Saturday, November 08, 2008


Wasilla Hillbillies: Palin and Husband Loot the Republican Party. Spray Tan? Silk Boxers?

More Dirt on Sarah Palin's Fancy Duds

Sarah and Todd Palin (David McNew/Getty Images)

The McCain-Palin campaign is over, but Wardrobe-gate lives on. More embarrassing details have emerged about Sarah Palin's infamous shopping sprees -- including even more designer duds, plus sprayed-on tans and fancy underwear.

On top of the $150,000 first outlined in Federal Election Commission filings, Palin spent "tens of thousands of dollars" on additional clothing, makeup and jewelry for herself and her family, including $40,000 in luxury goods for her husband, Todd, our colleague Michael Shear reports. The campaign was charged for silk boxer shorts, spray tanners and 13 suitcases to carry all the designer clothes, according to two GOP insiders.

"The shopping continued after the convention in Minneapolis, it continued all around the country," one source said. "She was still receiving shipments of custom-designed underpinnings up to her 'Saturday Night Live' performance" in October. Sources said expenses were put on the personal credit cards of low-level Palin staffers and discovered when they asked party officials for reimbursement.

Newsweek reports that top McCain aides were stunned by the huge tab, especially after adviser Nicolle Wallace had told Palin to buy three outfits for the convention and three for the campaign trail, with a budget of $25,000; instead, the nominee racked up six-figure bills at high-end department stores. "Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast," a McCain aide sniffed to the magazine.

Palin has always contended that she didn't ask for the extravagant makeover. The campaign previously said the used clothing would be auctioned off for charity; the L.A. Times reports that a Republican National Committee lawyer is headed to Alaska to inventory and retrieve the items still in her possession.

Friday, November 07, 2008


Still Reeling from the History of Tuesday Night's Election? This Will Put It In Perspective.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


Obama Contemplates First Huge Mistake: Lawrence Summers. Don't Do It Barack. Don't.

Lawrence Summers "Africa is Under-Polluted"

by Max Blumenthal

Lawrence Summers is on a very short list of possible nominees for Secretary of Treasury. His selection has been complicated, however, by his destructive performance as president of Harvard University, a rocky term he finally sabotaged by revealing his opinion that women lack the mental aptitude to succeed in science.

But there is a lesser known episode in Summers' past that further highlights his reckless tendencies, and foreshadows a politically nettlesome nomination process.

On December 12, 1991, while serving as chief economist for the World Bank, Summers authored a private memo arguing that the bank should actively encourage the dumping of toxic waste in developing countries, particularly "under populated countries in Africa," which Summers described as "UNDER-polluted." Summers added that public outrage over the heightened rates of prostate cancer caused by his proposed dumping would be mitigated by the fact that poor people in developing countries rarely live long enough to develop prostate cancer.

Read the full Summers memo here.

When the Summers memo leaked to the public in February 1992, Brazil's Secretary of the Environment, Jose Lutzenburger, responded with an indignant missive. "Your reasoning is perfectly logical but totally insane," Lutzenburger told Summers. "Your thoughts [provide] a concrete example of the unbelievable alienation, reductionist thinking, social ruthlessness and the arrogant ignorance of many conventional 'economists' concerning the nature of the world we live in... If the World Bank keeps you as vice president it will lose all credibility."

If Obama nominates Summers, he will send a dispiriting message to governments of developing countries -- especially in Africa -- just as they have begun to look at the United States as a beacon of hope.

Back in the U.S., Summers' nomination would prompt a reexamination by the media of the countless controversies he has fomented. Even an episode as tangential as Summers' romantic fling with right-wing hatemonger Laura Ingraham could become a source of political embarrassment for the White House. Summers should be left to write his memoirs, not memos.


John McCain let Sarah Palin take us to the brink.

by Kagro X

The hottest post-election gossip blazing its way across the country is, as Scout Finch noted earlier, the "revelation" that Sarah Palin was in fact even more embarrassingly clueless than her empty-headed performance over the past two months had already led America and the world to believe.

Didn't know Africa was a continent. Couldn't name the member nations of NAFTA, even though they're the immediate neighbors of the United States. And, by the way, she was never shy about parroting the crap she had been programmed with about trade, and what a genius she was on the subject because she was from a state near Russia. Or something. Also.

