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Truly a Bridge to Nowhere

Friday, September 05, 2008

By Rob McKay

While there was much to react to last night in Minnesota, I have to comment on a particular line of attack employed by Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin. The utter contempt and disdain they showed for Senator Obama's history as a community organizer is something that we all must stand up against. I'm particularly angered by the lies and distortions because my foundation has proudly financed millions of dollars of incredible work by community organizers over the past fifteen years. I was also reminded that the ghosts of Willie Horton and Jesse Helms were on display in the Twin Cities. Make no mistake: inside that convention hall "community organizer" was shorthand for radical, black activist. It's certainly not all community organizers they trivialize and dismiss. What else is the pro-life, creationist, anti-tax, pro-gun movements but the work of Right-wing community organizers? Clearly, Palin is specifically condemning those organizers who work to improve the lives of poor and marginalized Americans.

In belittling community organizing work, the Republicans made the case for what they really stand for. Just to review the record, community organizers work in houses of worship, neighborhood centers, union halls and schools. They have taken the lead in fighting for living wage laws in cities across this country, defended tenants against illegal evictions and foreclosures, led the rebuilding of Los Angeles in the aftermath of the Rodney King verdict and the rebuilding of New Orleans following Katrina. They have registered millions of young people, African Americans, Latinos and senior citizens to vote for the first time. It is they, not people like Rudy and Sarah, who respond when factories are shutdown and families find they have nowhere else to turn. Community organizers were the first people in this country to stand up against the war in Iraq. Their organizations are also the first to provide basic services such as health care and education in the wake of a generation of mean-spirited and hateful conservative policies. Community organizations, and their talented organizers, arethe social safety net for many in this country....(Click here for remainder of post).


John McCain's empty speech

Simply saying the word "change" a lot isn't enough. What did McCain offer people that was really new?

By Joe Conason

Sept. 5, 2008 | John McCain deserved much better from his campaign staff than he got when they handed him that jumbled convention speech and set him out onto that strange stage. Even though many of the men and women who work for him undeniably belong to that "old, big-spending, do-nothing, me-first, country-second Washington crowd" he scorns, there can be no doubt that they love him, so they should not have let him down so badly. His staff and advisors have had two years to prepare for that moment -- and they gave him words that literally put people to sleep.

Only the mighty force of McCain's personality saved Thursday night's event, the culmination of his political life to date, from disaster. Physically damaged, mentally tough and emotionally open, he is often compelling and effective. It can be touching to watch him express himself. But on this occasion he was burdened by the contradictions of his campaign as well as the emptiness and incoherence of his program.

Of course, his handlers may well have felt that they didn't need to craft a speech telling us what the maverick actually intends to do as president because -- as Rick Davis admitted the other day -- they think this election is about cultural divisions rather than issues. Evidently they also believe that if McCain simply says the word "change" often enough, he can pilfer the Democratic theme....(Click here for remainder of post).


McCain Fails to Deliver Any Tropic Thunder

By Jacob Heilbrunn

For all the hullabaloo about whether John McCain would match Sarah Palin's performance at the Republican convention, it wasn't even close. Where was the tropic thunder? McCain may have ended his speech with a Knute Rockne-like cry for Americans to fight and fight some more -- for what he never really said -- but most of his speech was a snooze, delivered in the tone of a kindly old uncle reminiscing about World War II before fretting about how how those pesky Russians are stirring up trouble again.

McCain's answer to America's woes seems to be a program of self-improvement -- "serve a goal greater than yourself," he suggested. But he never really explained what that goal might be. After eight years of the Bush administration running two wars without demanding an iota of sacrifice, indeed passing lavish tax cuts, McCain's exhortations could hardly have sounded more empty. In fact, to judge by McCain's talk, the only problem America seems to suffer from is that "some Republicans" -- once again, no names here -- succumbed to the temptation of "corruption." Well, yes. But it was the Bush administration's disdain for government that turned the Iraq War, among other things, into a free-for-all for contractors.

