, there has never been a day when I was not proud to be an American." Nothing like slamming the wife of a candidate over a misconstrued statement she made many years ago!

Joe Sudbay at Americablog says Mitt is lying. "There is someone at the GOP convention who didn't love his country every day. According to his own words, that would be the GOP nominee, John McCain. McCain said, 'I really didn't love America until I was deprived of her company.' McCain said versions of that repeatedly. But, he didn't become a POW til he was 31."

Did Palin violate Army security regulations?

You expect a mom to be proud of her children. She might even show off a pregnant unwed teenage daughter and the hockey jock who did the deed in front of the entire world. And you might rightly call attention to the fact that your oldest son has joined the military to become a warrior on behalf of his country.

What you shouldn't do is violate security procedures and put your son and his comrades at risk.

Palin has on at least two occasions, including in her speech last night, notified the entire world (including, presumably, the terrorists lurking therein) that her son, Track, will be deploying to Iraq on September 11.

It is too bad that his hockey mom mayor turned hockey mom governor doesn't know about OPSEC or Operational Security.

She also doesn't know the difference between deploying and preparing to deploy.

Jon Soltz at Daily Kos did some digging and found that "disclosing the date of deployment is against Operational Security (OPSEC) and illegal."

He also discovered that Track is not deploying on September 11. "He may be part of a deployment ceremony that day, before going to Kuwait, though one Public Affairs Officer said that any details of the upcoming ceremony hadn't been made public yet by the military."

Soltz also points out that Palin should have known enough to shut up. But she didn't. Yet she has the chutzpah to stand in front of the world and pretend she is qualified to be commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces!

You see, the Army doesn't want anyone to know where their soldiers are going. "It only serves to aid the enemy to kow where our troops are moving."

Commander-in-chief my ass!

Country First? Service? Horse hockey!


If there's one thing we have learned so far about the Republicans in convention - they don't give a damn about this country. They do want to win, though. It's all about power and they will stoop to the lowest level to maintain their grip on the White House!

Perhaps the best example is of this moral failing derives from two speeches. Rudy Giuliani, the thrice-married (at least), pro-choice, pro-gun control, ethically challenged "conservative" Republican, fed the convention a number of bones containing many of their favorite myths, but the worst was his disparagement of Obama's service as a community organizer.

AND THE REPUGNICANS BOOED OBAMA'S SERVICE!!!

Palin, showing she has the same ethical stance and is without shame, attempted to convince the world that her very brief and questionable resume qualifies her to be vice president. She referred to her job as mayor of Wasilla, a town best described as a series of strip malls and open pit gravel mines:

"And since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to them what the job involves. I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a 'community organizer,' except that you have actual responsibilities."

Even though she didn't explain just what those responsibilities might consist of, she joined Giuliani and the conventioneers in displaying an utter lack of class and their monumental hypocrisy by treating Obama's service to the community as being of no value.


Now, the fascinating part of all this is that the theme of this convention is "Country First," and combined with that, "Service." Signs proclaiming those themes dominate the convention floor and surrounding areas.

And yet, the Republican Party on one evening stands in front of the nation and the world and asks the American people to do service for their country, while the next evening sneers at the community service of another American simply because he has seen fit to choose another political expression.

The Republicans offer nothing but despair!

Palin - "Sarah Barracuda" and a pit bull (even without lipstick!)


[Photo - supporting the Bridge to Nowhere]


It's probably not all her fault. Palin's speech last night was written some time ago by males within the McCain camp. Not knowing what McCain was up to, they wrote it for a male. According to a McCain spokesman, when surprised by McCain's pick of Palin, the speech had to be revised to make it more "feminine."

Sarah "Barracuda" Palin, the "pit bull" from Wasilla, did her job. A few weeks ago, she didn't even know what a vice president does. It is likely she still doesn't know. But she can read a speech written by others, and she can look the world in the eye while curling her lip and lying through her teeth!

McCain did good choosing Palin, if you think "good" is a "hockey mom" from a teeny little town in the Alaska wilds with extremist Christian credentials, who believes that God put her in the governor's office, that the Republican Party should decide what women do with their own bodies, that creationism should be taught in our public schools, that abstinence education is the best way to teach our children about sex, that the right to shoot wolves for sport from airplanes should be protected by the government, that polar bears have no rights, that global warming is a myth, and that you need Jesus in your heart to be a good person.

