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Entries tagged as ‘obama’

Is Michele Bachmann the New Sarah Palin?

January 29, 2011 · Leave a Comment

Based on the simplicity of thought, the profound ignorance and intellectual void, one would have to say that Michele Bachmann is indeed the new Sarah Palin.  But she has other similarities, like her ability to get signficant media coverage – either in horror (MSNBC), flattering (Fox “News”), or most recently CNN showing her entire Tea Party rebuttal to Obama’s State of the Union address that came immediately on the heels of the official Republican Party rebuttal that was delivered by Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

Bachmann’s Tea Party stunt reveals that a lot of the Republican Party is both embarrassed and scared by the Tea Party in general, and Palin and Bachmann specifcially.

Consider that prominent elected Republican officials reacted to Bachmann’s appointment to the House Intelligence Committee by calling it like “Jumbo Shrimp.  Oxymoron.”  Or another “Is that a punchline?”  But neither would go on record.

When Jason Chaffetz was ballsy enough to criticize Bachmann for grandstanding with a Tea Party rebuttal in competition with a Republican rebuttal to the State of the Union address, he quickly had to take back his criticism with a press release that came out – get this – from Bachmann’s office.

Representative Joe Walsh of Illinois (a Tea Party favorite) did not back down on his criticism of Bachmann:

“She was out of line. She had no business stepping on the official Republican response to the State of the Union. I can say that to you saying I’m a fan of Michele Bachmann’s. She and I think the same on virtually probably every darn issue.”

The other things Bachmann has in common with Sarah Palin is the ability to rile up the religious right base, and to raise lots of money.  She raised $13 million in her last election to her oponent’s $4.3 million (which would have been considered enormous in other times).

Why do we seem to celebrate ignorance, vapidity and viciousness in this country?  Whether it’s Jersey Shore or Palin or Bachmann, it’s all a part of the coarsening and dumbing down of America.

Categories: Palin
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Palin Positioning for Possible 2012 Presidential Run

January 21, 2011 · Leave a Comment

Despite polls showing Palin’s unpopularity at stratospheric levels of 56%, her advisors are continuing to make sure that she is positioned to be able to compete for the Republican presidential primary should she choose to run. 

While most political strategists consider an unpopularity rating over 50% as career-ending, Palin is planning to give tow speeches in the important swing state of Nevada, while her team continues to make overtures to key Iowa activists in that early caucus state.  She is expected to talk about guns to a friendly crowd, and in keeping with her recent speech on the same night as Obama’s speech at the Arizona memorial for the Giffords shooting tragedy, one of her speeches will be next Tuesday – the same night at President Obama’s State of the Union speech.  Clearly she is trying to get news coverage on the same night as the President, setting herself up as an equal alternative to the President.

Other Republicans who are clearly also positioning themselves for a the Republican primary include Mormon Multi-Millionaire Mitt (Romney), Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Let the games begin!

Categories: Palin · Politics
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Why Palin Will Never Be President

January 13, 2011 · Leave a Comment

Did you see both the pathetic 7 minute segment posted by Sarah Palin and President Obama’s speech on Wednesday, 1.12.2011?
Please watch these back to back.

I’ll give you my summary:
Palin – Insensitive to the moment; inappropriate use of “blood libel” to describe her perceived persecution by critics following the Arizona tragedy; revealing a self-centered egotism that can only comment on something in terms of herself; attempts to defend the current vitriolic tone of political discourse by reaching back to the 18th and early 19th centuries where differences were settled by pistol or sword duels. In a word, pathetic. We see why she’s a quitter and will never be President. Her handlers, who decided this was the moment she should choose to speak out, should be charged with political malpractice.

Obama – Rising above the political; combining a subtle combination of honor, challenge to be our better selves, and a call for unity; holding out compassion and hope.

Categories: Palin
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"Talk From The Hand" – Sarah’s Lesson in Hand Writing?

