xenologer: (Speak)
As Reed, the head of Butler Democrats said:
"Yes, that's right: the state that at one point had the largest population of KKK members of anywhere in the country, a state whose politics had long been corrupted by racists and segregationists, a state that had not elected a Democrat for President in 44 years, a state that re-elected George W. Bush in 2004 by a 60-40 margin, this same state elected a black, liberal, intellectual Democrat named Barack Hussein Obama as President!"

Indiana: dragged kicking and screaming into the modern world, but by a much wider margin than any of us expected. I think the final count was about fifteen thousand votes' worth of difference.

I'm amazed. We figured Obama would win the presidency, but Indiana? Really?

We waited to start drinking until Indiana's results were certain, but we did it! Guys, we shoved Indiana into the blue. As Suzanne said,
Obama has reminded us that this country was not just founded on the promise of financial opportunity. It was founded on the promise of -ideaological- opportunity. Of liberty and equality.

Until now, it's been fashionable to be cynical. But I think that's been to hide the pain we've felt as a society, for being so let down, for falling so short of our ideals.

And now, suddenly, it seems that this election tells us that the idealists are still a majority in this country after all.

THAT gives me hope.

Me, too. Other great commentary on this follows.

Daughter of slave votes for Obama
Amanda Jones, 109, the daughter of a man born into slavery, has lived a life long enough to touch three centuries. And after voting consistently as a Democrat for 70 years, she has voted early for the country's first black presidential nominee.

Historic Election Stirs Homeless to Vote
Frederick Williams, a Marine Corps veteran scraping by on unemployment benefits, describes his living situation as "not homeless but close to it" and says he never cared enough to vote -- until Tuesday.

At age 43, Williams shuffled into a Los Angeles homeless shelter carrying his worldly belongings in a small travel case and a knotted plastic bag and proudly cast the first ballot of his life with guidance from poll workers.

Williams said he voted for Barack Obama, whose message of hope and bid to become the first black president of the United States stirred him like no other politician.

"This is history in the making. I wanted to be part of that," said Williams, who lives in a transient hotel a few blocks from the polling station at the Los Angeles Mission.

"For once in my lifetime ... someone really cares about the small people out there."

Williams was one of hundreds of people -- many first-time voters lacking permanent dwellings -- who cast ballots this year on Skid Row, a 50-block downtown area believed to harbor the highest concentration of homeless in the United States.

Poll Analysis!
Digging through the numbers, we see:

* Obama won self-identified independents (52% to 44%), and self-identified moderates (60% to 39%). I guess no one believed the whole "maverick" thing.

* While Obama did far better with white voters than most recent Democratic candidates, McCain still won every age of whites -- except whites under 30, who strongly backed Obama (54% to 44%).

* Obama narrowly won among men (49% to 48%), and won among women by a large margin (56% to 43%).

* For all the talk about Obama being unable to win over Hispanic support, Hispanic voters backed Obama by more than a 2-to-1 margin. McCain's Hispanic support dropped 10 points from Bush's four years ago.

* Obama won Roman Catholic voters, another group he was supposed to lose.

I started making some notes the other day about the presidential election, the turning points, the strategies, etc. And it occurred to me that the entire Republican strategy was based on nothing but fear. Fear of change, fear of hope, fear of a skinny man with a funny name. Fear of socialism, fear of a tax increase, fear of government. Fear of anything that looked, sounded, or might be perceived as foreign. Fear of the light at the end of the tunnel -- it might be a train. (...)

It was striking to see how Americans responded to the fear-mongering. Obama's lead over McCain in the polls grew in the face of the economic crisis, but the lead even more when McCain and his party tried desperately to scare Americans. The more we were supposed to feel afraid, the more voters responded to Obama's message. The more intense the smears against him, the higher Obama's favorability ratings.

There were quite a few messages for the political world yesterday, but one came through loud and clear: We don't want to be afraid anymore.

Photos of Reactions Around the World

But lest progressives get too caught up in our victory, there is still a lot of work to be done. Proposition 8 (the California proposition being pushed by the LDS church to ban gay marriage and probably annul the marriages already performed) is looking strong. As someone with great respect for the establishment of marriage (something I didn't understand until I was in a years-long committed relationship of a my own), this saddens me.

As arctangent said, "I want to celebrate, I really do, but Yes We Can (But No, Gays Can't) is a rather difficult message for me to rally around."

Ballot Measure Results from CNN

The commitments of homosexuals were declared invalid in Arkansas (where they are now forbidden to adopt children), California and Florida (where they are now unable to marry their partners).

Stay strong, guys. This is your country, too. We haven't forgotten you. But here's my question: Where were YOU?
Constitutional ban on same-sex marriages passes by 238,000 votes statewide. (...)

And hey, San Francisco... the entire city cast only 177,000 "no" votes?! What gives? That's less than Pride Day! Where are the other 500,000 of you on this issue?

Help us out, here. We love you guys and we know you love each other. I know it's hard to be told again and again that you aren't capable of the same feelings and commitments that straight people are, and I know it's hard to be an exhilerated newliwed and then to have it taken away by people who claim they "don't discriminate."

But if you don't fight, who will? I know that it hurts to lose out on the Prop 8 battle because the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints spread terrible lies about you and about this Proposition.

Right now there's a push to get the LDS church's tax-exempt status revoked because they used a religious organization to influence politics. Some info on that is here. At first I was on board with it, since I think that they were way out of line here. However, they were well within their rights even if they have permanently lost the respect of non-homophobic people nationwide.

So we may not be able to justify stripping them of their status with the IRS, but you can bet that the next time Mormons come to my door, they'll hear from me. And they will have some explaining to do and they will not enjoy it. Because if they're no friends of yours they're no friends of mine.

