Friday 31 July 2009

Baucus now ready to abandon GOP pals

Baucus now says he will begin marking up health care legislation for 15 September, with or without the GOP.

Presumably he knows that the Senate HELP Committee is on track to get their own bill through the grinder in time for a reconciliation vote in October -- a vote which only requires 50 Senators, not 60. Perhaps Baucus fears the Senate will ignore him and his footdragging Republican "friends" like Enzi and Grassley.

Wingnuts claim the Bible identifies Obama by name as the anti-Christ

A YouTube clip published earlier this week reveals the evil truth, by delving into some Aramaic words that come together to sound like the president's name. The key to the theory is a line from the New Testament, specifically Luke 10:18, in which Jesus says, "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven." Whoever put the video together -- someone named "ppsimmons," who World Net Daily couldn't persuade to go on the record -- reveals that the ancient Aramaic, and modern Hebrew, word for "lightning" is "barak." And then, using the word "bamah," or "the heights," which appears in Isaiah 14:14, ppsimmons argues that in the original Aramaic, Jesus would have said, essentially, "I saw Satan as Barack Obama." (When combining "barak" and "bamah," the narrator says, you'd have to add a "u" or "o" sound in between.)Throughout the clip, the narrator keeps referring to how "a modern Jewish rabbi" would pronounce the Luke phrase. (At one point, the video helpfully provides a photo of one such rabbi, looking authentically Semitic -- if a bit stereotypical -- with a beard, a tallis and a Torah in front of him.) "If spoken by a Jewish rabbi today, influenced by the poetry of Isaiah, [Jesus] would say these words in Hebrew: 'I saw Satan as Baraq Ubamah,'" the video says.

Needless to say, even the "scholarship" in this piece is bogus, as the rest of the link shows.

House Republicans vote in favor of single-payer!

In a largely unnoticed vote late last week, 13 small government-conservatives backed legislation that could facilitate the emergence of major government-run health care entities. In an exquisite political irony, 13 Republicans on the House Education and Labor Committee offered their support for an amendment that allowed states to set up single-payer health care systems. The amendment to the committee's health care bill allows states to essentially opt out of a national public health insurance option if they set up a single-payer alternative that meets similar standards for coverage. Offered by one of Congress's foremost liberals, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), the legislation enables a system progressives have long desired.

A political stunt backfires badly...?

Obama approvals among Dems and Indies unchanged since Jan 8

Obama has lost no support among Democrats and Independents since the beginning of the year. Zero. He's rock solid. All his losses are among Republicans, the people who hated him anyway.

If the 2008 election were done over today, Obama would still have the voters he had in November, and he wouldn't lose a single state.

Just whip this out the next time one of the wingnuts starts screeching "Rasmussen and the pollsters say Obama's crashing and burning!!"

Incidentally, Research 2000 is not a paid arm of the liberal fringe, contrary to the incessant screeching of the wingnuts. In fact their final 2008 poll had McCain within 5 points of Obama, who actually won by 7. In fact R2K has a better reputation than Rasmussen, who is quoted daily by the wingnuts precisely because he does cook the books, to favor the Republicans dishonestly.

Birther nonsense shows mortal danger for GOP in 2012

Less than half of Republicans say Obama was born in the U.S.! And a huge proportion of the "birthers" are down south.

So what does this mean?

Fast-forward to the 2012 Republican primaries. Since half of the GOP is now clearly a bunch of reality-challenged wingnuts, and the wingnuts are likely to be the most angry and the most politically active, those primaries are going to be dominated by cuckoobirds who really believe this birther nonsense. That means that a whackjob like Palin or Huckabee could actually be the nominee next time. The only thing to stop them, as far as I can see, would be Romney and his deep pockets.

It also means that the GOP is almost going out of its way to brand itself as the party of the birthers, racist Sotomayor bashing, illegal murder squads, torture, health-care scare tactics and obstruction, silly laws banning mermaids, "hiking up the Appalachian trail" without their wives, racial slurs against Malia Obama, anti-abortion terrorism, faked poll data, teabagger insanity, loons like Palin, gay-bashing, denial about Bush's destruction of the economy, and the rants of Rush and Beck.

And as I noted earlier, the heavy concentration of Obama'haters down south means that three-fourths of the electoral map is Obama's to lose.

This could be the first presidential election decided by a forfeit.

Thursday 30 July 2009

Palin can't even get a radio gig

Palin's prospects have narrowed violently.
In the fall she dreamed of being VP and then president.

And now?
With approvals down in the 40s, the presidency is out.
She won't run for VP again.
The governor's job so overtaxed her that she ran away.
The road to the Senate is blocked: Murkowski hates her guts and is just waiting to pound her like a slab of veal.
Business? Think tank? Corporate board? Issue advocate? Sorry, she doesn't have the chops for any of them.
Palin is on the hook to write a book but everyone knows that what little content it contains will be ghost-written.
She lacks the discipline to work on TV.

So that leaves radio. Only on radio could a fact-free airhead like Palin blather on for three hours at a clip.

But now Clear Channel, the radio conglomerate, has rejected her overtures for a radio gig. The reasoning was that she doesn't even have the chops to do that -- she can't manage holding a show together all afternoon.


Like I said -- she's destined for infomercials.

Even other pollsters ridicule Rasmussen's bogus Obama approval "index"

"Euthanasia" provision was written originally by a GOP Senator

From Greg Sargent:

As I’ve been noting, conservatives and Republican leaders have been running wild with the claim that the House Dems’ health care reform bill, by offering Medicare funding for “end of life consultations,” could lead to mass “government-encouraged euthanasia.”

But it turns out a GOP Senator, Susan Collins, sponsored a virtually identical initiative this spring, before this became an anti-reform GOP talking point — and praised it as necessary to improving our health care system’s “care for patients at the end of their lives.”

This sharply undercuts the GOP and conservative claim — unless, of course, you believe Collins backed an initiative she thinks could lead to mass government extermination of the elderly. Though this talking point has been debunked multiple times, conservatives and GOP leaders like John Boehner continue to employ it with abandon.

Wednesday 29 July 2009

The GOP myth of ineffective government

One must keep in mind the GOP’s effort to demonstrate, by means of egregious misrule, that government is incapable of delivering the most basic services.

One thing we need to remember is that before Bush came along, our government actually functioned.

The military conquered the world twice in the last 100 years. Then Bush broke it.

Marshall's State Department built the postwar world, and fed and clothed the whole world, friend and enemy alike; his successors have prevented dozens of wars and conflicts. Then Bush marginalized it and made American diplomacy a joke.

The FDA, USDA and EPA protected us from unsafe food, water, air and drugs. Then Bush gutted them.

The Coast Guard and FEMA saved thousands of lives before Bush dorked them up.

The Fed and the SEC gave us a couple of trillion in prosperity and kept the markets running properly. Then Bush wrecked it all.

The VA took care of our troops. Until Bush.

Social Security took care of the elderly; Medicaid and Medicare take care of the sick.

Now they are all in jeopardy due to Reaganomics and Bush.

The CIA used to hunt terrorists. Then Bush politicized them.

Homeland Security never worked right because Bush mismanaged it from the beginning. And that was a priority project for him.

The FEC made elections fair. Then Bush politicized it.

And of course there are other parts of the government which Bush didn’t have enough time to destroy:

The FBI and DEA solved the WTC bombing is days and keep criminals and drug dealers off the street.

The post office can carry a document across the country for half a buck.

The Department of Transportation built the interstate highway system, one of the most staggering engineering projects in human history; without it we'd starve. They also keep our airports safe.

The USTR saves us billions in trade deals

The DOE gives us cheap energy and protects nuclear technology from terrorists

So let’s stop whining about "big government".

Tuesday 28 July 2009

Opposition to Obama is the south

I'm sure this comes as a great shock to you: southern folks don't like our black President.

Notwithstanding the outright lies peddled at length by Rasmussen, Obama's approval/disapproval differential is at least plus-20 nationally, which is very bad news for the Republicans.

But its gets worse for the GOP. Not only is hard-core opposition to Obama limited almost exclusively to Republicans, it is overwhelmingly coming from southerners. Obama's approval/disapproval is close to plus-40 in the West and Midwest, and over +70 in the Northeast. Only in the South is his differential in the negative numbers.

Specifically, Obama's negatives are heavily concentrated in what I call the "Planet Wingnut Belt" where Obama's negatives are toxically high: the Wingnut belt runs from West Virginia down through Tennessee and Mississippi, and also across the river to Oklahoma. On the internet somewhere, there is a map showing where Obama did even worse than John Kerry in the presidential election, and it depicts Planet Wingnut perfectly -- that diagonal smear from West Virginia down to Mississippi perfectly exposes where most of our rednecks, white trash and outright racists are.

So in 2012 Obama is going to own everything from Maine down to Maryland, the Midwest all the way over to Minnesota, and the Pacific Coast. That's 291 electoral votes right there, enough to win. Then Obama attacks the GOP in fourteen states: NM, NV, CO, AZ, TX, Montana, the Dakotas, Missouri, and the five states running from Virginia to Florida. Those five southern states account for 78 electoral votes all by themselves, and they are not in the Wingnut Belt: they do contain some wingnuts, but not in the heavy concentrations you would find in Mississippi, for example. That's why Obama won three of those coastal states, and will have a shot at the other two next time.

And that means that the GOP will control Planet Wingnut, and the Democrats will get everything else. Which is only fitting because the wingnuts have taken over the GOP and worked with might and main to expel everyone to the left of Mussolini.

And now to dispose of the GOP whining. First, the poll was conducted, not by the dreaded Kos, but by Research 2000. And yes, I know, it's only 2009, but Obama is unlikely to face many serious threats to his presidency once he passes health care reform. That's why the Republicans are fighting health reform so viciously: they know this is their last chance to change the political map for the years to come.