But think about what this means, and what almost happened to this country.
Frankly, the people who knew this about her and were still directly responsible for "vetting" her, putting her on the ticket, attempting to foist this idiot on the American people, and protecting her while there was still a chance (however theoretical) that she could become Vice President and possibly President of the United States ought to be arrested and tried for treason.

The American public, and indeed the American constitutional system, was completely unprepared for a potential disaster of this magnitude. I've said before that we were all "low information voters" now, at least with respect to being able to actually evaluate the candidates for their fitness for jobs which we were no longer permitted -- as a matter of national security -- to know the parameters of. But putting this dolt on the ticket takes us ten thousand miles into the fucking Twilight Zone.

We used to think that having debates was an adequate way of gauging performance for our candidates, even though the realities of television have turned them into staged dog and pony shows these days. But even just as a measure of whether a candidate could mouth correct-ish, truthy-sounding answers, they still retained some value -- even as Palin failed even that ridiculously dumbed-down test. We were willing to live with the faked-for-television debate framework because it was always premised on the assumption that the candidates shared with most Americans a common base of cultural and political knowledge that any competent person could automatically be credited with, simply by virtue of having successfully grown to adulthood as an American, and presumably having gone through some sort of educational process, formal or otherwise.

Now it turns out that we would have been better off evaluating at least our Vice Presidential candidates by putting them on Jeopardy! Or in this case, even The Tonight Show's "Jaywalking" segment would have been sufficient.

Here we were trying to evaluate Palin's ability to explain the Republican ticket's economic plans, when she may never even have known how many pennies were in a dollar, or who the faces on the bills were. We jumped right past basic grammar school evaluations, because the gravity of the office McCain was contending for is one that has always caused Americans to automatically assume that the candidates would have enough respect to actually prepare to take on that mantle before challenging for the seat, and because we've always assumed that as much as we disagreed with the other party, it could at least be trusted to act in its own best interest by nominating a ticket that wouldn't be disqualified on its face, or be laughed out of the country for lack of even the most basic knowledge about who we are and what we're about as a country. Including such trivia as, say, the names of the countries we border.

But just as Alan Greenspan could sit before the Congress as an economist and profess utter shock at the possibility that corporate officers -- whose compensation became decoupled from actual performance over 20 years ago -- would put their own personal financial interests before that of the companies that hired them, I guess we now have to hope someone will believe us when we say we're utterly shocked by the possibility that Republican presidential candidates would similarly put their own ambition before the good of the country.

I guess looking back it's now clear why everything they touch turns to shit.

John McCain should never live this down.


Global Warming Denier Micheal Crichton Dead at 66.

Heralded as an "expert" on global warming by right wingers and neocons and dumbshits in the mainstream media, author Micheal Crichton died of cancer yesterday at the age of 66.

Crichton is best remembered for his novels most notably Jurassic Park and Andromeda Strain. However, I will remember him best for his Anti-Environmentalist Rant: State of Fear. In the book Crichton uses pseudo-science to challenge the scientific consensus that humans are causing global warming.

Crichton uses the book to push his radical right wing agenda and sermonize about the evils of environmentalists.

For a great review of the book check here. And for a debunking of the book by actual scientists check here and here.

Farewell Crichton. I'm sure one day soon the Christian Right will be using Jurassic Park as "Evidence" that Humans and Dinosaurs walked the Earth together. Your place in the anti-science right wingers hall of fame is secure.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


More Republican Than 2004


When I walked out of my house this morning, I literally felt like I was living in a different country. Thank You America.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Let's See How Far We've Come


Monday, November 03, 2008


Republicans Try To Keep People From Voting. How in good conscience can anyone support a party that doesn't want Americans to Vote?

The usual dirty tricks acquire a racist bent

Associated Press

Monday, November 03, 2008

In the hours before Election Day, as inevitable as winter, comes an onslaught of dirty tricks —- confusing e-mails, disturbing phone calls and insinuating fliers left on doorsteps during the night.

The intent, almost always, is to keep folks from voting or to confuse them, usually through intimidation or misinformation. But in this presidential race, in which a black man leads most polls, some of the deceit has a decidedly racist bent.

Complaints have surfaced in predominantly African-American neighborhoods of Philadelphia where fliers have circulated warning voters they could be arrested at the polls if they have unpaid parking tickets or if they have criminal convictions.

