Daniel Eran Dilger
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McCain, Palin Push Ashley Todd into Limelight. Oops.

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Daniel Eran Dilger
It’s not really extraordinary or newsworthy that a young white girl, working away from home, fabricated a story about being attacked and sexually assaulted by a larger black man she invented in a bid to get attention. It is newsworthy that her sketchy story garnered so much outrage and political spin before being almost immediately recanted. What is most newsworthy however is that John McCain’s campaign worked to make it newsworthy in an effort to divide Americans, bait racial conflict, and inflame outrage at great risk to Americans themselves.
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Ashley the Faker

Ashley Todd, a College Republican National Committee volunteer from Texas acting as campaign aid for McCain in Pittsburgh, said she was robbed by the invented black man at an ATM. He returned, she claimed, after noticing her McCain bumper sticker, to tell her, “You’re with the McCain campaign? I’m going to teach you a lesson,” and supposedly carved the letter B in her face with a knife while fondling and roughing her up some more and delivering lines including, “you are going to be a Barack supporter.”

Todd’s story was absurd. Why would an attacker scratch the letter B for Barack rather than the more obvious O that is used by the Obama campaign as its logo? Remember when Obama spoke in Ohio and conservative radio lit up in a frothy lather, thinking that Obama had created his own “O” flag, seemingly unaware that they were speaking of the Ohio state flag?

Todd’s “B” was backward, because she did it herself using a mirror. An letters carved by an angry attacker would have been more than a light scratch, and probably not designed to be read in a mirror. While the scratch, described by conservative websites as a “mutilation,” clearly wasn’t serious, why wouldn’t she seek medical attention after being beaten, kicked, and fondled?

Mediaing Without Preconditions.

The police were immediately suspicious of Todd’s story, but not McCain’s Pennsylvania campaign communications director, who delivered sensationalized reports to the media that turned the girl’s report into national news.

That rash decision was followed up by John McCain himself, who along with Sarah Palin made publicized calls to Todd’s family. Fox news covered the story with intensity, with its Executive Vice President writing, “this incident could become a watershed event in the 11 days before the election. If Ms. Todd’s allegations are proven accurate, some voters may revisit their support for Senator Obama, not because they are racists (with due respect to Rep. John Murtha), but because they suddenly feel they do not know enough about the Democratic nominee.”

The police spent significant resources investigating Todd’s claim. Once Todd confessed to having made the whole thing up, Maurita Bryant, the assistant chief of the police department’s investigations division issued a statement saying, “It’s been a huge waste of time and man hours.”

But rather than being apologetic about having lied and potentially having set off further confrontation with her race-baiting, politically polarizing story, Todd was simply annoyed to be bothered with the ordeal. “She just opened up and said she wanted to tell the truth,” Bryant said. “She was upset with the media for blowing this into a political firestorm.” No doubt she was also irritated about having her face scratched with a prominent backwards B for Barack.

Palin’ around with Scandals.

Todd’s great burden of being forced to carry around a crisis of her own making sounds a lot like Sarah Palin, who has been incensed to find herself the victim of her own inane talking points, from not knowing what she reads to not knowing anything about the Supreme Court apart outside of Roe v Wade, to not knowing anything about foreign policy apart from how to pronounce a half dozen leaders’ names.

Palin doesn’t see any of these problems as her fault, but rather blames the “gotcha media” that pointed at camera at her as she proudly and arrogantly babbled lines of overconfident nonsense.

Palin has also been angry to have the media notice the disconnect between her fake persona as a folksy ‘Joe Six-pack,’ and the reality of her being worth $2 million and having been dressed up over the last two months in elitist clothing worth over $150,000. Or the fact that she calls herself an intellectual despite having shown no curiosity of the world around her outside of pushing her evangelical religion on it.

Or her angry sigh delivered in expressing her hesitancy to call modern day abortion clinic bombers “terrorists,” while building her campaign on top of the idea that a youth radical in the 60’s, who placed attention getting bombs that were blown up only after delivering warnings ahead of time, was today still a dangerous “terrorist” in the same sense as modern day religious fundamentalists, who try to kill as many ‘infidels’ as possible to satiate their warped religious views, thinking that a high body count for God will earn them a place in heaven. Ayers’ actions were wrong, but were targeted to call attention to the illegal carpet bombing slaughter that US was carrying out, a significant difference over today’s fundamentalist terrorists who seek to slaughter in order to call attention to their targets.

Or what about Palin’s irritation in having to testify in an ethics investigation originated by her own party, based on her own conduct as an executive that was deemed to be in violation of state ethics rules? Palin was so inconvenienced by her guilty verdict that she simply pulled a Todd: she released her own exonerating story of the events where she herself was the victim and that the blotch she scratched into her own public face was the fault of a big black boogeyman somewhere out there.

McCain’t have it Both Ways.

Todd’s fabricated story, the work of a young and delusional girl who reportedly suffers from mental health problems, says nothing about McCain’s campaign itself. However, the willingness of McCain’s campaign to thrust it into the spotlight and try to introduce more questionable doubt and fear and division about raw issues that include race and privilege and sex and honesty and morality is only a reflection of the rest of his campaign.

