Monday, November 29, 2010

Someone, Please Explain the Pentagon Papers to Sarah Palin

As we know, about 250,000 diplomatic cables have been released by Wikileaks to five major newspapers in the US and Europe. It should be noted that months have been spent reviewing these cables to establish standards for publication between the papers prior to receipt of the materials, and the governments involved were notified months in advance what would be included in the "dump" so that they might do any damage control. By the way, Glenn Greenwald over at Salon has been keeping a list of persons killed as a result of any of the (now) three information dumps and has come up with a total of zero. Full disclosure, I have really mixed feelings about this, but the point of this post is not the actual information leak itself, but rather Sarah Palin and her reaction.

Sarah Palin has, once again, inserted herself into this conversation. God forbid that a significant (or not so significant) issue occur without her having an opinion, and whether it has anything to do with him or not, attack President Obama. Certainly the cables do refer to his administration, and the Bush Administration, the Clinton Administration, and actually go back to 1965 in some cases. What has been reviewed so far appears primarily to be on the order of embarrassing rather than dangerous. But, Sarah Palin never one to miss an opportunity to badmouth the President, and more importantly, put herself forward, blames him for the leak and the release of the information.

The tweet?
“Inexplicable: I recently won in court to stop my book “America by Heart” from being leaked,but US Govt can’t stop Wikileaks’ treasonous act?”

What she probably should do is get a dictionary and look up treason, leak, and inexplicable. It wouldn't hurt, seeing as how she has published two books in the past year, to review copyright law. I know she claims that she will never, ever, ever speak to Katie Couric again, but on the off chance that she runs for public office again which appears highly likely, and she is asked about her favorite Supreme Court decisions, or one she disagrees with, she could go learn about 403 US 731 (1971) New York Times Co. v United States. This is more commonly known as the case of the Pentagon Papers. The issue? Prior restraint. The government tried to prevent the New York Times from publishing documents reporting the results of a study on the decision making process related to the Vietnam conflict. The 1st Amendment, that pesky little amendment that Sarah Palin seems to be confused about (remember, on Oct. 30, 2008, she complained that her first amendment rights were being violated by media attacks on her). She, of the journalism degree that makes her the final word in what is "good journalism," seems not to understand that the first amendment is simply protection of the media from the government and at the time, she was pretty definitely the government.

Ezra Klien of the Washington Post, speaking on The Last Word on MSNBC, said, in referring to her tweets about Wikileaks, that he found it fascinating " small Sarah Palin's reaction is to this."

One of the best analyses I've read today about this reaction is from Sarah Jones at PoliticsUSA, writing WikiSqueaks: Sarah Palin's Incoherently Dangerous Wikileaks Criticism. Italics is Sarah Palin.

Responding to Sarah Palin's demand that President Obama do something to protect our soldiers, and blaming him completely for not averting the dump in the first place, Sarah Jones says:

"Not only is Wikileaks is hosted in Sweden where, I feel duty bound to point out, the President of the US does not have sovereignty as of yet and where it is impossible to commit treason against this country unless one is a US citizen residing in Sweden, but also, as Ms Palin must be aware (given her recent claim to a journalism degree that qualified her to discredit all American media save Fox News) there’s that pesky Pentagon Papers ruling"[sic]
"We are at war. American soldiers are in Afghanistan fighting to protect our freedoms. They are serious about keeping America safe. It would be great if they could count on their government being equally serious about that vital task.”
"Ms Palin is charging the Obama administration with neglecting national security on purpose, implying that he is anti-American, as she did during the 2008 campaign. And that must sting the President, coming as it does from a person married to a once-registered secessionist..."
It isn’t that she doesn’t know the law, it’s that she doesn’t care to know the law. It isn’t that she assumes dictator like powers as President, it’s that she has already proven in Alaska that she governs with reckless abandon for the law. This is the person quoted as saying to the Wasilla City Council leader, “’I'm the mayor, I can do whatever I want until the courts tell me I can’t.”
 I've been working on several things today unrelated to news and politics, but I kept TweetDeck open all day and popped in and out when something caught my eye. Everyone has written about this issue, most weighing in on whether or not they agreed with the release of the documents. Most of the discussion seems to be about the damage that may or may not have been done, and the next dump which is reputed to be bank information. The cluelessness of Sarah Palin puts an amusing coda on the subject, but also is very frightening. Although in the middle of the piece, this paragraph from Ms. Jones piece, is I believe, the most important point: (emphasis added)
"And this is where the real trouble begins. Are we to believe that in Ms Palin’s America, she would assume the right to shut down any blog, paper, or freedom of information act organization she disliked by claiming they were a threat to national security (and the troops)? Would it be asking too much for American citizens to get more information on Ms Palin’s understanding of the fine tightrope between transparency and security, court precedent and a general understanding of the balance of power inherent in our government? Does Ms Palin think Americans are entitled to hear her discuss these complicated issues on a regular news outlet at some point, as the rest of our lawmakers and leaders do?"
thanks for stopping by. Come back soon.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