Over the weekend in Virginia, bogus fliers with an authentic-looking commonwealth seal said fears of high voter turnout had prompted election officials to hold two elections —- one on Tuesday for Republicans and another on Wednesday for Democrats.

In New Mexico, two Hispanic women filed a lawsuit last week claiming they were harassed by a private investigator working for a Republican lawyer who came to their homes and threatened to call immigration authorities, even though they are U.S. citizens.

“He was questioning her status, saying that he needed to see her papers and documents to show that she was a U.S. citizen and was a legitimate voter,” said Guadalupe Bojorquez, speaking on behalf of her mother, Dora Escobedo, a 67-year-old Albuquerque resident who speaks only Spanish. “He totally, totally scared the heck out of her.”

In Pennsylvania, e-mails appeared linking Democrat Barack Obama to the Holocaust. “Jewish Americans cannot afford to make the wrong decision on Tuesday, Nov. 4,” said the electronic message, paid for by an entity calling itself the Republican Federal Committee. “Many of our ancestors ignored the warning signs in the 1930s and 1940s and made a tragic mistake.”

Laughlin McDonald, who leads the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, said he has never seen “an election where there was more interest and more voter turnout, and more efforts to suppress registration and turnout. And that has a real impact on minorities.”

The Obama campaign and civil rights advocacy groups have signed up millions of new voters for this presidential race. In Ohio alone, some 600,000 have submitted new voter registration cards.

Across the country, many of these first-time voters are young and are strong Obama supporters. Many are also black and Hispanic.

Activist groups say they expect the dirty tricks to get dirtier in final hours before Tuesday.

“Oh, there’s plenty of time for things to get ugly,” said Zachary Stalberg, president of the Committee of Seventy, a nonpartisan Philadelphia-based government watchdog group.

Other reports of intimidation efforts in hotly contested Pennsylvania include leaflets taped to picnic benches at Drexel University, warning students that police would be at the polls on Tuesday to arrest would-be voters with prior criminal offenses.

In his Jewish neighborhood, Stalberg said, fliers were recently left claiming Obama was more sympathetic to Palestinians than to Israel, and showed a photograph of him speaking in Germany.

“It shows up between the screen door and the front door in the middle of the night,” Stalberg said. “Why couldn’t someone knock on the door and hand that to me in the middle of the day? In a sense, it’s very smartly done. The message gets through. It’s done carefully enough that people might read it.”

Such tactics are common and are often impossible to trace. Robo-calls, in which automated, bogus phone messages are sent over and over, are very hard to trace to their source, say voting advocates. E-mails fall into the same category.

In Nevada, for example, Latino voters said they had received calls from people describing themselves as Obama volunteers, urging them to cast their ballot over the phone.

The calls were reported to Election Protection, a nonprofit advocacy group that runs a hot line for election troubles. The organization does not know who orchestrated them.

“The Voting Rights Act makes it a crime to mislead and intimidate voters,” said McDonald. “If you can find out who’s doing it, those people should be prosecuted. But sometimes it’s just difficult to know who’s doing what. Some of it’s just anonymous.”

Trying to mislead voters is nothing new.

“We see this every year,” said Jonah Goldman of the advocacy group Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “It all happens around this time when there’s too much other stuff going on in the campaigns, and it doesn’t get investigated.”

In 2006, automated phone calls in the final days leading to the federal election wrongly warned some voters they would not be allowed to vote without a photo ID. In Colorado and Virginia, people reported receiving calls that told them their registrations had expired and they would be arrested if they showed up to vote.

The White House contest of 2004 was marked by similar deceptions. In Milwaukee, fliers went up advising people “if you’ve already voted in any election this year, you can’t vote in the presidential election.” In Pennsylvania, a letter bearing what appeared to be the McCandless Township seal falsely proclaimed that in order to cut long voting lines, Republicans would cast ballots on Nov. 2 and Democrats would vote on Nov. 3.

E-mail assaults have become increasingly popular this year, keeping pace with the proliferation of blogging and Obama’s massive online campaign efforts, according to voting activists.

“It is newer and more furious than it ever has been before,” Goldman said.



This is just plain funny.

McCain tries to attack Obama supporter Murtha for claiming western Pennsylvania is racist, but totally flubs the attack. Watch the McCain supporters standing dumbfounded in the background. And Cindy McCain's reaction is priceless.

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