GOP Senators openly collect their bribes for blocking health reform

From HuffPo:

Top Republican senators involved in crafting health care reform legislation participated in a health-care specific fundraiser Monday evening. Guests were asked for a $2,000 contribution to the National Republican Senatorial Committee to attend a "Roundtable on Healthcare Issues" -- and $5,000 for both the roundtable and dinner with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.). The nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation cited the event for its upfront offer of special-interest access. All three senators sit on key health committees. Grassley is the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, currently embroiled in negotiations with Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) over the pending reform bill. Enzi sits on the Finance Committee and serves as ranking member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, of which Burr is a member as well.

You'd think that if they were going to make crooked deals like this, they'd be a bit more circumspect. They did eject the press from the dinner, but word got out anyway.


Monday 27 July 2009

House GOP officially rejects the birther lunacy

The House just passed a resolution celebrating the anniversary of the statehood of Hawaii -- which they commemorated officially in the resolution as Obama's birthplace.

The vote was 375-0.

Not a single Republican voted against it. 158 Republicans voted in favor of it, and 20 didn't vote.

So the House GOP is on record as accepting Obama as a natural-born citizen. Just like the Republican governor of Hawaii who certified that he is a citizen, the Republican members of Congress who certified his election victory, the Republican vice president who ratified that vote, the Republican President who handed the White House to him, the Republican-dominated Supreme Court which repeatedly rejected challenges to his eligibility for the White House, and the Republican Chief Justice who swore him in. Twice.

And the hills and valleys of Planet Wingnut echo with the howls of anguish from the loons and the trailer trash.

**UPDATE** -- Bill O'Reilly has rejected the birther silliness. "President Obama was born in Hawaii". If the loons can't even get Billo to back them up, it's time consign them to the same oblivion as the Area-57 wingnuts.

Two more GOP allies pushing in FAVOR of speedy health reform

From CNN:

The effort received a boost during the day from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, normally a close ally of Republicans. In a letter to committee leaders, the business group called for the panel to "act promptly, preferably before" the Senate's scheduled vacation at the end of next week. In doing so, the business organization dealt a blow to the Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and other GOP lawmakers who have called repeatedly for Democrats to slow down.

In yet another boost for the drive to enact legislation, PhRMA, which represents drug companies, has purchased more than $500,000 worth of television ads to air during the week in nine states.

So, Sarah, tell us more about those wonderful Ginsu knives!

Somebody out there recently suggested that Palin wouldn't run for president because she could give up presidential politics and make a million a year. Soda squirted out of my nose. LOL! There is no job in the world that will pay Palin a million a year.

Her "book" will be ghost-written and loaded with lies. It will sink like a stone in weeks.

She can't work TV because she is incapable of (a) thinking original thoughts without a staffer feeding her on the teleprompter, or (b) speaking briefly and to the point, as evinced by her idiotic resignation announcement. I don't even think she could handle a sports job.

Corporate boards hire ex-politicians for credibility, of which she has none.

She can't champion an issue because she has no expertise or credibility. Even on energy she's been exposed as a hoor for the oil companies.

She can't go back to her former career, because she didn't really have one. It's not as though she can get on the masthead of a law firm or something.

She certainly won't go back to Wasilla to be mayor -- she almost got thrown out of office the first time, and she wouldn't want it anyway.

Five years from now, after her presidential fantasies finally explode, I see her on Channel 900 somewhere, selling floor wax or kitchen appliances.

CBO backs Obama TWICE on health care

A week or so ago, the CBO said the Democratic health plan would run with a surplus.

Now they have determined that having a public option will NOT put the private insurers out of business.

The GOP sets up the lies, the CBO shoots them down.

Funny how the GOP fell out of love with the CBO when the CBO began reporting the full truth about health care reform.

Wednesday 22 July 2009

...and Republican admits they're blocking health reform for political reasons

Sen. Hatch quits health debate without even hearing the Dem plan

"I decided to withdraw because I'm having difficulty with the high costs of a number of the provisions that I think they're ultimately going to come up with," Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah told CNN. "Right now, with some of the provisions that I know they are going to have to put in there, I just can't agree with them."

In other words he doesn't even know what's in the plan and has no intention of finding out.

This is almost an exact repeat of Bob Dole's performance in 1994. He openly and publicly admitted that he was rounding up the votes to kill Hillarycare, although he had never even read it.

These guys don't care what's in the plan. They only care that Democrats want it -- so it must be destroyed. Because attacking America's Democrats is more important than attacking America's problems.

Tuesday 21 July 2009

The long history of conservative lies to scare us away from new ideas

Recently someone dug out Reagan's 1961 scare tactics against Medicare --

"First you [the governement] decide that the doctor can have so many patients. ... So a doctor decides he wants to practice in one town, and the government has to say to him, "You can't live in that town, they already have enough doctors, you have to go live somewhere else. And from here it's only a short step to dictating where he will go. Pretty soon your son won't decide when he's in school where he will go or what he will do for a livin, but will wait for the government to tell him where he will go to work and what he will do. ..."

And if you don't [stop Medicare] and I don't do it, one of these days you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it once was like in America when men were free."

Of course it's not just Medicare.

Conservatives have emitted terrifying alarums about every new idea from the discovery of fire to the passage of the Social Security program.
Time after time after time, they are proved to be brain-dead wrong.
But they can always find a new crop of weak minds to peddle their crap to.

Don't string up those telegraph wires! It'll burn down the whole town!
Indoor plumbing?? We'll all die of disease!
Inoculation?? These crazy "doctors" will kill us all!
If man were meant to fly...

Sunday 19 July 2009

The GOP and message management

In politics, in business, in product merchandising, in media, in entertainment, there is a thing known as message management. Pick out a few key messages which you want to convey to your audience, and hammer them home. In the past few years the GOP, led by guys like Rove and Atwater, have excelled in this area.

Now, let's listen to the GOP's message over the last two months:

Sotomayor is a racist but Jeff Sessions isn’t!
Sotomayor, who was originally nominated by Republicans and approved by Jesse Helms, is a radical!
La Raza is bad because it’s connected to Sotomayor, but good because they gave awards to Boehner and Lindsey Graham!
Sotomayor was an affirmative action pick, but Palin, Jindal and Steele weren’t!
Investigating Clinton’s blow job was more important than Congress even being informed about Cheney’s secret, illegal murder squads, even if there’s no restriction on the teams operating in the U.S.!
Democratic judges are activists even though Republican judges are the ones who overturn legislation more often!
Government health care is too expensive even though every country that tried is paying half what we’re paying per head, and in the meantime almost half the personal bankruptcies in America happen in families that HAVE health insurance!
The GOP insists they want a bipartisan health plan even though their notion of bipartisanship is Democratic surrender – no to an independent insurance board, no to the public option (and of course no to single payer), no to mandating employer participation (but yes to employee participation), no to health care information technology, no to comparative effectiveness research, no to eliminating overpayments to insurers!
Passing a law to ban mermaids and centaurs is more important than a health care bill!
We’re the party of family values even after Sanford and Ensign, even though the red states lead the country in porn, pregnant teens and divorce!
Sanford’s lunatic behaviour was caused by Obama and big gummint!
Rick Perry is a small-government hero even though he spent all summer begging Obama for money to clean up his fiscal mess – and used 11 million in stimulus money on his mansion in Austin!
Palin didn’t quit even though she did!
Palin is a better executive than Obama, although even Republicans screamed at her (unsuccessfully) to figure out how to manage the most basic management functions such as making a schedule and returning phone calls!
Reporting on Bristol Palin is bad, but hurling racial slurs at Malia Obama is okay!
The census is the first step toward concentration camps!
Republican policy czars good, Democratic czars bad!
Terrorism is evil except when it’s aimed at abortion doctors – then they’re heroes!
Obama’s doomed even though his approvals are still high, he’s ahead even the worst-hit states like Michigan, and is leading Pawlenty by 11 in Pawlenty’s home state, and leading every major potential GOP candidate by at least a touchdown for 2012, and is more trusted than the GOP on the budget, the economy, and health care, buy a 2-to-1 margin!
The GOP is the voice of reason on the economy even though they have no new ideas, their “budget” was an empty folder, and their House leader has already been caught lying about the stimulus!
The teabagger movement isn’t partisan, even though their whole platform consists of criticizing Obama for allegedly doing things Bush was doing a year ago!
Obama’s guy at the Department of Education will turn your kids gay!
Gays caused the recession!
Conservatives are more patriotic than you, even though Rush is screaming for the army to overthrow Obama and the wingnut blogosphere is cheering soldiers who refuse to serve the Commander in Chief!
....and Rush is also rooting for GM to collapse because it will hurt Obama, even as it puts thousands out of work!
Questioning Rush is like questioning Jesus!
The GOP House members resisting Obama are the same as the Iranian protesters because Obama = Ahmadinejad!
The House Speaker looks like she had a little Botox -- just ignore the fact that her GOP counterpart spends more time in a tanning bed than a teenage girl!
Pelosi's a liar although even the CIA and the members of Congress and the supporting documents prove she was right!

The birth certificate conspiracy includes the Republican governor of Hawaii who certified that he is a citizen, the Republican members of Congress who certified his election victory, the Republican vice president who ratified that vote, the Republican President who handed the White House to him, the Republican-dominated Supreme Court which repeatedly rejected challenges to his eligibility for the White House, and the Republican Chief Justice who swore him in -- twice!

Torture is good but empathy is evil!

Well, I'm no expert....A message like that, I can't figure out why it's not selling...?

Why I love Eric Holder

For several weeks there, our former vice president and arch-criminal Dick Cheney was on our TV's almost daily, screeching all sorts of insanity. Torture is good! Empathy is evil! I saw Lizzie Proctor speaking with the devil!

