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Thursday, July 9th, 2009
10:45 am - Wailin' Palin Quits Again
Ed Brayton has this post discussing reactions and analyses of Sarah "Bible Spice" Palin's sudden and disorganized resignation as Governor of Alaska. (Her resignation speech is here. It's so badly written, so incoherent, and so transparently infantile and dishonest that I found it physically painful to read.)

In the comments section, I found this well-written and brilliant analysis by a commenter named "ice9," which I reprint here in full with his/her permission, with only minor edits: (emphasis added) HereCollapse )

And here's another comment from one of Ed's readers:

Last Line EPIC Fail: It was NOT McArthur [who] said "we're not retreating, just advancing in another direction" - it was Marine Gen. Oliver P Smith.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_P._Smith

A perfect ending for Sarah Stupid


And here's a post by Andrew Sullivan, linking to his previous reporting of Sarah Palin's numerous lies.

And just in case there were still any doubts about how laughably thin-skinned and cowardly intestinally challenged Palin and her supporters are, here's a letter from Palin's lawyer, released the day after her resignation speech, threatening to sue anyone who dares to talk about possible investigations of criminal conduct on Palin's part. It's perfectly okay for Palin to accuse Obama of "palling around with terrorists," but mentioning that Palin might someday be charged with a crime is actionable. Got it?

These people aren't just hypocritical and irresponsible; they're downright infantile, possibly to the point of making Michael Jackson look mature, needle-tracks and all. (Hey, at least MJ was actually still working when he died.) And speaking of infantile, check out peaceful_fox's notes on those delightful "Tea Parties" showing the world what "Real America" is all about.

UPDATE: Joan Walsh of Salon has an article about Bible Spice's latest lies about those pesky ethics complaints that alllegedly cost Alaska millions of dollars. Hint: they cost less than $300K, and they weren't orchestrated by Democrats.

current mood: Reality bites at last!

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Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009
3:43 pm - Obama Statement on Iran, and Other Bits of News
Here's President Obama's statement on recent developments in Iran, as prepared for delivery ans passed on by Salon War Room: Behind the CutCollapse )

I am especially pleased by his mention of the practice of "using old tensions to scapegoat other countries." There's been a lot of that coming out of the Middle East since the 1970s, and it's only made things worse, for both the locals and the rest of the world. It doesn't do much good when it comes from America's radical right either.

Other news, trickling out of places like this, indicate not only evidence of ballot-box-stuffing (as in, more votes counted in a district than voters residing in that district), but indications that at least a few of Iran's mullahs are taking the side of Mousavi and the protesters:

What can be confirmed is that the Council of Combatant Clerics – which includes in its members Rafsanjani and Nateq Noori – have backed the protesters. Khamanei is going to lead Friday prayers in Tehran. If there was a speech, we'll have a translation availble here within the hour.

The time they are a-changin'. Or at least getting crazy.

current mood: curious

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Tuesday, June 9th, 2009
11:30 am - Our Hollywood Moment...Okay, It's More of an Ellicott City Moment...
Last Sunday morning, my partner and I got an unpaid gig as extras in a low-budget "Firefly" fanfic/spinoff titled Browncoats: Redemption. I have no idea what the plot is, other than the scene we were "in," in which the owner of a ship makes a typically dodgy deal with the kind of typically dodgy character who appears and drives most of the conflicts in the original series. Here's a quote from director Mike Dougherty, from the above Web site:

We got tired of complaining we weren’t going to see anything more from the ‘verse and went off and made our own. We got Joss Whedon’s blessing, created new characters, and set them in the world left in the wake of the events caused by the crew of Firefly at the end of the film.

The movie is scheduled for a 2010 release. Look for a cafe with bits of decadent-Chinese-looking decor, and me (in a brown suit, red shirt and William Morris tie), my partner (in a really cool-looking black jacket with red, orange and yellow embroidery), and two other guys smoking a hookah and drinking alien umbrella-drinks just to the left of the main action. Maybe you'll see us, maybe there's another couple of extras at a table in front of us, blocking your view of us (damn them, can't they see we're better dressed?!), or maybe the whole scene will end up on the cutting room floor. Hopefully they'll have decent CGI of smoke coming out of our mouths (we couldn't actually smoke anything because the scene was filmed in a non-smoking cafe). You'll never know until you pay for a ticket, which is okay, since it's all being done to raise money for the following organizations:

Equality Now
Kids Need to Read
The Dysliexia Foundation
The Al Wooten Jr. Heritage Center
Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation

(For more information, go to the above URL and click on "Our Charities.")

And best of all, our fifteen minutes of fame are yet to come! Don't blink or you'll miss 'em.

current mood: ACTING!!

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Monday, June 8th, 2009
11:08 am - Angels and Demons and Agnostic Harvard Symbologists, Oh My!
Okay, I finally saw Angels and Demons, the sequel to The DaVinci Code, in which Symbology Professor Robert Langton (Tom Hanks) is once again called upon to solve a problem for the Vatican using clues that were literally under their noses the whole time, but that they couldn't do anything with because they'd forgotten 90% of their own organizational history, and were doctrinally bound to ignore the other 9%. I suppose Langton could have told his reluctant-but-admiring clients something like "Guys, your own libraries, archives and museums are right next door, why do you have to fly me here from Boston?" Or he could have got all Kanye West and just said "Homeys, this shit is basic!" But that would mean there would be no movie, and no hilariously implusible chase scenes through the Vespa-clogged romantic cobblestone streets of Rome; so off we go once again to give our tourists more cool places to look for the next time they go to Rome. And besides, Langton is a slut for a good symbol-chase and the Church has become a slut for Langton. And let's face it, we, the American movie-watching public, are sluts for action movies that take place in scenic places like Rome. (If Rick Steves wants to make his travel videos more popular, he needs to put more chase scenes and gunfire into them. Just grab a hot local babe, grab a taxi, and force your wife to hire a local PI and chase you at a high speed past whatever monument, museum or other point-of-interest you want to show us. But I digress...)

The movie begins with all of Christendom mourning the death of a "progressive Pope," and right away I'm rolling my eyes and yearning for the believability of a Bourne movie. And it only gets worse from there. Yes, there is a Large Hadron Collider; yes, it's in Switzerland; and yes, there was some controversy about the alleged theoretical danger involved in its activities. But no, they were not trying to create antimatter and store it in a magnetic containment field; nor would this have anything to do with "new energy sources," for obvious reasons; nor, to my knowledge at least, is antimatter considered particularly crucial to understanding the "moment of creation."

