August 2008


He’s insane:

John McCain, in his first television interview since his shocking vice presidential pick, said that he saw in Sarah Palin “a partner and a soul mate.”

He met her once.  (Cindy must be loving it.)  This is how 12-year-old girls decide which Jonas brother is the dreamiest.  It’s very creepy.

Via, an explanation of the Gov. Palin/DPS firing scandal that makes sense:

Sarah Palin’s sister Molly married a guy named Mike Wooten who is an Alaska State Trooper. Mike and Molly had a rocky marriage. When the marriage broke up, there was a bitter custody fight that is still ongoing. During the custody investigation, all sorts of things were brought up about Wooten including the fact that he had illegally shot a moose (yes folks this is Alaska), driven drunk, and used a taser (on the test setting, he reminds us) on his 11-year old stepson, who supposedly had asked to see what it felt like. While Wooten has turned out to be a less than stellar figure, the fact that Palin’s father accompanied him on the infamous moose hunt, and that many of the dozens of charges brought up by the Palin family happened long before they were ever reported smacked of desperate custody fight. Wooten’s story is that he was basically stalked by the family.

After all this, Wooten was investigated and disciplined on two counts and allowed to kept his position with the troopers. Enter Walt Monegan, Palin’s appointed new chief of the Department of Public Safety and head of the troopers. Monegan was beloved by the troopers, did a bang-up job with minimal funding and suddenly got axed. Palin was out of town and Monegan got “offered another job” (aka fired) with no explanation to Alaskans. Pressure was put on the governor to give details, because rumors started to swirl around the fact that the highly respected Monegan was fired because he refused to fire the aforementioned Mike Wooten. Palin vehemently denied ever talking to Monegan or pressuring Monegan in any way to fire Wooten, or that anyone on her staff did. Over the weeks it has come out that not only was pressure applied, there were literally dozens of conversations in which pressure was applied to fire him. Monegan has testified to this fact, spurring an ongoing investigation by the Alaska state legislature. But, before this investigation got underway, Palin sent the Alaska State Attorney General out to do some investigative work of his own so she could find out in advance what the real investigation was going to find. (No, I’m not making this up). The AG interviewed several people, unbeknownst to the actual appointed investigator or the Legislature! Palin’s investigation of herself uncovered a recorded phone call retained by the Alaska State Troopers from Frank Bailey, a Palin underling, putting pressure on a trooper about the Wooten non-firing. Todd Palin (governor’s husband) even talked to Monegan himself in Palin’s office while she was away. Bailey is now on paid administrative leave.

As if this weren’t enough, Monegan’s appointed replacement Chuck Kopp, turns out to have been the center of his own little scandal. He received a letter of reprimand and was reassigned after sexual harrassment allegations by a former coworker who didn’t like all the unwanted kissing and hugging in the office. Was he vetted? Obviously not. When he was questioned about all this, his comment was that no one had asked him and he thought they all knew. Kopp, defiant, still claimed to have done nothing wrong and said to the press that there was no way he was stepping down from his new position. Twenty four hours later, he stepped down. Later it was uncovered that he received a $10,000 severance package for his two weeks on the job from Palin. Monegan got nothing.

It’s reminiscent of the U.S. Attorney firing scandal, writ extremely small.  Suggestive of how a President Palin might view the role of the Cabinet – to settle her scores – and her executive authority – unconstrained, transferrable to unelected proxies.  It would be nice if we had some more significant insights into how she would govern, but unless someone wants to tease some kind of Presidential War Powers philosophy out of then-Mayor Palin’s response to a flagrant facemask penalty in the Wasilla vs. Lower Moosenads HS football game, it’s pretty much all we get.  She seems like a complete zero.

And we’ve now officially spent more time thinking about Sarah Palin’s governing philosophy than John Mccain ever did, or likely ever will.  Seriousness: you’re soaking in it.

