Cowboying Up on Freedom of Speech GOP Style

Oct 23 2010 Published by under Featured News, Republican Party

NPR finds itself under siege. These are the words of an NPR employee in my area to me. Under Siege. It is not NPR’s members or donors who are upset with that entity, but Republican politicians and pundits. This is an attack directed at NPR by Republicans in order to silence, if not destroy somebody for firing somebody for saying something offensive.

I’m reminded of the film Tombstone, in which a Cowboy (a local criminal gang in that town, the Cowboys) tell Wyatt Earp that if you mess with one Cowboy, they will destroy you. That’s the situation here: Don’t touch any of us, the Republicans are saying, or we will destroy you.

The Cowboys of our time are a big gang, with lots of money, and they want to control things in town too, and they don’t brook any interference. I’m going to talk about one specific Cowboy here. Sarah Palin has been addressed; I am going to look at another.

Cowboy Eric Cantor, whose idiocy I have excoriated here before, is one of them, and he seems determined to prove to America that he is a first-class idiot. He’s upset right now because NPR fired Juan Williams for his anti-Muslim remarks. Cantor calls this a threat to free speech (does this mean we can all say anything we want and keep our jobs, Mr. Cantor?).

The Republicans want to “ACORN” NPR. Anything they don’t like, anything, any group, that says something they don’t like, they want to destroy. Because free speech apparently only applies to Republicans and people the Republican party approves of (rather like Sarah Palin deciding who and who cannot use the “R” word – oh what the hell, I’m going to say it just because I am not on her approved list: retard).

In May, Cantor introduced a little thing called “You Cut” in which he lets from among five items in a list to tell the Republicans to offer on the floor for an up-or-down vote. On Friday, he put NPR on his nifty little list.

“Whether it’s people walking off ‘The View’ when Bill O’Reilly makes a statement about radical Islam or Juan Williams being fired for expressing his opinion, over-reaching political correctness is chipping away at the fundamental American freedoms of speech and expression.”

Let’s look at your examples, Mr. Cantor:

1)      “people walking off ‘The View’ when Bill O’Reilly makes a statement about radical Islam”

2)      “Juan Williams being fired for expressing his opinion”

He concludes from this that “, over-reaching political correctness is chipping away at the fundamental American freedoms of speech and expression.”

Do I have it right? I think so. Let me ask you this: Is not people walking off the set in reaction to what somebody says a form of “expression” as you put it? Yes, I think it is. And you object.

But you just said that you are against freedom of speech and expression being “chipped away.”

You say that Juan Williams being fired is an attack on freedom of speech. But isn’t NPR exercising its own freedom of speech, their own freedom of expression, by saying, that sort of talk does not belong here?

What you seem to be saying, M. Cantor, is that ONLY Republicans have freedom of speech and that as part of this freedom you can,

a)      Say whatever you want, and

b)      Nobody has a right to have a reaction to it

But that’s not what freedom of speech is about, Mr. Cantor. It is a reciprocal process. You have heard perhaps of Newton’s Third Law, that says, “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”? You may have the right to free speech, but listeners have a right to respond, whether it be in approval or disapproval. They have a right to disagree and they have a right to take offense. These are all forms of free speech and expression.

Bill O’Reilly said something offensive. Two of The View’s co-hosts took exception to his remarks and showed their displeasure by walking off the set. Juan Williams said something offensive, and NPR showed their displeasure by firing him.

You are aware, perhaps, of sportcasters being fired for making offensive remarks. You have heard, perhaps, of athletes being fined or otherwised punished for their off-the-field antics. Ben Roethlisberger is not alleged to have raped a young woman in the stadium while wearing his Steeler’s Uniform, yet he was suspended for four games.

Do you see what I am getting at? Employers have a right to have certain standards of expected behavior – well, most employers – FOX News apparently has NONE -  and if an employee violates these standards they can expect to be punished.

Fortunately, Mr. Cantor and his wish-list are effectively stymied by a Democratic majority. He is no doubt hoping he can unleash his panacea of exclusions after the Midterms.

But Eric Cantor is not alone in his crusade to ACORN NPR. Sarah Palin is leading the charge as well as other party notables, Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif, who feels George Soros should pick up the tab.

There is a trend here, and it is unmistakable: free speech is a tool, or more accurately, a weapon, to the Republicans. It is not a freedom at all, because they don’t think anyone else should share in it. They have always destroyed ACORN (and without any justification whatsoever based on what has been exposed as a scam); they have promised to bring the Obama administration to a halt with investigations and committee hearings if they achieve a majority in the Midterms, and now they are engaging in a witch-hunt, an “ACORNing” of NPR.

Anyone or anything that does not tow the Party line must be silenced, and by silenced, I mean ruthlessly destroyed.

Of course, if a Democrat, say President Obama, utilizes his own right of free speech and expression, he is attacked immediately, say by Karl Rove with his “How dare you?” implying of course that Obama has no actual right at all to say what he thinks. And of course, if President Obama decides he should say nothing at all, one way or another, because as President he should not express an opinion, the Republicans decide what it is he said, and then attack him for it.

This is how free speech works for the Republicans.  The Founding Fathers did not intend free speech to be a weapon, but a freedom, an essential liberty, and not one held only by a few. Our system of government was not meant to be that of a criminal gang running the country like it’s own private business, but that is increasingly what the Republicans are selling, and they are making it quite clear that they are willing to 1) identify the “Other” and 2) silence them in any way necessary.

Nothing could sum it up better than Tombstone itself:

Curly Bill: [takes a bill with Wyatt’s signature from a customer and throws it on the faro table] Wyatt Earp, huh? I heard of you.

Ike Clanton: Listen, Mr. Kansas Law Dog. Law don’t go around here. Savvy?

Wyatt Earp: I’m retired.

Curly Bill: Good. That’s real good.

Ike Clanton: Yeah, that’s good, Mr. Law Dog, ’cause law don’t go around here.

No, the Cowboys in 1880’s Tombstone weren’t about Democracy, or freedom of speech, and neither, ultimately, are the Republicans of the 2010’s.