America's economic troubles barely even merited a nod, apart from vague promises to somehow emancipate America from Middle East oil. No doubt Sarah Palin will be offering some pointers in coming days about how Alaska can single-handedly solve that conundrum....(Click here for remainder of post).


The Anti-Republican Republican Who Is Really a Republican

By John Nichols

ST. PAUL – In the eighth year of Republican dominance of the executive branch of the federal government, after an extended period in which Republicans also controlled the legislative branch of the same federal government, the party's nominee for president told its convention, "We need to change the way government does almost everything: from the way we protect our security to the way we compete in the world economy; from the way we respond to disasters to the way we fuel our transportation network; from the way we train our workers to the way we educate our children."

Never in recent American history has the candidate of a party seeking to maintain its hold on the presidency seen its candidate so aggressively dismiss the legacy of the incumbent commander-in-chief and his allies.

John McCain, the man George Bush so brutally beat for the Republican nomination in 2000, accepted that nomination in 2008 by declaring himself to be at war with Bush and Bushism.

"I fight to restore the pride and principles of our party," McCain told the Republican National Convention Thursday night. "We were elected to change Washington, and we let Washington change us. We lost the trust of the American people when some Republicans gave in to the temptations of corruption. We lost their trust when rather than reform government, both parties made it bigger. We lost their trust when instead of freeing ourselves from a dangerous dependence on foreign oil, both parties and Senator (Barack) Obama passed another corporate welfare bill for oil companies. We lost their trust, when we valued our power over our principles."...(Click here for remainder).


The Sarah Palin Smokescreen

By Katrina Vanden Heuvel

"Here's the deal: Palin is the latest G.O.P. distraction," Bob Herbert wrote in a New York Times op-ed on Tuesday. "She's meant to shift attention away from the real issue of this campaign--the awful state of the nation after eight years of Republican rule. The Republicans are brilliant at distractions."

Herbert's right on target. Barack Obama honed in on that point in Denver too, "If you don't have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare the voters. If you don't have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from. You make a big election about small things."

On cue, Sarah Palin attempted to paint an absurd caricature of Obama in her speech at the Republican Convention last night: "What does he actually seek to accomplish, after he's done turning back the waters and healing the planet? The answer is to make government bigger ... take more of your money ... give you more orders from Washington ... and to reduce the strength of America in a dangerous world."

More than anything, this election should be about the big issues of our time--ending a disastrous war, restoring America's reputation in the world and building an economy that works for more than just the very rich. The challenge for Democrats is to frame these issues in a way that connects with traditional American and progressive values, exposes Republican callousness and extremism, and in doing so trumps the GOP's political marketing which cynically and cleverly plays on symbolism. As George Lakoff wrote, "Just arguing the realities, the issues, the hard truths should be enough in times this bad, but the political mind and its response to symbolism cannot be ignored..... Democrats, in addition, need to call an extremist an extremist: to shine a light on the shared anti-democratic ideology of McCain and Palin, the same ideology shared by Bush and Cheney. They share values antithetical to our democracy."...(Click here for remainder).


A Partisan in Maverick's Clothing

By Matthew Yglesias
Tuesday, September 2, 2008; 5:02 PM

The idea that John McCain's problems stem from some paradoxical downside to his "maverick" style and record of post-partisanship (Matthew Continetti, "Sounds Nice, But Will It Get Votes?") is the sort of clever conceit on which the punditry business is founded. But a much simpler explanation is at hand -- having spent the first four years of the Bush administration remaking himself as an independent-minded maverick, McCain has spent the past four years remaking himself as an orthodox Republican and now finds himself running for president at a time when his party is deeply unpopular.