McCain would no doubt liked to have some counter-evidence to use to defend or at least distract from the hateful torch and pitchfork-swinging hysteria he and Palin have encouraged in their fear-centric campaign, which says little about the issues and lots about Obama’s ethnic background. McCain supporters have made headlines with their echoing of “kill him” and “terrorist!”

McCain is practicing the same divisive politics Richard Nixon used in his Southern Strategy to convert racist white Democrats into the angry racist white Republicans who have colored the South red ever since.

Nixon used fear and outrage over federal efforts to dismantle American segregation to appeal to racists and appease them with Confederacy slogans such as “states’ rights,” a euphemism for allowing and preserving local racism. McCain and Palin are waving the same “states’ rights” flag to promote the localized pockets of ignorance in our country. They insist the federal government needs to police a failed drug policy, yet fail to see any need for the federal government to involve itself in civil rights, something that supposedly can be better handled through “state’s rights.” This idea is conveniently only applied in cases where the federal government isn’t pushing an extremist right wing agenda.

Mccainmotherfucker 1-1

Divided we Fall.

McCain’s poorly vetted Palin divided the nation into Pro-American and, apparently, Anti-American regions, the height of absurd hypocrisy coming from a woman married to an Alaska Independence Party supporter. What group could be more ‘Anti-American’ than the party Palin warmly welcomed earlier this year, which seeks to dissolve the country she would supposedly hope to run? It is unconstitutional for states to leave the union.

McCain’s unraveling campaign is falling apart due to his own rash and erratic decisions. McCain is not demonstrating conservative values, he’s displaying a shortage of values. The depths his campaign sinks into in efforts to stir up anger and resentment, to divide the country rather than unite and heal it, makes it clear that McCain is unfit to lead. Even worse, his cynical decision to prop up an attractive face covered in thousands of dollars of makeup and tens of thousands in elitist clothes will put the nation into extreme jeopardy if he is elected, because his age and history of cancer makes his chances of suffering incapacitating health problems very significant.

Palin has no experience outside of taxing windfall profits Alaska and distributing wealth she did nothing to help generate. In less than two years, she has racked up a scandalously long list of questionable behavior, from spending state money on personal entertainment, to hiring unqualified friends into critical positions, to taking inappropriate gifts from constituents, to claiming per diem expenses to live at home and then failing to pay taxes on them.

Palin is not only corrupt at home, but has demonstrated a willing ambition to be used by the Republican machine to dial the US back into the Dark Ages, pursuing more religious war Crusades, more Inquisition torture, more scientific ignorance, and more nationalized religion and scapegoating of minorities.

Like Todd, the McCain-Palin campaign needs to come clean and give up the false stories that project victimization as a coverup for simple bad behavior. And rather than being upset by the media’s coverage of their corrupt shenanigans, they need to account for their errors, apologize for their specious attacks on anyone who doesn’t agree with them, and step aside for real leaders to take their places and bring America the change it needs.

Other articles on current events:

Former FCC Chair Reed Hundt: Issues the next president faces in technology
McCain vs. Obama Presidential Pop Quiz: Socialism
McCain, Palin Push Ashley Todd into Limelight. Oops.
Apple gives $100,000 to fight California gay marriage ban
Terrorist Criminal Links to the Presidential Candidates
Obama-Biden, McCain-Palin: Scandals by the Numbers
Terrorist Criminal Links to the Presidential Candidates
The Big Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac Attack
Osama Bin Laden’s Dream of US Economic Collapse
You Know the Drill?
Ten Striking Parallels Between Microsoft and John McCain
Obama’s Apple, McCain’s Microsoft: the Politics of Tech
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  • nat

    Another great bit of commentary on this comically absurd campaign. Looking at the contextual McCain-Palin (or should I say Palin-McCain?) Flash ads encircling this article, namely the I am Joe ones, seem eerily similar to Microsoft’s mentally bankrupt I’m a PC ads. In fact, if you hid the words, I think most would have trouble distinguishing the two.

  • alexcurylo

    “McCain supporters have made headlines with their echoing of “kill him” and “terrorist!””

    And the fascinating thing about that is, it is exactly as much a made up lie as your headline here is; the Secret Service say that nothing of the sort actually happened at the rally in question, and there is no other corroboration of this alleged cry besides the single solitary person John Singleton … who has donated the maximum possible to the Obama campaign.

    http://www.timesleader.com/news/breakingnews/Secret_Service_says_Kill_him_allegation_unfounded_.html

    There must be some kind of word for someone who actually perpetuates demonstratable falsehoods in the service of attacking political opponents. Hang on, it’ll come to me…

  • nat

    @ alexcurylo,

    Apparently his secret service are hard of hearing because multiple news sources reported on the crowd outbursts and these outbursts were quite audible on tape. In the last debate, this was brought up and McCain himself said “well, there are always going to be those on the fringe.”

  • alexcurylo

    Where are these tapes of which you speak? From everything I’ve read, all news reports of “kill him” are single sourced from John Singleton. Who has provided no corroboration, and is a maxed out Obama donor. The credibility here appears on a level with Ms. Todd, at best.

  • Orenge

    The “B” in the mirror is hilarious. Leave it to the McCain campaign to jump hastily on the story of the “scary black man.” What else do they have left to try?