16 of the Dumbest Things Americans Believe & the Right-Wing Lies Behind Them

Sarah Seltzer at AlterNet writes 16 of the Dumbest Things Americans Believe -- And the Right-Wing Lies Behind Them. I have written a bit, as have many others, on this phenomenon and the GOP media machine that makes these lies successful, but this is an excellent article that illustrates exactly what the problem is, and why. [emphasis added]

"Americans are often misinformed, occasionally downright dumb, and easily misled by juicy-sounding rumors. But while the right wing is taking full advantage of this reality, the Left worries that calling out lies is "rude."

"Remember when Congressman Joe Wilson stood up during Obama’s State of the Union address and shouted “You lie”? He was chastised soundly by the pundit class. But mostly he drew heat for being impolite, and was compared to Kanye West and other famous interrupters."
"Revisiting Wilson's foolish tirade underscores the state of our upside-down political world. Wilson shouted “you lie” in the face of truth, but President Obama is hesitant to speak up when he’s being slandered with bald, glaring untruths...It feels like no one with a loud enough megaphone has the courage to call a spade a spade, or more accurately a lie a lie."
  • "Polling data during and after last week’s midterm elections suggested that many Americans genuinely believe President Obama has raised their taxes -- even though the reality is that our president actually lowered them for most of us. This means that people trust pundits like Rush Limbaugh, a major force behind spreading that lie, over the numbers on their own tax returns."
  • "Another recent phenomenon? Half of new Congressmen don’t believe in the reality of global warming. It’s not that they don’t just disagree on the source or the severity of the problem. They flat out don’t think the world is getting warmer--despite the evidence outside their windows."
  • "The new Congress will probably try to restore millions of dollars of funding for scientifically inaccurate, largely disastrous abstinence-only curriculum in schools, many of which have been shown to spread lies like "condoms don't work" and "abortion causes cancer." 
  • "News outlets picked up a wildly inflated and completely outlandish claim from an Indian blog that Obama’s trip abroad cost $200 million a day--and listeners have swallowed it. (In this case, the White House flat-out denied it.)"
"The scary thing is, these kinds of rumors have a way of taking root in the popular consciousness. Just as the election season began heating up earlier this year, Newsweek published a list of “Dumb Things Americans Believe.” While some of them are garden-variety lunacy, a surprising number are lies that were fed to Americans by our leaders on the far-Right. This demonstrates that media-fed lies can easily become ingrained in the collective memory if they’re not countered quickly and surely. Newsweek’s list included the following 12 statistics taken from recent and semi-recent polls and surveys. The first half are directly related to right-wing rumormongering."
  • "Nearly one-fifth of Americans think Obama is a Muslim. Thanks, Fox news, for acting like this was a matter of opinion, not fact."
  • "25 percent of Americans don’t believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution while less than 40 percent do. Consider the fact that several of our newly elected officials, specifically newly elected Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, share that belief."
  • "Earlier this year, nearly 40 percent of Americans still believed the Sarah Palin-supported lie about "death panels" being included in health care reform."
  • "As of just a few years ago, about half of Americans still suspected a connection between Saddam Hussein and the attacks of September 11, a lie that was reinforced by none other than Dick Cheney."
  • "While a hefty amount of this demonstrable cluelessness gets better as the respondents get younger, all is not well in the below-30 demographic. A majority of “young Americans” cannot identify Iraq or Afghanistan--the places their peers are fighting and dying--on a map."
