Palin Seeks Rapture Lane

Vice Presidential Candidate Sara Palin has proposed the addition of ”Rapture Lanes” to America’s interstate highways.

“Its something we should be thinking about,” Palin told the New Jesus Times in an exclusive interview yesterday. “I mean I don’t mean everyplace,” she continued, “just those places where you know, they have a lot of traffic and there could be people driving along and getting raptured when we don’t expect…. I mean places like the beltway highway in Washington D.C. and you know, Los Angeles.” She noted that they have a lot of Christians in Los Angeles, and the potential for rapture is high there. “We would have a lane where just Christians could drive so if they got Raptured they would not… you know… mess up traffic.”

Many Christians believe that The Rapture will carry chosen persons whole to heaven in a simultaneous Second Coming of Jesus. There is some concern that persons raptured while driving could create a traffic hazard. “At the very least,” she added, “it’s a problem that FEMA should be thinking about.”

What Barack should say

Barack should explain to the people that it is not his business to solve the financial crisis at this moment. Neither is it, by implication, John McCaine’s. Here is how Barack should frame it:

As a member of the Senate, and not a member of the Financial Services Committee, it is Obama’s job to know what is going on, offer whatever constructive assistance he can, stay out of the way, and vote when needed. He is doing that. Obama clearly knows what the proposals are. He has consulted with Chris Dodd, the man whose job it is to resolve the matter in the Senate, and Obama has offered him his advice.

Obama has stood on the sidelines, encouraged resolution of the problem in a way that addresses the real and legitimate concerns of the American people. He did not need to go to Washington to meet with the president, but did so as a courtesy. The results were what he predicted.

I can’t wait for the debate.

Outrage Worth Sharing

Garrison Keillor had this to say in Salon:

Confident men took leave of common sense and bet on the idea of perpetual profit in the real estate market and crashed. But it wasn’t their money. It was your money they were messing with. And that’s why you need government regulators. Gimlet-eyed men with steel-rim glasses and crepe-soled shoes who check the numbers and have the power to say, “This is a scam and a hustle and either you cease and desist or you spend a few years in a minimum-security federal facility playing backgammon.”

The Republican Party used to specialize in gimlet-eyed, steel-rim, crepe-soled common sense and then it was taken over by crooked preachers who demand we trust them because they’re packing a Bible and God sent them on a mission to enact lower taxes, less government. Except when things crash, and then government has to pick up the pieces.

Some say the tab might come to a trillion dollars. Nobody knows. And Mr. McCain has not one moment of doubt or regret. He switches from First Deregulation Church to Our Lady of Strict Vigilance like you might go from decaf to latte. Where is the straight talk? Does the man have no conscience?

It wasn’t their money they were playing with. It was yours. Where were the cops?

What we are seeing is the stuff of a novel, the public corruption of an American war hero. It is painful. First, there was his exploitation of a symbolic woman, an eager zealot who is so far out of her depth that it isn’t funny anymore. Anyone with a heart has to hurt for how Mr. McCain has made a fool of her. Never mind the persistent cheesiness of his attack ads. And now this chasm of debt and loss and the gentleman pretends to be shocked. He was there. He turned out the lights. He sent the regulators home.”

Mr. McCain seems willing to say anything, do anything, to get to the White House so he can go to war with Iran. If he needs to recline naked in Macy’s window, he would do that, or eat live chickens, or claim to be a reformer. Obviously you can fool a lot of people for awhile and maybe he can stretch it out until mid-November. But the truth is marching on. A few true conservatives are leading a charge against the bailout. Good for them. But how about admitting that their cowboy economic philosophy was at fault here?

The Inside Man

Frank Rich reminded us a few years back that the most famous phrase from All The President’s Men, “follow the money,” was not written, as many believe, by Bob Woodward (or for that matter, Carl Bernstein). The author was William Goldman, who wrote the screen play for the movie. Its Hollywood fiction making the true story sound better.