I know how much this must hurt, even if I probably can't really feel it as keenly as you must be. But I'm here. As long as you're still fighting, I'll be right with you. We'll get there.
xenologer: (end of the world)
I'm citing this through PZ Myers' blog because he asks a very very important question.

What word is missing in this story?
I'm sure everyone has already heard about the plot to murder Obama and many others:
Two white supremacists allegedly plotted to go on a national killing spree, shooting and decapitating black people and ultimately targeting Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, federal authorities said Monday.

In all, the two men whom officials described as neo-Nazi skinheads planned to kill 88 people - 14 by beheading, according to documents unsealed in U.S. District Court in Jackson, Tenn.

It's a horrible and sordid story of idiots with guns, but in scanning the various news sources, there is a curious but obvious word missing — a word that normally our media and government fling about with unscrupulous abandon.

That word is "terrorism".

Doesn't it strike you as peculiar that white homegrown right-wing fascist killers are somehow exempt from being called what they are — terrorists?

Think this is just an omission? That violent conservatives are vilified like they deserve? What about abortion clinic bombers? I would call them domestic terrorists, wouldn't you? So would Steve Benen.
I was curious about the dictionary definition of the word: "The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons." Sounds about right.

Given this, we have an organized group of activists who feel justified killing American physicians and bombing hundreds of doctors' offices on U.S. soil because they don't like a legal, medical procedure. "I don't know if you're gonna use the word 'terrorist' there." Why, pray tell, not? And does John McCain, who sat silently during the exchange, agree with this?

Actually, he might. ThinkProgress noted a couple of weeks ago that McCain has "repeatedly voted against protecting Americans from domestic terrorists carrying out violence at abortion clinics."

There's a striking disconnect here. Obama has denounced Ayers' crimes, and labeled Ayers' acts "terrorism." The Republican ticket, however, is reluctant to do the same when it comes to a different kind of domestic terrorism.

Palin isn't so sure.
Q: Is an abortion clinic bomber a terrorist, under this definition, governor?

PALIN: (Sigh). There’s no question that Bill Ayers via his own admittance was one who sought to destroy our U.S. Capitol and our Pentagon. That is a domestic terrorist. There’s no question there. Now, others who would want to engage in harming innocent Americans or facilities that uh, it would be unacceptable. I don’t know if you’re going to use the word terrorist there.

Personally, I got my yearly pelvic (Really! Just a pelvic exam! They don't just do abortions!) at a Planned Parenthood because even having my expensive insurance scamplan still doesn't mean I can see a regular doctor. Planned Parenthood is the only place around here where I can have my health needs met. And yet McCain has voted more than once to limit the government's ability to punish abortion clinic bombers.

When you're thinking about who's going to keep this country safe, please keep this in mind. When you're thinking about who's going to protect you from terrorists... remember who the terrorists are. Even if the press doesn't call them that, you and I both know.

They're fascists. They're fanatics. They're violent. And they're in "real" America, probably voting for the man who'll protect them.

Vote for the man who'll protect you. Vote Obama next week. Next time I'm in Planned Parenthood having my medical needs met regardless of my impoverished state, I'll be glad you considered me.

Thank you in advance for your compassion and good sense.
xenologer: (ouch)
To my brothers and sisters in miserable calling centers across the country: cheers to you. The author of this article linked this to a listserv I'm on, and I had to pass it to you.

Dozens Of Call Center Workers Walk Off Job In Protest Rather Than Read McCain Script Attacking Obama

Some three dozen workers at a telemarketing call center in Indiana walked off the job rather than read an incendiary McCain campaign script attacking Barack Obama, according to two workers at the center and one of their parents.

Nina Williams, a stay-at-home mom in Lake County, Indiana, tells us that her daughter recently called her from her job at the center, upset that she had been asked to read a script attacking Obama for being "dangerously weak on crime," "coddling criminals," and for voting against "protecting children from danger."

Williams' daughter told her that up to 40 of her co-workers had refused to read the script, and had left the call center after supervisors told them that they would have to either read the call or leave, Williams says. The call center is called Americall, and it's located in Hobart, IN.

"They walked out," Williams says of her daughter and her co-workers, adding that they weren't fired but willingly sacrificed pay rather than read the lines. "They were told [by supervisors], `If you all leave, you're not gonna get paid for the rest of the day."

The daughter, who wanted her name withheld fearing retribution from her employer, confirmed the story to us. "It was like at least 40 people," the daughter said. "People thought the script was nasty and they didn't wanna read it."

A second worker at the call center confirmed the episode, saying that "at least 30" workers had walked out after refusing to read the script.

"We were asked to read something saying [Obama and Democrats] were against protecting children from danger," this worker said. "I wouldn't do it. A lot of people left. They thought it was disgusting."

This worker, too, confirmed sacrificing pay to walk out, saying her supervisor told her: "If you don't wanna phone it you can just go home for the day."

The script coincided with this robo-slime call running in other states, but because robocalling is illegal in Indiana it was being read by call center workers.

Representatives at Americall in Indiana, and at the company's corporate headquarters in Naperville, Illinois, didn't return calls for comment.

Paid callers are desperate and unhappy with their jobs, only working there if they absolutely cannot make it without the pay from that awful job (and I should know, I've done similar work for over four years now), but even callers have limits. Enough lies and filth and even callers have pangs of conscience.

Perhaps you don't get how important this is. I raise money for nonprofit organizations. This means I will ask you three or four times for set dollar amounts no matter who you are, what your finances are, what terminal illness you have (no really, I have no problem hounding cancer patients because sometimes they do give), or how long you've been on disability or social security. I will ask you for money because I don't care about you, I care about doing what I'm told and making my rent.

But even callers--and the good ones are all as ruthless as I am--have their limits. Karl Rove calls McCain on his dishonesty, and now paid call center workers are saying no.

Congratulations, McCain. You did what cancer patients, sweet old ladies, angry nuns, and impoverished grad students can't. You made callers feel dirty, and you lost them.