  • "Two out of five Americans, despite the whole separation of church and state being a foundation of our democracy thing, think teachers should be able to lead prayer in classrooms. So it seems those right-wingers clamoring to tear down the wall between church and state aren’t the only ones who don’t know their constitutional principles."
  • "Many Americans still believe in witchcraft, ESP and other supernatural phenomena. Does that explain why Christine O’Donnell was so quick to deny her “dabbling”?"
  • "Speaking of antiquated religious beliefs, about a decade ago, 20 percent of Americans still believed that the sun revolves around the earth. That's just sad, considering that even the Vatican has let Galileo off the hook for being right."
  • "Only about half of Americans realize that Judaism is the oldest of the three monotheistic religions. Other examples of wild misunderstanding about religion and the separation of church and state can be found in this fall’s Pew survey on Americans’ religious knowledge."
  • "This one made a huge splash when it appeared. In 2006 more Americans were able to name two of the “seven dwarves” than two of the Supreme Court justices. And that was before Kagan and Sotomayor showed up. To be fair, Happy and Sleepy are easy to remember."
  • "More Americans can identify the Three Stooges than the three branches of government--you know, the ones who are jockeying over our welfare."
“ a two-to-one margin likely voters thought their taxes had gone up, when, for almost all of them, they had actually gone down. Republican politicians, and conservative commentators, told them Barack Obama was a tax-mad lunatic. They lied. The mainstream media did not do their job and correct them. The White House was too polite—"civil," just like Obama promised—to say much. So people believed the lie.”
"Blaming Americans for being ignorant unwashed masses--or taking potshots at an education system that doesn’t teach critical thinking-- would be the easy answer to this conundrum."
"But the reality is that if messaging has such a big effect on Americans, then messaging matters. Folks on our end have to counter the lies with well-told, unabashed unironic, truth-telling. And we have to demand that our media, and our politicians, call out the other side. As Perlstein notes, “When one side breaks the social contract, and the other side makes a virtue of never calling them out on it, the liar always wins. When it becomes 'uncivil' to call out liars, lying becomes free.”
"Even worse, once lies begin to spread, they become more than rumors--they become permanent beliefs."

This is an extremely critical subject and one that we cannot ignore. The 2012 presidential race has already begun and will begin moving quickly after the first of the year. Please do go read the rest of this article and learn these points. The GOPhers have an excellent media machine and have trained Americans to listen to buzzwords and sound-bytes. If that is the way people listen, then it is important that we be able to respond in kind. Use this information to talk to your friends and relatives, write letters to the editor, tweet or post to Facebook. When the GOPhers lie, we must continue to call them out and respond with the truth.

Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon.

Just for Fun. How Many of These Have You Read?

Have you read more than 6 of these books? The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here.

Copy this list. Because of formatting issues (the instructions are to bold, but too tedious in a comment), delete those you have not read. Put an asterisk next to those that you have started but not finished or read an excerpt of. If you'd like to see how you compare (although this is NOT a contest!) feel free to copy and paste into a comment. Think there is a book that should be on this list but is not? Note that in the comments, too. I'm always curious to see what others' think are great books

