Andy Card: still a tool

by lestro

In an interview Wednesday, former White House chief of staff Andy Card had something to say about the less formal approach to things the new president is taking at his old place of employment:

In an interview scheduled to run Wednesday night, Andrew H. Card Jr. told the syndicated news show Inside Edition that “there should be a dress code of respect” in the White House and that he wished Mr. Obama “would wear a suit coat and tie.”

But wait, there’s more!

According to Inside Edition’s Web site, Mr. Card also said:

“The Oval Office symbolizes…the Constitution, the hopes and dreams, and I’m going to say democracy. And when you have a dress code in the Supreme Court and a dress code on the floor of the Senate, floor of the House, I think it’s appropriate to have an expectation that there will be a dress code that respects the office of the President.”

Once again, Card touches on the great fallacy of the Bush years: The president spent so much time asking himself “what would a president do?” that he forgot to do the business of the country.

Bush didn’t know what he was doing as president, so he was just trying to do what he thought the president would do.  Obama realizes he is the president.  Therefore, what he does is what the president would do:

Mr. Obama has also brought a more relaxed sensibility to his public appearances. David Gergen, an adviser to both Republican and Democratic presidents, said Mr. Obama seemed to exude an “Aloha Zen,” a kind of comfortable calm that, Mr. Gergen said, reflects a man who “seems easygoing, not so full of himself.”

America, traditionally, is a meritocracy. You get ahead by earning it, by rolling up your sleeves and doing the hard work.

Which, ironically, is what President Obama was doing when all this hoopla started.  George W. Bush, meanwhile, failed up his entire career, running business after business after baseball team into the ground before using his famous last name to vault him into an office he didn’t understand and couldn’t handle. But he sure looked the part, didn’t he?

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Am I missing the joke?

by lestro

I mean, this is funny and all, but I don’t get it:

“As a black, Roman Catholic conservative from Washington D.C. and Maryland, I know how to lose elections,” said Michael S. Steele today in Virginia. His audience, a gathering of House Republicans, knows all too well, too. But now, he said, as the new chairman of the Republican National Committee, “I’m in the business of winning elections.”

He somehow thinks that joining the RNC as its leader puts him in the business of winning elections? Haven’t they gotten HOUSED in the past couple of major election cycles? Like, beaten so badly people are wondering if the Republicans can come back?

How is that the business of winning elections?

Then again, swinging bullshit like this, maybe Steele is in the right place:

“Now my mom was a sharecropper’s daughter, with a fifth grade education,” he said. Referring to Democrats, he went on, “If my mom knew how to balance the budget, I’m sure the rest of the folks out here on the other side should know how to do that as well.”

Because any idiot can tell you the last president to balance a budget was Clinton and that the two largest periods EVER in debt growth and deficit spending occurred during the reign of George W. Bush and his hero, Ronnie Reagan, who also left the country floundering toward a recession thanks to spending money like drunken monkeys and cutting revenues at the same time.

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When liberals are conservatives and other reality checks

by lestro

Once again, the New York Times seems to have forgotten what “liberal” and “conservative” mean.

This time, it comes in an article about the make-up of the Supreme Court in which the writer looks at the possibility of President Obama replacing a handful of “liberal” justices who are approaching the end of their terms (read: death).

But the problem is not in its portrayal of the court, per se, but the fact that they are confusing liberalism and conservatism with right and left ideological party positions.

For example:

“It is fair to say that the Supreme Court both now and historically has been to the left of the American public,” said Nathaniel Persily, a law professor at Columbia and an editor of “Public Opinion and Constitutional Controversy” (Oxford, 2008).

“On school prayer, for instance, the Supreme Court is far to the left of the American public,” Professor Persily said, referring to decisions saying that officials may not organize, lead or endorse prayer or devotional Bible reading in the public schools.

“On racial issues, it’s pretty clear from the Michigan cases that the Supreme Court is out of step with the American public,” Professor Persily said of the pair of 2003 decisions allowing public universities to consider race in admissions decisions. (In a 2007 decision, the Roberts court leaned the other way, forbidding public school systems from explicitly taking race into account to achieve or maintain integration.)

Other areas in which the court is to the left of popular opinion, Professor Persily said, are criminal procedure and free speech. Decisions protecting flag burning under the First Amendment, for instance, were quite unpopular.

The fact is that the decisions reached by the court on most of, if not all of those issues, may have pleased the party of liberals and people who consider themselves liberals, but the decisions themselves were actually quite conservative.

At their base form the words “liberal” and “conservative” in this context mean looser and stricter views on government power, not on social mores or issues. “Liberal” means open to wide interpretation while “conservative” means strict constructionist, letter and spirit of the document.