Good work, asshole.
xenologer: (ouch)
Keep going, John and Sarah. Keep rallying your base, and gods help us all if there's enough people in this country like Ashley Todd to actually get you two theocrats elected.

And for those of you who haven't been keeping up on this, a McCain campaign worker claimed she was mugged by a black man at an ATM (despite the ATM security camera clearly showing she wasn't even there) who took her money and then flew into a BlackViolent Rage when he saw her McCain bumper sticker. So he beat the crap out of her (and sexually assaulted her, of course, because you know they can't help themselves) and managed to hold her down long enough to carefully carve a letter "B" into her face that is backward unless Todd is looking in a mirror.

That's right, white folk. Better vote Obama, or else black men'll come after ur wimminz. Forever they'll be branded with a "B" for BlackBarack! Well, not forever. The "B" looks like it was scraped into her skin with a fingernail, and it'll probably go away in several days. PURE WHITE WOMANHOOD FOREVER TAINTED BY BARACK'S NIGRA THUGS! D:

Yeah, yeah, I know. But I assume if you've survived my journal this long that you can handle more sarcasm than most people. You've proven yourselves. If this is too much for you, go watch Blazing Saddles and come back when you've toughened up some.

The great part is that even Fox News is reporting that Todd admitted she lied about this mess, and is facing charges for it. And finally, finally Fox News is beginning to grudgingly admit that there may be some race-baiting up in this here presidential race! Ye gods, y'all!


Oct. 24th, 2008 01:36 pm
xenologer: (Speak)
"Imagine John McCain getting an endorsement from a major, credible Democratic figure who was well known for his expertise in economic policy (one of McCain’s weak spots). Would anyone have attributed this to race and argued that this figure only endorsed McCain because they were both white?"

"Finally, imagine that Barack Obama was trailing in some polls by a 5-10 point lead (depending on which poll you look at), when a story surfaced in the New York Times that long ago, Michelle Obama had become so addicted to painkillers that she began stealing them from her charity foundation. Would Obama still be behind by only 5-10 points?" Full entry here.

"If you are biracial and born in a state not connected to the lower 48, America needs darn near 2 years and 3 major speeches to "get to know you." If you're white and from a state not connected to the lower 48, America needs 36 minutes and 38 seconds worth of an acceptance speech to know you're "one of us.""

"If you're 18, white, and get a 16 year old girl pregnant "life happens." If you're 18, black, and impregnate a 16 year old girl, you're a "registered sex offender."" More examples here.

The best part is that I've been accused of racism for posting things like this before. (No really, people say that.) You see, kids, "racist" means "someone who thinks about race." This handily includes both those who discriminate based on race, and those who point out discrimination. Clearly if you notice injustice and inequality, and point out that whites are benefiting from it, it's because you hate white people, which makes you a racist, which makes you a bad person, which makes you a poor thinker, which means no one should listen to you. (See also poisoning the well.)

I'd like to reiterate that ignoring racism is not the same as ignoring race, because ignoring racism makes racism worse. I'll just defer to Time Wise on this one. "Your defense mechanism is showing." But then again, how can you hide a defense mechanism that boils down to, "I know you are but what am I?"
xenologer: (hope)
Another run-down of things I'm reading right now. I'm categorizing them again so that "liberal" issues like racism and violence against women are easier for some of you to scroll past.


The Right Reacts to Powell Endorsement. Turns out Powell just saw a black man and said, "Yeah! That'll do!" I mean, I understand that they have to find a way to disqualify the endorsement of one of the most respected Republicans left in this country, but couldn't they have thought of anything better than simply pointing out that they're both black?

What kind of "Election Day unrest" are we talking about? I can't even summarize this one. But it's worth reading.

White Guys and the Prospect of an Obama Presidency "What I predict will change the most about racism under an Obama presidency is that the white guys wearing the Obama buttons will refuse to take racism seriously." Racism happens. Despite fears from some, that's not going to stop. Jessie points out some measures of racial inequality that won't be changed by Obama's election, but will be easier to ignore (not that people don't do just fine ignoring them already).

McCain supporters reveal racism, and while they're much much worse than Obama's supporters, the latter are not exempt either.


Palin: American Taxpayers Aren't Patriotic. Look at Alaska's tax system and tell me she's learned anything useful running it. They don't even pay taxes there, but can run their state on the generosity of oil companies and federal *gasp* earmark dollars.

Higher Ed and the New New Deal. What would happen if public colleges and universities were free?


NY Shelters Will Be Reimbursed For Helping Undocumented Victims of Intimate Partner Violence. I know there are people on my friends list who hate nothing more than they hate the idea of illegal immigrants getting anything from Americans, but some of us are glad of this.

The original article is here. It mentions, "Though there are many economic and psychological reasons women linger with men who beat them, a shadowy immigration status makes it even harder to break away. Five women in the two shelters told me they had feared going to the police, because they worried that that could lead to deportation. Even if they sought to do so, the women said, their companions or husbands would have threatened to betray them to immigration officials."

LAPD allows over 200 rape cases to pass the statute of limitations without testing the rape kits. Fuck you, too, LA. Seriously.


Socialists: Obama no Socialist. Red-baiting is less effective when real socialists can publicly disagree with you, isn't it?

Be careful. First sociopaths kill animals. Bear cub was shot, and its body left with Obama signs stuck over its head.

Republicans heckling voters. Not politicians. Voters. At least they didn't slash their tires, vandalize any voter registration offices, beat any journalists to the ground, or otherwise attack anybody. No one was lynched in effigy, either. So I suppose we should be grateful that they're only yelling.

The Courts. What the USSC will really look like under Pres. McCain, or Pres. Obama.

Irony Alert: GOP Political Consultant Arrested For Voter Registration Fraud.


