Saturday, October 11, 2008

Sweet, Sweet Sounds

Palin Booed at Philadelphia Flyers Game

It's like music to my ears...

And once again, Palin used props Piper and Willow, who had the privilege of listening to an arena full of non-screened individuals soundly boo the shit out of Mommy Mooselini. And you know what? I have no sympathy for them. If Palin wants to continue to use her family as a backdrop for the "hockey mom" meme, this is what they have to deal with.

Of course, Flyers management (probably at the insistence of owner Ed Snider) tried to drown out the crowd with some very loud fanfare music throughout the honorary puck dropping ceremony, but it didn't work. We heard what we heard, no spinning this one.


A Sickening Feeling

Four years ago, I sat on my living room couch and watched a young politician I'd never heard of give an incredible speech at the Democratic National Convention. I immediately thought, "Where have they been hiding this guy?" I had never felt the combined feelings of awe, inspiration, national pride and hope all rolled into one - and evoked by a politician. And there he stood, calling to our better selves as one nation, as one people.

Now even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes. Well, I say to them tonight, there's not a liberal America and a conservative America; there's the United States of America. There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America. The pundits, the pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue States: red states for Republicans, blue States for Democrats. But I've got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don't like federal agents poking around our libraries in the red states. We coach little league in the blue states and, yes, we've got some gay friends in the red states. There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq, and there are patriots who supported the war in Iraq. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.

He was presidential material then, and even I could recognize it.

The next day we all spoke of the new guy, Whatsitsname. What an amazing speech he gave, that guy, Whatsitsname. Too bad he can never be elected president - he wouldn't have a shot - there are too many racists in this country. Whatsitsname would never have a chance.

"Whatsitsname" was Barack Obama, and he announced his run for the Presidency two years later. Not only was he an African-American running for president, but he would have to take on the most powerful political machine in recent history. How could he possibly compete against Hillary Clinton, the Clinton machine and all her money? The night he won the Iowa primary, I finally believed it could happen. I thought if Iowa could vote for Obama over Clinton and Edwards, then so could others.

And then the smears began. The ugliness reared its head. Obama wasn't like us, he was "different." We heard rumors of Rev. Wright and Bill Ayers and Tony Rezko. We heard a Manchurian candidate theory. We heard that he was hiding a Muslim background, that he was educated in a madrassa when he was a child in Indonesia. We heard that his wife was never proud of her country until her husband ran for president, that he wouldn't recite the Pledge of Allegiance and would turn his back on the flag, that he wouldn't wear a flag pin on his lapel, that he took his oath of office not a Bible, but on a Koran. Veiled and not so veiled racism permeated everything and my euphoric feeling of national pride became one of shame and embarrassment.

But through it all, Obama's message of hope rang through. It didn't matter that the racists were throwing everything they could at him, he was coming out on top. Hope trumps fear. Change supersedes the status quo. We were tired of being beaten over and over again with the fear mongering, smear tactics and lies of the last seven years from the most corrupt administration in our nation's history, and we weren't going to take it anymore. And on August 28th 2008, forty-five years to the day that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his "I Have a Dream" speech, Barack Obama was accepting the Democratic nomination for President of the United States.

And then along comes the "honorable, maverick, war hero reformer" John Sidney McCain III and his peanut gallery of a campaign. Back in 2000, McCain was touted as one of those thorns in the side of his own party, voting his conscience, not kowtowing to the party line. That is, until the Rovian Machine of Destruction turned him into a shell of his former self with a smear campaign the likes of which we hadn't seen before. Up was down, left was right and black was the color of the illegitimate child the Bush campaign accused him of fathering.

But the 2008 John McCain, however much he may have stated that he wanted to run an honorable campaign, remembers the tactics that killed his 2000 campaign, and in a last ditch effort is throwing all of his chips into the pot to try and gain some traction with little more than three weeks left until Election Day. The problem is that he's miscalculated who he was reaching. Moderate Republicans, independents and Reagan Democrats have stopped responding to fear mongering, so the only people he is reaching are the frenzied base whose votes he already had. And boy, has he worked them up into a lather!