Then Holder steps forward and points out, ya know, what these clowns did was flagrantly illegal, and we may need to take a leeee-tle look at all this, and maybe fling around a subpoena or two.

And suddenly the eruptions of Mount Saint Dick stop, instantly. Why? He's down in his basement digging out his fake passport and his Luger, so he can flee the country and get Mengele's old apartment in Buenos Aires.

Of course Holder didn't do it by himself. Once the CIA admitted that Cheney was dead wrong about the CIA lying to Congress, and it was revealed that Cheney concealed his illegal program of secret murder squads which theoretically could operate in this country...then everybody sobered up and remembered that Cheney is a dangerously insane criminal loon.

Hey, I thought the economy was hurting Obama...!

"The White House has just done some polling in Michigan," said Wolffe, a one-time Newsweek scribe and author of Renegade, during an appearance on Meet the Press. "Their internal polls show the president's numbers holding up really well in Michigan. He is above 60 percent with Independents who were supposed to have left him. Now how can that be? What is this guy doing right now? The answer for the White House is he is looking like he's doing everything and as long as he's doing that, people give him a pass because they know the economy wasn't his doing."

Obama going to war on health care

1. Publicly demanding the public option
2. Accusing the six Senators who want to delay the bill, of trying to kill the plan
3. Ad blitz being run in the districts of wavering House Democrats

Game on.

More than 70 percent of Americans wanted the public option before Obama got active on this. Now Obama will nail it down.

Saturday 18 July 2009

The real CBO markup of the health plan -- a surplus

CBO Scores Confirms Deficit Neutrality of Health Reform Bill

Washington, D.C. -- The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released estimates this evening confirming for the first time that H.R. 3200, America’s Affordable Health Choices Act, is deficit neutral over the 10-year budget window – and even produces a $6 billion surplus. CBO estimated more than $550 billion in gross Medicare and Medicaid savings. More importantly, the bill includes a comprehensive array of delivery reforms to set the stage for lowering the future growth in health care costs.

Net Medicare and Medicaid savings of $465 billion, coupled with the $583 billion revenue package reported today by the House Committee on Ways and Means, fully finance the previously estimated $1.042 trillion cost of reform, which will provide affordable health care coverage for 97% of Americans.

"This fulfills the strong commitment of the President and House leadership to enact health reform on a deficit-neutral basis," said Chairman Henry A. Waxman, Chairman Charles B. Rangel, and Chairman George Miller. "The reforms included in this legislation will help control health care costs and expand access to quality, affordable coverage to all Americans in a fiscally-responsible manner."

The estimates also cover important reinvestments in Medicare and Medicaid, including phasing in the closing of the "donut" hole in the Medicare drug benefit. The bill’s long-term reform of Medicare’s physician fee schedule to eliminate the potential 21 percent cut in fees, and put payments on a sustainable basis for the future, will cost about $245 billion. Those costs, however, are not included in the net calculations above, as they will be absorbed under the upcoming statutory "pay go" legislation that is pending in the House.

Cronkite perfectly described the fatal flaw in the GOP

Here's Cronkite, the night Nixon was elected:

“There’s a great deal of talk tonight of Richard Nixon, not by his own admission a loveable figure, succeeding without a clear mandate, to the leadership of a divided nation. These, to put it mildly, are negative thoughts. President-elect Nixon has said his first job will be to try and unite the nation. There’s no one who can say tonight, including Richard Nixon, whether he can do that job. Who can restore the hope of the American spirit, to all our people, black and white, rich and poor. But there is one thing that should be abundantly clear, the President-elect, whether it was Nixon or Humphrey or Wallace or the candidate of the Prohibition Party, could not do that job alone. The leaders of the opposition including Dick Gregory in a particularly Statesman-like concession called for unity. Their followers can do no less than to give the new man a chance. This is Walter Cronkite, CBS News election headquarters – good night.”

Today America faces problems much more dire than we did in 1968, and today's GOP has categorically refused to help clean up the mess they created. They have bitterly resisted everything Obama has tried to do, they refuse to even participate in the clean-up process or put in any new ideas to help fix the problems...obstruct, obstruct, obstruct.

This wasn't the case in 1968. The Democrats backed up Nixon in resisting the Russians, and Nixon went along (and even expanded) the Democratic domestic programs from FDR and LBJ.

Back then, the GOP had statesmen. In 1974 they had enough class to march to the White House and tell Nixon it was time to resign. Today their poster child is psychotic convict G. Gordon Liddy giggling about Sonya Sotomayor's menstruation cycle.

How pathetic is it, that Nixon is more bipartisan and constructive than today's Republicans? The current batch of "leaders" is below Nixon on the evolutionary scale??

And that's the way it is.

Hat tip to Crooks and Liars.

Friday 17 July 2009

GOP Senator admits their health-care holy war is all political

"If we’re able to stop Obama on this it will be his Waterloo. It will break him," he said.

Refreshing level of honesty from a Republican.

Thursday 16 July 2009

Five GOP presidential candidates flame out in a month

Five GOP presidential candidates crash in a month!


Palin fell on her sword, Mark Sanford was caught whipping out his sword in Argentina, John Ensign got blackmailed for his swordwork, Pawlenty was caught by the sword of Damocles when he finally had to sign Franken's certificate and alienate the GOP base, Rick Perry...sorry, can't keep the sword analogy going forever. Perry screeched "SECESSION" and rejected federal money, and then had to turn around and beg Obama for unemployment money.

At this rate, I guess Bob Dole will have to run in 2012?

...But that's okay, their bench is so deep.


Hey, months ago I said they need to groom some leaders. Instead....

More ammo in the health care debate

More from Think Progress:

"Compared with Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, the United States ranks last in all dimensions of a high performance health system: quality, access, efficiency, equity, and healthy lives. The United States currently ranks 50th out of 224 nations in life expectancy, with an average life span of 78.1 years, according to 2009 estimates from the CIA World Factbook."

50th. That means we're behind most of the civilized world. We're ahead of Latin America, Africa, Asia, some of the crappier parts of Europe, and that's about it.

And note that the two examples which the Republicans screech about -- Britain and Canada -- are still ahead of us.

Rick "I Hate Federal Money" Perry begs Obama for unemployment money

In March, Texas Gov. Rick Perry rejected $555 million in federal stimulus money that would have expanded unemployment benefits for Texans. Perry argued at the time that accepting the stimulus dollars would force the state to expand eligibility to include thousands of low-wage workers — including part-time employees like single mothers, college students and senior citizens — which Perry bemoaned would burden tax payers with “higher taxes and expanded obligations.” When explaining the decision, Perry told Fox News, “this was pretty simple for us.” But now Perry is reversing his decision. Texas has asked the federal government for a $170 million loan to ensure the state is able to continue paying out unemployment benefits.

Checkmate: Harry and Louise switch to the pro-health-care team

"A little more cooperation, a little less politics and we can get the job done this time," Louise says.

AMA endorses House health care bill

Now I want to hear the GOP hacks argue that they know health care better than the AMA.

PS The AP was caught lying about the cost of the program.

Romney still leads for 2012 GOP nomination

Romney stands at 26 percent in the new survey, compared to 21 percent for Palin, and 19 percent for Huckabee.

GOP leader admits they will lose health care war this summer

This is Hoekstra. "We'll get [a health care bill] through the House and Senate this month."

Romney, Palin are 1 and 2 in fundraising for 2012

As I said earlier, Romney and Palin are going to run way ahead of everyone else in raising the money they need to compete in the primaries. So perhaps Palin gets Iowa, Romney gets New Hampshire and Michigan, Palin takes Carolina, etc etc, and then it's Super Tuesday for all the marbles.

You know the best part? Obama, who will have no serious challengers, can pop some popcorn and watch Palin and Romney debating a dozen times in Iowa -- Romney who has had at least two positions on every issue, and Palin who has no clue at all on any issue. And then Obama steps in and destroys the bloodied survivor of the GOP race.

Wednesday 15 July 2009

Dems save us from Cheney's secret murder squads

How appalling is it, that the crimes and follies of the Bush crime family have been so manifest and manifold for so long, that hardly anybody blinks at that headline. A sitting Vice President worked for eight years to set up illegal, secret murder squads, and the program was stopped in the nick of time -- and it barely raises an eyebrow anymore.

**UPDATE** -- from TPM:

We may have gotten a good piece of the answer here: The Washington Post reports today on how the program had been revived and then put on hold several times since 2001. But it also says, referring to the "presidential finding" with which President Bush authorized the program in 2001:

"The finding imposed no geographical limitations on the agency's actions, and intelligence officials have said that they were not obliged to notify Congress of each operation envisaged under the directive."

So this stuff could have been going on in the U.S.

Tuesday 14 July 2009

Poll: majority favors health reform AND taxes on rich to pay for it

So...screeching about a tiny tax increase on millionaires who have gotten 30 years of tax breaks that we are paying for...somehow it ain't working, girls.

The poll was conducted by Gallup.

Most Republicans think Palin is unfit for the White House

You read that right. This is Republicans talking.

Only 33 percent of Republicans think Palin is qualified to be president. That number fell a staggering 38 points from the "is she ready?" number she had with Republicans last fall.

Will it stop her? Of course not. Republicans, as we know, have the attention span of two-year-olds jacked up on sugar. In a few months they will forget, again, that she's a dangerously clueless loon and career criminal who ruled in Alaska with all the panache of the Three Stooges trying to put out a kitchen fire with seltzer bottles, before flinging her hands in the air and running away screaming from the mess she had created (if they were doing a remake of Lucy and Ethel frantically stuffing their mouths with chocolates on the assembly line at the candy factory, Palin could pick her role).

