“ ... Right wing lunatics, felons, bombers and advocates of violence seem to be okay. They actually get radio talk shows. Their past is forgotten, or even forgiven. All too many Americans actually look at them as heroes and don't have a problem with them paling around with Republican candidates. Oliver North gets a TV show. He was rewarded by right wing welfare after being indicted on 16 felony counts for his role in Iran Contra. Right wing media is littered with felons and advocates of violence. ... And religious zealots? Another double standard there. Wright was on our TV screens 24/7, for months on end. But was there the same kind of scrutiny towards Hagee, Parsley, Robertson, Falwell? No way. ... And conservatives have the nerve to complain about "liberal bias."...
Bob Lewis: Palin Mistakes Fans For Protesters At Va. Rally
"Louder! Louder!" they began chanting, and the cry spread across the crowd to Palin's left. Some pointed skyward, urging that the volume be increased. Palin stopped her remarks briefly and looked toward the commotion. "I hope those protesters have the courage and honor to give veterans thanks for their right to protest," she said. Some in the crowd tried to shout toward her what was really being said, but she couldn't hear them. On a sunny day in which many had stood in place for more than three hours without shade, at least 25 people collapsed from heat-related illnesses and three were hospitalized, according to the Henrico County fire department. Palin had campaigned with John McCain earlier Monday in Virginia Beach, only the second time the GOP ticket has campaigned in Virginia since June. Democrat Barack Obama or his running mate, Joe Biden, together visited the state eight times during that span.Virginia has been solidly Republican for 40 years but is now a battleground, with both sides locked in a very close race for the state's 13 electoral votes. Addressing the crowd, Palin largely avoided her recent criticisms of Obama. Instead, she acknowledged the emotion that has built up on both sides, particularly since the financial collapse. "There is a lot of anger. There is anger at the inside dealing and anger at lobbyists and anger at the greed on Wall Street. There is anger at the Washington elite and there is anger at voter fraud," she said. She promised a spending freeze if she and McCain win, and evoked cheers of "Drill, Baby, Drill!" in calling for greater domestic mining and oil drilling. The crowd roared when she criticized Biden for remarks he made in Ohio that the United States had little interest in coal-fired electrical power. The afternoon's loudest ovation came when country music star Hank Williams Jr. offered a rendition of his hit "Family Tradition" that opened by assailing "the left-wing liberal media." Palin later appeared in northern Virginia, raising half a million dollars at a fundraiser in McLean. About 400 people attended the $1,500 per person event Monday evening at the Ritz Carlton in Tysons Corner. The money goes to the Republican Party since the McCain campaign can't raise any more money under federal rules. Palin said voters will not be fooled into thinking that McCain's election would be the equivalent of a third term for President Bush. She said McCain "took the gloves off" at his campaign appearances Monday and shouldn't be faulted for pointing out differences in the two tickets' records. About 40 Democratic protesters waved signs at rush-hour commuters in busy Tysons Corner before the event.
___ Associated Press writer Matthew Barakat in McLean, Va., contributed to this report.
Petraeus Bolsters Obama Position
Throughout Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign, the Republican nominee has wrapped himself in the mantle of U.S. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, proclaiming himself the leading advocate of the former commanding general in Iraq who devised last year's controversial troop surge. Yet during a talk Wednesday about Iraq at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington policy organization, Petraeus repeatedly made statements that bolstered the foreign-policy proposals of Sen. Barack Obama, McCain's Democratic rival, or cut against McCain's own lines.
Petraeus relinquished command in Iraq last month. He assumes responsibility for U.S. Central Command later this month, putting him in charge of U.S. forces in the Middle East and South Asia.
Tina Fey On Sarah Palin: "If She Wins...I'm Leaving Earth"
Tina Fey told TVGuide she'll be "done" if John McCain and Sarah Palin win the election next month.
The "SNL" veteran who has come back to play the Republican Vice Presidential candidate (and whose own show, "30 Rock," is still nowhere to be seen), said, "We're gonna take it week by week. If she wins, I'm done. I can't do that for four years. And by 'I'm done,' I mean I'm leaving Earth."
Fey also said it's a busy but exciting time for "SNL."
