Saturday, November 01, 2008
If everybody keeps it up, this is really going to happen. It's not just the encouraging trends in the national polls over the last few days that make me feel this way. It's also what I'm seeing here in northeast Philadelphia, which is kind of like an economically raped post-apocalyptic version of Staten Island.
I talked to a woman on the phone today who was 30 years old and had decided to vote for the first time in her entire life. I knocked on the front door of a man who was so poor that the door literally did not have a doorknob -- the man stumbled onto a porch littered with abandoned children's toys and suspicious-looking little baggies, and even though the voter was spaced out of his mind on whatever was once in those baggies, he could recite the exact address of his polling place and wanted to know how he could get involved as a campaign volunteer! I talked to a 40something mother who claimed she was undecided and was promptly argued into submission by her teenage children. I witnessed local people wandering up and down the streets and shouting, to no one in particular, "Obama! Obama! Obama!"
When I was here in September we were told that the campaign wanted the many thousands of persuadable voters in this ward to be contacted in person six times. This was supposed to be impossible. Yet I spoke to literally dozens of people today who said, in one way or another, "I keep telling you guys I'm voting for Obama! Why do you have to keep calling and knocking on my door?"
When we were forced to move out of our campaign office this morning over a complicated and confusing dispute with the landlord, people simply sat down on the sidewalk and continued to make hundreds, if not thousands of calls, for another eight hours until it was too dark to read the phone lists.
The entire McCain presence in the neighborhood consisted of one single pale, smiling blonde couple from Washington, D.C., wandering aimlessly in search of homes with McCain/Palin yard signs.
72 hours to go.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Palin Fears Media Threaten Her First Amendment Rights
ABC News' Steven Portnoy reports: In a conservative radio interview that aired in Washington, D.C. Friday morning, Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin said she fears her First Amendment rights may be threatened by "attacks" from reporters who suggest she is engaging in a negative campaign against Barack Obama.
Palin told WMAL-AM that her criticism of Obama's associations, like those with 1960s radical Bill Ayers and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, should not be considered negative attacks. Rather, for reporters or columnists to suggest that it is going negative may constitute an attack that threatens a candidate's free speech rights under the Constitution, Palin said.
"If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations," Palin told host Chris Plante, "then I don't know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media."
However she feels about the way her story has been told in the press, Palin told WMAL she is not discouraged.
"It's sort of perplexing to me, because I'm a practical person and plainspoken also, but just cutting to the chase and calling things like I see them, just like most Americans. But this has not left a bitter taste in my mouth, the bitter shots taken by the mainstream media and by some of the elitism there in Washington," Palin said.
"What this has left me with is a very energized and positive feeling about America, because there are enough Americans who are desiring the positive change that John McCain's gonna usher in."
That's some serious cojones.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Multiple senior government officials tell ABC News the intelligence community is anticipating a message from Osama bin Laden before or just after the presidential election.
As we race toward Election Day, sources say a number of intelligence analysts have concluded it is critical for al Qaeda's top leader to be seen or heard, if only for public relations purposes. Those analysts believe that if bin Laden is not heard from, he runs the risk of being considered irrelevant or impotent. The U.S. intelligence community has some indication that there is some confusion among Islamic radicals about their leadership.
According to sources, the full weight of the intelligence electronic eavesdropping and human sourcing is right now desperately looking for any hint of a bin Laden statement. So far there is only rumor, no hard evidence a message is coming, officials said.
Q: Why is "the full weight of the intelligence electronic eavesdropping and human sourcing...right now desperately looking for any hint of a bin Laden statement"?
Is "the full weight" of our intellegence agencies "desperately" employed by the McCage campaign? What can such a "statement" possibly have to do with our actual national security?
Anyway, meanwhile, I've received the following from none other than Obama's own personal CFO:
I'm the Chief Financial Officer for Barack Obama's campaign. I track the donations coming in and the expenses going out.
I asked for the opportunity to write to you directly so that I could try to explain what's happening right now.
This organization has thousands of employees and spends millions of dollars a day -- and at the moment we're doing it without a safety net.
