I wrote the other day about Joe Miller’s refusal to accept defeat in his race against Lisa Murkowski, who was the victim of a Palin-Tea Party Express ambush before the primary. She came back strong in a write-in campaign and edged Joe Miller in the general election.
Murkowski had the grace to accept defeat in the primary. Joe Miller hasn’t been able to demonstrate he even knows what grace is, let alone intends to demonstrate it. It’s not for lack of opportunity:
Joe just lost out on his federal case – the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out his lawsuit on Tuesday, just a week after the Alaska Supreme Court did the same. The federal judge said Miller hadn’t raised any federal issues and that he would not second guess the Alaska Supreme Court. Take that, Sarah Palin! You brought in out-of-state money to beat Lisa Murkowski but the much-hated federal government won’t interfere in what is the state’s business.
“I am disappointed with the federal court’s ruling today. The U.S. Constitution’s Elections Clause presented the most significant constitutional issue. Specifically, should the courts be required to follow the legislature’s standard for the selection of U.S. senators or create their own? My legal team believes that the clear language of the Election Clause as well as precedent support our claims. Thus, we are evaluating the ruling and determining what our next step should be.”
Miller can always appeal. But that won’t stop Lisa Murkowski from taking her seat in the 112th Congress on January 5 because the federal judge lifted the hold on the certification of the election.
It’s a done deal. Only Joe Miller seems unaware of it.
Miller beat Murkowski in the August GOP primary but lost to her in the November election. The Alaska Supreme Court ruled against him. A federal judge has ruled against him. More importantly, the people of Alaska ruled against him by casting more ballots for Lisa Murkowski.
“This is pretty great news. It means that I can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that next week Alaska will have two senators in the United States Senate and there would not be any lapse that could have happened had certification been held up very much longer.”
She has reason to be happy.
“I have had a bottle of champagne in just about every refrigerator where I have visited over this Christmas holiday, and I haven’t been able to release that cork yet.”
What Miller will do is anyone’s guess. Unlike one of Palin’s other favorites, he’s an employable individual, being an attorney and all, and won’t have to steal from his campaign funds to get by, or form a pac to give himself a paycheck. Even so, he really wanted that seat and he shows no signs of giving up trying to find a way to weasel it out of the winner’s hands.
I suggested last time Miller hold man up. I won’t suggest any of us hold our breaths.
Fairbanks attorney and would-be totalitarian strongman Joe Miller apparently will not try to perform a citizens arrest on Lisa Murkowski. He will, however, take her to federal court for having the audacity to defeat him in the general election after losing the August 24 primary in a write-in campaign.
Never mind that it was the Tea Party that originally came in to steal Murkowski’s seat out from under her.
We all remember Karl Rove’s judgment:
“Absolutely no she can’t win. Under the law, you have to carefully spell the name exactly correct, now everyone go to your pencil and paper and write the name ‘Murkowski’ and see if you got it right.”
“No, she’s going to lose,” he said.
And Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) used a Tea Party fundraiser to call her a “big-tent hypocrite” and said she had betrayed the conservative cause.
Republican cannibalism at its best – or worst.
But she didn’t lose. She outraged the Tea Party by actually winning.
And what neither Karl Rove nor Joe Miller (nor, most certainly, Sarah Palin) reckoned on was the innate fairness of the process. The state Division of Elections established guidelines before counting even began that the voter’s intent had to count when writing-in a vote.
God forbid fairness should enter into the democratic process. “We can’t have that!” the Tea Party says.
So Miller lost fair and square. That’s not just a liberal writer saying that, it’s the Alaska Supreme Court, the law of the land. But that is Joe Miler’s whining lament: she cheated! Egads, people misspelled her name. Has she no shame claiming the victory?
The Alaskan Supreme Court ruled against him. The message from the voters was “You lost, Joe.” The message from the highest court in the state was the same: “You lost, Joe.”
“There are no remaining issues raised by Miller that prevent this election from being certified.”
But Joe claims that the sanctity of the election process is at stake. Meaning, he can’t possibly have lost. Perhaps God promised him a victory or something. After all, he promised one to Sarah Palin too on the eve of the ’08 Election Day.
Apparently, those nasty feds aren’t so nasty when Joe’s victory is at stake. To hell with the State of Alaska. What do the feds say? Does the Tea Party have no shame, throwing the state under the bus and trying to trump with the federal courts?
Did the world just turn upside down?