John McCain asks, "Who is the real Barack Obama?" Sarah Palin, a transparent vice presidential choice to appease the Republican base, stokes the flames of uncertainty when she says Obama doesn't see America as she sees it; that Obama sees America as "being so imperfect, imperfect enough, that he's palling around with terrorists who would target their own country."

The fear chip, the Ayers chip, the mysterious foreigner chip, all politically designed to help decrease McCain's deficit in the polls has only caused a greater schism between the Democratic and undecided voters he's trying to woo, and the ever increasing radical base he is playing to. And at this point in the campaign, if you're still trying to win over your base instead of trying to expand your appeal, it's over.

But I fear it may be too late. The genie of racism has been let out of the bottle. And no matter how hard McCain may try to put it back, the damage has been done. The rage he's let loose, the fear and overt anti-Obama hate displayed at his rallies has truly made this a dangerous situation.

Unfortunately, it was always in the back of my mind that Senator Obama would inherently be in more danger solely because of the color of his skin. This danger has now been amplified by the nasty, hate-filled rhetoric of the McCain campaign, Sarah Palin and yes, the "honorable" John McCain. And there is no way that you cannot blame McCain for it. It's his name at the top of the ticket. He is responsible for the actions of his campaign, whether the idea to go this route was his, or Rick Davis' or Steve Schmidt's, McCain either approved it or went along with it knowing it was the last bullet in his gun. And seeing the hate from the pitchfork and torch crowds has given me a sickening feeling.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Music Break! Paul Hipp

I'm in the middle of a post that I'll put up later, but in the meantime since everything's gone to shit from the Dow to the hate-filled crowds being attracted to the McCain/Palin rallies like flies to shit, I thought I'd lighten the mood with a video that a friend turned me on to.

Here's Paul Hipp and "Acting Like A Dick."

T Minus 102 Days

"This morning my administration released the budget numbers for fiscal 2006. These budget numbers are not just estimates; these are actual results for the fiscal year that ended February the 30th."

- Washington, DC, October 2006 (referencing the 2006 fiscal year, which ended on September 30th)

Morning Joke™ Off The Rails

Scarborough, Buchanan and TIME's Washington bureau chief Jay Carney are sitting around in DC waiting for the Chimp in Chief's latest poo flinging, talking about the negative ads released today by the RNC and the McCain campaign associating Ayers and Rezko to Obama. Nothing new, right? Then I heard this (paraphrasing):

Carney: I don't think the ads are going to work because people are scared to death about the economy.

Buchanan: McCain missed an opportunity because the market is tanking after this $700 billion bailout and he should have voted against it. He could've been "in the catbird seat" if he had voted against bailing out Wall Street.

Scarborough: Well, why did he vote for it?

Wait for it... Ready?

Buchanan: Because he's an "ESTABLISHMENT GUY." He voted with the majority.

Mika from the studio: Wait, I'm confused. I THOUGHT HE WAS A MAVERICK!

Carney: Well... he's a maverick within the establishment... he's on the edges of the establishment.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

-500 And Counting

This is truly frightening.

Dow Jones 1 year ago: 14,020

Dow Jones now: 8,758

In the time it took me to write this post, it moved from -611 to -469 to -510.

UPDATE (4:27pm):

... for fuck's sake!

An Open Letter To Joe Scarborough

Inspired by Bob Cesca.

From: Broadway Carl

Subject: Who is the real John McCain?

Dear Mr. Scarborough,

I am writing this e-mail in response to watching your show on MSNBC this morning, October 9th.

You spent a good amount of time speaking of the negative campaigning that's been going on in the McCain campaign, their suggestions that we don't know who Barack Obama is and Palin's comments trying to link him to rehabilitated domestic terrorist Bill Ayers.