And no, the magnetic field required to contain any significant quantity of antimatter cannot be generated by a device that can fit in a backpack. And no, a battery that can fit in your pocket would not be sufficient to power such a force-field for one second, let alone a day. (Although it would have been absolutely hilarious to see Langton and his hot -- excuse me, "high energy" -- particle-physicist partner leading some spiffily-dressed Italian cops on yet another chase to find a drugstore in central Rome that was open late and had the right size of battery to power an antimatter containment field. Good luck explaining that to a Sikh pharmacist. I hope those coantinment fields don't need size "C" batteries -- they're hard as Hell to find, especially during severe weather when people need them to power radios and the Illuminati are conspiring to keep them off the shelves long enough to blow up the Vatican.)

And no, there's no generation-spanning secret society called the Illuminati. That Order was founded in the eighteenth century, and busted not long afterword by the Church and secular authorities, along with its founder Adam Weisshaupt. And if you're living in the present day, and you're dumb enough to imagine/create/join/revive such a "secret society," and think you're doing something significant, then you're too dumb to infiltrate the Vatican hierarchy. Just join the damn Church and pretend to be a cleric; don't mess it all up by pretending to be part of an ancient global conspiracy pretending to be clerics.

And no, there's no way in Hell anyone, or any group for that matter, can kidnap four Cardinals from the most secure parts of the Vatican, imprison them, brand them, and then set them up for elaborate executions in public places all over Rome (even public places closed for renovation) without being caught long before they complete the setup. That kind of thing only happens in stoopid horror movies like Untraceable.

And yet, after the first three-fourths of the movie takes us deeper and deeper into the realm of total impalusible nonsensical bollocks, there's a not-quite-predictable plot-twist that suddenly causes the basic story to make sense. Not the antimatter or Illuminati bits, of course, but the basic conflict between two warring mindsets, both of which turn out to have been horribly misrepresented, and not without any fault of their own, either. I won't add any spoilers this time. Go see this movie. You'll only regret it up until the end.

This movie is much better put together than The DaVinci Code -- which (like the book) was, let's face it, an idea-film first, with a totally ridiculous religio-historical detective story cobbled up to provide "action." This time, people who get paid to write action stories are in the game, and have given us a much more plausible story to follow, without the encumbrance of ideas and insights that, brilliant though they may be, just don't work that well on the big screen. Oh, and the scriptwriters don't have to make up some new fake-techno-jargon "solution" at the very end to get themselves out of the corner they wrote themselves into.

current mood: The pre-movie hookah helped...

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Thursday, December 4th, 2008
9:11 am - Useful Quote about Reason and Dogma
Rereading an old Time magazine article about Pope Benedict XVI's admiration for America (04/14/08), I stumbled on this very interesting quote:

As Roberto Fontolan, the Vatican-savvy spokesman for the lay group Communion and Liberation, puts it, "Let's not talk about dogma, or whether my God is better than your God. Let's talk about reason that we both have as a gift from God. What does it tell us?"

Those of us who insist that human reason should always be overruled by a rigidly-consistent application of our holy texts and dogmas, need to be reminded that, if we are created by our Gods, then our Gods created us with brains; and it seems reasonable to conclude that our Gods expect us to use the gifts they gave us.

Just sayin'...

current mood: Use the lemons too!

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Wednesday, November 19th, 2008
12:38 pm - Rambling about Clinton, the Bailout, and Some Other Stuff
Overall, I'm pleased, so far, at the direction the Obama team are taking since the election. However...Collapse )

On a lighter note, the votes are in from my "What should I name after Barack Obama?" poll: 5 votes for "civilian orbital station," and one vote each for "civilian self-governing ship," "mostly independent city-state," and "interstellar battleship or trop-carrier." While I did not consider myself bound by the poll results, I do think that in this case, the majority voted for the most sensible option. If I named a ship or interstellar battleship after Obama, then his name would be linked with what that ship does, and/or who commands it; and that would end up making an implied statement about Obama that I might not want to make, or even realize I was making. Naming a city-state after Obama would pose a similar problem: the name would be linked to events in the city, the ruling party and ideology, and its overall climate and character.

Naming an orbital station after Obama, I've concluded, poses no such problem: it's a generic public facility, ubiquitous and non-controversial, like an airport, open to just about everyone who wants to use it, and its management have little or no direct connection to the actions of those who lawfully use it. And there would be large numbers of such stations wherever humans live, so sooner or later, someone would decide to name one after a long-dead head of state who had made history and earned admiration in his time, without having to worry or care what that head of state had actually done.

So thanks for the good ideas, everyone.

UPDATE: The bailout plan, he no looka so good. Apparently no one thinks it's a great idea, and everyone's looking for a way to blame everyone else for its failure. And then there's this gem of win from the GOP:

The White House and congressional Republicans instead called on Democrats to sign on to a GOP plan to divert a $25 billion loan program created by Congress in September — designed to help the companies develop more fuel-efficient vehicles — to meet the auto giants' immediate financial needs.

Right -- we should nix a plan to help automakers do the right thing, for themselves and for their country, and just use the money for short-term pain-avoidance instead. What else could we have expected from a party whose immediate response to 9/11 was to tell us to go on a mindless shopping binge? George W. Bush is just as stupid and infantile as he was in 2000.

current mood: cheerful

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Thursday, November 6th, 2008
4:26 pm - More Comments on Palin's Know-Nothingism
Here are two reader reactions to the Huffington Post article about Sarah Palin's ever-more-obvious idiocy that I thought worth passing on:

We now know thanks to fox news (how ironic is that??) the reason Palin is so anti-intellectual. She just does not understand what that word means. I have a special needs nephew. He is such a cutie who happens to have Downs. When Palin gave that speech about helping special needs children and how imporant it was to her, I was about to to actually support her on this issue. Then she made the comments about how stupid it was to pay for fruit fly research, instead of helping special needs children. The study of fruit flies has done two huge things for special needs kids. First they helped us map DNA. Second they have found a compound that should help with autism from the fruit fly. This lack of knowledge about something she claimed to love, scared me. It also scared me about how much damage this woman could do, if actually allowed any power...

...and...