Palin is your candidate if you think George W. Bush and Dickie Cheney have done a good job.


Palin's speech was a divisive, bitter attack on Obama, Biden, the media, and everyone who lives in a city rather than a small town. It contained almost nothing of substance. As Steven Rosenfeld says in an Alternet article: "Energy was the only domestic issue Palin discussed at length in her speech, which notably did not mention the economy, health care, the sub-prime mortgage crisis, immigration, family planning, appointing Supreme Court judges or the relation of church and state--she is an evangelical. She dismissed Democratic priorities such as global warming and civil liberties."

But she did stress we need to drill, drill, drill for oil!


And she lied! Attytood at the Philadelphia Daily News calls Palin's speech, "The Speech to Nowhere," for Palin baldly proclaimed "I told the Congress, 'Thanks but no thanks' on that Bridge to Nowhere. ... that was a lie, and the worst kind of lie in American politics, a blatant falsehood that showed utter contempt for the American people that Palin pledged to serve, assuming we are too stupid to look up or know the truth, that she pushed for those funds in Congress and while she got great political mileage out of announcing that she was killing the project, she still has not returned the funds to [the] American people."

The Anchorage Daily News says that "The Alaska governor campaigned in 2006 on a build-the-bridge platform, telling Ketchikan residents she felt their pain when politicians called them 'nowhere.' They're still feeling the pain today in Ketchikan, over Palin's subsequent decision to use the bridge funds for other projects..."

USA Today notes that "While running for governor in 2006 ... Palin backed federal funding for the infamous bridge, which McCain helped make a symbol of pork barrel excess."


Palin told other lies, also, such as the one about fighting against wasteful earmarks in Congress. As we have noted previously, she not only did NOT fight against wasteful earmarks, but actively sought them while mayor of the great metropolis of Wasilla. And in order to obtain these earmarks, she hired a lobbying firm connected to the disgraced Ted Stevens, which resulted in about $27 million tax dollars siphoned off to help Wasilla obtain a few pet projects!

Jim Kuhnhenn, a writer for the Associated Press, goes a bit further to decode Palin's lies. "In her two years as governor, Alaska has requested $750 million in special federal spending, by far the largest per-capita request in the nation."

Palin lied about Obama when she said he has not "authored ... a single major law or reform -- not even in the state senate." Kuhnhenn reminds her and us that Obama "has worked with Republicans to pass legislation that expanded efforts to intercept illegal shipments of weapons of mass destruction and to help destroy conventional weapons stockpiles. The legislation became law last year. To demean that accomplishment would be to also demean the work of Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, a respected foreign policy voice in the Senate."

Futhermore, "In Illinois, he was the leader on two big, contentious measures ... studying racial profiling by police and requiring recordings of interrogations on potential death penalty cases. He also successfully co-sponsored major ethics reform legislation."

Palin said that "The Democratic nominee for president supports plans to raise income taxes, raise payroll taxes, raise investment income taxes, raise the death tax, raise business taxes, and increase the tax burden on the American people by hundreds of billions of dollars." [It is doubtful that Palin even knows what most of that means - but it doesn't matter when you're simply reading crap written by nasty Republican operatives!]

Again, Kuhnhenn takes issues with Palin's "facts." "The Tax Policy Center, a think tank run jointly by the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, concluded that Obama's plan would increase after-tax income for middle-income taxpayers by about 5 percent by 2012, or nearly $2,200 annually. McCain's plan, which cuts taxes across all income levels, would raise after-tax income for middle-income taxpayers by 3 percent, the center concluded.

"Obama would provide $80 billion in tax breaks, mainly for poor workers and the elderly, including tripling the Earned Income Tax Credit for minimum-wage workers and higher credits for larger families.

"He would also raise income taxes, capital gains and dividend taxes on the wealthiest. He would raise payroll taxes on taxpayers with incomes above $250,000, and he would raise corporate taxes. Small businesses that make over $250,000 a year would see taxes rise."