And the base will fall in love with those legs all over again. Under-educated white guys from the E-I-E-I-O states -- what do you expect? "Dang, Virgil, she's puuuurty!"

And the stiletto-shod march to Iowa and New Hampshire will resume...

Newly discovered Bible proves it was man's work

Time magazine reports that the "new" old Bible they found shows that the Bible was subjected to at least 27,000 human corrections. So much for the infallible word of God.,29569,1910141,00.html

Erasures, additions, corrections, substitutions — Sinaiticus reveals a Bible-in-process. Between the 4th and 12th centuries, various scribes changed earlier colleagues' bad spelling. Of more theological significance, the Gospel of Mark ends early. Sinaiticus even contains two books that didn't make the later canon cut, the Epistle of Apostle Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas. The changes are significant, according to British Library curator Scot McKendrick, because "the recognition is that Scripture, as it comes down to us, is transmitted by human hand."

The three manuscript powerhouses behind the modern Bible are Sinaiticus, Vaticanus and Alexandrinus. Like Sinaiticus, the Vaticanus codex dates to the 4th century, with Alexandrinus transcribed 100 years later. Vaticanus was preserved and overwritten in the 15th century. Alexandrinus may be the best preserved. But only Sinaiticus has the prized complete New Testament. The books' different ordering, contents and appearances again testify to the Bible's evolutionary history.

Today on Planet Wingnut

After eight years of Bush's crimes, follies, lies and incompetence, and the disastrous GOP showing in the 2006 and 2008 elections, the GOP knows that it has a ghastly credibility problem, which they are trying to correct.

So how are they doing today?

Michelle Bachman is trying to stop the census because she thinks it could lead to Nisei-style internment camps, or something.

The birth-certificate loons are lawyering up for a soldier who refuses to defend his country because Obama isn't really president.

Sam Brownback has introduced legislation banning mermaids and centaurs.

Michael Steele says he'll bring blacks back to the GOP with fried chicken.

A number of rightwing commentators still insist that investigating Bill Clinton's blow job was more important than Cheney's illegal concealment of U.S. death squads.

The GOP effort to persuade America that Sonya Sotomayor is prejudiced, is led by Jeff Sessions, who is so prejudiced that his own effort to obtain a judge's robe was laughed out of Washington.

Palin's bizarre resignation left such an appalling mess in Alaska that a constitutional crisis and a special legislative session may ensue by necessity.

Rightwing bloggers, who days ago were screeching about the media's coverage of Bristol Palin, are now hurling racial slurs and insults at...Malia Obama.

Pat Buchanan, one of America's leading beneficiaries of the right of free speech no matter how offensive, wants Levi Johnston drowned for exercising the same right, because Johnston implied criticism of Sarah Palin.

Fox, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Times got caught trying to help Mark Sanford conceal his affair.

Karl Rove, Bush's domestic policy czar, whines about Obama's decision to also use...policy czars.

Fox gets caught selectively editing video to make Obama look like he's checking out a woman's rear end.

Gee, what do you think the Republicans would say if the Democrats, all within a day or two, gave us this cornucopia of concentration camps, fake presidents, mermaids, centaurs, black folks eating fried chicken, secret death squads, racist Senators, hurling racist insults at children, trying to drown critics, covering up sexual liaisons, hypocrisy, faking video of the president...?

Monday 13 July 2009

Fox prepares logo with Planned Parenthood in rifle crosshairs

So the wingnuts are carrying on with the theme that it's okay to murder people who disagree with them, particularly on abortion.

The true magnitude of the mess Palin is leaving behind in Alaska

There are no plans to hold a special legislative session in Alaska this summer, but they may need one. Partly as a result of Palin’s Troopergate scandal, the state Attorney General quit; he was apparently serving as Lieutenant Governor as well. Palin’s new nominee for AG, Wayne Ross, was such a disaster that the legislature shot him down. The next nominee for AG was yet another clown who was caught in a coverup involving bacterial infections in state prisons, and decided he didn’t want the job after all. Next Palin decided to nominate the National Guard general who agreed to lie about her role in “commanding” the Guard, but his nomination hasn’t been ruled upon by the legislature. That means that the chain of command has only one guy in it, Sean Parnell, which is unconstitutional. So they need a legislative session after all, to fill all the slots. The one guy who is arguing that they DON’T need a legislative session is Palin’s newest AG appointee, but THAT guy hasn’t been confirmed by the legislature either.

I may not have all these guys in the right order, but I’ve read the story twice and I still don’t understand all the ins and outs.

So first, there is the danger that Palin – who hasn’t actually resigned yet – may need to un-resign, as it were, to save Alaska from the consequences of her own catastrophic mismanagement.

And that’s the larger issue – look at the total freakin’ chaos this insane governor created! Does anyone really want this sort of Marx Brothers insanity to reign with the President and his cabinet, if she wins in 2012 or 2016?

Palin’s performance in this regard is akin to a sea captain running his ship onto the rocks in the middle of a typhoon, hanging all his officers, and then fleeing in a lifeboat, as the burning ship sinks behind him.

The link above is to the original story by Shannyn Moore, who incidentally is the reporter whom Palin has threatened with a (completely doomed) libel suit.

There is no way to explain her behavior using the tools of logic. One thing we CAN say, is that notwithstanding her claims that she was thinking of Alaska when she quit, clearly that was the LAST thing she was thinking of. She just wanted out, and she didn't care that she was leaving a mess behind her. She isn't a leader walking off the field of battle with her head held high: she's a drunk driver fleeing the burning wreckage of her fatal hit-and-run collision with history, not caring who got hurt in the process.

The NY Times conducts the Sarah Palin autopsy

Some snippets:

In late March, a senior official from the Republican Governors Association headed for Alaska on a secret mission. Sarah Palin was beset by such political and personal turmoil that some powerful supporters determined an intervention was needed to pull her governorship, and her national future, back from the brink. The official, the association’s executive director, Nick Ayers, arrived with a memorandum containing firm counsel, according to several people who know its details: Make a long-term schedule and stick to it, have staff members set aside ample and inviolable family time to replenish your spirits, and build a coherent home-state agenda that creates jobs and ensures re-election. Like so much of the advice sent Ms. Palin’s way by influential supporters, it appeared to be happily received and then largely discarded, barely slowing what was, in retrospect, an inexorable march toward the resignation she announced 10 days ago.

In mid-spring, as the country grew alarmed over the swine flu, Ms. Palin skipped a briefing for administration officials on the outbreak by her chief medical officer, Dr. Jay C. Butler. A spokeswoman, Sharon Leighow, noted that the teleconference took place about a month before the first case of the flu was reported in Alaska and that at the time the governor was meeting with top staff on the issue of federal stimulus funds. Since then, the state has had 122 confirmed cases of the H1N1 flu. Dr. Butler said he resigned his post in June in part because the administration asked one of his highly regarded division heads, the state public health director, Beverly Wooley, to resign. “I felt that it was not a good time to be downsizing,” said Dr. Butler, who is now working on a swine flu vaccination at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Butler said the governor’s office apparently deemed Ms. Wooley insufficiently supportive of the parental consent bill backed by Ms. Palin.

Allies like Mr. Malek chalked up the confusion to Ms. Palin’s reliance on one aide to juggle the PAC’s demands. Mr. Malek said he urged Mr. Ayers, the governors’ association official, to write his memorandum and head to Alaska to get Ms. Palin’s operation in order. Mr. Malek said he told Ms. Palin that “you have got to set up a mechanism so you can return calls.” “You are getting a bad rap,” he recalled saying. “Important people are trying to talk to you. And she said, ‘What number are they calling?’ She did not know what had been happening.”

Hope for the intervention’s success soon faded. Despite advice to stick close to home and focus on an Alaska agenda, the governor accepted an invitation to attend an anti-abortion dinner in Indiana in April, even though the state budget was hanging in the balance in the Legislature. When Tom Wright, chief of staff for the speaker of the Alaska House, suggested that the governor would catch heat for leaving, Ms. Palin stormed into his office and, according to a person familiar with the conversation, “proceeded to ream him out.”

The cost of NOT having the public option

A masterpiece from Kos:

There's a lot of arguing about the cost of the public option. The plan put forward by the HELP committee, is expected to cost $600 billion. The numbers (plucked from extremely well researched thin air) by the GOP insist the final number will be well above a trillion.

But what does it cost us to not have a public option?

Some of the costs of not having a public option are simple to calculate, but immeasurable in value. Infant mortality rates in the United States are 6.37 deaths/1,000 live births. A sampling of other industrialized nations with public health care finds the United Kingdom at 5.01 deaths / 1,000 live births. Canada at 4.63. France at 3.41. If the United States infant mortality matched that of the United Kingdom, just under 6,000 fewer infants would have died in the United States last year. If we could match France around 13,000 fewer infants would have died.

Let's move to the other end of the spectrum. As of 2009, life expectancy in the United States is 78.11 years. Which sounds pretty good, until you realize it puts us one slot above Albania. For the United Kingdom, this number is 79.01 years. For France it's 80.98. For Canada, 81.23. for the United States, that means about 270,000,000 years lost compared just to the slightly better numbers of the UK. 936,000,000 years lost compared to Canada. Want to stick a monetary value on it? Say that just a fourth of these Americans in their golden years are pulling down 20 hours a week and getting minimum wage to wave you into the local big box or bag your groceries. That's $442 billion worth of time lost compared to the UK. About $1.5 trillion lost if those workers had lived as long as Canadians.

There are good things to be said about the American system. When you're in an American hospital, a very good level of immediate care makes you more likely to survive the immediate aftermath of a health crisis. Just had a heart attack? Hug that cardiac care unit close and you're 20% more likely to hang around than your neighbor to the north. However, a low quality of long term and follow up care erodes that difference over the course of a year. Sorry.