I would like to take a little different path on all this. It is easy for everyone, including me, to take shots at this pathetically incompetent woman. I think it is equally important to give a huge shout out to American women, and their ability to reject the "role model" that the Republicans so cynically tried to create in Palin. My 87 year old mother, who has voted Republican in every race since she became of age, voted for Obama. Her role in life, like so many of her generation, was to be a mother and steward of her family's needs. She is not particularly well versed in political matters, and many would consider her quite simple. Sarah Palin, however, set off a an instinctual alarm in her mind, and she told me "There's just something not right about that woman." Hooray for women's intuition and nurturing instincts. I hope this doesn't sound sexist, but the I believe the smartest among us are often women who have lived life at its most basic and meaningful level. There are so many capable and deserving female candidates out there, including Hillary, and maybe my Mom won't live to see one get elected. But it is just another sign of how out of touch McCain was, when he thought this nitwit from the frozen tundra would capture the vote of intelligent and caring women that populate our country. Way to go, Mom, your son is so proud of you!!

I am in complete agreement with the last comment. I can't claim to understand "what women want," or who "represents" "American womanhood;" but I can say with some certainty that there are millions of ordinary women, liberal and conservative, feminist and traditionalist, of varying degrees of intelligence, who work hard all their lives because a) they can't get away with pretending to understand what they clearly do not; b) they can't shield themselves from accountability or hide behind pouting complaints of "meanness" or "sexism;" c) they don't have a phalanx of religious bigots and phony witch-hunters to coddle and protect them from the consequences of their own actions; d) no one lets them just ignore rules and break laws at their own convenience; and e) they value education, whether or not they got one themselves, because it's the only way they and their children can get better jobs to support themselves. Sarah Palin does not represent those hard-working women, and she probably never will.

current mood: She's kidding, right?

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11:25 am - On a Lighter Note -- My First LJ Poll
A few months ago, I promised myself that if Barack Obama won this election, I would name something after him in a science-fiction novel I'm currently writing.

Here's the background: this story takes place at an undetermined time in the future -- I'm guessing about a thousand years, long enough for humans to spread across hundreds of solar-systems and make contact with about five other sentient species (and war with one). All of the action takes place on a planet that's exactly like the Earth, except for the fact that there's no land above water; there are mountains and valleys, high plateaus and lowlands, but it's all covered by ocean and polar ice-caps. The humans build their city-states on top of mountains, and are having disputes with each other and with the sentient creatures native to this planet, whose technology is rapidly becoming the equal of the humans', and who are trying to regulate human activity and prevent it from damaging their own environment.

So my question for you is:

Poll #1292508 Barack Obama Namesake Poll
Open to: All, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 8

What should I name after Barack Obama?

View Answers
A civilian Self-Governing Ship?
1 (12.5%)
A naval ship or submarine?
0 (0.0%)
A (mostly independent) City-State?
1 (12.5%)
A civilian orbital station?
5 (62.5%)
An interstellar battleship or troop-carrier?
1 (12.5%)


Votes and comments appreciated.

current mood: Eet ees art, I say!

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10:58 am - Sarah Palin's Wardrobe and Other Malfunctions -- It's Worse Than We Knew
Now that the various factions of the Republican Party have started the long and painful process of blaming each other for their recent stunning nationwide defeat, their wall of secrecy and obfuscation is starting to crumble, and at least a little of what they've worked so hard to keep under wraps is now becoming visible. If this process continues for the next four years, and spreads into more important areas of national policy, that alone will justify Obama's election.

This article in the Huffington Post strongly implies that Sarah Palin is not only ignorant (that's "ignorant" as in "ignoring," not just "uninformed"), but uneducable as well:

However, perhaps one of the most astounding and previously unknown tidbits about Sarah Palin has to do with her already dubious grasp of geography. [Oh, and apparently she herself never actually saw Russia from Alaska. In fact, she's never even seen the part of Alaska from which you can see Russia.] According to Fox News Chief Political Correspondent Carl Cameron, there was great concern within the McCain campaign that Palin lacked "a degree of knowledgeability necessary to be a running mate, a vice president, a heartbeat away from the presidency," in part because she didn't know which countries were in NAFTA, and she "didn't understand that Africa was a continent, rather than a series, a country just in itself."

Palin was apparently a nightmare for her campaign staff to deal with. She refused preparation help for her interview with Katie Couric and then blamed her staff, specifically Nicole Wallace, when the interview was panned as a disaster. After the Couric interview, Fox News reported, Palin turned nasty with her staff and began to accuse them of mishandling her. Palin would view press clippings of herself in the morning and throw "tantrums" over the negative coverage. There were times when she would be so nasty and angry that her staff was reduced to tears.


Ignorance, lack of curiosity, refusal to learn, lack of humility, and refusal to accept any personal responsibility: perfect qualities for a Christian-Reich Republican (or Alaska pseudo-secessionist); but not such great qualities for a Vice President, or even a county trash collector.

Seriously, I really didn't think it possible to remain that stupid beyond the age of, say, fifteen. One can get a better grasp of geography merely by passively listening to other people over a period of years, without making any effort of one's own. I knew Africa was a continent long before I actually cared about it. To remain as steadfastly stupid as Palin is would require, not just lack of effort, but concerted effort to avoid exposure to facts.

And John McCain wanted to put her one heartbeat away from the Oval Office? That's an act of disloyalty that makes "Hanoi Jane" look like a war-hero. No wonder al Qaeda wanted him to win.

It's starting to look like Ann Coulter has competition.

UPDATE: Oh, look, we're starting to get more details (from Newsweek, passed on by Ed Brayton) about Palin's wardrobe malfunction:

...One senior aide said that Nicolle Wallace had told Palin to buy three suits for the convention and hire a stylist. But instead, the vice presidential nominee began buying for herself and her family -- clothes and accessories from top stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus.

According to two knowledgeable sources, a vast majority of the clothes were bought by a wealthy donor, who was shocked when he got the bill. Palin also used low-level staffers to buy some of the clothes on their credit cards. The McCain campaign found out last week when the aides sought reimbursement. One aide estimated that she spent "tens of thousands" more than the reported $150,000, and that $20,000 to $40,000 went to buy clothes for her husband. Some articles of clothing have apparently been lost. An angry aide characterized the shopping spree as "Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast," and said the truth will eventually come out when the Republican Party audits its books.


And she still can't look as good as Michelle Obama? I guess that's to be expected from a Republican Party that promised to balance the Federal budget and delivered record-breaking deficits under three of their Presidents.

current mood: R U Kidding Me?

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Wednesday, November 5th, 2008
10:33 am - HOLY FUCKING SHIT WE WON!! Now What?
Well, it seems the year that began with acorn jello and "Dads in Drag for Hannah Montana," has ended with the election of Barack Obama, by an electoral landslide (and more than 50% of the popular vote).