As Continetti points out, it's true that McCain worked with Ted Kennedy to reform America's dysfunctional immigration policy. But during the primaries McCain disavowed the bill they coauthored, caving in to the GOP's anti-immigration base. Continetti also notes that McCain worked with Tom Daschle on anti-tobacco legislation in the 1990s. But now McCain opposes cigarette tax increases (which he once favored) and won't commit to supporting a bill giving the FDA the regulatory authority that he and Daschle sought years ago. Another example of McCain's supposed post-partisanship is his vote with John Kerry against the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, but he now favors extending them and adding huge new regressive tax cuts to the mix. The idea that the Democrats McCain once worked with will remain loyal to him even as he abandons the positions that were the basis of their collaboration is bizarre....(Click here for remainder).


Kicking Off a Campaign of Lies

McCain lamely tried to grasp the mantle of change last night, with a rehash of the same failed conservative policies and same dishonest politics that most folks want changed.

He accused Obama of wanting to raise taxes on everyone, when Obama's tax plan lowers taxes more for more people.

He attacked Obama for supporting corporate welfare for oil companies, when it's McCain who refuses to back the "Gang of 10" compromise that would repeal those handouts.

He said he was for clean energy, when he refused to cast the deciding vote that would have broken a conservative filibuster blocking investment in clean energy.

He claimed Obama would not oppose teacher unions (horrors!), when he has directly disagreed with them on the subject of merit pay.

He said " I'll work to establish good relations with Russia so that we need not fear a return to the Cold War," when he has been itching to bring back the Cold War by threatening to kick Russia out of the G-8.

He said Obama will "force families into a government-run health care system" when his plan rejects mandates for adults (remember the primary?), allows anyone to keep the coverage they have, and provides a choice between public and private plans.

McCain tells these lies because he has no chance to winning the swing vote on the merits, after voting with the president they all hate 90% of the time.

With that in mind, it will be interesting to see if McCain's TV audience was a big as Gov. Sarah Palin's 40M audience....(Click here for remainder of post).


Johnny B. Dull

By Jane Hamsher
The Campaign Silo @ Fire Dog Lake

My first thought on walking into the Xcel Center tonight and seeing the blue screen behind John McCain was -- have they learned nothing? Lime green jello and cottage cheese?  Is there no one in the Republican party who can do staging?  Hello, McFly?

And then there was the  sound of McCain's voice.  He's obviously been taking public speaking lessons from Hal, the computer from 2001.  It wasn't long before I needed a nap.  But fortunately, there was plenty of time for one.  Fifty-three minutes, in fact.

It was an endless laundry list of failed conservative ideas.  The place was packed with a sea of Karl Rove look-alikes (who knew it was a style?) who only got excited about the idea of lower taxes and drilling for oil.  But even then, just barely.

McCain promises not to raise taxes, but he never says that he's planning to tax your health care benefits as income.  Haven't heard much about that, have we?  It's true -- if you receive health care benefits from your employer, John McCain wants to consider that income, and subject it to income tax.  It's estimated that this would cost the average worker a couple thousand dollars a year.  He doesn't mention that much....(Click here for remainder of post).


Republicans Lack Heart!

Heart, aka Ann and Nancy Wilson, are pissed at the McCain campaign.  Seems that McCain keeps stealing songs!


Alaska police union files complaint against Palin

By Aram Roston and Amna Nawaz
NBC News

The GOP candidate for vice president, Gov. Sarah Palin, may be facing yet another ethics investigation back in her home state of Alaska. An ethics complaint obtained by NBC News was filed Wednesday by the police officers union in Alaska, requesting a probe into possible wrongdoing by the governor or her office. It was brought on behalf of state trooper Mike Wooten, an ex-brother-in-law of Palin who is at the center of the "Troopergate" scandal.

The complaint alleges that the governor or her staff may have have improperly disclosed information from Wooten's personnel records. The complaint alleges "criminal penalties may apply."

John Cyr, director of the union that filed the complaint, told NBC News, "It seems obvious to us somebody has improperly accessed [Wooten's] personnel file."