As you well know, their caustic campaigning over the last few days have brought about frightening and angry outbursts from members of their audience. Shouts of "terrorist," kill him" and "treason" accompany the rallies, and although the McCain campaign has put out a statement condemning these outbursts, they seem very passive when those cries are actually happening. In fact, their choice to make their campaign an attack on Obama instead of speaking on the issues is inciting the crowd to this frenzied behavior.

I know that you and your journalists on your daily panels have to report these incidents, but what I don't understand is that if you're going to go on for approximately 20 minutes on Obama and Bill Ayers, showing clips of McCain and Palin with their negative message trying to cast Obama as an unknown, where is the objective reporting on Sarah Palin and what her associations could possibly be? You'd have to agree that Palin's past has not been nearly as scrutinized as Obama's as she's only been on the national scene for about a month now.

Here's what I would like to know:

- After all the criticism Obama received because of Rev. Wright, what is Palin's relationship with her Rev. Muthee, a man who drove a woman out of a village for witchcraft? Does Palin believe in witchcraft?

- Why is John McCain "palling around" with G. Gordon Liddy, a former Watergate burglar who instructed people how to murder federal agents?

- What is Sarah Palin's relationship with the Alaska Independence Party, a party that advocates seceding from the U.S. and whose founder, Joe Vogler, was gruesomely murdered under mysterious circumstances, some say in an apparent illegal plastics explosives sale gone bad? This same founder said, "the fires of Hell are glaciers compared to my hate for the American Government, and I won't be buried under their damn flag ..." What is Todd Palin's association with Vogler?

- What is her husband Todd's relationship with the AIP?

- Why is Palin sequestered from the press? We haven't seen any press conferences from Palin. What is she hiding?

- Why did the McCain campaign try to block a bipartisan investigation into the Trooper-Gate scandal? What is Palin hiding?

- Why is McCain not condemning those introducing him at rallies who attempt to disparage Obama by using "Hussein" anymore like he did with radio host Bill Cunningham a while back?

- The U.S. Council for World Freedom was part of an international organization linked to former Nazi collaborators and ultra-right-wing death squads in Central America. John McCain was on the board. Why was McCain on the same board with Nazi sympathizers?

Of course, there are many more questions than just these to ask and your team, being fair and balanced journalists, should ask them. If you're going to "report" and play the guilt by association game on Obama, then the pendulum should swing both ways and questions of McCain's and Palin's associations should be answered as well.

Thank you

Maybe you should write a letter as well.

Joe Scarborough

Mr. Phil Griffin,
Senior Vice President, News
NBC Television Network
30 Rockefeller Plz
New York, NY 10112

Steve Capus,
President, NBC News

30 Rockefeller Plz
3rd Fl
New York, NY 10112
(212) 664-4444

Mika's Lost

It seems to me that in the past, the only person trying to bring some semblance of balance to Morning Joke™ was Mika Brzezinski. At least she of all the hosts on that show, tried to stay on an even keel. She is now officially lost.

Ever since Sarah Palin came on to the scene, Mika has sat behind her desk in complete awe. She's fallen hook, line and sinker for the culture of Palin and has closed her mind to the substance of Palin. Using terms like, "amazing" and "skillful," Mika sits there completely dumbfounded, wonder why the McCain/Palin ticket hasn't skyrocketed and left Obama in the dust. It's Sarah Palin for Christ's sake! How is it that more people besides the Conservative base aren't seeing what Mika's seeing?! Perhaps it's because we still have the rational function working in our brains.

I've watched for the last half hour as she hasn't uttered a word, just shaking her head in confusion with all these pro Obama poll numbers, thinking, "But Sarah.... SARAH!!!!" The rest of the panel is analyzing while she is brooding. The question was asked: If the election were held today, would Obama win? Everyone said yes. Mika had one caveat. "Well anything can happen. But if it were held today," she said as her face sunk, "then Obama would probably win by default. Just like the debate." I wonder what debate she was watching. And Mika, winning by default means there's no challenger. That may figuratively be the case, but I mean running unopposed.