I’m sure nobody wants to hear this from me, so here it is from Dr. Jeff Masters:

It’s time to leave New Orleans
Today is the 3rd anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s catastrophic hit on the Louisiana/Mississippi/Alabama coast. Unfortunately, I think that people living in New Orleans should mark the anniversary of Katrina by getting the heck out of the city. You live at the bottom of a bowl, much of it below sea level. While New Orleans must exist where it is, this is not natural. Nature wants to fill up this bowl with huge quantities of Gulf of Mexico sea water. There is a storm capable of doing that bearing down on you. If you live in New Orleans, I suggest you take a little Labor Day holiday–sooner, rather than later, to beat the rush–and get out of town. Gustav is going to come close to you, and there’s no sense messing with a major hurricane capable of pushing a Category 3 storm surge to your doorstep. Don’t test those Category 3 rated–but untested–levees. Conventional pre-Katrina wisdom suggested that the city needed 72 hours to evacuate. With the population about half of the pre-Katrina population, that lead time is about 60 hours. With Gustav likely to bring tropical storm force winds to the city by Monday afternoon, that means that tonight is a good time to start evacuating–Saturday morning at the latest. Voluntary evacuations have already begun, which is a good idea.

Seems like sound advice from where I sit, but that’s a long ways away.

This came out 2 weeks ago:

88% of Alaskans think she’s a liar:

But Ted Stevens LLC loves her:

Clearly, this is good news for McCain.

Jesus:

McCain just tapped Harriet Miers Sarah Palin as his vice presidential choice.  He must really think women are stupid: Me woman. She woman. Me vote for Oldy McSame.  This brought to us by the same mindset that thought pretty-boy Dan Qauyle would attract women voters.  The campaign via Tiger Beat theory.

Admittedly, we of the male persuasion can frequently cede control of the bridge to our genitalia, but it’s not when we enter the voting booth (I said voting booth).  And given that women are smarter than men generally speaking, and much less prone to cogitate with their junk, this is, to put it simplay, FUCKING FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL. 

Speaking of the Old Dirty Bastard who happens to be remarkably old, Palin’s shocking lack of experience (1+ year as governor of a small state after being mayor of a town with 8,000 proud inhabitants) guarantees that people will be talking about how old Oldy Decrepit is now that Sarriet Palin Miers could be one geriatric and feeble heartbeat away from the oval office.  Of all the potential recipients of those 3:00am phone calls to pick from, Mumm-Ra chose her? 

Recall: Obama chose Joe Biden. 

Can’t you just smell the desperation? (over the musty old guy scent)

n/t

Not to step all over my esteemed cob logger here, but as he appears to have again lapsed into a poppy & banana peel tea-induced trance in front of the only working laptop here at PMI headquarters, it appears I have no choice.  (Ah, Thursdays.)  Now, my hatred for Thers and all his devilish works and pomps is both deep and abiding, but he comes perilously close to making a good point right here:

So what the Obama campaign did — essentially ruin a wingnut radio show intended to help launch a smear into legitimacy, by getting loads of people to call in and abuse [Wanker Stanley] Kurtz for being a creep — was brilliant hard-nosed politics, as it insures that the Obama “this Annenberg stuff is bullshit” message is always going to be locked in with the smear. This kind of mass-mobilization tactic is not something that Gore or Kerry had in their playbook, and Clinton would probably have been more than happy to have had it available to him at various moments in the 1990s. It’s using wingnut and Freeper weapons against them, and you know what? It’s about goddamn time. (I also like it that the Obama campaign is going after the absurd “501″ group producing similar [SOHNEHO]-related smears.)

And it is nice that the Obama camp is going after Republican ratfuckers, because the alternative is that nobody goes after them, and that is worse.  Only, they shouldn’t have to.  The McCain camp is able to attack Obama through motivated, independently-operating (and, yes, in many cases well-compensated) surrogates, and yet the Obama campaign has to identify and coordinate the response internally, effectively engaging them on their own level.  They must pursue Kurtz into wingnut talk radio – the savage Heart of Wankness – while McCain can lay around just getting his fugue on.  That this is an improvement over the last eight years (at least) of Democratic campaigning goes a very long way towards explaining why this country is in the state it is in.