The McCain/Palin campaign Thursday launched a spirited defense when contacted by NBC News. They say the personnel files were not protected; a campaign source says Wooten himself had previously signed a waiver allowing a divorce lawyer to obtain his personnel records. The campaign then sent a copy of that waiver to NBC News, which reads "I hereby waive any privilege I may have to said information to said attorneys."

The issue concerns disclosures about Wooten's records made by a Palin aide - Frank Bailey - in a February 2008 phone conversation. The police officers' union complaint claims the transcript of that conversation clearly indicates there was improper access to Wooten's records....(Click here for remainder of article).


Obama Camp Turns to Clinton to Counter Palin

By Patrick Healy and Jeff Zeleny
New York Times
Sept. 4, 2008

ST. PAUL — Senator Barack Obama will increasingly lean on prominent Democratic women to undercut Gov. Sarah Palin and Senator John McCain, dispatching Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to Florida on Monday and bolstering his plan to deploy female surrogates to battleground states, Obama advisers said Thursday.

Mrs. Clinton’s campaign event in Florida, her first for Mr. Obama since the Democratic convention, will serve as a counterpoint to the searing attacks and fresh burst of energy that Ms. Palin injected into the race with her convention speech on Wednesday, Obama aides said.

With the McCain-Palin team courting undecided female voters, including some who backed Mrs. Clinton in the Democratic primaries, Obama aides said they were counting on not only Mrs. Clinton but also Democratic female governors to rebut Ms. Palin — and, by extension, Mr. McCain. Those governors include Janet Napolitano of Arizona and Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas.

Still, within the Obama campaign and among Democratic officials nationwide, talks are well under way about how the party should treat Ms. Palin in the campaign — and what Mr. Obama and his running mate, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., need to do to regain the offensive after the Republican convention....(Click here for remainder of article).


Tom Ridge Defends 'John Bush'

Whoops! HaHaHa!!!


Westmoreland calls Obama ‘uppity'

By Mike Soraghan |
Posted: 09/04/08 03:07 PM [ET]

Georgia Republican Rep. Lynn Westmoreland used the racially-tinged term "uppity" to describe Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama Thursday.
Westmoreland was discussing vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's speech with reporters outside the House chamber and was asked to compare her with Michelle Obama.

"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," Westmoreland said.

Asked to clarify that he used the word “uppity,” Westmoreland said, “Uppity, yeah.”

Other Democrats have charged that the Republican campaign to paint the Illinois senator as an “elitist” is racially charged, and accused them of using code words for “uppity” without using the word itself.

In August, Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) told reporters, “When I hear the word ‘elitist’ linked with Barack Obama, to me, that is a code word for 'uppity.' I find it extremely offensive and John McCain should know better.”

Political consultant David Gergen, who has worked in both Republican and Democratic White Houses, said on ABC’s "This Week" that “As a native of the south, I can tell you, when you see this Charlton Heston ad, 'The One,' that's code for, 'He's uppity, he ought to stay in his place.' Everybody gets that who is from a Southern background.”...(Click here for remainder of post).


McCain's Speech

John McCain just accepted the Republican nomination and adopted the most conservative platform in the history of his party. 

After days of negative attacks -- and no mention of real proposals to fix our economy, get more people health care, or make America safer -- the party that brought you eight years of disastrous policies is asking for four more. 

Well, not if we have anything to say about it. 

Across this nation, people like you have joined this movement because you believe that we are better than the past eight years. And now that we are entering the final stretch, it's going to take all of us to bring the change we need.

After the last eight years, it's up to you to keep America's promise alive. 

How can John McCain pull us out of the deep hole we're in when he voted with George Bush more than 90% of the time? 

The American people deserve more than a 10% chance at change. 

No matter what McCain says, we can't bring about change by relying on the same ideas that have failed us for the last eight years. 

Show the McCain campaign that people coming together, giving what they can afford, and working toward a common purpose will transform this country. 