I’m unclear as to how losing an election fair and square violates the sanctity of the democratic process but then, I’ve never performed a citizens arrest on somebody who asked me a question.
For the record, this is Joe’s reasoning:
“After careful consideration and seeking the counsel of people whose opinion I respect and trust, I have decided that the federal case must go forward. The integrity of the election is vital and ultimately the rule of law must be our standard. Nevertheless, I have also decided to withdraw our opposition to the certification of the election, ensuring that Alaska will have its full delegation seated when the 112th Congress convenes next month.”
What a guy. Such a gesture of magnanimity!
There really wasn’t much magnanimity evident in Joe’s official protest. As his spokesman Randy DeSota said on Wednesday,
“We are disappointed the Alaska Supreme Court has ignored the plain text of Alaska law and allowed the Division of Elections to effectively amend the state election code without even giving the public an opportunity for notice and comment.”
Of course, the Alaskan Supreme Court made just that ruling, that state law had not been violated. End of story.
Not so, says Joe.
Of course, none of this surprises Lisa Murkowski, who has already been exposed to the limitless, mindless hate and nihilism of Tea Party politics. Her campaign fully expected Joe Miller to be a big crybaby.
Perhaps the most amusing aspect of this whole situation is that with or without the contested votes, Joe Miller has lost. Lisa Murkowski ended up with a lead of 10,328 votes. Joe says 8,159 of those votes can’t count. Even without them, however, Lisa Murkowski still has a 2,169 vote lead.
There is a great deal wrong with this picture. There is the Republican betrayal of Lisa Murkowski later reinterpreted as a betrayal by Lisa Murkowski, another Sarah Palin demagogue who like Christine O’Donnell showed himself completely unequal to the office to which he sought election (a real chip off the old block), and then, when the people had spoken, when the State of Alaska had spoken, these Tea Party tenthers turn around and appeal to the hated feds to overturn the state. We’ll leave aside for the moment the sheer childishness of Miller’s position on this. What does he do for an encore? Hold his breath?
No, take your medicine Joe. In Palin-speak, find your cojones and man up. Vox populi: The people have spoken. Isn’t that supposed to be what the Tea Party is all about? But it isn’t, is it Joe? It’s not about what the people want: it’s about what you want, what Sarah Palin wants, what Christine O’Donnell wants – a free lunch.
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.
The Writings of Abraham Lincoln, Kindle edition
Abraham Lincoln, James M. McPherson (Oxford, 2009).
On his MSNBC program Keith Olbermann mocked the bomb that is Sarah Palin’s latest book America By Heart. Olbermann said, “Even if the book as sold as many copies at Walmart as it has everywhere else combined, you’re looking at 70% of a print run sitting in warehouses waiting to be returned to the publisher.”
Keith Olbermann was kind enough to update us all about just how badly Sarah Palin’s second book has bombed, “The already soggy sales of Sarah Palin’s “America By Heart” just got soggier. Publishing sources confirm that at a time when 43 of the 50 nonfiction best sellers saw sales jump on Nielsen book scan, what with Christmas looming, Palin sold 29% fewer copies than the week before. 36,000 compared to 51,000. One of the other titles to sell less “Kardashian Confidential.” Total sales through 3 weeks, 144,812. Total sales of “Going Rogue,” 811,491. Even if the book as sold as many copies at Wal-Mart as it has everywhere else combined, you’re looking at 70% of a print run sitting in warehouses waiting to be returned to the publisher. Oops.”
It is amazing how few books Palin managed to sell when she was not padding the sales numbers by buying the books herself. As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, “$64,000 in books may not seem like much, but when you consider that she paid the wholesale not the retail price for each copy it adds up quickly. If we estimate that SarahPAC paid $ 5 per book, Palin padded her sales with an additional 13,600 books.”
When you subtract the books that Palin bought from her total, and if we knew the number, we could subtract the boatload of copies that Newsmax bought to give away to subscribers, and it is a pretty safe guess that Palin might have sold closer to 15% of her print run, not 30%. If you remember correctly, the sales numbers for “Going Rogue” were also grossly inflated by Newsmax and various conservative think tanks and organizations buying tens of thousands of copies of her book. Palin is a bestselling author only in the loosest sense of the term. She is neither an author, nor a best seller.
