After Tuesday's primaries, Beltway pundits are feeling pretty free to continue promoting Sarah Palin as the Tea Party's secret weapon against Democrats. They are all sure that Palin's endorsement is what threw Joe Miller over the top (for now, anyway) against incumbent Lisa Murkowski. Witness the Washington Post's breathless admiration of Palin's amazing political skills:
Palin may have withdrawn from official life in Alaska, but the surprisingly strong showing in Tuesday's GOP Senate primary by Joe Miller, the long-shot candidate she backed over Lisa Murkowski, made it clear to the entire country that she still exercises great influence in her home state.
They don't stop there:
By endorsing Miller on Facebook, boosting him on Twitter and making robo-calls for him against the heavily favored establishment candidate, Palin risked sacrificing the founding pillar of her political creation myth. Instead, preliminary results from Tuesday's election showed Miller ahead, 45,909 votes to 43,949 votes. According to the Alaska Division of Elections, more than 16,000 absentee ballots were requested and fewer than half had been returned. Whether he ultimately prevailed or not was beside the point. Palin, whose presidential and political aspirations are still undetermined, had demonstrated that the strength of her base is not.
An awkward sentence, that last one, but I'm pretty sure the idea is that Sarah Palin's political allure has pushed Miller ahead of Murkowski with absentee ballots left uncounted.
While Chris Matthews hangs his hat on the Sarah Palin poll numbers showing her to have 76% approval among Republicans in a sort of slavish devotion to her (I wonder if she gives him a chill going up his leg...), only 44% of all Americans self-identify as Republicans (whether registered or not).
While Tweety and Pat-the-Bigot Buchanan rave about Palin's exquisite
brea-- political acumen, it's far more likely that an Alaska ballot initiative requiring parental notice before their child underwent an abortion drove out the most conservative voters and identified Miller more closely with the ballot measure, since Murkowski believes abortion is a private matter between a woman and her doctor, and did not support Measure 2 or campaign for it.
Abortion and money. Both matter in electoral politics, sadly enough. The Tea Party Express, my favorite astroturf outfit based here in California gave $550,000 to Miller's campaign. They also contributed heavily to Sharron Angle, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio. It worked. The abortion measure passed and Murkowski is locked in a tight ballot count against Miller with only absentee ballots remaining to be counted.
Finally, let's give Diebold's vote scanners and Alaska's electronic voting machines some credit, too. With election workers "encouraging voters to try out electronic voting", any result is possible. It's only a question of what gets counted and what doesn't.
Bill Carr is assigned to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, serving as the Deputy Under Secretary in charge of Military Personnel Policy since August 2002. Here, he answers a caller's question on the military draft which he opposes reinstating.If[...]
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The nation's stupidest woman to ever be a national party's VP candidate tried to explain why it was that Massachusetts' Republican Senator Scott Brown would use the leverage Senate Democrats give to the 60th vote to water down and corrupt otherwise[...]
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Incumbent Representative John Fleming (R-LA) frames the November election in terms that only a proud member of the American Taliban could support:
LA GOPer: November A Choice Between An Atheist Society And A Christian Nation
Appearing before the Republican Women of Bossier with Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) cast the November elections as a choice between godlessness and Christianity. He also called bipartisanship impossible.
"We have two competing world views here and there is no way that we can reach across the aisle -- one is going to have to win," Fleming said.
We are either going to go down the socialist road and become like western Europe and create, I guess really a godless society, an atheist society. Or we're going to continue down the other pathway where we believe in freedom of speech, individual liberties and that we remain a Christian nation. So we're going to have to win that battle, we're going to have to solve that argument before we can once again reach across and work together on things.
It is precisely this sort of freakshow that Markos is talking about in his new book, American Taliban: How War, Sex, Sin, and Power Bind Jihadists and the Radical Right. The big difference -- as he argues -- is that the American Taliban do not have the same sort of control over this country as their radical brethren do in fundamentalist nations. But that doesn't mean they aren't pursuing it, and John Fleming is a perfect example of just how serious they are about their goals.
The GOP on carbon:Rep. Michele Bachmann (R—Minnesota):Carbon dioxide is natural. It occurs in Earth. It is a part of the regular lifecycle of Earth. In fact, life on planet Earth can’t even exist without carbon dioxide. So necessary is it to[...]
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As the discussion thread in "What the elites are trying to steal from us, and why" goes on and on,[...]
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They Go or Obama Goes
Truthdig, August 25, 2010
Barack Obama and the Democrats he led to a stunning victory two years ago are going down hard in the face of an economic crisis that he did nothing to create but which he has failed to solve. That is somewhat unfair because the basic blame belongs to his predecessors, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, who let the bulls of Wall Street run wild in the streets where ordinary folks lived. And there was universal Republican support in Congress for the radical deregulation of the financial industry that produced this debacle.
The core issue for the economy is the continued cost of a housing bubble made possible only after what Clinton Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers back then trumpeted as necessary ?legal certainty? was provided to derivative packages made up of suspect Alt-A and subprime mortgages. It was the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which Senate Republican Phil Gramm drafted and which Clinton signed into law, that made legal the trafficking in packages of dubious home mortgages. In any decent society the creation of such untenable mortgages and the securitization of risk irrationally associated with it would have been judged a criminal scam. But no such judgment was possible because thanks to Wall Street?s sway under Clinton and Bush the bankers got to rewrite the laws to sanction their treachery.
