Sarah Palin: Even Pretty Speeches Need Truth Under Them

First reactions, beyond my rants:

She indicated her support for the continued undermining of the Constitution by criticizing Barack Obama for supporting Miranda vs. Arizona

She ignored the fact that she cut funding for teen pregnancy support in Alaska while claiming family values.

She skipped over the fact that she cut funding for special needs children while using hers to call women to her side.

Her snark didn’t play well with this woman.

They continue to claim some pathway to victory without ever defining victory.

The power of her speech was all in the appearance. The family on the stage at the end was intended to send the message that Mom, Apple Pie, America was there with a true hero thrown in too. It played like a 50’s tearjerker. Of course, the hope is that everyone reacted emotionally, and they did.

A pretty speech, pretty loose on facts, heavy on snark. She made an election about big issues an election about small things.

We really can’t let that happen.

Iranians Speaking for Peace

The people in this video are just like the Iranian people I know who live here in California. Hard-working, successful, achieving peaceful people. People who were given an opportunity to succeed here, people who play by the rules set forth here in the US, people who are peace-loving assets in our society.

Now they are raising their voices for peace, rising against the Bush/Rove call to attack their native country. Even though they have adopted this one, their hearts and in some cases, their families, are still in Iran. Listen to what they say, and then call the number at the end of the video or express your support for an end to our aggressive stance on Iran here.

Worthy of attention

  • Jeffrey Toobin: In McCain’s Court
  • Might he really be a “maverick” when it comes to the Supreme Court? The answer, almost certainly, is no. The Senator has long touted his opposition to Roe, and has voted for every one of Bush’s judicial appointments; the rhetoric of his speech shows that he is getting his advice on the Court from the most extreme elements of the conservative movement. With the general election in mind, McCain had to express himself with such elaborate circumlocution because he knows that the constituency for such far-reaching change in our constellation of rights is small, and may be shrinking.

  • Pentagon Announces Troop Deployments Of 42,000 To Iraq, Afghanistan
  • Why Republicans Might Attack Iran Before the General Elections

    For example, one of the strongest scenarios among neo-conservatives is based on the hypothesis that in the case of any military attack against Iran — even a limited air strike — the greatest beneficiary among the three presidential candidates would be John McCain. The reason for this is that the American people’s first priority would become national security instead of the economy, and since there might be a “perception” that McCain would deal with foreign policy issues better than economic ones, he would have a stronger chance of winning in November.

  • Clinton Puts Up A New Fight

    Later, when asked if she thinks this campaign has been racist, she says she does not. And she circles back to the sexism. “The manifestation of some of the sexism that has gone on in this campaign is somehow more respectable, or at least more accepted, and . . . there should be equal rejection of the sexism and the racism when it raises its ugly head,” she said. “It does seem as though the press at least is not as bothered by the incredible vitriol that has been engendered by the comments by people who are nothing but misogynists.”

    (My aside: No racism? REALLY? Yes, there has been sexism on the part of the media, the pundits, some Obama supporters and bloggers. But to say there’s been NO racism? That’s just a lie.)

Today is the day that Barack Obama will tip over the majority of pledged delegates. He will need less than 100 total delegates for the nomination. I would once again encourage the women profiled in the last article to consider the facts in the first article.

Larry Johnson, Sen. Clinton, and Gutter Politics

What do you get when you put a former CIA operative and the trailing candidate for the Democratic nomination together?

A steaming, rolling pile of shit. I debated about whether to even write about this, but I think it’s important to talk about the bigger implications of the politics of personal destruction that sleazeball Johnson is now floating to the top of the bowl.

Let’s go back for a minute and think about who Larry Johnson is, what he represents, and why he isn’t believable.