Sarah Palin is cult of personality built on a small, but loud and dedicated following. She is a failed governor, a failed vice presidential candidate, and now a failure as an author. The only thing Sarah Palin has been successful is convincing people to pay her for being Sarah Palin, which is a nice gig if you can get it. The sad thing is that the Republican Party is in such a poor state that Palin’s following is certain to make her a serious 2012 GOP presidential contender. Even if she should be successful in capturing her party’s nomination, Palin had better make space of her resume of fail for a new entry, failed presidential candidate.
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:
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.
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.
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.
I’m an American. A citizen of the United States. When I sing, “My country ‘tis of thee…” I’m singing about that country. When I “pledge allegiance to the flag…” the flag I am talking about has thirteen red and white stripes and a blue rectangle with fifty little white stars. It does not have a blue Star of David on a white background, between two horizontal blue stripes. My national anthem speaks to the American flag in glorious poetry, composed when it was under attack by an invader: “O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave, O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”
Notice that it was not an Israeli flag flying over Fort McHenry that day.
I’m an American. Like most people, I love my country. And like most people, I’m willing to complain about it when things don’t seem quite right. When my leaders make mistakes or break laws. “My country right or wrong” is true only in a sense, that sense being that I would not betray my country simply because it did something I don’t approve of, say like invading a sovereign nation for no legitimate reason whatsoever, but rather for political gain. My country made a mistake, but I still love my country.
I can criticize my country when it does wrong; I can also apologize for it when it does wrong, as it did repeatedly for eight years of the Bush administration. I’m not sure I can ever apologize enough for that.
American Exceptionalism is the poisonously radical nationalism of the 19th century all over again. It identifies my country with the god of a specific pantheon and credits not only its creation but it’s survival and prosperity with that god, and so of course, any complaining or criticism is taken as an attack not only on the country (really, the country’s policies) but on that god. It’s that same old ancient trick used in the days of state-sponsored religion known as the divine right of kings. If the king is chosen by god he can’t possibly ever be wrong, can he? Well, neither, it seems, can a country chosen by god.
But I’m here to tell you: if God chose Bush, he made a mistake. I mean, he blew it big time. Let’s make no bones about it.
All this might seem bad enough, but I want to get back to the issue of the flag here for a minute. As I said, there is no Star of David on my flag. I owe no pledge of allegiance to that flag, any more than I do the Union Jack or the tricolor. I don’t sing about their flags in my national anthem. I don’t pay them taxes. They supply me with no essential services. Their soldiers do not stand on a wall to ensure that I can sleep safely at night.
Why did Sarah Palin keep an Israeli flag in her governor’s office in Juneau? She needed an American flag and an Alaskan flag. Didn’t her governor’s obligations stop there?
Why is it that Americans are expected to express loyalty to another country? You can see how bonds of friendship, such as those which exist between the U.S. and Great Britain might be a good thing for both, and none have been tighter since the Second World War, but nobody is expecting me to say, “Great Britain right or wrong!” But that is precisely what they want me to do for Israel.
Israel right or wrong?
In case you hadn’t clued in yet, I’m an American.
Not only do I have the right to criticize my own country, but I have the right to criticize others.
The problem, while frustrating enough for me, a Pagan, is far worse for American Jews. Roger Cohen wrote in the New York Times about ‘[t]he view that American Jews supportive of Israel but critical of its policies are not “real Jews”.’ As he points out,
Israel-right-or-wrong continues to be the core approach of major U.S. Jewish organizations, from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
Cohen writes that Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of the progressively-oriented organization called J Street, told him: “These organizations’ view remains essentially that any time you engage in an activity critical of Israel you are trying to destroy the state of Israel.” Fundamentalist Christians take the same attitude in this country, that to criticize Israel is to seek its destruction, simple criticism labeling you a “terrorist” or “terrorist supporter.”
Sounds familiar doesn’t it? We non-Jewish Americans have heard all that and had it directed at us, often enough when criticizing Republican policies.
Christian fundamentalists (Christofascists) have criticized Obama for not being “Christian enough” – a euphemism for “not being the right kind of Christian” (their kind) and they have criticized him for not defending Israel enough, missing somehow the point that Obama was elected president of the United States to defend Americans – like me. I didn’t vote for him to put my interests – my safety – behind those of another country.
And we are two different countries. I can understand being torn if you have dual citizenship, but 99.99% of Americans don’t have Israeli citizenship. I damn sure have a right to criticize Israel’s policies and I’m not going to lose any sleep doing so. But the problem is a real one and it has the potential to affect millions of lives. As Cohen points out,
President Barack Obama had virtually no domestic constituency for his attempt to denounce the continued growth of settlements as unacceptable and as undermining a two-state peace at its core: land.