13 responses so far

The Republicans Are Failing to Make an Argument

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

Beck, Palin and Limbaugh

Remember remember the fifth of November, the gunpowder treason and plot. I know of no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.” – English Nursery Rhyme

If you want to get a point across, or to convince a crowd of something you believe, you need to advance an argument. Don’t just say something and expect people to believe it; really make an argument. What do you believe and why? What facts or evidence supports your assertion? What are the consequences if you’re right/wrong? And what can/should we do about it?

During election season arguments fly fast and furious. It can be hard to keep up; it can be hard to know what/who to believe. But if you listen carefully, you will find that the Republican narrative has made clear that Republicans don’t know what an argument is.

Take some of the following examples (by no means exhaustive!):

  • Argument isn’t simple contradiction. If someone asserts that Democratic administrations have made for a healthier American economy saying “No they haven’t” is not an argument.
  • Argument is not simply repeating a lie when confronted with the facts. For example, McCain claimed during the debates that Obama was going to raise everybody’s taxes. Obama pointed out that in fact he was going to cut taxes for 95% of Americans, which is factually true. McCain ignored this and repeated his claim. Republicans are still repeating it.
  • Argument isn’t evasion; it isn’t changing the subject or refusing to answer the question, or pulling a Palin and saying “I don’t want to talk about that today.”
  • Argument is not a unilateral statement or assertion lacking supporting evidence: “The Democrats have ruined the economy.” Where is your supporting evidence? In the same way that “spin” is not news, it is not an argument either, however catchy and easy to remember.
  • An argument is not an ad hominem attack, which attacks not the argument itself but the author. Pundits like Limbaugh, Beck and Coulter are infamous for making ad hominem attacks. This is a sure sign that the attacking party recognizes that there is no argument to be made. Democrats are “communists,” “traitors” or “terrorist sympathizers.”
  • An argument should be relevant. It should address the topic under discussion. It should provide evidence and the evidence should support the conclusion. Sarah Palin’s claim that Putin flew over Alaskan airspace (whether it is true or not) is irrelevant as it is unlikely she would watch the plane as it soared overhead, or that even if she did, she would somehow glean from it some insight into foreign policy matters.
  • The “false dilemma” (either-or fallacy) – a pair of claims of which it is said only one can be true or that there are only two choices – is not an argument. One we hear all the time is that “Either we eliminate government regulation of business or profits suffer.” As has been pointed out by observers, unregulated companies can do untold damage to themselves and to others, even going bankrupt, like Enron. Economics is a complex system; there will seldom if ever be only two choices.
  • The “slippery slope” fallacy – the claim that one thing makes another thing inevitable – is not an argument but you see it a lot. This fallacy works well in the politics of fear. For example, the Republican argument from 2003 on was that making peace in Iraq, or taking anything other than a hard-line approach – even talking about less aggressive alternatives – would lead to increased attacks on America. They are still making that claim seven years later despite the absence of such promised attacks.

There is a great deal of intellectual dishonesty in Republican discourse and in the sorts of “arguments” you see raised on public forums. As Obama said before the election, “We’ve become accustomed in our politics to folks just being able to make stuff up.” This is generally true of politics today (left and right both) but increasingly, where the Republicans are concerned, it is difficult to find any sign of honesty at all.

They not only don’t make an argument. They’ve ceased to even try.

Instead they have constructed a mythical America, divorced from reality, provided it with a fake history to support it, and delivered it in catchy sound-bites. But catchy does not equal accurate and backing up a lie with another lie does not magically transform the first lie into truth.

The world doesn’t work that way. The nursery rhyme with what I began this piece may have been used propagandistically to buttress monarchy, but it at least refers to an actual historical event. Republican nursery rhymes do not.

It is important to remember that the internal logic of an argument is completely separate from its truth content. Just because it “sounds right” doesn’t mean it is. This is part of Sarah Palin’s appeal to the Republican base, which is motivated more by emotions than by common sense or reason, let alone an examination of the facts.

“She speaks for us!” they say. Yes, that is because neither of you is thinking.

There are some simple explanations for this. The Republican platform does not support the scientific method; the idea that empirical evidence is relevant is alien to them, that is, evidence acquired from observation, experimentation and testing. The Republicans don’t support science – which is inherently liberal– or even Education.

Perhaps that’s not surprising; science and education upset the status quo that is so dear to conservatives. But that’s another discussion. The simplest explanation is that because the facts do not support their assertions they have to make stuff up, an activity they engage in with great enthusiasm.

17 responses so far

The Hackery and Mendacity of a FOX News Legal Propagandist

Aug 24 2010 Published by under Featured News, Republican Party

I recently wrote about the women news anchors and contributors on FOX News. It is important in the interest of being “fair and balanced” that we do not ignore the men taking the pay of FOX. Today we will look at Peter Johnson, Jr. According to FOX News, Peter J. Johnson, Jr., graduate of Columbia College and Columbia University’s School of Law and has served them as a legal analyst since 1997.

Johnson “is a trial and appellate lawyer, is the president of Leahey & Johnson, P.C., a Wall Street law firm that specializes in litigation and appeals.” FOX labels him “A well-known authority on jurisprudence and government,” which may or may not be true, considering that FOX recently labeled Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin constitutional experts.

Obviously, being a lawyer does not bestow instant honesty on a person. There are plenty of crooked, self-interested people in every profession. It should not be necessary to point out that being a lawyer does not free a person from thralldom to ideology.

Mr. Johnson is no exception. For example, last November 23 on Fox & Friends he told a fib on national TV about U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations on medical screenings, claiming that “what we see now in the Senate bill is the Senate saying that if you get an A or a B, then it’s gonna be paid for. If you get a C, it’s not gonna be paid for.”

This was, in fact, false (SEC. 2713. COVERAGE OF PREVENTIVE HEALTH SERVICES), and presumably Mr. Johnson knew it. He either does not prepare properly to report facts, or he deliberately ignores and misrepresents them on ideological grounds. Either point renders him an ineffective expert, though the latter excuse is more likely given that Fox News contributor Dr. Marc Siegel repeated the claim in a New York Post column.

On the June 25 edition of Fox News Channel’s Fox & Friends Mr. Johnson appealed to the old Death Panel scare, claiming that health care reform is “the government deciding who will live, who will die”:

This is a charge Mr. Johnson repeated on the October 30 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, where he asked if “nothing much has changed” in House health bill “with regard to the death panel.”