It is my experience that non-wingnut campaign commentary – by which I mean quality traditional media and nominally Democratic-partisan blogs and suchlike – comes in two flavors: What-I-Think-Obama-Should-Do, and The-Popular-Media-Isn’t-Doing-A-Very-Good-Job.  These can be good points or bad points depending on the particulars involved, but the one thing they have in common is that they are ineffectual.  They run headlong into two fairly immoveable counterpoints: You-Don’t-Run-The-Obama-Campaign and The-Popular-Media-Doesn’t-Care-What-You-Think, respectively.  This isn’t to say they any less edifying as topics of conversation, or that people shouldn’t edify themselves as best they can, but it is to say that the World Is as it Is, and saying that it should be one way or another is unlikely to change it.

On the other hand, one thing that Republican-partisan media – from FOX News to National Review hacks down to the semi-acquaintance who won’t stop sending you mass emails about Barack Hussein Os/bama being an UnAmerican Moorish Musselman – is very good at is messaging, and messaging can create the environment for effective politics.  It creates the subtext.  Consider how little McCain has to actually say in order to – for example – question Obama’s patriotism (and notice how the forceful activist “netroots” response is to … offer unsolicited advice about what Obama should do about it.)  McCain simply has to wave in the direction of these pre-established narratives, never has to do the hard, ugly, unpleasant work of putting them in place.  That bit – the ratfucking – is done for him.  To the extent that Obama and high-level surrogates do engage in a little tentative rat foreplay, the counterfucking – the “ratcockblocking”, if you will – is done by eager volunteers. Nobody waits around for the McCain campaign to tell them what to do, and nobody writes out terribly-well-thought-out lists of reasons why people shouldn’t believe the hype. They drown it out and get back on message. One side sits back, one side engages. One side wins, one side loses. This is not a coincidence.

It is unrealistic to expect anyone who has a real job, a family, etc. to waste as much time as Wankathlete Stanley Kurtz on this shit, because he gets paid to do it, and we do not. But we can probably waste some fraction of the time that freelance Republican mass-emailers do.  Or we can not, and keep losing.  This decision is not up to the Obama campaign or MSNBC – it is really entirely up to us.  Start a Ratfucker’s Local Union Chapter.  Get fucking.

… Adding: I’ve been drifting away from using the word ‘wanker’, as it is a bit of a relic from a bygone age, but it works really well as a sort of informal markup tag. If you are looking for dirt on any wingnut, Googling ‘”Wingnut’s Name” + wanker’ is a very effective filter.  Especially when you’ve fucked your archives.

At long last, my Ratgasm:

Barack Obama’s campaign hasn’t advertised this a great deal this week, but the campaign’s “Action Wire” has been waging large-scale campaigns against critics. That includes tens of thousands of e-mails to television stations running Harold Simmons’ Bill Ayers ad, and to their advertisers — including a list of major automobile and telecommunications companies.

And tonight, the campaign launched a more specific campaign: an effort to disrupt the appearance by a writer for National Review, Stanley Kurtz, on a Chicago radio program. Kurtz has been writing about Obama’s relationship with Bill Ayers, and has suggested that papers housed at the University of Illinois at Chicago would reveal new details of that relationship.

The campaign e-mailed Chicago supporters who had signed up for the Obama Action Wire with detailed instructions including the station’s telephone number and the show’s extension, as well as a research file on Kurtz [my emphasis],  which seems to prove that he’s a conservative, which isn’t in dispute. The file cites a couple of his more controversial pieces, notably his much-maligned claim that same-sex unions have undermined marriage in Scandinavia.

“Tell WGN that by providing Kurtz with airtime, they are legitimizing baseless attacks from a smear-merchant and lowering the standards of political discourse,” says the email, which picks up a form of pressure on the press pioneered by conservative talk radio hosts and activists in the 1990s, and since adopted by Media Matters and other liberal groups.

The indignant braying of the wingnuts only adds to the sensuality of the moment.   The shrieks are to be expected.  Obama’s throwin’ a massive C-block into their filthy little brothel – turning givers into receivers in the process.  That’ll take some getting used to.

Now someone pass me a Marlboro Red (cause after that, a light cigarette just won’t cut it).

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