  1. His history of failures in the intelligence arena is chronicled here. This is a guy who didn’t get Osama bin Laden right, yet loves to proclaim himself the king of the political smear.
  2. Johnson claims to be a Clinton supporter. If that’s really true — and I somehow don’t think it’s REALLY true, just sort of in-name-only-true in a disruptive, smarmy kind of way — then it is the goal of Hillary Clinton to forever fracture and destroy the Democratic party.
  3. Larry Johnson has been credited with the ‘madrassa’ smear back in the early days of the campaign. 1 Of course, Johnson denies this vehemently, but one would expect him to deny it. After all, CIA operatives are not well-known for stepping up, raising their right hands and admitting all truth with no hope of ‘plausible deniability’. Think back to the Iran/Contra days for shining examples of CIA “honesty”. I’m willing to take a preponderance of the evidence: Clinton operative + CIA clandestine officer + abject hatred of Barack Obama + blogger = opportunity and motive for perpetuating lies on the Internet. Credit where credit is due here. What I’m willing to suspend is the conclusion that Hillary Clinton herself supports such activity

Okay, with the background out of the way, let’s get to the current round of rumors. According to voila over at Daily Kos, Johnson is having an orgasm over a secret Republican video of Michelle Obama railing against “whitey” in church. And sure enough, if you’re willing to roll up your electronic cuffs, take off your shoes and wade through a lying sack of shit, you can see it for yourself over on Johnson’s blog, where he’s also got the video of the Tennessee GOP Michelle Obama smear commercial. My, my, what a thing for a loyal Democrat to have playing on their site!

This style of politics is exactly what Barack Obama’s campaign is turning against. The power churners of the past don’t like that very much. They especially resent the possibility that the new kids might open the doors and let light into the dark corners of our very ugly backroom dealings over these many years.

These are the days of doctored video, faux journalism, and shrill end games. Don’t be fooled. If this were something worth considering, it would have been released in time for the three special elections handily won by Democrats. The GOP would have pulled whatever they could out of their asses in an effort to retain their death grip on the southern states, and that tape would have been all over the airwaves.

What Johnson is selling is snake oil, wrapped in a generous helping of bullshit. Don’t buy it.

1 McClatchy, 5/8/2008
“One practitioner in Virginia, who hates Obama like a dog hates cats, led a reporter through his efforts. Because the man is a retired clandestine CIA officer, identifying him could endanger officers or operations that remain classified, so McClatchy will not reveal his name”

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Thanks to Hugh McLeod at for the cartoon

Diplomacy or Death?

That’s the fundamental choice we all have in the general election. If anyone still believes that John McCain’s inner hawk isn’t dangerous, his statements today should remove all doubt.

I. George W. Bush equates diplomacy and appeasement in a cheap effort to smear Barack Obama abroad.

Of course, diplomacy is not the same as appeasement at all, no matter how hard the gaseous and despicable George W. Bush may twist it. Literacy matters. Bush must have been the child left behind. Here are some definitions, for clarity’s sake:

diplomacy: n.The art or practice of conducting international relations, as in negotiating alliances, treaties, and agreements.
appeasement: n.The policy of granting concessions to potential enemies to maintain peace.

The distinction in that last definition is worth highlighting. In order for there to be appeasement, there must first be peace. Appeasement is the act of offering concessions to maintain peace.

Diplomacy, on the other hand, has no such restriction. Diplomacy is the art of intercession and negotiation. It can be a trade agreement or a peace agreement. It is not conditioned upon military victory, economic performance, or anything other than two parties coming together to negotiate a mutually satisfactory agreement.

Joe Lieberman, George W. Bush, and John McCain forgot to check their dictionaries before going off half-cocked today. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Bush is illiterate, but it’s a pity that it has infected Senators McCain and Lieberman with an infection as rapid as the rise of the SARS virus.

II. What they said:

George W. Bush

Some seem to believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: “Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided.” We have an obligation to call this what it is – the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.

McCain takes it one step further:

“Yes, there have been appeasers in the past, and the president is exactly right, and one of them is Neville Chamberlain,’’ Mr. McCain told reporters on his campaign bus after a speech in Columbus, Ohio. “I believe that it’s not an accident that our hostages came home from Iran when President Reagan was president of the United States. He didn’t sit down in a negotiation with the religious extremists in Iran, he made it very clear that those hostages were coming home.’

(Note to John McCain: The hostage release was not anything that Reagan did or didn’t do. The hostages were released about an hour after Reagan’s inauguration, and was timed to humilate Carter, mostly because Carter would not engage in any form of discussion with them, choosing instead to launch a failed rescue operation and then ignore them.)

Finally, the pile-on by Joe “hawk-boy” Lieberman:

President Bush got it exactly right today when he warned about the threat of Iran and its terrorist proxies like Hamas and Hezbollah. It is imperative that we reject the flawed and naïve thinking that denies or dismisses the words of extremists and terrorists when they shout “Death to America” and “Death to Israel,” and that holds that — if only we were to sit down and negotiate with these killers — they would cease to threaten us.

Because somehow, words become terrorism and war and diplomacy is appeasement.

III. John McCain was for diplomacy before he was against it.

Two years ago, when interviewed by James P Rubin, Senator McCain said this:

I asked: “Do you think that American diplomats should be operating the way they have in the past, working with the Palestinian government if Hamas is now in charge?”

McCain answered: “They’re [Hamas] the government; sooner or later we are going to have to deal with them, one way or another, and I understand why this administration and previous administrations had such antipathy towards Hamas because of their dedication to violence and the things that they not only espouse but practice, so . . . but it’s a new reality in the Middle East. I think the lesson is people want security and a decent life and decent future, that they want democracy. Fatah was not giving them that.

During a follow-up conference call with bloggers, he added the following embellishment:

In a reference to Obama’s declared willingness to meet with the leader of Iran, McCain said:

“I think [it] is an unacceptable position, and shows that Senator Obama does not have the knowledge, the experience, the background to make the kind of judgments that are necessary to preserve this nation’s security.”

Yet, I could find no references to McCain’s objection to Iran President Ahmadinejad’s visit to the US last year, nor any objection to Ahmadinejad’s visit to Columbia University during that same visit. Not one press release. Not one public speech. Nothing. Was that visit not “talking”? Why isn’t Columbia held to the same standard?

Those are rhetorical questions, of course. The fact is that there was no political capital to be gained by giving attention to it. President Bush and presumptive Republican nominee John McCain are for democracy until they’re against it. In other words, they’re for democracy as long as the elected party is one they agree with. The Palestinians elected their government, which includes Hamas. It’s democratic, like it or not. The Iranians elected Ahmadinejad in a democratic election, like it or not. John McCain and George Bush do not get to pick and choose the democracies they like. Well, maybe they do, but it exposes the sock puppet argument about the conflict in Iraq being about making Iraq into a democracy. They’ll be for Iraq as long as they agree with the leadership, just like they were for Pakistan until the recent elections put people they don’t like into power.

The fundamental conflict here is not about appeasement. It is about how Republicans pervert ideas like diplomacy into appeasement. It’s about how they make democratic processes into wars.

Refresh your palate with a bit of Joe Biden, straight out of a Senate session and outraged at Bush’s illiteracy:

“This is bullshit, this is malarkey. This is outrageous, for the president of the United States to go to a foreign country, to sit in the Knesset … and make this kind of ridiculous statement.”

and this:

Biden noted that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have both suggested that the United States ought to find a way to talk more with its enemies.

“If he thinks this is appeasement, is he going to come back and fire his own cabinet?” Biden asked. “Is he going to fire Condi Rice?”

As a final thought point, consider John McCain’s surrogate Joe Lieberman’s statement yesterday with regard to his feelings on bombing Iran:

BENNETT: Listen, I give her credit. She has found her…three things. She’s found her voice. He is very much in the background now, it’s not this, you know, ventriloquial thing, it’s definitely her voice.

LIEBERMAN: That’s true.

BENNETT: And Joe, you know, this is my style. This is a girl who puts on her pearls, goes down, throws down a shot of liquor and bombs Iran, you know. This is…lookout Mrs. Bennett, this is my kind of girl.

LIEBERMAN: Hehehe, it does have an appeal to it.

Diplomacy = Progress toward peace. Why doesn’t John McCain want peace?

Food for thought.

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“I want the Iranians to know that if I’m the president, we will attack Iran,” she said when she was asked what she would do if Iran attacked Israel with nuclear weapons. “In the next 10 years, -during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them,” she added.

– Hillary Clinton, April 22, 2008
This is what “obliterate them” looks like. When I looked at this newly released collection of photos, I was stunned. The imagination cannot fill in the gaps where reality is. An entire city leveled. People living one moment, dead the next. Just like that. Mothers, grandmothers, grandfathers, children, fathers, grandchildren.


This is what Hillary Clinton has tossed around like a cowboy at a rodeo, swaggering with her imaginary holster full of death.

My reaction when I saw these photos was this: How on earth could ANYONE contemplate doing such a thing, much less actually say the words?

What’s yours?

(Credit: Robert L. Capp | Full Collection: Sean Malloy)

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