I have added my list to a comment if anyone is interested. Kind of fun to see

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Brontë
Harry Potter series - J. K. Rowling 
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte 
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott 
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller 
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare 
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier 
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger 
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell 
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald 
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams  
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck 
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll 
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame 
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy  
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens 
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen 
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen 
36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres 
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne 
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown 
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez 
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert  
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons 
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen 
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley 
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez 
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov  
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold Lame
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas  
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac 
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville 
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens  
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker 
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett 
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce 
76 The Inferno - Dante  
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome 
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray 
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens 
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White 
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad 
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams  
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole 
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare 
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl 
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Inevitable Bursting of Sarah Palin's Media Bubble - I Hope

I am tempted to insert the entire post from Politics USA: The Inevitable Bursting of Sarah Palin's Media Bubble written today by Sarah Jones. Please go read it in its entirety as it is one of the best I have seen on the subject of Sarah Palin's newest book and her relationship with the media.

Although the book is not due to be published until next week, several pages have been "leaked" and posted on Palingates and elsewhere. It should be noted that publishers release portions of books expected to generate a lot of interest in order to generate buzz and increase first day sales. Starting out at the top of the NY Times bestseller list is always a goal. On a side note, Sarah posted this tweet, clearly demonstrating her misunderstanding of copyright law, fair use law, and the First Amendment.

Yes Sarah, it is absolutely legal. Gawker also wrote at length about the excerpts as well as the ongoing controversy about Bristol and Dancing with the Stars, and she, in response to their posting pages from her book, and their "attacks" on her family, sent out this tweet:
This tweet was taken down almost immediately, but as she has yet to learn, the internet is forever.
Sarah Jones notes that Sarah Palin appears to be stuck in the past, 2008 to be specific. She uses race to attack the President, and remarkably, Michelle and Meliah Obama as well.
"Anyone who is surprised by this has not been paying attention. Sarah Palin is the great divider, a lowest common denominator among an already low-brow movement of proud to be ignorant, pseudo-rebellious anarchists who are super angry about the democratic process which renounced them in 2008."
Jones discusses how Palin has been talking about Reverend Wright, the supposed lack of qualifications of Obama, and other issues that have been thoroughly put to rest by anyone but her.
"None of these strategies worked in 2008 and beating these dusty memes only makes Palin look like the emotional retrograde she is, still clinging to her wounds from 2008 and sure that if enough people hear her, they will denounce Obama. Ms Palin is unaware that in real America, blatant racism doesn’t play well. And she is also unaware that our President and his family are too self-disciplined to even acknowledge her embarrassingly juvenile attempts to engage them."

"...Palin will not know what hit her because she is still stuck in 2008, seething with jealousy and outrage that she lost to a black man.

And this is why race will be her “issue”.

Palin is going to run for President, and this is how she will do it. Why? Because she has nothing else..."
Palin is the ultimate martyr and victim flashing a bit of thigh, appealing to the KKK type crowd.
"So Sarah Palin’s campaign has already begun and it will consist of trashy, unspeakable things that will hurt your soul, pain your heart and make you question the sanity of your country. And when no one pushes back hard enough against her outrageous claims (they will debunk the lie, but fail to expose the projection), you will find yourself curling up into a ball of horror at what your country has become."
 She limits herself to venues that are supportive, and reporters that let her set the tone, not believing that no one will let her get away with that should she run for President in 2012. She claims that being on Fox everyday gives her "exposure" not realizing that:
"Exposure is what celebrities do. It is not the same thing as taking questions and talking policy, in other words, interacting in live time with the fourth estate. Neither Facebook nor Twitter nor Fox are vehicles for the fourth estate to do their job. As a supposed journalism major (in spite of the fact that no one at her last college remembers her and we have not been gifted with proof of her degree), Palin should have at least cursory knowledge of the job of a reporter. Not many on Fox PAC will ever be accused of being a reporter. Twitter is not a reporter. Facebook is not a reporter."
Providing some well-earned criticism to the mainstream media, Jones notes that:
"While they will still miss the larger points, they’ve had time to get to know Palin’s reputation for lies and they will not want to be humiliated again. The press scrutiny of the VP candidate is nothing compared to the scrutiny she will face as the top of the ticket. If Sarah Palin thought the media was cruel to her when they asked her what she read, wait until they ask her why she lied about not having healthcare, about Troopergate, about the AIP connections, about Death Panels, the people who died under her administration or about her belief that Iraq bordered America"