Obviously, and Mr. Johnson knew this as well as you or I, there was, and is, no death panel.

On August 20 2009’s episode of Fox & Friends, Mr. Johnson again intentionally misinterpreted President Obama’s words in order to attack him for using “one of the Ten Commandments as an argument for a political argument,” which, he says is “incredibly offensive to a lot of people in the Judeo-Christian ethic.” This is an interesting claim coming from FOX correspondent, given that the GOP has become in a very real sense God’s Own Party and that most of its attacks on social issues are Bible-based, including those directed against same-sex marriage.

In fact, President Obama was not invoking the Ten Commandments (any of them) for political purposes but simply stating that those who spread misinformation about health care reform were “bearing false witness.” He was not referring to those who disagreed with or opposed his plan.

On March 5 of this year, Mr. Johnson fibbed again, this time with regards to “certain pages of the Senate bill — Pages 2,069 to Pages 2,078″ – his words – where “it says in certain cases that there be a one-dollar-per-month, per-enrollee contribution to federal reproductive services, which includes abortion.”

This, he echoes Bart Stupak (and he says a dozen Democrats), is a violation of the Hyde Amendment (1976), which prohibits the use of funds allocated by the annual appropriations bill for the Department of Health and Human Services pay for abortions .

The only problem is that it’s not true. The fee, which comes not from government but from private funds, is only applicable for those who opt for insurance with abortion coverage.

Can we agree at this point that experts by definition know what they’re talking about?

What Mr. Johnson is, in point of fact, is a propagandist.

To illustrate the degree to which Mr. Johnson is in the thrall of right-wing ideology, on May 27 of this year President Obama refused to comment either way on the boycott of Arizona in response to the immigration bill recent passed there. FOX’s Megyn Kelly, true to form, misinterpreted his remarks to mean he refused to condemn the boycott (in fact, he also refused to support it), but Mr. Johnson went even further.

In what Media Matters calls a “tour-de-force display of hackery and mendacity on Fox & Friends” on May 28, “he tried to convince everyone that Obama “tacitly endorsed” the boycott and is thus engaging in the same “secitionalism” as the supporters of slavery who “destroyed the United States in the 19th century.”

Yes, he likened our first black President to the supporters of slavery.

Just the other day, Mr. Johnson outdid himself, saying, on August 20, that Muslims should “give up their rights” in order to be “great Americans.” Yes, he said this. Giving up your rights makes you a great American.

Correct me if I’m wrong here, but isn’t the entire FOX sponsored Tea Party movement about defending rights? Or is it that only certain people have to give up their rights? People, say, with darker skin, who speak with a foreign accent and perhaps follow a different religion?

Yes, “fair and balanced” news coverage, folks.

Clearly, as an expert Mr. Johnson fails miserably. He is better in his role as a propagandist. At least there the goal is to lie, or if not simply making facts up (the death panels) then to distort them all out of proportion to the truth in order to serve some ideological purpose. Mr. Johnson excels at this, or, at least, he is enthusiastic.

But then we should not expect much out of FOX when it comes to reporting the news. Sure, it can be argued that there is no news that is undistorted by spin, but there is spin and there is propaganda, and there is outright fiction. If you are going to step before a camera and say something, it should at least be made clear to the watcher if what you’re saying is fact or fiction.

As an afterthought, I should mention that on the March 19, 2010 broadcast of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, Mr. Johnson claimed he was a Democrat. If I registered today as a Republican, that’s how much Mr. Johnson is a Democrat.

8 responses so far

The Faux Hotties of FOX News

Aug 21 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues

The Fox Girls

You can’t turn on FOX News without being turned on. Or at least that seems to be the intention; perhaps when the content is so minimal you need to distract viewers from the lack of any real news.

After all, it is faux news – propaganda – and the real heart and power of propaganda is in the packaging, in appearances. And FOX News knows all about packaging.

It’s like a KFC buffet – all breasts and thighs.

But where’s the beef?

There isn’t much, unfortunately. It’s all smoke and mirrors over there at FOX, a glitzy bait and switch disguised as a show and tell.

Allure Magazine has put up an online slideshow with the proclamation that “With its bevy of babes, the network should be called the Foxy News Channel.”

I don’t know about that. Everyone knows that sex is more in the brain than in appearances (or maybe that’s just liberals…). What are otherwise attractive people can become quite unattractive when they open their mouths. Let’s face it: ignorance is not an appealing characteristic.

But there is no doubt that FNC is playing to the lowest common denominator, if not the lowest necklines – and highest hems.

As conservative website IHateTheMedia! reported in 2009, “Fox News ratings are rising, so are its anchors’ skirts.” Their accompanying photo exposé confirmed their claim quite convincingly.

I like a beautiful woman as much as the next guy but I turn on the news to actually watch news, not a fashion show. I want my intellect, not my libido, to be stimulated.

I’ve been in cardio-rehab for three months now, subjected to an endless parade of bouncy faux babes strutting their stuff one one of the three monitors overhead, while ESPN and ABC go about the mundane business of actually reporting the news – and wearing clothes.

Put it all down to old-fashioned bourgeois prejudices if you must, but I have a problem with this.

Let’s look beyond the gams…I mean the glam, for a moment and at what comes out of their mouths, It’s neither promising nor enlightening.

Gretchen Carlson

Gretchen Carlson, former Miss America, on March 10 of this year actually claimed – apropos of the Texas Schoolbook Massacre – that the forces of darkness planned to “eliminate references to certain holidays, Founding Fathers, the Constitution! I mean, no surprise that Christmas, they want to get rid of that because they’ve been doing that for the last couple of years, but c’mon, the Constitution?”

I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry.

As Politifact reported, “The Texas Education Agency, which oversees primary and secondary education, blasted Fox News for distorting the facts:

“The Fox Network in recent days has repeatedly broadcast highly inaccurate information about the State Board of Education’s efforts to adopt the new social studies curriculum standards,” the agency said in a press release.”

But hey, she looks good, right? FOX knows how to package the propaganda.

Of course, nothing Gretchen said was true. Politifact gave her a well-deserved “Pants on Fire” rating for the gaffe.

It’s not Gretchen’s first hoof and mouth experience. Back during the Bush maladministration she accused Ted Kennedy of being an enemy of the United, a “hostile enemy…right here on the home front.”