But those are only a few of the direct effects of the cost of health care that's distributed by wealth rather than need. There are indirect effects that are equally dramatic.

Millions of Americans are in what's called "job lock." They can't leave their jobs because they feel they can't get the same health insurance benefits on their own or at the next job. A new poll by NPR News, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government shows that one out of four Americans has experienced job lock, in the last couple of years, or someone in their immediate family has. That's despite legislation enacted six years ago to deal with the problem.

Having health care that, for most Americans, continues to be directly tied to their employment has one very clear cost: it makes people less likely to voluntarily leave their current job. Sure, COBRA is now available, but the cost of continuing health insurance on your own is enough to make it of questionable value. The complex and highly variable nature of coverage makes it almost impossible for the average consumer to tell which, if any, insurance plan available to them represents a reasonable deal. Many Americans decide to stick with "the devil they know" rather than face rising costs, the uncertainty of acceptance, and the fear related to going it on your own.

Describing something as complex as losses to the economy caused by job lock is difficult. A precise answer is likely out of reach for even the most detailed computer model. However, the scale of the problem is easily demonstrated with a very simple equation.

Wait! Don't run away. Yes, I did say equation and there are a few symbols lurking just ahead, but there's nothing here more complex than multiplication. And it'll be worth it. Trust me.

Here's that equation. W * L * E * S * V = N

Look like nonsense? Let's fill in the letters.

W = the total number of workers in the United States. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, that number is right around 155 million.

L = the number of people who would leave their current jobs if employer-specific health insurance was not an issue. The NPR value cited above is at the low end of numerous studies from the early 1990s through 2008 that have put this number from around 25% to as high as 50%. Let's assume that a lot of folks claiming they'd be out that door if only they could be sure of health care are daydreaming and use the lower value.

E = the percentage of people who, after leaving their current jobs, we would attempt to become entrepreneurs and start new businesses. The rate of US workers engaged in entrepreneurial activity has fallen recently, due mostly to exactly this issue. With an average policy running $12,000 a year, many people who would ordinarily try to launch something new, instead move to another position with some portion of the health care cost provided. As of 2008, the "entrepreneurial index" -- those people who when switching jobs decided to start their own business -- was around 10%.

S = the percentage of entrepreneurs who successfully launch a new business. Depending on the study, the percentage of new small business that hold on for at least five years is somewhere between 30% and 50%.

V = the value generated by the average successful entrepreneur. This is a tough number to figure, as businesses can add value to an economy in a variety of ways. Does that new service or product enable some other business to expand? What about the experience that workers get before moving on to another job? Raising property values near an active office. And, of course, salaries paid out to employees. As a starter number, let's use $100,000 per year. Don't worry, we can change it later.

So what does that give us? Well, 25% of 155 million is 38.8 million people swapping jobs. 10% of that is 3.88 million people trying to start up new businesses. If just 30% of those are successful, that's 1.16 million new businesses in the United States -- which is a pretty amazing number all on its own. Job lock is costing us a million new businesses, maybe even a million new businesses a year. And if each of those business contributes $100K to the overall economy, that's a boost of $116 billion a year. If each of those new businesses employed 5 people, it would replace all the jobs lost in 2009. And 2008.

'N,' the "No Public Plan" cost, the cost of the job lock created by health care insurance provided mostly through employers, is $116 billion per year. Use the same 10 year period that the health care plan costs are predicated on, and that's over a trillion bucks.

The trillion dollar job lock tax. That's what we pay now for not having a public option.

Saturday 11 July 2009

Sotomayor attacker has long record of frivolous suits

A classic from Slate

The New Haven firefighter is no stranger to employment disputes.
By Dahlia Lithwick
Posted Friday, July 10, 2009, at 6:50 PM ET

Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee have announced that Frank Ricci, the firefighter who recently prevailed in his "reverse discrimination" lawsuit against the city of New Haven, Conn., will testify at Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearings. Ricci has become a sort of folk hero for white men everywhere, having dared to stand up against the evils of affirmative action and race-based employment preferences. Next week, he will be called on to make the point, as David Paul Kuhn put it, that Sotomayor, for all her talk of empathy and the real-world impact of judicial decisions, "demonstrated no empathy for the 'real-world consequences' of affirmative action on Ricci."

Ricci is invariably painted as a reluctant standard-bearer; a hardworking man driven to litigation only when his dreams of promotion were shattered by a system that persecutes white men. This is the narrative we will hear next week, but it somewhat oversimplifies Ricci's actual employment story. For instance, it's not precisely true, as this one account would have it, that Frank Ricci "never once [sought] special treatment for his dyslexia challenge." In point of fact, Ricci sued over it.

According to local newspapers, Ricci filed his first lawsuit against the city of New Haven in 1995, at the ripe old age of 20, for failing to hire him as a firefighter. That January, the Hartford Chronicle reported that Ricci sued, saying "he was not hired because he is dyslexic." The complaint in that suit, filed in federal court, alleged that the city's failure to hire Ricci because of his dyslexia violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. Frank Ricci was one of 795 candidates interviewed for 40 jobs. According to his complaint, the reason he was not hired was that he disclosed his dyslexia in an interview. That case was settled in 1997 with a confidential settlement in which Ricci withdrew his lawsuit in exchange for a job with the fire department and $11,143 in attorney's fees.

In 1998, Ricci was talking about filing lawsuits again, this time over a dispute with his new employer, Middletown's South Fire District—which had hired him in August of 1997. According to a Hartford Courant report of Aug. 11, 1998, Ricci was dismissed from the Middletown fire department after only eight months. He promptly appealed his dismissal, claiming that fire officials had retaliated against him for conducting an investigation into the department's response to a controversial fire. A story in the Hartford Courant dated Aug. 9, 1997, has Ricci vowing "to pursue this to the fullest extent of the law."

In August of 1998, a state Department of Labor investigation cleared Chief Wayne S. Bartolotta of any wrongdoing in the firing. The Aug. 3, 1998, letter from the state Department of Labor indicated that the case was closed with a finding of no violation. "After a thorough investigation, it was determined that the South Fire District did not discriminate against Mr. Ricci." Ricci's response? According to the Courant, Ricci contended "Their decision was political, it has nothing to do with who was right and who was wrong." He told the paper he would "pursue the matter in civil court."

Ricci also tried to discredit his former boss, Chief Bartolotta, by disparaging his professional credentials. His fight over access to Bartolotta's professional training records was resolved between the two of them a week before the matter was slated to be taken up with the state Freedom of Information Commission, according to a Jan. 13, 1998, report in the Hartford Courant.

Eventually, Ricci made his way back to the New Haven Fire Department, where he famously aced his promotions test, then sued, yet again, in 2004.

Ultimately, there are two ways to frame Frank Ricci's penchant for filing employment discrimination complaints: Perhaps he was repeatedly victimized by a cruel cadre of employers, first for his dyslexia, then again for his role as a whistle-blower, and then a third time for just being white. If that is so, we should all be deeply grateful for the robust civil rights laws that protect Americans from unfair discrimination in the workplace. I look forward to hearing Republican Sen. John Cornyn's version of that speech next week.

The other way to look at Frank Ricci is as a serial plaintiff—one who reacts to professional slights and setbacks by filing suit, threatening to file suit, and more or less complaining his way up the chain of command. That's not the typical GOP heartthrob, but I look forward to hearing Sen. Cornyn's version of that speech next week as well.

When Frank Ricci testifies against Judge Sotomayor, it will be worth recalling that under any other set of facts he would have looked, to his GOP sponsors, like the kind of unscrupulous professional litigant Rush Limbaugh lives to savage. Is America's conservative movement really ready for an anti-affirmative action hero who has repeatedly relied on the government to intervene on his behalf to win him—and help him keep—a government job?

Friday 10 July 2009

2012: Obama would beat Pawlenty by 11 -- in Minnesota

Much as I enjoy watching the Republicans straining with might and main to persuade themselves that they have a prayer of winning in 2012, I thought it was time to put them out of their misery....

Thursday 9 July 2009

Palin's 2012 campaign begins; GOP working to get her out to Iowa

As first reported in the Des Moines Register and confirmed by CNN, the state GOP is courting the Alaska governor to be the keynote speaker at their annual Ronald Reagan dinner this autumn. The event is the party's largest fundraiser of the year, and has become a popular stop for White House hopefuls.

Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley plugged the idea of inviting Palin to help raise money. He recalled Palin's reception in Iowa during the presidential campaign. Palin was greeted by a big, enthusiastic crowd during her first trip to Iowa with Republican presidential nominee John McCain in September. She drew even larger crowds for solo stops in Sioux City, Des Moines and Dubuque. "I think she has quite a following in Iowa, and maybe I'm impressed because, at the three events I spent with her in Iowa during the last campaign, she had bigger turnouts than McCain had," Grassley told reporters.

...Wow, that didn't take long! On the one hand, aggressive early campaigning by Palin could scare off Palin's potential rivals for the 2012 race; on the other hand, it could impel the few remaining GOP grownups (if any) to choose an anti-Palin and rally behind him. Just like 2007 when everyone was wondering when Edwards would step forward to be the anti-Hillary (only to be outsmarted by Obama). Watch to see what the GOP pragmatists like Haley Barbour do -- do they really want to go down in flames with Sarah?

Tuesday 7 July 2009

Palin dreams of a "Department of Law" to make her critics go away

"You know conditions have really changed in Alaska in the political arena since Aug. 29, since I was tapped to run for VP. When that opposition research -- those researchers really bombarded Alaska -- started digging for dirt and have not let up. They're not gonna find any dirt," she said. "We keep proving that every time we win an ethics violation lawsuit and we've won every one of them. But it has been costing our state millions of dollars. It's cost Todd and me. You know the adversaries would love to see us put on the path of personal bankruptcy so that we can't afford to run."... But as for whether another pursuit of national office, as she did less than a year ago when she joined Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in the race for the White House, would result in the same political blood sport, Palin said there is a difference between the White House and what she has experienced in Alaska. If she were in the White House, she said, the "department of law" would protect her from baseless ethical allegations...."I think on a national level, your department of law there in the White House would look at some of the things that we've been charged with and automatically throw them out," she said....There is no "Department of Law" at the White House.

