Thursday, September 4, 2008

Barack Obama Maintains his Political Discipline and remains focused on the Presidency


As Barack Obama forcefully indicates in the video above this election is not about what Sarah Palin thinks about his service as a community organizer over twenty years ago nor is it about what such rightwing cretins as Giuliani, Huckabee, Romney, and Bush think about Obama's "personality" and general employment resume. What it's about is the political and economic direction of American society and its complex global relations with the rest of the world. All of the dismissive rhetoric of Alaskan Governors and feisty evangelical mothers with delusions of grandeur will not and cannot distract from the major task at hand--which is to get Senator Obama elected President of the United States on November 4. Stay tuned...


John McCain is a Pimp and Sarah Palin is his # 1 Whore--and they're out to recruit more of the same!


This is one of the most transparently cynical, manipulative, crass, and exploitive ploys in American political history. McCain and the Republican right are showing absolute contempt for women in particular and the American people in general. The choice of a woman who was a major organizer and fundraiser for proto-fascist Pat Buchanan in 1992 and 1996 and voted for Buchanan for president in 2000; who is not only pro-life and thus for eliminating Roe v. Wade but also advocates the complete outlawing of abortion even in circumstances involving rape and incest, is pro gun and a lifetime member of the NRA, has absolutely no foreign policy experience or knowledge of any kind whatsoever and says that she has "no interest" in the issue of the Iraq War, is an extreme evangelical rightwinger on every single political and economic issue of any consequence, has been Governor of Alaska only since December of 2006 and is to the political right of both George Bush and John McCain on every single major issue in this campaign--from healthcare and education to energy policy, the housing crisis, and the national deficit, is an indication that McCain is absolutely desperate at this point and that he and his campaign have no ideas or principles whatsoever with respect to the Presidency. McCain clearly doesn't give a fuck what he represents himself as standing so long as he and Sarah thinks they can pimp the white American woman vote--and especially the women who voted for Billary during the Democratic Party primaries. Thus not only nakedly revealing their contempt for these women as voters, citizens, and human beings but also showing their complete disregard for the office of the Presidency as well (does anyone seriously believe that Sarah Palin should become President of the United States if the 72 year old McCain--the oldest man in history to run for the Presidency-- is elected and say dies in office?). One would have to be braindead to even consider such a bizarre scenario as rational.

So there you have it: One more gigantic piece of evidence that shows us why the election of John McCain would be a catastrophe of epic proportions. If this entire election is about anything at this point it's about whether American voters are clinically SANE or not. Stay tuned...


August 30, 2008
McCain Chooses Palin as Running Mate
New York Times

DAYTON, Ohio — In a surprise move, Senator John McCain announced here Friday that he had chosen Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska as his running mate, shaking up the political world at a time when his campaign has been trying to attract women, especially disaffected supporters of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“I’m very happy today to spend my birthday with you, and to make a historic announcement in Dayton,” said Mr. McCain, who turned 72 on Friday, explaining that he had been looking for the running mate who can “best help me shake up Washington.”

In choosing Ms. Palin — a 44-year-old mother of five who has been governor for less than two years — the McCain campaign reached far outside the Washington Beltway during an election in which the Democratic presidential nominee, Senator Barack Obama, is running on a platform of change.

The selection of Ms. Palin, an evangelical Christian, was embraced by social conservative leaders, raising the possibility that Mr. McCain might have succeeded in reinvigorating a Republican base that was not enthusiastic about his candidacy. Democrats, however, dismissed the move as a bald attempt to attract women voters by reaching out to someone far too inexperienced to be a heartbeat from the presidency.

“She’s not from these parts, and she’s not from Washington, but when you get to know her, you’re going to be as impressed as I am,” Mr. McCain said as he introduced Ms. Palin to a crowd estimated by his campaign to be 15,000 at the Ervin J. Nutter Center at Wright State University.

Ms. Palin then took the stage with her husband, Todd, who owns a commercial fishing business. They were accompanied by four of their five children; she said the eldest child, a son, is in the Army, and he is heading to Iraq on Sept. 11.

She described herself as “just your average hockey mom,” who joined the P.T.A., was elected to the City Council and then served as mayor and as governor, adding that she did not get into government to take the safe course.

“A ship in harbor is safe, but that’s not why the ship is built,” Ms. Palin said, adding that she would “challenge the status quo to serve the common good.”

Ms. Palin praised the achievements of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, who lost a long and bitter primary race against Senator Obama, saying that she had left “18 million cracks” in the highest glass ceiling in the land.

Then, making an explicit appeal to Ms. Clinton’s disappointed supporters, she said, “It turns out that the women in America aren’t finished yet, and we can shatter that glass ceiling.”

Ms. Palin, a former mayor of the small town of Wasilla, an Anchorage suburb, and one-time beauty pageant queen, first rose to prominence as a whistle-blower uncovering ethical misconduct in state government.

The selection amounted to a gamble that an infusion of new leadership — and the novelty of the Republican Party’s first female candidate for vice president — would more than compensate for the risk that Ms. Palin could undercut one of the McCain campaign’s central arguments, its claim that Mr. Obama is too inexperienced to be president.

The choice of Ms. Palin stands in sharp contrast to the selection of the Democratic vice presidential nominee, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, a veteran lawmaker and chairman of Foreign Relations Committee.

But Ms. Palin ran as a change agent when she was elected as governor of Alaska in 2006, and in a move that might have appealed to Mr. McCain, she took intense criticism from members of her own party for turning the spotlight on the failures of Alaska Republicans, some of whom had been beset by corruption scandals.

She was elected Alaska’s chief executive after fighting off a comeback bid by a former Democratic governor. Her victory came after she had helped uncover misconduct in the administration of Gov. Frank Murkowski, whom she later trounced in a Republican primary.

Ms. Palin opposes abortion rights, which could help pacify social conservatives in a party whose members were wary as rumors swirled that Mr. McCain might pick a running mate who did not.

But she differs with Mr. McCain on a controversial environmental issue that centers on her home state: she has been pushing for a new pipeline that would pump trillions of cubic feet of natural gas from the North Slope to the lower 48 states in the hope of delivering Alaska another economic boom. Mr. McCain’s opposition to drilling — even after he changed positions and began advocating for off-shore oil drilling — has upset many Republicans.

The choice of Ms. Palin was a closely guarded secret, and she flew under the political radar for months as Mr. McCain searched for a running mate.

Much of the public discussion in recent days had focused on Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and Mr. McCain’s one-time rival for the Republican nomination; Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota; Tom Ridge, the former governor of Pennsylvania and Homeland Security secretary, and Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, the Democrat-turned-independent who was former Vice President Al Gore’s running mate in 2000. Social conservatives were relieved and pleased.

Although Ms. Palin had seemed like a long-shot, she was the subject of an effort on the Internet by conservatives to draft her as vice president.

She is known to religious conservatives for choosing not to have an abortion after learning that she was carrying a child with Down syndrome. “It is almost impossible to exaggerate how important that is to the conservative faith community,” said Ralph Reed, the former head of the Christian Coalition. She gave birth to her son, Trig, in April.

“This is a home run,” Mr. Reed said. “She is a reformer governor who is solidly pro-life and a person of deep Christian faith. And she is really one of the bright shining new stars in the Republican firmament.”

Lori Viars, a social conservative activist in Lebanon, Ohio, who had been a staunch supporter of Mike Huckabee and had struggled to muster enthusiasm for Mr. McCain, said, “I’m so hot and sweaty, because we’ve been jumping around and hugging.”

“It is too good to be true,” said Ms. Viars, who attended the McCain campaign rally here on Friday with several other conservative grassroots leaders. “This is better than we could have ever expected.”

Mrs. Palin was already set to be honored by the Republican Coalition for Life at the party’s convention in St. Paul.

In some ways, the choice of Ms. Palin was reminiscent of George H. W. Bush’s selection of Dan Quayle, a young United States senator, as his running mate in 1988. The media and most in the Republican Party were caught unaware then by the announcement of a figure relatively unknown outside Indiana.

Several of Mr. McCain’s outside advisers reacted with bewilderment to the selection of Ms. Palin, and one said that it would undercut one of Mr. McCain’s central criticisms of Senator Obama — that he is too inexperienced to be commander in chief.

“While it’s a dramatic and interesting choice, it would make the argument he’s making difficult to make,” said the adviser, who is close to the campaign.

In Alaska, Carrie Hollier, a 27-year-old resident and supporter of Mr. Obama, said she would feel some wistfulness about not voting for the governor she admires.

“It definitely makes it difficult, because you can’t help but love Sarah Palin,” she said.

Under other circumstances, Ms. Hollier might consider voting for Ms. Palin. “She never comes across as full on Republican,” she said. “But Obama is the one who is going to bring everyone home.”

Not surprisingly, reaction was sharply divided on Capitol Hill.

Senator Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat, dismissed Ms. Palin’s appeal to female voters.

“The vice president is a heartbeat away from becoming President, so to choose someone with not one hour’s worth of experience on national issues is a dangerous choice,” she said in a statement. “If John McCain thought that choosing Sarah Palin would attract Hillary Clinton voters, he is badly mistaken. The only similarity between her and Hillary Clinton is that they are both women. On the issues, they could not be further apart.”

Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said Democrats were flabbergasted at the choice.

“On his 72nd birthday, this is the guy’s judgment of who he wants one heartbeat from the presidency?” said Mr. Emanuel, who said the selection smacked of political panic. “Please.”

Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said that “after the great success of the Democratic convention, the choice of Sarah Palin is surely a Hail Mary pass.”

However, Republican Congressional leaders praised the choice and sought to answer questions about her experience.

“Governor Palin is a very bright leader who will bring a fresh perspective to a ticket that already has the experience and judgment necessary to lead our country from day one,” said Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Senate Republican leader.

Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, the House Republican leader, called her “a popular and proven reformer with a record of accomplishment and real executive experience.”

For their part, Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden issued a measured response to Mr. McCain’s choice.

“We send our congratulations to Governor Sarah Palin and her family on her designation as the Republican nominee for Vice President,” they said in a statement. “It is yet another encouraging sign that old barriers are falling in our politics.”

Late in the afternoon, Senator Obama called Ms. Palin from his campaign bus in western Pennsylvania, offering his congratulations on her selection to the Republican ticket. In a conversation that lasted several minutes, aides said, Mr. Obama told her that she would be a terrific candidate and he looked forward to seeing her on the campaign trail.

“He also wished her good luck,” said Robert Gibbs, a senior strategist to Mr. Obama, “but not too much luck.”

Elisabeth Bumiller and Carl Hulse contributed reporting from Washington, Michael Grynbaum from New York, Jodi Kantor and Michael Luo from Denver, and Jeff Zeleny from Pittsburgh.

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

Palin attacks Obama and U.S. media
Sheldon Alberts, Washington Correspondent , Canwest News Service
September 03, 2008

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Amid a raging political debate over her selection as John McCain's running mate and tabloid-intensity focus on her family life, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on Wednesday accused the U.S. media "elite" of leading a campaign to portray her as unqualified and said her experience as a former small-town mayor trumped the achievements of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.
In a highly-anticipated speech to delegates at the Republican National Convention, Palin cast herself as a political outsider scornful of the Washington establishment she will join if elected vice-president in November.

Palin, 44, immediately addressed Democratic criticisms that she lacks the national political or foreign policy experience to step in as president if McCain was elected and somehow unable to perform his duties.

Republican vice-presidential nominee and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin blows a kiss to her baby during her speech at the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota Sept. 3.

She drew a contrast between experience as mayor in her hometown of tiny Wasilla, Alaska, and the time Obama spent working as a community organizer on Chicago's South Side in the 1980s.

"Before I became governor of the great state of Alaska, I was mayor of my hometown," Palin said in remarks prepared for delivery. "And since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to them what the job involves. I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a 'community organizer,' except that you have actual responsibilities."

Palin, a married mother of five, has been at the centre of a media maelstrom since McCain surprised Republicans last week by picking her to be his running mate, over more-established GOP politicians like former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge.

Since then Palin has faced a barrage of questions about her lack of foreign policy experience, her relative youth and short time as governor. She was elected as the state's chief executive in 2006.

"I'm not a member of the permanent political establishment. And I've learned quickly, these past few days, that if you're not a member in good standing of the Washington elite, then some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone," Palin said. "But here's a little news flash for all those reporters and commentators: I'm not going to Washington to seek their good opinion - I'm going to Washington to serve the people of this country."

Just as Democratic vice-presidential candidate Joe Biden led his party's critique of McCain at his party's convention last week of McCain, Palin spearheaded the charge on Obama. She suggested one of the Illinois senator's campaign mantras - change - was little more than a cynical ploy to advance his own career.

"Here's how I look at the choice Americans face in this election," Palin said in excerpts from her speech released to the media. "In politics, there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers. And then there are those, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change."

Other Republican speakers portrayed Obama as naive and ill-prepared to defend America from extremist threats.

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, the runner-up to McCain during the Republican primaries, said Obama deserves congratulations for becoming the first African-American presidential nominee, but suggested he was a token choice.

"Party or politics aside, we celebrate this milestone because it elevates our country," Huckabee said. "But the presidency is not a symbolic job, and I don't believe his preparation or his plans will lift America up."

Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani described Obama as a "celebrity senator" with no record of legislative accomplishment. When Giuliani mentioned Obama's work as a community organizer, the GOP crowd erupted in catcalls and boos.

"He's never had to lead people in crisis . . . Barack Obama has never led anything. Nothing. Nada," Giuliani said. "No one can look at John McCain and say he is not ready to be commander-in-chief."

But even as Republicans sought to turn the convention spotlight on Obama, the main drama for the third straight day continued to unfold around Palin.
Ever since the little-known Alaska governor was introduced to Americans last week, she has been the recipient of high praise and scornful criticism as fans and foes sought to shape public opinion.

Social conservatives have embraced Palin for her staunch opposition to abortion rights and the decision to give birth to her youngest son, Trig, after learning during pregnancy he would have Down syndrome.

And her past as a caribou-hunting beauty queen-turned-soccer mom has grabbed as much early attention as the ethics investigation she faces in Alaska for dismissing a senior civil servant who had refused to fire her estranged ex-brother-in-law.

But it has been the revelations that Palin's 17-year-old daughter, Bristol, is five months pregnant which have opened new fault lines in the already-tense relationship between Republicans and the press.

Former Massachusetts governor Jane Swift, one of several campaign surrogates dispatched Wednesday to defend Palin, accused the media of waging a "vicious smear campaign" against the GOP vice-presidential candidate.

McCain's wife, Cindy, says coverage of Palin has "absolutely" been sexist, singling out an Us Magazine cover titled "Babies, Lies and Scandal."

Further, McCain's campaign on Wednesday said questions about whether Palin could raise a family - including a disabled child - would never be asked of a male candidate.

"Too many folks are focused on issues about her family and her ability to handle two important jobs," said Swift. "There are individuals who will judge women with young children in political offices differently."

Republicans aides have repeatedly urged reporters to respect the privacy of Bristol Palin and her boyfriend, Levi Johnston. But after initially releasing only Johnston's first name, the campaign flew the young man to St. Paul to join the Palin family at the convention.

Johnston was on the airport tarmac for a photo opportunity of McCain's arrival in St. Paul. McCain twice embraced Bristol Palin and gave Levi Johnston a firm handshake.

Palin and McCain have courted the supermarket tabloids as well, giving their first joint interview to People magazine. Palin posed on the cover with her infant son, who was born in April.

In her speech, Palin sought to regain control of her own biography.

"I had the privilege of living most of my life in a small town. I was just your average hockey mom, and signed up for the PTA because I wanted to make my kids' public education better," she said. "When I ran for city council, I didn't need focus groups and voter profiles because I knew those voters, and knew their families, too."

While Palin tried to define herself for American voters, the media was also playing a significant role.

On Wednesday, CNN aired video of Palin telling churchgoers in Wasilla, Alaska, that U.S. troops in Iraq were "on a task that is from God." Palin's eldest son, Track, is a U.S. army infantryman who is being deployed to Iraq later this month.

The life of McCain v-p pick Sarah Palin

Here are some facts about Sarah Palin, who rose quickly from small-town mayor to one of the most popular governors in Alaskan history before her surprise selection as Republican John McCain's vice presidential running mate.

* Born in Sandpoint, Idaho, on Feb. 11, 1964, she moved to Alaska with her parents as an infant. As a star on the state champion Wasilla High School girls' basketball team, she was known as "Sarah Barracuda" for her aggressive play. She graduated in 1987 from the University of Idaho, where she studied journalism. She worked as a sports reporter at an Anchorage television station in 1988.
* She entered politics in 1992 by running for the city council in Wasilla, a town outside Anchorage that then had about 5,000 residents. She was re-elected to a second term in 1995, and became Wasilla's mayor in 1996.

* She gained statewide fame as a whistle-blower calling attention to ethical violations by high-ranking Republican officials in Alaska, including the chairman of the state Republican party and was sworn in as the state's youngest and first woman governor in December 2006.

* As governor, Palin has spoken out against corruption, battled for funding from major oil producers and convinced the legislature to give a $1,200 "energy rebate" to nearly every Alaskan. Her approval rating in the state stands at 80 percent.

* Palin is under investigation by Alaska's state legislature to determine whether she fired a public safety commissioner after he declined to fire a state trooper who had divorced Palin's sister. Palin has hired a private lawyer in the probe.

* Palin married her high school sweetheart, Todd Palin, in 1988. A champion snowmachine racer, Todd Palin is a commercial fisherman who has worked for BP and has been a production operator in oil fields on Alaska's North Slope.

* Palin, who has five children including a son born in April with Down Syndrome and an unmarried 17-year-old who is pregnant, is favored by social conservatives because of her opposition to abortion, devout Christianity and lifetime membership in the National Rifle Association.

* In 1984, Palin won the Miss Wasilla pageant, and finished second in the Miss Alaska pageant, at which she was named "Miss Congeniality."

Barack Obama Seizes the Time--Get on board now or live to regret it


I've seen and heard many political speeches over the last 45 years (the first speech I remember actually listening and paying close attention to was John F. Kennedy's famous speech about the moral and political necessity of the American people and specifically his administration to fully support civil rights and get a federal civil rights bill passed on the very same night that the leader of the Mississippi NAACP Medgar Evers was assassinated by the Ku Klux Klan). The date was June 12, 1963. I listened to Kennedy's speech with my parents and I saw them cry while listening in a way I had never experienced before. So it was more than sobering to me at the time that President Kennedy himself was also assassinated just five months later on November 22, 1963. I've seen and heard literally hundreds of speeches since then and have always made it a point to listen in a very serious and intense way because what I learned listening to John F. Kennedy that day is that WORDS DO MATTER and what a President does or doesn't do in fact really does matter in many different positive and/or negative ways...

This is all a prelude to saying that what I saw and heard from Barak Obama tonight was without a doubt the greatest, most profound, and most important political speech I have ever witnessed (the only analog I can think of that moved me in quite the same way was what I've always considered to be Dr. Martin Luther King's greatest speech which is not the 'I Have a Dream' speech of August 28, 1963 but the one King gave nearly five years later on April 3, 1968--the day before he too was assassinated!

What Obama has accomplished tonight marks a real turning point in American history just as the Kennedy and King speeches that I just referenced undoubtedly did. Anyone who doesn't see or understand that fundamental fact about tonight understands NOTHING about politics in any form and certainly doesn't understand or appreciate WHAT IT REALLY TAKES to change the society and the culture. If progressives, radicals, and yes, even "revolutionaries" don't clearly perceive what Obama laid out so eloquently and so succinctly in his speech tonight then all is surely lost. I can't conceive of any genuine or even sentient political being not being deeply impressed with the form and content of what Obama said tonight and what it seriously portends for this country if he is elected in November. We had ALL better hope and pray that he is. Obama is the REAL DEAL and to not properly recognize that one very important fact is to miss out on one of the most incredible and meaningful opportunities for political and cultural transformation in American history. As Obama pointed out (and always points out) this election is not about him or John McCain it's about US. To not remember or openly embrace that truth will only be to our collective peril...

In this context it is crucial to remember that cynicism is our greatest enemy.