Saturday, September 6, 2008

* Did Pat Buchanan need medical attention? – Watching his commentary on MSNBC during the Republican convention it was obvious that he was sporting a more than 4-hour political erection over the Sarah Palin VP nomination. His gushing over the Alaskan governor made motor-mouth Chris Matthews seem a Forrest Gump. What does this tell us? If Buchanan is for Palin, Palin would not be good for America. Buchanan’s prejudice against anyone whose ancestors did not land at Plymouth Rock is well-documented. He and his sister Bey Buchanan speak for that minority of Americans who would rather live in a world where poor people, people of color and non-fundamentalist Christians know their place. The Palin pick is an attempt to solidify the Republican bases of social conservatives and political ultra-conservatives while disingenuously presenting her to mainstream America as a woman of the people. Let’s take a closer look.

* What have we learned about Sarah Palin? She is an ideal Republican candidate – long on rhetoric and short on ever-elusive truth, giving voice to religious fundamentalism while muting science. Not mentioned in Palin’s remarks to the GOP delegates and what the McCain campaign does not want us to know about her:
~ Palin recently said that the war in Iraq is "God's task."
~ Palin has actively sought the support of the fringe Alaska Independence Party that advocates Alaska seceding from the U.S.
~ Palin wants to teach creationism in public schools.
~ Palin doesn't believe that humans contribute to global warming.
~ Palin has close ties to Big Oil. Her inauguration was even sponsored by BP.
~ Palin is extremely anti-choice. She doesn't even support abortion in the case of rape or incest
~ Palin opposes comprehensive sex-education in public schools. She's said she will only support abstinence-only approaches – approaches that are demonstrable failures.
~ As mayor, Palin tried to ban books from the library. Palin asked the library how she might go about banning books because some had inappropriate language in them—shocking the librarian, Mary Ellen Baker. According to Time, "news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire Baker for not giving "full support" to the mayor."
~ She DID support the Bridge to Nowhere while now claiming she opposed it.

What can we conclude about Sarah Palin? She is George Bush in high heels with silicone-enhanced integrity and experience.

For a penetrating analysis of the Sarah Palin speech and why it was so off base (for anyone not of the base) I recommend the blog Consenting Adult written by Sue Katz. One of these two women has a sense of community and what it means to be an American. The other is running for Vice President.

*What do Republican spokespeople think about the Palin nomination? – During an MSNBC broadcast of the Republican convention the moderator and guests thought the telecast had gone to break. That was not the case. Wall Street Journal columnist and former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan and former John McCain adviser and Time columnist Mike Murphy were caught on tape disparaging the selection of Palin. "It's over," Noonan said. When Chuck Todd asked her if this was the most qualified woman the Republicans could nominate, Noonan responded, "The most qualified? No. I think they went for this, excuse me, political bullshit about narratives.” Murphy characterized the Palin selection as "cynical" and "gimmicky." You can see a video of this cinema vérité at this link.

* Republican platform on gays in the military - "To protect our servicemen and women and ensure that America's Armed Forces remain the best in the world, we affirm the timeliness of those values, the benefits of traditional military culture, and the incompatibility of homosexuality with military service." Recall when the Bush administration fired a large number of translators in Iraq because they were gay and left the U.S. Command in Baghdad with almost no personnel that spoke Arabic. For not the first time ideology trumped humanity, practicality and America’s interest. By commission the Republican Party has no room at the inn for Americans with alternative lifestyles. By omission, these pillars of the community have little room for minorities. It was noted during a broadcast this week that 5% of Latinos are registered Republicans and 2% of African Americans are registered with the Grand Old Party. The Buchanans must be very proud!

* Republicans and “special” needs – There was much fanfare when Palin, a parent of a special needs child, said that when she is in Washington she will be a voice for this constituency. The reality is that Republicans are deaf to people with real needs. Recall that this year it was Republicans that attempted to block health insurance for 10 million children. They are spending our treasure on weapons of questionable value and to bail out American financial industry icons Bear Stearns, Fanny Mae and Fanny Mac who lost billions of dollars due to incompetent and avaricious business decisions. The bailout is costing taxpayers billions of dollars. The American flag was waving fervently in the background during the speeches at the Republican convention but their promises, as usual, are limp.

* 64 percent ~ people concerned that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) "would pursue policies that are too similar to what George W. Bush has pursued," according to a new USA Today/Gallup poll conducted over Labor Day weekend. Forty-seven percent fall into the "very concerned" category and 17 percent rate themselves "somewhat concerned." Other polls of interest this week: Obama, for the first time, reached 50% in a national poll (Gallup); in a CNN/Time opinion poll in Iowa, a state with a 95% white population, Obama leads McCain 55% to 40%.

* Four more years ~ the Republican platform in need of CPR – With a recent history of little if any accomplishment and a future of no promise for the majority of the American people Republicans once again have opened their Karl Rove book by creating non-issues and lies on which to run their campaign. On Tuesday night they invited a former Democrat and current Independent to address their convention. With the economy, meaningful jobs, infrastructure and the standing of the U.S. in the world community all in decline what did Joe Lieberman focus on - film maker and political activist Michael Moore. That will always energize the base. Did any Republican orator discuss methods to improve the economy, help the deteriorating economic situation of middle class and poor citizens, improve health care for those most in need? They did offer one solution to one of the issues of concern to most Americans – fossil fuel dependence. Their solution and subsequent coordinated chant by the assembled Republican delegates – drill, drill, drill. Watching this display I felt like I was at the dentist.

* Republican Presidential Slogan - "McCAIN-PALIN: A BRIDGE TO NOWHERE"
What did John McCain embrace during his acceptance speech in St. Paul? With one arm around Bush (he voted with him 90% of the time in 2007 and 2008), with one arm around Karl Rove (a very influential advisor) and one arm around Sarah Palin (and the religious right) McCain painted himself a maverick that will change the way Washington does business – while being remiss in not mentioning the over 120 lobbyists involved with his campaign. If this is change you can believe in McCain must believe that the electorate are atheists.

* Yes Virginia, and 49 other states, there is a critical need for clean energy in America the beautiful - The clean energy tax credit will expire at the end of 2008. This tax credit encourages industry to develop renewable energy such as wind and solar power and its extension would appear to be a no brainer. But logic and good governance in Washington D.C. is not something we can assume. EarthJustice is providing a petition to congress urging the renewal of this important legislation.

* $1 billion in aid for Georgia ~ the country, not the state – The Bush administration announced a $1 billion package of aid to help rebuild Georgia after its rout by Russian forces last month. Are I and Ron Paul the only ones that find this “charity” curious? The U.S. is not exactly rolling in assets as our deficit grows as fast as the dishonesty emanating from the McCain campaign. The aid package is intended to rebuild Georgia’s infrastructure and its economy. One wonders if the President of the United States ever heard of the country whose infrastructure is in great need of repair and whose economy is facing major struggles – a country that goes by the name ‘United States.”

* Speaking of Georgia ~ the state, not the country ~ meet the Derriere Orifice of the Week, Representative Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA). He was asked to compare Sarah Palin and Michelle Obama and said, “Just from what little I’ve seen of her and Mr. Obama, Sen. Obama, they’re a member of an elitist-class individual that thinks that they’re uppity.” The word “uppity” was used by Westmoreland’s ancestors when not wearing a white sheet and carrying a flaming cross. When dressed in their drag the “N” word was their mot du choice. Recall that Westmoreland was the lawmaker who co-sponsored legislation requiring that the Ten Commandments be displayed in court houses. He then appeared on the Colbert Report where he was asked to recite the Commandments. He barely was able to name five of them. I guess this was the reason he needed them displayed in public places – constitutional law aside.

* No way to treat a lady ~ I find it amusing the intensity with which the political pundits caution Joe Biden that he will have to be careful when he debates Sarah Palin. Do not be condescending; do not be a bully. I say Biden should use the approach that our adversaries will bring to the negotiating table should Palin lead this country: Russia will bring Baked Alaska, China will bring Cherries Jubilee and North Korea will bring Candied Moose Ears. Maybe Biden should just send flowers and not show up. Oops, that was George Bush’s approach to foreign policy negotiation. Never mind.

* Politicians are like diapers. They both need changing regularly and for the same reason.
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