February 9, 2010 · Leave a Comment

As if we needed any more proof that Palin is a bad flashback to the popular-but-not-that-bright-and-mean-spirited-high-school-cheerleader we all knew, we have the video from her speech to the “National Tea Party Convention” and subsequent interviews where she referenced notes written in ink on the palm of her hand.

Besides being horribly unprofessional (perhaps it was, as Jon Stewart noted, a way to claim the populist position against all those fancy people who use “memory”), it was awfully ironic – nee hypocritical – since she had just excoriated Obama for using teleprompters.

To top it off, the words she had written were hardly difficult point to remember. She had written: “energy, tax cuts, lift American spirit.” That’s the stuff of oratory for the ages.

Sarah – how’s that stupid-y bush-league-y foot-in-mouth-y thing goin’ for ya?

Categories: Palin
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Dick Cheney Defends Witch Trials

April 25, 2009 · Leave a Comment

In a shocking and unprecedented development a former Vice President speaks out publicly against the administration that replaced him.  Even more shocking to many is that Dick Cheney, uniquely famous for his claims of both executive and legislative privilege and his unprecedented demand for secrecy, is now asking for the release of secret witch trial documents.

His demand is centered around one argument – not that the witch hunts were legal or desirable, but simply that they were effective.

Prior evidence of the man’s paranoid demands for secrecy abound.  Cheney developed his own secrecy stamps with an invented category “Treated as Top Secret/SCI,” in an attempt to supersede traditional secrecy standards.  The man kept a man-sized safe in his office.  He invented a pseudo “fourth branch” of government arguing that he could not be held accountable to the standards of either the Executive or Legislative branches.

Here’s an extended passage from “The Next Hurrah” that adds some context to Cheney’s secrecy:

That the Bush “administration,” and in particular the Office of the Vice President, have been extraordinarily secretive is, ironically, no secret. But in a story first reported by Mark Silva of the Chicago Tribune back in April 2006, details of the extent of the secrecy practices — if they can be called that — emerged to reveal something even darker and more disturbing than previously imagined:

As the Bush administration has dramatically accelerated the classification of information as “top secret” or “confidential,” one office is refusing to report on its annual activity in classifying documents: the office of Vice President Dick Cheney. A standing executive order, strengthened by President Bush in 2003, requires all agencies and “any other entity within the executive branch” to provide an annual accounting of their classification of documents. More than 80 agencies have collectively reported to the National Archives that they made 15.6 million decisions in 2004 to classify information, nearly double the number in 2001, but Cheney insists he is exempt. Explaining why the vice president has withheld even a tally of his office’s secrecy when offices such as the National Security Council routinely report theirs, a spokeswoman said Cheney is “not under any duty” to provide it.That Executive Order is #13292, which:

prescribes a uniform system for classifying, safeguarding, and declassifying national security information, including information relating to defense against transnational terrorism.And how is the order to be implemented? Section 5.1(a):

The Director of the Information Security Oversight Office, under the direction of the Archivist and in consultation with the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, shall issue such directives as are necessary to implement this order. These directives shall be binding upon the agencies.And who are “the agencies?” Section 6.1(b):

“Agency” means any “Executive agency,” as defined in 5 U.S.C. 105; any “Military department” as defined in 5 U.S.C. 102; and any other entity within the executive branch that comes into the possession of classified information.So what’s the problem? Well, perhaps you recall the story reported by TPM Muckracker a few weeks ago, in which Justin Rood revealed that Cheney purports to have exempted his office from the requirement of disclosing the number of political appointees in the OVP, for a directory of all executive branch positions known as the “Plum Book.” Instead, what appears in place of that required disclosure is a three paragraph statement, beginning thus (PDF):

The Vice Presidency is a unique office that is neither a part of the executive branch nor a part of the legislative branch, but is attached by the Constitution to the latter. The Vice Presidency performs functions in both the legislative branch (see Article I, section 3 of the Constitution) and in the executive branch (see Article II, and amendments XII and XXV, of the Constitution, and section 106 of title 3 of the United States Code).You read that right. The Vice Presidency is now “a unique office,” a fourth branch, if you will. If you will. But you shouldn’t. And in fact, ISOO won’t:

In an extraordinary internal challenge to the unruly Office of the Vice President (OVP), the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) has formally petitioned the Attorney General to direct the OVP to comply with a requirement that executive branch organizations disclose statistics on their classification and declassification activity to ISOO.But what, specifically, moved ISOO to call for this ruling? The OVP’s bizarre conception of itself as somehow exempt? Well, yeah. That, and this:

For the last three years, Vice President Cheney’s office has refused to divulge its classification statistics to ISOO, despite a seemingly explicit requirement that it do so. Prior to 2002, such information had routinely been transmitted and reported in ISOO’s annual reports to the President.

Now, in a stunning turn of events, Dick Cheney is demanding that the White House release documents that support his claim that the witch trials were effective.

Cheney said “Ah, well, we know that the trials had their intended effect because reported evidence of vivisection and nighttime flying went down.  Now tell me, do you think that’s a coincidence?  Of course not.  The trials not only removed dangerous witches from our midst, but served as a deterrent to witches not caught in the dragnets or turned in by their neighbors to go into hiding and cease their witchery.  I say to you now, we prevented another witch on a broomstick from flying a suicide mission into your house.  And you should thank me for that.”

When asked if innocent people might have been caught up in the mass hysteria, he said, “The world is not perfect.  Why don’t the loony lefties just admit that the world is a harsh nasty place, and it needs harsh, nasty people to protect everyone from that nastiness by being just as harsh and nasty or even harsher and nastier than the world already is.  Sure some innocent people were drowned or burned at the stake.  But that’s a small price to pay for your and my freedoms.  Sometimes we have to violate our principles and hurt innocent people in order to uphold our principles and way of life.  That’s just the way it is.”

When asked if witch hunts were consistent with American ideals, Cheney pointed to their historical precedence.  “Just like marriage has always been between a man and a woman since antiquity, so have witch hunts occurred.  Anything with that long a history has to be right, and has to be protected.  You probably don’t know this, but our witch trials have a long and sacred tradition.  Punishments for witchcraft date back to the first recorded laws in the Code of Hammurabi in the 18th Century BC.  They’re in the Twelve Tables of Roman Law, and of course in the Old Testament.  And then of course there were what I like to call the “tapas years” of the Spanish Inquisition.  You’ve got to hand it to them, they really perfected things with thumb screws and flaying.  So don’t try saying this was a one-time Salem kind of thing.”

He went on to say, “Why even that lovely thing Sarah Palin had to have her church pray over her so that she didn’t get infected with witchery.  And they brought in an African to do it, because if anyone knows about witches, it’s those Africans.  My god, I’d even say that Obama has cast a spell over most of America – but not REAL America, thank god.”

When asked what he said to people who said that under Cheney the nation had abandoned its principles, broken domestic and international law, lost international moral standing, and sunken to uncivilized levels unlike any before since the nation’s founding, he said those people could “go fuck themselves.”

The persecution of witches, torture.  When we act in collective hysteria we do not act as our better selves.  No, Dick Cheney, the ends do not justify the means.  And it’s unclear if the ends are any better because of the use of torture.  For certain the abandonment of our ideals has left us poorer as a people.

The arguments now being made to defend the use of torture by the United States in Guantanamo and Black Sites are so patently ridiculous that I can’t imagine that any thinking person of any decent morality who spends time understanding the situation would  attempt to make them.

It appears that most of the torture was conducted under the supervision of the CIA under specific direction of Dick Cheney and Condoleeza Rice, with now discredited legal opinions issued or overseen by the likes of John Yoo, David Addington and Alberto Gonzales.  The FBI had the good sense to realize the atrocities that were occuring and refuse to participate.  And the use of torture to extract actionable reliable intelligence, according to those closest to the subject, is NOT effective.  But even if it were, if it violates our principles and our laws and costs us our soul, puts our own service people in danger of similar treatment, and sacrifices our moral authority in the world.  It must be repudiated with full force.  Let the investigations and the recriminations and the prosecutions begin.   NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW.

And as for the argument about not going after the people on the ground who did the actual torture, we need only look to the Nuremberg trials.  “Just Following Orders” ( “Befehl ist Befehl”, literally “order is order”)   is no defense or excuse for the commitment of atrocities.  We put people to death after World War II for “just following orders.”  We also put Japanese soldiers to death for waterboarding our POW’s.  Why did the Japanese waterboard our men?  Because they were afraid of an imminent attack using WMD’s (which, of course, did come).  How eerily similar to our own circumstance.

Obama’s desire to “move forward” is understandable but wrong.  All crimes occur in the past.  Do we just forget them and “move forward?”  How ridiculous.  Full accounting is required by the law, by justice, and by basic human decency.  Let blowhards like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck bluster, let Dick Cheney fulminate.  And then let’s determine who knew what when, who did what and how, and what their punishments will be.

Categories: Palin · Palintology · Politics
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Bored, Pathetic, Anonymous Bloggers Who Lie

January 14, 2009 · Leave a Comment

In an interview with Esquire magazine that has gotten a lot of press over the last two days, Palin took a swipe both at her home town newspaper and bloggers, who she blames for repeating the rumors that Sarah is not the true mother of her son Trigg.

When I first read the headline I thought – “Oh no, does she mean us?”  But upon reading the full quote, it was clear she was talking about the unsubstantiated rumors that have indeed been out in the blogosphere.  Specifically she was upset that a fact checker had called about the issue of determining Trigg’s mother.  What she didn’t mention was that the story was to have been specifically about busting myths that persisted despite any hard evidence.  In other words, the story was going to try to lay to rest the rumor about Trigg’s “real” mother, as well as other rumors.

I’m finding Sarah’s claims of being victimized by anyone she doesn’t like unstateswomanlike, boring and disingenuous.  I can’t tell if she’s playing the media or really lacks even the self-awareness of an average human.  The liberal media, Tina Fey, Katie Couric, Obama, bloggers – wow, talk about a persecution complex.  And I thought that Alaskan politics were rough and tumble.

Mrs. Palin, whining does not become you.

And in a final note, Meghan McCain was willing to talk about anything (including her appreciation for Marilyn Manson’s ex-wife Dita Von Teese).  Except Sarah Palin.

I think you have to read into that refusal some bad blood.

Lesson:  pick your running mates carefully.  Meet with them more than twice, and for more than a few hours.  A decision like who you choose as a running mate is hugely important.  Personally I’m very glad that we were spared an impulsive decision-maker in the oval office.

Categories: McCain · Palin · Palintology · Politics
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Republican Sends Out Racist CD

December 26, 2008 · Leave a Comment

Tennessee Republican Chip Saltsman apparently doesn’t understand the difference between satire and poor taste.   Saltsman is (or was, prior to this gaffe) a candidate for the RNC chairmanship.  He sent out a CD with “humorous” songs including “Barack the Magic Negro,” “Ivory and Ebony,” and “The Star Spanglish Banner.”  Are you kidding me?

The self-destructive streak in certain Republicans as power slips away is truly remarkable.  Or perhaps Tennessee is so in the grips of decades-old good-old-boy thinking that this type of behavior is not seen as reprehensible or outside the norm.

Is Saltsman just some anonymous buffoon?  Well, he’s not anonymous.  He was that national chairman of Hillbilly Huckabee’s presidential campaign, and worked on staff for Bill Frist.

Disgraceful.

Here’s what CNN had to say:

(CNN) — A candidate for the Republican National Committee chairmanship said Friday the CD he sent committee members for Christmas — which included a song titled “Barack the Magic Negro” — was clearly intended as a joke.

The title of the song about President-elect Barack Obama was drawn from a Los Angeles Times column.”

“I think most people recognize political satire when they see it,” Tennessee Republican Chip Saltsman told CNN. “I think RNC members understand that.”

The song, set to the tune of “Puff the Magic Dragon,” was first played on conservative political commentator Rush Limbaugh’s radio show in 2007.

Its title was drawn from a Los Angeles Times column that suggested President-elect Barack Obama appealed to those who feel guilty about the nation’s history of mistreatment of African-Americans. Saltsman said the song, penned by his longtime friend Paul Shanklin, should be easily recognized as satire directed at the Times.

The CD sent to RNC members, first reported by The Hill on Friday, is titled “We Hate the USA” and also includes songs referencing former presidential candidate John Edwards and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, among other targets.

According to The Hill, other song titles, some of which were in bold font, were: “John Edwards’ Poverty Tour,” “Wright place, wrong pastor,” “Love Client #9,” “Ivory and Ebony” and “The Star Spanglish Banner.”

Saltsman was national campaign manager for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s presidential bid in 2007 and 2008. Before that, he held a variety of posts, including a number of positions under former Sen. Bill Frist of Tennessee.

Categories: McCain · Palin · Palintology
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Palin Rebukes Obama's Use of Complete Sentences

November 26, 2008 · Leave a Comment

Andy Borowitz

In the first two weeks since the election, President-elect Barack Obama has broken with a tradition  established over the past eight years through his controversial use of complete sentences, political observers say.

Millions of Americans who watched Mr. Obama’s appearance on CBS’s 60 Minutes on Sunday witnessed the  president-elect’s unorthodox verbal tick, which had Mr. Obama employing grammatically correct sentences virtually every time he opened his mouth.

But Mr. Obama’s decision to use complete sentences in his public pronouncements carries with it certain risks, since after the last eight years many Americans may find his odd speaking style jarring.

According to presidential historian Davis Logsdon of the University of Minnesota, some Americans might  find it “alienating” to have a president who speaks English as if it were his first language.

“Every time Obama opens his mouth, his subjects and verbs are in agreement,” says Mr. Logsdon. “If he  keeps it up, he is running the risk of sounding like an elitist.”

The historian said that if Mr. Obama insists on using complete sentences in his speeches, the public may    find itself saying, “Okay, subject, predicate, subject predicate — we get it, stop showing off.”

The president-elect’s stubborn insistence on using complete sentences has already attracted a rebuke from one of his harshest critics, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska.

“Talking with complete sentences there and also too talking in a way that ordinary Americans like Joe the Plumber and Tito the Builder can’t really do there, I think needing to do that isn’t tapping into what Americans are needing also,” she said.

Categories: Palin · Palintology
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Disarming Candor and Staggering Presumption, Sarah Prays For Open Doors

November 11, 2008 · 2 Comments

Sarah Palin is praying that God opens some doors.  And if He opens up some national doors for 2012 (even a crack), she intends to walk through those doors.

As for me, I’m going to continue to view with great suspicion anybody who expects God to talk to them.  Where I grew up they called people who heard voices telling them what to do schizophrenic.

Palin is attempting to use the residual glow that she still enjoys to improve her now-tarnished image by giving multiple interviews with reporters like Matt Lauer and Greta Van Susteren.  Alessandra Stanley of the International Tribune writes “But so far, viewers have mostly witnessed some of the very traits – disarming candor and staggering presumption – that drove some McCain campaign aides to leak damaging accusations about her.”   In those, Sarah opines that the loss of McCain-Palin was due to:

  • Hispanics
  • Obama’s money advantage
  • The “R” next to their names (backlash against Republicans)

I guess she had nothing to do with the loss of the ticket.  I think the McCainiacs have gone overboard trying to blame poor Sarah for all of their woes, but to claim that her presence on the ticket or the extremely poorly executed campaign had nothing to do with their loss sounds like magical thinking.  But then again, Sarah is expecting God to tell her what to do next, and if that isn’t magical thinking, I don’t know what is.

Categories: Bush · McCain · Palin · Palintology · Politics
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Change Has Come to America

November 5, 2008 · 1 Comment

Updated

I first saw President Obama at the Los Angeles Democratic primary debate with Hillary Clinton.  I went in neutral and left an Obama supporter.

The single thing that struck me then and has stayed with me ever since was his consistency in never making this election about himself, but about restoring the hopes and dreams of the people.

I attended the debate because it was being sponsored by and broadcast on CNN, and I run marketing for a company that spends a lot of money advertising on CNN and Headline News.  A colleague was with me whose brother-in-law is an ex-Republican turned Obama ward captain.  I thought that Obama held his own in the debate, and displayed a trait that in the end helped him win the Presidency more than any position or talking point – his cool but engaged temperament.   Hillary was also very impressive, and her candidacy was historic in so many ways.  But in the end the Clintons had, to my mind, simply done too much to win the nomination at all costs and they used up all of the good will they had built up with me, and then some.

My colleague’s brother-in-law waded down to the front afterward where Obama stayed for quite some time interacting with anyone who waiting around long enough.  He shouted out to Obama “I believe in you,” and Obama said something back that he has repeated time and time again to supporters – “No, I believe in you! This is about you.”

Obama has inspired the hopes of a new generation.  While Obama won the support of most of the identifiable groups used for polling, there is no denying that symbolically this contest was about race.  While Obama never made race the main thrust of the campaign, if anything his campaign was the anti-identity politics, because of our nations history the campaign was about the ability of an African-American man to become President in a country that continues to struggle with a legacy of racism.  His nearly monolithic support in the black community (over 90%) and his very strong showing with Hispanic voters (70%) were most certainly deciding factors.   While the Obama win is undoubtedly about race, it is equally about the passing of the torch to a new generation.  Obama won in the 30 and under age groups by a huge margin (in most states well over 65%).  In addition to his lopsided support, Obama energized new voters – especially among racial minorities and younger voters.  A few times every century leadership passes from one generation to the next.  We have witnessed that hand-off.

Race continues to be an entrenched and horribly difficult issue (just look at the vote tallies in the South), and racism continues to block millions of Americans from equal opportunity.  We must not fall victim to the naive belief that the election of Obama means that racism has been defeated.  But neither should we underestimate the enormity of this achievement and of this moment.

And yet all is not rosy.  Virtually every anti-gay ballot measure on State ballots across the nation passed.  Most denied gays and lesbians the right to marry, by defining marriage as between a man and a woman.  Some denied the right of single people to adopt as a way to discriminate against gay people.  While one barrier to equality has fallen, others are being reinforced by the small-mindedness of the self-righteous.  Anti-gay discrimination is now on the front lines of ensuring equality of civil rights.

One telling contrast struck me last night.  McCain’s concession speech was gracious; the reaction of his audience was as ugly and petty as the campaign had been, booing at the mention of Obama.  By contrast the crowd in Chicago’s Grant Park listening to Obama’s declaration of victory applauded the mention of McCain.  It’s always easier, I suppose, to be gracious in victory than in defeat, but I was struck again by how rhetoric and tactics reveal character and are replicated in the reaction of supporters.  One seeks to unite and break the politics of division and rancor.  The other sees only its own loss.  Let us hope that we all seize this historic moment as a time to renew our commitment to stay involved, to improve our nation and our communities, and to unlock the potential of all of our citizens by providing the basics of a society of opportunity:  education, health care, and economic mobility – especially if it means self-sacrifice.

Obama has a steep hill to climb.  Two wars going badly and a military overstretched.  An economy in decline.  Nationalized mortgage institutions.  Huge amounts of public money pumped into a failing banking system.  An equity market that has lost over 35% of its value.  A world of disappointed allies and emboldened adversaries.  And yet climb we must.  And hope is the one thing that can bring us through this tough time.

Congratulations to Obama-Biden and their steady, disciplined campaign.  The hard work is over, now comes the even harder work.

Categories: McCain · Palin · Politics
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