Friday, October 31, 2008
So why can't Marcia McCraw get the liberal establishment to support her run for lieutenant governor?
By Aimee Curl
A few things you may be surprised to hear about Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor Marcia McCraw: She's pro-choice, in favor of medical marijuana, and supports gay rights. This sets her apart on the social issues from 12-year Democratic incumbent Brad Owen, who is anti-choice, uses his rock band and his office to crusade against pot, and is lukewarm on gay rights.
George will be applying for a lot of jobs in the next few months and needs your help with his cover letter. Enter the following information to lend a hand and make sure he doesn't end up on the dole!
By Scott Horton
Is Sarah Palin a "whack job"? Yesterday, Politico quoted an unnamed senior McCain advisor describing Palin in just those words. Yet there has been little reporting in the mainstream media that would sustain this characterization. As I reported a few days back for The Daily Beast,, one of the things that led Bill Kristol—Palin's principal advocate—to push her as McCain's vice president was the fact that she was unknown, a blank slate. She hailed from a small town in the most remote state in the Union. When the Palin nomination was announced, hundreds of journalists descended on Anchorage and its northern suburb of Wasilla. A handful of serious exposé pieces emerged in the process. But only one visitor up north came back with a bag of gold nuggets. His name is Max Blumenthal.
Over the past several years, Blumenthal's work has focused on fringe groups on the right. He has excelled in covering political activism among evangelicals. His technique is simple: he confronts the subjects and lets them speak for themselves. His videos are generally under fifteen minutes and are somewhat haphazard, but Blumenthal invariably captures images and language that go unreported in the mainstream media–which prefers to allow religious-right figures to sell their snake oil unreported and off camera. In his trek to Alaska, Blumenthal focused on three aspects of Palin's background—her relationship with two churches that played a central role in her political campaigns (first for mayor of Wasilla, then for governor of Alaska); her connections to a political separatist movement, the Alaska Independent Party; and her relations with minorities.
The materials Blumenthal harvested on his trip have had a real impact on the campaign. They include clips of services in the Wasilla Assembly of God, where Palin was baptized when she was twelve and which she attended until 2002, and the Wasilla Bible Church, which she attended after 2002. Although Palin launched her political career from a religious platform, mobilizing the religious communities with which she was affiliated, she has been quiet about her religious views throughout the campaign. The footage that Blumenthal secured and published allows an extraordinary glimpse into Palin's inner sanctum. We see in some clips Palin delivering an address in which she equates religious missionary work with her political career. A series of vital political projects—ranging from the war in Iraq to a pipeline project—are described as being divinely ordained, and thus beyond discussion. In another clip, Bishop Thomas Muthee lays hands on Palin and prays, "Bring finances her way even for the campaign in the name of Jesus… Use her to turn this nation the other way around and to keep her safe from every form of witchcraft." In another segment that Blumenthal recorded in the church, Muthee sermonizes about "the enemy," using violent language. What these clips reveal is material to understanding Palin's political and religious views. They suggest that the Wasilla congregation and Palin follow "dominionism," a conviction that society must be governed exclusively by the law of God as set forth in the Bible. Biblical texts are to be construed and applied with a right-wing twist that reveals plenty of conservative social prejudices and little sensitivity to the original texts themselves. Moreover, dominionists share a millennial vision of the Rapture, coming great upheavals and political change leading to the creation of the Kingdom of God on earth. Dominionists do not embrace the separation of church and state, and tend to approach political issues from a highly dogmatic stance, often focused on particular charismatic individuals they see as ordained to govern.
(CNN) -- Gov. Sarah Palin on Wednesday said Sen. Barack Obama has ties to a Columbia University professor who she said is "a former spokesperson for the Palestinian Liberation Organization."
Palin said her assertion "is not negative campaigning to call someone out on their record."
"It seems that there is yet another radical professor from the neighborhood who spent a lot of time with Barack Obama going back several years," Palin said at an event in Bowling Green, Ohio.