Mika has lost her way. She's forgotten or maybe refuses to realize that Palin is not at the top of the ticket. I never thought that the likes of Joe Scarborough wuld be talking Mika down. Mika used to look like this:

Now she looks like this:

Oh, and by the way, after she said the "default" line with a forlorn look on her face, she didn't say another word throughout the rest of the show - a good 45 minutes.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

When Is A Town Hall Debate Not A Town Hall Debate?

When the Republican spin operatives say is isn't.

As Logan Murphy at C&L makes clear, a half hour before the debate was even over, the GOP spin doctors were already sending out e-mails disparaging the debate as not really a town hall format and therefore a disadvantage to McCain.

Yeah, that's right. They saw the writing on the wall with McCain before the gig was over and didn't blame the debater, they blamed the style of the debate. The "town hall" debate that BOTH candidates agreed to - signing off on the rules of the debate in advance - the "town hall" setting that John McCain asked Obama to weekly. The "town hall" style that would've shown the country who connects with the average American - "Joe Six-pack," if you will.

How pathetic. But in a strange way, they spin machine is right. A real town hall would've had a back and forth between the audience member who asked the question and the debater. The rules gave the debater a chance to avoid answering the question or changing the subject. Perhaps if Obama had agreed to do the town halls in the first place, he would have had this thing wrapped up a month ago.

That One

That is the moment of the debate that will be remembered for a long, long time. Senator John Sidney McCain III has such disdain for Senator Barack Obama, that he can't even bear to speak his name, instead referring to him as "That one." It was ugly. It was arrogant. It was dismissive. It was a quick peek at the real John McCain. Eyes wide open, nostrils flaring. Complete and utter disgust for having to prove himself against someone who he thinks is beneath him.

This is completely unbecoming of someone aspiring to the office of President of the United States. McCain's wanton ambition is to be the leader of the free world, yet he can't bear to utter his opponent's name. He can blurt out Hugo Chavez with ease. He can fumble through Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but he can't say "Senator Barack Obama." He calls him "That one."
And just in case you think it might be overreaction, take a look at the end of the debate. McCain pats Obama on the back, Obama puts his hand out to shake and McCain refuses. Instead he points to his beer heiress wife and Obama graciously shakes her hand.

Very unpresidential.

More on the debate later...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Debate On! Part Deux

Three hours until Obama/McThuselah II, "The Nastiness in Nashville." Will we see a blood vessel burst in McCain's temple? Will he have his Colonel Jessup moment? Will he lose it and physically attack Obama like Mickey goes after Kramer on Seinfeld?

We'll find out soon enough.

Meanwhile, the Dow shit the bed again, losing over 500 points, and fuckwad and the pig with lipstick want to talk about Bill Ayers. Morons.

Olbermann's First Special Comment on Palin - Terrorist Ties

I called it!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Dow Falls Below 10,000 - First Time In 4 Years

10:45am -- Dow: - 556 Nasdaq: - 122

2:18pm -- Dow: - 641 Nasdaq: - 144

2:35pm -- Dow: - 733 Nasdaq: - 156

2:48pm -- Dow: - 796 Nasdaq: - 165

5pm -- Dow: - 369.88

NY TIMES: Chaotic Day Ends With Stocks Off 3.8%

Another Smear E-Mail in a Never-Ending Series: Iraq Safer Than Chicago

Another pathetic attempt to make is seem like all is going well in Iraq, children are singing, birds are chirping, dogs and cats are happily coexisting and that if Barack Obama wins the Presidency, the US will become one major "combat zone" just like Chicago and worse than Iraq - oh yeah, and Obama's from Chicago.

Here's the ridiculously inane e-mail (as received):

The US should immediately pull out of Chicago!


Body count. In the last six months 292 killed (murdered) in Chicago, 221 killed in Iraq .