Yes, Ted Kennedy, while the president was calling the Constitution “just a goddamned piece of paper”.

You have to wonder if there is anything going on behind those pretty eyes.

But let’s cut her some slack; we know that actually reporting the news is very low on FNC’s list of priorities. Titillating the audience apparently is where it’s at. Show ‘em beautiful women in slinky outfits and make ‘em mad with lies and lust. It’s a magical combination and it seems to be working. They’re clearly a better vehicle than a certain bloated Oxycontin-addicted host we’re all familiar with.

But isn’t there something insulting to women to stack (pardon the expression) the cast with hot, ignorant women?

Let’s take a look at Exhibit Number Two:

Ainsley Earhardt

Gretchen doesn’t operate in a vacuum at FOX. Ainsley Earhardt brought out the anti-atheist idiocy as vividly as she brings out her breasts:

It’s almost breathtaking. I mean, you want to be turned on and turned off at the same time. It’s such a strange and irreconcilable combination of emotions, all these lovely scantily clad women uttering such stupidity. It’s worse than a beauty pageant.

But it explains why they’re so in love with a woman who thinks having Putin fly over Alaska makes her a foreign policy expert, doesn’t it?

But Ainsley really wants us to get a good look at her assets, and she’s not shy about showing them. She even posed for an up-the-skirt shot that became the rage on YouTube (you can Google it) and which must have left dirty old men drooling all over “Conservia.”

Then there is Exhibit Number Three: Lis Wiehl, the FOX legal analyst. Notice where this man’s eyes are:

Lisa Weihl

You can bet his brains are not on what she is saying, and yours are not meant to be either.

And Exhibit Number Four: Fox’s Supreme Court reporter, Shannon Bream:

Shannon Bream

The Anchorbabes blog complained in March, “It’s kind of a shame that FOX has so many hot news babes, because a hottie like Shannon can get lost in the shuffle.”

Truly.

Katie Couric?

Katie Couric

Not hardly.

Can you imagine this coming out of Katie Couric’s mouth? It came out of the mouth of FOX correspondent Courtney Friel (she of swimsuit-layout fame):

I have a problem with horse male genitalia. They need to wear diapers, because I feel violated… They are setting young girls up for high expectations, because none of their men are going to be like that. I was in Hawaii and I was going to go horseback riding and that was really big, and you would have thought I wanted to ride it, but no.

Back in 2007 a Christian watchdog group complained about this FOX cesspit of iniquity. Mark Dice, leader of the “Resistance” moaned, “I see shorter skirts on the women of Fox News than I do on the prostitutes being arrested on cop shows.”

Mark was destined for disappointment. The short skirts and low-cut tops are still there in abundance, along with thighs and breasts. The “Family Values” network? No, more of a political fund-raising network now – and sex sells.

Of course, these folks are more worried about what pops out of their clothes than what comes out of their mouths. Now to be fair, no news channel is perfect, and other women on other networks sometimes wear what might be considered inappropriate garb on air. But there is simply no comparison.

Megyn Kelly

In the end, it is difficult to find fault with the analysis of Videogum back in 2009 with regards to Megyn Kelly (and applying it to all of those faux babes), “Megyn Kelly, the Fox News anchor whose face and demeanor are as irritating on a visceral level as the thought of licking a dry Popsicle stick.”

Yeah, that says it all, I think.

23 responses so far

Alicia Lewis: Victim of the Sarah Palin Attack Machine Speaks Out

Jul 03 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

Alicia Lewis, victim of the Sarah Palin Attack Machine Speaks Out: Inside a young student’s experience with a powerful political personality and leader of the Tea Party, who labels those who don’t agree with her as personal enemies and political operatives. When Alicia Lewis attempted to hold CSU fiscally accountable, she found herself on the wrong end of Palin’s attack machine.

Stanislaus Shredded Documents Photo: John Myers

An exclusive interview with Alicia Lewis, who found herself the unwitting victim of the Sarah Palin attack machine during the Palin Stanislaus speech shakedown. Sen. Leland Yee (D-SF) and others were wondering, among many other questions regarding the university’s transparency and financial dealings, why Palin’s speaking fees for her June 25 engagement were not being disclosed per the state’s public records law. In the course of following a lead about documents which were being disposed of suspiciously, Ms. Lewis stumbled into the middle of another Palin drama and found herself being labeled a “dumpster diver and “political operative” by Sarah Palin during Palin’s nationally streamed speech last weekend.

Sarah Jones: Give me a little background info — your major, where you grew up, etc. I believe your major is poly-sci, which is interesting. Has this experience impacted your ideas about politics or decision to go into that field?

Alicia Lewis: I just received my BA in Political Science and will be entering into the Masters of Public Administration this Fall. I grew up in both Stanislaus and Merced County. I have always been interested in politics and involved within my local community. However, this experience has shown me the large amount of time and energy necessary to fully participate in this field. Not to mention it has demonstrated the dark under belly of politics such as the hate mail and public scrutiny.

This entire experience while discouraging and frustrating at first has actually strengthened my commitment to enter into the political world. I have seen firsthand how the actions of a few college students can turn into an international talking point and that it is possible to get your message out.

Sarah Jones: How did you get involved in finding Palin’s contract?

Alicia Lewis: A little background explanation: After it was publicized that our school had invited Sarah Palin to speak at our 50th anniversary gala there was a California Public Records Request for any information regarding expenditures related to the event. Our school denied having any documents citing the schools Foundation was separate from the University itself and not subject to disclosure laws. Several emails surfaced demonstrating that the school was not being truthful.

Fast forward to dumpster issue:

Ashli Briggs (other student who went public) received a tip that documents were being destroyed from a reliable source. It was said that documents were being destroyed in the administration building. This was a red flag to those of us Ashli informed because we knew the college was supposed to be closed that day. Myself and several other students went down to the campus and noticed that only the admin parking lot had cars and there seemed to be activity taking place in the locked/closed building. We waited and watched for a while, noting that garbage was being taken out to the different dumpsters.

Out of intuition/curiosity/boredom we opened the bins. One was filled with whole intact documents and a bag of shredded paperwork. We saw the headers were all from the University financial services and thought it was odd they were cleaning out offices on a closed campus day so we took the documents. Not knowing what we would end up finding. After looking through the stacks of paperwork we found pages 4-9 of what appeared to be the Palin contract. It was mixed with all University paperwork and in our opinion demonstrated that our school did violate the CA Public Records Request.