Do the use of hand gestures slow language learning?
xenologer: (mutants)
This entry is not just about women or children. So if you, like McCain, don't care how many women's deaths the government causes, just scroll past all this stuff about women's "health" that makes no nevermind to you.

John McCain understands that before Roe v. Wade, unsafe abortions killed women. He said that. "I understand."

He still thinks Roe v. Wade was a mistake. Even understanding and admitting that without Roe v. Wade women die, McCain asserts that it was a mistake that should be repealed for the good of us all. Well. The good of people who matter; shouldn't take too much deliberation to figure out whether you're one of them (hint: you've already been born).

I think that any real "women for McCain" out there should see this video. As well as this one, in which John McCain scoffs at the value Obama places on the "health of the mother."

Ladies, do you get it yet? He thinks that if you're facing the "terrible decision" of whether to get an abortion, that you need someone who'll show compassion and courage. Compassion for your fetus (but disdain for you), and the courage to fight for policy that kills women. He doesn't just disregard women's autonomy. He's disregarding their lives.

I can't vote to put that in office. Neither should the women who, according to NPR and Planned Parenthood had no idea as late as February that McCain was as virulently anti-choice as he is.

They assumed that the "maverick" would break with his party to look out for them.

They assumed wrong. (Check his record yourself if you think this site is lying.)

John McCain. Wrong on education.

Wrong on Iraq.

Wrong on racial equality.

Wrong on health care.

Wrong on the economy.

Wrong on torture. (Despite his earlier principled stance on the issue.)

Wrong on Veterans' issues.

Can he do anything right? I mean, I realize he's a verifiable hardass. Much respect for that from this daughter of an active-duty military family. But the President's job is about more than being a hardass. Has McCain shown any readiness for the rest of those tasks? Or is he just playing the POW card and hoping voters will stop asking too many questions?

The real question is not why he's doing it. He's losing and he's dishonorable enough that he'll do anything to get himself into the White House. The real question is how his supporters can manage to wave these things away.

All I can think of is that it must be philosophy over fact all over again. It doesn't matter whom we hurt, as long as we're doing "the right thing." The "right thing," incidentally, has little or nothing to do with the outcome. As long as we're not Godless socialist elitist European-wannabes from fake America, we're in the right. You read that correctly. We're in the right, no matter who suffers.
xenologer: (it are fact)
Palin and McCain are starting to scare the shit out of me. Their response to one key question has said a great deal about them, and about the people supporting them. The question is, "What do you do when your campaign makes no sense?"


I know that people like to blame that damned liberal media as much as they like to blame those damned liberal "experts" and damned liberal foreigners. I know that when their candidate's campaign is involved with something truly ridiculous it's easy to blame the people showing a recording and not the people in it.

Yes, I am aware that Palin's comments were edited in the interview with Charlie, so she actually wasn't as ludicrously incoherent as she seemed. I am aware of the fact that overciting that interview isn't really fair as a result. I am not aware of any reason why this excuses everything that goes down at the McCain-Palin Two Minutes' Hate rallies. I am not aware why we should refer to recordings of people shouting for a presidential candidate's death as "the way the biased media portrays Palin."

I know that no one wants to see links from the Huffington Post, but this article does have videos that you can watch for yourself (which is why I'm linking it). Be forwarned that the very last video on the article has a stupid tendency to autoplay, so you might want to scroll down and pause it as quickly as you can.


My main problem here is only partly that McCain and Palin are creating a vicious and dangerous hateful atmosphere at a time when people are most vulnerable to it. This essay from a very well-known priestess explains pretty well my feelings on the subject of the Republican candidates and the responsibility they bear for the conduct of their supporters.

In the normal course of events, I'm a pro-anger kind of a gal. I came up through the feminist ranks in the seventies, when we were energized by the realization that all our lives, we women had been told to be 'nice', sweet, to placate the guys and not get them riled up. If we got angry, we either looked 'cute' or were unattractive raging b-words (rhymes with Witch).

Anger was a rational response to the constrictions and dis-empowerment we faced and women, and it became a driving force in our efforts for cultural change. Ironically, one of those results is Sarah Palin's candidacy. It is a triumph of feminism that we have so changed the culture in this country that the same kinds of reactionaries that wouldn't have voted for a women in 1968 and would have opposed a woman voting in 1908 now have to turn to one to energize their base.

Anger, however, is a dangerous emotion. Like fire, to which it is often compared, it can regenerate the forest when it burns through low and fast, or jump to the crowns of the trees and burn thousands of acres, devastating life and land.

McCain and Palin have been piling up the trash to start on burn pile on a red flag day, when economic drought and winds of fear and panic are whipping it out of control. For that, they bear a huge responsibility. They have deliberately used innuendos, outright lies, and personal attacks to create an incendiary atmosphere. Palin has stood silent while her supporters chant to kill her opponent! That is tantamount to instigating and condoning political violence, if we must speak of 'terrorism'. McCain has protested some of his followers excesses, but in condoning the strategy that feeds on fear, suspicion and thinly veiled racism--but his attempts are like trying to beat out a few sparks in the tall grass after he has fed the blaze.

Those of us who lay claim to some form of spiritual leadership should absolutely condemn the tactics of personal attack. We should call our politicians and our communities to think, speak and act from our best selves, not our worst, from respect and compassion, not from stoked-up rage and hate.

Now, I grant you, it's not going to mean much to McCain or Palin to learn that a Witch thinks they are behaving in a despicable and immoral way. Might even encourage them. But I call on you, sisters, brothers and freres of other faiths, especially you Christians whose voices will carry more weight, to speak out strongly in condemnation of the politics of hate. Speak to the McCain campaign, to your own congregations and coreligionists. Become the dampening rain that can douse this particular fire. A raging wildfire creates its own wind and weather, and feeds on itself. Regardless of your political convictions, hatemongering hurts and endangers us all.