It is Obama?s continued deference to the sensibilities of the financiers and his relative indifference to the suffering of ordinary people that threaten his legacy, not to mention the nation?s economic well-being. There have been more than 300,000 foreclosure filings every single month that Obama has been president, and as The New York Times editorialized, ?Unfortunately, there is no evidence that the Obama administration?s efforts to address the foreclosure problem will make an appreciable dent.?
The ugly reality that only 398,198 mortgages have been modified to make the payments more reasonable can be traced to the program being based on the hope that the banks would do the right thing. While Obama continued the Bush practice of showering the banks with bailout money, he did not demand a moratorium on foreclosures or call for increasing the power of bankruptcy courts to force the banks, which created the problem, to now help distressed homeowners.
...foreclosures are behind Tuesday?s news that U.S. home sales reached their lowest point in 15 years and that there is unlikely to be an economic recovery without a dramatic turnabout in the housing market. The stock market tanked Tuesday on reports that U.S. home sales had dropped 25.5 percent below the year-ago level.
There is no way that Obama can begin to seriously reverse this course without shedding the economic team led by the Clinton-era ?experts? like Summers and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner who got us into this mess in the first place. They are spooked by one overwhelmingly crippling idea?don?t rattle the financial titans whom we must rely on for investment. But when it comes to keeping people in their homes, it is precisely the big banks that must be rattled into doing the right thing.
Obama gained credibility through sacking Gen. Stanley McChrystal for making untoward remarks. Why not sack Summers and Geithner for untoward policies that have inflicted such misery on the general public?
Read it all at Truthdig...
The State of the Government's Loan Modification Program, at ProPublica
This video courtesy of the BP live webcam addicts at the Oil Drum. http://www.theoildrum.com/node...When we last left our ongoing story of why The Brightest Minds in Govt. Science were giving BP permission to keep ****ing around playing with[...]
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Two seemingly contradictory portraits are emerging of Michael Enright, the 21-year old aspiring filmmaker arraigned yesterday on hate crimes charges for allegedly stabbing a New York City cab driver because he was Muslim.
There's the Michael Enright who volunteered for an interfaith group, whose Facebook profile picture was with a young girl he met on his trip to Afghanistan, and who liked the book Angela's Ashes, movies like "Boys Don't Cry" and music by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. The Michael Enright that neighbor Alma Quinlan knew was a "great kid who is very sociable and attentive to his mother."
Then there's the Michael Enright who reportedly had a serious drinking problem and slit the throat of a cab driver while yelling "This is a checkpoint, this is checkpoint, motherf**ker, I have to put you down."
Law enforcement sources say that Enright was carrying a personal diary with him during the attack, though the exact nature of its contents are a source of dispute. One police source described them to the New York Daily News as "filled with pages of 'pretty strong anti-Muslim comments.'" That source added that the diary "equated Muslims with 'killers, ungrateful for the help they were being offered, filthy murderers without a conscience.'" Another law enforcement source disputed that characterization, suggesting instead to the AP that they were mere journals of Enright's time in Afghanistan -- and that they were found with an empty bottle of Scotch.
Enright's reference to a "checkpoint" likely stems from his trip to Afghanistan earlier this year. Friends say Enright definitely changed after getting back from the region, where he was shooting a documentary on a high school friend.
He had been embedded with Task Force Leatherneck in the Helmand province for five weeks during April and early May 2010, a military official said. Enright was registered as working for TV-Worldwide, and was filming his documentary on the 1st Battalion/3rd Marines home-based in Hawaii, Lt. Cmdr. Katie Kendrick, a public affairs officer with the British Royal Navy, told TPMMuckraker.
Alex Eckner, the high school friend of Enright who serves in that Marine battalion, referred TPMMuckraker to his Marine Corps base's public affairs office in Hawaii, which did not immediately return a call on Thursday morning.
When he returned from his trip, Enright was different, a neighbor and longtime friend identified as Jesse told the New York Daily News.
"He said it was chaos," said Jesse. "He did mention that they lost a few troops over there."
By the time he was arrested on Tuesday in midtown Manhattan, Enright had a personal journal on him that was filled with pages of "pretty strong anti-Muslim comments," a police source told The New York Daily News.
His diary equated Muslims with "killers, ungrateful for the help they were being offered, filthy murderers without a conscience." A top Muslim American organization said the event shows the dangers of extreme anti-Islamic rhetoric.
An account by cab driver Ahmed H. Sharif said that Enright was asking him questions about how long he had been in the U.S., if he was Muslim and if he was fasting during Ramadan. Enright was silent for a few minutes before he starting cursing and screaming before the stabbing, according to a statement.
Enrigh yelled "Assalamu Alaikum"and "consider this a checkpoint" before attacking Sharif, police said. The taxi driver was scheduled to meet with Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Thursday.
[Ed note: This post was updated after publication to acknowledge differing characterizations of Enright's diaries.]
In yesterday's post-mortems about the apparent big upset in Alaska, I heard a lot of commentators going back and forth about Sarah Palin's winning percentage in the various endorsements she's made over the last year. I think that line of commentary[...]
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