Whether he wrote it or not (and I bet he wouldn;tdeny it is his) Bob Woodward is particularly good at using fiction to make truth sound better.   A consummate establishment apologist masquerading as a journalist, his books always made the people in power much more powerful, with the result that it made him look like the most inside insider.  With the possible exception of Judith Miller, no working journalist (as opposed to a talking head) in history has ever had his nose nestled deeper into the back side of the establishment than Bob Woodward. A few years back, he made a massive mistake, sticking his head so far up the Moron George Busch’s ass that Dubya thought he was a hemorrhoid. I refer of course to Woodward’s first two books on the Busch Administration, Plan of Attack, “the definitive account of how and why (that Moron George W. Busch), his war council, and allies launched a preemptive attack to topple Saddam Hussein;” and Bush at War,a behind the scenes narrative of the beginnings of (that Moron George W. Busch’s) war making in Afghanistan and elsewhere.” Both books idealized Busch as a great leader and strategic thinker, boldly moving into the uncharted territory of a war on terrorism. Neither took note of the lies, incompetence and foolishness that truly marked the early years of the Busch response to September 11, 2001.

It did not take long for the truth to come out. Thomas Ricks, Seymour Hersh, Hans Blix, Joe Wilson, a panoply of experts and writers made it clear that the Busch Administration had screwed the pooch. And the Truth made Woodward small. But no one is faster at getting back into the game then Bob Woodward. Busch is a Moron? Of course, Woodward says, I knew it all the time! State of Denial, published in 2006, “examines how the Busch administration avoided telling the truth about Iraq to the people, to Congress and often to themselves,” … facts he could and should have written two years earlier. This week he came out with The War Within: A Secret White House History 2006-2008,” where Woodward’s ultimate conclusion is that Bush “too often failed to lead.” (WOW, Really?) The publication date comes with a carefully orchestrated release, complete with a leak to Fixed News, excerpts for four days in the Washington Post, and a full publicity blitz. Woodward is once again the consummate insider, and will soon be making money hand over fist.

I have a suggestion. Gary Trudeau also has a book called “The War Within.” Its about B.D’s efforts to cope with losing his leg in Iraq and overcoming PTSD. Trudeau is donating the money he makes on the book to Fisher House, a charity that helps mililtary families find housing and other assistance while they wait for their loved ones to obtain rehabilitation services from war injuries. Maybe Bob Woodward should do the same.  He could get them to give him a photo op, and make him a national hero for his generosity.

Same Bullshit. Pretty New Package.

When Sara Palin ran for governor of Alaska, she supported the Bridge to Nowhere. Said told the citizens of Ketchikan that she resented it being called a Bridge to Nowhere. Ketchican is someplace, she said.  She claims that when she was Governor, she told Congress “thanks but no thanks” for the Bridge. In fact the congressional earmark for the Bridge was removed the year before Palin was elected Governor. And more to the point, the Bridge project was actually killed by the Alaska Senate, which refused to appropriate the needed matching money. Because there was no matching money, Congress gave the money to the state as general fun money, and Palin spent it to build phase one of the Bridge project…the road to the Bridge to Nowhere.

Palin was queen of the earmarks. In her years as Mayor of Wassila, (not, as Karl Rover claims, the second largest city in Alaska. It is fourth behind Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau. Wasilla has about 9.000 citizens. Juneau has 30,000). She managed to get $29 million in federal dollars for her little town. All of it earmarks. Now she claims she is against earmarks, and will stand up to the special interests in Washington.

She headed a 527 Committee called “Ted Stevens Excellence in Public Service, Inc.” and made television commercials with the most corrupt man in the Senate. The day he was indicted for accepting bribes from the oil industry, the TV commercial was taken off her website, and she was urging the Senator to cooperate with the investigation.  That makes her a crusader against corruption.