Obama was left dangling, more so after the midterms, and had to retreat. This is not merely a failure of the parties. It is a failure of U.S. politics and the way those politics are straitjacketed by an Israel-right-or-wrong mantra that leads inexorably, over time, to one state with more Arabs in it than Jews.
Israel, it seems, is more important to some Americans than America is.
Cohen relates how Ira Strup, a Columbia graduate who experienced the effects of this mantra while performing a one-year fellowship based in Tel Aviv, asked, “Why is it poisoning minds to encourage them to think critically about the actions of the Israeli government?”
Why indeed? The real poison is not the willingness to criticize, but ideology that suppresses all questioning, the poison of nationalism – the poison of a twisted American or Zionist Exceptionalism that demands utter and unquestioning devotion. That might be a reasonable request in a theocracy, or even within a religion, but it has no place in the diversity and pluralism of a modern liberal democracy such as the United States, or, supposedly, Israel. It might have a place in the Old Testament, but it has no place in the Constitution. And the Constitution, not the Old Testament, is the founding document of the country I love, the country I am free to criticize.
The Constitution nowhere demands a religious test. It nowhere demands loyalty to any country other than the United States.
I would cordially suggest, therefore, to those who hold to that mantra that they emigrate to Israel, where they can “rah rah” all they want to a flag with a blue Star of David on a white field between two horizontal blue stripes, kibbutzing with radical Zionists on the West Bank. I, meanwhile, will live in my country under my flag with thirteen red and white stripes and a blue rectangle with fifty little white stars.
I will continue to be critical of, but continue express my love for – just as I would my own children – its actions when they are disappointing. For that is real love; not the “right or wrong” type of devotion that has become not love, but a twisted obsession.
According to a new poll released today by Bloomberg, Sarah Palin’s favorable rating continues to plummet, while her unfavorable rating skyrockets. Only 33% of Americans have a favorable view of Palin compared to 57% who hold an unfavorable view of her. The only other figure on the poll who was as unpopular as Palin was former president George W. Bush, and even Bush is more popular than Palin.
The Bloomberg poll measured the net favorable/unfavorable ratings for both political parties and leaders. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama topped the list at 65% and 52% favorability respectively. While President Obama had a (+8%) favorable/unfavorable net, Hillary Clinton was at a whopping (+36%) net rating. On the other end of the spectrum resided the two least popular politicians in America, George W. Bush and Sarah Palin.
It is interesting that both Bush and Palin have sought to rebuild their public image through books, and although they have sold a lot of books each of them remains extremely unpopular. Bush has a favorable rating of 39% and an unfavorable rating of 57%. His net rating of (-18%) is terrible, but it is better than Palin, whose favorable rating is 33%, and her unfavorable rating matches Bush’s 57%. Palin’s net (-24%) was the largest negative disparity of the entire list. George W. Bush, John Boehner, Nancy Pelosi, and even Fed Chairman Ben Bernacke are all more popular with Americans than Sarah Palin.
Sarah Palin’s media strategy ahead of 2012 has not only been to posture as the heir apparent to the Republican presidential nomination, but also to transform the Palin clan into a shadow First Family. Everything from daughter Bristol’s gig on Dancing With The Stars to TLC’s Sarah Palin’s Alaska has been designed to sell the image of Sarah Palin All American mom, and The Palin family as future White House occupants in waiting.
The more America sees of Palin in any venue, the less qualified they believe she is to be president. Sarah Palin’s Alaska is nothing but a tightly edited, heavily scripted, image managed, flimsy attempt to reinforce Palin’s 2008 brand as a regular American whom we all can relate to. The problem is that it didn’t work in 2008, and it is not going to work in 2012 with the general electorate. However, Palin’s base audience is older white evangelical conservatives. This is almost the most influential bloc in the GOP primaries, and Sarah Palin’s Alaska is full of pleas to these voters. The reality show may make her a certain loser in a contest against Obama, but it could get her the 2012 GOP nomination.
Sarah and Todd Palin don’t understand this yet, but their flimsy attempts to fool the American people are driving her negatives up. Sarah Palin has consistently demonstrated a comprehensive ignorance of policy, and her attacks on Obama end up sounding more like sour grapes over 2008 than an alternative path for the nation. America has decided that they don’t like Sarah Palin. They don’t trust Sarah Palin, and they certainly don’t want Palin anywhere near the Oval Office. Two years of consistent polling results don’t lie, but it looks like Palin is going to make America prove their contempt for her at the polls in November 2012 and even then, I doubt that she will ever get it. Sarah, America’s just not that into you.