This is only part of my problem. The rest of my problem is that McCain and Palin are creating a dangerous and ugly climate for this election, and belatedly covering themselves as though they had no idea things had gone so far. Creating a mess and then shifting the blame. Obama mentioned once, "In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society, but what it really means is — you're on your own. Out of work? Tough luck. No health care? The market will fix it. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps — even if you don't have boots. You're on your own. Well it's time for them to own their failure."


Your rallies turn into angry racist scenes from 1984 and you're hoping to blame the media for reporting it? Tough luck. No consistent stance on anything? Can't argue with the policies of a candidate you've been forced to concede his plan on Iraq, concede that perhaps we should talk about education after all, and claiming (in a ludicrously ironic twist) that "we have got to give people choice in America and not mandate things on them" when it comes to the rights of health care patients, except of course if those patients are women.

What do you do when your campaign makes no sense?

Tell lies about ACORN's voter registration efforts (if you don't like the Slate, check out ABC)so that you can keep people from voting and pre-emptively delegitimize the election if your ticket loses. Never mind that ACORN is required in most states to turn in every ballot they receive, but were attentive enough to flag the ones they felt might be a problem. Never mind that now ACORN employees are receiving death threats because of those lies.

Tell lies about Ayers. Be sure that when you do this you wave away concerns about your own associations. Those say nothing about your judgment, and you should virulently oppose any such "guilt by association" attacks.

Tell lies about Obama's tax policies.

No one will know the difference. Voters are stupid and aren't paying attention.


I know Barack Obama wouldn't want me to "give up hope" and slam whole swaths of America's population as being too dumb to save, but it's what I believe. A large percentage of voters are stupid. Give them a smile and a wink and they'll believe whatever you say! Especially if it means your ridiculous lies give them excuses not to vote for Obama, when in many cases they'd already decided for other reasons.

Keep in mind that this will only work in parts of the country that are "pro-America." You and I may not know the difference, but Sarah Palin does. Makes me wonder what she thinks should be done about these other areas.

Michelle Bachmann has a good start. "What I would say is that the news media should do a penetrating expose and take a look. I wish they would. I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out if they are pro-America or anti-America. I think people would love to see an expose like that," she said.

I bet she has in her hand a list of names that were made known to her as being un-American and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the legislature. I bet she already knows. I bet it's somewhere around 51.

What do you do when your campaign makes no sense? Quit fussing with little lies. Man up and tell the big lies. You should "fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation."

I won't even tell you who pointed out the efficacy of that particular tactic. The comparison is so ugly that no one really wants to go there. Even when they should.

But come on. What else can you do when your campaign makes no sense? When smaller lies aren't working well enough or fast enough to make people frightened and angry enough? Tell bigger lies.

Because voters are stupid.
xenologer: (it are fact)
Y'know, I love reading about people's experiences and observations. I think there's something to be said for finding out what other people see, and in the current political climate it's easy to miss out on opportunities to observe McCain and Palin supporters in "their native environment," surrounded by other supporters without supervision by those dastardly 100% Jesus-Free Marxist Wiccan Jihadists (no, really, watch this video because it's long but gets better and better as it goes) like Obama and his ilk. They can't possibly spending all their time crying for the death of Barack Obama at one of McCain-Palin's regular Two Minutes' Hate rallies.

Turns out that, no, sometimes they have the decency to be self-righteous instead of violent. I guess it's an improvement.

Upon entering Starbucks, I immediately realized that the McCain/Palin folks were having a little meeting. I saw several women in dresses wearing pink buttons proclaiming "Women for McCain/Palin". A few of them brought their husbands who were sporting buttons saying things such as "Sportsman for McCain/Palin" and "NOBama". I sat down at the table next to the group just as they were starting their meeting.

As soon as the last member of their group came in, they prayed. In their prayer they begged that God "deliver the country from the evil socialists" and even prayed that "Obama find God". Well, damn, how offensive I thought to myself. (...)

They talked a little more about how Obama would destroy our country with "free health care" and "gay marriages". The feared his daughters would probably play loud rap music in the White House while world leaders were staying. They feared that Muslim would become our official religion. One of them even feared that "the Muslim language would be taught in schools." Priceless.

They went back to the fact that they all believed McCain would lose this election, but they were excited that Palin would probably run in 2012. (...)

At that time, I decided to pull out my laptop. You see, I have an Obama sticker on it. Well, one of them noticed and gave the rest of them a look and said SHHHH! One of the men didn't notice and kept talking. He said that "Obama is part of a sleeper cell and he will use our own nuclear weapons against us." One of the women nodded her head in agreement. Finally, the woman who noticed me said in a soft voice, "there's an Obama supporter behind us...BE QUIET". The group suddenly got quiet.

They changed the subject for a while, but on the way out the door one of the men told me "you are a disgrace to white people if you vote for that man."

One blogger commenting on this little account had this to say:

This isn't a movement; this is a psychotic break occurring simultaneously in millions of people. One wonders if mental illness, paranoia to be exact, is a communicable disease. And to all of the professional evangelical Democrats who claim if we just acted a little more friendly towards religion, Democrats could gain votes (although we seem to be doing just fine with black Protestant voters....), how do you respond to this:

"you are a disgrace to white people if you vote for that man."

Do you think that has anything to do with abortion? This is tribalism wrapped in a veneer of religiosity. Someone tell me how exactly we're supposed to reach these 'values' voters?

I have to say. I'm not sure whether this has squelched my curiosity or stimulated it. I rather I wish that I, like an acquaintance of mine, were headed to a Palin rally in the area tonight. I could bring my little ethnographer's notebook and take notes on the capering and posturing of these exotic humans.


Here's a better question than how we're supposed to reach out to these people.

How can you even satirize them anymore?


Oct. 10th, 2008 01:00 pm
xenologer: (BEEP)
Betty White.

Betty White, I love you so much.