She attempted to get the head of the Alaska State Police to fire her brother-in-law who was involved in a nasty divorce (obviously from Palin’s sister). This extraordinary exercise of executive authority is not at all unlike the Busch administration’s manipulation of the Justice Department to bring false claims against political enemies.

Sarah Palin comes in a very pretty package, but there is no doubt about her politics. She is a liar and a hypocrite and scumball just like John Sidney McCaine and the rest of the Bullshitter Party.

It's a Joke, Right?

Sarah Palin is a joke and a true indication of how little respect the Bullshitter party has for our government. How could they think this woman is qualified to be president?

She is also a slap in the face to a number of better qualified women who have served the party for years. There are three other elected woman governors of that party. All three are proven leaders with years of public service and management experience. Linda Lingle (HI) (Journalist and Labor official) and Olene Smith Walker (UT) (educator… older than John McCaine, however) and M. Jodi Rell (CT) for leader in Assembly.

There are five women in the U.S. Senate who are better qualified. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) only marginally so (and so tied to Alaska politics that she would be a bigger liability than Palin). Liddy Dole (NC) and Kay Bailey Hutchinson (TX) are too old (but both meet the beauty queen test). Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, both of Maine, are highly qualified.

There are 12 woman in the U.S. House of Representatives who have more leadership experience more education, and better understanding of national issues than Sarah Palin. Here are four examples chosen at random:

Kay Granger (TX) former Mayor of Fort Worth, six terms in the House. She serves on the Appropriations Subcommittee for Defense, and Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services.

Joann Emerson (MO), five terms in House, serves on Appropriations and Agriculture, is vice-president of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, a legislative assembly of leaders from NATO member nations which deals with defense capabilities and foreign affairs. She is also vice-chair of the subcommittee on Democratic Governance.

Mary Bono Mack (CA… yes she took over Sonny’s seat after he ran into that tree) sits on the following three subcommittees of Energy and Commerce: the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection; Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality, and the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet. Bono Mack serves as co-chair of the Congressional Salton Sea Task Force and as vice-chair of the Entertainment Task Force. Also Founder and co-chair of the Recording Arts and Sciences Caucus, and founding co-chair of the Intellectual Property Promotion and Piracy Prevention Caucus and the America Supports You Caucus, which was established to rally support for men and women in the armed services and their families.

Thelma Drake (VA) Two terms in Congress, 10 years in the VA House of Delegates. She serves on the House Armed Services Committee (Subcommittee on Terrorism & Unconventional Threats and Subcommittee on Personnel) and House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee. Also serves on The House Republican Policy Committee. She is the Co-Chair of the Congressional Human Trafficking Caucus, a member of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Caucus, and a member of the Military Veterans Caucus.

All women, particularly women who belong to the Party of John MCCaine, should take this personally.

Its the Media Noise, Stupid

Brady’s coverage of the convention is so good … thoughtful, brilliant, passionate… that I hate to post anything here this week. Truth is, I have not been watching the convention much. Too staged. I have been listening through the white noise of MSNBC’s commentary to get answers to the big questions. How was Ted Kennedy (who nearly wrecked the 1980 convention) … really good. Michelle? Awesome. Hillary? Great job.

Couple things.

1. I think Barack Obama owes Bill Clinton a nod and a thanks, and I think he will get it.

2. I think it is disingenuous for the Clinton’s to be bitter about the way Obama ran his primary campaign. Their attacks on Obama were so good that McCaine is now using them. On the other hand, its got to hurt to lose this one. It was once so obvious that she would win. (How did they fail to recognize the value of the caucuses? How could Oprah betray them? How could they not understand the value of internet fund raising?) It may be Hillary’s last chance to be president. The Clinton’s last shot at a dynasty (look out for Chelsea.).

3. In the final analysis, however, I really don’t think Bill or Hillary ever had any plan but to say the right things, endorse Barack and move on. They know there is too much at stake to let John McCaine extend that Moron George W. Busch’s term another four years. I was not surprised to see that she made the right speech, and I will not be surprised to see her doing what she needs to do to get Barack elected.