ABC focused on her brain-dead ignorance with respect to how Washington and the White House work. But there is an even scarier issue here. When Palin was mayor and then governor, she was caught a number of times abusing her power to attack her real or imagined enemies. She fired or attacked people whom she suspected of insufficient loyalty to her. And now she is making it clear that if she becomes president and those nasty reporters start reporting, ya know, the facts about her, she is going to seek out (or rather, create) some sort of "department of law" to attack her attackers. Using the power of the executive branch to try to destroy the president's political enemies is one of the reasons why Richard "Enemies List" Nixon was run out of Washington. And it's a key reason why Bush should have been impeached. Using the U.S. justice system as a weapon to beat up personal enemies with is way, way over the legal line. But Palin has no clue that that line is even there: the use of official power for personal political purposes seems perfectly natural to her.

Oh, boy, once I'm president I can finally silence my critics!


It's official: Palin is running for president

When reporters went along on her fishing trip, Palin said flat out that she wants a career in "public service".

She ain't talking about the governor's job, or running for VP. Been there, done that.

She ain't talking about the Senate. Everyone knows she's an ignoramus on policy, and Murkowski would slaughter her.

That leaves...the White House.

Her next visits to Iowa and New Hampshire will come any time now.

Boehner gets busted for lying about Obama again

When U.S. House Minority Leader John Boehner told a newscaster Sunday that not a single stimulus-funded road contract in his home state of Ohio had been let, he was wrong. The Ohio Department of Transportation has OK'd 52 stimulus-funded road and bridge projects at a cost of nearly $84 million. Boehner told Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace that in "Ohio, the infrastructure dollars that were sent there months ago," as part of the economic recovery package, "there hasn't been a contract let, to my knowledge."

This is all the GOP team has left -- lies, attacks, etc....

Monday 6 July 2009

So did Palin really deserve the heat she got from the media?

Um, yeah.

Never in the last century, with the exception of James Stockdale, have we had a national candidate who was so obviously unqualified and unfit for the office. Sarah Palin bumbled her way through five colleges in six years, getting a D in her one economics course before giving up, on her way to a journalism major at the University of Idaho. Then a disastrous record in the mostly ceremonial job of small-town mayor, and then, by the sheer luck of not being the hated Murkowski, landing the job as governor of a state with maybe 600,000 people. When selected for the GOP ticket she had only made one trip out of North America in her life and had never met a foreign head of state. Before the McCain campaign buried her in seclusion, she committed one gaffe after another: believing that Africa is all one country, that Freddie and Fannie Mae are taxpayer-funded, that the Founding Fathers wrote the Pledge of Allegiance, flipflopping on war with Russia (which undoubtedly caused jaws to drop all over Moscow), admitting ignorance about Iraq and Iran and the Bush doctrine and the role of the Vice President. Even the Republican president of Alaska ’s state Senate said “she’s not prepared to be governor; how can she be prepared to be vice president or president?” McCain tried to help her by claiming she’s ready to be commander in chief by virtue of her “commanding” the national guard, but the national guard adjutant general shot that down, pointing out that the entire operation is under federal control and the governor isn’t even getting their briefings. The frightening bit is that in spite of all this, she is positive that she’s ready to be commander in chief and take that 3AM call. Palin is not as stupid as she looked in the campaign, but that narrative is hardening into history, and it will be hard for her to overcome the Tina Fey caricature. She's trying really hard to do a makeover, but it will be an uphill battle.

A key issue is that Palin doesn’t actually know how to govern as an executive. The Wasilla mayors before Palin did the mayorial work themselves, but Palin needed to hire a city manager because she couldn’t handle the job (and because her sledgehammer political tactics made her so unpopular that a recall campaign ensued). Even as governor there is little to do, since 65 percent of the state is owned and run by the federal government, and she has little to do but hand out the oil money and federal pork.

When she does need to act, disaster ensues. As governor, she gave the legislature no direction and budget guidelines, then made a big grandstand display of line-item vetoing projects, calling them pork. Public outcry and further legislative action restored most of these projects — which had been vetoed simply because she was ignorant of their importance — but with the unobservant she had gained a reputation as "anti-pork." The self-proclaimed budget-cutter actually signed the biggest state budget in history; she took flak for not slowing down the spending. She paid for it all by borrowing a ton of money, relying on oil revenue, swiping pension money, and taking advantage of the arrival of big-box stores by jacking up sales taxes, using consumers like an ATM, which disproportionately hurt the poor and the middle class.

Likewise, hiring: her first police chief was fired as part of a personal vendetta; the second, also fired for political reasons; candidate number three rejected the job as “too political”; number four had to be fired within two weeks, because Palin didn’t bother to vet him and he turned out to be…a sexual predator.

Everything she touched fell apart. She blew $15 million on a sports complex that was actually on someone else’s land; a blizzard of legal action ensued and a $1 million payout was required. She wasted almost a million taxpayer dollars on an agricultural firm which experts had told her repeatedly was hopeless; in the process she fired all the people who opposed her—the entire Board of Agriculture (appointing her cronies to replace them). At one point farmers were pouring milk into the ground at a cost of $200,000. Her proposed pipeline deal is likely to go bust, which means taxpayers are out $500 million.

Palin’s popularity in Alaska was already dropping – ominously, even her presence on the national ticket didn’t increase Alaska voter turnout – and now it is obvious that she is too busy tarting up her national image to even try to do her job at home. The main Alaska paper condemned her for ignoring Alaska ’s sagging school graduation rates, dropping oil prices, and the pipeline problem. Medicare patients can’t get doctors. A key fishery has collapsed. Rural residents are off the main Alaska power grid and hurting during a very cold winter (Palin gave them a one-time $1200 payment and then abandoned them); some are using a lot of their money for fuel and living on moose meat.

Her record of crooked deals is dotted with lies and betrayal.

She collected per diem money while living at home, a crime which another official got fired for, then didn’t declare the money as income, and then lied about it all. She broke the law by failing to declare their financial business in an Anchorage car wash; they didn’t pay their licensing fees on time either – they were more than a year late. She used taxpayer resources for campaign expenses, steered tax money toward organizations that give misleading information on abortion, and raided the state pension fund for money. She used her influence to get a state job for one of her fundraisers. She raised her salary and then claimed she lowered it.

She is in the pocket of Big Oil: her chief adviser lobbied for TransCanada, who won a pipeline deal from Palin. The Palins violated their promise that her petroleum-industry husband would quit her job if she became governor. She thinks global warming is a hoax, she wants to drill in ANWR, and sued Bush for protecting polar bears (she also blocked a plan to protect salmon from contamination by miners).

She was endorsed by crooked Senator Ted Stevens, ran a 527 for him, did advertising with him (although the advertising mysteriously disappeared from the web), then threw him under the bus, claiming she opposed him. She is linked to the rest of the corrupt Alaska Republican machine, which she claims she reformed. She hired a lobbyist who also worked both for Ted Stevens, a crook, and Jack Abramoff, another crook.

She fought for earmarks and hired lobbyists to help get almost $200 million in pork (including $27 million for her hometown), which even McCain criticized, and then flipflopped completely and claimed to be an anti-earmark reformer. When Palin was campaigning for governor, she told her constituents that the “bridge to nowhere” was essential. She went to Washington to fight for the federal money for the bridge, and hired lobbyists to help her. When the resulting outcry started hurting her chances at the VP slot, she threw the Alaskans under the bus, changed her mind on the bridge, and is now bragging she opposed it all along.

And incidentally, Palin’s plane was not sold on eBay, and she lost money on it.

Palin abused her power at least three times during her reign of terror, to fire family enemies and political opponents: one was so egregious the town almost passed a mayoral recall. Also, Sarah’s husband Todd has pursued his own vendettas: a state employee named John Bitney made the terrible mistake of dating the soon-to-be ex-wife of a friend of Todd’s. Todd had him fired.

Palin has a long track record of betrayal. A number of times she has fired or targeted people who had helped her, including the City Council person who personally escorted her around town, introducing her to voters when she first ran for City Council. The person became one of her first targets when she was later elected mayor. She used Ted Stevens to get pork projects and then turned around and publicly humiliated him. She promised the “bridge to nowhere” to local residents, and then threw them under the bus because the unpopular project was interfering with Palin’s national political aspirations.
She screwed over local consumers with jacked-up sales taxes and stole from the state pension funds. And of course now, off the record, she and her allies are slamming McCain, the guy who made her national career possible in the first place.

Palin has a Nixonian paranoia about loyalty. Eleven days after taking office in 1996, she mailed letters to each of the city’s top managers requesting that they resign as a test of loyalty. She fired all the department heads who had supported her predecessor, and then betrayed some of her own supporters by firing them for suspicions of insufficient loyalty. She fired the police chief and the library director because they committed the heinous crime of...not supporting her campaign for mayor: she was quite open about it. She simply had termination letters typed up and thrown on their desks – she didn’t even have the guts to do it in person. The department heads she did keep were not even allowed to talk to reporters without her permission. She fired a whole room full of experts just because they told her, correctly, that her plan to rescue a doomed dairy was hopeless. She tried to fire a librarian just because she wouldn’t go along with her book-banning crusade. She was slapped down for trying to illegally pack the City Council with her supporters.

Palin had tremendous staff turnover due to her diva-like behavior, her inability to get along with staffers, her excessive micromanagement. She fired people, drove them to quit, and scared off potential employees. She also fought ideas that weren't generated by her or her loyalists.