And no, "first black President" does not really describe the significance of what just happened. Barack Obama was not just a dark-skinned man fighting the usual skin-color prejudice: he is also a man of mixed race and non-European ancestry, with the distinctly enemy-sounding name of Barack Hussein Obama, fighting against cultural prejudice and xenophobia (most recently, and shamelessly, voiced by Mike Huckabee warning against the encroachment of foreign ideas); and also a man with a non-right-wing-evangelical religious and moral grounding fighting against a narrow and increasingly intolerant and anti-rational religious right. Obama's decisive victory is a blow, not just against what we loosely call "racism," but against the entire tide of unilateralism, exceptionalism, and mindless xenophobia that the Republicans have been riding since 9/11; and against that tired old picture of "Real Down-Home America" as a nation of small towns, smiling white faces, no use for education, and practically nothing else.

(And if anyone doubts the impact of race as an issue in this election, just note the lack of a single non-white face in McCain's audience last night.)

And check this out: Obama carried NORTH CAROLINA, if only by a hair. Somewhere in the Afterworld, the slaves who dug the foundations of the original White House are rubbing Jesse Helms' face in this fact. He also carried Virginia, which makes me proud of my state for once. We're conservative, not insane. It should be remembered that this is the state in which Thomas Jefferson passed the Statute for Religious Freedom.

As others have already pointed out, John McCain gave a gracious concession speech; and it was exceedingly decent of him to mention Obama's recently-deceased grandmother. I only laughed once, when McCain sang Sarah Palin's praises; then did a bit of a double-take when, after the speech, McCain hugged Palin, shook Todd's hand, then walked past his own wife, then gave her a quick hug in an apparent afterthought.

Here's something else I noticed: when McCain mentioned Obama's name to his own supporters, there were boos, and McCain had to try to shut them up so he could finish his speech with a little dignity; but when Obama mentioned McCain's name to HIS supporters, there were loud and sincere-sounding cheers. To me, that gives a small hint of the cultural divide President Obama will have to bridge in the coming years.

I'll be writing more, hopefully today, but I need to take a shower and clean up after last night's dinner. Hello to all my friends in Europe (I can see you from my house!) -- hope you're feeling as good as I am! I'll be feeling even happier when I'm done just feeling relieved that my country made the right decision. Hell, my flu/bronchitis/thingie even seems to be going away, at least so far. IT'S A MIRACLE! OBAMA IS A GOD!! Maybe...

PS: Here's some photos of reactions around the world. Our guys in Afghanistan don't look all that exuberant, but hey, maybe they're just tired.

current mood: Obamaniacal

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Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008
2:47 pm - Al Qaeda Endorsing McCain?
From the Washington Post (free subscription may be required):

Al-Qaeda is watching the U.S. stock market's downward slide with something akin to jubilation, with its leaders hailing the financial crisis as a vindication of its strategy of crippling America's economy through endless, costly foreign wars against Islamist insurgents.

And at least some of its supporters think Sen. John McCain is the presidential candidate best suited to continue that trend.


Because he voted with George W. Bush 90% of the time.

"Al-Qaeda will have to support McCain in the coming election," said a commentary posted Monday on the extremist Web site al-Hesbah, which is closely linked to the terrorist group. It said the Arizona Republican would continue the "failing march of his predecessor," President Bush.

Okay, let's hear Sarah Palin and John McSame bullshit their way out of this one. After all the disgraceful "terrist-loving-traitor" smears the dumbass tin-soldier-wannabee radical right have levelled at us "leftists," this development really needs to be discussed.

This would be absolutely hilarious if the damage to our country weren't so absolutely real.

But beyond the dark humor lie several very serious points that we have to consider:

First, "the terrorists" -- specifically, radical intolerant Islamists who want to replace democratic secular values with those of the Taliban -- have not "succeeded" because of their own actions; yes, they killed a lot of people in one day, but that killing did not damage our economy, our military power, our standing and reputation in the world, or our ability to get things done. Most of the sibsequent harm to our country as a whole has come, not from any terrorists' actions, but from our own government's reckless and shortsighted response to them. And now al Qaeda are returning that favor by endorsing the one candidate who seems most likely to continue those self-destructive policies: Republican John McCain.

Second, the Islamists' main objective vis a vis the US is to isolate us from the rest of the world and discredit both our country and the values we represent, values which threaten to undermine the power of religious absolutists and tyrants. And the Republicans -- specifically, Bush Jr., with lockstep support from McCain and the rest of his party -- have embarked on policies that have accomplished exactly what our enemies wanted to accomplish: starting a useless and wasteful war that even our closest allies could not support; losing the war most of the world did support; dividing Americans against ourselves by questioning the loyalty of their critics; reverting to barbaric torture that even Communist Vietnam gave up long ago; undermining our own people's rights on our own soil; politicizing our own law-enforcement apparatus to the point where no one trusts them anymore; allowing the richest Americans to avoid paying for the policies their own party supports; destroying the reputation of our most heroic fighters for shortsighted political purposes; and inching closer every month to the very sort of theocracy our enemies want to impose on the world.

Third, as former general and Secretary of State Colin Powell has clearly reminded us, Barack Obama has proven himself intelligent, curious, flexible and adaptable enough to be a far more effective leader for America than either Bush Jr. or McSame; and that makes him a greater threat to al Qaeda and their objectives than McSame will ever be. McCain can brag all he wants about strength, toughness and resolve; but it is Obama's decency, flexibility and common sense that will make America a stronger nation, a more sensible coalition-builder, and a more effective player on the world stage. I have no doubt that al Qaeda and their allies understand this, and are eager, perhaps desperate, to ensure, by any means at their disposal, that Obama loses, and McCain -- and his bigoted theocratic supporters -- get four more years to do the Islamists' work for them.

It is a very real possibility that the Islamists will try to stage a serious terrorist incident prior to our election (as they did, to great effect, in Spain), in order to create a climate of panic that may cause American voters to reject a new direction for ourselves. And if Obama does indeed win the presidency, it is also a possibility that they will use more such incidents to undermine his authority and credibility (with or without support from bigots at home). This is precisely the pattern they have followed in Israel: when Israelis elect a moderate, such as Rabin or Barak, who tries to reach out and deal sensibly with the Palestinians, they have responded, not with reciprocal peacemaking action, but with more violence; which than causes Israeli voters to replace the moderate with an extremist such as Sharon or Netenyahu, who then continues the cycle of attack and revenge that keeps the terrorists in business.

We know what is right for our country. And we need to anticipate the possibility of terrorist intervention, and not let it cause us to lose sight of our vital interests. Those Americans who have already died in this struggle, and those who may well die in the future, would surely not want their deaths to be used as weapons against their own country and values.

current mood: Zey are so predictable...