A lot of this is the media noise machine. Hillary made some mistakes, perhaps because she has some followers who were more bitter than she, perhaps because she is having a hard time not being emotional about this. It probably does not matter what she did. The media would never give her credit for magnanimity, it does not fit their story line.

The Clinton’s never caught a break. Big media always characterized Bill and Hillary as ruthless, power hungry, greedy.  They were never the young, idealistic couple from the rustic hills of Arkansas who wanted to reclaim America. They never got a shot at being Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. In the eye of the media. Arkansas was always a place where hillbilly politicians killed each other over pork belly futures, ruthless moonshiners hung out in the Governor’s mansion, and the Governor got rich on shady land deals. In Washington, the savvy inside media guys all knew they were going make their careers busting the president. Anyone who thought otherwise was naive. So the mainstream media (Washington Post, New York Times, Time, Newsweek to name a few) had no problem making a tsunami out of Whitewater creek, even though there were never any real facts reported, only innuendo and rumor attributed to unanimous sources. They gave the story of Hillary murdering Vince Foster enough credibility that a Special Counsel had to look into it. They bought lies wholesale. The media could never find George HW Busch’s lover, who was in plain site on the FCC payroll. They ignored Newtie Gringo’s abominable treatment of his wives and non-stop skirt chasing. But they spent years trying to document Clinton’s peccadillos, and finally came up with a blow job in a closet.

The Clinton’s have a right to be bitter. We should all be bitter.  Bill Clinton accomplished a great deal as President. How much more could he have done if he had not been so distracted by the media noise?

The Lincoln Legacy

Barack Obama’s choice of Springfield, IL, home of Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party, to introduce us to his vice president raises a question I was recently asked by my 12-year-old. Mulling over his fairly considerable knowledge of American history, my seventh grader wanted to know “When did the Republicans become the bad guys?” Good Question.

Republicans were the force for morality and integrity for their first hundred years. They abolished slavery, saved the union, busted trusts, instituted a system of government regulation of food and drugs. It was a court led by Republican appointed judges that gave black citizens equal rights to education, and it was Republican appointed southern judges who supported the civil rights struggle in its early, and darkest years. So when did they become the bad guys?

You can almost set the date. In October, 1960, Martin Luther King was sentenced to four months of hard labor at Georgia’s notorious Reidsville State Prison after being arrested on a trumped up traffic warrant and for violating probation on a conviction for a civil rights demonstration. Reidsville was a dangerous place for any black man, particularly dangerous for MLK. His family was extremely worried about his fate. On October 26, John Kennedy, urged on by Sargeant Shriver and Harris Wofford, the liberals in his campaign, called Coretta King and wished her well. In 1960, the South was still called the “Solid South,” a phrase defining southern loyalty to the Democratic Party’s luke warm attitude toward abolition in 1860, and solid support for Jim Crow in later years. The phone call was strongly opposed by Bobby Kennedy. (The truth is most Americans didn’t have a real problem with Jim Crow. Whites routinely turned a blind eye to lynching and similar depredations against the Black population of the south, and even the best figured “separate but equal” was OK.) 

Bobby thought they would lose several southern states if word of the phone call got out.  The phone call was enough to swing the black voting population away from a century of Republican loyalty into the Democratic column. Kennedy became the first Democrat in history to carry the black vote. Curiously, during his presidency, he did little to support the civil rights movement. He believed the freedom riders, for example, were stirring up unnecessary trouble.  It is likely that if there had not been prominent white liberals risking their lives on those busses, there would have been no FBI intervention at all. Kennedy did recognize the value of black votes, and put some support behind voter registration efforts in the south. The real champion of civil rights in the Democratic party was Lyndon Johnson, who used his knowledge of the Senate, and his power as a southern president, to get the Voting Rights Act passed in 1964.