Again, from Attytood: "It was a Speech to Nowhere because Palin had the nerve to talk at length about John McCain's 'torturous interrogations' in the very same speech when she all but condoned the continuation of similar, abhorrent practices that have been directed for eight years by our own U.S. leaders, when she stated that Democrats are 'worried that someone won't read them [terrorism suspects] their rights.'"


And finally, Attytood sums it up perfectly: "I hope America wakes up tomorrow and realizes that Sarah Palin's words were rousing -- and completely empty, that they offered no road map (let alone bridge) for America other than more of the bogus partisan name-calling that has gotten us into the mess that we're in now."

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Preacher payback! - Palin & Kalnins

[Photo of Ed Kalnins and wife]

I've argued before that one should not be judged by either the words or actions of one's pastor. Barack Obama has been skewered by the nogoodniks on the right and in the Republican party for his association with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

It's payback time.

The senior pastor of the Wasilla Assembly of God, "Palin's longtime spiritual home," has a history of expressing provocative political rants and weird religious and theological beliefs.

[Note: Palin left the Wasilla Assembly of God in 2002 for another congregation. That does not, however, necessarily mean that she severed all relationships with the Wasilla Assembly of God.]

Thanks to the Huffington Post for the following:

The pastor's name is Ed Kalnins. In the midst of the 2004 election mania, "he praised President Bush's performance during a debate with Sen. John Kerry, then offered a not-so-subtle message about his personal candidate preferences. 'I'm not going to tell you who to vote for, but if you vote for this particular person, I question your salvation. I'm sorry. If every Christian will vote righteously, it would be a landslide every time."

A few months later, Kalnins became angry by the criticism leveled at Bush for his handling of the Katrina disaster. "'I hate criticisms towards the President,'" he said, 'because it's like criticisms towards the pastor -- it's almost like, it's not going to get you anywhere, you know, except for hell. That's what it'll get you.'"

Kalnins believes that the Christian faith is engaged in a world war of which the 9/11 attacks and the invasion of Iraq are a part. This war against the Christians is one in which Jesus Christ wants his followers to be involved, and if necessary, sacrifice their lives.

"'We are in a time and a season of war, and we need to think like that. We need to develop that instinct. We need to develop as believers the instinct that we are at war, and that war is contending for your faith. ... Jesus called us to die. You're worried about getting hurt? He's called us to die. Listen, you know we can't even follow him unless you are willing to give up your life...'"

One is led rather quickly to ask the question as to why Kalnins didn't head off to Iraq to serve in this Christian military action?


God is deeply involved in politics, too, according to Kalnins. "Kalnins has asserted that Palin's election as governor was the result of a 'prophetic call' by another pastor at the church who prayed for her victory. '[He made] a prophetic declaration and then unfolds the kingdom of God, you know.'"

Palin has expressed amazement and gratitude for this call. "'He was praying over me,' she said in June. 'He's praying, "Lord, make a way, Lord make a way..." and I'm thinking, this guy's really bold, he doesn't even know what I'm gonna do, he doesn't know what my plans are, and he's praying not, "Oh Lord, if it be your will may she become governor," or whatever. No, he just prayed for it. He said, "Lord, make a way, and let her do this next step." And that's exactly what happened. So, again, very very powerful coming from this church.'"


Kalnins also is a believes the "end times" are soon upon us. "During his appearance with Palin in June, he declared, 'I believe Alaska is one of the refuge states in the last days, and hundreds of thousands of people are going to come to the state to seek refuge and the church has to be ready to minister to them.'"


It gets weirder. Kalnins "claims to have received direct 'words of knowledge' from God, providing him information about past events in other people's lives."


Sarah Palin, however, is one of his own. "'Gov. Sarah Palin is the real deal,' he told his church this past summer. 'You know, some people put on a show...but she's the real deal.'"


It would appear that Kalnins has broken the law several times by becoming directly involved in politics and by endorsing a candidate. That doesn't matter to many of the right-wing crazies as they think they are living in obedience to God which supersedes any man-made laws.

It also appears that Palin endorses his views and agrees with the notion that she won the race for the governorship with the help of the hand of God.