So therefore, a “conservative” reading of the Constitution is one that limits the powers of the government to those specifically listed in the document, while a “liberal” one grants more leeway.

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Speak slowly!

by twit

Sarah Palin is trying to listen!

From the Editor’s Blog of the Anchorage Daily News on January 12, 2009:

Gov. Palin’s press office claims that she has pointed out errors in Daily News coverage that we have refused to correct. The only such complaints of which I’m aware are below, in an email from Gov. Palin to the publisher and me.

I posted a portion of these two emails last week in a naïve effort to explain that the newspaper never took seriously the conspiracy theory that the governor did not give birth to her son Trig, but that recently we had made an effort to document his birth in pursuit of a story about why the Trig rumors, while baseless, are apparently so widespread and persistent.

The earlier post sent a number of adn.com readers off the deep end, including some websites and bloggers who denounced the paper for our “anti-Palin story.” I had to chalk that up to a reading comprehension problem, since no story was ever published.

Some readers seemed wildly offended that we would dare to ask questions about Trig’s birth, even if our assumption was that the answers might finally put the conspiracy theory to rest.

and from CNN on January 13, 2009:

“Bored, anonymous, pathetic bloggers who lie annoy me…  I’ll tell you, yesterday the Anchorage Daily News, they called again to ask — double-, triple-, quadruple-check — who is Trig’s real mom,” she said, in an interview to be published in [Esquire] magazine’s March issue.

“And I said, Come on, are you kidding me? We’re gonna answer this? Do you not believe me or my doctor? And they said, No, it’s been quite cryptic the way that my son’s birth has been discussed. And I thought, Okay, more indication of continued problems in the world of journalism.”

don’t worry, Sarah, your number one fan is out there trying to fix journalism:

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The president is a simple man, indeed.

by lestro

Today at his news conference, the president discussed his greatest mistake, without actually realizing it:

Mr. Bush went on, leaning over the lectern as he declared, in effect, that while many Americans have moved on after the attacks, he has not. “You remember what it was like right after September the 11th around here?” he demanded, adding: “People were saying, ‘How come they didn’t see it? How come they didn’t connect the dots?’ Do you remember what the environment was like in Washington? I do.”

So? Answer your own question, Georgie: How come you didn’t see it? How come you didn’t connect the dots?

And if the dots were there and you just failed to connect them, why did you need all those new powers and imperial leeway?  Seems to me that if you had spent less time in the summer of 2001 paying attention to the Chandra Levy thing (who?) or the shark attacks (seriously?) maybe you would have connected the dots that said “Bin Laden determined to strike in the US,” you idiot.

And still defiantly dumb to the end:

To critics who say his policies have diminished America’s moral standing in the world, Mr. Bush said flatly, “I disagree with this assessment.”

He said was not certain why he had become so divisive — “I don’t know why they get angry. I don’t know why they get hostile,” he replied to a question about those who disagree with his policies so vehemently that it became personal — and added that he had learned, during the course of his time in office, not to pay attention.

He disagrees? Because, uh, according to Pew, he is, um, WRONG.

Seems pretty straight-forward to me, Mr. President-for-thankfully-only-another-week.

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“U.S. military leaders recognize that they need to make adjustments.”

by twit

why does it sound like we just got to Afghanistan?

The men of the 3rd Batallion, 8th Marine Regiment, based at Camp Lejeune, are discovering in their first two months in Afghanistan that the tactics they learned in nearly six years of combat in Iraq are of little value here — and may even inhibit their ability to fight their Taliban foes.

Their MRAP mine-resistant vehicles, which cost $1 million each, were specially developed to combat the terrible effects of roadside bombs, the single biggest killer of Americans in Iraq. But Iraq is a country of highways and paved roads, and the heavily armored vehicles are cumbersome on Afghanistan’s unpaved roads and rough terrain where roadside bombs are much less of a threat.

… to reach the populace, American forces must find unmapped caravan routes that run through treacherous terrain, routes not designed for their modern military vehicles.

American forces have been in Afghanistan since October 7, 2001 …  and the military is just beginning to notice that the terrain is different?

U.S. military leaders recognize that they need to make adjustments.

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Madoff determined to strike in the US

by twit

An Op-Ed in the New York Times on January 3, 2009 says that on Nov. 7, 2005, the SEC received a seventeen page document laying it all out about Madoff, including this:

In the “Highly Likely” scenario, wrote Mr. Markopolos, “Madoff Securities is the world’s largest Ponzi Scheme.”

and 2005 wasn’t the first time:

Harry Markopolos sent his report to the S.E.C. on Nov. 7, 2005 — more than three years before Mr. Madoff was finally exposed — but he had been trying to explain the fraud to them since 1999.

I am curious about whether Mr. Markopolos tried to contact anybody else.

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Barack Obama, the battered wife

by twit

Obama recently responded to the outrage over Rick Warren with the statement that “what we have to do is to be able to create an atmosphere where we can disagree without being disagreeable.”   This reminds me of the millions of abused spouses and children who try to do this, with the hope that if they are just nicer to their abusive family member, maybe the abuse will stop.

This is why it hurts so badly for Obama to have chosen Rick Warren for the inaugural invocation.  We know it won’t stop the abuse.  We know that it will only empower and enable the abusers.

A commentary at CNN describes some of the positions held by Rick Warren:

He adamantly opposes a woman’s legal right to abortion and dismisses common-ground efforts to reduce the need for abortion by comparing them to accommodating the Holocaust. He is disrespectful of progressive people of faith, suggesting that they are tools of the Democratic Party or more Marxist than Christian.

… Warren, in an interview with Beliefnet.com, has since equated allowing loving same-sex couples to get married with redefining marriage to permit incest and pedophilia.

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Well no wonder they’re throwing shoes

by lestro

While the Great Shoe-Throwing Incident of 2008 will undoubtedly be the only thing anyone is talking about today (that and the uncanny ability of the Buffalo Bills to almost literally throw away a game in the final minutes), there is another big Iraq story today, one that might even help explain what drove an Iraqi journalist to risk EVERYTHING to take a pot-shot at the President of the United States.

Today the New York Times details a 500+ page draft report of the “official history” of the Iraq war and the picture is not a pretty one.

Among the overarching conclusions of the history is that five years after embarking on its largest foreign reconstruction project since the Marshall Plan in Europe after World War II, the United States government has in place neither the policies and technical capacity nor the organizational structure that would be needed to undertake such a program on anything approaching this scale.

The bitterest message of all for the reconstruction program may be the way the history ends. The hard figures on basic services and industrial production compiled for the report reveal that for all the money spent and promises made, the rebuilding effort never did much more than restore what was destroyed during the invasion and the convulsive looting that followed.

According to the Times (and I’ll trust them – the actual report is here, if you want to read it, but at 500 pages, I don’t see myself getting through it today…), the last five years have been an unmitigated failure of leadership.

In the preface, Mr. Bowen gives a searing critique of what he calls the “blinkered and disjointed prewar planning for Iraq’s reconstruction” and the botched expansion of the program from a modest initiative to improve Iraqi services to a multibillion-dollar enterprise.

Mr. Bowen also swipes at the endless revisions and reversals of the program, which at various times gyrated from a focus on giant construction projects led by large Western contractors to modest community-based initiatives carried out by local Iraqis. While Mr. Bowen concedes that deteriorating security had a hand in spoiling the program’s hopes, he suggests, as he has in the past, that the program did not need much outside help to do itself in.

Let’s be clear here: No one is slagging the military.

The military mission of defeating and overthrowing Saddam Hussein and occupying the capital was a magnificent success. The military, with a few notable exceptions, have acted honoarbly and done their very best to complete the undefined, politically-motivaed and completely nebulous mission(s) handed down by the civilian leadership.

This is NOT a failure or defeat for the US Military. They did their part.

This is a political and diplomatic failure. Yet another example of how everything the Bush Administration touches seems to turn to shit.

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Iraq comes full circle

by lestro

I remember very well the excitement of the first few weeks of the Iraq war.

It was a crazy time, with news reporters “embedded” and reporting live from the backs of Humvees and Bradleys charging toward the capitol, where the Butcher of Baghdad and his elite republican guard awaited, possibly with their chemical weapons and definitely spoiling for a fight.

I remember shock and I remember awe.

and I will never forget the triumphant images of the American soldiers helping Iraqis pull down the statues of Saddam Hussein. It was a big moment, a triumph and, really, a good day for humanity.  Whether you supported the war or not, there was no way around the joy and excitement that seemed to be pouring out of the Iraqi people actually did, for one day, treat us as liberators.

Of all the images, one of the things I remember specifically was the Iraqis beating the statue of Hussein with their shoes. Men ran up to the statue from all around Baghdad, hopping as they approached the fallen icon and taking off their sandals to beat the visage of Hussein with their shoes.

I remember the anchors and correspondents telling us that this was very significant because in Iraq, hitting something with your shoe was a terrible insult.  It meant you were the lowest of the low,  beneath even the soles of their feet and a tremendous sign of disrespect.

In Iraq, apparently, hitting someone with your shoe is like spitting on them while flipping them off AND calling their dead mother a whore.

It’s nasty stuff.

As you have undoubtedly seen, Baghdad has come full circle. Today, the man who “liberated” Baghdad (and who also plunged its residents into more than five years of terror, warfare and death) visited his catastrophic blunder of a legacy for the last time as Commander-in-Chief.

This morning at a press conference, an Iraqi threw both of his shoes at our president, who had no problem avoiding both shoes, after spending the last eight years dodging questions, prosecutions and the U.S. Constitution.

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Iraqi journalist hurls “a farewell kiss” at George W. Bush

by twit

and Bush manages to duck both of them:

via Breitbart:

An Iraqi journalist hurled his shoes and an insult at George W. Bush, without hitting him, as the US president was shaking hands with the Iraqi premier at his Baghdad office on Sunday.

As the two leaders met in Nuri al-Maliki’s private office, a journalist sitting in the third row jumped up, shouting: “It is the farewell kiss, you dog,” and threw his shoes one after the other towards Bush.

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How to play music like a war crime

by twit

Rage Against the Machine

Rage Against the Machine … protesting against Guantanamo Bay at the Reading festival. Photograph: Chiaki Nozu/Filmmagic.com/Getty Images  (The Guardian)

via Slashdot, from the AP:

At least Vance, who says he was jailed for reporting illegal arms sales, was used to rock music. For many detainees who grew up in Afghanistan – where music was prohibited under Taliban rule – interrogations by U.S. forces marked their first exposure to the pounding rhythms, played at top volume.

The experience was overwhelming for many. Binyam Mohammed, now a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay, said men held with him at the CIA’s “Dark Prison” in Afghanistan wound up screaming and smashing their heads against walls, unable to endure more.

“There was loud music, (Eminem’s) ‘Slim Shady’ and Dr. Dre for 20 days. I heard this nonstop over and over,” he told his lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith. “The CIA worked on people, including me, day and night for the months before I left. Plenty lost their minds.”

and that’s not all…

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“with friends like these, who the fuck needs COINTELPRO?”

by lestro

If I may quote Propagandhi, from the album “Today’s Empires, Tomorrow’s Ashes.”

But, uh, what’s up with this shit?  Don’t we have better things to be spending our money on than spying on Quakers?

Maryland officials now concede that, based on information gathered by “Lucy” and others, state police wrongly listed at least 53 Americans as terrorists in a criminal intelligence database — and shared some information about them with half a dozen state and federal agencies, including the National Security Agency.

Among those labeled as terrorists: two Catholic nuns, a former Democratic congressional candidate, a lifelong pacifist and a registered lobbyist. One suspect’s file warned that she was “involved in puppet making and allows anarchists to utilize her property for meetings.”

Other groups they infiltrated include, and I am not kidding, a group of Quakers. Quakers!

The Quakers are a religious sect dedicated to the original, pacifist teachings of Jesus that you should love your enemy and if he slaps you on one cheek you should not respond, but simply turn the other cheek to him.

So what did they find?

They sent Lucy to join local activists at Takoma Park’s Electrik Maid, a funky community center popular with punk rockers and slam poets. Ten people attended the gathering, including a local representative from Amnesty International.

“The meeting was primarily concerned with getting people to put up fliers and getting information out to local businesses and churches about the upcoming events,” the undercover officer reported later. “No other pertinent intelligence information was obtained.”

That proved true for all 29 meetings, rallies and protests that Lucy ultimately attended. Most drew only a handful of people, and none involved illegal or disruptive actions.

Excellent work guys! I am beginning to understand why you can’t find Bin Laden: you’re spending your resources spying on pacifists and punk rockers instead of actual terrorists.  You must be so proud!

So what types of folks did they officially label as Terrorists?

Nancy Kricorian, 48, a novelist on the terrorist list, is coordinator for the New York City chapter of CodePink, an antiwar group. She serves as liaison with local police for group protests, and has never been arrested….

Josh Tulkin, 27, a registered lobbyist with the Virginia state Legislature, is cited under “terrorism — environmental extremists.” Tulkin was deputy director of Chesapeake Climate Action Network, an environmental group that claims 15,000 members and regularly meets with governors and members of Congress.

“If asking your elected officials a question about public policy is a crime, then I’m guilty,” he said.

For the record, it’s not.

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The fundamentalist difference

by lestro

What a lot of creationists don’t understand is that evolution is not a world view, but is instead simply an explanation, and one that changes when new evidence is discovered.

Unlike the world of creationists, in which an ideological world view is laid out and everything must conform to it.

For example, according to creationist reasoning, there is no special section in the Bible talking about dinosaurs, therefore dinosaurs and man must have existed at the same time, damn the fossil record, carbon dating and whatever other evidence that science might offer. Nevermind the obvious, that if they existed at the same time, you’d think it would be mentioned in the fucking Bible, as Bill Hicks said.

In a recent NYT article, this difference is again made clear as recent experiments have completely blown away a long-standing theory of what the beginnings of the planet looked like, forcing scientists to adapt their views based on the new evidence.

You’ll never see a fundie do that.

Analyses of crystals in rocks in Australia, left, have formed a new picture of the early Earth, depicted with young oceans in the painting at right. (Left, Bruce Watson; right, Don Dixon)

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Our faithful Bush Administration

by twit

is keeping us safe by declaring “mission accomplished,” while standing in front of a backdrop far more brutal than a Palin Thanksgiving special.

via the Associated Press world news Dec 4, 12:11 pm (ET):

AP IMPACT: Pakistan police losing terrorism fight
BADABER, Pakistan (AP) – Brothers Mushtaq and Ishaq Ali left the police force a month ago, terrified of dying as their colleagues had – beheaded by militants on a rutted village road before a shocked crowd. They went straight to the local Urdu-language newspaper to announce their resignation. They…

Rice satisfied with Pakistan’s anti-terror stance
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) – Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday she is satisfied with Pakistan’s commitment with its readiness to pursue any lead in the attacks in India that have sharply raised tensions between the two nuclear powers. Pakistan’s young civilian government, she said…

just 47 “joyous” days left of the Bush Administration…

… according to the Daily Show on December 3, 2008.

a last hurrah for the cowboy mafia

by twit

as if we didn’t see it coming

Who wanted to hear from dismal economists warning that the whole thing was, in effect, a giant Ponzi scheme?

so do we really have to give away $100 billion to the folks sitting at the top of the pyramid?

The federal government theoretically will be repaid what it’s loaned except for $100 billion in losses incurred from buying some assets above market value.

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Hugo Chavez declares war on Alaska

by twit

by again offering donations of oil to rural parts of the state:

With heating oil prices approaching $10 a gallon in rural Alaska and reports of neighbors stealing fuel from neighbors to warm their homes, a Venezuela-owned oil company plans to supply free fuel to villages again this winter.  [...]

Citgo has provided roughly 15,000 Alaska village households 100 gallons of heating oil each for the past two winters. If the company donates the same amount this year, some families will save as much as $1,000 on their fuel bills. It’s part of a program providing assistance to low-income communities in 23 states.

which means war!

The fact that the heating assistance is coming from Chavez led some eligible Alaska communities — such as St. Paul — to reject Citgo’s gift in the past.

It would have been unpatriotic to participate, said Steve Senisch, a local councilman who voted against the gift in 2007.

He predicted the council will vote the same way this time.

well, maybe less war this year…
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Cheney charged with organized criminal activity

by twit

update! From the AP on November 19, 2008:

A Texas judge has set a Friday arraignment for Vice President Dick Cheney, former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and others named in indictments accusing them of responsibility for prisoner abuse in a federal detention center.

So says the AP on November 18, 2008:

Cheney is charged with engaging in an organized criminal activity related to the vice president’s investment in the Vanguard Group, which holds financial interests in the private prison companies running the federal detention centers. It accuses Cheney of a conflict of interest and “at least misdemeanor assaults” on detainees because of his link to the prison companies.

Gonzalez, too!

The indictment accuses Gonzales of using his position while in office to stop an investigation in 2006 into abuses at one of the privately-run prisons.

and this is cute:

Regarding the indictments targeting the public officials, [District Attorney] Guerra said, “the grand jury is the one that made those decisions, not me.”

but before we get too excited:

The indictment returned Monday has not yet been signed by the presiding judge, and no action can be taken until that happens.

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a definition of an “Eisenstadt”

by twit

Specifically, when you make things up out of thin air, and it turns out to be true… see what you want to see…

For example, the idea that Palin didn’t know that Africa was a continent:

was a hoax apparently true based in some reality, but smeared with an Eisenstadt.  According to the New York Times on November 13, 2008:

It was among the juicier post-election recriminations: Fox News Channel quoted an unnamed McCain campaign figure as saying that Sarah Palin did not know that Africa was a continent.

Who would say such a thing? On Monday the answer popped up on a blog and popped out of the mouth of David Shuster, an MSNBC anchor. “Turns out it was Martin Eisenstadt, a McCain policy adviser, who has come forward today to identify himself as the source of the leaks,” Mr. Shuster said.

Trouble is, Martin Eisenstadt doesn’t exist. His blog does, but it’s a put-on. The think tank where he is a senior fellow — the Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy — is just a Web site. The TV clips of him on YouTube are fakes.

And the claim of credit for the Africa anecdote is just the latest ruse by Eisenstadt, who turns out to be a very elaborate hoax that has been going on for months. MSNBC, which quickly corrected the mistake, has plenty of company in being taken in by an Eisenstadt hoax, including The New Republic and The Los Angeles Times.

What is so funny is that before the rumor was exposed as a hoax, Palin’s campaign staff confirmed that it was true there was a basis for the rumor.  ABC News reports on November 14, 2008:

Longtime Palin staffer Meg Stapleton told ABC News’ Kate Snow that Palin had fumbled over an Africa comment, but that it was a misspeak not worthy of the press coverage it received.

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Palin vs. Wooten: Palin wins another round

by twit

moz-screenshot-34

cue Wicked Witch of the West cackle and music:

The Alaska state trooper who was the subject of harsh allegations by Gov. Sarah Palin was taken off patrols recently for his own safety, after her comments allegedly prompted a series of threatening phone calls, KIMO-TV in Anchorage reported Friday. [...]

Wooten is now working a desk job, KIMO reported. The troopers’ union has expressed concern because the new position means he can no longer earn overtime pay.

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Experience alone does not a president make

by lestro

After a day of celebration, relaxation and pride (remember the day after the 2004 election?  What a difference around the world, eh?), it is time to get back to the hard work of political punditry and that, of course, means post mortems on the campaigns.

The big game today seems to be “what went wrong” for John McCain and Newsweek goes right for the jugular, asking if the McCampaign was “the worst ever.”

It is tough to say it was the worst campaign ever, but it certainly ranks among them. According to Newsweek, the reason it is the worst comes down to two words: Sarah Palin.

… Team McCain ran a campaign that ranks on the bottom of this list. This was an aimless and chaotic operation made worse by poor choices at key moments. Their first mistake was picking Gov. Sarah Palin.

Actually, this was NOT their “first mistake.” However, Palin was the Gateway Meme, the first look behind the curtain that allowed the general public to see how everything Johnny Mac said was like a turd in the punchbowl that cannot be denied.

It was clear by September 3, 2008, before Charles GibsonKatie Couric and Tina Fey pulled on the thread that would eventually unravel the campaign, what Newsweek now describes:

By picking Palin, McCain simultaneously eliminated his own best argument against Senator Obama—the limited experience of his opponent—while compounding his own most negative image, that of someone who was erratic and out of control. The pick also fueled the feeling that grew throughout September and October that the Republican candidate was willing to take any step necessary to win the campaign. The Palin pick made every decision that followed seem purely political.

Like Katrina pulled back the curtain on the Bush administration, Sarah Palin revealed McCain as willing to do or say anything to get elected, all with little to no forethought.

And that’s no way to run a campaign, let alone a government. Read more of this post

Congratulations to Sarah Palin

by twit

In honor of you winning this round:

These findings differ from those of the Branchflower Report because Independent Counsel has concluded the wrong statute was used as a basis for the conclusions contained in the Branchflower Report, the Branchflower report misconstrued the available evidence and did not consider or obtain all of the material evidence that is required to properly reach findings.

But this twit reserves the right to comment after she reads that deposition

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Vote by phone and other fun tricks

by twit

via Threat Level on October 31, 2008:

The residents of Broward County, Florida have recently received misleading robocalls telling them that they can vote by phone on Election Day, according to a report in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel on Friday.

um, what?

Another unknown group is distributing flyers (see the flyer after the jump) with official-looking letterhead around the area of Hampton Roads, Virgina that erroneously inform recipients that because of the crowds at the polls, the Virginia State Board of Elections is scheduling Republicans to vote on November 4th, and Democrats on the 5th.

they… really expect that to work?

Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that people in the area have been receiving robocalls with the same message. This particular trick is an old one: In 2004, the New York Times reported the same message going out in the Pittsburgh area via flyers.

apparently, yes.

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Prankin’ Palin

by twit

Such is the ignorant life:

Sarah Palin’s campaign issued an amused response to having joined Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy in having been the victim of a prank by a pair of French-Canadian comedians who impersonated Sarkozy on a call with the Alaska governor.

The prankster talked hunting — Palin said she was a better shot than Dick Cheney — made a reference she appeared to miss to a porn movie, and suggested killing baby seals in the conversation, which can be heard here.

He also discussed non-existent Canadian officials, said he could see Belgium from his house, and described the crooner Johny Halliday, as Palin continued the conversation until he explained it was a prank.

“Gov. Palin received a phone call on Saturday from a French Canadian talk show host claiming to be French President Nicholas Sarkozy,” emailed spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt. “Gov. Palin was mildly amused to learn that she had joined the ranks of heads of state, including President Sarkozy, and other celebrities in being targeted by these pranksters. C’est la vie.”

Indeed:

In an over-the-top accent, one half of a notorious Quebec comedy duo claims to be the president of France as he describes sex with his famous wife, the joy of killing animals and Hustler magazine’s latest Sarah Palin porno spoof.

At the other end of the line? An oblivious Sarah Palin.

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if John McCain was a broadway show

by twit

he’d look a lot like this:

“My Friends: The Musical” via the Viral Video Chart

the wheels on the bus

by twit

go round and round…

Even McCain can’t help but campaign for Obama:

From his interview to air tonight on Larry King Live. …

KING: You don’t believe Barack Obama is a socialist do you?

MCCAIN: “No”

while rumor has it, Palin is no longer welcome on the Straight Talk Express:

I’ve heard from one well-placed source that McCain has snubbed her on one long bus ride aboard the Straight Talk Express, to the embarrassment of those sitting nearby.

and the mad scramble is on in the McCain campaign to blame Palin for everything:

John McCain’s campaign is looking for a scapegoat. It is looking for someone to blame if McCain loses on Tuesday.

And it has decided on Sarah Palin.

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John McCain should know better

by lestro

When the basis for the closing weeks of your campaign comes down to emphasizing the differences between the “pro-America” sections of the country as compared to the cities (a concept the Philadelphia Inquirer recently ripped to shreds) you should really make sure you are on the up and up yourself.

Because for the record, this:

image via The New York Times

violates the flag code.

Section 176 (”respect for flag”), subsection (g) of the US Flag Code states:

(g) The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.

Johnny Mac should know better.

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McCain used to be so much more than a punchline

by lestro

One of the few agreements I have with Sen. McCain is his opposition to ethanol subsidies and tariffs. Ethanol is a boondoogle, a mistake and total bullshit. It takes more energy to make ethanol than the fuel actually  produces and the production of ethanol creates more greenhouse gases than are saved by using ethanol as a fuel.

It is stupid and our investment money can better be spent on other renewable technologies.

Since half the country grows corn, it made sense to look at it as a possible fuel source. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work very well.

However, with Iowa being one of the opening rounds in the upcoming presidential contest, intelligent policy can take a back seat to the need to pander to farmers by promising them continued ethanol subsidies, even though these subsidies not only continue the farce of corn-based fuel but also ratchet up our food costs by diverting stuff we can eat – something corn is quite good it – in favor of something we can put in our cars – something at which corn is middling at best.

Obama, meanwhile, is from Illinois, which grows a pantload of corn (Iowa ranks No. 1, Illinois comes in at No. 2) so he’s totally in the tank for ethanol.

Nobody’s perfect.

Recognizing the folly of ethanol (or at least taking a stand against stupid giveaways), John McCain is opposed to ethanol. It was one of the reasons he lost the Iowa Caucus to Mike Huckabee.

Or at least, McCain used to be opposed to ethanol subsidies. Back in 1999 he was opposed, although in this election season, McCain has said with the price of oil being so high, ethanol might make sense.

However, with Iowa polls showing a double digit Obama lead in a state with the “real America” profile Sarah Palin gets her panties in a bunch about, Johnny Mac is flip-flopping again:

But at a rally here Sunday afternoon, Mr. McCain seemed to suggest that government has a role in promoting corn ethanol.

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Eight years later

by twit

From the NY Times blog The Caucus on October 24, 2008:

A twist on the old Budweiser “Wassup” commercials, using the same guys as the originals, and incorporating Iraq, the economic meltdown and the electrified change atmosphere of this election.

and the original “Wazzup” commercial:

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Joe the McCain

by twit

He’s finally been booted out of the campaign:

Joe McCain said: “I feel terrible about having hurt the campaign over this incident. I won’t be doing any more campaigning because of that.”

… McCain’s brother has been in the news on other occasions recently.

Joe McCain, speaking at an event in early October in support of his brother, called two Democratic-leaning areas in Northern Virginia “communist country.”

“I’ve lived here for at least 10 years and before that about every third duty I was in either Arlington or Alexandria, up in communist country,” the younger McCain, a Navy veteran, said at an event in Loudoun County, Va.

Joe McCain then apologized, but the remark reportedly drew laughter at the event.

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postcards from the internets

by twit

With McCain down in the polls and Obama increasingly projected to win the presidency in a landslide, it apparently is time for the kicking to begin:

Paging the gateway meme: via TPM, from The New Republic: “Charles Fried, … one of the most important conservative thinkers in the United States… announced that he has voted for Obama-Biden by absentee ballot.” But that’s not all: “he asked that his name be removed from the several [McCain] campaign-related committees on which he serves.” and: “… he said that chief among the reasons for his decision “is the choice of Sarah Palin at a time of deep national crisis.”  hmm. sounds familiar

Gateway meme to the front desk, please: via MSNBC: “In the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, released Tuesday, 55 percent of respondents said they believed Palin was not qualified to serve as president if the need arose. Palin’s qualifications were the No. 1 concern voters had about McCain’s candidacy, ahead of the economy and the war in Iraq.”

et tu, Lieberman? via Politico: ““[T]hank God she’s not going to have to be president from Day One. McCain’s going to be alive and well,” he said.”

McCain is a crappy hedge fund: via Politico: “Republican donors, at the end of day, aren’t stupid,” said another Republican familiar with third-party activities this cycle. “They’re not going to throw good money after bad.”

McCain volunteer snaps, goes insane: From the Associated Press, a truly tragic story of Ashley Todd, age 20, who “will be housed in a mental health unit at the county jail for her safety and because of “her not insignificant mental health issues,” prosecutor Mark Tranquilli said.”

Maybe it was the Palin shopping spree that did it: From the Associated Press: ““That whole thing is just, bad!” [Palin] said. “Oh, if people only knew how frugal we are.””

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It’s easier to be happy when you are rich and ignore reality

by lestro

That’s our lesson today kids, brought to you by the letter “R”

The pollsters were in the field asking about happiness this month, a period when economic news was gloomy for everybody and presidential campaign news seemed especially baleful for Republicans. Yet they found 37 percent of Republicans are “very happy,” compared with 25 percent of Democrats; 51 percent of Republicans and 52 percent of Democrats are “pretty happy”; and 9 percent of Republicans are “not too happy,” compared with 20 percent of Democrats.

The partisan happiness gap — unbroken for nearly four decades — is impervious to electoral ups and downs. It has something to do with worldview.

Right, because a world view in which you refuse to let facts get in the way of belief is like the Land of Make Believe (plus, the party leader is an obvious puppet…) where everything goes your way and reality never gets in the way of a good story.

But seriously, says Lehane, if Republicans are more happy, it’s because they care less.

“The typical Republican is happy coming home to a 62-inch television, pulling out a fine bottle of cognac or Scotch, putting his feet on the table and enjoying the fruits of his labor, but not caring what’s going on in the world outside their living room . . . and their gated community.”

Government-funded researchers identified the happiness gap in 1972. Since then, the Democrats have been comparatively more bummed out not just during the tenures of GOP presidents Ford, Reagan, Bush and Bush. They were noticeably less joyful than Republicans even during the GOP fiasco of Watergate, and during the Democratic Carter and Clinton administrations.

Not to mention the money. It’s a lot easier to be happy when you are loaded.

What’s the Republicans’ secret to feeling groovy?

“They have more money,” Paul Taylor, director of the Pew Social & Demographic Trends project, writes in the new report. “They have more friends. They are more religious. They are healthier. They are more likely to be married. They like their communities better. They like their jobs more. They are more satisfied with their family life. They like the weather better.”

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Alan Greenspan admits a “mistake”

by lestro

I am just completely taken aback by this admission

Facing a firing line of questions from Washington lawmakers, Alan Greenspan, the former Federal Reserve chairman once considered the infallible maestro of the financial system, admitted on Thursday that he “made a mistake” in trusting that free markets could regulate themselves without government oversight.

Wow.  Shit must be worse than we thought.

Greenspan was all about deregulation and all about the market being the answer to the ills of the world.

But what he failed to count on was the overwhelming greed.

Which seems odd, because no one gets into the market because it is fulfilling, they get in to make MONEY. Usually at any cost.  Didn’t he see Bonfire of the Vanities or Wall Street?

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Sarah Palin won’t get an Obama tax cut

by twit

Not if the $150,000 or so in clothes she’s gotten from the RNC counts as income…

Piano roll blues, danced holes in my shoes, There weren't another other way to be ...

via Wonkette, Politico reports on Oct 22, 2008:

The Republican National Committee has spent more than $150,000 to clothe and accessorize vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and her family since her surprise pick by John McCain in late August.

According to financial disclosure records, the accessorizing began in early September and included bills from Saks Fifth Avenue in St. Louis and New York for a combined $49,425.74.

The records also document a couple of big-time shopping trips to Neiman Marcus in Minneapolis, including one $75,062.63 spree in early September.

and not if she’s in prison!

The cash expenditures immediately raised questions among campaign finance experts about their legality under the Federal Election Commission’s long-standing advisory opinions on using campaign cash to purchase items for personal use.

image via Wonkette

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