Our spending plans have been stretched by John McCain's negative attacks and the overwhelming resources of the Republican National Committee.
As of October 15th, John McCain and the RNC together had nearly $20 million more in cash than the combined total of Obama for America and the DNC. And just this week, we're facing new and unexpected spending against us in Montana and West Virginia.
Your incredible generosity has gotten us this far. But right now we need your help more than ever to get this campaign across the finish line.
Please donate $25 or whatever you can afford right now:
My team and I are working to stretch every dollar in order to keep as many paths to victory open as possible. But we need whatever help you can provide for this crucial final stretch.
Chief Financial Officer
Obama for America
So, I just ponied up one last time. Seems like a good investment.
That day is today.
Tomorrow I'm off to PA and I hope they give me lots of exhausting things to do so I don't have any time left over to obsess and worry.
“This flag photo was taken just days after the terrorist attacks on 9/11 in 2001. Sarah, like the rest of the nation, was trying to cope with the attacks on American soil and demonstrating her patriotism,” the caption reads.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Fox News: actually fucking encouraging people-- and loony Jews, no less!-- to kill Obama. Little do they know how profoundly cowardly people are who cheer on wars from continents away.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
“He needs to step aside and allow our state to elect someone who will
be supportive of those ideals of America – the free enterprise, the
missions that we’re on to win the war, those things that have got to
take place in order to progress this country,” Palin added in an
interview that aired this afternoon on CNBC. “Ted Stevens has got to
play a very statesmanlike role in this now.”
Read that carefully.
"Allow our state to elect someone who will be supportive of those ideals of America."
I'm going to assume this isn't an oblique endorsement of Stevens' Democratic challenger.
Is she talking about replacing Stevens on the Nov. 4 ballot, less than a week from now? Or she talking about Stevens stepping aside now, Palin appointing a Republican replacement now, and just tossing aside the Nov. 4 election for his seat in favor of a "special election" down the road?
I say this not knowing what Alaska law has to say about this. BUT -- I feel extremely confident that Sarah Palin also has no clue what Alaksa law says about this. I think it is almost certainly her desire to use the Stevens conviction to upend an election that a Democratic candidate now seems poised to win. And she is the governor of that state.
Monday, October 27, 2008
We’re set up, unlike other states in the union, where it’s collectively Alaskans own the resources. So we share in the wealth when the development of these resources occurs.
-- Sarah Palin, August 2008
There are socialist principles to that, yes. Taking more from a small business or small business owners or from a hard-working families and then redistributing that money according to a politician's priorities -- there are hints of socialism in there and that's why I don't fault or discredit Joe the Plumber for bringing that up, asking if that is socialism.
-- Sarah Palin, October 2008
As well as this bit of Awesome:
Palin... tried to burnish her foreign policy credentials by meeting here with Israel's ambassador to the United States, apologizing for the session's delay.
"We look forward to ... working with your Jewish agency," she told Ambassador Sallai Meridor just before her speech outside Washington.
So now that the libertarians have abandoned the party, and the corporatists are all hopping on the Obandwagon, what remains of the GOP?
I have a dream. I dream that the GOP becomes solely the party of stupid crazy white people, self-marginalizes and implodes with the know-nothing Palin leading the charge. I hope they relegate themselves to Bircher status.
Historically, because of our awesomely undemocratic electoral system which necessitates a duopolistic party arrangement, third parties only come to national prominence when events shift and one of the two duopoles implodes. At which point a previously marginal party is elevated to co-ruler status and the puppet-show can continue. This is essentially how the Republican party came into existence in the first place.
So let's hope the current formation of the GOP is currently becoming one of those imploding parties. Let's also hope that since Obama, who is running as what could only be called a conservative in any sane (i.e. non-American) political taxonomy, leads the Democratic Party into becoming the standard bearer for state-capitalist conservatism. Let's further hope that some genuinely progressive now-marginal third party is elevated to play Punch to the Dem's Judy and we could actually have open public discussion about, say, not killing people for fun.
Hell, while we're at it, let's hope everyone gets a Pony for the Baby Jesus' birthday.
