"The action I am taking is no more than a radical measure to hasten the explosion of truth and justice. I have but one passion: to enlighten those who have been kept in the dark, in the name of humanity which has suffered so much and is entitled to happiness. My fiery protest is simply the cry of my very soul. Let them dare, then, to bring me before a court of law and let the enquiry take place in broad daylight!" - Emile Zola, J'accuse! (1898) -

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Political Problems Piling Up Like Palin Pasture Patties And Barracuda Bullshit!

Top pollsters caught fudging with Presidential Race numbers
dailykos.com — CBS, Gallup, and USAToday were caught tinkering with the outcomes of their early September polls. They've been over sampling the number of Republican respondents at the expense of Democrats and Independents. The media is trying to make a "horse race" out of this election by rigging poll results to support the "fairy tale" narratives they create.More… (US Elections 2008)

Sarah Palin speaks in Ohio. Nothing changed.

Yesterday Sarah Palin was appearing less than five miles from my home. I haven’t watched the coverage from the Golden Lamb in Lebanon, the hotel that once pissed off Charles Dickens for refusing to serve alcohol on a Sunday. Kind of knew what she was going to say already. Verbatim. As far as I could tell, the earth did not alter on its axis for Palin nor was our notoriously crazy squirrel population more crazed than usual. The squirrels around here are accustomed to folks with guns. We have a right to concealed carry law. I love you, Ohio, but whatever got the squirrels may be contagious. Please think better of yourself. (Same wishes to those who want Ohio’s electoral support. Stop treating us like the only child in an ugly custody battle. We know why we’re getting the extra love and exactly how deep that love goes. It’s insulting.)

Palin, who may be in reality a lovely human being, is—at a distance—a specific collision of archetypes that play well in Ohio. She’ll play well elsewhere if not playing well with others. Palin is a perfect storm of Competent Mom, the idealized goddess of American values. Of course, Medea was a Competent Mom of the highest order as well. It is difficult, mother-to-mother, to trust a woman willing to put the children of others in harm’s way. That’s all I need to know about her to make my decision. Still, I write this to remind myself of that fact because I find myself involuntarily submitting to Palin’s projected maternal authority. There is an air of Eighth Grade Mean Girl about Palin, something both entitled and vengeance driven. She scares me terribly, but I love her hair.

Eighth grade not being a small point here as Americans are presented coverage of their complex country at a junior high school reading level. The frustration of being treated like inept children is likely the singularity that big banged into the blogosphere.

We all know in our bones why she was plucked from obscurity and anointed as McCain’s running mate. Yet, even as we allow the manipulation behind her selection, we allow ourselves to be manipulated. Her two-week “Rapunzel in the Tower” act with the media has worked with the predictability of any seductive tease. Seductive in the sense of any information withheld. I say if the woman doesn’t want to meet with the press, take her at her word and go back to talking to those who have useful, constructive messages to share.

The true American media—the whole 300-million voice conversation made possible by our waning democracy—serves as the necessary enduring but loyal opposition keeping us brutally honest with ourselves as a country. Even when our leaders are lying to the world at large. So it seems to me we—the true media—should not have to wait for a televised interview with practiced questions and focus-grouped responses. We need to be discussing not only on what is being said but why these words, why this venue, why do they think we can’t see through to the glass artificially obscured? If change is what we truly want then we don’t have to wait for an election. That is the message Obama’s been trying to get across from the beginning of his career. We can change by refusing to be played and ignoring the cynical emotional ploy of Sarah Palin’s selection.

Oh and by the way, Governor Palin, a community organizer is someone who serves without title, perks, or great compensation. It is a position of self-assumed responsibility and willingness to be accountable to others for no reason beyond good will. The definition of freedom and American values at their very best.

Sarah Palin's Record on Alaska Native and Tribal Issues

This document has been floating around, and is factually true. But the other fact is, our governor is very good at staying off the record on important Alaska Native issues. Or any Alaska Native issues, really. I refer you to my earlier posts to view where her lack of attention has gotten us, as Alaskans and Alaska Native people.This document asserts that:

1. Palin has attacked Native subsistence fishing
2. Palin has attacked Native subsistence hunting
3. Palin has attacked Alaska Native tribal sovereignty
4. Palin has attacked Alaska Native languages

This is not new, but I think "Palin's administration" or "Palin, through her staff" is the most accurate wording. Palin has released only a "supportive" letter to Alaska Native people during her campaign for governor, and other than that has remained publicly silent on Alaska Native issues.

The Alaska Native languages attack, for instance, was actually on an issue I've covered here before - the Yup'ik language ballot. In this instance, "Bethel and the State of Alaska" fought against providing Yup'ik voting materials to the highly Yup'ik area of Bethel. The Lt. Governor, Sean Parnell, is listed as one of the defendants, but not Palin directly. She's done this many, many times before (most notably in the Troopergate investigation,) - letting her people take care of the highly controversial issues, while she visibly takes on highly popular issues (gas pipeline, $1,200 checks to all Alaskans.)

For those of you who do not know Alaska, Alaska Native people make up nearly 20% of the population. To say something publicly against solid Alaska Native issues would be devastating to a campaign - and we vote to the tune of 90% in some boroughs.

Again, the facts of this document are true, I'm just a bit cautious about saying "Palin believes this" about anything that she will come in and say "Oh, but that was my staff, not me" on. Which she has done. Frequently.

Sarah Palin is trying to seduce independent voters. But she comes across like a whip-wielding mistress who wants to discipline a naughty America.

Is she comfortable with a government that remains entirely neutral on matters of faith ... because that's kind of supposed to be the U.S.'s thing.