"Election time is always good for [SNL] and this is a bonkers election," she said. "And that lady is a media star. She is a fascinating person, she's very likeable. She's fun to play, and the two bits with Amy [Poehler], that was super fun," Fey says.
For the full story, pick up the October 20th issue of TV Guide, plus the following week's issue (October 27th) featuring TV Guide's cover story on 30 Rock's Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin.
Carl Bernstein: Ayers and the McCain-G. Gordon Liddy Symbiosis
Certainly McCain's continuing "association" and relationship with the convicted Watergate burglar and domestic terrorist G. Gordon Liddy might suggest that is the case, if we are to apply the standards drawn by the McCain campaign.
In 1998, Liddy gave a fundraiser in his Scottsdale, Arizona home for McCain's senatorial re-election campaign -- the two posed for photographs together; and as recently as May, 2007, as a presidential candidate, McCain was a guest on Liddy's syndicated radio show. Inexplicably, McCain heaped praise on his host's values. During the segment, McCain said he was "proud" of Liddy, and praised Liddy's "adherence to the principles and philosophies that keep our nation great." From the program:
LIDDY: Your experience in the Hanoi Hilton is remarkable. I mean, I put in five years in a prison [for masterminding the Watergate burglary, and associated crimes], but it was here in the United States, and they didn't torture - the only torture that I had was being forced to listen to rap music from time to time.
McCAIN: Well, you know, I'm proud of you. I'm proud of your family. I'm proud to know your son, Tom, who's a great and wonderful guy. And it's always a pleasure for me to come on your program, Gordon. And congratulations on your continued success and adherence to the principles and philosophies that keep our nation great.
Which of Liddy's "principles and philosophies" was McCain referring to? Liddy's advocacy of break-ins? Firebombings? Assassinations? Kidnappings? Taking target practice with figures nicknamed Bill and Hillary?
During the same period that Bill Ayers was a member of the Weather Underground, Gordon Liddy was making plans to firebomb a Washington think tank, assassinate a prominent journalist, undertake the Watergate burglary, break into the office of Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist, and kidnap anti-war protesters at the 1972 Republican convention.
Re: Liddy's "continued success and adherence to the principles and philosophies that keep our nation great:" Did McCain mean to include Liddy's instructions to listeners of his radio show in 1994 (around the time Ayres and Obama were on a board together discussing education programs and other plots) on how to shoot Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms agents (aim for the head)?
If ATF agents attempt to curtail a citizen's gun ownership, Liddy counseled, "Well, if the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms comes to disarm you and they are bearing arms, resist them with arms. Go for a head shot; they're going to be wearing bulletproof vests."
More recently, Liddy explained making the Clintons objects of shooting practice: "I did relate that on the 4th of July of last year, when I and my family and some friends were out firing away at a properly-constructed rifle range and we ran out of targets, and so we - I drew some stick figure targets and I thought we ought to give them names. So I named them Bill and Hillary, thought it might improve my aim. It didn't. My aim is good anyway. Now, having said that, I accept no responsibility for somebody shooting up the White House."
The Liddy-McCain symbiosis has been mentioned in a number of posts on the Internet - mostly by bloggers and sites identified with The Left. But the documentation of their interaction (Liddy has also contributed financially to McCain's presidential campaign) is not a matter of Left or Right: It is astonishing that, given the prominence of the Ayers matter accorded by virtually every "mainstream" news outlet in America, there has been virtually nothing on the subject in the major newspapers and broadcast networks. This is a real journalistic failure and abrogation of responsibility.
Is Liddy any less a domestic terrorist than Bill Ayers? It is a zero-sum argument, for sure. I do not believe, incidentally, that John McCain shares the most abhorrent of Liddy's values, as expressed in Liddy's actions during the same period that Ayers was a Weatherman - and which Liddy continues to express, unapologetically, to this day.
But McCain has now become so unmoored from the principles he once espoused, so shameless in his courtship not only of the Republican "base" but in his eagerness to unleash a poisonous arsenal of character assassination and guilt-by-association - and plain-and-simple incitement of people's fears and prejudices - that, now, inevitably his and Sara Palin's rallies and campaign events have taken on the aura of mobs at times.