There's the difference with Obama. Obama repudiated the Rev. Wright's most inflammatory views and statements. Palin, in at least one area, agrees with the Rev. Kalnins - God put her in the governor's office.

If that doesn't scare the hell out of you, nothing will! All we need is another goofball in the White House talking to God. Who knows what country God will tell her we must attack next?

Biden, a breath of fresh air (and promise!)

This from ABC News' Matthew Jaffe.

Joe Biden, out campaigning in West Palm Beach, Florida, said several things of interest:

First of all he stressed that "'In an Obama-Biden administration, we will not have an attorney general who blatantly breaks the law. We will not have a president who doesn't understand the Constitution. And I will not be a vice-president who thinks he's not part of any of the three branches of government.'"

"Looking to the future but with one eye on the past, Biden also promised that an Obama-Biden government would go through Bush administration data with 'a fine-toothed comb' and pursue criminal charges in necessary."

"'If there has been a basis upon which you can pursue someone for a criminal violation, they will be pursued, not out of vengeance, not out of retribution - out of the need to preserve the notion that no one, no one, no attorney general, no president, no one is above the law."


Finally, words of hope; words of challenge; words we've waited for seven and one half very long, desultory years to hear! Finally the lawlessness and corruption instituted by the Bush administration will come to an end! And may the guilty receive their just desserts.

Obama gets it!

What did you hear at the Republican National Convention last night?

For awhile, I thought I had tuned into the Christian Republican Party. Rachael Lampa, a Christian singer/songwriter, was whining through a schmaltzy tune, grimacing at all the right times, and people were praying "In Jesus name," and everyone waved their little American flags. God must be so proud!

Then we heard all about how John McCain was a POW in Vietnam--a truly boring narration by Fred Thompson, the movie actor, who rambled on and on in detail as to how John suffered and yet remained steadfast to the end.

In fact, the evening's theme was "John McCain was a POW and therefore, John McCain should be president."


Barack Obama was campaigning in Ohio. He hit the nail on the head again. The Los Angeles Times says that while Obama was speaking to a small group of supporters "at a college campus in New Philadelphia, Ohio" he suggested that McCain and the Republicans just don't get it!

"You did not hear a single word about the economy," said Senator Obama. "Not once did people mention the hardships that folks are going through. Not once did they mention what are we going to do about keeping jobs here in Ohio. Not once did they mention what are we going to do about all these retirees that are losing their pensions. Not once did they mention how are we going to make sure Social Security is there for the next generation.

"The other party and John McCain don't get it."


That's a bit disengenuous, me thinks, although right on target. How are those poor Republicans going to talk about the dismal economy when they are the ones responsible for it? The loss of jobs and thus pensions is the result of their economic policies over the past almost eight years.

The fact of the matter is that they have nothing so say to the American people except that John McCain was a POW and "let us pray."

Lieberman, the turncoat, blasts Republicans at the RNC

In his speech last evening, Joe Lieberman, the former Democrat turned turncoat, now an Independent, blasted the Republicans and no one noticed.

Except for Eric Alterman. Alterman pulled a couple of excerpts from Lieberman's speech:

"If John McCain was just another go-along partisan politician, he never would have taken on corrupt Republican lobbyists, or big corporations that were cheating the American people, or powerful colleagues in Congress who were wasting taxpayer money.

"But he did!

"If John McCain was just another go-along partisan politician, he never would have led the fight to fix our broken immigration system or to do something about it global warming.

"But he did!"


As Alterman asks, "...didn't Lieberman address the Republican convention -- shortly after the sitting Republican president -- and call the Republican Party a bunch of corrupt, cheating, tax-wasting do-nothings?"

Yes, he did!

Was anyone listening? Did the Repugs know they were being dissed? Did they even care?

Alterman suggests that the media might want to ask Lieberman to "expand those critiques, and why, if he believes them, he is still supporting the Republican presidential ticket in November."

McCain, Palin and earmarks

Sarah Palin is a big fan of earmarks - that special spending system "through which powerful members of Congress can deliver federal cash for pet projects back home with little or no public scrutiny."

McCain has fought against those earmarks - on occasion.