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Thursday, October 16th, 2008
12:09 pm - Rambling about the Last Debate
I have to confess I have come away from the last Presidential debate just feeling relieved that Obama didn't blow his lead.

In all previous election years, I have never anticipated a televized debate with much emotion at all. I simply didn't consider them important, because a) the Democrat was gonna lose anyway, and/or b) the Republican wasn't that bad. This year, however, neither of those conditions hold true: a) the Democrat really can win (but he can still also lose), and b) the Republicans -- both the candidates and the party -- are so much worse than before that I find their victory to be, quite literally, unthinkable. Thus, I anticipated every one of this year's debates with actual gut-level dread, and saw them through to the finish with growing relief as Obama kept on handling himself better than McCain, and better than all previous Democratic contenders put together. (If he had used the word "lockbox" even once, I probably would have shot myself.) Obama will not be a perfect President, and probably not even a great one, but at least he has shown the ability, and the willingness, to explain semi-complicated concepts in terms ordinary Americans can understand; and clearly and steadily to debunk multiple empty Republican talking-points almost as fast as the Republican could spew them out.

I know I'm not the only Obama-supporter saying "Obama shoulda hit harder on [insert pet issue here]!" But we need to remember that Obama, being black and all, had far less leeway to go on the attack than a just political climate would give him. He did, to his credit, brush aside McCain's attacks with his usual calm demeanor, and without losing his stride or getting defensive: not only refuting them (and pointing out their hypocricy), but making them sound as small, mean and irrelevant as they really were, and portraying himself as the grownup guy who sticks to the important stuff. The swiftboaters will still go on the attack, of course (all together now: "ACORN-Ayers-Wright-Jackson-bitter-Muslim-madrassa-atheist-elitist-furriner-why-aren't-the-left-wing-media-listening-WAAAAH!"), but Obama's performance last night made them a little less effective.

I am also pleased, again (if somewhat bored), to hear Obama articulately debunking standard Republican talking-points, particularly on domestic oil drilling. At a time when fear makes people susceptible to demagoguery, scapegoating and the mirage of easy answers, voters need to be reminded that, for example, a) US oil companies already have leases on large offshore oil fields, and haven't touched any of it; b) whatever oil we drill for won't actually be available for at least five years, if not twelve; and c) America consumes about 25% of the world's oil and produces only 3% of it. Sometimes it sounded downright sad to hear McCain repeat an old talking-point right after Obama had refuted it.

I will, however, point out two instances where Obama should indeed have moved in for a righteous kill, and could have done so without falling into the aforementioned trap.

The first was on the subject of education, where Obama should have said something along the lines of: "Republicans keep on talking out of both ends of their asses mouths on education: they vote against improving our public schools every chance they get, then they cry the blues about how bad our public schools are and how we need vouchers so parents can choose private schools instead. Instead of spending money on vouchers, why not spend it making public schools better so parents won't want to run away from them? Instead of talking about 'competition' and 'choice,' why not focus on making our public schools more competitive, something parents would actually choose?"

And the second missed opportunity was on the subject of running-mate qualifications, where Obama should have asked: "Mr. McCain, of all the millions of Republicans in this huge country of ours, is Sarah Palin REALLY the most qualified running-mate you could find? What makes her better than Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, or any of a huge number of Republican governors, Congresspersons and mayors?" and then just let McCain squirm his way through a rationalization that would have forced him to belittle most of his fellow Republicans. Obama would not have had to say "Sarah Palin is a bigoted stupid cow!" (that's my line); he only had to let sensible Republicans know he feels their pain at being insulted by McCain's inexplicable "choice" of a running-mate.

I was also kinda disappointed that Obama didn't finish the debate by asking, Reagan-style, "Are you better off than you were eight years ago?" But what the hey, he did at least hint at that question sometime.

current mood: guardedly optimistic

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Wednesday, October 15th, 2008
4:02 pm - Speaking of McCain's Terrorist Chums...
I totally forgot to add this bit about the head of McCain's transition team:

William Timmons, the Washington lobbyist who John McCain has named to head his presidential transition team, aided an influence effort on behalf of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to ease international sanctions against his regime.

And why would a good conservative lobbyist work for an enemy of the United States? For a piece of the action, of course:

During the same period beginning in 1992, Timmons worked closely with the two lobbyists, Samir Vincent and Tongsun Park, on a previously unreported prospective deal with the Iraqis in which they hoped to be awarded a contract to purchase and resell Iraqi oil. Timmons, Vincent, and Park stood to share at least $45 million if the business deal went through.

Timmons' activities occurred in the years following the first Gulf War, when Washington considered Iraq to be a rogue enemy state and a sponsor of terrorism. His dealings on behalf of the deceased Iraqi leader stand in stark contrast to the views his current employer held at the time.


And if McCain gets elected, this amoral hack will be heading up the team helping him transition into his new job. What would the current President's daddy say?

current mood: amused

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1:14 pm - John McCain and His Terrorist Chums
Well, I guess McSame won't be mentioning Obama's connection with Ayers in tonight's debate -- because now we're finding McCain also has a connection with Ayers. He also has connections to anti-Castro terrorists too -- people who, unlike Ayers, have actually caused injury to other people.

Not only that, but McCain advisor Charlie Black is connected to Rev. Sun Myung Moon.

Oh, and according to this Newsweek article, the Troopergate investigation isn't over yet...

While Palin had the right to fire Monegan, Branchflower found that she allowed her husband and top aides to put "impermissible pressure" on subordinates to "advance a personal agenda." The report also questioned Palin's public contention that her family "feared" Wooten, noting that shortly after she took office she ordered a sizable reduction in her personal protection detail.

So Sarah Palin is starting to look like a bully, a bitch, AND a paranoid crybaby. And this is really the best Republican John McCain could have picked to be his Vice President?

Seriously, I'd like to ask my Republican readers -- yes ALL THREE of you -- this question: of all the MILLIONS of Republicans in this huge country of ours, is Sarah Palin really the most qualified to be McCain's running mate?

You say she's qualified because she was mayor of a town? Big deal -- what about Rudy Giuliani, who was mayor of a town I'd HEARD OF before, and who, as mayor, was directly involved in the initial response to 9/11 (which didn't even touch Alaska)? What makes Palin more qualified than Giuliani? (And don't say "lipstick" -- they both wore it.)

You say she's a Governor of a State? Big deal -- so are/were George Allen (VA) Jim Gilmore (VA), Mitt Romney (MA), Bobby Jindahl (LA), Jeb Bush (FL), and right-wing evangelical Christian Mike Huckabee (AR). And those are just the examples I remembered in haste in the last five minutes. There are FIFTY states in this Union, so there have to be more Republican Governors than this Reagan Democrat can remember. What makes Sarah Palin more qualified than all of those Governors?