    I guess they could try a straightforward statement from the candidate about exactly what he plans to do–like Obama’s latest ad.

    Nah.

  • http://www.roughlydrafted.com danieleran

    @ alexcurylo:

    go spend 15 minutes on YouTube. McCain and particularly Palin are fanning the flames of hatred. You can even find a clip where McCain is asked by a reporter about the “kill him/terrorist” shout outs, and he doesn’t deny it, but rather suggests that crowds shout the same things when Obama speaks (I am NOT KIDDING).

    But there’s no convincing someone who wants to believe, so you’ll have to examine things yourself. As for the label for someone who refuses to believe the obvious when the proof is all over the place, wait, it’ll come to me….

    … I know it doesn’t have anything do with scientific research, Palin, and fruit flies.

  • alexcurylo

    “go spend 15 minutes on YouTube.”

    So this “kill him” is indeed caught on video? Link, please. Oh, you don’t actually have any? Funny, that.

    “and he doesn’t deny it”

    Which proves EXACTLY the same thing as that when the Obama camp first heard the Ms. Todd allegations, they did not deny that either, yes? If you claim that Mr. McCain not denying published reports prove their truth, you must also accept that Mr. Obama not denying published reports proves their truth too. But they’re not actually true! Oh … wait …

    “But there’s no convincing someone who wants to believe”

    Mmmm. You’re the one who unquestioningly repeats a single sourced unproven assertion from a clearly biased source as fact … yet *I* am the one “who wants to believe”.

    Well, that line of “thought” quite clearly is irrefutable!

  • alexcurylo

    Actually, I’m going to follow up further on that “wants to believe” comment, as it may not be as self-evidently risible to the reader as it is to me.
    See, I’m actually Canadian, and my default assumption when I read absolutely anything published in the U.S. or by an U.S. person about your elections is that it’s almost certainly complete twaddle meant to advance the viewpoint of the publisher and not any actual facts. Anything that I approach with the intention of believing must come from a foreign source. In that spirit, I present to you this evaluation of Messr. Obama and his intentions from the UK’s Spectator.

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/melaniephillips/2545716/is-america-really-going-to-do-this.thtml

    Perchance for your next article, instead of playing up nonsensical trivialities from your gutter press, you could examine the serious concerns that foreign commentators such as Ms. Philips observe about your upcoming election?

  • http://www.markalanthomas.com marsviolet

    Alexcurylo, only 1% of French people support McCain, and Europe in general massively backs Obama. That’s a far more compelling argument than this solitary Spectator columnist whose opinions you hold sacred.

  • alexcurylo

    “this solitary Spectator columnist”

    Oh, just one is a problem? Here, I’ll double it. From the Middle East this time instead of Europe, here’s another commentator whose opinions I hold sacred, as you so piquantly put it.

    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1222017613212&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

    If you’d like more, I can come up with more. How many would you like?

    Although, quite honestly, I don’t really follow how “Europe in general massively backs Obama” is a logical refutation of the arguments contained in the Spectator article.

    Are you claiming that this counting noses bit of yours is, in fact, a substantively valid refutation of a reasoned argument such as Ms. Philips presents? If so, I must say that Obama supporter logic is not one that I’m familiar with from my critical thinking/philosophy courses back in my university days. Perhaps you could point me at some explanation of its principles so that I can engage with Obama supporters such as yourself at your own level of intellect?

  • Jens Bäckman

    Just to get one thing clear: I don’t support any of the candidates. The primary reason is because I’m Swedish, not because I’m uninterested or undecided. With that out of the way…

    “So this “kill him” is indeed caught on video? Link, please. Oh, you don’t actually have any? Funny, that.”

    I can do one better. By the way, it seems impossible to get unbiased news in the US. The only source I have found so far was a surprise to me: The Daily Show. This clip from 2008-10-14 touched the subject.
    http://www.thedailyshow.com/video/index.jhtml?videoId=188473&title=10,000-McCainiacs

  • http://www.markalanthomas.com marsviolet

    I’m just pointing out that once you escape the isolated tunnel vision of the United States where 49% of each party votes along party lines regardless of who the candidate is, you discover that in the larger world Obama is clearly seen as a visionary reformer with good ideas and an ability to inspire positive action.

    You could post a thousand articles like the one in the Spectator and it would still only represent a tiny minority opinion.

    A counting of noses is the only truly valid measure of a candidate’s worth, for a president’s primary role is to lead, and without the confidence of the people a leader cannot lead.

  • alexcurylo

    “A counting of noses is the only truly valid measure of a candidate’s worth”

    Ah! Well that certainly is a straightforward statement of principle, as requested, thank you. Now, let me apply that principle to the subject under discussion, presidential elections in the United States of America.

    I see from a quick Google that the Presidential winner with the highest recorded count of noses is one George W. Bush, who received 62,040,606 (53.2%) in the 2004 elections. Conversely, the Presidential winner with the lowest recorded count in the last 25 years is one William Clinton in 1992 with a mere 44,909,806 noses – a pitiful 43.01%.