Change begins with you. Please make a donation of $5 or more now: 

Thanks for everything you're doing, 



Sarah Palin

Did you watch Sarah Palin's speech last night? The speech told us a lot about her.

It told us that she can distort the facts and deliver mean-spirited zingers with the best of them. It told us that if Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter ever need a stand-in, she'd be a great pick.

It told us that she can be condescending and dismissive of the real work Barack Obama did helping real people on the South Side of Chicago. It told us that she can uphold the long Republican tradition of lying about Democratic tax cuts—even though Obama's plan would give Americans a bigger break than McCain's.

But the speech—written by one of President Bush's speechwriters—didn't tell us the truth about Sarah Palin's extremist positions. And the more that people know her far-right views, the less they support her. (There's a partial list below.)

One of the best ways to get the word out about Palin is to write a letter to the editor of your local paper. Today's a great day to write because this is very relevant—it just happened last night. Plus, our online tool makes it easy and has great tips. Please take a few minutes to write a quick letter to the editor now:

Palin's speech and the reaction to it also made clear why McCain picked her. It wasn't a decision about who's most qualified to serve a heart-beat away from the presidency—it was a political decision about pleasing the far-right base of the Republican party.

Writing a letter to your local paper is a great way to make sure voters understand that. The opinion pages are the most widely-read pages of the newspaper. Write today, and your letter's a lot more likely to get published because it's so topical. It'll help sway the editorial board too.

Here are a bunch of points you might want to include in your letter:

  • Palin recently said that the war in Iraq is "God's task." She's even admitted she hasn't thought about the war much—just last year she was quoted saying, "I've been so focused on state government, I haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq." 1, 2
  • Palin has actively sought the support of the fringe Alaska Independence Party. Six months ago, Palin told members of the group—who advocate for a vote on secession from the union—to "keep up the good work" and "wished the party luck on what she called its 'inspiring convention.'" 3
  • Palin wants to teach creationism in public schools. She hasn't made clear whether she thinks evolution is a fact.4
  • Palin doesn't believe that humans contribute to global warming. Speaking about climate change, she said, "I'm not one though who would attribute it to being manmade." 5
  • Palin has close ties to Big Oil. Her inauguration was even sponsored by BP. 6
  • Palin is extremely anti-choice. She doesn't even support abortion in the case of rape or incest. 7
  • Palin opposes comprehensive sex-ed in public schools. She's said she will only support abstinence-only approaches. 8
  • 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." 9
  • She DID support the Bridge to Nowhere (before she opposed it). Palin claimed that she said "thanks, but no thanks" to the infamous Bridge to Nowhere. But in 2006, Palin supported the project repeatedly, saying that Alaska should take advantage of earmarks "while our congressional delegation is in a strong position to assist." 10

The plain fact of the matter is that Sarah Palin did a bang-up job delivering a Karl Rove-style political attack speech last night. That makes her a skilled politician but it doesn't make her views any more palatable for voters. Americans don't really want another far-right, anti-science ideologue in the White House.

Please help get the word out about where Sarah Palin really stands on the issues.

Thanks for all you do.

–Nita, Ilyse, Wes, Karin and the rest of the team

P.S. If you haven't seen it, check out the Daily Show clip on Palin. It's worth a watch

1. "Palin: Iraq war 'a task that is from God'," Associated Press, September 3, 2008

2. "Palin wasn't 'really focused much' on the Iraq war," ThinkProgress, August 30, 2008

3. "The Sarah Palin Digest," ThinkProgress, September 4, 2008

4. "McCain and Palin differ on issues," Associated Press, September 3, 2008

5. Ibid

6. The Sarah Palin Digest," ThinkProgress, September 4, 2008

7. Ibid

8. Ibid.

9. "Mayor Palin: A Rough Record," Time, September 2, 2008

10. The Sarah Palin Digest," ThinkProgress, September 4, 2008


The Attacks

Why would the Republicans spend a whole night of their convention attacking ordinary people? 