But seriously...Let's assume the Republicans don't get their shit together within the next few years, which isn't an outlandish assumption at the moment. The next four years will be a period of activism and soul-searching for Progressives. Depending on the breaks, Obama will implement more or less of his proposed program, likely less if history is any guide. Campaign promises rarely correlate with policy outcomes.
Even though it is likely that Obama will have a strong electoral mandate and a favorable if not filibuster proof legislature, partisans will blame this “failure” on various factors, right-wing intransigence/obstruction, inheritance of a terrible geo-political and economic quagmire, internal party factions such as the DLC and the Blue Dogs maintaining control, resistance from the military-industrial complex, Israel, China, Russia, what have you.
So much for the die-hards. Such excuses will look exceedingly weak in the face of a fractured and disorganized GOP. At some point the electoral euphoria will wear off and honest left-leaning folk are going to have to make a decision about whether and how to openly criticize or oppose an Obama administration. Once more Democrats are actually running the show, “more and better Democrats” will cease to be a viable solution to achieving a livable world. Assuming a moribund GOP, it will be more difficult to mau-mau into silence the people that wish to leave the Party.
So what then? A new Kos-ian internal Party putch for the neverending ouster of the old-guard that is thwarting progress? Or perhaps with the GOP in shambles it will be increasingly uncomfortable to be on board with the Other War Party and people will begin to jump ship? And what would they jump into?
Imagine a mainstream American political landscape in which the Christianists were about as powerful as the current Greens, the Democrats were widely perceived to be the right-wing faction they are, and the Green Party or some likeness were elevated to actually being a left-opposition party . Not bad as fantasies go. Granted, if we're just gonna make shit up, I can do a lot better than that, but still...
Stanley Fish redeems himself after some annoying recent blogs (in particular one in which he claimed GWB would become a warm and cuddly post-presidential presence) with a beautiful description of form in the campaigns:
What’s going on here? I find an answer in a most unlikely place, John Milton’s “Paradise Regained,” a four-book poem in which a very busy and agitated Satan dances around a preternaturally still Jesus until, driven half-crazy by the response he’s not getting, the arch-rebel (i.e., maverick) loses it, crying in exasperation, “What dost thou in this world?”
Now, I don’t mean to suggest that McCain is the devil or that Obama is the Messiah (although some of his supporters think of him that way), just that the rhetorical strategies the two literary figures employ match up with the strategies employed by the two candidates. What Satan wants to do is draw Jesus out, provoke him to an unwisely exasperated response, get him to claim too much for his own powers. What Jesus does is reply with an equanimity conveyed by the adjectives and adverbs that preface his words: “unaltered,” “temperately,” “patiently,” “calmly,” “unmoved,” “sagely,” “in brief.”
In response, Satan gets ever more desperate; he conjures up rain and wind storms (in the midst of which Jesus sits “unappalled in calm”); he tempts him with the riches of poetry and philosophy (which Jesus is careful neither to reject nor deify); and finally, having run out of schemes and scares and “swollen with rage,” he resorts to physical violence (McCain has not gone so far, although some of his supporters clearly want to), picking Jesus up bodily and depositing him on the spire of the temple in the hope that he will either fall to his death or turn into Superman and undermine the entire point of his 40-day trial in the wilderness. He doesn’t do either. He does nothing, and Satan, “smitten with amazement” — even this hasn’t worked — “fell.”Toward the end, the poem describes the mighty contest in a metaphor that captures its odd and negative dynamic. Jesus is “a solid rock” continually assaulted by “surging waves”; and even though the repeated assaults result only in the waves being “all to shivers dashed,” they keep on coming until they exhaust themselves “in froth or bubbles.” The power Jesus generates is the power of not moving from the still center of his being and refusing to step into an arena of action defined by his opponent. So it is with Obama, who barely exerts himself and absorbs attack after attack, each of which, rather than wounding him, leaves him stronger. It’s rope-a-dope on a grand scale.
Note: the weird arm effect is more dramatic in the larger original photo.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
"See, under a big government, more tax agenda, what you thought was yours would really start belonging to somebody else, to everybody else," Palin said. "If you thought your income, your property, your inventory, your investments were, were yours, they would really collectively belong to everybody."