Palin Mocking Those Who Called Her on PalmGate at Stanislaus

Sarah Jones: Sarah Palin accused you of being a “political operative” during her Stanislaus speech. Can you talk about what your intentions were when you found the shredded contracts and what your reaction was when you heard Palin’s spin on your intentions? Palin seems to be saying that you could not have had a motive other than political differences. Do you agree with her characterization?

Alicia Lewis: At the time we found the documents our intention was to find out what the heck was going on a closed campus day. All we knew was that our campus administration has been under constant criticism for decisions and actions it has made in recent years plus we had a tip from an alarmed source making us even more concerned that something fishy was taking place. We did not know it would lead us in the direction of anything concerning Sarah Palin.

When I heard what Palin said about those that found the documents I was immediately furious. I know both myself and Ashli Briggs have consistently stated that this was an issue about transparency and have advocated that changes be made in the CSU system regarding how donor money is handled.

I always made a point to not make a criticism about Palin because I knew it would undermine the argument we were making and would only add to the political divide already taking place in our community. So to hear Palin making such a bold statement was a demonstration that her only goal is to create a wide political divide.

She took the situation and made it solely about her instead of focusing on the REAL issue. It seems to be part of her gimmick, show how “the left” is attacking her from all sides and she is the victim (don’t forget to add in the catchy phrases!). All the while she ignores the real issues and topics being discussed….wait never mind I’m sure she has an out of context quote to use to help her seem knowledgeable. Considering that she presents everything as black or white (American or un-American) I am not surprised that she said it’s all about political differences because that’s all she knows.

I disagree with her characterization about me entirely, she obviously did not look into or comprehend what was being said and should maybe try thinking before speaking.

Sarah Jones: I’ve read and talked with many people who have had similar encounters with Sarah Palin. She is often described as a “rabid” “vindictive” person. What did you know about Palin before this entire episode and how has your notion of her changed since you have had personal experience with her? How would you characterize her now? Would you vote for her now? How do you feel about the idea of her being President — how do you think she would handle that sort of power?

Alicia Lewis: Prior to this debacle I was fairly familiar with Sarah Palin (due to her VP run) and had read about the various accusations regarding misconduct and abuse of power while governor of Alaska. I had seen her interviews and heard her speeches so my view of her was already very low.

I already felt that she was doing a disservice to not only women but also to the American people that believe her banter. After this experience I dislike her even more, she has shown herself to be self serving and completely dependent on using cute (I use that term loosely) phrases in a condescending tone in order to convince people that what she’s saying is right.

You asked if I would vote for her? Absolutely not.

The idea of her being President is terrifying. She is narrow minded and has emphasized the agenda that (she) wishes to push on the country as a whole. I think she would handle presidential power poorly because she has already shown a disdain for higher learning belittling the experts that tend to advise presidents. Whom would she be relying on for knowledge on specific issues? Todd?

Sarah Jones: Do you consider what Palin said about you irresponsible? Were there consequences for you, in terms of challenges or obstacles you had to overcome due to her decision to point fingers at you during a national speech?

Alicia Lewis: I consider most of what Palin says to be irresponsible. She has a strong influence over so many people that it’s scary knowing that she is going around labeling those who disagree with her as un-American or not part of “Real America”. Since this entire situation has taken place there has been the negative outpouring from her supporters it seemed to slow down until her speech which only reignited their desire to send hate filled messages to college students.

Sarah Jones: Talk a bit about how this experience has changed you. Are you more or less engaged in politics now? Do you see our political landscape differently than you did before?

Alicia Lewis: I am more engaged now with politics since this situation took place because it allowed me to meet some wonderful people in my community. I am more cynical now because I have seen how opportunistic people can be and that I need to be aware of what other people’s intentions are.

I was already skeptical about our political landscape but now I have seen how divided we have made ourselves and I believe very unnecessarily. When talking with people about the transparency issue I saw that with good conversation and explanation those from all over the political spectrum can agree on issues. We just have to get past the political mouthpieces that are going around the country spewing misinformation.

Sarah Jones: Have you spoken with Senator Yee about this situation? He was threatened by Palin fans after he attempted to get to the bottom of the transparency issue, is this something you are concerned about now?

Alicia Lewis: I have spoken with the Senator and he has shown such kindness regarding this whole situation. All of us are still on the same page regarding the senate bill (SB 330) that we want to see passed in California in order to prevent mishandling of funds in our CSU/UC system. I am always going to be slightly concerned that some crazed supporter of Palin will say or do something however, I can’t let that stop me from advocating for the school system which I am a part of.

Sarah Jones: Talk about what you most wish people knew about this situation — the thing you feel people most misunderstand who were not a part of it.

Alicia Lewis: I wish that people understood that this was never about Palin, that we as students have legitimate concerns about how our school system operates in California and are completely determined to make changes. We have had academic programs and budgets cut, our tuition increased, and faculty being laid off. Constantly being told that we all need to be fiscally responsible yet the college Foundations which are responsible for 1 billion dollars of donor money throughout the state are not given any oversight and have had scandals leak out of blatant financial waste and irresponsibility.

While our intention was not to go after Palin it did show a side of her that I think people should recognize as unhealthy for our country and ignoring this insight would be irresponsible. We need to stop with dividing ourselves over every issue; there is a lot that we can agree on. We have allowed political mouthpieces to speak and think for us and this has left much of the country dependent on their favorite TV personality to formulate their opinion.

It would be naïve for me to argue that we can all get along and have consensus on our most divisive issues but it does not have to be as bad as we make it. If we stop with the tag lines and sound bites we might be able to have a legitimate conversation. Until then we will be stuck having people like Palin determining the opinion and political course our country takes.

Alicia Lewis with CSU Stanislaus' Suspiciously Shredded Documents

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42 responses so far

Palin Drama: Live Mic Left On, Reporters Call Palin “Dumb”

Jun 26 2010 Published by under Featured News

OK, people. I tweeted Palin’s CSU Stanislaus speech tonight so you wouldn’t have to listen. I thought it was going well (sliding scale), and breathed a sigh of relief for her when it ended…only to be SHOCKED by hearing reporters discussing her performance in a brutally frank manner, reminiscent of Peggy Noonan’s open mic debacle regarding Palin. Of course, Peggy’s open mic moment left us wondering why the pundits were not being honest with us about Palin. Clearly they knew she wasn’t up to the task of Vice President. But I digress….

As we know, where ever Sarah goes, drama follows.

Sarah Palin CSU speech prior to live mic debacle

During the live mic drama at the end, the reporters said now they know that her “dumbness doesn’t come from soundbites” and wondered if she had finished ONE statement, but decided, no she had not. They laughed derisively and made jokes about having to text their conservative friends about this. Other various comments:

“I feel like I just got off a rollercoaster.”
“She didn’t finish a statement.”
“I don’t know how you’re gonna make a story out of that.” “Well, that’s the story.”
“Did she even make a point?”
“Lots of Reagan.”
“Just put as many random quotes in as you can.”

Listen Here (courtesy of Palingates ):

Or, you can you can listen to Tammy Bruce’s conservative podcast, but note that in perfect Palin fan style, she calls the techs/reporters/students “dumb bastards” — so family values! Keepin’ it classy, Tammy. Spare yourself the swearing and go to the middle of the podcast.

Oh, dear. The reporters were none too impressed. Perhaps it’s because while she was speaking at a University, she never discussed education. She use the word 4 times and still managed to never discuss it. She spoke in front of a sign reading: Vox Veritas Vita. Orwell would have been so pleased.

# Sarah Reese Jones srjones66 – Twitter Feed Sarah Palin CSU speech (Presented in reverse order because it’s 1 AM and I just listened to an entire Sarah Palin speech):

THEY DON’T KNOW IT’S ON JUST CALLED PALIN DUMBEST OF DUMB

OMG THEY LEFT THE AUDIO ON THEY ARE SLAMMING HER

do they know the audio is still on?

oh god students now saying how bad it was how she didn’t finish one sentence

bad speech, but she didn’t make national fool of self, so it’s a win compared to palm gate.

this is why she doesn’t let press in. This is the speech of a 7th grader.

Palin just claimed Democrats defend female mutilation. #CSU, you should be ASHAMED.

room full of rich GOP they love it

dead fish again. is she quitting something else? is this the sign that she’s leaving us all?

If anyone admires this person and thinks she could or should do anything more than….I don’t know. I have serious questions for you.

slamming academics. slamming universities. bad education.

no wonder she does press black out. This is OUTRAGEOUS. Clown show.

Saying Obama doesn’t want to win war

omg attacking OBAMA

digging at liberals

She’s using random quotes from real thinkers…..but they’re a mess. not attached to an idea — just throwing them out like jingles.

She just argued against academic freedom

There is no repayment for this…..She blew my ears out.

Palin: Freedom a question of culture. Freedom not “idil” (sic). Now talking about free speech. Oh, the hubris.

Palin now talking about Hitler.

Palin is losing it

NO SHE IS NOT. Palin rah rah for women’s rights now. OMG. attacking the girls who found her contract! she almost went nuts.

How bored must this audience be? Shrill. rah. bad DC. Socialism. enshrined.

The end. Must go drink.

For those who want to view the speech…..http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4DaF88ieiw

Updated at 4:00 AM to reflect that the people heard talking were reporters according to the Fox News station affiliate that provided the live feed.

Update: The Fox outlet notes: “During that stream, other reporters in the media overflow room were heard on our microphone, due to the unusual circumstances of how we managed to bring the live feed.

First, FOX40 News was the only station streaming a live signal from CSU Stanislaus during Sarah Palin’s presentation. Friday, we were told by officials organizing the speech that we were not permitted to beam a live signal direct from the dining hall where Sarah Palin was presenting. Instead, we were offered the opportunity to aim a FOX40 camera at a projection screen inside a room for assembled media several hundred feet from where Sarah Palin was speaking. They would not allow us to get a direct feed of audio, so we had to hold a mic up to their speakers.

Yes, see….If Sarah hadn’t sent the press to Siberia and just let them do their job the way they do it with every other politician/public speaker, this never would have happened. In other words, this is a result of Palin’s fear of the press and her resulting crazy demands. NO ONE shoots a SCREEN or holds audio equipment up to speakers in the grown up world, because grown up politicians do not demand that the press be banished from the room and from the live feed. This is ABSURD. What is Sarah Palin SO afraid of?

Here is the full transcript of her speech courtesy of palingates.

163 responses so far

Keith Olbermann Whines and Undermines Obama’s Oil Spill Address

Jun 15 2010 Published by under Issues, White House

MSNBC Pundits Out of Touch With Americans

“We must make a commitment to the Gulf Coast that goes beyond responding to the crisis of the moment.”~~ Barack Obama

Instead of gearing up to support the POTUS in his rather courageous announcement that we are addicts and need to get off of fossil fuel (this isn’t something done by Presidents who have an energy bill calling for alternative energy stalled in the Senate) or having his back regarding his new energy push, pundits on MSNBC attacked the President after his Oval Office Speech tonight.

Keith Olbermann led the charge, saying the President wasn’t mad enough and didn’t give any details. The President spoke for 17 minutes. Is it just me, or does that seem like a rather short time to give details for a new energy policy, gulf clean up, and more? Perhaps it escaped Keith Olbermann’s notice, but most Americans wanted to hear from their President to be reassured. They don’t want an angry President. If they did, they would not have elected Obama when they had His Angriness Himself (Walnuts) McCain begging to be chosen.

No, Americans were tired of a President leading with his gut. They wanted a thinker. Someone who stopped first before he and his End Times running partner threatened World War III over what turned out to be wrong information. And this is what we got.

Obama’s job tonight was to assure and inspire the American people. After all, he needs us to agree to change or his energy policy will not work. I thought his speech did an excellent job of laying down how we got here and where we need to go – especially for the majority of Americans who don’t immerse themselves in politics every second of the day. You know, those people with lives (unlike some of us).

The most important thing the President said tonight was, “One place we have already begun to take action is at the agency in charge of regulating drilling and issuing permits, known as the Minerals Management Service. Over the last decade, this agency has become emblematic of a failed philosophy that views all regulation with hostility – a philosophy that says corporations should be allowed to play by their own rules and police themselves. At this agency, industry insiders were put in charge of industry oversight. Oil companies showered regulators with gifts and favors, and were essentially allowed to conduct their own safety inspections and write their own regulations.”

That was the boom, out go the lights moment when the left should have been up cheering. Instead, we got whining and criticism. Obama is saying he is going to use this to undo DECADES of deregulation. This will change our country and our lives for a long time. It’s a BIG FUCKING DEAL, to borrow a phrase from Joe Biden.

Keith Olbermann wasn’t alone tonight in his attacks on the President. Chris Matthews joined in, though Chris’ critiques were at least based on history and a grasp of the process of passing legislation. And Howard Fineman was there, making it a real party — three boys bashing the President. If I didn’t know better, I would have sworn I was watching Fox. The President did nothing right in their eyes.

I haven’t seen such blatant undermining of an agenda…ever. It makes me wonder if MSNBC is funded by big oil. Because here we have their President, doing something no other president has done. And he desperately needs the American people to wake up and get behind him on this. And what does MSNBC do? They bash him for not being angry enough (last time I heard that it was a right winger speaking), not giving enough details (as if the people want to hear a dissertation from the “professor” and as if he is not giving more information tomorrow), Obama needs a new CCC (then he would be called a socialist), and lastly, Keith Olbermann with the ever clever quip, “I don’t think Obama aimed at all tonight.”

You know, Keith, I am so tired of ideologues who have never governed misleading the American people about expectations. I’m so tired of pundits ruining our political dialogue with incessant whining and desperate criticisms. I’m so tired of pundits NOT AIMING for anything except more viewers. The truth is, Keith’s just catering to the liberal base who love to hear their own attacked because it makes them feel like they’re not like the Right. They take deep pride in bashing their own policies for the sake of their egos not identifying with the authoritarian mind set of subservience. Of course, reasonable people realize that there’s a wide path between subservience and support.

I guess SOME people want Obama to be ANGRY. Me? I’m grateful he’s not reactionary and he thinks and listens.

Beware the ideologues. I’m just saying.

10 responses so far

Obama Shines While Jabbing Birthers and Palin at WH Correspondents Dinner

May 02 2010 Published by under Featured News, White House

President Obama 2010 Correspondent's Dinner

President Barack Obama outdid Leno tonight at the 2010 White House Correspondents Dinner, aka #Nerdprom. There were lots of jokes about his approval ratings, Joe Biden, Mitt Romney and Rahm Emanuel. However his best material was reserved for the birthers and Sarah Palin. For the birthers he joked that his popularity still remains high in his, “home country,” and he jabbed at Palin with a comment about, “socialized media.”

Here is the video:

The 44th President of the US managed to be hysterical tonight at the Annual Correspondent’s Dinner without a teleprompter or a Palin Palm Prompter and Michelle Obama was absolutely stunning in a knockout red dress is by Prabal Gurung. Sadly, nothing for the haters here. Success, glory and glamor abound. The President had a little something in the humor bag tonight for everyone.Yep. We had an Orange man joke for Boehner, Romney’s flip-flop on health care, John McCain not being a maverick tied into the AZ immigration law, Michael “Notorious G.O.P.” Steele, Scott Brown Tween heartthrob, and Politico jokes.

He saved something special for Joe Biden, the birthers, and Sarah Palin. On Biden Obama said, “Biden talked me into coming, he leaned over and said, Mr President this is no ordinary dinner….this is a “big F*&*&%^% meal!” For Palin, Obama talked about how he remains popular on social media or as Palin calls it, “socialized media.” The president saved some special shots for the birthers, “Tough year, with ups and downs…unlike my approval ratings which have just gone down… but they are still very high in the country of my birth.” Birthers are twitching in their basements. While referring to his wife, “Few things harder to find and harder to keep than love….and a birth certificate.” Pow. Birthers down.

Michael Steele finally got the shout out from Mr President he’s been craving. Obama referenced Steele as both the”Notorius G.O.P.” , and “My Brother”. Americans everywhere are wondering if Steele will have to follow Crist and leave the Republican Party now that he’s had the bad grace to be acknowledged by the President?

The President brought his usual wit and charm to Nerdprom this year. He delivered a fine mix of self deprecation, while avoiding the insulting such as George W. Bush’s search for WMD’s skit. The only low points were the screen flashes to a greasy George W from years past, which served to highlight Obama’s verbal dexterity. Birthers the country wide are still sucking in air from the collective knock out punch. They never saw him coming.

9 responses so far

The Truth is Out: Palin’s VP Debate Answers Were Scripted

Apr 28 2010 Published by under Republican Party, White House

Palin’s Debate Answers Were Scripted

Palin Biden Debate

The false narrative of Palin as a viable VP contender is further unveiled this morning as Steve Schmidt (aka, the Bullet) reveals Palin’s debate answers were memorized and scripted.

Why would one have to have scripted answers if one were qualified, especially given the format the McCain campaign pushed for and won: According to the New York Times, this arrangement was more restrictive than the two-minute-response, five-minutes-of-open-discussion format of the first McCain-Obama debate, because the looser “format could leave Ms. Palin, a relatively inexperienced debater, at a disadvantage and largely on the defensive.”” God forbid Palin who was running for VP be put at a disadvantage for having to speak for five minutes on a subject– that’s veering dangerously far from bumper sticker land. After all, it was only our country’s fate at stake.

What’s the difference between a Palin debate and a movie? Not much apparently. Sure, American politicians sell a cult of personality, but must it be so disingenuous as to include main characters like W and Palin? Can’t the GOP find someone who can read? Aren’t candidates supposed to have some ideas, something they stand for and shouldn’t they be able to discuss that topic without memorizing answers?

Watch this mornings interview with Schmidt here:

“In an exclusive interview with Sky News, Steve Schmidt, nicknamed The Bullet, says her preparations were going so badly in the days leading up to the debate with the vastly more experienced Joe Biden, the campaign was facing an “emergency” and a “crisis”.

He told her: “These are the questions. Here’s what he’s going to say. Here’s what your most effective response is. That we want to be able to come out of this debate saying you were on offence.”

“If you hear ‘A’, you go ahead and say ‘B’, and so to that degree it was somewhat scripted,” he admitted.

“The questions that we mocked and drilled in the practice debates were within a degree or two of the questions that (moderator) Gwen Ifell asked during the debate.”

Having memorized answers, one should have expected a result much better than what we got – shout outs to third graders and “can I call you Joe’s” as a way of getting around Palin’s inability to remember Biden’s last name was not “O’Biden”. Yes, it really was that bad, Dorothy. And yes, our media covered it as if it were a toss up re who won. Sigh.

Here’s a few reminders of the debate courtesy of NY Times transcript:

“PALIN: John McCain, in referring to the fundamental of our economy being strong, he was talking to and he was talking about the American workforce….(Oh boy, I’d forgotten this moment of Riotous Revisionism)

Now, what I’ve done as a governor and as a mayor is (inaudible) I’ve had that track record of reform. And I’ve joined this team that is a team of mavericks with John McCain, also, with his track record of reform, where we’re known for putting partisan politics aside to just get the job done.

… But I think Americans are craving something new and different and that new energy and that new commitment that’s going to come with reform (which they can only get from the Democrats).

IFILL: Now, let’s talk about — the next question is to talk about the subprime lending meltdown…

PALIN: Again, John McCain and I, that commitment that we have made, and we’re going to follow through on that, getting rid of that corruption…(insert Joe Hockey mom populist shout out here). We need to make sure that we demand from the federal government strict oversight of those entities in charge of our investments …. (Oversight is regulation, which is a Democratic principle, not a Republican principle…these are the same oversights she is now calling bad)

BIDEN: …but if you notice, Gwen, the governor did not answer the question about deregulation, did not answer the question of defending John McCain about not going along with the deregulation, letting Wall Street run wild. He did support deregulation almost across the board. That’s why we got into so much trouble.

IFILL: Would you like to have an opportunity to answer that before we move on?

PALIN: … Now, as for John McCain’s adherence to rules and regulations and pushing for even harder and tougher regulations, that is another thing that he is known for though.” (Lie to me, I promise, I’ll believe; Yes, old Johnny is KNOWN for regulations in the alternate reality known as Palinland. )

IFILL: So, Governor, as vice president, there’s nothing that you have promised as a candidate that you would — that you wouldn’t take off the table because of this financial crisis we’re in?

PALIN: There is not. And how long have I been at this, like five weeks? So there hasn’t been a whole lot that I’ve promised, except to do what is right for the American people, put government back on the side of the American people, stop the greed and corruption on Wall Street. (yes, my little real merkicans, it will cost you nothing to deal with the financial debacle! Razzle, dazzle, free gifts from the socialist governor! Promises cost nothing! )

And the rescue plan has got to include that massive oversight that Americans are expecting and deserving. And I don’t believe that John McCain has made any promise that he would not be able to keep, either.” (Oversight you say? Exactly where is your support for oversight today, Sister? How did Biden not laugh out loud at this absurdity? McCain has deregulation tattooed on his forehead for god’s sake… “a nation of whiners“…)

Yes, that would be that same reform that Palin is now suggesting is not necessary and is “crony capitalism” (projections r us), but this is what you get when you hire a puppet who stands for nothing other than parochial Poujadism via memorized or hand-palmed most expedient talking points of the moment.

Upon returning to the campaign trail after her debate preparation, Palin stepped up her attacks on now President Barack Obama. At a fundraising event, Palin explained her new aggressiveness, saying, “There does come a time when you have to take the gloves off and that time is right now.”

Uh huh. Like when, say, you are a drag on the ticket and you flub even your interview with Fox Wolf Guard Sean Hannity? “The new attack mode may be a political necessity for a ticket that has fallen behind with voters. Republican presidential nominee John McCain trails in national polls by Gallup and Rasmussen by numbers that are outside the margin of error.”

Kinda like the old distraction game, eh, Palin? According to Schmidt in an earlier interview, Palin had a breakdown preparing for the debate, so her response is to come back attacking harder. Palin always points her fingers outward in now predictable form of projection and she does it while lying about what she stands for.

Palin is now against “reform”, regulation, and oversight but she sure sold that snake oil “hockey mom I’m one of you” Main street-isms to the people during the winkfest known as the VP debate. The problem isn’t that she needed to memorize certain names or tough to recall terms, the problem is that she memorized answers because she had no idea what the issues were.

She had and has no idea what she was promising, what she stood for, what any of it meant. She didn’t even know that McCain was not for regulations. She actually believed he was pro-regulations and she sold that to her Cult. She had no idea what she was saying; perhaps she barely managed to memorize Schmidt’s answers to tough questions like “what do you and McCain stand for?”, much as she had to look at her hand to see the top three agenda items for a conservative. And now the GOP is selling her as a possible presidential candidate.

Are you ready for your close up, Mrs. Palin?

21 responses so far

Sarah Palin Doesn’t Worry Joe Biden for 2012

Apr 22 2010 Published by under Featured News, Republican Party, White House

Sarah Palin Doesn’t Worry Biden for 2012

Biden Doesn't See Palin as Threat

Vice President Joe Biden was on “The View” this morning. Elizabeth Hasslebeck asked Biden if he thought Palin posed a threat for 2012. Biden didn’t seem too worried about Palin as a contender.

Here’s the video courtesy of HuffPo:

The Wall Street Journal reports on Biden’s The View appearance today, “Biden was also pressed for his thoughts on his 2008 vice presidential rival, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. “If you meet her, she is a charming person,” he said. “I say this and people look at me like I’m kidding, I like her.”

The show’s conservative, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, asked Biden if he thought Palin posed a threat in 2012, Biden replied: “The governor says she’s not running. I don’t know what she’s going to do. I’m sure whoever the Republican nominee is, it will be a very contested race.” Even Hasselbeck seemed charmed by Biden. “You’re a pretty cool guy.”

Biden was being kind. He, like everyone else who follows politics, knows that Palin is a likely candidate for the Republican nomination in 2012. The Vice President dismissed her with the compliment that he liked her as a person, which is a nice and very backhanded way of saying, “Don’t make me laugh, Sarah Palin, a threat? Did you see the 2008 vice presidential debate where I talked circles around her?” In short, I guess “O’Biden” is not too worried about the “say it ain’t so, Joe!” Hockey Mom in 2012.

5 responses so far

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