At the outset, it's important to note that Sarah Palin is free to embrace any religious beliefs she wants. It's between her and her conscience what, or even whether, she believes. For that matter, the Constitution makes it abundantly clear that there is no religious test for public office.

But there's been a push of late, most notably from the right, to make candidates' spirituality an important aspect of evaluating those seeking national office. And with that in mind, Palin's beliefs, which stray a bit from the mainstream, are drawing closer scrutiny.

For more than two decades, vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin was a practicing Pentecostal.

She belonged to the Wasilla Assembly of God church in her hometown of Wasilla, Alaska. But though she attended the church from her teenage years to 2002, the Alaska governor hasn't talked much about her religion since joining the Republican ticket.

Palin's former pastor, Tim McGraw, says that like many Pentecostal churches, some members speak in tongues, although he says he's never seen Palin do so. Church member Caroline Spangler told CNN, "When the spirit comes on you, you utter things that nobody else can understand ... only God can understand what is coming out of our mouths."

Some Pentecostals from Assembly of God also believe in "faith healing" and the "end times" -- a violent upheaval that they believe will deliver Jesus Christ's second coming.

The McCain campaign told CNN that Palin "doesn't consider herself Pentecostal," but McGraw said Palin's Pentecostal roots may be being downplayed for political reasons. The campaign would not elaborate further of Palin's spirituality, saying only that she has "deep religious convictions."

Now, there are probably going to be some who look askance at a practicing Pentecostal who attends a church where people speak in tongues, and people are free to draw their own conclusions about their comfort level. From my perspective, I'm very much inclined to consider all of this a personal matter, outside the political realm.

I do, however, think Palin, given her public comments, should answer a few reasonable questions:

* Does she believe in the separation of church and state? Is she comfortable with a government that remains entirely neutral on matters of faith?

* Does she believe public officials should use religious beliefs to shape public policy? Palin recently said those fighting the war in Iraq are "out on a task that is from God," and added, in the same remarks, that "God's will" was responsible for a national gas pipeline project in Alaska. Might she be willing to elaborate on what this means?

The Washington Post has an article this morning on the 312 nights Sarah Palin spent in her own home -- and still charged the state for 312 days of "per diem" allowance (which is supposed to cover expenses while traveling).

The media narrative is that Palin cut back wasteful government spending in Alaska and took on her own party to do so. But that becomes less compelling when you factor in that she paid herself $16,951 to live at home. And it's not like she can toss her hair and say that "this is just the way things are done in Alaska":

In 1988, the head of the state Commerce Department was pilloried for collecting a per diem charge of $50 while staying in his Anchorage home, according to local news accounts. The commissioner, the late Tony Smith, resigned amid a series of controversies.

"It was quite the little scandal," said Tony Knowles, the Democratic governor from 1994 to 2000. "I gave a direction to all my commissioners if they were ever in their house, whether it was Juneau or elsewhere, they were not to get a per diem because, clearly, it is and it looks like a scam -- you pay yourself to live at home," he said.

Palin and her husband both make six-figure incomes. They don't need to be chiseling the state for this money to live, and she sure isn't entitled to be running on fiscal responsibility when she's pocketing cash in a way that has a history of being regarded in Alaska as a "scam."

McCain's Latest Attack: Sex, Lies, and Videotape
By Hilzoy, Washington Monthly
McCain has a new attack video out that sinks to an all new low. Read more »

Like Bush White House, Palin Uses Personal E-mail Accounts
thinkprogress.org —
The WP reports that Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) is “being asked by a local Republican activist to release more than 1,100 e-mails she withheld from a public records request, including 40 that were copied to her husband, Todd.” Invoking a favored practice of the Bush administration, Palin has claimed executive privilege to keep the e-mails secret.More… (US Elections 2008)

While Sarah Palin was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, the police department was charging rape victims for their own rape kits:

While the Alaska State Troopers and most municipal police agencies have covered the cost of exams, which cost between $300 to $1,200 apiece, the Wasilla police department does charge the victims of sexual assault for the tests.Wasilla Police Chief Charlie Fannon does not agree with the new legislation, saying the law will require the city and communities to come up with more funds to cover the costs of the forensic exams."In the past weve charged the cost of exams to the victims insurance company when possible. I just dont want to see any more burden put on the taxpayer," Fannon said.

Implicit in Fannon's comment is either a belief that most women who report rape are liars, or a genuine apathy that women are raped—because the taxpayers who suffer the "burden" of paying for rape kits have a vested interest in ensuring their community is free of rapists. Only someone who thinks rapes don't really happen, or doesn't care, would ignore the value to every taxpayer of an investment in convicting rapists.

As regards then-Mayor Palin's complicity, Bitch PhD quite correctly notes that it's fair to assume Palin supported the policy of charging victims (or their insurance companies, when possible) for the rape kits, considering that Fannon was a Palin appointee and "in a town of that size, the mayor doesn't get to plead ignorance of policies or public statements of her own chief of police."

Frankly, given that Palin doesn't support legal abortion even in the case of a pregnancy resulting from rape, and that she raised the sales tax to pay for Wasilla's clusterfucktastrophied $15 million sports complex while victims paid for rape kits, I'm not inclined to believe that she has much sympathy for rape victims at all.

Making her a perfect running mate for a man who thinks rape is hilarious.

“Did you hear the one about the woman who is attacked on the street by a gorilla, beaten senseless, raped repeatedly and left to die? When she finally regains consciousness and tries to speak, her doctor leans over to hear her sigh contently and to feebly ask, "Where is that marvelous ape?"