And I agree with anjala. Maybe McCain really should hire her to be one of his writers. Might help his case a little, because right now I just adore this woman.

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] anjala who got it from [livejournal.com profile] filkertom who presumably got it from someone else.


Oct. 8th, 2008 12:57 am
xenologer: (mutants)
The "I have a terrifying job interview tomorrow and don't have the presence of mind to blog about all these things separately" roundup. Catchy, huh?


You wanna talk about McCain's service? Let's talk about McCain's service. Four words: Do a barrel roll.

For those of us who have forgotten who the Mavericks were: They're pissed. Thanks to motherwell for linking this one.

Neo-Con Bullshit

Dear Republicans: Stop hatin'. Start making rational arguments and East coast elitists will stop treating you like slavering racist liars.

Don't you love how abject poverty isn't an issue for "values voters?" Never mind all the suffering poverty causes. "Values voters" only care what kind of sex people are or aren't having.

Story that's been going around about an effigy of Obama being lynched. Still think that race "doesn't matter?"


Richard Cohen tackles the VP debate, and how the choice between style versus substance influences the choice of one's winner.

Sarah Palin: Friend of Joe Drunk-driver. Say it ain't so, Joe!

A linguist attempts to diagram Palin's sentences and fails, accusing them of being "not English."


Students Active for Ending Rape "SAFER and our project partner, the Dru Campaign, are creating a national online database of schools and their sexual assault policies and programs, with comments on specific positive and negative elements of each policy. Combined with our current guidelines for the elements of a better sexual assault policy, students will have a powerful, flexible resource for challenging college policies that do not address the root causes of sexual violence and do not involve students in meaningful ways."

"Has the so-called Prosperity gospel turned its followers into some of the most willing participants — and hence, victims — of the current financial crisis?"

Ethics and social policy in research on the neuroscience of human sexuality. Just a decent overview in general, I thought.

Rape On Subway Platform Ignored By MTA Employees As Cara states, "This means that either the MTA has ridiculous rules stating “do not leave your booth, under any circumstances whatsoever, even in an emergency” which need to be changed immediately (for the safety of employees as well as those riding the subway!) and the guy really needed his job or he’s full of shit."

The Cross-Cultural Classroom, a great blog entry about one teacher's experience dealing with students from different cultural backgrounds who're encountering each other for the first time.

rm linked this great article about how "elderspeak" is more than annoying and more than hurtful. It actually harms elderly people. rm brings up a good question: should we be calling women "sweety" or "dear" either?
xenologer: (prophet)

If you want to read pro-choice women compared to white slaveowners, check out Advance Liberty, Overturn Roe. Bonus points if you can spot Reynolds' complete misunderstanding of Federalism.

If you're interested in a Wiccan perspective on abortion, check out Starhawk's article "Abortion and the Goddess."

Experts on Election Issues

Concerned about health care? Obama's health plan may help more uninsured: report.

Concerned about the economy? The unaffiliated economists surveyed by The Economist prefer Obama's policies to McCain's.

Double Standards

Here is an interesting entry about how Palin benefits from being a semi-coherent uneducated white candidate whereas I think we know how well-received a semi-coherent uneducated black candidate would be.

Who's worse? William Ayers or G. Gordon Liddy? Is Liddy a dodgy enough figure that we should be discussing McCain's close connection to him? Or Palin's marriage to a man who was a member of a party whose founder once said, "The fires of hell are frozen glaciers compared to my hatred for the American government...and I won't be buried under their damn flag... I'm an Alaskan, not an American. I've got no use for America or her damned institutions."

Obama is unpleasantly "uppity," compared to O'Reilly who considers himself proof of the existence of God.


The World Health Organization can bite me.
xenologer: (mutants)
To people on my friends list who think Obama is unelectable because he's "gaffe prone," how do you rationalize away this little gem?

"This is just, uh, an unacceptable situation. I'm not saying this is the perfect answer. If I were a dictator, which I always aspire to be, I would write it very differently..."

I'm not saying that McCain is obviously revealing his true intentions with a Freudian slip. I'm saying he gets away with this stuff. And it's goofy as hell. People already evidently think Obama might be the anti-Christ. Imagine if he "admitted" he'd always aspired to be a dictator?

(h/t En Tequila Es Verdad)
xenologer: (hope)
Absolutely incredible article on white privilege by Tim Wise.

Read this. You guys all know by now that the term "privilege" is not something I'm comfortable with, but limitations of jargon aside... this essay is fantastic.
For those who still can’t grasp the concept of white privilege, or who are looking for some easy-to-understand examples of it, perhaps this list will help.

White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because “every family has challenges,” even as black and Latino families with similar “challenges” are regularly typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay.

White privilege is when you can call yourself a “fuckin’ redneck,” like Bristol Palin’s boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone messes with you, you'll “kick their fuckin' ass,” and talk about how you like to “shoot shit” for fun, and still be viewed as a responsible, all-American boy (and a great son-in-law to be) rather than a thug.

Yeah, so. No surprise. Palin's benefiting from the privileged position her race gives her. She's allowed to claim all sorts of goofy-ass things that no minority could get away with. We knew this. But how in the world can people pretend it doesn't matter?
White privilege is being able to give a 36-minute speech in which you talk about lipstick and make fun of your opponent, while laying out no substantive policy positions on any issue at all, and still manage to be considered a legitimate candidate, while a black person who gives an hour speech the week before, in which he lays out specific policy proposals on several issues, is still criticized for being too vague about what he would do if elected.

White privilege is being able to go to a prestigious prep school, then to Yale and Harvard Business School (George W. Bush), and still be seen as an "average guy," while being black, going to a prestigious prep school, then Occidental College, then Columbia, and then Harvard Law, makes you "uppity" and a snob who probably looks down on regular folks.