The Los Angeles Times reports that "Three times in recent years, McCain's catalogs of 'objectionable' spending have included earmarks for this small Alaska town [Wasilla], requested by its mayor at the time -- Sarah Palin."

Palin, it seems, likes federal money deposited in Alaskan political pockets. She has been "far from shy about pursuing tens of millions in earmarks for her town, her region and her state."

In fact, in 2008, Palin wrote in a newspaper column that "The federal budget, in its various manifestations, is incredibly important to us, and congressional earmarks are one aspect of this relationship."

Earmarks for Wasilla that escaped "normal budget scrutiny" included $500,000 for a public transportation project in 2001, $1 million for an emergency communications center in 2002, as well as "$450,000 set aside for an agricultural processing facility ... that was requested during Palin's tenure as mayor and cleared Congress after she left office in 2002."

The Los Angeles Times notes that "Wasilla received $11.9 million in earmarks from 2002 to 2003."


When Palin first moved into the mayor's job, Wasilla had received minimal federal monies. The then she hired a lobbyist with ties to Ted Stevens "who long controlled federal spending as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. He made funneling money to Alaska his hallmark."

Hypocrisy is the hallmark of most Repugnican politicians and Palin is no different. When McCain introduced her as his running mate, she lampooned earmarks. In her speech, she lied about her support for the infamous "bridge to nowhere."

Not only so, but "This year she submitted to Congress a list of Alaska projects worth $197.8 million, including $2 million to research crab productivity in the Bering Sea and $7.4 million to improve runway lighting at eight Alaska airports."


It's getting more and more difficult to believe anything Ms. Palin says!

Sarah Palin - God is on her side

Juliet Ellperin, writing at the WaPo, describes a "free-form commencement address she [Palin] gave in June to a class of commission students at the Wasilla Assembly of God. ... Palin exhorted congregants to pray so she could realize her public policy goals."

The Huffington Post has a video of the speech here.

And here's part of what she said:

"'I can do my part in doing things like working really, really hard to get a natural gas pipeline, a $30 billion dollar project that's going to create a lot of jobs for people in Alaska, and we're going to have a lot of energy flowing through here -- and pray about that also -- I think God's will has to be done in unifying people and companies to get that gas line built, so pray for that,' she told them, 'but I can do my job there, in developing our natural resources and doing things like getting the roads paved, and making sure our troopers have their cop cars and their uniforms, their guns, and making sure out public schools are funded. But really, all that stuff doesn't do any good if the people of Alaska's heart isn't right with God.'

"Switching to the war in Iraq, Palin told the group of students that they should not only pray for men and women in the military but to make sure the leaders of this country are sending U.S. soldiers 'out on a task that is from God. That's what we have to make sure that we're praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God's plan.'"

She ended up like this: "I love you guys, and thank you so much for dedicating your lives to Jesus Christ."


Isn't it nice to think that we might have another freak in the White House who thinks that what's really important is to have your heart right with God? Isn't it nice that this person believes her plans are God's plans? Isn't it nice that she wants a war plan from God?

Is she the governor of Alaska or the Christian pastor of Alaska?

McCain cancels on Larry King

What's with these people? They keep making commitments and then canceling.

John McCain was scheduled to appear on Larry King's show last night, but canceled. The reason? Old John was pissed at the way Campbell Brown (also of CNN) treated his lap dog, Tucker Bounds, on Monday night.

You remember. Ms. Brown referred to McCain's concern about national security and Tucker pointed to Sarah Palin's "experience" as commander-in-chief of the Alaska National Guard.

Now, it should be noted that the Alaska National Guard has nothing to do with national defense activities other than go to war when called up by the President!

Nevertheless, Bounds had no answer and simply blurted out various Republican talking points. But Brown persisted - to no avail. Finally, she thanked Tucker for his efforts and cut off the interview.

Please note that Ms. Brown was polite and courteous throughout. She was also determined.

Evidently, so far as John McCain goes, real questions about real issues are off limits. He'll talk about his POW experience (even though he really doesn't like to) and how that gave him the experience to qualify for president, but don't ask him or his minions to be specific about the claims they make!

And, if you do, well, McCain will take his marbles and go home. Take that! Larry King!!!