Her conclusion is a direct message to Sarah, and indirectly to the media. It is one that I hope the media heeds, although I will not hold my breath.
"And that’s not even the juicy bits. Welcome to 2012, Ms Palin. If you insist upon bringing your scourge of hate upon this country, don’t think we’re going to sit back and take it like we did in 2008. Buckle up, sweetie. The spotlight is on you, where you’ve always wanted it, but I’m not sure you’re going to like it. Your dreams of stardom may well turn into a nightmare. You are about to learn what it feels like to be attacked for real."
Please do read the entire post here.

Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Liz Cheney At It Again. Successful Trial Dangerous & Shows Weakness?

 Image: leftwingnutjob

A verdict was reached in the case of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani on Wednesday. Charged with 285 counts related to the embassy bombings, he was acquitted on all but one, destruction of government property. This verdict will net him 20 years in federal prison, so we can say that any potential terrorist activities that he might be planning to engage in will not happen--at least not with him. The other big piece of news associated with this case, is that New York City did not shut down as a result of this trial. No road closures, no major security issues, and no terrorist attacks resulting from attempts to free Ghailani. Despite the outrage from the right, a satisfactory conclusion--one of about 400--was reached in a civilian court after the trial of a Guantanamo prisoner. How many convictions have been the result of military tribunals, the preferred method of the right? Five. Back on her little soapbox, Liz Cheney rants that families of the victims claim the trial was a "travesty." This is the same Liz who demands that President Obama support the intelligence community that her father tried so hard to co-opt and then damage when they had the nerve to refute his allegations.The same Liz whose organization, "Keep America Safe" is designed to instill fear in all of us in an effort to burnish her father's legacy.

According to Daphne Eviatar, Human Rights First's Human Rights Law and Security Program: Ahmed Ghailani Verdict Makes the Case for Federal Courts posted in Huffington Post, the results do not appear to matter. Liz, her partner Bill Kristol, and others, are having a hissy fit that they did not get their way, that the deeply flawed policies of her father's administration and the war that they lied us into have been brought out into the open and so have to create drama where none exists. Her father set up a system of military tribunals for prisoners at Guantanamo, primarily so that illegal practices could continue to be hidden. The current administration, however, has decided to hold these trials in civilian courts as they should be. Liz is quoted as saying:
"The Obama Administration recklessly insisted on a civilian trial for Ahmed Ghailani, and rolled the dice in a time of war. It's dangerous. It signals weakness in a time of war."
Don't you love how she insists on holding to her position regardless of the facts? The trial is over, the defendant was found guilty, he is unlikely to ever be released from prison, the rule of law has been, once again, found to work, and yet, "'s dangerous" and "...signals weakness."

With the attention today of TSA screening policies that now require either a full scan or a full pat-down, something that the head of El-Al security (the most secure airline in the world) claims is unnecessary, the GOP placement of defense spending in the sacrosanct column, and the inability Liz and others on the right to recognize the success of the Obama Administration in preventing terrorist attacks (the Christmas Day bomber, the recent packages detected prior to their arrival in this country...) it is remarkable to me that people continue to give credence and airtime to this woman or to this subject. What the policies of the Bush/Cheney administration and the demands of Liz and her ilk do accomplish is give the terrorists exactly what they want. The goal of terror is to create a climate of fear. The primary tool of the GOP? Fear. Liz's goal? Fear. I would say that in a significant way, mission accomplished.

Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sarah Palin's Alaska. Palin Children Well-Taught, But Not What She'd Like Us to See.