"This is important because his associate, Rashid Khalidi ... in addition to being a political ally of Barack Obama, he's a former spokesperson for the Palestinian Liberation Organization." Watch Palin say the LA Times is 'kowtowing' to Obama »
Sen. John McCain's campaign repeatedly has sought to tie Obama to former 1960s radical William Ayers, who co-founded the Weather Underground. Ayers is a professor at the University of Illinois.
Khalidi is a leading scholar of Middle Eastern studies at Columbia, and he was a contemporary of Obama's while on the faculty of the University of Chicago. Read: Palin blasts Obama for ties to Palestinian professor
Khalidi has been a harsh critic of U.S. foreign policy toward Israel and has accused the country of "occupying" Palestinian territories. But he has denied acting as a PLO spokesman during a seven-year period in the 1970s and 1980s.
LONDON (Reuters) - Great scenery and wildlife but financial situation in need of repair -- collect in person.
Iceland, which is going cap in hand to Russia for a 4 billion euro loan to bail out its failed banks, was offered for sale as a wholesale lot on eBay on Friday.
Bidding started at 99 pence but had reached 10 million pounds by mid-morning on Friday.
Globally renowned singer Bjork was "not included" in the sale, according to the notice, but there were nonetheless 26 anonymous bidders and 84 bids.
"Located in the mid-Atlantic ridge in the North Atlantic Ocean, Iceland will provide the winning bidder with -- a habitable environment, Icelandic Horses and admittedly a somewhat sketchy financial situation," the notice read.
Bidders' questions included: "Do you offer volcano/earthquake insurance?", "Is it possible that my payment will be frozen?", and "Will you accept C.O.D. as a form of payment?"
The Ladner Report
The Norwegian newspaper VG has reported a truly amazing story about a newly-wed trying to get to Norway to be with her husband, and the stranger who helped pay an unexpected luggage surcharge. The blog "Leisha's Random Thoughts" has translated the story.
It was 1988, and Mary Andersen was at the Miami airport checking in for a long flight to Norway to be with her husband when the airline representative informed her that she wouldn't be able to check her luggage without paying a 100 surcharge:
When it was finally Mary's turn, she got the message that would crush her bubbling feeling of happiness.
-You'll have to pay a 103 dollar surcharge if you want to bring both those suitcases to Norway, the man behind the counter said.
Mary had no money. Her new husband had travelled ahead of her to Norway, and she had no one else to call.
-I was completely desperate and tried to think which of my things I could manage without. But I had already made such a careful selection of my most prized possessions, says Mary.
As tears streamed down her face, she heard a "gentle and friendly voice" behind her saying, "That's okay, I'll pay for her."
Mary turned around to see a tall man whom she had never seen before.
-He had a gentle and kind voice that was still firm and decisive. The first thing I thought was, Who is this man?
Although this happened 20 years ago, Mary still remembers the authority that radiated from the man.
-He was nicely dressed, fashionably dressed with brown leather shoes, a cotton shirt open at the throat and khaki pants, says Mary.
She was thrilled to be able to bring both her suitcases to Norway and assured the stranger that he would get his money back. The man wrote his name and address on a piece of paper that he gave to Mary. She thanked him repeatedly. When she finally walked off towards the security checkpoint, he waved goodbye to her.
Who was the man?
The mighty right-wing Titanic is sinking, and McCain is desperately blaming Bush. But the problem isn't the captain -- it's the ship.
By Gary Kamiya
The modern conservative movement is dying in front of our eyes, and its death throes aren't pretty. As John McCain heads for likely defeat, the GOP is eating itself. Right-wing politicians and pundits who never criticized Bush in eight years are suddenly jumping ship like rats, while bitter-end loyalists angrily accuse them of being "pathetically opportunistic." After months of veering from one tactic to the next, McCain has finally settled on one message for his campaign, but it's absurd: claiming that the party whose signature is tax cuts for the rich is really on the side of Joe the Plumber.
Meanwhile, 3.1 million real Joe the Plumbers across America are sending Barack Obama hundreds of millions of dollars, a torrent of cash that is helping to flush the GOP down the national toilet.
Right-wing hacks like Palin and Minn. Rep. Michele Bachman respond by doing the only thing they know how to do -- attack, demonize and divide. They wave the flag like a cutlass, dividing the country up into "pro-America areas" and "anti-America" ones. But this old pseudo-patriotic trick that has served the GOP so well for so long doesn't work anymore. In a development that showed just how much the political landscape has changed, the attack dogs have been forced to apologize -- something neither Bush nor his party nor conservative pundits ever did while they were trashing the country during the last eight years.
McCain's choice of the insultingly unqualified Palin to be his running mate was right out of the GOP's old culture-wars playbook, but it has backfired disastrously. The changing demographics of the country are working against the right wing. The party is lost, and it doesn't have a clue what to do next.
There's something surreal about how fast the GOP has gone from arrogant triumphalism to its death throes. Just yesterday, the GOP's mighty Titanic was cruising along, its opulent decks lined with fat-cat financiers and neoconservative warmongers, all smoking cigars, drinking champagne and extolling the deathless virtues of their fearless captain. The compliant media issued glowing dispatches. Karl Rove cackled with glee as he plotted out a permanent Republican majority.
Then the luxury liner hit an iceberg known as reality.
After Calling Social Security An ‘Absolute Disgrace,’ McCain Says Safety Nets Are ‘What America Is All About’
McCAIN: Now, of course we have an obligation to take care of citizens in our society who can't care for themselves. That's why we have those programs, those Safety Net Programs. But you know, the Safety Net Program, a lot of Americans pay in to Social Security, they pay in to a number of those programs. So the point is, yes, a society and government takes care of citizens who need our help. That's what America is all about.
McCain has claimed that Social Security is "broken" and has campaigned alongside President Bush to privatize the system. In July, he went a step further and said Social Security is an "absolute disgrace":
Americans have got to understand that we are paying present day retirees with the taxes paid by young workers…and that's a disgrace. It's an absolute disgrace.
In August, in honor of the 73rd anniversary of the Social Security Act, the New Mexico Democratic Party attempted to sing "Happy 73rd Birthday to Social Security" outside of a McCain campaign office, "only to have the birthday cake thrown in the trash by the campaign."
MODERATES: Alaska governor alienates all but strict conservatives.
By DAVID LIGHTMAN
WASHINGTON -- Sarah Palin has become a drag on the Republican presidential ticket, the first time in recent political history that a running mate has made such a difference.
Among many independents and moderate Republicans, she's raised serious questions about John McCain's judgment, become too much of a national punch line and reinforced concerns about McCain's age.
"Nice lady, no experience. It's so sad. She's a gigantic drag," said Chris DePino, a Republican consultant based in New Haven, Conn.
The Alaska governor does help the ticket somewhat by energizing hard-core Republicans, but polls suggest that overall "she's hurting John McCain," said Andrew Kohut, the president of the Pew Research Center.
Changing the tax treatment wouldn't hurt the employer-sponsored system and would allow more of the uninsured to buy their own coverage, [the McCain campaign says]. Also, his advisers say a McCain administration would keep an eye on the credit to make sure it didn't lag behind the cost of coverage, while also working to lower the rate of medical inflation.
Younger, healthier workers likely wouldn't abandon their company-sponsored plans, said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, McCain's senior economic policy adviser.
"Why would they leave?" said Holtz-Eakin. "What they are getting from their employer is way better than what they could get with the credit."
The entire premise of McCain's health care plan is that people can do better on the free market. That's why you get a tax credit. That's why you would be able to buy insurance across state lines. The market supposedly makes health insurance cheaper, makes your health insurance company offer better coverage, and makes buying the insurance you need easier. And things like tying health insurance to employment are anti-free market, which is why the McCain plan taxes employer health benefits to encourage people to get insurance on the individual, free-er market.