White privilege is being able to graduate near the bottom of your college class (McCain), or graduate with a C average from Yale (W.), and that's OK, and you're still cut out to be president, but if you're black and you graduate near the top of your class from Harvard Law, you can't be trusted to make good decisions in office.

Thanks to One Day for the Watchman for the link to this essay. Lots of people should go read it.
xenologer: (hope)
Various stuff I'm reading.

A Conservative for Obama: My party has slipped its moorings. It’s time for a true pragmatist to lead the country.
But today it is so-called conservatives who are cemented to political programs when they clearly don’t work. The Bush tax cuts—a solution for which there was no real problem and which he refused to end even when the nation went to war—led to huge deficit spending and a $3 trillion growth in the federal debt. Facing this, John McCain pumps his “conservative” credentials by proposing even bigger tax cuts. Meanwhile, a movement that once fought for limited government has presided over the greatest growth of government in our history. That is not conservatism; it is profligacy using conservatism as a mask.

“Every great cause,” Eric Hoffer wrote, “begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.” As a cause, conservatism may be dead. But as a stance, as a way of making judgments in a complex and difficult world, I believe it is very much alive in the instincts and predispositions of a liberal named Barack Obama.

Even Fox News Says McCain is Lying
KELLY: No, no! Let's stay on point, I'm not giving him any credit. I'm saying what the independent analysts say. They say that claim is false. And if that's false, why would John McCain do that, Tucker? Why wouldn't he just level with the voters and say, look, he's going to raise taxes on the wealthy or whatever you consider somebody to be making over $250,000, it's going to have a trickle down effect. That may not be good for the middle class. But why say he's going to raise taxes on the middle class when he's not?

Debates May Not Be Decisive After All
Once you get out of the convention period, voter preferences tend to have become a lot more stubborn, and even terrific or terrible debate performances don't tend to alter them all that much.

McCain and the Fannie and Freddie Lobbyists
Companies as huge as Fannie and Freddie are inevitably going to have former employees involved in both parties and inevitably going to give money to both parties. No one in politics is ever going to be entirely unconnected to them. But for McCain to point to these few superficial ties to the mortgage crisis in the Obama campaign in light of his own campaign's far deeper connections to the very people McCain now blames for the crisis is staggering chutzpah.

McCain Loses His Head
Under the pressure of the financial crisis, one presidential candidate is behaving like a flustered rookie playing in a league too high. It is not Barack Obama.


Conservatives who insist that electing McCain is crucial usually start, and increasingly end, by saying he would make excellent judicial selections. But the more one sees of his impulsive, intensely personal reactions to people and events, the less confidence one has that he would select judges by calm reflection and clear principles, having neither patience nor aptitude for either.

Can Binge Drinking Save Social Security?
A 2004 study by Frank Sloan and Jan Ostermann at Duke University found that heavy drinkers contribute slightly more to Social Security, through their higher average lifetime earnings, than nondrinkers do. What’s more, since alcohol abusers tend to die sooner than moderate or nondrinkers, they draw less money, over time, from the Social Security trust fund.

Their conclusion: the elimination of heavy drinking (three or more drinks a day) from each successive group of American 25-year-olds would cost the Social Security trust fund $3 billion over the cohort’s lifetime.
xenologer: (mutants)
Run-down of stuff I'm reading today!

Unemployment is hitting women particularly hard. (h/t WashingtonMonthly)

Obama smacks McCain on the economy.

Remember that voter disenfranchisement mess in Michigan I was talking about before? The one where McCain's campaign was allegedly working with the Michigan GOP to keep people whose homes are in foreclosure from voting? Obama's campaign is filing a suit. (h/t WashingtonMonthly)

One of McCain's former biggest fans is sick of all the lying. (h/t WashingtonMonthly)

Military suicide is likely to reach the highest it's been since the Vietnam War. (h/t Gidster)

Even Karl Rove thinks McCain's gone "too far" into the realm of dishonesty and general wackiness. Ouch, dude. That's like Cruella De Vil calling you "a bit too callous." (h/t MoveOn.org)

The Economic Policy Institute has decided that Obama's health plan will outperform McCain's in both coverage and efficiency.

And the Washington post has a handy graph of who'll gain what from McCain and Obama's tax proposals. Seriously! You can look at the chart and it says, "You are here." McCain would help me out with twenty bucks. That's about a week's worth of coffee at Starbuck's. Obama's plan would get me $567 more dollars a year, which combined with a health care plan that will actually work (see the last question on this run-down of the candidates' answers to ScienceDebate '08) will go a long way toward actually improving my quality of life.

Planned Parenthood makes campaign issues out of sex education and sexual assault, almost like they matter or something! (h/t Curvature)

And, last but not least, the American Family Association is flipping out that the EU might declare official opposition to laws that make homosexuality a crime.
xenologer: (pistol)
Gloria Steinem. You and I, we've had our differences. We have, really. There've been times when the phrase "calm the fuck down this isn't about vaginas" crossed my mind, and times when it came right out my mouth before I could stop it.

But you definitely nailed it this time. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] kaiserbrown for linking this. I went ahead and linked to sources so that no one can claim Steinem's talking out her ass.
Selecting Sarah Palin, who was touted all summer by Rush Limbaugh, is no way to attract most women, including die-hard Clinton supporters. Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Clinton. Her down-home, divisive and deceptive speech did nothing to cosmeticize a Republican convention that has more than twice as many male delegates as female, a presidential candidate who is owned and operated by the right wing and a platform that opposes pretty much everything Clinton's candidacy stood for -- and that Barack Obama's still does."