 Image: lynnrockets

I hadn't planned on watching, but just as we all seem to watch train wrecks, I did watch Sarah Palin's Alaska this evening. Having done so, I can say that I will not be wasting any more time watching in the future. What a total waste of time. What struck me, is that prior to the show airing Sarah made quite a fuss about this not being a "reality" show, but was to share Alaska with those in the lower 48 who were not familiar with the state. Uh huh.What it did show is that whatever we may think of the Palin children, they have been well taught.

If this were in fact a travelogue, as she claims it was, then the segment on the cement slab discussing the "dude out to get you" and "the author writing a hit piece" would be cut, the section on Willow and her boyfriend going upstairs would be cut, and the part about Sarah in her studio talking to Bill O'Reilly on Fox with Todd serving as engineer would have been cut. Those portions that took up a significant amount of time had nothing to do with "Sarah Palin's Alaska," but rather had to do with a reality-show type slice of life in the Palin family and were an attempt (failed) to improve her image to the 52% of Americans who disapprove of her. Clearly the story about her having editorial control must be true.

Most of the activities were clearly brand new to Palin and to her family (wanting to show America what life was like for them in Alaska? Really?) and the little vignette with Willow demonstrated that her kids have as much respect for her as she has for them, meaning none, and that Sarah's maturity level is on a par (if that) with her children. After all, what mother is going to embarrass her teen aged daughter on national television by talking about whether or not she can have boys upstairs? Seriously. Only Sarah Palin.

As a counselor, the most important part of the show, to me, was at the end when Sarah said to Piper that "we one-upped him [Joe McGinnes] because we had a good day and he was stuck at home." Since the Palins hit the national scene, I have watched the dynamics of this family and there is plenty of evidence to make some pretty strong conclusions. Without going in depth into my opinion of someone who takes her daughter into situations that are clearly inappropriate, I have to say that the message that Sarah sends to Piper with that comment, and others she has made, is pretty astonishing. Essentially, she is telling her children two things. First, that there is no dividing line between children and adults, and second, that you do not bother trying to find a positive motivation for anyone's actions, or give them the benefit of the doubt. She is telling them that the Christian tenets of forgiveness and turning the other cheek are foreign concepts in their household, and most importantly, life is about revenge. Getting even, getting yours, and making sure that you screw others before they have a chance to screw you. Lovely.

I want my hour back, but lacking that, I will certainly have something else to do on future Sunday evenings. Take my advice. Don't waste your time.

Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Hey Kids, Ignore Your Teachers. Sarah Palin Says It's Okay to Ignore Rules.

Photo: rollingpinproductions
As I watched all the talking heads discuss Sarah Palin's "speech" in Pennsylvania where she proclaimed that parents should be the ones to decide what their kids eat, not the gov'mint (if she paid any attention, she would know that while school boards set policy, parents have significant impact on those policies if they are unhappy) I thought that most of them had missed the point. As she whined about the big, bad government daring to decide what kids could or not eat (never mind that she had misunderstood the 'suggested guidelines' as a mandate), she announced that she had brought a couple hundred cookies with her for the kids to prove her point that it was up to parents to make those sorts of decisions. No word on whether she actually asked the parents if they wanted their kids to have the cookies. No word on whether the school actually distributed those cookies, but that isn't the point.

As I watched the various pundits, and Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, discuss the situation, the emphasis was on the fact that Sarah Palin had, once again, governmentized something. That she had taken a small issue as representative of "big government overreach" to fire up her base and demonstrate her point that "government bad." They all decided that by choosing these fairly trivial issues to emphasize, she could show how far into our daily lives government intrudes. The fact that such things as setting nutritional guidelines is the proper role of government is completely beyond her. I have to wonder, again, still, if government is so bad, why on earth does she want so badly to be a part of it? Of course, she doesn't. She just sees it as the ultimate in being the center of attention.