With the nation watching, the Republicans mocked, dismissed, and actually laughed out loud at Americans who engage in community service and organizing. 

Our convention was different. We gave the stage to everyday Americans who hunger for change and stepped up to make phone calls, knock on doors, and raise money in small amounts in their communities. 

You may have missed it, but we also showed the country a video with the faces and voices of those organizers, volunteers, and donors from every corner of the country. 

What you didn't hear from the Republicans at their convention is a single new idea about how to make the healthcare system work, get our economy moving for the middle class, or improve education. 

Just attacks -- on me, and on you. 

But what the McCain attack squad doesn't understand is that people like you -- who devote part of their busy lives to organizing and building their communities -- have the power to change this country. 

With your help, that's exactly what we're going to do. 

Thank you, 



Palin v. Reality

By Mark Kleinman

Well, that was quick.

The Obama campaign is doing its job.

Now we get to see whether the media will do their job, or whether they will be cowed into submission. I'm not taking bets either way


PALIN: “Our opponents say, again and again, that drilling will not solve all of America's energy problems - as if we all didn't know that already. But the fact that drilling won't solve every problem is no excuse to do nothing at all.”


Palin Said She Would Beg to Disagree With Candidate Who Said We Can’t Drill Our Way Out of Our Problem. Asked by Invester’s Business Daily “Some politicians and presidential candidates say we can't drill our way out of our energy problem and that drilling in ANWR will have no effect. What's your best guess of the impact on prices?” Palin responded, “I beg to disagree with any candidate who would say we can't drill our way out of our problem or that more supply won't ultimately affect prices. Of course it will affect prices. Energy being a global market, it's impossible to venture a guess on (specific) prices.” [Investor’s Business Daily, 7/11/08]

PALIN: “In fact, I told Congress -- I told Congress, ‘Thanks, but no thanks,’ on that bridge to nowhere.”


October 2006” Palin Supported Bridge To Nowhere. In 2006, Palin was asked, “Would you continue state funding for the proposed Knik Arm and Gravina Island bridges?” She responded, “Yes. I would like to see Alaska's infrastructure projects built sooner rather than later. The window is now--while our congressional delegation is in a strong position to assist.” [Anchorage, 10/22/06, republished 08/29/08]

2006: Palin: Don’t Allow “Spinmeisters” To Turn Bridge To Nowhere Project “Into Something That’s So Negative.” "Part of my agenda is making sure that Southeast is heard. That your projects are important. That we go to bat for Southeast when we’re up against federal
influences that aren’t in the best interest of Southeast.' She cited the widespread negative attention focused on the Gravina Island crossing project. 'We need to come to the defense of Southeast Alaska when proposals are on the table like the bridge and not allow the
spinmeisters to turn this project or any other into something that’s so negative,' Palin said." [Ketchikan Daily News, 10/2/06]



Fake Soldiers Used In RNC Video

Patriotic Montage Shown At RNC Featured Actors Hired For One Day Shoot, Not Military

By Michael Rey
CBS News

It was a video that was supposed to elicit soaring patriotism and real emotions about the Pledge of Allegiance. But to do that, it used fake soldiers and a staged military funeral instead of the real thing. 

On Tuesday night, 15-year-old Victoria Blackstone, a sophomore at the St. Agnes School in St. Paul, led the crowd at the Xcel Energy Center in the Pledge of Allegiance. The audience heard her 434-word essay, “Pledging myself to the Flag of the United States of America,” an essay she’d entered in the “Wave the Stars & Stripes” essay contest and won. The RNC turned that essay into a three and a half minute video, a visually stirring montage rolling over Victoria’s words about sharing the Pledge with Americans who have stood at important moments in history. 