Sarah Palin Protects Kate Gosselin by Making Faces Behind Her Back
Tonight’s “special episode” of Sarah Palin’s Alaska focused on showcasing Sarah Palin rugged “outdoors woman” as she took novice camper/ fellow reality show diva Kate Gosselin on a camping trip, but what resulted was more evidence that Palin is as clueless about the outdoors as she is about politics.
This was set up as Kate and her kids just happened to be in Alaska, and they were going on Piper’s next camping trip as her friends. Kate’s role here was that of the city girl who doesn’t understand the outdoors and needed to take a bear safety class, but this class was just as much for the pretend Mrs. Grizzly Adams as it was for Kate. Gosslin being the experienced reality show hand knew how to play for drama. This is a quality that has eluded the terribly one dimensional and wooden Palin from episode one. Don’t worry the children were never placed in any danger as the Palin men tagged along to protect them from Sarah’s incompetence.
Ms NRA didn’t know how to deal with the kickback of her weapon but much hoopla was made about her being a “good shot”. What this means is anyone’s guess, since the gun instructor told Willow that it didn’t matter if she aimed. Later in the episode, Palin sawed branches off of a tree limb with the machete coming at her body instead of away as she talked about how much she loved getting out into the wilderness for family time, which rang hollow as we all know that this trip was for show, being as they are accompanied by a reality TV crew.
Poor Kate was set up to be Sarah’s foil. Palin exploited this opportunity to let her mean girl shine, from terrifying the kids to shocking Kate. Palin could barely contain her internal glee as the rush of power surged through her as Kate grew more and more upset. Sarah claimed she was going to take care of Kate, but instead she made the entire episode about showing off her faux-toughness at Kate’s expense. At one point Sarah rolled her eyes at Kate and then laughed at Kate with Todd, suggesting that Todd was the smart one for getting away from Kate’s complaining.
After Kate leaves the camping trip for dry, warm ground, Palin says, “I suppose if you took me to New York to a red carpet event, I’d be like naw get me out of here.” Really? Is this the same Palin who has begged to be written about eating at The Place to Be Seen in New York? Or the same Palin who took to swag tents like a desperate wannabe? The same Palin who keeps certain paparazzi on speed dial hoping to get noticed?
This episode was supposed to set Sarah up as the rugged tough one, but the truth is that America already knows that Palin requires bendy straws when she speaks, a certain class of jet, has very expensive tastes in clothes when other people are paying, has a make up artist, hair dresser, stylist and personal assistant just steps off the set and never goes anywhere without a security entourage. Watching Palin play Rugged One trying to amp up the drama when in reality her security entourage is just off set and would shoot any bear with the bad sense to approach she who cares nothing for animal life would be like watching a train wreck if it weren’t so boring.
For all of her rumored charm, Palin falls flat in this series. When she’s not delivering deadpan narration, Palin wastes no time getting in her petty digs at Joe McGinness (again….yes…again…) and then two “we can see Russia from here!” digs (again…as if seeing Russia gives you foreign policy credentials….). Palin is overly made up and quite simply lacks the authenticity necessary to endear her to American TV audiences. Kate may have been whining, but she was real. Kate wasn’t pretending to be something she wasn’t. And that’s Palin’s biggest problem. Palin is so busy selling America on the Palin myth that every second of Sarah Palin’s Alaska (the edit of which Palin has control over as a producer) is so heavily scripted and stage managed for maximum political impact that she never offers us a glimpse of the real Palin.
Sarah Palin’s Alaska is not a documentary by any stretch of the imagination and it’s also not a reality TV show. In most reality TV shows, events are loosely scripted but the cameras are shooting all of the time and capturing real moments which are later crafted into the most dramatic narrative possible. Those raw moments are how the audience gets hooked on the show and the characters; they’re drawn in by the recognition of humanity being unveiled. The world was curious about Sarah Palin and she could have used this show to ingratiate herself to Americans, had she only trusted reality enough to let the cameras capture even a few moments of it. Instead, Palin let her paranoia and ultimate distrust of what she has to offer force her to hide beneath manufactured moments that never come alive. This is plastic Alaska, not rugged Alaska, and it’s beyond boring.
The only people who looked remotely real and genuine on this episode were Kate Gosselin and her kids and that is a new low, even for Sarah Palin.