Her reign of terror was needlessly nasty. The GOP claims she represents the values of small-town America , but the truth is exactly the opposite. Wasilla was a typical small town, everybody knows everybody, everybody behaves for the most part. They already had small-town values. But Palin came in and brought harsh, nasty partisan politics to a town that had never known it before.

Even her treatment of her own family is appalling. She didn’t just exploit her family as campaign props for political purposes: she publicly humiliated her own daughter, not just in front of the Alaskan community but across the nation, just so the rumors about Sarah Palin would stop. How ruthless can you get? Palin also risked her own baby’s life by flying to Alaska after her water broke. When Palin was forced out of the mayor’s job by term limits, her mother-in-law, who is pro-choice, ran for the job. Sarah backed her opponent, and their allies spray-painted “BABYKILLER” on the mother-in-law’s campaign signs. The woman who beat her mother-in-law is still mayor of Wasilla. The mother-in-law supported Obama for 2008.

Troopergate: Palin’s sister was married to a cop named Wooten. There was a bitter divorce case. The Palins concocted accusations against Wooten: torturing children, making death threats, other nonsense. Palin, members of her family, and members of her gubernatorial staff made incessant phone calls and emails to get Wooten fired, without cause. Palin’s husband, who has no official position, directed the police commissioner to investigate Wooten. Palin circulated an email rant, three pages long, against Wooten. Palin even stalked Wooten, driving to the house and peeping through the window. Wooten’s private personnel file was illegally leaked, to embarrass him.

The police commissioner, Monegan, declined to take part in Palin’s insane jihad against Wooten, and pointed out that if she didn’t stop this stupid holy war, Wooten could sue her and win big. Palin fired Monegan, a member of her cabinet; she has already given two different stories as to why he was fired, but it was his refusal to fire Wooten that did the trick. Palin claimed her office had no role in this, but then tapes were released which proved her a liar. The tapes also showed that Palin’s husband was advocating the firing – which shows it really was all about the family’s grievance, not the commissioner’s public duties. One superior court judge told the Palins “that the bitterness of whatever who did what to whom has overridden good judgment” and that their actions were silly.

An investigation ensued, which Palin tried to block, which in my day was called obstruction of justice.

Palin actually filed an ethics complaint against herself, in an effort to get the ethics probe taken away from the Alaska legislature and put in the hands of a board which has three members appointed by Palin. Palin lied to the Alaskan people in the case, and may have perjured herself. 87 percent of Alaskans said she’s lying. In the end it was determined that Palin broke the law, violating Alaska Statute 39.52.110(a) of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act. According to the law she should be impeached: even if an impeachment is launched and fails, her national aspirations would be in deep trouble.

Sarah Barracuda, indeed. This woman makes Lucretia Borgia look like Mary Poppins. She has the same combination of viciousness and stupidity that characterized Tonya Harding and Pamela Smart: her career runs a perfect parallel with Nicole Kidman in “To Die For”. This was her audition as an executive, and she failed disastrously. Even at the level of a small state, she handled executive power like my seven year old trying to handle a chain saw. Imagine Palin’s brand of recklessness and ruthlessness, harnessed to all the power of the executive branch: it’s Cheney II. Imagine if this Twinkie becomes president, and handles her cabinet picks and staffers they way she's been doing in Alaska -- poor judgment, personal vendettas, abuse of power, illegal leaks of private information, allowing her husband to use governmental power to crush the careers of his imagined enemies, inability to competently pick subordinates and vet them...? Washingtonians were shuddering at McCain’s promise/threat that Palin would be bringing her ugly tactics to the capital, doing the same death-and-destruction job on our nation’s capital, that she did in Wasilla and Juneau, repeating the very Rove/Cheney/Gonzalez tactics that repelled Washington the first time.

Sarah Evita Imelda Leona Cruella Palin. Just what America needs in our time of crisis, challenge and change.

Like many Republicans Palin faces a nasty problem: how to appeal to the far-right GOP base which picks all the nominees, while also appealing to the moderates and independents who get the deciding vote in general elections? Palin is popular among the base, but has serious problems among independents and moderates. During the 2008 race her negatives among independents doubled, reaching a 44/48 favorable/unfavorable differential; two thirds of independents said she is unqualified for the presidency, and among independents who said Palin was a key factor in their presidential choice, she lost 20-74. She played particularly badly in the suburbs; among other things, her snotty comments about community organizers didn’t sit well with all those Rotarian types organizing church suppers and so forth in suburbs and small towns. 53 percent of independents do not want her on the national scene in the future, at all. Among all Americans, the news isn’t much better: while Obama, McCain and Clinton saw their numbers improve after the election, Palin remained mired in a 35/45 favorable/unfavorable.

The smart move for Palin might be to move to the center so that she doesn’t get slaughtered in a general election, but the simple fact is that the hard-core party base which picks all the presidential nominees loves her because she is way, way to the right, a lifetime NRA member, who served not only as a campaigner but also as a fundraiser for ultra-Nazi Pat Buchanan.

She is a hard-core evangelical in a fanatic “End of Days” church; she sat patiently as her preacher claimed that Jews deserve to die by terror because they are unbelievers, a story that somehow didn’t get Jeremiah-Wright-size coverage (the church website with the inflammatory sermons mysteriously went off the air). Her church was passing out fliers for a group working to teach gays to “overcome” their homosexuality. Unlike Reagan and the Bushes, she is actually serious about overturning Roe and getting a constitutional amendment banning abortion; she opposes abortion even in cases of rape (she also charged rape victims for their rape kits!). She steered tax money toward organizations that give misleading information on abortion. She opposes stem-cell research. She rejects sex education and insists on abstinence-only education. She opposes same-sex marriage, and equal treatment for same-sex couples, to include benefits. She tried to ban books in her hometown library, and tried to fire the librarian when she objected. She wants creationism taught even in public schools.

This nastiness also translated into policy: she cut funding for a program to help teen mothers who need a place to live -- savor the irony! -- (she also slashed funding for special needs children and then said she was a friend of special-needs families). When Alaska ’s highest court struck down an overly-restrictive anti-abortion law in 2007, Palin shrieked that it was "outrageous".

She favors an energy policy that only Exxon could love. She wants to drill in ANWR and she wants offshore drilling; she doesn’t want to protect endangered species, and even sued Bush for being too far to the left on putting polar bears on the endangered list. She thinks global warming is a hoax.

She gave Israel the green light to bomb Iran; she says we must not blink in invading Pakistani territory; she tapdanced on whether the Iraq war is God’s will; she thinks Iraq was behind 911.

She tilted more taxes away from the rich and toward working people, by cutting property taxes and raising sales taxes. She opposes fixing the health care system: she wants to leave all health care to the market and to “personal responsibility”; she cut funding for a program to help teen mothers who need a place to live.

She joined an extreme Alaskan secessionist party that proclaims its hate for America; she later joined the GOP so she could run for the Wasilla job, but the McCain campaign admitted that she was still involved in the secessionist party’s conventions and other activities. The secessionist party’s founder proclaimed hate for the American government and its flag, insisting he was an Alaskan rather than an American; their leader calls for renunciation of Alaska’s allegiance to the United States, and assures party members that Palin “puts Alaska first." These guys are dead serious about making secession happen: their founder died in an illegal deal gone bad – to buy explosives. Having her in the Oval Office could be like electing Jefferson Davis as the president in Washington – ready for another civil war?

Palin’s problem is that she has credibility problems both as an executive and as a qualified player on national issues. Being governor doesn’t address the national-issue problem, and being Senator doesn’t address the executive-credibility problem (and a House run doesn’t help on either front). All in all, however, I don’t think another term as governor helps her much, particularly if she continues to do the job the way she is doing it now. And the 2008 election showed she needs more credibility on national issues, which also points to the Senate. The Senate also gives her more visibility, and makes it easier for her to raise money legally. The only downside is that while she would probably win relection to the governor’s job with little trouble, she would lose the Senate race (Palin still resents Murkowski because her father gave her the Senate job instead of Palin). Palin has enemies in Alaska, even in her own party, and the main newspaper doesn’t like her either. A loss in a Senate race would seriously hamper her presidential hopes. Even if she wins a Senate seat, she would have no seniority, and jumping from the Senate to the White House has always been a challenge.

Palin is definitely running for the White House: her husband was talking to Alaska politicians about it even before the 2008 election, and right after the election, national ad slots were bought, for ads thanking Palin and comparing her to Reagan. Palin herself said a presidential run is up to God and the people of Alaska.

Palin seems to have avoided taking too much of the blame for the 2008 election; most Republicans are sticking to the story that the Republican philosophy works but McCain and Bush betrayed it; this allows Palin to claim she’s the true standard bearer for those values. But Republicans do remember that she publicly defied McCain on a number of issues during the election, and she and her staffers have been badmouthing the McCain campaign from the beginning.

With the election over, and with all the damage done to her reputation, it is easier for other Republicans to attack her now. Eventually someone must be the first Republican to publicly criticize her, undoubtedly a presidential contender: whoever tackles her first faces great risk but also great potential reward -- the role of the Anti-Palin. Once the first one steps up, others will follow, and she will take some serious pounding.

Already the sharks are circling. Gingrich says she is not the de facto party leader. When Mark Sanford was asked about her position as a party leader, he actually laughed before putting on his game face and giving his “A” answer. Jon Huntsman, another presidential prospect, says she must perform as governor. An aide to one 2012 contender called her “our Britney Spears”, a “cult of personality”.

A pivotal event in all this was the Republican governors meeting in Miami in late 2008. Palin used the venue to hog some serious camera time in front of the media, at the expense of all the other governors, including some potential presidential candidates. The other governors were incensed. Rick Perry actually shoved her out of the way to get to the microphone.

Two things in her favor: first, her potential rivals are not a terribly impressive bunch. Second, while party moderates want someone with bipartisan appeal like Romney, the hard-core base, which dominates the party, loves Palin. The rightwingers think an attack on Palin is an attack on them, while the moderates see a presidential ticket headed by Palin in terms of the far right running the party off a cliff.

Two things to watch: who does she help in the 2010 race, particularly with fundraising (like she did with Chambliss in Georgia ), and who comes to help her in whatever she runs for that year? Would McCain help her, and would she even want his help?

She can reinvent her image in the next four years, but she needs to start now before the cement hardens and she is permanently written off as an airhead. She can establish a little bit of gravitas playing small ball: doing the Sunday morning shows, going out for speeches and trade delegations, publishing articles. Writing a book is tricky: a book on policy won’t sell, and a tell-all on the campaign will cause serious problems. One problem for her in the gravitas department is that Clampett-like family of hers.

Characteristically she is trying to have her cake and eat it too. She still has star power and she can still attract the media (although her camera-hogging is angering other Republicans), but she is also picking fights with the media, belittling Katie Couric, slamming the main Alaska newspaper. The media have returned the favor: Maureen Dowd, for one, called her “Eliza Know-Little”. Can she whip up the GOP base by attacking the media, without the media and her GOP rivals striking back?

Another problem: the more she stays at home in Alaska, the quicker people forget about her, but the more she seeks the national limelight, the angrier the Alaskans get, because she is neglecting her job.

She will need to ditch her snotty and sarcastic tone. She comes off as just plain nasty. She called Hillary a whiner, for complaining about her critics (Irony Alert!). She was caught on tape laughing hysterically as the Alaskan Senate President, a cancer survivor, was called a cancer and a bitch. A lot of Alaskans are actually angry about the lipstick/pitbull comment, because Palin pulled that quote out right when the big story in Alaska was about a six-year-old girl who was viciously attacked by a pit bull and eventually died after being taken off life support. For Palin to crack a pitbull joke in front of a national audience was incredibly insensitive.

Palin does have one priceless political skill: she can look straight into the camera, smile, say something completely dishonest or hypocritical, and never blink. Even televangelists and used car salesmen can’t lie as convincingly as she can. All through the 2008 campaign, the lies never stopped: lies about Obama, taxes, Iraq, Troopergate, the bridge to nowhere, the eBay plane, everything. She is completely tone-deaf to hypocrisy: she ridiculed the stage pillars at the Democratic convention which were modeled almost exactly on a similar event staged by the Republicans, and she claimed as her own idea the prospect of putting the federal budget online, which actually originated with Obama. Her snotty comment about community organizers was completely disingenuous because she was comparing Obama’s work as community organizer with her work as mayor – which happened more than a decade apart. When Obama was a community organizer, he was so young he hadn’t even been to law school yet, which incidentally was Harvard Law; Palin at that time was flunking out of her third college on her way to a bachelor’s in journalism at the University of Idaho and a job as a TV sports babe. And by the time Palin was mayor, Obama was on his way to the Illinois Senate where he represented many more people than Palin did. Palin knew she was being dishonest, but she swung for the fences anyway.

The teabagger movement collapses

So what happened to Tea Party II? That was supposed to be the thunderous Independence Day sequel to the April teabaggery. From what I’ve seen of the press reports so far, there seems to be a pattern: a tea party event is announced for the Fourth, turnout is much lower than expectations, the organizers claim that turnout was higher than reported, they game the system by claiming that all those folks who just showed up for the fireworks and the Tilt-A-Whirl were really teabaggers too, and then they complain that the media is either ignoring them or lowballing the turnout numbers.

So all that’s left of the teabagger movement is the far, far, far right hardcore. Two signs that this is true: First, white supremacists, racist groups and the neo-Nazis are targeting the teabagger gatherings for recruiting. Second, at one event they were booing John Cornyn! John Cornyn, the rightwing loon who has helped lead the effort to obstruct everything Obama does, and even threatened a filibuster if they tried to seat Franken in the Senate! Even Cornyn was booed and called a traitor, by the teabaggers – that’s how far to the right the hardcore wingnut base has gone!

And thus the GOP effort to whip up hate against our first black president has ended not with a bang but with a whimper.

Even Republicans are giving up on Palin

Huckabee: he said he’s not sure Palin could run for President now.
Fred Barnes: “Forget about Sarah Palin as the Republican presidential candidate in 2012 and probably ever.”
Karl Rove: “Risky”.
Chuck Grassley: “Astounding”.
George Will: “She now is a quitter.”
Lisa Murkowski: she said Palin abandoned the people of Alaska.

One guy who is defending her is McCain – because every time she shows appalling bad judgment, it reflects on his judgment, for picking her to be VP. But his staffers are slamming Palin.

As TPM pointed out, Palin didn’t resign – she only promised to resign. Could she pull a 180 and un-quit, like Perot did in 1992? Remember that Perot also quit because he couldn’t stand the heat, and then returned just in time to get the spotlight back on him for the debates.

Also, with regard to Palin's threat to sue Shannyn Moore: if Palin has a decent lawyer (which is debatable, given Palin's threat against Moore), a good lawyer would warn Palin that if she takes this nonsense to court, then Moore and her lawyer can legitimately bring in witnesses to discuss virtually everything Moore ever reported about, with respect to Palin -- including a long list of devastating scandals. Not only will that be incredibly embarrassing to Palin, but it also could put her, her husband, and a lot of her staffers in jeopardy for perjury charges, contempt of court, and further civil countersuits.

Also -- Palin could do any one of a hundred crazy things, and one of them is to try to pardon herself, if she finds herself in legal jeopardy -- that's if Alaska law allows it, which would need to be researched. But she would need to do it now. And it would only apply to violations of state law -- she couldn't pardon herself on a federal violation.

Sunday 5 July 2009

Palin's Saturday suicide

Sarah Palin’s rambling, James-Joyce-like resignation speech was bad enough – it essentially destroyed her career. But her Independence Day message really drove the final nail in her coffin.

"How sad that Washington and the media will never understand; it’s about country. And though it's honorable for countless others to leave their positions for a higher calling and without finishing a term, of course we know by now, for some reason a different standard applies for the decisions I make. But every American understands what it takes to make a decision because it’s right for all, including your family."

The media won’t leave me alone. Sorry, babe, but if you can’t stand the heat in your current position, then you have no hope of handling the media scrutiny a President gets, doing press conferences with the White House press corps every week or so. If you can’t handle reporters, you can’t be President. And nobody ever became a political superstar by declaring war on the press.

Palin actually doubled down on this bet by sending out her lawyer to threaten legal attacks against reporters:

“To the extent several websites, most notably liberal Alaska blogger Shannyn Moore, are now claiming as "fact" that Governor Palin resigned because she is "under federal investigation" for embezzlement or other criminal wrongdoing, we will be exploring legal options this week to address such defamation. This is to provide notice to Ms. Moore, and those who re-publish the defamation, such as Huffington Post, MSNBC, the New York Times and The Washington Post, that the Palins will not allow them to propagate defamatory material without answering to this in a court of law. The Alaska Constitution protects the right of free speech, while simultaneously holding those "responsible for the abuse of that right." Alaska Constitution Art. I, Sec. 5. These falsehoods abuse the right to free speech; continuing to publish these falsehoods of criminal activity is reckless, done without any regard for the truth, and is actionable.”

If her bonehead lawyer knew anything about media law, he would know that as a public figure, the only way Palin can win damages for defamation is by proving that folks like the Times and the Post knowingly launched dishonest attacks against her – that’s the Supreme Court talking, which trumps Alaska state law. The Times and the Post know infinitely more about researching and disseminating the truth than Palin ever will. And there is no need to lie, to make Palin look bad – all they need to do is report what she says and does without any embellishment.

Public life is too hard on my family. Sorry, but it’s part of the job. And if you were that concerned about your family, you shouldn’t have shamelessly abused and exploited both Trig and Bristol for your own personal political purposes – you stuck them out there in the spotlight, so you can’t have it both ways. If your family can’t handle it, you can’t be President.

I can serve the people best by being out of office. This is a pretty simple one: if you openly admit the people are better off when you have no political power...then we’re going to take you at your word, and you can’t be dogcatcher, let alone President. That is particularly true for a governor who has accomplished virtually nothing positive.

It’s honourable for countless others to quit in the middle of their terms. WTF? The only people who give up political power in the middle of their terms are people who are (a) about to get indicted, (b) can’t take the heat, or (c) are just plain nuts. Any one of those three reasons disqualifies her from higher office. Again, you can’t be President.

And....Washington will never understand me....Say whaaaaat?

As for the Senate: being a Senator means that you need to be credible on policy – that you can sit on the Judiciary Committee and pick a Supreme Court Justice, or sit on the Foreign Relations Committee and help the President craft foreign policy, or write America’s health care plan. Palin has no credibility whatsoever. So, no White House, no Senate either.

As Jon Stewart so ably pointed out, Michael Jackson’s death was a godsend for another crazy governor, Mark Sanford, because it steered the media’s attention away from his erratic behaviour, but Sanford stupidly kept yapping and attracted the spotlight back in his direction. Palin did the same thing – she compounded her original error with her inability to STFU, her pathological need to hog the spotlight and have the last word.

My dream scenario: Palin and Sanford had an affair....I can dream, can’t I?

Do we really want to hand presidential power to a woman who has such an extraordinary talent for destroying everyone and everything within her reach? Look at what she has done to Alaska, the Republican party...even McCain. Every time Palin commits another act of lunacy, she makes McCain look like a dangerously clueless loon, for creating the Palin Phenomenon and setting her on the path toward the White House like a fucking Nazgul flying toward Bag End.