The point that I see and that I think was missed, and it is something I have been seeing in much of what this woman does, is not that she has to demonize government in everything she says, but that instead, she is teaching children, as she has clearly done with her own (just listen to statements made to media by, for example, Piper or Bristol), that rules only matter if you agree with them. It is all about winning at any cost, game the system if you have to, and if you don't think a rule is fair, or reasonable, or if it is an example of "government overreach," just ignore it. So, give a speech to schoolkids and tell them to ignore their teachers and principal and, in effect, any other rules that they care to cause hey, if you get to throw out one rule, why not all of them?

What exactly is Palin actually advocating? That 2nd amendment solution her followers are so fond of--I didn't get my way so I'm going to force you to give it to me according to Sharon Angle et al--is essentially saying that rules only count if 1) I made them, or 2) I agree with them. and 3) I am the only one that matters.What a terrific example of parenting and family values. Never mind teaching your kids ethics, integrity, honesty, and respect for authority. She has already demonstrated keeping commitments. What about how to participate in changing policy from the inside out (voting, running for office, serving on the PTA) rather than simply ignoring any rule you do not like? But that's too much like work. No wonder there is so much wrong with our society.

Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Serial Idiot Goldberg Annoyed At Fascist Name Calling, "Not What I Hoped"

I have a love/hate relationship with Jonah Goldberg. I love to write about him because he is such a rich source of material, one of my "serial idiots" that provides a column in just about everything he has to say because it is so ridiculous. Hate, because by writing about him, I give him and his delusions more attention than they deserve. Holding on tight to his post at the National Review, received shortly after the Monica events for which Jonah held a minor, supporting role which he inflated to get himself on the tv machine as often as possible, Jonah weighs in on the teabag use of the term "fascist."

Speaking on C-Span this weekend, he was quoted as saying:
"One of the great failures of my book is that it has popularized the use of 'fascism' as an epithet. And one of the things I was hoping to do, and I failed miserably, is shut down the use of the word 'fascist' as an epithet. Instead it's become bipartisan. And I don't like it. I don't think it's all that helpful. It might help my books sales, but that's not what I had hoped to do."
After one moves beyond the breathtaking egotism involved in his first statement (after all, fascism has been a discredited political movement since basically forever) you have to consider that one does not write a book with the title "Liberal Fascism" with the intent to remove the word fascist as an epithet. As a member of the "conservative movement" (that's Jonah, always after the main chance, a Democrat who flipped when he saw that that's where the money is) use of the term liberal is an epithet. Attaching anything to it makes it a pejorative and adding a term commonly used to characterize negative political ideology to the term liberal, he has attempted to equate liberals with negative politics. As the two--liberal and fascism--are ideological opposites with fascism typically a preserve of the extreme right, trying to link the two is nothing more than an attempt to demonize liberals.  According to, [emphasis added]
[fash-iz-uhm] –noun
1.( sometimes initial capital letter ) a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism.
2.( sometimes initial capital letter ) the philosophy, principles, or methods of fascism.
3.( initial capital letter ) a fascist movement, esp. the one established by Mussolini in Italy 1922–43.
[lib-er-uh-liz-uhm, lib-ruh-]–noun
1.the quality or state of being liberal, as in behavior or attitude.
2.a political or social philosophy advocating the freedom of the individual, parliamentary systems of government, nonviolent modification of political, social, or economic institutions to assure unrestricted development in all spheres of human endeavor, and governmental guarantees of individual rights and civil liberties.
3.( sometimes initial capital letter ) the principles and practices of a liberal party in politics.
4.a movement in modern Protestantism that emphasizes freedom from tradition and authority, the adjustment of religious beliefs to scientific conceptions, and the development of spiritual capacities.
Not sure I can find anything that equate the two or even links them other than they each represent a political philosophy. But, the mindset of someone who could equate the two, or believe it, is the same mindset that would believe that socialism and communism are the same thing, and that what was embodied by the Soviet Union was what was envisioned by Marx.

Ah well. Perhaps Jonah hadn't been able to get outside of the pages of the pages of his column lately and needed to get some face time on the tv machine again. If you are unfamiliar with Jonah, he has an amusing history and typically wacky ideas which I have written about here, here, and here.
Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon.