October 31, 2008

18th district race heats up.

Meanwhile, down in the Peoria area 18th district, we've got this clever graphic floating around...

This campaign broadside is in reference to the fact that the 27 year old Schock got President Bush himself to appear in Peoria at a fundraiser for his campaign.

As the Peoria Journal Star puts it in it's endorsement of Schock,
How many other 27-year-olds manage to get the leader of the free world in town for a fundraiser? President Bush's visit in July came with controversy about who should pick up the tab for local security, but Schock weathered that, too.

Bush's little visit for a money party cost local government $40,000 for security and all the numerous expenses associated with a presidential visit.

Did the federal governent pick up the cost? Nope. It was a political trip, so rightfully it shouldn't.

Then the Schock campaign obviously ponied up, right? Nope.

Schock left his local taxpayers on the hook for the $40,000, meaning that they had to pay tens of thousands of dollars in order for HIM to raise money for HIS political campaign.

Nice work if you can get it, eh?

Apparently to the PJ-Star, managing to survive a scandal makes you a qualified representive, leave aside the propriety of the issue.

Another blot on Schock's record is mentioned in the same piece:
Later questions were raised about Schock's role in helping his father attempt to set up a tax shelter seven years ago, when as a notary public Schock improperly backdated documents by 16 months. Schock described it as a "clerical error" and said his father did not profit from it. The Peoria County state's attorney's office chose not to pursue the matter, partly because the statute of limitations had expired.

Judging from the policy positions listed in the PJ-Star's endorsement, Schock is almost the reincarnation of failed and wrong-headed Bush policy. He apes the Bush approach right down the line.

Yet the Star manages to toss the many questionable marks against Schock, ignores his adherance to demonstrably wrong Bush policys, and endorses him anyway.

A damn weird way to justify an endorsement.

October 29, 2008

Carve the vote

Who said politics can't be fun?

I've been planning on carving an Obama logo on my pumpkin for several days now. (Really, I have!) Tonight I was going to try to find an Obama logo and trace it out and figure out how to transfer it to the pumpkin, and carve it so that it would be self-supporting and look half-way decent.

Then I was paging through the latest Newsweek and saw a tiny blurb about the "Yes We Carve!" website. Damn! Glad I found it before making a total wreck of both myself and a perfectly good pumpkin trying to do it on my own.

As you may have noticed, there's a little gizmo in the sidebar where you can click to go there.

What a great idea it is too. Users submit various templates and designs, some of them quite creative and clever, and you can then download a template of the design and use it to trace out the design on your pump type kin.

Aside from the usual gooey extravaganza of de-gutting the pumpkin and dealing with the seeds, and the mess, it looks like a fairly easy proposition to create a very nice little pumpkin with a positive message.

Not only does the site provide templates and many designs, they offer instructions and invite readers to submit pictures of their finished creations. It's a lot of fun to just browse through and see the many Obama supporters and their work, many of which are nothing short of amazing. (the scrape method is used to provide shading in amazing ways.)

Another cool feature is it allows you to set up and post announcements for B.Y.O.P. (bring your own pumpkin) parties so you can get together and have some pumpkin fun with like-minded folks.

Go check it out, and if you haven't already taken sharp object to your gourd, consider making a Obam-a-lantern this year.

It's fun with a purpose, and a great activity for any little people whose future, after all, this election is so much about.

Here's just a few samples... you really gotta go browse the pictures.

This guy had to use some sort of advanced carving/transfer method ... it's almost too good.

Love it!

And just how cool is THIS?!! They carved mirror image letters on the back of the pumpkin to project the date on the wall!

And this little girl did a pretty good job at making the Obama logo, don't you think? She's obviously proud.

Here's someone else that apparently supports Obama.

Another nice design.

Fun for the whole family...

And yes, that's carved into a pumpkin. Amazing how people can carefully scrape the pumpkin to various thicknesses to create the shading of the picture. (though they look really ugly when they're not lit up.)

Here's the unlit/lit version of one "Barack-o-lantern.

October 27, 2008

Are you "wealthy"?

The world got a revealing answer from Sen. John McCain on Sunday's "Meet the Press", though you could be forgiven for missing it.

It jumped right out at me.

Tom Brokaw, giving the equivelent of a big wet kiss of an interview with McCain, brought up the Palin shopping splurge, with the RNC spending $150,000 over the span of a few months on clothes for the Palins, (he left out the fact that Palin's Hollywood hairstylist was the highest paid member of the campaign, even more than the campaign managers, getting over $20,000 for a few weeks work.)

In response, McCain cocked his head and said earnestly, "Look, the Palins aren't wealthy.....", and went on to defend the crazy expenditure.

Well then, we now know that Sen. John McCain doesn't think a couple with a net worth of over $1 million is "wealthy". The Palin's income last year was near $250,000, a quarter of a million dollars.

Now there's nothing wrong with that, obviously. But really, divide your net income last year by the Palin's. How many times what you made did they make?

And to McCain, they're not wealthy at all.

If they made, say, FIVE TIMES what you made, then you could double, triple, quadruple, and quintuple your entire yearly income ... and STILL be considered kinda poor in McCain's book. At least not wealthy.

McCain has quipped before that his idea of being wealthy is anyone making more than $5 million a year. I don't think he was joking.

By the standards of those in the McCain's bracket, the Palin's are downright poverty striken.

This goes a ways towards explaining his frantic and angry denounciation of actually lowering the taxes of everyone making less than a quarter million a year while slightly raising the taxes of those who make several million.

McCain is just defending his base. Those who make more than $5 million a year.

Can anyone explain why misguided Republican die-hards, often making a tiny fraction of what the Palin's make and the exact people who would benefit from Obama's economic plan, are so rabid in their defense of the super-rich being able to enjoy favored status? Why they are so fixated on the idea of protecting the only class in America who have seen their incomes skyrocket over the past decade, while the rest of us have had wages stagnate and buying power plummet?

Yet there they are, railing about the evil Obama tax plan, arguing in favor of a plan that will tax them more and defending the very policies which have created the economic collapse which promises to get many times worse before it gets better.

More of the same. With the same disasterous results.

AND... how 'bout that Joe McCain, HENH! HENH!! HENHH!!

McCain's beligerant and hair-trigger brother (big surprise, huh?) thinks he's so damn important that he can call 911 and demand that they do something to get him through traffic faster, then when the police at the 911 center asks if he's calling the emergency service to complain about traffic, responds, "F*CK YOU!" and hangs up.

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Then when the 9-11 supervisor calls him back to repremand him for abusing the service and swearing at the officers, they get Joe McCain's answering machine saying he's busy with brother John's campaign.

But that's not all. McCain then calls back the supervisor to complain about them "reading me the riot act" and AGAIN starts to bitch about a traffic snarl!

Granted, you can't pick your family, but somehow it's not at all hard to see John McCain doing this if he weren't a prominent pol.

Arrogant. Belligerant, with a hair-trigger and uncontrolled anger.

October 24, 2008

Trib highlights unusual 17th district situation

The Chicago Tribune recently wrote this piece about our 17th District Congressional race, or rather the fact that there IS no 17th District Congressional race.

According to the Trib, only 5 other freshmen congressmen are running un-opposed in the entire country.


October 23, 2008

Will he make it??

Watching this clip, one wonders. Better get that Geritol I.V. going.

I know, we're all worn out just watching this crap, surely McCain's a bit "bushed", if you will, at this point. Hell, we all are. But before you're "ready on day one", you have to make it to day one. I think it's old John that needs a couple days in Hawaii more than Barack.

Items of note from the late campaign insanity....

- Someone needs to see if Joe Biden is drunk. I can't conceive of any other reason someone with his time in politics would make such collossally IDIOTIC mistakes and say such breathtakingly stupid things, all from the desire to convince people he knows things.

- Palin is more of a joke, and more of a mistake, than even Obama supporters could have hoped. Now it's revealed that the cash strapped Republican National Committee spent $150,000 bucks on clothes and baubles for her and her freaky family over just a couple months. This, by the way, is more than their new best friend, Joe the Plumber's ENTIRE HOUSE is worth.

Some Hockey Mom. Sure politicians are phonys, some more than others, but rarely do we get the rather nauseating experience of witnessing someone so blatantly and transparently phony and as big a fraud as the Palin spectacle. Are we lucky to have witnessed a new high in lows? Not really. It's just getting progressively more pathetic and sickening as they stumble to election day.

I predicted some months ago that if the election were to come down to Obama vs. McCain, we'd all get to see the true racism that inhabits the core of the Republican party come right out in broad daylight.

I was right. The "Obama Bucks" put out by Republican party officials in California was brought to light a few days ago, and it's but one example among many of racist Republican asshats across the land who have been so accustomed to the blatant racism among their party members that they do such things without even realizing just how repulsive and embarassing they are.

These squirely-birds, far from being "real Americans" or patriots, or the Godly chosen ones, they've tried so desperately and so long to convince themselves and others they are, are more un-American than any of their imaginary boogy-men, and about as far from having American "values" as anyone could possibly get.

They're an embarassment to all decent citizens, and we should be grateful that at least some of them are being exposed.

Something fishy in Peoria area Schock/Callahan race

The Peoria area race for Congress between Democrat Colleen Callahan and Republican Aaron Schock has been heating up the past few days.

As a letter to donors from the Durbin campaign puts it:
Contribute to Colleen Callahan today, and help expose "Backdate-gate!"

I am writing you this urgent appeal because I have nowhere else to turn.

There has been a game-changing development in an important Congressional race in downstate Illinois.

It's an open seat in Peoria, which is traditionally Republican.

The GOP nominee is a 27-year-old named Aaron Schock who has all the money he can spend. He shoots from the hip about sending nuclear weapons to Taiwan and his undying loyalty to George Bush's failed agenda.

Our Democratic nominee, Colleen Callahan, is a bright, engaging community leader who has spent 30 years in broadcast journalism covering a variety of issues and specializing in agriculture policy.

As a newcomer she has raised over $450,000, but Schock has swamped her with the help of national Republican sources.

Please make a contribution to Colleen Callahan's campaign today, and help her compete against her well-financed Republican opponent!

Last week there was a blockbuster story across Illinois that Schock had notarized fraudulent documents with false dates so that his father could be eligible for offshore tax shelters. The source of the story was Schock's own father in sworn testimony before a federal court. The damning testimony was buried in a court transcript but an Associated Press reporter dug it out, making statewide news.

Schock denied wrongdoing and said he saw nothing wrong with notarizing documents he knew were clearly fraudulent. A national notary expert quoted in the story said Schock clearly broke the law because "to backdate a document ... is illegal. You have to notarize for the current date."

Colleen Callahan's campaign has just produced a powerful new television ad to expose "Backdate-gate." But right now, Colleen has enough money to run this ad for only four days. She needs at least $10,000 from our community to deliver this important message to the voters through Election Day.

Please click here to watch Colleen Callahan's new ad, and make a contribution so she can keep it on the air through Election Day!

Schock's clear misconduct raises serious questions about his judgment. When the voters know the facts, Colleen Callahan can win.

Colleen is not only a good person, she brings the kind of mature judgment to this race that we need in Congress.

We need your help today.

If you can send Colleen's campaign $10, $100, or whatever you can afford, it can make the difference.

The election is only a few days away and your help can decide this critical contest.


Dick Durbin
U.S. Senator

In addition to the revelation that Schock committed "official misconduct" by
putting a false date on his father's overseas tax shelter documents, there is
potentially a larger issue looming: whether Mr. Schock will ever release his
tax returns for public viewing, a common move done by congressional candidates
and incumbents.

Callahan, who's running an uphill battle in a Republican district, has been
publically calling on Schock to release his tax returns. Rumors have been
floating around Peoria for months that the big loan listed on Schock's 2007
FEC report might have come from an area businessman. Now, that's just a
rumor, an allegation -- but it's been circulating for months. It's time Mr.
Schock release those tax returns so that voters have all the information they
need before they cast their votes on November 4. This issue is very relevant
to the campaign and to the voters, given the past behavior of Mr. Schock
(putting false dates on tax returns). I mean, are voters ready to elect him
to go to Washington and write and vote on tax policy?

Schock has the fundraising lead in this race, but look for this race to be
competitive on election day thanks to the tide of blue for Obama-Biden.

October 19, 2008

As campaign enters the stretch, Powell endorses Obama

In what was the most sought after, important, and most anticipated endorsement of this entire election year, Gen. Colin Powell today announced that he intends to vote for Sen. Barack Obama for President of the United states.

It's not as though Powell is your average politician. He is a veteran of a 35 year military career in which he rose to the rank of General, National Security Advisor to Ronald Reagan, Commander in Chief of the Army, promoted to a four-star General by George H.W. Bush, and the youngest ever to achieve the highest position in the Department of Defense, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He was appointed Secretary of State by George W. Bush, who later used, abused, and permanently stained his well-deserved reputation by trotting him out before the U.N. with dubious or outright false information to make their pitch for perhaps the worst foreign policy decision in our history.

Powell's endorsement carries the gravitas and seriousness that will undoubtedly go far in reassuring many people who may have been hesitant or unsure of Obama's suitableness for the office.

His endorsement also goes far in exploding the truly despicable and increasingly desperate "fear and smear" attempts by the Republicans to blatantly lie to and mislead the people they profess to care about with their ludicrous attempts to paint Obama as anti-American. This is so clearly harmful to our country in so many ways that it can no longer be excused by the fact it's being done on behalf of a political candidate.

The Republicans should be, and are being, held to account for it and repudiated at every chance. It's truly not Obama who's concern for the well-being of the country should be legitimately questioned, but McCain's.

Powell makes a very powerful statement against the anti-Muslim bigotry and fear-mongering openly displayed by the Republican party and the McCain campaign, a message long overdue and powerfully stated.

The following is a transcript of the portion of Powell's remarks in which he endorses Sen. Obama, taken immediately following their broadcast on "Meet the Press".

This "speech", if you will, should go a long way towards rehabilitating the sterling credibility and reputation of Powell before it was willfully and cynically squandered by Bush & Co.


Meet the Press
October 19th, 2008

BROKAW: General Powell, last year you gave a campaign contribution to Sen. McCain, you have met twice at least with Barack Obama, are you prepared to make a public declaration of which of these two candidates that you're prepared to support?

POWELL: Yes, but let me lead into it this way.

I know both of these individuals very well now. I've known John for 25 years, as your set-up said, and I've gotten to know Mr. Obama quite well over the past two years. Both of them are distinguished Americans who are patriotic, who are dedicated to the welfare of our country. Either one of them, I think, would be a good president.

I have said to Mr. McCain that I admire all he has done. I have some concerns about the direction that the (Republican) party has taken in recent years. It has moved more to the right than I would like to see it, but that's the choice the party makes.

And I've said to Mr. Obama, you have pass the test of do you have enough experience, and do you bring the judgement to the table that would give us confidence that you would be a good president.

And I have watched them over the past two years, frankly, and I've had this conversation with them.

I have especially watched over the last six or seven weeks as both of them have really taken a final exam with respect to this economic crisis that we are in, and coming out of the conventions. And I must say that I've gotten a good measure of both.

In the case of Mr. McCain, I found that he was a little unsure as to how to deal with the economic problems that we were having, and almost every day there was a different approach to the problem, and that concerned me. I got the sense that he didn't have a complete grasp of the economic problems that we had.

And I was also concerned at the selection of Gov. Palin. She's a very distinguished woman and she's to be admired, but at the same time, now that we have had a chance to watch her for some seven weeks, I don't believe she's ready to be President of the United States, which is the job of the Vice President. And so that raised some question in my mind as to the judgement that Sen. McCain made.

On the Obama side, I watched Mr. Obama, and I watched him during this seven week period. And he displayed a steadiness and intellectual curiosity, a depth of knowledge, and an approach to looking at problems like this, and picking a Vice President that I think is ready to be Vice President on day one. And also in not just jumping in and changing every day, but showing intellectual vigor. I think that he has a definitive way of doing business that would serve us well.

I also believe that on the Republican side over the last seven weeks, the approach of the Republican party and Sen. McCain have become narrower and narrower.

Mr. Obama at the same time has given us a more inclusive, broader reach into the needs and aspirations of our people. He's crossing lines. Ethnic lines, racial lines, generational lines. He's thinking about ALL villages have values, all towns have values, not just "small towns" have values.

And I've also been disappointed frankly by some of the approaches that Sen. McCain has taken recently, or his campaign has, on issues that are not really central to the issues that the American people are worried about.

This Bill Ayers situation that's been going on for weeks, became something of a central point of the campaign. But Mr. McCain says that he's a "washed up terrorist" - then why do we keep talking about it?

And why do we have these robo-calls going on around the country, trying to suggest that, because of this very, very limited that Sen. Obama has had with Mr. Ayers, that somehow Mr. Obama is tainted.

What they're trying to connect him to is some kind of terrorist feelings. And I think that's inappropriate.

No I know understand what politics is all about, I know how you can go after one another, and that's good. But I think this goes too far, and I think it has made the McCain campaign look a little narrow. It's not what the American people are looking for.

And I look at these kinds of approaches to the campaign, and they trouble me. And the (Republican) party has moved even further to the right, and Gov. Palin has indicated a further rightward shift. I would have difficulty with two more conservative appointments to the Supreme Court, but that's what we'd be looking at in a McCain administration.

I'm also troubled by, not what Sen. McCain says, but members of the (Republican) party say, and it is permitted to be said. Such things as, "Well you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim." Well, the correct answer is that he is not a Muslim, he's a Christian, he's always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, "What if he is?" Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer is NO, that's not America! Is there something wrong with some 7 year old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president?

Yet I have heard senior members of my own (Republican) party drop this suggestion, that he's a Muslim and he might be associated with terrorists - this is not the way we should be doing it in America.

I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery. And she had her head on the headstone of her son's grave.

And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards, purple heart, bronze star, showed that he died in Iraq. Gave his date of birth, date of death. He was 20 years old.

And then at the very top of the headstone, it didn't have a Christian cross, it didn't have a Star of David, it had a crescent and a star of the Islamic faith.

And his name was Kareem Mushad Sultan Khan, and he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was 14 years old at the time of 9-11, and he waited until he could go serve his country and he gave his life.

Now we have got to stop polarizing ourself in this way. And John McCain is as non-discriminatory as anyone I know, but I'm troubled about the fact that within the (Republican) party we have these kinds of expressions.

So when I look at all of this, and I think back to my Army career, we've got two individuals, either one of them could be a good president. But which is the president that we need now? Which is the individual who best serves the needs of the nation for the next period of time?

And I come to the conclusion, that because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he is reaching out all across America, because of who he is and his rhetorical abilities, and we have to take that into account, as well as his substance, he has both style and substance, he has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president.

I think he is a transformational figure. He is a new generation coming on to the world stage, on to the American stage, and for that reason, I'll be voting for Senator Barack Obama.


By stating his beliefs, Powell has ensured that the Republicans will instantly transform him from hero of the Bush administration, American military patriot, and icon of supposed Republican "inclusiveness", to nothing more than just another black guy, someone who favors Obama simply because of his race. From hero to zero. And they'll do it with a straight, if snarling, face.

In fact, that's probably the reason Powell recognizes how we simply can't stand more of their style of reckless rigidly ideological, and harmful, fundamentalism across the board.

Brokaw realized that the Republicans would predictably try to ascribe Powell's endorsement to his race, to which Powell responded that if it was only a matter of race, he could have made this endorsement several months ago, but he chose to observe the candidates and weigh his choice and only arrived at his decision a month ago.

Brokaw lied and repeated the Republican talking point that Bill Ayers had said in a book published on 9-11 that he regretted that he "didn't bomb more".

Brokaw should know better, and he's obviously just as uninformed as many people on this.

They try to make it sound as though, immediately after the attack on 9-11, this guy Ayers had come out and said he wished he had "bombed more".

Wow. That makes a nice story. Makes the guy sound absolutely soulless and like a monster.

But it's a total fabrication and designed to deceive.

Ayers had written a book, and indeed, it came out the very day of the 9-11 attacks.

In an interview about the book published on 9-11 in the NYT, Ayers is quoted as saying, "I don't regret setting bombs," Bill Ayers said. "I feel we didn't do enough." Ayers has since said that he was not referring to doing more bombing, but simply that they didn't achieve their goals and therefore he wishes they'd done more to bring about an end to the Vietnam war, bring about social justice, etc.

It's only the Republicans, and now Brokaw and the others who repeat it, that have conveniently bastardized the quote and his stated meaning into Ayers saying he wished he had "bombed more".

(As an aside, Ayer's father was chief executive officer of Commonwealth Edison of Chicago and chairman of Northwestern University and of the Chicago Symphony. Not exactly middle class. His father was also a leader in race relations and was picked to serve as a mediator between Mayor Richard Daley and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1966 when King marched in Cicero, Ill., to protest housing segregation.)

I'm not so sure you can safely assume that Ayers meant her regretted not doing more bombing. And the attempt to tie Ayers to 9-11 simply because an interview happened to be published on that date is obviously stupid and deceptive. It would only take a moment's thought to realize that anything said in an interview published on 9-11 was obviously said BEFORE the attack occur ed. But here again, truth and the McCain campaign only have a glancing relationship.

Powell responded to the continuation of this non-sense by stating that what Ayers did 40 years ago was "despicable", but when on to say that still talking about it today is likewise despicable and nothing but demagoguery.

Powell said he didn't intend to campaign for Obama, and when asked whether he'd like a position in an Obama administration, said he didn't have any desire to return to government service, but of course he would listen to the President were he to request his services, but left it clear that he would prefer not to be asked.

It should come as no surprise that this decorated public servent who has served with such distinction at many of the highest positions in the military and government would realize that Americans have a clear choice this time around, and the choice is equally clear as to who represents the direction forward, and who represents more of the same failed way of thinking and way of approaching the world.

October 18, 2008

Down the tubes

Not to mention the sewage coming out of Palin and other McCain surrogate's mouth, the crazy robo-calls, and endless falsehoods. They need Roto-rooter, not Joe the Plumber.

Fact: Joe the plumber has no plans to buy his bosses business as McCain claimed.
Fact: Joe the plumber doesn't hold a plumber's license as required in Ohio.
Fact: Joe the plumber said he'd be making over $250,000 if he bought the business.
Fact: His boss's business actually makes less than half that amount and would benefit from Obama's tax plan, not be taxed more.

October 16, 2008

A quick video review of the McCain/Obama debate

Did he actually say, "My Friends"?

Sen. McCain? Viagra ad agency on line two...

How 'bout the last debate?

Like Bob Dole, whom McCain increasingly seems to be morphing into, it's clearly time that McCain ought to be lining up a deal pitching Viagra on TV for some post election cash.

A few (quick) observations and comments...

- Thanks to McCain's goofy pander, Joe the Plumber is probably better known than John the Baptist. (It is now emerging that the actual Joe the Plumber isn't even a licensed plumber, but an apprentice. John McCain also mangled his name during the debate.)

- Right when Obama's halting, flat droning had gotten to the near-comatose stage near the end, and when he's supposedly trying to "connect" with Joe Sixpack or Joe the Plumber, or whoever, he actually used the word, "primacy" in noting the historical link between nations economic health and military power.

- John McCain is toast.

- It's a miracle McCain has lasted as long as he has without suffering a major stroke or heart attack in view of his barely being able to control his obvious seething anger and frustration. To those who watched CNN which provided a split screen of the two candidates, McCain looked as though he was undergoing a spastic episode of weird twitches, frantic and ceaseless eye batting, grimaces, eye-rolling, arched eyebrows, clenched jaws, glares and creepy rigid grins, usually at completely inappropriate moments. (Not to mention long, loud sniffs and what sounds like denture whistles when he speaks.)

Worst and most disgusting moment- John McCain, in trying to dodge the issue of the hate and violent anger his campaign has whipped up by constantly painting Obama as some sort of radical terrorist threat to the very existence of America, instead suddenly tried to turn it around and blame Obama. McCain went into a long and incredibly sappy spiel where he mentioned WWII vets of every stripe, and everything but Mom, Apple Pie, and Baseball, before defending the people who show up at his rallies despite the fact that NO ONE HAD ATTACKED THEM in the slightest.

Unless he was stating his immense pride in the very freaks who shout "Terrorist!", "Kill him!", "Marxist!" and "Traitor!" repeatedly at their rallies. As usual with McCain, his utterances often seem incomprehensible upon the slightest examination. This was no different.

But when confronted with the ugliness and irresponsible message his campaign has spewed, McCain cowardly and dishonestly tried to once again fool the stupid by suggesting that the complaints and warnings were nothing but attacks on "good patriotic Americans".

In a word, pathetic. Right up there with the rest, like trying to earnestly insist that he was referring to the sainted American worker when he said the "fundamentals" of our economy are strong.

-Joe the Plumber meet John the Dumber.

McCain showed how low he's willing to sink when he stated that a group submitting false voter REGISTRATION forms was, get this, "destroying the fabric of democracy".

My God! Destroying democracy itself!!!?? That's really serious! Man the barricades!

The McCain campaign's bedrock core belief is that Americans are essentially the mental equivalent of first graders.

This ACORN issue is so utterly phony that it insults every American. ACORN, a community organizing outfit who is paid to register voters, does so by hiring people, many who are the unemployed, or homeless. They try to help out those who need a little income by hiring them to go out and register new voters.

Of course, to ensure they're doing the job, they establish a minimum number of new registrations that a person has to get before they can get paid. There's no other way to ensure that ACORN won't be paying people for doing nothing.

They hire THOUSANDS of people to do this work. Some who don't want to do the work instead resort to filling out made up names on the applications in order to get paid.

Is this really a big shock? No.

ACORN by law has to submit the phony apps, even when they themselves find most of them and point them out to government officials when they turn them in.

In short, it's a big NOTHING. The phony apps are tossed, and life goes on.

This does not, and CAN NOT have anything to do with actual vote fraud.

If some goof turns in a registration form in the name of Mickey Mouse or Paris Hilton, there is no way Mickey or Paris are going to then show up and try to vote, and neither are any of the other phony names on these bogus forms.

Obama has represented ACORN along with the Justice Dept. in a lawsuit forcing the state of Illinois to comply with motor voter laws. They've had no involvement with the Obama presidential campaign whatsoever, as the campaign itself has it's own massive and effective voter registration operation.

McCain knows this, as any reasonably intelligent Schnauzer would, yet there he sits, seemingly in the advanced stages of rigor mortis except for the strained facial expressions, solemnly suggesting with a straight face that this routine and utterly unsurprising and inconsequential fact means that Obama himself is involved in voter fraud most foul, MOST FOUL I TELL'S YA!!!

McCain trusts that you, my friend, are an utter fool.

- McCain mocks the idea of the "health" of the mother in allowing emergency abortions.

- McCain rails against "Class warfare" and "spreading the wealth around" in the face of the middle class collapsing while millionaires and billionaires who've had the rules rigged allowing them to rake in obscene profits while paying no taxes and having literally no government oversight which would have prevented the worst looting of the economy during the past 8 years. Good luck with that, Mac.