American politics is out of control and it’s not only because of the lies and deceit from Republicans, or their incessant call for less taxes and corporatism. The problem is that pundits, media celebrities, and think tanks are defining the narrative for ignorant voters and it is destroying democracy.
Radio personalities like Rush Limbaugh spout hateful racist commentary to their audiences and rail against imagined enemies to the point that their lies become reality to listeners. Does Limbaugh have expertise in governance or setting policy for America, or is he just an entertainer? It is obvious that although he has no standing as an elected representative, he does wield power over the Republican Party, and their relationship is strong enough that he is a featured speaker at Republican functions.
Glenn Beck is not an elected representative, but he “educates” his audience daily about government and Obama’s Socialism and tyranny. Beck is instrumental in pushing the Tea Party agenda on his radio program and his show on Fox adds visual acuity to his vitriolic rhetoric against all things not Glenn Beck. Although Beck and Limbaugh are staples in the nonstop attacks on Democrats and especially President Obama, it is Sarah Palin who is most offensive.
Palin holds no political office, and in fact, quit her job as governor when her incompetence became well-known and she became the target of investigations for malfeasance. The question is; what does Sarah Palin do? She weighs in on every subject as if her opinion carries any weight outside of her moronic Facebook followers. It doesn’t matter that every time Palin opens her filthy mouth, she gives her detractors reason to belittle and demean her.
It is also curious that the main stream media gives Palin coverage when she is a big nothing in American government. Does the media give Palin attention because they think she has any prescient insight Americans can learn from, or do they publish her remarks so intelligent people can deride her? In a non-scientific poll, 70% of men said they like Palin because they want to have sexual intercourse with her. The remaining 30% said that regardless of her attraction, they wouldn’t have sexual intercourse with her because she is too stupid. Outside of the ignorant Christians and gun fanatics who worship her, Palin’s reputation is little more than a joke.
Palin is a clown and a curiosity for most Americans, and few think she is qualified to lead the country. Her reality show on The Learning Channel is one big advertisement for guns and Sarah Palin. Does the network believe that Palin beating fish and shooting majestic animals is a teachable moment? Palin’s show is a mutual benefit for the network and her, but it sends a message to Americans that she is little more than an idiotic killer. Even Karl Rove has commented that Palin or her show do not represent leadership necessary to be president. Karl Rove is not a politician either, but he at least has experience in government; although why he continues to wield power is a mystery; unless one follows the money.
The problem with allowing entertainers and pretenders to educate and inform the voting public about issues is that, like all things American, they are fueled by money. Beck, Palin, Limbaugh, and the commentators on Fox News are money-making machines, and that is not bad in itself. It is bad that their unilateral opinions favor the party that is raping America and they are responsible for much of the support Republicans have today. It doesn’t matter that their commentary has as its basis nothing but lies and deceit; they are making money for themselves and conservatives.
If Americans were intelligent, they would look to more than one source for their information about American government they elect. But Americans are lazy and full of hate so they hear exactly what they want to believe whether it is true or not. The main stream media is culpable as well as Fox News and the lying entertainers because they refuse to cover stories that expose the lies from the right wing entertainers.
It is sad that so many Americans listen to the likes of Beck, Limbaugh, and Palin to learn how they should vote. American politics is becoming a carnival with clowns and actors setting the narrative and policy of one political party, and it has damaged democracy in the process. Voters base their beliefs on lies from Beck, Limbaugh, and Palin, and refuse to look elsewhere for verification or repudiation of alleged facts from the right.
The midterms demonstrated what happens when voters choose candidates based on an entertainer’s endorsement. Sharron Angle, Christine O’Donnell, and Joe Miller are examples of idiots who are so bizarre that voters rejected them for their ridiculous views and policy statements even though they enjoyed undying support from Sarah Palin.
Until Americans learn the issues that shape America’s future, we are in for a wild ride. There is no justification for listening or following the suggestions of money-grubbing entertainers who have no sense of what government is or does. But that is what happens when people with no standing in the governing process make policy for Republicans from a position of stupidity.
Although Beck and Limbaugh are hate-mongers, everyone knows their game, but why anyone would listen to Sarah Palin is a mystery. She is wrong all the time, makes up facts to suit her pea-brain, and has no standing in the government. Just what does Palin do? What gives her the right to weigh in on every single issue in politics? The answer is so obvious; Americans like success stories and Palin has parlayed a failed political career into a multi-million dollar industry. It always boils down to money; truth is not relevant.