There’s the Continental Congress…A real WWII vet…Photos of workers at Ground Zero. A close-up of a folded flag presented to a grieving widow at a military funeral… profiles of soldiers swelling with pride in slo-motion. 

But CBS News found that the footage of the ‘funeral’ and soldiers is what is called ‘stock’ footage. The soldiers were actors and the funeral scene was from a one-day film shoot, produced in June. No real soldiers were used during production. 

The footage, sold by stock-film house Getty Images was produced by a commercial filmmaker in Chicago. Both Getty and the production company, Mr. Big Films, confirmed that the footage was shot on spec and sold to the Republican National Committee....(Click here for remainder of article).


Jim Quinn calls women whores...what a f-ing knob!

Quinn called NOW the "National Organization for Whores," said columnist Fatimah Ali should "get an American name"

On the September 3 broadcast of The War Room with Quinn & Rose, co-host Jim Quinn referred to the National Organization for Women as "the National Organization for Whores." Quinn stated: "Yesterday, I said, I wonder how long it's going to be before one of these Alinskyites -- formerly known as Democrats -- one of these Alinskyites out there suggests that Sarah Palin is not really a woman. Remember [Sen.] Kay Bailey Hutchison [R-TX] was a female impersonator, according to the National Organization for Whores?" Later in the program, Quinn aired a clip of Fox News host and Washington managing editor Brit Hume discussing a Philadelphia Daily News column by Fatimah Ali. Following the clip, Quinn said: "[Y]ou know, Fatimah, what's your real name? Come on, seriously. I mean, get an American name, will you, if you want to be an American. You don't suppose she's a liberal black Muslim, do you?"

As Media Matters for America has previously noted, on the August 11 broadcast of Quinn & Rose, guest host Mike Pintek questioned the authenticity of Sen. Barack Obama's birth certificate, saying: "I still keep wondering about his birthplace and his birth certificate. I'm still not convinced that he actually was born a natural-born citizen." Additionally, during the August 27 broadcast, Quinn introduced a segment about Sen.Hillary Clinton by playing audio of the Elton John song "The Bitch Is Back." The next day, Sen. John McCain was a guest on the program.

Talkers magazine ranks Quinn & Rose number 54 on its "Heavy Hundred" list, which it describes as the "100 most important radio talk show hosts in America" based on Talkers' criteria....(Click here for remainder of post).


Governor Palin has been quietly undermining ethics inquiry into firing of Public Safety Commissioner

By CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington)

Today, CREW's Melanie Sloan provided an analysis of the contrast between Gov. Palin’s pledged cooperation and secret subversion on the ethics inquiry.  Our documentation can be found here.

When we released the analysis, Melanie Sloan stated:

Alaska Governor and Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has been quietly undermining the ethics inquiry into her firing of Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan from the beginning, even as she publicly pledged her full cooperation.  

Among the examples:

Public Cooperation

On July 28, a bipartisan committee voted to hire an independent investigator to look into Monegan’s termination and Palin’s office promised her full cooperation as well as that of her staff.

Secret Subversion

Palin secretly asked the Attorney General’s office to begin a parallel investigation, which began before the legislature’s chosen attorney, former Alaska Assistant District Attorney Steve Branchflower had even been hired.  Palin did this despite the fact that AG Colberg had contacted Monegan about Wooten.

Public Cooperation

On August 13, the AG’s investigation became public when it was revealed that there was a tape of Frank Bailey, Palin’s chief of commissions, pressuring Monegan to hire Wooten.  The AG said he would turn over information to Branchflower and Palin again pledged cooperation. 

Secret Subversion

On July 19, Palin’s office claimed that Bailey had never had such a conversation with Monegan and that another employee, Department of Administration Commissioner Annette Kreitzer,  could not recall whether she had.  

Public Cooperation

On August 16, the Alaska House and Senate Judiciary Committees cancelled a meeting to discuss issuing subpoenas in the matter, believing the governor’s office was fully cooperating.