McCain thumbs his nose at anyone who isn't wealthy enough to start their own business and make more than a quarter million a year in personal income, and yells about allowing billionaires to keep every dime they've stolen or accumulated due to policies skewed entirely in their direction. He's such a rigid ideologue that he'd rather the middle class become extinct and literally be thrown out of their homes than to ask that those who have seen their incomes double, triple, or quadruple over the past 8 years to actually pitch in a little towards the good of the country.

What a patriot.

The bottom line is that McCain is obviously EXACTLY the kind of Republican ideologue who hews to failed and dumb ideas and theories even as he stands right in the middle of the wreckage they've created. McCain last night was angrily arguing exactly for more of the same, even as he tried, and failed, to argue he, rather than Obama, represented real change. But the word just doesn't fit well in his mouth.

Most people see this clearly, even if they don't consciously realize it.

And unless you're Joe the Plumber and more concerned with making a few extra thousand dollars over saving the country from the disastrous course it's on, it's plain which candidate represents "Change", and which is arguing for following the same failed ideological course that got us in this mess to begin with.

What did you think? Can you list all the demonstrable lies and distortions pedaled by the Lizard King?

Finally, as an aside, consider this fact: There has not been a winning Republican Presidential ticket since 1928 (Hoover) that did not include Richard Nixon or one of the Bush's.

Astounding. Maybe that's the problem?)

October 14, 2008

Thanks to McCain campaign, local fundy ingnoramus gets noticed

Hey boys and girls! Another local figure has managed to make the Countdown "Worst Person in the World" list. And not just as a runner up, but as THE Worst Person in the World! That's no mean feat. **

I saw a piece live-blogging about this event the day of the McCain rally in Davenport but haven't had a chance to get anything up about it. Plus, it was just so disturbingly idiotic that I almost didn't want to even think about it again.

But Keith Olberman came through and recogized true "worstness" when he saw it.

Listen to the Rev. Arnie Conrad of the Evangelical Free Church as he tells God to man-up.

"I would also pray, Lord, that your reputation is involved in all that happens between now and November, because there are millions of people around this world praying to their god - whether it’s Hindu, Buddha, Allah - that his opponent wins, for a variety of reasons,” Conrad said.

“And Lord, I pray that you would guard your own reputation, because they’re going to think that their god is bigger than you, if that happens. So I pray that you will step forward and honor your own name with all that happens between now and Election Day.”

** You may recall that another religiously insane fruitbat made the "Worst" list when he drove around several states looking for an abortion clinic to target before deciding to drive his car into a woman's health clinic in Davenport and then try to set it on fire.

Only one tiny problem. The place he demolished doesn't perform abortions.

Palin' it like it is

Last week's so-called town-hall event showed Sen. John McCain to be someone suffering from an increasingly obvious and embarrassing deficit, both cognitive and physical. And the only public events that have so far featured his absurd choice of running mate have shown her to be a deceiving and unscrupulous woman utterly unversed in any of the needful political discourses but easily trained to utter preposterous lies and to appeal to the basest element of her audience.

McCain occasionally remembers to stress matters like honor and to disown innuendoes and slanders, but this only makes him look both more senile and more cynical, since it cannot (can it?) be other than his wish and design that he has engaged a deputy who does the innuendoes and slanders for him.

Whew! Now that's some writin', as Palin might say. Talk about taking the hide off someone. And the fact it's entirely true adds to the power.

I'm not sure, but I don't think Chris Hitchens is too fond of the Hokey Mom.

The most insulting thing that a politician can do is to compel you to ask yourself: "What does he take me for?" Precisely this question is provoked by the selection of Gov. Sarah Palin. I wrote not long ago that it was not right to condescend to her just because of her provincial roots or her piety, let alone her slight flirtatiousness, but really her conduct since then has been a national disgrace. It turns out that none of her early claims to political courage was founded in fact, and it further turns out that some of the untested rumors about her—her vindictiveness in local quarrels, her bizarre religious and political affiliations—were very well-founded, indeed. Moreover, given the nasty and lowly task of stirring up the whack-job fringe of the party's right wing and of recycling patent falsehoods about Obama's position on Afghanistan, she has drawn upon the only talent that she apparently possesses.

Bonus: The line of the day: Richard Lewis, "Wasilla??!? I thought that was a yeast infection I got at Ohio State!"

Don't know much about geography...

Ah, those brainiac graphic artists over at MSNBC.

Rachel Maddow was talking about how the McCain campaign is sinking so fast that they've had to spend their time trying to hold on to states that went solidly Republican last time around.

"On Saturday, Sen. McCain campaigned in Davenport, Ia, today the McCain Palin ticket campaigned in the states of Virginia and North Carolina, and Gov. Palin will reportedly make a trip to the red, red state of Indiana.", reported the lovely and talented Ms. Maddow.

Now bear in mind that this isn't some Junior Achievement project. This isn't even the local morning show. This is network cable, viewed by literally millions of viewers. They hire people that know their stuff, right?

Here's the graphic.

Seriously. Just how ignorant does a person have to be to make this mistake? There are literally hundreds of thousands of 5 year olds who know better.

October 11, 2008

The tragedy of John McCain

I almost felt sorry for John McCain yesterday.

But then I regained my senses.

Doris Kearns Goodwin, appearing on a cable news show yesterday to discuss the appeal to human ugliness that has increasingly defined the McCain campaign, recalled an Adlai Stevenson quote which fit the situation brilliantly:
"The hardest thing about any political campaign is how to win without proving that you are unworthy of winning."

McCain is obviously failing at this goal.

The poor guy was finally forced to re-discoved some sense of dignity and honor when many of his lunatic followers actually voiced the very lies and distorted ideas that the his own campaign had consciously labored so hard and so long to establish.

So there was McCain, looking like a too-tightly wrapped mummy, forced out of sheer embarassment to defend his opponent when a couple of the his faithful expressed the beliefs that McCain himself had been hoping to plant.

And as if that weren't pathetic enough, these hate-filled lemmings actually BOOED him for daring to suggest that Obama isn't the jihadist radical threat that they've been told he is, but rather a normal, decent, person with which McCain has strong differences of opinion.

They're knee deep in hate and loving it, and damn it, they're pissed at anyone who tries to take that away from them, even if it's their own freaking candidate.

Truly amazing.

But it couldn't happen to a nicer guy. Sometimes you reap what you sow.

On the edge

Nothing like a trek around Pallisades State Park near Savannah, IL to get your heart racing. Just hope the rock holds.

In view of the worsening financial crash, there may be some who seek out such spots in the near future. After all, sky scrapers don't have the old sash windows anymore. Hope not.

Explored the park yesterday and it was a wonderful day. I couldn't stop marvelling at how in the hell they'd ever managed to grade and pave the incredibly steep roads to the summits along the bluff, and run fresh water and electricity up there as well. A really remarkable achievement, as were all of the incredible park projects first undertaken under the WPA and CCC of the New Deal.

Their work can still be seen, including the lodges at Black Hawk and Starved Rock, White Pines, Perre Marquette, and many other state parks.

Interestingly enough, while researching the role of the CCC program in Illinois State Parks, I came across a DNR page on the topic which begins:
Although the Emergency Conservation Work Program popularly known as the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) started in 1933, the events that led to its formation started in the 1920s and culminated in the Great Depression of 1929- circa 1942. The "Roaring '20s" were years of tremendous prosperity for a small segment of society. Technological advances made possible production increases of about 32%, resulting in a flood of goods on the market and increased profit for factory owners. Unfortunately, the same period saw wage increases of only 8% for the average worker. The technological advances meant that as many as 200,000 workers lost their jobs to automatic or semiautomatic machinery. While the well-to-do were increasingly speculating on the stock market, the other three-quarters of the population were spending practically their entire salary on goods and services. Food, radios, clothes, and cars were increasingly being bought on credit, the workers "banking" on the continuity of their jobs. Indeed about 80% of Americans had no savings at all, while the elite 0.1% held over one-third of all savings and paid less and less taxes.

Sound familiar? Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

The fact that government was far-sighted enough to preserve such glorious areas of nature and make them available to all citizens is all the more precious in light of the fact that park budgets are proposed to be slashed and are usually the first to fall in tight economic times.

But on the right day, at the right time, you can lay on your back in the midst of a tall stand of pines and peer into the infinite blue sky and for a moment, you could be back in simpler times... if it wasn't for high-tech jetliners burning thousands of gallons of fuel an hour leaving their artificial clouds as tracers across the blue.

And you see some funny things in the woods.

Like these fungi poking out of a hole where a tree limb once was. They reminded me of some sort of George Jetson condos.

Sadly, all the trees of this type were dead or dying. Unfortunately, I'm not sure what kind of tree they are, but they have very rough and deeply creased bark. And every single one of them were being killed or dead, likely from some sort of parasite. It was a bit sad to walk along and see all the rest of the trees doing well, but only one species being utterly wiped out for some reason. And they were some of the biggest, oldest, and tallest trees in the woods.

It may be related to this huge "infection" on one of these trees. I think they call it a gall.

But life easily appaears to outweigh death in the woods. These brilliant red berrys were like little lights among the green. There's a little bug going about his business too. (as with all pics, click to enlarge)

We'd taken the trip hoping to see some fall colors, but we were a little early. But, see, all was not lost.

Can you spot the beaver lodge out in the water lily field?

October 9, 2008

Hip Hip Hussein!

I'm not a political consultant and I rarely, if ever, offer advise here to any candidates. I certainly wouldn't expect anyone on the Obama campaign to hear, much less follow, anything I'd suggest.

But I'm going to break precedence and offer the Obama campaign a suggestion that I truly wish they'd try.

The Republican candidate's campaign has suddenly erupted with local shills at campaign events snarling Obama's full name, Barack Hussein Obama, as though they were hissing "Lee Harvey Oswald", only with more contempt and hatred.

Of course it's a truly loathsome and just plain pitiful attempt to give the rubes just enough suggestions to let them fill in the blanks with every spooky unhinged fear rattling around in their cavernous fact-free heads.

Obama has been taking a beating with this and losing a lot of these "low information" voters (as the pundits now refer to the reality challenged delusional Republican right) to the myth that Obama, that scary negro, is a secret Muslim, a radical, a black supremacist out to destroy the white man, and an ally of terrorists everywhere.

This is particularly bizarre when you consider that these mullet-headed faux patriots support a candidate named John Sidney McCain the Third. (now THERE'S a Joe Sixpack name for ya, gosh darn it.) Though truth be told, I think they're more united by their quaking fear of a person who's even part black being President than they are in their support of McCain. They truly could not possibly care less about his stances on the issues, his history, (other than the "hero" myth) or anything else about him aside from the fact he's white like them.

This explains why they flock to hear the mindless ideologue Palin and her cavelcade of hate and fear, and then start to stream out of the venue as soon as McCain starts to speak.

Yet maddeningly, the Obama campaign plays right into this, and amplifies and increases the negative power of using his own name against him. Obama and his campaign running away from his middle name and complaining that anyone who mentions it is being offensive is wrong. Here's a few reasons.

First, it's as though Obama is ashamed of his own middle name. Not good. How can you respect someone who acts as though the name his parents gave him is something to hide, an insult, and something which must not be uttered?

Second, by running from it, they are tacitly proclaiming that being of the Muslim faith is somehow wrong and offensive. It's political correctness run amok, trying to hide a legitimate middle name that he should be proud and unashamed of, simply because they fear Obama might be considered a Muslim. This, obviously, is insulting to Muslims. Obama should not be contributing to this ignorance and religious intolerance.

Thirdly, the right wing troglodytes are using his middle name as a bludgeon and they've beat the daylights out of him with it for months if not years now. It's become a hateful epithet,loaded with delusional negative inferences only limited to the depths of the paranoid imagination of thousands of enraged (and racist) Republican moonbats across the country.

But there is a way to take that bludgeon away from them entirely. There's a way to sap the name of all it's meaning. It would be easy to rob them of this crazy insult and take away the negative power it now has, and not only that, but it's the right and honorable thing to do.

Obama needs to do the honest thing and NOT BE ASHAMED OF IT OR RUN AWAY FROM IT at all, and instead say the name Hussein as often as possible. The more you repeat a word, the more you drain it of it's loaded meaning.

By the mere act of trying to keep it under wraps and accusing those who dare utter it of being offensive, they're only ADDING to it's negative power.

Use it freely. Use it often. Hell, joke about it. And it will leave the bullet-headed clods at a loss.

If the Obama campaign used it often, use it proudly, fearlessly, and without reservation, and showed clearly that there's no shame whatsoever attached to it, it would leave the Republican crazies flummoxed and baffled, and completely unarmed.

Not only that, but it would demonstrate to the millions of Muslim Americans and everyone else that he's neither ashamed of his own name, nor is he afraid to risk being thought to be a Muslim by some racist nimrods, and that being a Muslim is, in and of itself, not a bad thing, nothing evil, and certainly nothing to be ashamed of.

Obama should embrace his given name and he and his campaign should say it out loud as often as they can. At every campaign appearance, whatever local dignitary or party official introduces him should say, "And now it gives me great pleasure to introduce to you, the next President of the United States, Barack HUSSEIN OBAMA!!!! (wild cheers).

It would leave Republican blow-hards frustrated and completely rob them of one of their most cherished dim-witted and idiotic attacks.

The best way to rob a word of it's power is to simply use it until it loses all power.

There's my advice. No charge. Just maybe let me catch a lift on Air Force One?

Politics first, America second

Tom Friedman in the Times:
Criticizing Sarah Palin is truly shooting fish in a barrel. But given the huge attention she is getting, you can’t just ignore what she has to say. And there was one thing she said in the debate with Joe Biden that really sticks in my craw. It was when she turned to Biden and declared: “You said recently that higher taxes or asking for higher taxes or paying higher taxes is patriotic. In the middle class of America, which is where Todd and I have been all of our lives, that’s not patriotic.”

What an awful statement. Palin defended the government’s $700 billion rescue plan. She defended the surge in Iraq, where her own son is now serving. She defended sending more troops to Afghanistan. And yet, at the same time, she declared that Americans who pay their fair share of taxes to support all those government-led endeavors should not be considered patriotic.

I only wish she had been asked: “Governor Palin, if paying taxes is not considered patriotic in your neighborhood, who is going to pay for the body armor that will protect your son in Iraq? Who is going to pay for the bailout you endorsed? If it isn’t from tax revenues, there are only two ways to pay for those big projects — printing more money or borrowing more money. Do you think borrowing money from China is more patriotic than raising it in taxes from Americans?” That is not putting America first. That is selling America first.


And what about the many, many, too many casual lies dropping off the tongues of McCain and Sarah Palin? The disingenuous and irresponsibly inflamatory deceptions?

The unprecidented spectacle of the wife of a candidate stepping forward to take a cheap shot at an opponent, such as Cindy "the Trophy" McCain did recently in trying to suggest that Barack Obama PERSONALLY is responsible for putting her son at more risk as he serves in the military (because he voted against some multi-billion dollar authorization for the war.)

She said it sent a chill down her spine to think of this apparently deeply anti-American act. "I would suggest that Sen. Obama change shoes with me for just one day." said Miss Cindy, conjuring up the decidedly bizarre image of Obama in one of her dozens of pairs of $750 designer heels. (Or her wearing some black wing-tips.)

This even though Obama voted against it because it didn't include any provision for a timetable to begin to withdraw troops from Iraq, and not telling the rubes that HER OWN HUSBAND voted AGAINST a similar bill because the bill DID include a schedule to begin drawing down troop numbers.

Accusing Obama of "paling around with "domestic terrorists" (a phrase which I figured would immediately make some men to say, "Obama's paling around with my wife??!)

That's stupid talk, out of a desperate desire to get people to "look over there!" and take their eyes and their minds off the real problems the next President will have to address and their proposals to do so.

Obama, to hear them tell it, was thick as theives with Bill Ayers, a guy who formed a seminal and important protest group during the 60's. He was accused, but never convicted, of planting bombs at government buildings, all in protest of the Vietnam War.

Bad stuff. Not too productive to say the least.

Obama was 5 years old and about 2000 miles away at the time this happened. Yet Palin is convincing what the press has now politely dubbed "low information voters", in other words, uninformed and unintelligent Republicans, that Obama lit the fuse to the bombs.

The reality? (not that they care.) Ayers went on to hold the title of Distinguished Professor in the College of Education at the University of Illinois and established himself as a valuable civic minded citizen who Chicago Mayor Richard Daley Jr. praises for his contributions to Chicago, which awarded Ayers the "Citizen of the Year" award in 1997 for his years of work on reforming Chicago's education system.

He happened to live near Obama. They were both INVITED to serve on the board of a charitable organization founded by the Annenbergs, a decidedly conservative Republican billionaire couple, for the purpose of reforming and improving Chicago's failing school system.

So they served on the same board, which as you know, is not exactly like the weekly poker club. These people barely get to know each other, and only attend infrequent board meetings together.

Later, an Illinois state senator named Alice Palmer was retiring. Obama had finally decided to enter politics and was going to run for Palmer's seat. Palmer did the ordinary thing, and introduced Obama to some of the more prominent and politically active residents of her district, which is perfectly ordinary. In doing so, she introduced him to Ayers and his wife. The civically prominent Ayers saw something in Obama and was willing to pitch in when the relative unknown decided to launch his race for state senate. He, like many people, decided to host a small fundraiser at his home.

This event probably lasted an entire 3 to 4 hours, IF that.

After that, the two may have spoken occasionally, but Ayers never played a role in advising Obama nor did he hold any position in any Obama campaign.

Obama has denounced Ayers actions of 4 decades ago.

Now Palin and McCain are trying to describe this as "paling around with a "domestic terrorist", and saying Obama, "launched his career in the living room of a "domestic terrorist".


Then apparently, the Annenbergs, pals of McCain and stauch conservatives, must be even more suspicious, since they not only "palled around with" but INVITED "domestic terrorist" Bill Ayers to serve on the board of their foundation's organization.

And hosting one of dozens of informal fund-raising events at his home suddenly sounds like Obama is some secret robot-like creation of the fiendish Bill Ayers. That Ayers "launched" Obama's career and therefore, it's suggested to the rubes, must be the evil American hating evil-doer behind the scenes secretly pulling the strings for every move Obama makes. A vote for Obama is a vote for a "domestic terrorist."

Which is of course, so preposterous that only a right wing loon would fall for it.

But there's millions of right wing loons. And many are truly unhinged and well armed.

Which makes it all the more anti-American, reckless and deeply irresponsible and unethical for Palin and McCain to feed such bullshit to these nut-cases, who truly feel, thanks to such things being pumped into them from the right constantly, that Obama actually represents a dire threat to this nation's very survival.

This of course is a psychological outlet for the seething racism that many Republicans embrace. Intertwine that racism with the assurances from Palin and McCain, the message that, yes, you're very right to feel Obama is some mysterious and very dangerous threat to America! Yes, all your deranged fantasys are probably true.

They give permission to the insane, they confirm for the delusional their worst fears of a black man as president. "TERRORIST!!" they shout at McCain events, "TRAITOR!!!", even, "KILL HIM!!" has been heard and reported shouted in response to Palin's cutesy and crazy accusations against Obama.

When these dangerous kooks are out there thinking that they, like John Wilkes Booth, would go down in history as saving the country from certain doom by doing harm to Obama, and Palin and McCain, far from discouraging them or sternly admonishing them not to, only throw gasoline on the fire of their paranoid delusions, what share of the responsibility will rightly fall on their shoulders should the unthinkable acutually occur?

And how much further will they go down this truly anti-American road as they see themselves losing this race? To what extremes will they go to frighten the easily frightened? How much further will they go to encourage and abet the raving fear, paranoia, and racism of many of their most ardent supporters?

Is this what the thoroughly dishonorable John McCain means by putting "Country First"?

October 8, 2008

Who won? THAT one.

John McCain is a cranky, mean-spirited, frustrated and very angry man. He really should relax before something bursts.

Between referring to the person both he and Bush seem to think actually runs our military policy lock, stock, and barrel, Gen. Petreaus, as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (he's not, and never has been.) and his decidedly cringy attempts at lame humor, to his baffling flashes of anger, the really low and bizarre stab at mocking Joe Biden's hair implants, (To this point, none of the dozens of pundits and others have managed to connect the dots on this remark, instead assuming it was just a typical inexplicably odd McCain crack.), to his weird announcement of a new policy goal to buy out the worst morgages of the most risky lendees, even though that very thing is part of the bail-out bill just passed, (Maybe he didn't read this version either.), to his de-humanizing and offensive and just plain out-of-it reference to the next President of the United States as, "that one", John McCain proved once again that he doesn't see America like you and I.

No, he thinks what will get voters hot are references to sending Marines to Lebanon, Bosnia, the first Gulf War, Teddy Roosevelt, (whom he knew personally), and the Crimean War. Well, I made that last one up. But you get the picture. Forward looking he's not.

The entire spectacle was bizarre, up to and including McCain wandering in front of Tom Brokaw's camera shot after the debate to his avoiding shaking Obama's hand even when it was extended to him, and then clearing out as fast as he could while the Obama's spent nearly an hour meeting the people in the hall.

Things look grim for the grim looking guy.

Maybe he regrets not winking a few times at the camera.

Instead, he radiated anger.

I was flipping around in the recording of the debate and came to a spot where McCain looked like he was ready to deck someone. What the heck was that about, I wondered?

I backed up a little and found out he was answering a guy in the audience who had asked him, "Yes. Sen. McCain, how will all the recent economic stress affect our nation's ability to act as a peacemaker in the world?"

As McCain answered, something apparently caused him to get visibly angry at this mild-mannered looking guy. Why? I have no earthly idea. Maybe because he actually dared to suggest that the U.S. could do something to promote peace instead of endless war and constant militarism? That's my guess. Maybe he assumed that uttering the word "peace" made the guy an Obama fan? Who knows?

McCain's answer ended with, "Sen. Obama was wrong about Iraq and the surge. He was wrong about Russia when they committed aggression against Georgia. And in his short career, he does not understand our national security challenges.

We don't have time for on-the-job training, my friends."

I did a quick and dirty recording, just shooting the TV screen. The sound is faint, but just look at McCain's face and tell me that's not the face of anger and agression. Very weird.

Combine that with the dozens of other instances of him really losing his temper and lashing out reflexively in the past, and, well, it's McCain, not Obama, who's not fit to become President.

October 4, 2008

Fraud? You betcha!

What's this country coming to when a major candidate for vice president flatly states that she's not going to bother answering the questions put to her at a debate held to allow the public to judge her fitness for office, why bother having any press or debates or other public forums at all?

Have we officially gotten to the point where a candidate is picked and they blatantly set out to manufacture a persona and history and story line with only a vague connection to reality and fact? Where they brow-beat the press so badly that they're afraid of stating the obvious or even asking any questions which a candidate has to be asked?

When skills more suited to a contestant on the Dating Game are somehow said to prove a candidate's fitness for the second most powerful office in the world?

Have we all literally been brainwashed? What happened to our common sense?

Sarah Palin is a train-wreck. In a sane country, she'd be seen as the utter embarassment that she is viewed as by the rest of the world, who aren't bamboozled by relentless spin and pure B.S.

Not only have people gotten so dangerously off-base that they're literally supporting a candidate because they think she's "hot", but precisely because she's so obviously and completely ignorant.

A large number of otherwise sane people truly argue that they like Palin because she's essentially stupid. They use numerous code words and phrases, such as "hockey mom" or "Joe Six-pack" or an "outsider", but the truth beneath all that hooey is that they're saying that they view the fact that she's as incapable and ignorant of the world we live in as they are. And these Republican voters, rather than being ashamed to admit such a unpatriotic and bizarre view, seem to revel in it.

No one who has listened and watched Palin's performance since her reckless pick by McCain thinks that she's truly able to lead this country through perilous and quite dangerous times. Sure, they'll lie their asses off and say so, using every bizarre and delusional argument in the book, but even the reasons and arguments they concoct are clearly hogwash. (Alaska is close to Russia, leader of the Alaska National Guard, and on and on.) None of it proves her capable in the slightest.

So let's move beyond the experience question. How about just watching her think on her feet. That's a pretty good way to guage a candidate.

There too, she's an utter disaster. An embarrassing, cringe inducing mess that is so clearly out of her league and devoid of even the basest knowledge of the world she would be dealing with as V.P. that decent people can't bear to even watch as she displays her un-hinged attempts to play the part she's told to play and makes an utter fool out of herself in the process.

She's a B-string TV news reader, pumped full of lines and then shoved out on stage.

And the lines she regurgitated during the debate were almost entirely flat wrong or outright lies, doggone it! (WINK!)

I've got other matters to attend to, but I invite you to list the lies, falsehoods, and things she got wrong. The list is long.

Here's a few really inexcusable Palin lies to get you started (from ABC news)

-Bankruptcy Law

BIDEN: "We should be allowing bankruptcy courts to be able to readjust, not just the interest rate you are paying on your mortgage to be able to stay in your home, but in -- be able to adjust the principal that you owe, the principal that that you owe. That would keep people in their homes; actually help banks by keeping them from going under. But John McCain, as I understand it -- I'm not sure of this, but I believe John McCain and the governor don't support that….

GWEN IFILL: Gov. Palin, is that so?

PALIN: That is not so.

FACT: The Senate has voted only once this year on legislation that would change bankruptcy laws to help distressed homeowners. John McCain was absent for that vote. Contrary to what Palin says, the McCain campaign acknowledges that he does not support those changes to bankruptcy laws.

-Palin on Troop Levels in Iraq

During an exchange on Iraq, Palin erroneously claimed the United States is down to presurge levels in Iraq. Palin said, "We have got to win Iraq. And with the surge that has worked we're now down to presurge numbers in Iraq. That's where we could be." Palin is incorrect.

FACT: The Alaska governor is wrong because the number of troops on the ground is still higher and the number of combat brigades is the same as at the start of the surge in January 2007, according to Pentagon figures. Iraq troop levels before the surge were at 133,500. While U.S. troop levels in Iraq have been in the 142,000 range recently, today they are at around 150,000 because of an ongoing troop rotation.

-Obama's Voting Record on Taxes

Palin argued that Obama has voted to increase taxes 94 times. Palin said, "Barack had 94 opportunities to side on the people's side and reduce taxes and 94 times he voted to increase taxes or not support a tax reduction. Ninety-four times."

FACT: That's a wildly inflated number Palin threw out; the actual number is closer to half that.

Hell, you can just go to FactCheck.org and see a list of all the false statements by Palin and a few relatively mild errors by Biden.

The right wingers cheers and whoop because their candidate put on a ridiculously phoney act. She may have been wrong and lying more often than not, but they don't care. Palin didn't cause the moderator to end the debate out of simple human compassion, and that's a victory.

Good for them. She made it through. She put on a good act, it's true. She didn't fall apart, though in order to get through the debate, she disturbingly and habitually refused to answer anything which she wasn't scripted, and would lurch suddenly back to some topic for which she had some material memorized.

That's not a strong candidate by any stretch of the imagination. There's been no perceptible bump in the polling showing Obama pulling away from McCain. I'm proud that polling has shown that a clear majority of Americans didn't fall for the act of someone who is quite possibly the biggest fraud ever perpetrated on the American public.

What did you feel were some of the more freaky and disturbing aspects of Palin's performance?