Palin's value to those patriarchs is clear: She opposes just about every issue that women support by a majority or plurality. She believes that creationism should be taught in public schools but disbelieves global warming; she opposes gun control but supports government control of women's wombs; she opposes stem cell research but approves "abstinence-only" programs, which increase unwanted births, sexually transmitted diseases and abortions; she tried to use taxpayers' millions for a state program to shoot wolves from the air but didn't spend enough money to fix a state school system with the lowest high-school graduation rate in the nation; she runs with a candidate who opposes the Fair Pay Act but supports $500 million in subsidies for a natural gas pipeline across Alaska; she supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, though even McCain has opted for the lesser evil of offshore drilling. She is Phyllis Schlafly, only younger.

So far, the major new McCain supporter that Palin has attracted is James Dobson of Focus on the Family. Of course, for Dobson, "women are merely waiting for their husbands to assume leadership," so he may be voting for Palin's husband.
Damn, Gloria. 
xenologer: (hope)
Lying about Fact-Check.org like they're not going to call you on it is... an interesting strategy, guys!
A McCain-Palin ad has FactCheck.org calling Obama's attacks on Palin "absolutely false" and "misleading." That's what we said, but it wasn't about Obama.

We don't object to people reprinting our articles. In fact, our copyright policy encourages it. But we've also asked that "the editorial integrity of the article be preserved" and told those who use our items that "you should not edit the original in such a way as to alter the message."

With its latest ad, released Sept. 10, the McCain-Palin campaign has altered our message in a fashion we consider less than honest. The ad strives to convey the message that FactCheck.org said "completely false" attacks on Gov. Sarah Palin had come from Sen. Barack Obama. We said no such thing. We have yet to dispute any claim from the Obama campaign about Palin.

I'm getting really tired of these assertions that both sides are running dirty campaigns, both candidates are dirty greedy lying criminals, and there's just no point in reading anything about politics, or heaven forbid voting, because it's all lies anyway.

House did say everybody lies. He also said, "I lied when I said that."

Look. Saying "there've been smears on both sides, politics is just like that" is untrue. I'll stop short of saying anyone who claims it is a liar, because perhaps it's cynicism or simple ignorance talking. It's much more fair to say there are stupid rumors about both tickets' candidates, but that only one campaign is actively encouraging these nonsensical smears.

For example, there've been wild accusations online that Palin is a witch because of the names of her kids (because two of them happen to match the names of two TV witches whose shows aired after the kids were born). Not only did Obama state that people need to leave her family out of this, his campaign didn't bring those attacks to the fore with a supporting ad from the campaign.

Contrast this with McCain, who saw crazy conspiracy theories online about Obama being the anti-Christ (google "Obama Nicolae Carpathia" and you'll see what I mean), and instead of denouncing or ignoring them McCain's campaign aired that dog-whistle ad calling Obama "The One." There is a big difference in the level and type of attacks on the Dems and Repubs sides here, so treating this election like it's everybody smearing equally is inaccurate and deceptive.

Wild and stupid rumors are spreading on both ends of the political spectrum, but only one candidate is encouraging them: McCain. Grouping Obama's campaign in with McCain's is either a startling display of ignorance about what these campaigns are really doing, or it's a deliberately deceptive attempt to drag Obama down to McCain's level in the minds of people who aren't paying enough attention to know the difference.

Steve Benen has a good essay over at Political Animal called "Thinking like a Republican."
The Washington Post's E. J. Dionne Jr. had a column four years ago this month that's always stuck with me. He noted, in the midst of the last presidential campaign, that Republicans are not above lying, but Democrats just can't bring themselves to do the same thing. "A very intelligent political reporter I know said the other night that Republicans simply run better campaigns than Democrats," Dionne wrote at the time. "If I were given a free pass to stretch the truth to the breaking point, I could run a pretty good campaign, too."

I thought about the column when I was chatting this morning with a friend who works in Democratic campaign politics. We commiserated over the fact that Obama has become efficient in responding to the constant barrage of deceptive attacks from the McCain campaign, but doesn't launch deceptive attacks of his own against the McCain campaign.

My friend asked me what Atwater/Rove/Schmidt would do if they worked for Obama. What kind of attacks would they make against McCain? It got me thinking.

You should go check out the rest. The comments don't really answer Benen's challenge for the most part, but some of them do. It's just for fun of course, since there's no way that Republican tactics would work for Democrats this election cycle, but it's interesting to see what the campaign would look like if both sides really were running smear campaigns. And yes, it's very different.

Most people spend the comments bringing up things that are true, which totally spoils the fun of playing Karl Rove for an evening.

John McCain says he has a plan to catch Osama bin laden -- but he isn't telling President Bush. That leaves all Americans vulnerable to a terrorist attack from Enemy #1.

Why won't John McCain help us get bin Laden, so America can be free of that terrorist threat? -MarkH

The hell! That's just pointing out that he's got a foolproof plan to protect our country and hasn't shared it with anyone with the power to put it into practice. We're not here to point things out. We're here to make them up! Gawd!

McCain denounced his country during time of war. At the time, he said that he did so under torture.

Nowadays, he agrees with Bush that the things done to him were NOT torture, just ways to get the truth in an interrogation.

So, McCain denounced his country without ever being tortured. -John

See what I mean? It's clever, but it's totally off-topic, by dint of it being merely unflattering. All that's doing is pointing out McCain being inconsistent and fucking himself over. Pointing out hypocrisy is not what we're here to do, people! We're here to lie our asses off and see if we can think of anything to match Benen's earmark slam. Come on, guys! What's all this reflexive honesty bullshit?!

Yes, I realize that we can completely destroy McCain's credibility on nearly all domestic and foreign issues using actual verifiable truths, and so does Steve Benen. The point here is not to encourage people to talk about McCain cutting off support for Israel, but to make people realize that the reason we're not hearing the same trash from Obama that we hear from McCain is not that McCain has no weaknesses to exploit. It's not that Obama can't. It's that he doesn't.

One guy posted an interesting little quote in a comment, and I'll leave you with it.

"If the Republicans stop telling lies about us, we will stop telling the truth about them."
--Adlai Stevenson

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