Secret Subversion

On August 21, private attorney Thomas Van Flein quietly began defending Palin and her staff in the inquiry.  Van Flein is being paid by the state of Alaska because the attorney general has a conflict of interest – a conflict created by Palin.

Public Cooperation

On August 13, the governor’s office announced that “immediately” following the Legisaltive Council’s move to hire Branchflower the attorney general had “ordered preservation of all state documents that might be relevant to the investigation.”

Secret Subversion

Branchflower was hired on August 1, but there are no public announcements regarding the preservation of records until August 13.

In addition, on August 21, the attorney general issued an opinion concluding -- in conflict with Alaska’s longstanding policy on personal use of technologies -- that state employees have a right to privacy while using state issued communication equipment such as blackberries, setting up legal hurdles to investigators’ efforts to review that material.

It is our belief that the even the perception of public cooperation is ending. 

Palin's attorney, Thomas Van Flein, is unlikely to agree to depositions, forcing the Alaska legislature to issue subpoenas for Palin and other present and past Alaska state employees.  At that time, Van Flein will either move to quash the subpoenas, likely claiming the legislature has no jurisdiction to authorize the inquiry and that subpoenas for records violate the Alaska Constitution’s right to privacy or, those subpoenaed will refuse to appear, forcing the state legislature to seek judicial enforcement of the subpoenas.  The delay will push the conclusion of the investigation past November 4, 2008.

That is the same strategy employed by the Bush adminstration to prevent the congressional testimony of Josh Bolten and Harriet Miers. 


Sarah Palin: The Face of Ugly Americanism

By John Seery

I know, I know: Sarah Palin is receiving rosy plaudits for her speech last night. She is being heralded as the savior of the GOP, someone with enough moxie to sustain the party's unholy alliance between the oil plutocrats and the oily preachocrats.

Many pundits in reviewing her polished performance claim to see an unflappable and gung-ho winner on stage. My honest-to-goodness visceral reaction was quite otherwise. What I saw on that stage was the personification of small-minded smugness, an utter lack of humility, a kind of self-righteous entitlement based on little more than puffed-up narrowness. She struck me not as plucky but, rather, as stunningly immodest--to the point of arrogance. Some people are arrogant and maybe deserve to be. They know it, and flaunt it, while everyone else thinks they are jerks. But there's another kind of arrogance, perhaps harder to spot at first, an arrogance that apparently doesn't even recognize itself as such, a sanctified, self-satisfied presumptuousness that flows from sheer naïveté about oneself and the world and manifests itself in giddy ambition.

Hey, I'm all for hockey teams, motherhood, snowmobiling, and small-town virtues. I grew up with such charms [indulgent personal digression here along those lines: Forty some years ago, whenever my family visited my grandparents' farm in Ossian, Iowa, that "event" would always make the front page of the Ossian Bee, right next to a story about someone's canned tomatoes going bad, which was positioned right next to the Ossian Bee's front-page obituaries column. Or, one time, among many, when we visited my father's parents' farm in Coggon, Iowa, we asked, fishing poles in hand, a local young boy for directions to a Bait and Tackle shop, and he gave us elaborate directions, about turning at this corner, and then at that stump, and then winding around some bend in the road, and looping back at the half-mile marker--directions that were almost comically complicated for such a small place. And then he ended his on-the-scene peroration: "But I don't think it's open today." As for snowmobiling, my daredevil cousins used to run snowmobiles on the (hopefully) frozen Cedar River, jumping over cracks and breaks in the ice if they encountered such. Heck, as for credentials, I still have my NRA shooting awards from Cub Scout summer camp.] Such small-town charms and virtues notwithstanding, I also recognize--especially when it's beaming right at me from my Chinese-manufactured television screen--small-town thinking when I see and hear it. What the world--what this country--doesn't need more of right now is Sarah Palin's defiant brand of self-assured provincialism....(Click here for remainder of post).



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