Busted! Sarah Palin Exposed as a Teleprompter Using Fraud

Dec 20 2010 Published by under Featured News, Republican Party

Sarah Palin and Her Teleprompter

Sometimes our life experiences come in handy. This is one of those times.

Who can forget Ms Palin’s endless mocking of President Obama for using a teleprompter and her cutesy way of referring to her hand notes (her three ideas for America were apparently hard enough to recall that they had to be written down for her) as the “poor man’s teleprompter”. And on every forum where some brave fool dares to write about Palin in a less than salivating manner, regardless of the actual issue at hand, a Palin fan comes to mock teleprompters.

At a Tea Party speech, Ms Palin mocked the President by saying, “This is about the people, and it’s bigger than any one king or queen of a Tea Party, and it’s a lot bigger than any charismatic guy with a teleprompter.” You must fill in the requisite sneer for full effect. The implication is that the President is a moron for using a teleprompter. This is made clear by the Right’s gleeful picking up of this meme and running with it at every turn, especially when they have nothing relevant over which to criticize the President.

Before we get any further into this story, I need to preface it by referring to my own work experience in film and TV. Some of that experience was behind an anchor’s desk, so I share Obama’s great sin in having used a teleprompter though I don’t recall turning into a Commie directly after it. Perhaps it’s too soon to tell.

So anyway, last week while watching “Sarah Palin’s Alaska”, I could have sworn I saw a teleprompter on her home studio camera, but I didn’t care enough to do a screen grab. After all, there are so many lies to deconstruct and so little time. But then last night, as I was watching the latest episode (which I must confess is now a fun distraction from her tweets), she was showing us her studio in the house she built next door to her home on Lake Lucille. Sarah and Todd were making a show of how it was just the two of them putting on her little show. And while she made cute and Todd told her her hair was above his pay grade, I saw the evil socialist machine staring me down, clear as day. So clear that I could read the logo. Yes, a teleprompter.

Close up of Sarah Palin's teleprompter

Who makes Ms Palin’s teleprompter? Autoscript. The number one selling teleprompter. The gold standard in teleprompters. The elite, if you will, of teleprompters. The farthest cry from the “poor man’s teleprompter” as you can get. You know, the one that the evil lame stream media use at no less than NBC studios:

“Autoscript is currently facilitating NBC with studio and portable on-camera teleprompter systems with high-bright LED backlit monitors, as well as WinPlus-NX news-prompter software, during the network’s coverage of the Vancouver Winter Games….

Autoscript also designs all of the different software packages that drive its teleprompter systems. Autoscript teleprompting software features multi-tasking functions, including the ability to simultaneously prompt and edit, run multiple scripts, change the run-order, mix fonts, and change the font size. Autoscript’s WinPlus-NX news-prompter software provides seamless integration to all major newsroom-computer systems.

WinPlus NX software can operate in a number of modes, depending on the design of the newsroom-computer system it’s being used with. Autoscript’s software also works with a variety of control devices, enabling prompter operators to control the system using a desktop control, foot control, wireless hand control, or Autoscript’s unique Voice-Plus voice-activated software to pace the script. WinPlus NX software can also send the prompted text to a Closed Caption encoder.”

Now what in heaven’s name can a paid contributor who is only on the air for a scant few minutes and who’s been given the questions in advance need a teleprompter for? Yes, Ms Palin requires that all questions be given in advance. And of course, the teleprompter kinda gives that away because it would be impossible to load it up with a script if Ms Palin didn’t know what she was going to be asked in advance. Um, well, here’s what happens when Sarah Palin doesn’t have a teleprompter. Notice how she can’t remember her three ideas for America so she has to check her hand:

And her hands reads: “Energy, Budget Tax Cuts, Lift American spirits.”

Or perhaps because one is attempting to avoid another embarrassing moment like the Couric interview or the Gibson interview, during which Ms Palin froze and the flop sweat broke out on her upper lip as she stammered for a non-answer. A teleprompter covers the sputtering non-answer and allows Ms Palin to converse about topics she knows little about.

Palin flop sweat:

And for those who don’t know, when using a teleprompter there are all kinds of neat tricks to help the talent: you can have the names of Iraqi officials phonetically spelled out, you can have smiley faces put in when you’re supposed to be happy, you can have text bolded to place emphasis on it. In fact, there are so many tricks that you can almost read the script for the first time on the air if you choose. If you’re good at it, that is. Although most professionals will at least do a cursory glance to get the flow of the piece before taking to the air and those with a work ethic will want to understand the topics they’re speaking to their audience about.

This might be a good time to take a walk down memory lane to the 2008 RNC convention.

US News & World Report reported:


“ST. PAUL—Interesting bit of myth-making, mistaken reporting or both. Did Sarah Palin’s TelePrompTer malfunction? A very little bit, but not much.

RedState is reporting that Sarah Palin’s TelePrompTer broke last night, scrolling “significantly from where Governor Palin was in the speech.” Politico’s Jonathan Martin disputes the report. “Perhaps there were moments where it scrolled slightly past her exact point in the speech,” Martin writes. “But I was sitting in the press section next to the stage, within easy eyeshot of the Teleprompter. I frequently looked up at the machine, and there was no serious malfunction. A top convention planner confirms this morning that there were no major problems.””

Myth making indeed. That is a talent Ms Palin has developed to a finely honed skill. Like the myth that little poor Ms Palin, the hockey mama, doesn’t use a teleprompter. She’s too “real” for that.

As for the RNC teleprompter myth, little hiccups are normal — especially because on the older systems, whoever is running prompter had to anticipate the speaker’s rhythm, so if the speaker changes or pauses, the prompter operator might need a second or two to catch up or slow down. I’ve also been responsible for running a teleprompter; and I can attest that things don’t always go smoothly. Software can malfunction or the computer can just pause for a second. But of course this happens to everyone who uses it, not just Ms Palin – and so far, no one else has been hailed as a mythical warrior for managing to ride it out.

This is one reason why it helps if the person is somewhat familiar with their script, and why it helps if the person can talk freely about the subject at hand. The teleprompter can help a speaker who’s under a lot of pressure remember words, key phrases, and jog their memory or it can be used as a complete crutch when you don’t know your script. It’s simply a tool, and a ridiculous criticism to hurl at someone. Only people who aren’t in the business would even buy this as a criticism. But of course, that’s Ms Palin’s audience.

Not only does this put a wee dent in Ms Palin’s constant mocking of Obama for using a teleprompter, but it should also be noted that the myth she sold on her show of just she and Todd doing her little show is simply not possible. Here’s the deal (and probably one reason why she didn’t want Joe McGinness to see over that fence): It takes at least three professionals to run the small set-up they have: A camera operator (who will also adjust lights even if the lights are pre-set as they are in most studios), a prompter op, and someone in the control room (like a producer) to watch the monitors for problems, monitor the sound, and make sure the talent doesn’t go off script.

And this doesn’t cover the professional make up artist and hair stylist, or the wardrobe stylist. Or the production assistants. And it is very obvious that Palin is getting her hair and make up done, at the very least. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s simply another thing she’s not being authentic about. Even the ex First Dude can’t do all of those jobs simultaneously, assuming he could magically learn all there is to learn about running a camera and loading the prompter and getting it to flow with the speech patterns of the speaker (lord help whoever is running hers).

Frankly I couldn’t care less if she uses a teleprompter. It’s a good tool for on air talent and politicians and there’s nothing wrong with it. What I have a problem with is that once again, Ms Palin is selling a myth that simply isn’t true and in the process she mercilessly mocks a good man, who has every reason to use a teleprompter because he’s a bit too busy running the country to memorize speeches, although I deeply suspect he spends more actual time writing and editing his speeches than does Palin. And goodness knows, Palin has free time on her hands now since she quit her job as governor to pursue her TV career.

The unveiling of this lie goes to the content of her character. And once again, Ms Palin flops when it comes to accuracy, integrity and honesty.

169 responses so far

Joe Scarborough Squeals Over Trickle-Down Con Man Chris Christie

Dec 20 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

Chris Christie the reverse Robinhood

Joe Scarborough has a man-crush on Chris Christie. And who can blame him?

“The day of reckoning is here!” Announces New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in a theatrical voice dripping with doom. Joe Scarborough loves him for it, squealing that Chris Christie makes him feel like a 14 year old girl at a Beatles concert. Ah, Republicans. You gotta love them. Against gay rights but very pro man crushes especially for the dooms-dayers because nothing spells GOP recovery like a suffering American economy. And nothing says desperate party like pushing Chris Christie as the next great white hope.

Today on “Morning Joe”, Scarborough jumped the Chris Matthews “Thrill up my leg” shark when reacting to a clip of Republican Governor Chris Christie dramatically suggesting that the day of reckoning was here, that he had no more money, that no one has any more money and that they just can’t spend anymore. Joe “loves this guy” because he’s the only guy “telling the truth”. And sure when you listen to Chris Christie he sounds reasonable. He’s saying we spent too much. We sure did. Notice I said when you listen to him, because if you look under the hood, things are not rosy for the middle class under Christie. But one wonders if Joe Scarborough doesn’t “love this guy” because Chris Christie is the Alan Grayson of the Right and Joe is desperate to find a Presidential candidate for Republicans who isn’t crazy and/or boring?

Watch Joe squeak words of love about Chris Christie courtesy of Media Matters:

See, Christie is busy making a national name for himself as a true “fiscal conservative,” which in modern day Republican parlance means keeping taxes on the rich very, very low and saying you’re going to fix the budget problem with spending cuts. But as we all know, sayin’ ain’t doin’.

What Joe doesn’t tell you is the cost of Christie’s playing fiscal conservative while making a show of refusing to raise tax rates. Because it turns out some people in his state will have their taxes raised. Guess who? Think really hard now. Who do the Republicans represent and what do they care about? That’s right, at this delicate time in our economy, we can’t have the rich paying taxes or businesses paying taxes, but you know who can pay for this fiscal conservative show? The working poor, homeowners, university students, and the state pension fund because nothing says Republican like hitting the working poor, struggling homeowners, education, and of course pension funds.

Stateline.org reports:

“A close look at the $28.3 billion budget Christie signed to much fanfare in June, however, finds a more complicated storyline than the one the governor and his acolytes have articulated since Christie took office in January.

Some of Christie’s budget fixes look a lot like tax hikes to the people on the receiving end of them. They include the working poor who will pay higher income taxes due to reductions in the state earned-income tax credit; homeowners who didn’t get their customary rebates on property taxes this year; transit riders who are paying substantially higher fares; and university students who must pay higher tuition. And although Christie promised in March to “not shove today’s problems under the rug only to be discovered again tomorrow,” his plan leaned heavily on the familiar Trenton budget trick of skipping a required payment to the state’s pension fund, which is already $48 billion underfunded.

What’s more, some of Christie’s spending reductions aren’t as clear-cut as they might seem. As Stateline reported last week, Christie’s budget assumes tens of millions of dollars in savings from privatization that has yet to occur.
The budget cuts he has ordered for municipalities and school districts have muddied the waters further. Many local jurisdictions, faced with the sudden evaporation of state aid that propped up their own budgets, say they will raise property taxes in response. Christie’s budget cuts to municipalities amount to “de facto tax increases,” says Sharon Schulman, executive director of the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton College.”

Does this surprise anyone? His plans are no different than what the Republicans have been doing for years now – refusing to pay for things by increasing our main source of revenue. This is the equivalent of suggesting that instead of getting a job, people should stop buying things like food. But this failed strategy allows the Republicans to kill every social safety net necessity they can get their grubby hands on which is a win win in the long term for them, because the more people suffer the less engaged they are in politics and the less education they have the more likely they are to vote Republican.

And the best part is that while robbing the public, they win the war of perception. After all, it takes years to see the effect of such approaches and the public is much too misinformed to understand why they are less well off than before. I imagine Fox News will find a way to blame the central government for the inevitable property tax hikes resulting from Christie’s showy budget slashing. It should be noted that Christie did not keep taxes low. He kept them low for the rich. The working will have a tax increase under Christie.

But aside from the fiscal shell games these boys play, we mustn’t forget that this scenario of doomsday is something the Republicans are working very hard to maintain for Americans. After all, if the economy recovers the GOP won’t have a snowball’s chance in Hell of taking 2012 and at the rate they’re going according to recent polls, they’ll lose the House too. Yes, contrary to what the Republicans tell Americans they want, Americans actually tell us in polls that they didn’t want the rich to continue to get the lowest tax rates in history.

Americans thought it might be nice if the rich paid their share and helped get us out of this mess that the Republicans and their wealthy corporate friends got us into by playing fast and loose with regulation and then coming crying to us for a bailout when their big spending ways and borrowing didn’t work out so well. But boys like Christie want the working poor to foot this bill too. After all, if we’re going to climb outta this mess someone has to pay and it can’t be the “job creators”! I mean, look where that trickle down theory got us. Why not beat our head into that brick wall a bit longer, just to make sure it really did fail.

Joe obviously sees in Christie a man who can sell this crap and come off like a populist but not an embarrassment like Palin because poor Joe is so desperate to take back his party from the nutjobs who’ve hi-jacked it that he has obviously decided to use his show to push any relatively reasonable (I say relatively because if you compare Chris Christie with Sarah Palin, well, he looks reasonable) Republican he can. But what Joe isn’t saying is that Christie has only been in office for a year. A year into Palin’s term, she was the state’s most popular governor. She quit two and a half years into her term when she couldn’t cope with the mess she’d made and the fame that came a-callin’ looked like it would be so much more fun.

“As Christie’s budget cuts force tax hikes at the local level and many residents begin to recognize that they are paying more for less state government, Christie’s next three years in office could be more challenging than the first.” Maybe Scarborough is hoping that if Chritie pulls a Palin and runs for President just two years into his term, the full effects of his huge budget slashes and tax hikes on the middle class will remain hidden and allow Christie to run a populist campaign of fiscal conservatism that appeals to the very rich corporate donors he’ll be needing.

Gee, I feel like a 14 year old girl at a Beatles concert who just got told that as a result of “spending being out of control” (translation, the Republicans don’t want their corporate multi-millionaire friends to have to pay taxes) my school just got hit with a 64% reduction in aid, my parents can no longer afford their home, I can’t afford to go to college and by the way, that pension is gone. Chris Christie is the conservative reverse Robinhood, stealing from the middle class to subsidize the rich.

Sure the day of reckoning is here. But for whom, that’s the question.

5 responses so far

Why Sarah Palin Isn’t Abraham Lincoln

Dec 18 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

Sarah Palin and Abraham Lincoln

One of more absurd historical comparisons ever made is of Sarah Palin and Abraham Lincoln. Yet absurd as it is, some conservatives have actually made this claim.

It could be countered that anyone who believes Sarah Palin will believe anything and there is something to be said for this.  But Palin also thinks she is somehow another Ronald Reagan, and of course, Reagan and Lincoln could not be more different. Such comparisons become easier, admittedly, when you don’t know anything about either one.

Just consider the rhetoric surrounding the Lincoln comparison. As the Bellingham Herald of Washington writes, while “Some may cringe at that idea” that “some may think it would be the greatest thing since Abraham Lincoln.”

Sarah Palin, savior of the Union?

Isn’t this the woman whose husband had a more than passing familiarity with the Alaska Independence Party (AIP) – a secessionist group?

Gail Fenumiai, director of the Alaska Division of Elections, tells ABC News that…Palin’s husband Todd was a member of the AIP from October 1995 through July 2002, except for a few months in 2000.

Palin herself denies membership but there are those who remember her attending the 1994 AIP convention. You have to wonder, since rather than scolding them for wanting to vote on whether to be part of the Union or not, she praised them in an address:

I sure don’t remember Lincoln praising the Confederate secessionists. No, I’m pretty sure he crushed them. I also don’t remember the secessionists supporting Lincoln for president. In fact, his election was their cue to secede. Yet the AIP supported Palin’s run for city council, as noted by Sarah Jones yesterday. She insists she was a Republican all along. That can only label her the Manchurian Candidate Republicans are always going on about. I guess they would know.

It’s an almost criminal comparison. Yet one conservative blogger wrote back in 2008 in almost rapturous prose that “if there is such a thing as reincarnation, something tells me that President Lincoln would be most pleased to see Sarah Palin being nominated for VP!”

It is difficult to conclude that Lincoln finding any words of praise for her and her husband as secessionists. Pleased? Not by a long shot. He fought to preserve the union, not tear it apart.

She seems to have only a passing familiarity with Lincoln the man, let alone his beliefs. She portrays him as a radical Evangelical fundamentalist like herself, but there is nothing in his writings to suggest this is true.

Famously (or perhaps infamously) she claimed the United States was fighting a holy war against terrorists (which to Sarah Palin appears to be more than just terrorists but Islam itself), and Charles Gibson of ABC news confronted her with the quote:

GIBSON: You said recently, in your old church, “Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God.” Are we fighting a holy war?

PALIN: You know, I don’t know if that was my exact quote.

GIBSON: Exact words.

Here’s where things get uncomfortably squirmy for Sarah Palin:

PALIN: But the reference there is a repeat of Abraham Lincoln’s words when he said — first, he suggested never presume to know what God’s will is, and I would never presume to know God’s will or to speak God’s words. But what Abraham Lincoln had said, and that’s a repeat in my comments, was let us not pray that God is on our side in a war or any other time, but let us pray that we are on God’s side.

That’s what that comment was all about, Charlie.

Of course, that’s not true, and no amount of playing with Lincoln verbiage can make it true. Lincoln never talked about embarking on a holy war against the Confederacy. He did talk about preserving the Union. He had some harsh words for the south, and more than that, he had cannons, and he wasn’t afraid to use them.

Palin supporters have tried to argue that Palin did manage to capture the essence of what Lincoln said but you won’t find “Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God” anywhere in Lincoln’s writings, nor his speeches. You can dig as deep as you want but you won’t find any evidence that Lincoln thought holy wars were a good idea.

It’s not even clear he believed in God as Sarah Palin believes in God. It is true, as historian James M. McPherson writes that the King James Bible “offered him maxims for life as well as a model for the poetic prose that characterized the best of his later writings” but Thomas Jefferson was able to admire Jesus’ precepts without believing in Jesus the God. Admiration is not belief.

I have searched in vain the collected works of Abraham Lincoln for even a single instance of the word “Jesus” or “Ten Commandments” and found only one reference to the “Holy Spirit” – that in the Proclamation for Thanksgiving modern fundamentalists like to use to portray him as one of their kind of evangelicals. Palin can barely breathe without uttering all these words. As Lincoln well knew, “our fathers” brought forth this nation – not God.

Author Stephen Mansfield, in one of the most patently ridiculous comparisons ever made, wants us to believe Palin is like Lincoln because she stacked wood at a young age. He appeared on Hannity’s show in October to say so, and to draw other parallels between the two, including her “frontier upbringing.”

I wasn’t aware Wasilla was a frontier town; it’s the fourth largest city in Alaska, which might not be saying much by Lower 48-standards but it’s part of the Anchorage metropolitan area – which had an estimated population of 364,701 in 2008 – more people than live in my city.

Lincoln was born in a log cabin. On a real frontier. And stacking wood? Lots of kids stack wood but apparently in Alaska it’s some kind of holy undertaking. My little boy has stacked wood. He’s six years old. I haven’t compared him to Abraham Lincoln yet; I haven’t compared the circumstances of their lives. It would be ridiculous to do so, as Mansfield well knows. But he’s eulogizing, not writing a scholarly treatment. That’s why he was being interviewed on FOX News and not a legitimate news channel.

In 1832, Lincoln ran for State Legislature and won. He didn’t quit halfway through his term. In 1836, 1838, and 1840, he ran and won again. He didn’t quit any of those times either. That’s eight years of political office. He served through every day of it.

Sarah Palin quit her governor’s job half-way through.

Lincoln actually retired from politics in 1841 to work as a lawyer, rather than quitting halfway through a term he had been elected to serve by people who counted on him to represent their interests to the best of their ability, rather than to worry for his own pocketbook, which was never as full as Sarah Palin’s.

In 1846, Lincoln ran for Congress and won. He served both years of his term – again not quitting halfway through.

When he ran, he was accused by his opponent of not being a member of a church.  Palin’s taunts of Obama are eerily similar. How would she have treated Lincoln had she been alive in 1846? Given the evidence of her rhetoric it’s impossible to believe she would not have roundly condemned him as an atheist.

Lincoln opposed the Mexican War of 1846. Unlike Sarah Palin, he wasn’t anxious to attack everybody, let alone declare it a holy war.

In 1854, Lincoln ran for the legislature again and won. Lincoln resigned that position so that he could stand for U.S. senator – to better oppose the evil of slavery and to preserve the Union. Not, like Grifterella, to line his pockets with speaking engagements, reality shows, and books.

Lincoln even debated Stephen Douglas, and unlike Sarah Palin, he knew what he was talking about. And as James McPherson writes, “In retrospect Lincoln was the real winner of the Lincoln-Douglas debates.” Only in Republican wet dreams did Palin win her debate with Joe Biden. Half the time, she couldn’t even be bothered to address the issues.

Lincoln ran for president, and won. Palin ran for governor. She won. And quit.

Sarah Palin says that unfair treatment of her was her reason for resigning as governor. Few Presidents (until Barack Obama) have put up with the abuse Abraham Lincoln endured as President. And he had to fight a war to preserve the Union at the same time. He had opposition not only from outside his party, but from within his party. But he did not quit. He soldiered on and he ran for re-election in 1864.

Palin announced she would not be running for re-election but then she couldn’t even be bothered to finish out her first term.

With regards to secession, with regards to the idea that a minority have the right to do as they please, Lincoln wrote in 1861, “The central idea pervading this struggle is the necessity that is upon us, of proving that popular government is not an absurdity. We must settle this question now, whether in a free government the minority have the right to break up the government whenever they choose.” Secession, he said, “is the essence of anarchy.”

Hard to find anywhere in the public record that Sarah Palin agrees with this. Her husband was, after all, a secessionist, and she did praise the Alaskan secessionist movement as a welcome ingredient to Alaska politics.

And Lincoln was eloquent, nearly a poet. Read his Gettysburg Address. Sarah Palin could not write that if she labored a hundred years at the task. She hasn’t even demonstrated a proficiency in the English language.

It is difficult, indeed, all but impossible, to find a single point of comparison between the two. And Sarah Palin will always be a quitter; Abraham Lincoln had no quit in him. It took a bullet in the head to get him out of office.

Sources:

The Writings of Abraham Lincoln, Kindle edition

Abraham Lincoln, James M. McPherson (Oxford, 2009).

18 responses so far

On GMA, Sarah Palin Hints at Her Plan to Transform America

Dec 17 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

Constitution? What constitution?

Ms Palin has spent years avoiding the “lame stream media” (ironically of which she is a part), but recently she’s started spreading her wings, albeit to softball media such as her appearance this morning on “Good Morning America”. During her interview with GMA co-anchor Robin Roberts, Ms Palin responded to criticisms regarding her rather dismal current poll numbers were she to run against President Obama in 2012. Ms Palin’s response put to bed notions that she isn’t running as she extolled the virtues of “debating ideas” in competitive primaries.

Anyone who is in doubt about Ms Palin running for President had best grab the smelling salts. She is and it’s uncertain if the GOP can stop her without alienating her Tea Party evangelical base.

Here’s a clip from the interview:

From ABC’s website: When asked about her plans for 2010, Ms Palin replied, “It’s a prayerful consideration because, obviously, the sacrifices that have to be made in order to put yourself forward in the name of public service is, it’s brutal.”

If Ms Palin were taking an interview with a hard-hitting news journalist, she might have been asked at this point about her decision to quit on her vow to Alaskans to serve them as a public servant for four years and if perhaps she just hadn’t prayed enough before taking that job, since she quit claiming that she was being brutalized with ethics complaints by citizens — the majority of whom were Republicans, contrary to her claims.

While Ms Palin’s references to prayer may not seem odd in this country, if we take a look under the hood there are causes for alarm. Ms Palin is a Dominionist Christian, a sect whose goal is to transform America into a theocratic state resembling fascism in many ways. Ms Palin has made numerous references to her belief that the constitution is based upon the bible and that our laws are also based on the bible. She seems to still be laboring under this misinformation, perhaps because it is her belief and no fact will alter her belief. This should set that alarm bell a clankin’.

Furthermore, while running for mayor of Wasilla, Ms Palin’s Dominionist leanings opened the door further to her fruitful relationship with the Alaskan Independence Party, a secessionist movement, which originated during her tenure on the City Council. The AIP worked on her behalf to get her elected.

Salon reported:

“Chryson boasted that he and his allies urged Palin to focus her campaign on slashing character-based attacks. For instance, Chryson advised Palin to paint Stein as a sexist who had told her “to just sit there and look pretty” while she served on Wasilla’s City Council. Though Palin never made this accusation, her 1996 campaign for mayor was the most negative Wasilla residents had ever witnessed.

While Palin played up her total opposition to the sales tax and gun control — the two hobgoblins of the AIP — mailers spread throughout the town portraying her as “the Christian candidate,” a subtle suggestion that Stein, who is Lutheran, might be Jewish.”

(John Stein, her mayoral opponent, claimed,) “This same group [Stoll and Chryson] also [publicly] challenged me on whether my wife and I were married because she had kept her maiden name,” Stein bitterly recalled. “So we literally had to produce a marriage certificate. And as I recall, they said, ‘Well, you could have forged that.’””

Gosh that sounds like familiar campaigning tactics from the woman who has suggested that it is reasonable to ask for President Obama’s birth certificate, even though said birth certificate has been available online and has been verified by authorities on numerous occasions. It’s hard to sell this kind of campaigning as anything other than appealing to the worst in people, and ginning up hate and division based upon religion, ethnicity, and any other charge of doubt Ms Palin can lob at her stunned opponents.

This was just the beginning of Ms Palin’s tight relationship with the AIP, whose sole purpose is for Alaska to secede from the union. The AIP also has ties with the theocratic US Constitution Party. The Constitution Party has adopted the ideas of a militant form of Christian Dominionism known as Dominion Theology. The Constitution Party platform reads, “It is our goal to limit the federal government to its delegated, enumerated, Constitutional functions and to restore American jurisprudence to its original Biblical common-law foundations.”

In 2008, Chip Berlet, co-author of Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort (Guilford, 2000) wrote:

“The AIP has placed the candidate of the U.S. Constitution Party on the Presidential ballot in Alaska in the 2008 race. Let’s be clear, the U.S. Constitution Party would impose a form of theocratic neofascism in the United States. And I am not a person who tosses the term fascism around lightly.”

The AIP called Ms Palin an example of their successful infiltration into the Republican Party. In 2006, Dexter Clark, vice chairman of the Alaska Independence party, said:

“Our current Governor, the one we were hoping would get elected, did get elected…There’s a lot of talk of her moving up. She was an AIP member before she got the job as a mayor of a small town — that was a non-partisan job. But you get along to go along — she eventually joined the Republican Party, where she had all kinds of problems with their ethics, and well, I won’t go into that. She also had about an 80% approval rating, and is pretty well sympathetic to her former membership.”

It should be noted that unlike her husband Todd Palin, Ms Palin was never registered as an AIP member according to Alaskan voter registration records. However, Dexter Clark’s claims of Palin being a successful infiltrator of the Republican Party bears some credence due to the open door policy Ms Palin had for leaders of the AIP while mayor and governor, going so far as attempting to appoint a member of the AIP to a city position while mayor, only to be shot down. Ms Palin also made changes to the state constitution that coincidentally fulfilled part of the AIP agenda.

Salon reported:

“During the 1990s, when Chryson directed the AIP, he and another radical right-winger, Steve Stoll, played a quiet but pivotal role in electing Palin as mayor of Wasilla and shaping her political agenda afterward. Both Stoll and Chryson not only contributed to Palin’s campaign financially, they played major behind-the-scenes roles in the Palin camp before, during and after her victory.

Palin backed Chryson as he successfully advanced a host of anti-tax, pro-gun initiatives, including one that altered the state Constitution’s language to better facilitate the formation of anti-government militias. She joined in their vendetta against several local officials they disliked, and listened to their advice about hiring. She attempted to name Stoll, a John Birch Society activist known in the Mat-Su Valley as “Black Helicopter Steve,” to an empty Wasilla City Council seat. “Every time I showed up her door was open,” said Chryson. “And that policy continued when she became governor.””

Indeed, one of the many ethics complaints filed against Ms Palin related to her refusal to live in the Governor’s mansion and yet still charging the Alaskan citizens a per diem for food and expenses while living in her home in Wasilla and commuting to the state Legislature in Juneau (or not: buttons reading “Where’s Sarah?” began popping up around this time, reflecting her consistent pattern of not being around in Juneau). While Ms Palin claimed that she wanted to be near her family (whom usually move to the governor’s mansion with the governor), Palin did endorse and may have been implementing Chryson’s initiative to move the state Legislature from Juneau to Wasilla. At any rate, their initiative was unsuccessful.

The AIP also has numerous ties with the KKK, white supremacist groups classified as hate groups, and militia movements across the country. They are closely aligned with evangelical Dominionists as well, such as Christian Exodus, which advocates creating an all white homeland. Chryson also wrongly claimed that the Civil War was not about slavery but about states’ rights. Chryson was known to accuse Democratic leaders (such as Ms Palin’s mayoral opponent) of being “socialists” over issues of public education and city planning. That’s not just Right, it’s far, far fringy Right.

When Ms Palin was running for Governor of Alaska, not only did she appoint previous AIP member and then Republican Walter Hickel as her campaign co-chair, but also her church flew in a witch doctor from Kenya to bless her. For these reasons, when Ms Palin refers to prayer, it raises questions that Americans need answered if indeed she’s running for President. In fact, even were Ms Palin to bow out of the 2012 elections, her determination throw gasoline on any political match she sniffs should be reason enough for the main stream media to begin asking some important questions about Ms Palin’s agenda, her associations, her church, and her disconcerting and inaccurate beliefs about America and the Constitution.

However, it doesn’t appear America will be spared a Palin candidacy. When asked about her poor poll numbers, Ms Palin came out punching like a 2012 candidate. “A poll number like that, it’s like, ‘Oh yeah, that doesn’t look really pretty today,’ but a primary is months and months in the process, and there are thankfully many debates,” she said. “And if I were to participate in that contested primary — you know, it — I would be in it to win it.”

It would be most interesting to see Ms Palin debate any of the other Republican candidates. Ms Palin has always held the notion that getting elected is a popularity contest rather than a knowledge contest and she was proven correct in this assessment in Alaska. She also successfully implemented (with the help of the John Birch Society and the AIP) campaigns of such vicious negativity and misinformation that her opponents were often left stunned as she cheerily gave non-answers in debates and yet sailed right past them to get elected.

Fox News will be handling several of the primary debates for the Republicans, which may assist elevating Ms Palin’s brand of populism and create a disadvantage for her opponents, none of whom enjoy the same level of star treatment Ms Palin does on Fox News.

Ms Palin then went on to accuse President Obama of wanting to fundamentally change America. Phrases like this are thinly veiled jabs at his patriotism, his religion, and imply that his ideology is something un-American, meant to provoke doubt and fear about the man, much like Ms Palin did to her mayoral opponent in Wasilla.

Ms Palin’s unwillingness to be honest about her own record and her unfailing attempts to smear her opponents with baseless accusations of their being somehow less Christian and less American than she only serve to prove that she can’t win on ideas or her record. It also proves that she does not appreciate that the Founders most decidedly rejected the notion of a religious test for office, thereby casting further doubt onto Ms Palin’s version of America.

Does Ms Palin plan on transforming America like she did Wasilla and then Alaska? Will the AIP have an open door to a Palin White House? Will fringe hate groups like Christian Exodus have access to Ms Palin or will she denounce these groups and explain her associations to nervous melting pot Americans who most certainly don’t share the group’s vision of an all white Christian nation.

If that isn’t enough, Ms Palin’s reign of terror in Alaska should give pause to anyone who values their freedom. Ms Palin quite literally ran Wasilla like a dictator, cutting off the press and ordering her staff not to speak to press as she proceeded to fire beloved city employees claiming she doubted their loyalty to her. This continued as Governor, as the Palins terrorized Alaskan citizens who disagreed with them and went to incredible lengths to punish them, using the power of Ms Palin’s office to do so on many occasions, through appointments, firings, and governmental harassment.

One such victim was the trooper in Troopergate (contrary to Ms Palin’s claims, she was found guilty of abusing the power of her office in the bi-partisan report which predated the inquiry she ordered helmed by her appointees) who refused to help the Palins continue their vendetta against Ms Palin’s ex-brother-in-law — a vendetta that had years before been labeled as “child abuse” by a judge who ordered Ms Palin to cease and desist her harassment of the children’s father. Another example lay in the AIP’s claims that she fired someone they had a long standing grievance with, boasting about how this payback only cost them a thousand dollars in campaign donations. Another victim down.

Is this the America Ms Palin sees; an all white Christian country over which she reigns with absolute authority, authorized by none less than God himself?

When Ms Palin accuses President Obama of wanting to “fundamentally transform America” (one assumes she means implement liberal ideology which is not actually a transformation but a continuation of a very American liberal agenda), reasonable people must ask themselves if she’s projecting. And then they must take stock of what a Palin-transformed America would look like. The dingy hockey mom populist America is being sold on is not the real Sarah Palin. Ms Palin isn’t stupid; she’s been indoctrinated to a very extremist Right wing view of America.

While many dismiss Ms Palin as being un-serious, I do not. Ms Palin is deadly serious about amassing power. The real question is, to what end?

Updated: Corrected bumper stickers to buttons 3:54 PM

54 responses so far

President Obama’s Tax Compromise Passed by Congress

President Obama and Republican Leaders

On Thursday, the unthinkable (to many progressives) happened: Congress passed the tax cuts, a compromise deal which includes an $801 billion package of tax cuts and $57 billion for extended unemployment benefits. The bill will extend the Bush tax cuts for two years (all of the tax cuts) and provide for a one-year payroll tax cut for most American workers.The extends for two years all of the Bush-era tax rates and provides a one-year payroll tax cut for most American workers.

As FOX News relates,

Workers’ Social Security taxes would be cut by nearly a third, going from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent, for 2011. A worker making $50,000 in wages would save $1,000; one making $100,000 would save $2,000.

Many progressives see this as a betrayal. The Republicans, rightly or wrongly, have been accused of holding unemployment benefits and taxes for the Middle Class hostage in exchange for helping out their rich friends. The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, for example, leveled the accusation that Democrats were forced “to pay a king’s ransom in order to help the middle class.” Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA) said it was “craziness” and Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) said “This legislation creates too few jobs and too much debt.”

The final vote?  277 to 14 with nearly identical numbers of Republicans and Democrats voting “aye”: 139 Democrats and 138 Republicans. The Senate had previously approved the package 81 to 19 on Wednesday.

There was an attempt to change an estate-tax provision in the bill (one that Obama had previously agreed to in his negotiations with the Republicans) but even after that failed, 139 Democrats voted for it as opposed to 112 against.

Two years, of course, will bring us right to 2012, when the future of the tax cuts will become more important than ever in the midst of a presidential election. This is not the last we will hear of the matter by any means. Some Republicans would like to see the tax cuts made permanent. Since tax cuts for the rich demonstrably do not create jobs, this position will be a tough sell for Republicans, particularly if the groundswell of opposition swings the other way at the end of the next two years, and it is the Republicans who find themselves under attack for perceived failings.

It is obvious to many people that the economic stability of our nation is at stake and that this deal is not going to fix those problems. It is no more than a finger in the dyke.

For now, the New York Times reports that administration officials say President Obama will sign the bill into law today.

This moment marks both a way forward and signals a lack of progress. Cooperation and compromise are essential facets of government in a modern liberal Democracy like ours and the willingness of Republicans to compromise at last should take center stage over what is seen as President Obama’s capitulation to Republican demands. The President has governed as a centrist and he did what a responsible president would do. Rather than stand on principle and make people suffer, he made a deal.

Rather like the framers of the Constitution back in 1787, none of whom got everything out of that deal they wanted and the New York Times tells us “The White House and Republicans hailed the deal as a rare bipartisan achievement and a prototype for future hard-bargained compromises in the new era of divided government.”

FOX News called it “a remarkable show of bipartisanship.” Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL), called it “a bipartisan moment of clarity.”

And so it is.

Progressives, like their Republican opponents, seem of late to have forgotten that lesson. To stand on ideological purity and refuse compromise while the country crumbles around you is not an admirable thing, however they frame it. Government needs to continue to govern. In a sense, a politician hasn’t the luxury of principles, and that includes the president.

Ideological purity is for dictatorships.

For the first time in two years we have seen government function as it should. And if nobody got everything they wanted out of it, so be it. That’s how it works. That is how it has always worked. Sometimes one side gets more, sometimes the other. As House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said, “There probably is nobody on this floor who likes this bill. The judgment is, is it better than doing nothing? Some of the business groups believe it will help. I hope they’re right.”

In this case, most Republican opposition centered around the creation of additional federal debt, but most of them voted for it anyway. Of course, Republicans did not get everything they wanted either.

Political reality suddenly meant something again to the arrogant GOP, as Eric Cantor (R-VA) was forced to remind his colleagues:

“We could try to hold out an pass a different tax bill, but there is no reason to believe the Senate would pass it or the president would sign it if this fight spills into next year.”

It remains to be seen if Democrats and Republicans can find other ways to work together, other areas in which compromise is a possibility, such as repeal of DADT and the DREAM Act, an amnesty program for illegal aliens who came to the United States as minors. There are things the Republicans will want and things the Democrats will want and the current balance of power does not grant to either the ability to pass that legislation without regard for the opinions of the other.

If anything at all is to get done for the next two years, this will not be the only compromise. In the end, both the achievement of bipartisanship in the face of ideological purity and the continuing problems (and its root causes) must be underscored. Fingers in dykes won’t make the flood on the other side of the wall go away. That deluge remains, waiting to sweep us all away. The question is, can our two major political parties stop their bickering long enough to fix it?

4 responses so far

Joe Scarborough Blasts Republicans For Throwing Baby Jesus Under the Bus

Joe Scarborough Comes Out Guns A Blazin' After Republican Obstructionists

Joe Scarborough and his entire panel in this morning’s “Morning Joe” came out shooting as they blasted Senate Republicans for using the baby Jesus for political posturing. Senate Republicans are disingenuously using Christmas as a reason not to work in the weeks leading up to the holiday, and Joe’s entire panel was outraged by the hypocrisy and the obvious failure to appreciate that our troops are working over the holiday, as are many average Americans. The entire panel agreed that “these (Republicans) are not serious people”, but Joe was particularly offended by Senator Kyl suggesting that Senator Reid wasn’t a Christian because he wanted to work close to Christmas, which caused Joe to point out that when the Republicans were trying to impeach President Clinton on December 19, 1998 they weren’t so worried about Baby Jesus.

Here is the video from MSNBC:

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Scarborough said, “It’s offensive that people would use Christianity for political leverage with an argument that is so baseless. I gotta say my breath is taken away. For so many reasons, do we want to start with the obvious one about who else is not going to be home on Christmas Day…troops in Afghanistan. Are they disrespecting a holiday by continuing to vote to keep them in Afghanistan? I don’t know. Mike Barnicle, there are a lot of working class people that i guess the Senator doesn’t know, the senators don’t know that work late into Christmas Eve, wake up still a few hours with their children and go back to work on Christmas Day. Are their employers disrespecting Christmas. Does Jesus not live in Washington, D.C.? Can they not worship Jesus in Washington, D.C.? To be sanctimonious and to use that is just — it is offensive. The Republican Party has the upper hand in so many ways. In these areas they need to shut their mouth. They’re embarrassing themselves.”

Mike Barnicle added, “We’ve been saying the same thing on several occasions with regard to issues like this and rhetoric like this, these are not serious people. They’re not serious people. I don’t know whether Senator Kyl and Senator DeMint either inject themselves with Novocain in the cheeks or soak their faces in cement. How I don’t can say that without bursting into laughter, it’s so absurd. It’s so offensive; I don’t know how they do it.”

But the coup d’ grace came as Joe pulled out the trump card: Republicans tried to impeach President Clinton over the Christmas holiday. I guess the lame duck session wasn’t so lame then, eh? Christmas wasn’t so sacred as to prevent them from working when they had an agenda they wanted passed.

Scarborough accused Senate Republicans of throwing baby Jesus under the bus, “To be self-righteous. Do we want to go through bible verses? But questioning Harry Reid’s Christianity suggesting he’s blasphemous… I remember we were voting on impeachment on December 19th or 20th back in 1999 (sic). No one was throwing baby Jesus under the bus that year…”

Scarborough called on Sens.DeMint and Kyl to apologize to Harry Reid, “I don’t usually say this, but I do think that senator DeMint who I know and like and respect and Jon Kyl owe Harry Reid an apology. I will say that. I will go there. It is unchrist-like to judge another man’s faith in the way they have judged Harry Reid’s faith, a devout Mormon, a devout Christian. There is nothing biblical about that. Nothing.”

It deeply disturbed Joe and Mica that the Republicans would not vote on the START treaty and that they were asking for it to be read on the floor (the START treaty is a 17 page PDF), demonstrating yet again that they were not serious about legislating for America’s best interest.

The entire panel felt that the Republicans may have blown it with this un-Christ-like behavior wherein they judged another man’s faith and suggested that this may be a Newt Gingrich moment. “Do they really think Americans are this stupid?” These boys haven’t even taken their majority yet and they are already acting like drunken frat boys, rolling in the inherited privilege of their daddy’s wallet. They show absolutely zero seriousness about governing and doing what’s best for this country.

When Joe Scarborough, who served in the House of Representatives and certainly can speak about the responsibilities with expertise, accuses you of being un-serious and says that Senators Kyl and DeMint owe an apology to Senator Harry Reid for being “un-Christlike”, the Republicans have jumped the obstruction shark before they even took their majority. Nothing says co-operation, Christmas and love for the Prince of Peace like accusing your colleague of not being Christian all because he’s asking you to secure the nation before you go home.

Joe Scarborough serves as somewhat of a measuring stick for how preposterously right the Republican Party has moved. Back in the 1990′s, he was a staunch family values conservative, fast forward a decade, and Scarborough isn’t far enough right for his party. It is deplorable that these Senate millionaires would dare bellyache about the prospect of working near or through the holidays, that is, if you consider what these men do to be considered work. Between all of the fundraisers and golf outings they can barely find the time to do any actual legislating.

These same Republicans were willing to cut off unemployment benefits for two million of their fellow Americans by Christmas. How dare they complain about the privileged lives that they enjoy while so many Americans are doing without? Joe Scarborough’s criticism should be the least of their concerns. Jesus would not approve. Welcome to the true meaning of Christmas, the rich, white entitled Republican way.

14 responses so far

Rush Limbaugh Reveals The GOP’s Horrible Secret: They Can’t Read

Dec 15 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

Republicans Go Through My Pet Goat Before Every Vote

Rush Blames Obama for Expecting Senators to Read

This morning on his radio show, Rush Limbaugh made a case for why the Republicans don’t want to vote on the START treaty. Apparently, none of them have had time to read it and Rush thinks they should be given special consideration for their reading impairment. DeMint has called to have all legislation read aloud to him on the Senate floor since he has been unable to complete the 17 page document on his own. Mr DeMint and his Republican buddies now advocate for a special ed version of the Senate in order to accommodate their choice to remain ignorant.

Care of Media Matters:


RUSH:
Shut down the lame duck. Jim DeMint wants to have this new START treaty read aloud on the floor… of the senate.

By new, Rush means April of 2010. You know, the job description of a US Senator is “Senators are assigned to serve on committees, in which they review bills, or proposed laws.” Yup. That’s it. I swear it doesn’t say anything about going on Fox News or attending fund-raisers or golfing. Nada. They review bills which sort of assumes they can read.

So these boys can’t do their jobs for some reason and Rush feels bad enough for them to put up this elaborate cover, which is nice and all, but hey, we’re reasonable people! If y’all had just admitted to being reading impaired, we could have all legislation put onto books on tape at a small cost, but what’s a few extra dollars to make the special ed Republicans feel good about themselves? I don’t mind.

RUSH: Obama says this is a new low! Putting political stunts ahead of national security. Right- to have the senate voting on the START treaty knowing what it says is a political stunt! Says the White House.

Again, everyone else has had time to review the START treaty, even folks who aren’t being paid to read it. It’s 17 pages long in PDF form. 17 pages. Here it is in case you have a free ten minutes on your lunch break.

And the following folks have had time to review and approve of it (note, many of these people have OTHER Jobs but still managed to do what DeMint et al claim they can’t): the head of the Missile Defense Agency, the Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, every member of NATO, every Democrat in the Senate (guess they can read), the President of Russia, U.K. leaders past and present, major Israeli lobbies, Republican Cabinet Secretaries Henry A. Kissinger, George P. Shultz, James A. Baker III, Lawrence S. Eagleburger and Colin Powell and the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

In order to accommodate Mr DeMint’s reading handicap, we will need 7 to 12 hours to read the START treaty on the Senate floor. DeMint also wants the Omnibus Spending bill read aloud and that will take an additional 40 to 60 hours on the floor. That’s a whole lotta extra hours to help one man with his reading impairment.

Is this special education version of the Senate being paid for by taxpayers? Are we to slow everything down because Mr DeMint can’t read, even put the globe at nuclear risk for him? My heart goes out to him and all, but in this exceptional country wherein social Darwinism rules, Mr DeMint is quite simply dragging the rest of the class behind him. We have a huge deficit! If Mr DeMint can’t pull himself up by his own bootstraps, America will have to leave DeMint behind.

RUSH: I’d call it a public service especially when everything from stimulus to Obamacare to Omnibus was never read by anybody!

He’d call it public service, but that sounds a lot like community organizing, which as we all know is Commie Socialism so of course, we can’t do that on the Senate floor! What is Rush thinking? No wonder Michelle Bachmann is so concerned with un-American activities.

But even more concerning is Rush’s admission that other important legislation was read by no one (and by no one, he means Republicans since the health care bill was online and even every day citizens managed to read their way through that beast without the help of well paid aides). So there’s more special ed Senators, Rush? Do tell. Come now, you did it to Valerie surely you can turn coat on these welfare sucking Senators who threaten our national security with their failures. They can’t expect Americans to take care of them in their time of need. This is not a socialist country! They need to work harder or get out.

RUSH: And by the way speaking of political stunts what was Obama signing an executive order to close Gitmo?! Still open?

Who’s gonna tell Rush that the funding for GITMO closure is languishing in the Senate? Perhaps we are still waiting for Mr DeMint to read this one, too? Judging from Rush’s inability to comprehend how our government works, I fear the special ed status of the Republican Senate may in fact be contagious. This may be God’s special punishment of them for their evil beliefs. Being reading impaired is, after all, a choice and it’s not the American way to reward laziness. God likes winners boys. Man up.

RUSH: White House Gibbs says reading the START treaty that’s wasting the Senate’s time! I’ll go you one better, Gibbs, let’s shut it down for the rest of the year! If you’re worried about wasting time, why don’t you just shut it down?!

Republican-itis may be spread through the air waves, citizens. Forewarned is forearmed.

RUSH: Let’s just shut it down everybody go home and have a Merry Christmas!

Rush nearing on hysteria here. One hopes the crash cart is near.

RUSH: The only way anyone will have a Merry Christmas is to forget the Democrats and their attempts to destroy this country!

Yes, indeed Rush! Instead of getting anything done, we should let Jim DeMint have pending legislation read to him on the Senate floor just to make sure he actually reads it and all, since y’all can’t be trusted to do that on your own time and of your own volition. So somehow, we need to find time for DeMint’s special needs, and yet we also need to shut the Senate down and go home for Christmas! It’s almost as if Rush is as confused as elected Republicans. Is this an epidemic?

Oh, we feel for Mr DeMint and his friends, but special reading sessions for the Republican slow members of the Senate is simply not in our budget and I would hate to steal from our grandkids just to help Mr De Mint and his colleagues feel special. Perhaps he needs to go to his local community and beg for help. His church, perhaps?

We can’t dumb down the Senate in a PC attempt to help Mr DeMint and his friends feel good about themselves. They’ve got to earn it like everyone else. However, in the spirit of Christmas, we could remove them from the Senate and just never tell them, trotting them out in front of a microphone every week so they can moan about how Obama expects them to read, and then send them on back to whomever has volunteered to care for them that week, because of course, we can’t keep footing their healthcare bill. That would be rewarding laziness.

The Republicans are now arguing that they would rather stall the START treaty ratification because Jim DeMint can’t read, nuclear threat be damned. Does anyone know what we’re paying these folks for if they can’t or won’t read a rather important 17 page document relating to national security that they’ve had on their desk for over 6 months? With all due respect, these boys need to man up and dig in to do the work of the American people before we get nuked.

Just sayin’.

Image courtesy of Media Matters

11 responses so far

The 2010 Beck Apocalypse: A Year of Lies in Review

Glenn Beck Sells the Apocalypse

With the year drawing to a close, Media Matters remembered some of Glenn Beck’s low points for 2010. They’re pretty low; after all, Beck was Media Matters’ “Misinformer of the Year” for 2009. Unfortunately, he seemed more than equal to the task:

  • Asserting that “violence will come. And violence will come from the left. Violence is part of the plan.” He accused the Left of “setting up another Oklahoma City” and claimed that progressives support “armed insurrection.”
  • Claiming that “We are headed towards a thugocracy.” Glenn Beck has likened the Obama administration and progressives to Mussolini, Stalin, Nazis, Al Qaeda, and vampires. He insists that a cabal of radicals who hate the country is operating out of the White House.
  • Equating unions for TSA employees to a “private army” for Obama. Beck also said unions have “raped” police and fire fighters, and that violence is a “self-fulfilling prophecy” of labor unions.
  • Describing progressive policies as murderous, apocalyptic and conspiratorial. Beck called a proposed food safety bill a “perfect storm” that was about “control and eventually starvation.” He called net neutrality a “hostile takeover” and said health care reform amounted to “pulling the plug” on seniors.

They started me thinking, these absurdist claims.

  • Violence is in the rhetoric of the right-wing, in Tea Party and the Republican Party. It is notably absent in left-wing rhetoric. It is the conservatives who are pro-gun, pro-secession, armed, and forming militia units and talking about asserting Second Amendment rights. The allusion to Oklahoma City is especially ironical since that terrorist act was the work of a right-wing bomber, not a progressive.
  • Thugocracy, if this charge can be taken seriously at all, thugocracy came about when Bush won in 2001, immediately setting about plundering not only the United States but Iraq when it was conquered. Halliburton is only the tip of the iceberg. The real threat at this point is from theocracy, which Republicans, Tea Partiers and Beck all seem to support. Of course, this theocracy will support a right-wing thugocracy as a matter of course, especially if in the control of Grifterella herself, Sarah Palin.
  • The TSA reference is fascinating, since it is Republicans who want to outsource the TSA’s job to some private firm, which would make it a private army in the same way Blackwater became a private army for President Bush. But they won’t just peek through you clothes, they will rape you, and you won’t have a right to complain. We’ve seen how Republican-sponsored private security firms behave.
  • Progressive policies are murderous, apocalyptic and conspiratorial? Yes, Glenn, and your Christian fundamentalism is not at all apocalyptic, or don’t you share the beliefs of your close friend Sarah Palin? Fundamentalist Christianity is all about the apocalypse. And murderous? It was a Republican administration that invaded Iraq and killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people, and brutalized and tortured others in violation of International Law and the Constitution. And conspiratorial? Really? It’s the corporations who want to take over the Internet, Glenn, not the government.

And Glenn won’t tell you how he’s profiting from selling the Glenn Beck apocalypse:

Glenn has taken everything conservatives have done and want to do (publicly) and leveled them at the door of the left. It isn’t the work of a few minutes to show what he has done. Google or Bing it, and see for yourself.

There is no more substance to Beck’s rants than there were to Coulter’s. And what’s going on anyway, has there been some passing of the torch? Or did they agree that Coulter would condemn liberals while Beck took care of progressives? Whatever happened, they are both consistently and diligently avoiding facts in their nasty, fantastic narratives.

Beck is a purveyor of fiction, and poor fiction at that. Good fiction, at least is believable. But Beck can’t offer us anything of the sort. His blackboard can’t conjure anything remotely believable. He invents things, yet constantly complains that nobody is talking about it. “Why isn’t anyone talking about it?” he shrieks.

There is nobody talking about it because it is untrue, Glenn. You made it up. Until you lied about it on your show today, nobody had even heard of it. You might as well start your show by saying a dragon ate your underwear. Why isn’t anyone talking about that?

Oh that’s right: it didn’t happen.

Sadly, all too many people do believe Glenn, including people who go on to murder others, inspired to do so by his lies. People gather around the radio to eagerly take in his most salacious gossip, all too willing to believe it because it feeds their fear and their suspicions. This is how Hitler worked too, sowing doubt and fear, feeding paranoia and suspicion and xenophobia and homophobia. Little separates them in terms of what they say and how they say it. And that’s not Godwin’s Law; it’s a fact.

Sadly, Glenn Beck is living proof that dishonesty pays. There is such a thing as a perfect crime, and Glenn Beck is committing it.

5 responses so far

Big Pimpin’ and Media Whorin’ Around With Sarah Palin

Dec 14 2010 Published by under Featured News

There is one thing for certain; no-one can ever say that Sarah Palin is not a pimp or a media whore. The woman finds some way to make money or campaign capital out of every possible person or situation that comes along. Now that the quitter has been to Haiti, she is using the death and devastation to pander herself as an altruistic benefactor to the poverty stricken, diseased masses by calling for donations from the American people.

Palin journeyed to Haiti with televangelist Franklin Graham to…what was she doing in Haiti? Oh, she was on a mission of mercy with Graham’s group, Samaritan’s Purse, to learn firsthand about the disaster in Haiti and to talk to Graham’s volunteers. Palin’s visit was well-publicized, although the only coverage was from Fox News’ Greta von Susteren who accompanied Palin, her husband Todd, and daughter Bristol as they visited volunteer aid camps.

On the surface, the purpose of Palin’s visit appears to be to draw attention to the plight of Haitians, but the reality is that Palin is drawing attention to herself and her need of Graham’s evangelical religious-right voting bloc. If Palin was the Christian she claimed, she would give all her money to help the afflicted without asking for attention or recompense, but a pimp’s primary concern is making money and drawing attention to themselves.

Palin’s entire goal in life is keeping herself in the public’s eye, and she is willing to pimp her children in order to garner attention and sympathy from supporters. When Rahm Emanuel used the word retarded, Palin went pseudo-ballistic with false indignation and demanded his firing. She held up her Down’s Syndrome afflicted son and said that Emanuel had insulted mentally handicapped people with his remark. Palin never misses an opportunity to turn any comment into a derogatory remark aimed at her or her children when she needs the publicity.

On Facebook, Palin’s daughter went on a homophobic tirade against some boy and detailed the level of jealousy everyone in America has over the Palin’s success. Of course, Palin did not show any outrage at her child’s actions, and suspicious minds wonder if Palin didn’t put her daughter up to the outburst. Whatever Palin’s excuse, she uses her children to get attention and to keep her name in the press.

Palin would not have the pimp ability if not for Fox News and the media that she hates. Palin’s reality show about Alaska is an infomercial about the wonders of Sarah Palin, and the network and show’s producers are heavily vested in the Republican Party. The Learning Channel’s program is touted as a promotional series for Alaska with Palin as tour director, but it is less about Alaska and more about the marvels of the Palin.  When Palin isn’t pimping her children or the poor people of Haiti, she whores herself to the media and allows conservative power brokers to pimp her.

Liberty Media executive John C. Malone is a hard-line conservative and Republican supporter who also sits on the Board of Directors of the Cato Institute which is little more than a public relations firm for the Koch brothers. It is no accident that Malone’s company is one of the parent companies of the Learning Channel that carries Palin’s Alaska reality show. A former Fox executive, Peter Liguori, is the COO of Discovery Communications which owns the Learning Channel, and Liguori’s job is to market Palin for the network. Liguori should screen the programs before titling them because in one episode, the title claimed that Palin was a good shot regardless that she took 5 shots with a scoped rifle to bring down a caribou. Not only did the faker miss the animal over and over, she showed her inexperience in firearm safety, but Liguori managed to market her as a good shot. No one can claim that Liguori or the network didn’t pimp Palin, and she acted her part like a good media whore.

If Sarah Palin really hated the media, she wouldn’t allow Fox, Discovery, and Learning Channel to market her, but those networks have a vested interest in Palin’s political career, and as long as they keep her in the limelight, Sarah will play the whore all day long for them.

Palin’s visit to Haiti was not for altruistic reasons, and she has no interest in the plight of any people. Her approval ratings are dropping and her book is not outselling the bible, so she needed divine intervention from Billy Graham’s son. She went to Haiti for the sole purpose of pandering to evangelical Christians and to give Fox News promotional material for the next election. Her praise of Graham’s volunteer group didn’t bring one penny to help the Haitians, but most likely will bring a ton of money for Sarah Palin’s PAC.

Americans and the GOP are growing weary of Palin, and as her celebrity wanes, she is reaching out to evangelical Christians for support and money. Of course, they will support anyone who rides with Billy Graham’s son until they learn how Palin uses her children to further her own career. But that is what Sarah Palin is all about; furthering her career.  If it means pimping her own children, grandchildren, or the poor people of Haiti, she will do it. If it means whoring herself for conservative Media owners, she will do it for Sarah Palin; consummate pimp and media whore.

Image: thegrio.com

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The DDoS Attack That Wasn’t: Sarah Palin’s Operation Payback Lie

Dec 10 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues

Sarah Palin likes to tell stories about herself

In an attempt to show her dashing ability to thwart off DDOS attacks, Sarah Palin told ABC News she had been the victim of a DDoS attack from Operation Payback but that she had been prepared for the “backlash” and hence warded it off. All of the above turned out to be….untrue.

When I first read Ms Palin’s email to ABC about her victimization (the only thing Ms Palin has yet to quit, it seems, is her vision of herself as Joan of Arc) at the hands of the Evil Wikileaks people (whom she called to be treated like the traitors she thinks they are, even though they aren’t American citizens), I shook my head in pity for poor Jake Tapper.

One day, these folks will learn not to simply publish everything Ms Palin tells them without doing cursory diligence of their own. For Ms Palin has an allergy to the truth, whether lying about the weather or about being found guilty of violating the ethics laws in Alaska, when Ms Palin speaks, one must fact-check every word lest one trip on the banana peels of false narratives Ms Palin litters the political landscape with.

Here’s the original report from ABC:

“Hackers in London that the Palin team believe to be affiliated with “Operation Payback” – a group of supporters of Julian Assange and Wikileaks – have tried to shut down SarahPac and have disrupted Sarah and Todd Palin’s personal credit card accounts, SarahPAC aide Rebecca Mansour said.

“No wonder others are keeping silent about Assange’s antics,” Palin emailed ABC News. “This is what happens when you exercise the First Amendment and speak against his sick, un-American espionage efforts.”

A SarahPAC.com technical aide said that the “DOS attackers, a group loosely known as Anon_Ops, used a tool called LOIC (Lower Orbit Ion Cannon) to flood sarahpac.com. The attackers wanted us to know that they were affiliated with wikileaks.org through an obscure message in our server log file.”….

Added Mansour, “the governor voiced her opinion knowing full well that she was speaking out against a shady disreputable organization with no regard for laws or human life. This is how they operate. The world should not be intimidated by them.”

Mansour added that Wikileaks supporters claim to be “in favor of free speech yet they attack Sarah Palin for exercising her free speech.” She said SarahPAC.com was not harmed because Palin’s staff was able to move quickly to protect the site.”

So Ms Palin managed to do what MasterCard, Visa, PayPal and Wikileaks couldn’t. This is the sort of lore best swallowed with KookAid. And what jumps out at the person who’s been paying attention to the way Ms Palin’s mind works is that she is the heroine of this story. Ms Palin’s the only person who called out Assange, anticipated his counter-attack and warded it off! My goodness. Those are some cojones.

I’ll not even address the credit card claims ( she claimed her credit card number was released and it wasn’t) or the hubristically blind nattering on about freedom of speech from a supposed communications major who fails to understand important rulings such as the Pentagon Papers. In Ms Palin’s world, the only person who has freedom of speech is her and she’s quite certain that anyone who doesn’t agree with her is violating her freedoms. This notion is troubling to anyone who loves America and comprehends our country’s core principles.

The problem I had with her statement is that PoliticusUSA has been DDoS attacked and so I know a bit about it. We were told that this attack might kill our site for good. It was a very unpleasant and sobering experience (coincidentally, our website was brought down in a coordinated attack after an article I wrote about Ms Palin and her actions of stoking violence in Alaska). A DDoS attack bears little resemblance to being hacked, and yet Ms Palin’s story reads more like a five minute attempted hacking than a DDoS attack.

For example, one doesn’t know immediately that they are under DDoS attack and neither does their server host, because it appears to be a flood of traffic. The pattern becomes clear over time, however, as a denial of service attack lasts for weeks and months, as it is meant to shut down a site all together.

So as Ms Palin was nattering on in her email to ABC about her freedom of speech being attacked, my Palin hackles were immediately raised.

See, Ms Palin is rather infamous for her projections. Whatever she accuses others of doing is what she has or will do herself. From death panels to accusing the President of not loving his country, Ms Palin suffers from a painfully obvious inability to deal with her own transgressions without projecting them onto others.

And I suspected this latest Palin Myth with its dashing heroine didn’t come from her imagination, it came from her need to project onto others her own modus operandi. Because you see, the story Ms Palin fed to ABC has already been debunked. The group of activist hackers admitted targeting MasterCard.com, PostFinace, Visa, Paypal.com, and others but deny ever targeting Sarah Palin.

RT.com reported:

“A group who refers to itself as Anonymous has as taken credit for a recent string of high-profile cyber attacks against the websites of businesses, banks and politicians that have either spoken out against or stopped doing business with WikiLeaks.

Cyber attacks, dubbed Operation Payback, targets those who have caved into US government pressure to shun the whistleblower website that recently released thousands of classified US diplomatic cables.

“We have been DDoS’ing sites,” he explained. “We have been flooding them with traffic so other people cannot use them and they have been taken down like this and they cannot operate like this anymore. We’ve been attacking them, we’ve been DDoS’ing them so people can’t buy things, people can’t make transactions.”..

Although the media had reported the group planned coordinated attacks on Amazon.com, the groups representative said they do not have any malicious plans to take on Amazon nor had they attempted to. He also said the group was not responsible for any coordinated attacks or hacks on Sarah Palin, although she claims to have been a target…

“We don’t really care about Sarah Palin that much, to be honest. I don’t really know what she’s trying to accomplish or what attention she is trying to gain. We personally don’t care about Sarah Palin,” he added.

Yes, see, they don’t even care about Ms Palin. And why would they? She is no one. She has no power to harm Assange or Wikileaks, in spite of her own refusal to comprehend American laws, borders and most significantly, freedom of the press.

Not only did Ms Palin and her sidekick Rebecca Mansour call a DDoS attack a DOS attack (usually a much less sophisticated attack, but no matter as Operation Payback admits to perpetrating DDoS attacks, not DOS attacks), but also they obviously have never experienced a real one and sadly, Ms Mansour lacks the skills one would have thought a wannabe screenwriter would have at least cursory knowledge of (before you write a fictional account of a dramatic experience, interview someone who has gone through it). Steeped in their ignorance of the real thing, Ms Mansour and Ms Palin obviously thought a DDoS attack was like hacking and that like the Jedi Warrior she is, Ms Palin could step in with her frontier gal spirit and stop a DDoS attack with her feisty sayings and a few nasty kicks to the “gutless” “anonymous” terrorists taking away her freedom thereby showing us all what a great President she’d be.

Credit is due for a great story premise and one that would have perpetuated the Palin myth nicely, except that anyone who’s been through a DDoS attack knows better. Ask Julian Assage. The fight isn’t over in five minutes. And Ms Palin made a fatal mistake when she asked thinking people to accept that she knows more about keeping her SarahPAC site online than Julian Assange does about keeping Wikileaks online (Wikileaks has been suffering under DDoS attack since revealing the cables dump). Nope. Warrior Princesses can’t stop DDoS attacks, just like they can’t stop pesky citizens from asking questions about their illegal trust funds or stop citizens from writing about their calls for violence.

Ms Palin is obviously exceptionally deluded into believing that she can sell these lies to anyone and we will all believe her. The failure of our media in fact-checking Ms Palin has only allowed her belief in her ability to sell us whatever she wants us to believe to grow into now monstrous proportions, and this is only adding to her brazen willingness to play chicken with the truth. Ms Palin’s real enemy here is her own ego and her inability to see reality as it really is. Her latest foray into fiction should be enough to convince American journalists that she is not well. No sane person would be so paranoid as to believe they were under attack when they weren’t nor would they believe they could manufacture this utter fiction to ABC, no less, and get away with it.

But what is even more interesting is that in the wake of this humiliating exposure of her allergy to truth and shoot-first mentality, Ms Palin will show no shame. And that is what I find most disconcerting. Shame, after all, is the mechanism we use to moderate behavior and keep some semblance of humanity ruling. Shame fills in the gaps between our laws; it’s a form of punishment for bad behavior in Western societies.

Shame reflects a decrease in our stature while pride is the emotion that is supposed to reflect an increase in stature. Perhaps Ms Palin’s lack of shame indicates something troubling about her own standards regarding the truth.

Ms Palin has enough pride to fill the galaxy, but it’s built upon self-aggrandized, mythical, fictional accounts of herself that have no bearing to reality. From claims to being a huntress to claims of fiscal conservatism to claims of being a reformer to claims of hating pork, Sarah Palin is a self-produced legend in her own mind.

Self-respecting journalists had best take Jake Tapper’s hard learned lesson to heart. When reporting on Ms Palin, if she tells you the sky is blue where she is today, you would be well served to double check. For Palin, if it makes a good story and dramatizes her into an all-American heroine, she’ll say it. She’s as reckless with the truth as she is with calls for war. And that’s pretty darn reckless. This is the person the GOP is selling as their best and brightest for 2012. Shoot first, ask questions later, and truth be damned.

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