Sens. Barack Obama & Dick Durbin, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., Gov. Rod Blogojevich, House leader Mike Madigan, Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan (daughter of Mike), Mayor Richard M. Daley (son of Mayor Richard J. Daley).....our leadership in Illinois.....all Democrats.

Thank you for the combat zone in Chicago . Of course they're all blaming each other. Can't blame Republicans, they're aren't any!

State pension fund $44 Billion in debt, worst in country. Cook County ( Chicago ) sales tax 10.25% highest in country. (Look'em up if you want). Chicago school system one of the worst in country.

This is the political culture that Obama comes from in Illinois, and He's gonna 'fix' Washington politics?

Well, well... where to begin?...

As usual, the originators of these types of e-mail don't link it to any pertinent information to verify these numbers. The author doesn't specify what "six months" he's talking about. The number of US military casualties from January through June is 2008. The number for the year to date is 270.

Since I don't want to spend too much time on this, I was not able to find a homicide rate for Chicago for the current year. The total homicide rate for Chicago in 2007 was 442, a 6.2% from from the 2006 total of 471.

So let's just assume that the year to date number of 292 for 2008 is an average and close to correct. Is the author then trying to equate military deaths in Iraq to civilian deaths in Chicago? If we are acting as a police force in Iraq, shouldn't the author equate the military deaths in Iraq to police officer casualties in Chicago? If that were the case, then year to date the number would be US casualties - 270, Chicago Police - 2.

And if you're going to use homicide numbers in Chicago, shouldn't you use the Iraqi civilian casualties? Or do those innocent civilians not count?

The death toll of Iraqi civilians has been very sketchy depending on who's counting. From the Congressional Research Service updated on August 27, 2008:

...For some time, the United Nations attempted to release comprehensive statistics on Iraqi civilian deaths. From August 2005 to March 2007, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) published a series of quarterly reports on human rights in Iraq that included sections on Iraqi civilian casualties. On April 25, 2007, however, the Iraqi government announced its intention to cease providing civilian casualty figures to the United Nations. Ivana Vuco, a UN human rights officer, stated, “[Iraqi] government officials had made clear during discussions that they believed releasing high casualty numbers would make it more difficult to quell unrest.”

...In an interview with the Boston Globe, Rear Admiral Gregory Smith, the chief U.S. military spokesman, said Iraqi ministry civilian death tolls estimates have risen from a low of 568 in December 2007 and 541 in January 2008 to roughly 721 in February 2008 and 1,082 in March 2008. “There was somewhere on the order of a 25 or 30 percent increase in the number of civilian casualties when you consider March compared to February,” Smith said, although “the numbers are still nowhere near what they had been last summer.” The New York Times reports that the Iraqi Health Ministry lists a total of 865 civilian deaths for July 2008 and 975 deaths for June 2008.

So, 975 Iraqi deaths reported in June as opposed to a claim of 292 deaths in Chicago for an unknown six month span. Kinda blows that e-mail out out of the water, doesn't it? And you'll forgive me if I believe that these "official numbers" aren't exactly accurate. With the reluctance of the Iraqi government to release their casualty numbers, the zealousness of the Bush administration to tamp down the numbers and use the surge as an end-all-be-all for success in Iraq, who knows how many Iraqi civilians have been killed?

Here are some other estimates of Iraqi civilian deaths from the same congressional report:

Iraq Body Count - March 19, 2003 - August 22, 2008: 86,661 - 94,558
Iraq Coalition Casualty Count - April 28, 2005 - August 22, 2008: 43,099
Brookings Iraq Index - May 2003 - August 14, 2008: 113,616
The Associated Press - April 2005 - February 13, 2008: 34,832 dead - 40,174 wounded
The Iraq Family Health Study (the “WHO study”) - March 2003 - June 2006: 151,000
The Lancet, “Mortality after the 2003 Invasion of Iraq” -
March 19, 2003 - July 31, 2006: 426,369 -793,663

And finally, this number from Just Foreign Policy.Org:

The estimate that over a million Iraqis have died received independent confirmation from a prestigious British polling agency in September 2007. Opinion Research Business estimated that 1.2 million Iraqis have been killed violently since the US invasion.

As for the tax rate and the debt, the national debt $10 TRILLION and a yearly budget deficit of over $400 billion, but I'm not going to get into that portion of this stupid ass e-mail because for me, the main issue was the ludicrous idea that Iraq is safer than Chicago.

Maybe the originator of this e-mail should take a walk down a Baghdad street and compare it to a walk down a Chicago street. If given the opportunity, I'd bet my house they would pass on it.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Palin's Terrorist Ties

Two can play at this game.

In what seems to be a circling-the-drain moment for the McCain campaign, their Alamo if you will, their last "surge" akin to the final scene of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, these last 30 days before Novemeber 4th are going to be chock full of negative ads against Barack Obama. Going negative is one thing, being dishonest about it is another. And that dishonesty has been opened up by Governor Sarah Palin.

As only Palin can do in her perky, little twangy way, she has accused Obama of "palling around with terrorists."

"Our opponent ... is someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect, imperfect enough, that he's palling around with terrorists who would target their own country." She also said, "This is not a man who sees America as you see America and as I see America."

Well, with that last sentiment, I couldn't agree more. But if Palin had actually read "all" the papers that have been put in front of her over the years, she would know that the Bill Ayers smear to which she is referring, has been around for over a year and has been debunked. She would know that the extent of Obama's "connection" with Bill Ayers was that they both served on a charity board several years ago and has denounced Ayers' radical views and activities. She would know that Barack Obama was eight years old at the time that Ayers was part of Weather Underground and that connecting Obama to Ayers would be like connecting Palin to Joe Biden for speeches he made in the Senate while she "was in like, second grade." She would know that charges against Ayers were dropped due to prosecutorial misconduct and that he has been a professor at the University of Illinois since she was parading in swimsuit competitions.

But as I said before, Palin is correct in stating that Obama doesn't see America as she does. You see, Barack Obama pays his taxes, which may be the real reason why Palin said paying taxes was not patriotic during her only VP debate. Barack Obama doesn't have investigators checking on whether or not he fired someone for refusing to partake in a personal vendetta. Barack Obama is not married to someone who belonged to a secessionist party, which is considered treason if I'm not mistaken, nor has he attended secessionist party conventions.

The same cannot be said of Governor Palin. Her wife, Todd was a member of the Alaska Independence Party from 1995-2002 and associated with AIP founder Joe Vogler -the same Joe Vogler who said, "I'm an Alaskan, not an American. I've got no use for America or her damned institutions." The same Joe Vogler who said, "there is more Justice in a whorehouse than in the Supreme Court... the fires of Hell are glaciers compared to my hate for the American Government, and I won't be buried under their damn flag ...". The same Joe Vogler who was found murdered, his body found a year and a half after his disappearance in 1993, wrapped in a blue tarp and duct tape, in what was described as a plastic explosives sale gone bad.

Perhaps she could clear things up if the McCain campaign made her available for press conferences without the "filter" that she claims made her look like a boob in interviews which were hand picked by her own campaign, instead of sequestering her from the media. But alas, her usefulness is not outlasting her foibles. Soon, McCain will no longer be able to hide behind Palin's skirt as her approval ratings plummet with each passing day the more the public sees of her.

In an anticipatory response to the overt use of negative ads that the McCain campaign admitted it would resort to in order to avoid talking about serious topics like the economy, the Obama campaign is countering with their own ad calling him "erratic in a crisis," and after what we've seen from McCain these last two weeks regarding the financial crisis, it's nice to see some truth in advertising.

So be careful what you say, Governor Palin. You may open up a Pandora's Box and get your face eaten off by a wolf you missed¹ from your airplane².
¹ ² Warning - graphic images.