You say she's an evangelical Christian who can "energize" the "base?" Big deal -- what about Mike Huckabee, who I've already mentioned as a Governor, and who should therefore qualify as a "twofer?" Since when was he not "Christian" enough, or qualified enough, to serve as McCain's VP?

You say she's a woman? Big deal -- what about Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Elizabeth Dole, Ellen Sauerbrey, Linda Chavez, Bay Buchanan, or even Plyllis Shlafly? All of these women have been engaged with national and international issues LONG before Sarah Palin became a Governor; and as much as I may despise all of them, at least they could have come up with better qualifications than "I can see [the least inhabited part of] Russia from my house."

Unless you guys can come up with a better answer to my question, I'll stick to my most educated guess: today's Republican Party is controlled by uncaring, ignorant, unscrupulous, bigoted fanatics who not only don't have any use for intellect and experience, but actively fear and despise it. And it is these dangerous, unpatriotic extremists who chose Palin, and foisted their choice off on poor John McCain, without even giving him time to ask any questions. And these loonies are -- SURPRISE!! -- attracting more loonies.

And you know something? Sarah Palin may not even be doing that good a job energizing the "base."

current mood: What, cat got your tongue?

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Friday, October 10th, 2008
3:46 pm - Quick Quote of Obama's Response to the McSame/Flailin Hate Campaign
From Talking Points Memo:

It's easy to rile up a crowd by stoking anger and division. But that's not what we need right now in the United States. The times are too serious. The challenges are too great. The American people aren't looking for someone who can divide this country -- they're looking for someone who will lead it. We're in a serious crisis -- now, more than ever, it is time to put country ahead of politics. Now, more than ever, it is time to bring change to Washington so that it works for the people of this country that we love.

I know my opponent is worried about his campaign. But that's not what I'm concerned about. I'm thinking about the Americans losing their jobs, and their homes, and their life savings. We can't afford four more years of the economic theory that says we should give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else...


It's nice to have a Democrat who actually responds to the bigotry of the Christian Reich. Even some conservatives agree.

current mood: determined

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Tuesday, October 7th, 2008
3:44 pm - Why does Sarah Palin Hate America So Much?
Y'know, I'm bored with talking about Barack Obama's allegedly anti-American chums. There's just not that much to talk about, as many Republicans discovered earlier this year (and now seem determined to forget). So I think I'll just turn the page on all that and talk about Sarah Palin's anti-American chums instead...

From this Salon article:

Oct. 7, 2008 | "My government is my worst enemy. I'm going to fight them with any means at hand."

This was former revolutionary terrorist Bill Ayers back in his old Weather Underground days, right? Imagine what Sarah Palin is going to do with this incendiary quote as she tears into Barack Obama this week.

Only one problem. The quote is from Joe Vogler, the raging anti-American who founded the Alaska Independence Party. Inconveniently for Palin, that's the very same secessionist party that her husband, Todd, belonged to for seven years and that she sent a shout-out to as Alaska governor earlier this year. ("Keep up the good work," Palin told AIP members. "And God bless you.")...

Before his strange murder in 1993, party founder Vogler preached armed insurrection against the United States of America. Vogler, who always carried a Magnum with him, was fond of saying, "When the [federal] bureaucrats come after me, I suggest they wear red coats. They make better targets. In the federal government are the biggest liars in the United States, and I hate them with a passion. They think they own [Alaska]. There comes a time when people will choose to die with honor rather than live with dishonor. That time may be coming here. Our goal is ultimate independence by peaceful means under a minimal government fully responsive to the people. I hope we don't have to take human life, but if they go on tramping on our property rights, look out, we're ready to die."...

Vogler wasn't just a blowhard either. He put his secessionist ideas into action, working to build AIP membership to 20,000 -- an impressive figure by Alaska standards -- and to elect party member Walter Hickel as governor in 1990.

Vogler's greatest moment of glory was to be his 1993 appearance before the United Nations to denounce United States "tyranny" before the entire world and to demand Alaska's freedom. The Alaska secessionist had persuaded the government of Iran to sponsor his anti-American harangue.

That's right...Iran. The Islamic dictatorship. The taker of American hostages. The rogue nation that McCain and Palin have excoriated Obama for suggesting we diplomatically engage. That Iran.

AIP leaders allege that Vogler, who was murdered that year by a fellow secessionist, was taken out by powerful forces in the U.S. before he could reach his U.N. platform. "The United States government would have been deeply embarrassed," by Vogler's U.N. speech, darkly suggests Clark. "And we can't have that, can we?"

The Republican ticket is working hard this week to make Barack Obama's tenuous connection to graying, '60s revolutionary Bill Ayers a major campaign issue. But the Palins' connection to anti-American extremism is much more central to their political biographies.

Imagine the uproar if Michelle Obama was revealed to have joined a black nationalist party whose founder preached armed secession from the United States and who enlisted the government of Iran in his cause? The Obama campaign would probably not have survived such an explosive revelation. Particularly if Barack Obama himself was videotaped giving the anti-American secessionists his wholehearted support just months ago.

Where's the outrage, Sarah Palin has been asking this week, in her attacks on Obama's fuzzy ties to Ayers? The question is more appropriate when applied to her own disturbing associations.


Sarah Palin's associations are disturbing, not merely for their anti-Americanism, but for their sheer unthinking childishness and hypocricy: Sarah Palin, and other Alaska politicians, have made a full-time job of getting as much money from the rest of the United States as possible -- both privately in the form of oil revenue, and publicly in the form of Congressional pork. The fact that Palin can show support for people who advocate violence against other Americans, in the name of "independence," while continuing to accept money from the same country, shows how infantile, irresponsible, oblivious and hypocritical her mindset really is. And the fact that they would accept any amount of help from a theocratic regime like Iran's, only compounds the idiocy. (If Volger had actually made the speech, would his party then have had to register as agents of a foreign power?) Palin herself may not be a secessionist, but she is still the kind of Republican who openly encourages her suppporters to take as much as they can from their country, while giving back as little as possible and ignoring any form of obligation that may come with the privileges. That's not patriotism. It's not even adult. And the last thing America needs in these hard times is another gaggle of overgrown children in positions of power.

current mood: Not buyin' it

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2:35 pm - Real "Mavericks" Don't Call McCain a Maverick
I just found this article in the New York Times by John Schwartz, in which one descendant of the original "Mavericks" categorically states that John McCain is no "maverick."