    So, logically applying the principle you profess as “the only truly valid measure of a candidate’s worth”, I then conclude under your tutelage that George W. Bush is the most worthy candidate of the last 25 years, and William Clinton is the most worthy.

    I do have that correct, I trust?

  • alexcurylo

    Now, as an aside, I must say that you are indeed correct in my opinion when you say that Obama “has an ability to inspire positive action.” He has certainly done so in my own country already!

    “Barack Obama’s promise to unilaterally rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement if Canada and Mexico won’t go along with his ideas on labor and the environment has not gone unnoticed in Ottawa. If Canadians are going to have a tougher time selling their goods and services south of the border, who can blame them for looking east — across the Atlantic to Europe. Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France signed an agreement Friday to begin negotiations for a free trade pact between Canada and the European Union…”

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122445840565148489.html

    Far as I’m concerned free trade is pretty much the only thing other than the national armed forces government has both the power and the responsibility to get right — and if the mere process of anointing your Clown Prince has already scared my government into the positive action related above, why my goodness, a whole four years of him ought to be downright FANTASTIC!

    … or is that not precisely the kind of inspiration to positive action you were thinking he would serve as?

  • http://www.markalanthomas.com marsviolet

    So basically you’re a Libertarian. That’s cool. I believe in most of the Libertarian ideals, but unfortunately the United States has evolved differently. Maybe eventually you guys will find a leader as inspiring and charismatic as Obama and you’ll finally get somewhere. As it stands, you’re too angry, inflexible and confrontational to inspire anyone.

  • alexcurylo

    Oh, I’m even better than just a Libertarian. As you’ll find my only two mentions in wikipedia to be if you bother searching, my foray into electoral politics was to challenge our Premier for — wait for it — the B.C. Marijuana Party. But I was, indeed, endorsed by the Libertarians as well.

    http://www.libertarian.bc.ca/election2001.html

    Freaks AND wackos, I’m your man!

    And you haven’t I trust already forgotten Ron Paul’s run at the Presidency this spring? He is as close to Libertarian as makes barely a smidgen of difference, and seemed to me like there was a good bit of inspiration going on with his campaign!

  • http://www.markalanthomas.com marsviolet

    I have no official party affiliation, but because I believe in the rule of law and acknowledge that the US is a republic rather than a democracy, that sort of makes me a “republican” by definition. Nevertheless, I’m backing Obama because he’s based his campaign and politics around the idea of returning power to the people, beginning with the way he’s run his campaign by empowering small individual donors — regular people rather than corporations and lobbyists. That really is a change from the way it’s worked for as long as I can remember. I have never, in 39 years, voted before. I’ve always sat on the sidelines and just watched in disgust. Obama actually motivated me and made me want to participate.

    I watched most of the debates. All in all, the candidate I grew to loathe the most is Hillary Clinton, but I have to say that the way the Republicans ridiculed and belittled Ron Paul really infuriated me because Ron Paul’s ideals and politics are far truer to the original spirit of the country than anything those self-congratulating, smirky republicans hold true.

    No candidate is perfect, but Obama got me off my lazy, disinterested, highly cynical ass, which is just shy of a miracle. For that, he gets my vote.

  • alexcurylo

    Well, we seem to be fairly solidly agreed on principles then. Seems to me that the United States was intended pretty much to be Switzerland in North America, and the Founders would be flabbergasted where they weren’t horrified at what it’s turned into.

    As for Obama, well, where you and your ilk find inspiration I find an instinctively aversion-inducing bleating of beatific platitudes and a concerning lack of fortitude. Concerns which those links I provided share. However, I assure you that no one will be more pleased than I will should my instincts turn out, unusually, to be incorrect in this case. The alternative is … worrying.

  • qka

    This is so reminiscent of the Tawana Brawley incdient in 1987. Al Sharpton jumped in to support her rape allegation against white police officers, only to have her later admit it was all a fabrication. As a result, to this day, Sharpton lacks credibility.

    Those who do not remember history are likely to repeat it.

  • http://www.markalanthomas.com marsviolet

    Well, it’s politics— it’s a notch above child molestation. In order to get elected, you have to pontificate and promise, and if you tell the truth you will lose. That’s the bitter reality of our system. So Obama sticks to his themes of hope and change with the promise that his presidency will not be just about him or just about Washington politics, but about the people backing him, and he has offered up as proof of his motives the financial underpinnings of his campaign by rejecting public campaign financing, lobbyist influence, and special interest money. We, his supporters, are directly responsible for his ability to get his message heard, and we can pull the plug at any time.

    I have watched Obama since before the primary debates and despite unbelievably vicious attacks on his character by the likes of Hillary Clinton and John McCain, he has shown restraint, kept his composure, and has not stooped to their level. And as this has played out it has confirmed, at least for me, the trueness of his character. I like to remind myself that nobody who becomes president has ever been president before. No one is ever prepared for the job, no matter how long they have toiled in the circus sideshow that is Washington. The things that matter are intelligence, judgement, temperament, and character.

    Every single Obama supporter is making a bet — a leap of faith based on instinct and gut — and we’re all quietly thinking to ourselves, We’re giving you our country. Don’t fuck it up.

  • stefn

    Maybe it’s my age but I take a low level, short range view of this election. No optimism. Just a solid opportunity to change the face of US politics by electing Obama.