In 1968, when George Wallace, running under the American Independent Party banner, carried five Southern states, Noxin’s Southern Strategy was born. Noxin called on the “silent majority” of white people, who were not certain they really wanted to sit down at a lunch counter with black people, to get on his bandwagon. The 1976 election was the last in which the “Solid South” voted for a Democrat. Jimmy Carter carried the south because he was a native, and because it would never have occurred to Jerry Ford to play the race card. The Traitor to his Nation Ronnie Raygun articulated a program of racist jingoism that resonated easily with Southern Culture, and moved the South out of the Democratic column permanently. By the end of Raygun’s reign, the Republican Party was no more. In its place was an immoral, unprincipled, power mad Confederacy of Scumballs sometimes called the Republigoats, Bullshitters, Grand Oil Party, which sees both racism and treason as the path to power.

Of course, we should not be sad to see the racists and warmongers leave the Democratic Party. Our history is besmirched by our Copperhead legacy, saved only by the Progressive sensibilities of heroes like Eleanor Roosevelt, Harry Truman (who desegregated the military) and Hubert Humphrey, who split the party in 1948 by successfully attaching a civil rights plank to the party platform.

Our party history now embraces Martin Luther King, Shirley Chisolm, Jesse Jackson, Fannie Hamer, Andrew Young and a legion of great black leaders. We are about to nominate the first black candidate for the Presidency. It is only fitting that we claim the mantle of the Party of Lincoln for our own.

Dream Ticket, Part II

We must have public officials who will stand up and tell the people exactly what they think. Our failure in recent years has not been the failure of the people to meet the challenges placed before them, but rather the failure of both our great political parties to place those challenges honestly and courageously before the people.   

 Joe Biden, 1972 (from today’s Washington Post.)

The Cylons Were Created By Man

The headline in Today’s New York Times says: “U.S. Sees Much to Fear in a Hostile Russia.” It made me think about that chilling introduction to Battlestar Gallactica…

“The Cylons were created by man. They rebelled. They evolved. They look and feel human. Some are programmed to think they are human. There are many copies. And they have a plan.”

Since That Traitor Ronnie Raygun demanded that Gorbachev tear down the wall, The Bullshitter Party has claimed credit for reshaping Russia into our own image. That partly explains why the Moron George W. Busch thought he was seeing a reflection of himself when he looked deeply into the eyes of Rootin Tootin Vladimir Pootin. (The other part is probably part man love and part the fact that Busch is, well, a moron.)

As long as they were economically strapped, bogged down in Chechnya and politically unsettled, Pootin was happy to let us believe we were the instrument of his reeducation. Now the Russians have evolved, and of course, they have a plan. Apparently they are now figuring this out in Washington. The Times informs us: “Washington fears that a newly emboldened but estranged Moscow could use its influence, money, energy resources, United Nations Security Counsel veto and, yes, its arms industry to undermine American interests around the world.” 

Georgia has been invaded, and Syria is getting a whole carload of new weapons technology. Again the Times: “The list of ways a more hostile Russia could cause problems for the United States extends far beyond Syria and the mountains of Georgia. In addition to escalated arms sales to other anti-American states like Iran and Venezuela, policy makers and specialists in Washington envision a freeze on counterterrorism and nuclear nonproliferation cooperation, manipulation of oil and natural gas supplies, pressure against United States military bases in Central Asia and the collapse of efforts to extend cold war-era arms control treaties.”

And we didn’t see this coming? Did we think it was just the commies who wanted to compete with us for top dog in the world’s economy? Would Russian capitalists be happy to play second fiddle? Do as we say, not do as we do?

The Russians, of course, are better poker players than that Moron George Busch. They waited until we had a weak hand and they filled their flush before putting any real money on the table. Now, with our armies depleted, our economy shaky, our government in transition, they are betting the house.

If ever there was a case for a thinking (I originally wrote forward thinking, but considering the Busch Moron government, any thinking will do), responsible government, this one is it.

Barack, Barack, Barack.