First, the origins of the word:

In the 1800s, Samuel Augustus Maverick went to Texas and became known for not branding his cattle. He was more interested in keeping track of the land he owned than the livestock on it, Ms. Maverick said; unbranded cattle, then, were called “Maverick’s.” The name came to mean anyone who didn’t bear another’s brand.

And then some history of how REAL "Mavericks" behaved:

“I’m just enraged that McCain calls himself a maverick,” said Terrellita Maverick, 82, a San Antonio native who proudly carries the name of a family that has been known for its progressive politics since the 1600s, when an early ancestor in Boston got into trouble with the law over his agitation for the rights of indentured servants...

Sam Maverick’s grandson, Fontaine Maury Maverick, was a two-term congressman and a mayor of San Antonio who lost his mayoral re-election bid when conservatives labeled him a Communist. He served in the Roosevelt administration on the Smaller War Plants Corporation and is best known for another coinage. He came up with the term “gobbledygook” in frustration at the convoluted language of bureaucrats.

This Maverick’s son, Maury Jr., was a firebrand civil libertarian and lawyer who defended draft resisters, atheists and others scorned by society. He served in the Texas Legislature during the McCarthy era and wrote fiery columns for The San Antonio Express-News. His final column, published on Feb. 2, 2003, just after he died at 82, was an attack on the coming war in Iraq.

Terrellita Maverick, sister of Maury Jr., is a member emeritus of the board of the San Antonio chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas.

“It’s just incredible — the nerve! — to suggest that he’s not part of that Republican herd. Every time we hear it, all my children and I and all my family shrink a little and say, ‘Oh, my God, he said it again.’ ”

“He’s a Republican,” she said. “He’s branded.”


current mood: artistic

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Friday, October 3rd, 2008
1:08 pm - Some Initial Reactions to the VP Debate
Here are some initial reactions to Sarah Palin's performance in the Vice-Presidential debate:

There's this Chris Rock joke from his 'Bring the Pain' special (buy the CD) where he talks about a man saying, "I take care of my kids." Chris' response is "What you want a cookie? You're suppoed to take care of your kids you low expectation having Motherfucker. You don't get credit for shit you're supposed to do." So that's what I feel like at this point. She's going to get credit for something she's supposed to be, which is competent. She didn't mess up like she did on Katie.

And...

She didn't have her underwear on on the outside of her skirt, but shit, they can train monkeys to go into space. I saw an extremely incompetent person trying desperately to make the talking points that she'd been trained to memorize fit with questions they didn't fit with in virtually any way. She threw out line after line of complete bullshit and Biden calmly and competently debunked them. She looked like a fool.

I wasn't able to catch the entire debate, but one of the low points that I did catch was where Biden said something reasonably commonsensical about the US finishing up in Iraq; and Palin responded by saying "That sounds like the white flag of surrender!" Religious intolerance is fueling nihilistic violence all over the world, four-thousand-plus Americans are already dead in a war we didn't have to fight -- and that's the best this cow could come up with after the seven years she's had to study the matter? Our troops, at the very least, deserve better leadership than Palin seems willing to provide. (Oh, and what was that bit about "Shia" extremists posing a threat to America? Does she need Joe Lieberman to help her tell Shia from Sunni? Where would those people be without Democratic defectors?)

And as if what she said wasn't bad enough, the half-superior, half-whining tone in which she said it only added insult to ignorance: Palin just gave new life to the stereotype of the over-privileged high-school cheerleader who tries to get her way by questioning the manhood of every boy who doesn't give her what she wants.

And here's some of Joan Walsh's reaction:

Joe Biden and Sarah Palin were talking to two different Americas Thursday night. Actually, that's unfair to Joe Biden; he was trying to talk to everyone. I can say for certain, though, that Sarah Palin was talking to -- and winking at -- her own private Idaho, and for long stretches of the debate, it was an unnerving experience...

The symbolic moment Palin flubbed was subjective, of course. But I instant-messaged a friend that she lost the debate when Biden choked up over losing his wife and child in a car accident in which his sons were critically injured -- and she went straight back into "John McCain is a maverick." I truly expected her to express human sympathy with Biden, and her failure to do so showed me something deeply wrong with her. But maybe that's just me.


The least I can say for Dick Cheney is that, when John Edwards complimented him for supporting his lesbian daughter during the 2004 VP debate, Cheney was gracious enough to accept the show of support, and thank Edwards for it. If you can't match Dick Cheney in the civility department, you're just plain worthless.

Walsh had one thing straight: Palin was not talking to the whole of America; she was talking, and winking, to the people who have already chosen to believe what she says, and will continue to believe them despite whatever the real world may throw in their (and our) faces. The fact that the Republican Party's far-right base would actively support someone this willfully -- nay, proudly -- ignorant of so many important life-and-death issues (and make no mistake, it was the base, not McCain, who made that choice), speaks volumes about their values and their patriotism.

current mood: That's IT?!

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Wednesday, September 24th, 2008
9:18 pm - "War Hero" McCain Chickens Out. Again.
Let's start with a little historical perspective:

  1. Abraham Lincoln did not "suspend his campaign" in response to the Civil War -- a war that was taking place right next door to the capital city.
  2. Franklin Roosevelt did not "suspend his campaign" in response to the Great Depression.
  3. Franklin Roosevelt did not "suspend his campaign" in response to World War II either. If he could manage a two-front global war (for which his country was totally unprepared, BTW), AND run for his fourth term, while barely able even to stand up, toward the end of his life, then why should McCain have any trouble multi-tasking, when he's not even President? He's no Franklin Roosevelt.
  4. Jimmy Carter did not "suspend his campaign" in response to either the Hostage Crisis, or the Soviet-Afghan War, or the Energy Crisis, or the Inflation Sorta-Crisis, or that Malaise thingy either. If he had, he would have been laughed back to Plains even faster than he actually was.


John McCain has absolutely no reason to "suspend his campaign" in response to this economic crisis, or to help hammer out a legislative response. For one thing, he has no bills of his own to sponsor or shepherd through the Congress; he's just one Senator out of one hundred, and if he wanted to make a full-time job out of fixing the economy, then he could have -- and should have -- done it YEARS ago, when he didn't have a national campaign to distract him -- and when it could have done his country more good. Nice sentiments, Senator, but it's a bit late to put "country first" now. If you want to put "country first," do it FIRST, not last, you senile old fraud!

This whole "suspend the campaign" ploy is nothing but a trasparent dodge. First, McCain's organization, surrogates, supporters and propagandists are perfectly capable of carrying on a campaign while McCain goes to Washington -- they're not needed to make economic policy, which is a good thing because they don't have the brains or guts for it. Second, if McCain is really respected by his fellow Republican Reps and Senators, then he should be able to deal with them from a distance as well as from within DC. Third, it's become perfectly obvious recently that McCain has absolutely nothing to contribute to a campaign anyway: his party's laissez-faire, all-deregulation-all-the-time ideology has now been proven a catastrophic failure; and while he may be able to pretend he's the "maverick outsider," he still can't pretend he has a real alternative (that he didn't oppose as a Senator at least). Third, there is absolutely nothing wrong with our economy that a senior Senator like McCain could not have seen coming, and dealt with, a long time ago. From yesterday to today, the only thing that has changed is the headline in this morning's Washington Post:

Economic Fears Give Obama Clear Lead Over McCain in Poll

And this is the day he decides to "suspend his campaign." Coincidence? I think not.

Hey, John, have you already forgotten you have a trophy-running-mate? If she's such a winning addition to your "team," why not let her do the running while you come back here to fix the economy and try to remember if all your mortgages are paid up? Or is she busy mobilizing the Alaska National Guard to hunt witches? (I guess Sarah Palin won't be the first hot younger woman McCain has failed to appreciate.)

Another pro-Obama blogger pointed out recently that McSame's campaign is running out of money, while Obama's is flush with cash and unrestricted by public-funds regs. So maybe this maneuver is just another belt-tightening measure for our tough times, eh?

If McCain and Obama both suspend their campaigns, as McCain is trying to pressure Obama to do, then that would clearly give the advantage to McCain: all the attention would be on Washington, where the Republicans in the White House would have the initiative and use it to control the tone and substance of the economic policy debate. And of course, the Republicans, and their MSM sock-puppets, would use that advantage, at every opportunity, to bolster the sagging credibility of the Republican party, and keep public attention away from the reality outside Washington.

McCain appears to have realized he can't win the election, and the Bush/Rove standard diversionary BS is losing its effect (it's harder when your opponent fights back, innit?); so now he's pretending the campaign isn't happening and he's already the Leader on a White Horse. All I can say is, I'm extremely happy and relieved to hear Obama standing up to this obvious manipulation. Once again, we're starting to see who the real leader is. It certainly puts that whole "3am phone call" issue in a new light, doesn't it?

UPDATE: If McCain really wants to suspend his campaign to work on fixing the economy, then the honorable and appropriate way to do it would be to say: "My fellow Americans, it has become obvious that my party's economic policies, and economic philosophy, has led us to this debilitating crisis, and to the needless suffering of so many Americans today and into the foreseeable future. I have therefore decided to withdraw from the race for the Presidency, and admit that my Democratic colleague, Senator Barack Obama, was right all along where I was wrong, has proven himself the superior leader, and is fully deserving of the support of all Americans as he tries to clean up the disgraceful mess my party has made of the country I love."

current mood: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

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Monday, September 22nd, 2008
4:06 pm - National Evangelical Leader Calls McCain "Unprincipled"
Richard Cizik, chief lobbyist for the 30-million mamber National Asociation of Evangelicals, based in Washington, DC, and representing 45,000 churches from 59 denominations, has this to say about John McCain:

Richard Cizik is one of the country’s most powerful and outspoken Christian evangelical leaders. He happens to be a Republican, and he has known the GOP’s presidential nominee for many years. “I thought John McCain was a principled person,” Cizik says. “But John McCain has backed off, not just on climate change but on torture and a sensible tax policy — in other words, he’s not the John McCain of 2000... He seems to be waffling on issue after issue.

It’s not illogical for someone to conclude that John McCain is going to be more like George Bush than John McCain is going to be like John McCain in 2000.” ...

And, sending perhaps the most important signal of all, McCain himself has chosen not to not to speak out on the issue of climate change, Cizik notes. His campaign instead has opted to play identity and culture-war politics.

“He’s playing that card, and many of us thought he didn’t need to do it — it just polarizes the country,” Cizik says. “The irony of it is that John McCain can’t speak with an evangelical voice of faith — let’s face it, it’s just not his thing — so I guess the substitute is this other [Palin]. I guess that’s pretty cynical, but maybe his actions are cynical.

“The consequences of going to identity and culture-war politics is that experience is denigrated, authority is questioned and ignorance is strength,” Cizik says.


The creepiest thing about this is how other evangelicals -- those who support McCain and currently control the Republican Party -- respond to differing views within their own fold:

Suffice to say, Cizik’s efforts have rocked much of his world — including the minds of Focus on the Family founder James Dobson and a phalanx of other old-guard evangelicals like Tony Perkins, Paul Weyrich and Gary Bauer who tried last year, unsuccessfully, to get Cizik fired from his job of 26 years for sounding the global warming alarm.

Dobson and the others, you see, would prefer to keep the evangelical focus on what they call “the great moral issues of our time,” specifically abortion, man-woman-only marriage and “the teaching of sexual abstinence and morality to our children.”

They have disparaged Cizik for having a “preoccupation” with global warming and other related issues, including poverty and overpopulation. In 2006 Dobson even head-butted Cizik in the press for supporting international regulations of emissions, calling his views “anti-capitalistic and [having] an underlying hatred for America.”


There are three things that must be said about this. First, since when were Christians NOT supposed to be concerned about poverty and overpopulation? When did so-called "Christians" get the ability to ignore issues of global poverty without a trace of shame? The "Christian" community have come a long way since the days of Pope John Paul II. Second, since when was it the job of any Christian church to defend capitalism and judge the patriotism of its flock? Aren't both of those issues covered under the "render unto Caesar" clause?

Cizik has spoken, as a religious leader, about issues that affect billions of innocent people; and his "evangelical" opponents respond by saying, in effect, that profits and "patriotism" are more important than the teachings of their own religion.

Third, and most important, this shows all of us what can happen to people -- even nationally-known evangelical Christians -- who disagree with the Christian-Reich party line: they will not only be attacked, they will be, whenever possible, slandered, smeared, silenced and ostracized, whether or not they worship the same God. The attempt to remove a prominent evangelical from his job -- of 26 years -- proves the Christian Reich want to silence all dissent within the Christian community. The failure of that attempt proves they do NOT represent the mainstream of opinion among evangelicals, let alone among Christians in general.

If you still think you'll be safe after these radicals take away the religious freedom of others, this incident proves you wrong. If a conservative evangelical of Cizik's stature is not safe, then no one is safe.

current mood: determined

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