    It cuts two ways: It’s a stick the eye to the politics of racism we all grew up in. And it puts paid to the politics of rage and resentment; now anyone of any race can aspire to power in the US.

    In fact, it’s already having results. The block of southern states that moved into the Republican column after Hubert Humphrey drummed them out in 1948, is breaking up. This is historic.

    Who knows what Obama will face. What he can achieve. Let’s not begin by cursing his presidency with messianic expectations. He will have enough challenges on his plate without hauling everyone’s high hopes around with him.

  • Pingback: uninteresting :: rich » the big, scary black Obama-supporting mugger()

  • JasonBee

    For those who thought the “terrorist” catcalls were fake:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UuaktrrFQw

    Enjoy.

  • tknapen

    Those calculations on votes by alexcurylo are the most laughable thing i saw today. Anyone that thinks that’s a sensible calculation needs a brain transplant. I’d give up mine, but i’m kind of attached to it.

  • http://www.roughlydrafted.com danieleran

    I’m sure the Obama as president will be at least as disappointing as any Apple Event, where critics will all come away upset that their own personal desires weren’t all met. Everyone seems to want everything with twice the specs and half the cost.

    A President Obama would be attacked by the Republicans as fiercely as Clinton was, although this time around, they don’t have much novelty in their platform to trot out and stand upon. The “moral majority” has proven itself to be a hypocritical sham. They were so worried about Clinton’s improprieties and infidelity with his wife, but once you have a series of wide stance, toe tapping Republican scandals, such wife cheating complaint hysterics begin to lose impact. Particularly gagging is the fact that Bush’s own spiritual advisor, Ted Haggerty, not only cheated on his wife but was doing it under a cloud of meth with a regular prostitute: planned, not a random situation. Obama also seems less likely to need attention elsewhere as Clinton did.

    And efforts to find needles of fraud in the haystack of Clintons’ Whitewater pale in significance to the orchestrated fraud of wartime profiteering under the Haliburton administration, let alone McCain’s own three way of his pill popping drug fraud second wife, her investments with the criminally corrupt Keating (a hypocritically staunch advocate of anti-porn efforts) and McCain himself. Obama is unlikely to have much fraud that can be pinned to his finances, since it mostly comes from having written books.

    And for all the Republicans had to say about Clinton’s Kosovo being ‘the next Vietnam,’ the Bush administration’s Iraq boondoggle has made itself out to be a complete farce of epic proportions. Obama will be leading the US out of war and diplomatically edging the world toward a safer future rather than a multi-front conventional war against an enemy with no country and non-conventional tactics.

    The Republican party has become a criminally insane joke. It will need to rebuild itself. Currently, there’s the fundamentalist faction hoping to bring Palin back to the table in 2012 for another shot at turning the USA (plus or minus Alaska) into a religious confederacy run like the Taliban. Then you have the Ron Paul ‘small government, no fed’ group that is disgusted by the religious nuts, but held in little esteem by the party mechanics. Then you have the corporate military industrial complex, which needs the religious zealotry to inflame a constant war, but also needs the more serious conservatives around to actually run the thing (Palin’s praying hasn’t helped her situation nearly as much as the $150,000 makeover and that $800 spray tan supplied by big money handlers). That’s a pretty weak and ineffectual coalition.

    So I think that Obama will get most of his flack from those who expect him to be able to turn everything into gold within days of coming into office. They’ll demand Bush and Cheney be charged with war crimes, and that the churches that turned themselves into campaign nodes for McCain be taxed like any other political group, and that all of Obama’s plans for technology be implemented immediately.

    That might be difficult to all get done in the first 100 days.

  • Silencio

    @alexcurylo: If you’re going to use Clinton’s percentage of the vote in 1992 to prove a point, at least be intellectually honest enough to recall that 1992 was a legitimate three-person race. Ross Perot received almost 19% of the popular vote in that campaign. No doubt Perot took more votes away from Bush the Elder than he did from Clinton, but that explains how Clinton was able to win with only 43% of the popular vote.

  • oomu

    that is an angry post and I understand why it’s an angry post. Even from my country, it’s easy to be angry.

    Angry at blatant contradictions, blatant lies, and blatant corruptions. But the most obvious thing is how much the usa loose in some litte time. in a few years.

    From my point of view, I saw the difference with my own money (euro) against dollars.

    but, I believe, the most intriguing thing is how many times I read american texts (from politicians but also in blogs, forums, newspaper) against education and science. The central point was “evolution”, but it was just a start. just a catalyst for something else : to stop education.

    For me it’s like, maybe the usa, at last, want to give the leadership in technology;; computers and science progress to Europe, or Japan ? whatever, I would prefer to be Europe. thanks. and be assured, without a will to reduce education in USA, never Europe would be able to compete.

    I don’t really care about USA, I care about Europe, but still, I was really confused by Bush (it was like.. hu.. thanks Bush for my local economy) , and totally puzzled by Palin (!) and McCain’s choices. The more I read about her, the less I understand what the republican party and people loving her want. I cannot fathom they want exactly what they said.

  • gus2000

    Well I hope Obama doesn’t screw up now, because I voted for him today and they told me no takebacks or do-overs.

    Funny how the comments above avoid the point of Dan’s article…that the GOP is getting desperate enough to trot out this bullshit story without vetting it, indifferent to the cultural consequences. They see the writing on the wall, and the looming loss of power they are about to suffer is spawning panic.

    I find it amusing that some of the above commenters believe that when the media reports the truth, it amounts to a smear. There is little compelling about an argument that is limited to “I don’t see the proof so it must not be true.” There is ample evidence of the McCain/Palin supporters threatening Obama, and the Secret Service is actually investigating. I am disinclined to believe your right-wing lies, no matter how frequently or forcefully you repeat them.

    It took The Google all of 5 seconds to find the evidence of the disgusting behavior using the search term “mccain kill him”. Hint: none of the results were about killing McCain.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/10/06/mccain-does-nothing-as-cr_n_132366.html

  • monkeybutler

    @ alexcurlyo

    The Spectator is a right-wing, very conservative political mag, so most articles within need to be taken with a pinch of salt at best. Most former editors go on to some form of political office for the Conservative Party here in the UK.

    And Melanie Phillips (the author of the article) is an appalling journalist – for example, some of her opinions include man-made climate change being untrue, evolution being a flawed theory, and (most dangerous of all) in the face of all the evidence she STILL puts forward that the MMR vaccine is linked to autism.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melanie_Phillips

    Melanie Phillips is the absolute worst kind of hack – a scaremongering, fact-avoiding mouthpeice only interested in putting forth her opinion and stifling all others. If she’s the best you can do to support your position, well then I’m afraid I don’t think you have much of a leg to stand on.

  • nelsonart

    alexcurylo, you might be surprised. There are quite a few people in America that feel as you do. As the articles you linked referred to Carter and Reagan, that’s how many view these two candidates. Foreign policy is critically important at this time and the world is watching. America can’t take a chance on Obama’s clear naivete and lack of judgment.

    Crying in fear over Palin’s lack of experience while turning a blind eye to Obama’s lack of the same is interesting to watch, but makes me uneasy. Not supporting the surge and then denouncing it and then later proclaiming it to be more successful than could possibly be imagined makes Obama appear confused and fickle instead of steady and sure. Again, the world is watching.

    One the economy: Massive spending increases coupled with massive tax hikes that will blow away any incentive to start or expand small business will harm this fragile economy. Simultaneously pushing for a hasty retreat out of Iraq to find some savings while offering nearly a trillion dollars to the U.N. over the next decade appears to be a ‘spread the wealth’ plan, to be enjoyed internationally. Can America really be this careless? At this time?

    What Obama will actually get through congress is up for debate, but his ideology is dead wrong for America. His tolerance to chum around with known terrorists has definitely prepared him to meet, without preconditions, all manner of evil, anti-american figures now dominating the world stage. Although at least we don’t have to worry about Iran, them being a small, insignificant country.

    The media has not done their work on this one. They’ve given a pass to Obama and his dangerous plans for America. Liberals everywhere are upset and irritated and defensive of any ‘negative’ campaigning, except, of course, that which is thrown Palin’s way.

    We go back and forth. Repubs are bad, Dems are good. And when Dems are bad, it’s not quite as bad as the Repubs. Even our brilliant Dan attempts to play down Ayers because it involves Obama, while denouncing republicans for what he sees as comparable behavior.

    “What group could be more ‘Anti-American’ than the party Palin warmly welcomed earlier this year, which seeks to dissolve the country she would supposedly hope to run?”

    Oh I dunno…. Ayers, who bombed the capitol and pentagon and wishes he could have done more? Sounds a little more substantial than 7 fisherman sharing a beer and bitching about America.

    Or this one, which favors Clinton’s brand of cheating over a….. yes it’s reaching… spiritual advisor of Bush:

    “Bush’s own spiritual advisor, Ted Haggerty, not only cheated on his wife but was doing it under a cloud of meth with a regular prostitute: planned, not a random situation.”

    I’m not sure how inserting cigars into an intern in the dark hallways of the white house counts as a random situation, but I do score Clinton higher for creativity and meaningful expression. And I’m sure he smoked that cigar (and inhaled).

    I hope in the last few days before the election, people look seriously at the plans and records of our candidates. It’s entertaining to poke fun at Dan and others in a blog, but many of the issues confronting America are serious. It’s worth your time and effort to get to know what these coming changes mean for you and your country.

  • http://www.markalanthomas.com marsviolet

    In his interview with Tom Brokaw, Colin Powell pointed out the irony in the Republican argument that using taxes to “spread the wealth” was socialist when the purpose of taxes is to spread the wealth.

    The reason Obama opposed the surge is because we shouldn’t be there in the first place, and the main political objective of the surge was to ensure that we could stay there longer. His instinct was and still is the correct one, regardless of how effective the surge has been at curbing violence.

  • alexcurylo

    “the purpose of taxes is to spread the wealth.”

    Ah, now there’s a distinct philosophical difference. In the Libertarian view, the only legitimate purpose of forced taxes or forced service is to fund endeavours that a) protect social order and also b) have an unavoidable free rider problem associated with them. For the national government, everyone agrees that national defense unquestioningly qualifies, generally along the Swiss citizen militia model. (If you ever wonder how any particular aspect of libertarian-principled governance would be workable in real life, you can almost always answer yourself by examining how Switzerland handles the aspect in question.) After that … discussion bogs down quickly :)

    The rationale for progressive taxation of some sort is not to spread the wealth, it’s that since the wealthier have more of an interest in continued social order it qualifies as just that they should fund it more directly. Therefore it is not incompatible with libertarian principles that my national obligations could be fulfilled by showing with new boots and a used but well maintained battle rifle for my militia service, whilst Bill Gates would be showing up with a carrier battle group for his.

  • LuisDias

    In the Libertarian view, the only legitimate purpose of forced taxes or forced service is to fund endeavours that a) protect social order and also b) have an unavoidable free rider problem associated with them.

    How’s that “not spreading the wealth”? The ridiculous part of any ideologue is that they can’t see the paradoxes within their own ideologies. You like to play with words, but I don’t think you know what they mean.

    If you ever wonder how any particular aspect of libertarian-principled governance would be workable in real life, you can almost always answer yourself by examining how Switzerland handles the aspect in question

    Nevermind that the banking system of Switzerland is the safe ground of all the bad money in the world.

  • alexcurylo

    “How’s that “not spreading the wealth”?”

    Spreading the wealth is to take property which someone owns and give it to someone different, who has not earned it, for the not-earner’s exclusive personal benefit.

    To require those who benefit unequally from a common good to contribute unequally to the maintenance of that common good is not spreading the wealth.

    “The ridiculous part of any ideologue is that they can’t see the paradoxes within their own ideologies. ”

    The ridiculous part of any complete idiot is that they make up paradoxes where clearly none exist.

    “You like to play with words, but I don’t think you know what they mean.”

    I believe the worth of your opinions is summed up quite conclusively with this statement, indeed.

  • http://www.markalanthomas.com marsviolet

    The rationale for progressive taxation of some sort is not to spread the wealth, it’s that since the wealthier have more of an interest in continued social order it qualifies as just that they should fund it more directly. Therefore it is not incompatible with libertarian principles that my national obligations could be fulfilled by showing with new boots and a used but well maintained battle rifle for my militia service, whilst Bill Gates would be showing up with a carrier battle group for his.

    At which point Gates would grab control of the state and declare himself Supreme Chancellor.

  • http://www.markalanthomas.com marsviolet

    Ah, now there’s a distinct philosophical difference.

    I support your ideals but have zero faith in America’s ability to self-govern. We are a nation of greedy liars and assholes with no capacity to play nice. It would be endless civil war.

  • alexcurylo

    “At which point Gates would grab control of the state…”

    As pointed out earlier, I refer you to the Swiss experience. Exactly this principle guides their national defense — it is something of a status symbol to finance your own fighter-bomber jet or the like for your national service — yet, somehow, nothing of the sort has ever happened, and Switzerland has an unbroken constitutional evolution dating back to 1291. No other modern nation state comes even close.

    And as a testament to its effectiveness, examine World War II. Hitler was quite offended indeed by stalwart Swiss independence blotching the map of the Third Reich, but even he accepted his generals’ evaluation that it would take at least 60 divisions to initially subdue the country and there was no possibility of pacification. Thus, Switzerland was, remarkably, all but untouched by the war. Its worst damage was actually from Allied misidentifcation as German towns during bombing raids.

    Libertarians see this as a powerful testament that organizing nations along their principles would lead to a safer, stabler, world for everybody. If there is any cogent counterargument to be made, I have certainly never encountered it.

  • http://spacecynics.wordpress.com Thomas

    I’ll be glad when this frackin’ election is over and Dan can go back to tech analysis, which is the ONLY REASON I read the thing. Dan, if you want to do political commentary, can’t you start a separate blog devoted to that?

  • alexcurylo

    “We are a nation of greedy liars and assholes with no capacity to play nice.”

    Yeah, well, it’s not just you. I’ll freely acknowledge that the level of personal responsibility a libertarian utopia requires from its constituents makes the practicality of that barely a step removed from pure communism. However, I feel that the general principles of devolution of authority and encouragement of personal responsibility are not only worthwhile, but essential for long term survival of a society. Power corrupts, absolute power is pretty damn cool. Or something like that.

  • LuisDias

    The ridiculous part of any complete idiot is that they make up paradoxes where clearly none exist.

    Get a clue. If you tax wealthy to give basic education to the poor, that’s redistribution. If you tax the wealthy to defend your nation, you’re defending the poor as well, even that far-fetched example, that’s redistribution. The only way it’s NOT a redistribution is if the tax is proportional to the amount of money owned and the benefits of that tax are proportional to the amount of tax each one gave, which is practically impossible to achieve.

    Of course, to any folk that think that “money” is the ultimate meaning of life, with the market functioning perfectly, automatically distributing wealth within a meritocracy, I can see that they do have problems with the “redistributions of wealth”. Alas, such folk live in fantasy land. Welcome, Harry Potter, to the real world, where things are more complicated than your ideology.

    The only reason you claim it’s not redistribution is because you don’t want to be called an hypocrite. So you resort to full blown honesty:

    The rationale for progressive taxation of some sort is not to spread the wealth, it’s that since the wealthier have more of an interest in continued social order it qualifies as just that they should fund it more directly.

    Wow I be damned! So according to your politcal view, people shouldn’t be really interested in sharing wealth and education and health towards one another, no, we should only appease to their only true interest of maintaining status quo! (the give-bread-to-the-poor-so-they-don’t-fuck-with-us Roman style politics!) And apparently, this self-interest is enough to inspire a nation, Ron Paul style! Gasp!

    I believe the worth of your opinions is summed up quite conclusively with this statement, indeed.

    SNORE.

  • http://www.markalanthomas.com marsviolet

    As pointed out earlier, I refer you to the Swiss experience.

    America is not Switzerland.

  • tundraboy

    As I always said, my libertarianism ends when my neighbor paints his house fluorescent pink. Libertarianism is a college-freshman level ideology for people who cannot wrap their minds around the complexities of real political life. And even dumber than social libertarianism is economic libertarianism. We had the robber-baron era, we had the great depression, now we’re going through the great Greenspan meltdown, and yet we still have people banging on their tired old Ayn Rand drum. Any self-professed libertarian who does not know what the ‘externality problem’ and the ‘private information problem’ are, and has no practical, proven solution for them is just an ignorant, cognitively dissonant, pseudo-intellectual loudmouth who really should not be taken seriously.

    That aside, I do believe it appears to me that this long eight year nightmare will soon be over. One of the first things I would hope President Obama would do is declare that he will never use signing statements and will consider all signing statements unconstitutional and thus refuse to enforce them. Second, I would like him to return the primacy of objective, scholarly, and peer-reviewed science in the nation’s science and technology agencies and expel all the lobbyist-sponsored Republican political officers that have infected the various expert scientific commissions, boards, and panels of the federal government.

  • http://www.markalanthomas.com marsviolet

    And as a testament to its effectiveness, examine World War II. Hitler was quite offended indeed by stalwart Swiss independence blotching the map of the Third Reich, but even he accepted his generals’ evaluation that it would take at least 60 divisions to initially subdue the country and there was no possibility of pacification. Thus, Switzerland was, remarkably, all but untouched by the war. Its worst damage was actually from Allied misidentifcation as German towns during bombing raids.

    Actually, the Swiss appeased Hitler and gave him sanctuary. A single Nazi tank division likely could have taken Berne (the capital), and if Hitler had not been defeated by the coalition, most of German-speaking Switzerland would have been incorporated into the German empire.

  • LuisDias

    Hitler was quite offended indeed by stalwart Swiss independence blotching the map of the Third Reich, but even he accepted his generals’ evaluation that it would take at least 60 divisions to initially subdue the country and there was no possibility of pacification.

    Now you confuse ideological achievements with geographic quagmires! How dumber can you get?

  • tundraboy

    Switzerland in WWII was impeccably neutral. As impeccably neutral as Spain.

    (Okay for those whose knowledge of history is Palinian or Bushian: Beep beep! Irony alert, Irony alert! Beep beep!)

  • bergump

    dan, i would like your view on this story. this could prove to be the political scandal of the decade. i did more investigation and the evidence appears overwhelming of fraud.

    [Oh, please. You linked up extremist right wing nuttery about Obama’s birth certificate. This is not a story, nor a “scandal.” It’s a pile of stupid that stinks to anyone with an IQ above 75.

    Seriously, if you think Obama has pulled off identity fraud long enough to spend years teaching Constitutional Law in a prestigious university, get elected to the Senate as serve on committees requiring a security clearance, and now faces the loss of his presidential race because of “questions” about birth certificate from the same people who “question” climate change, science, and the benefits of secular government, ask yourself: don’t you think that Obama would have the capacity to generate a very genuine appearing birth certificate if he were actually challenged and were not, as wingnuts fantasize, a citizen?

    There is no plausible scenario where “I hear there’s no paper, and parts aren’t legible!!!!” rumors floating in the dead space of dittohead hate radio goose stepping extremist fear alarmist nutjobs that would bring any truth to light. Don’t seek enlightenment from these dim bulbs.

    When you post this stuff, you are simply mocking yourself. Also, you’re a bit late because the court already acted to throw this ridiculous case out. Let’s keep the discussion on intelligent issues that matter, not catcalling “terrorist kill him” jackassery.]

  • sdotbailey

    @ alexcurylo

    OK, since no one has provided these videos and you’re just not willing to learn anything, here.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjxzmaXAg9E

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itEucdhf4Us&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVFWahLTdUo

    There, now that you’ve been schooled, go examine these people you’re obviously very strongly supporting. Good luck in your bubble-world where nothing bad ever happens and Fox News is completely right about everything everywhere.

  • acoustic_engr

    Where exactly in the Constitution is secession prohibited? Virginia for one refused to ratify it until they received explicit assurances that they could secede if they chose to in the future. The US may no longer be a voluntary association of the states, but it once was.

    [The Constitution defines the US as a federal government, not a voluntary confederation.

    In Texas v. White, 74 U.S. 700 (1869) the United States Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution did not permit states to secede from the United States.]

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