More on Palin's "experience" or, "The Car Wash Saga"

The pundits leaning on the right side of the fence just can't understand why so many of us just don't get the fact that Palin is drenched in "experience." Mayor of a little bitty town in the wilds of Alaska, and 20 months as governor - well, hell - that's a lot of experience.

George Will wrote that "John McCain's opponent is by far the least experienced person to receive a presidential nomination ... "

Of course, he offers not a scintilla of evidence to back up that statement. He suggests it might have something to do with age - maybe age brings "experience." And we admit that McCain has lived longer than any of the other candidates currently running for Prez and V Prez.

But there's "experience" and there's "experience." No one has bothered to take note of that fact so far as I can tell. It might be claimed that George W. Bush had lots of executive "experience," and there would be some truth in that.

But it wasn't "good" experience. George W. Bush failed at every single thing he tried to do before he was elevated to political office! Furthermore, when governor of Texas, he saw fit to screw that state up almost as badly as he's screwed up the United States! To paraphrase one pundit who wrote recently - George W. Bush is the worst executive we've ever had in the Oval Office.

Some "experience" we can toss as it is bad "experience" and the one experiencing it didn't learn a damn thing.

It's sad to see these Republicans running about as if casting a net for butterflies trying to somehow portray Palin as "experienced." When the smoke clears, the fact remains- she has little or no experience, and what she's had has not been a learning experience.


Here's just one example: the Washington Post has revealed that Ms. Palin and hubby, Todd, owned part of a business that was shut down by the state of Alaska because it failed to follow state law.

"State records show the business ran into trouble with Alaska's division of corporations business and professional licensing after Palin became governor of the state in 2006.

"A Feb. 11, 2007 letter to the governor's business partner advises that the car wash had 'not filed its biennial report and/or paid its biennial fees,' which were more than a year overdue.

"The warning letter was written on state letterhead, which carried Palin's name at the top, next to the state seal.

"On April 3, 2007, the state went further and issued a 'certificate of involuntary dissolution' because of the car wash's failure to file its report and pay state licensing fees."


But there's more. And this speaks to her integrity. "A review of Palin's gubernatorial disclosure filings indicates that she failed to report her stake in the company on the form that requires candidates for governor to disclose any interest in a nonpublicly traded company."

And more. "Palin's gubernatorial disclosure filings also reveal her involvement in another failed startup -- a marketing business which was to go by the name Rouge Cou, which evidently is a literal French translation of 'red neck.' On the 2005 form, Palin describes the firm as one for which she secured a license but did not conduct any business."


What might we conclude from all this? It certain raises questions about her integrity. It also indicates she's had some "executive experience" running a car wash, but failed. There are people who might blame the "partner" or her husband, but that does not absolve her in the least as executives are always responsible for what their cohorts are doing or not doing.

Did McCain know about this or did his "vetters" miss this, too?

Palin a no-show at Republican pro-life bash

[New York Times photo]


The Republican National Coalition for Life is a right-wing, anti-abortion group that claims old Eagle Forum poohbah, Phyllis Schlaffy as leader.

The RNCL held a bash last night in honor of Palin. "The purpose of the event is to honor Palin for being a political figure who 'not only talks-the-talk, but walks-the-walk' when it comes to putting life first."

It was to have been a glorious, patriotic time, with flags waving and a bar. These Republicans know how to party! Everyone was so excited that the Republican Party Platform now includes the notion that a fetus is a person and should be accorded all the rights as a real, live human being.

About 800 people, paying $95 per, were to attend.

But Palin cancelled. At the last minute!

Schlaffy was pissed. Those pro-life folks who forked out $95 bucks to hear Palin are not going to be happy, she said.

Schlaffy is blaming McCain. "I am certainly going to say that it was McCain that canceled."

The question is why did Palin (or McCain) cancel? Has Palin been getting too much press, leaving poor old John in the dust? Were they afraid that Palin would say something really dumb? Did they think any pro-life remarks by Palin would further alienate the millions of pro-choice women whom they hope to attract?

Only the gods know.

(They did have a protester, though - see photo - who seemed to get what it means to be "pro-life" better than the yahoos who were in attendance).