"Kill him," a man in the crowd responded last week, when Palin declared -yet again - "He's palling around with terrorists who would target their own country." In Virginia, the State Republican chairman announced a set of talking points to campaign volunteers - stressing the incendiary connection, reported Time magazine, between Barack Obama and Osama bin Laden: "Both have friends that bombed the Pentagon. That is scary," the Republican chairman said.
The most recent McCain ad on the subject shouts, "Obama worked with terrorist William Ayers when it was convenient" - perhaps suggesting, indeed, even that the candidate was there planting bombs.
The intended message of the McCain campaign is, of course, that Obama is less than patriotic - enunciated even by the candidate's wife, Cindy: "The day that Senator Obama decided to cast a vote to not fund my son when he was serving sent a cold chill through my body," she recently told a crowd of several thousand, which also heard her husband and Palin sound similar notes. (The chairman of the Lehigh, Pa., County Republican Party, William Platt, "implored the crowd to work hard to elect McCain or wake up November 5 to see 'Barack Obama, Barack Hussein Obama,' as the president," reported The Washington Post.)
Like Cindy McCain, the campaign's "Ad Facts" also trumpet - misleadingly - the only troop-funding bill that Obama voted against, in 2007 - without noting that Obama first voted for the bill, in a version that included a timetable for withdrawal. Nor did Cindy McCain mention that her husband, too, voted against the troop-funding bill - in the version that contained withdrawal language.
Thus has John McCain embarked on a scorched-earth death struggle for the presidency - cultural warfare that knows no bounds, exceeding perhaps even the mendacity and ferocity of the campaign waged against him by George Bush in 2000, and of which McCain once said there was "a special place in hell" for the Bush operatives who smeared him. (McCain also said of the Swift-boat attacks against John Kerry by Republicans in 2004: "I deplore this kind of politics. I think the ad is dishonest and dishonorable.")
The lethal weapon of the McCain campaign's dreams is the explosive allegation that, in Palin's words - Obama "pals around with terrorists." McCain, wisely, did not raise the matter himself in the last presidential debate. Why?
At the time, much of the commentariat attributed the omission to McCain's purported concerns that Obama would respond by reciting the history of McCain's "association" with the S&L swindler Charles Keating, for which McCain was cited by the Senate Ethics Committee early in his career, for exercising "poor judgment" for intervening improperly with federal regulators on behalf of Keating, as part of the infamous Keating Five scandal.
But the more likely explanation of why McCain avoided a debate confrontation about "palling around with terrorists" is McCain's very real - and recent - symbiotic association and praise for another (not Ayers) domestic terrorist emblematic of the Vietnam era: G. Gordon Liddy.
Imagine an election where one of the participants calls foul. Investigations are launched or at least called for. Prosecutors raise the specter of charges, the U.S. attorney and FBI get involved. No voter fraud is ever actually found. But by the time that conclusion is reached, the myth has been solidified both to soothe the loser's supporters and condemn the winner.
Sound familiar? Sound like the recent ACORN scandal?
Well, actually I'm talking about the 1960 election between John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon. That Nixon was cheated out of a win is the stuff of legend on the Right. The allegations say that Kennedy loyalists fixed the vote counts in Illinois and Texas--swinging 51 electoral votes and a majority in the Electoral College to Kennedy. In more hyperbolic versions there is alleged involvement by the mob, the Teamsters Union or legendary Chicago mayor Richard Daley.
The story goes on that Nixon, "for the good of the country," conceded honorably and exited the scene. No matter that Nixon was later chased out of the White House for cheating in an election. The myth endures.
This whole story--maybe to be replayed with Obama playing Kennedy and McCain playing Nixon--is a canard. It is a fable. A lie made up by the conservative movement to hold together their fraying coalition.
In 2008 the stakes are bigger than they've ever been before for conservatives and the canard is that much more important to them.
In the case of Obama the conservative movement is lining up a serious of story elements. They are:
• Obama was a community organizer.
• ACORN, a group that does community organizing, has committed voter fraud.
• Obama is from Chicago.
• You know what happens in elections in Chicago. Remember the 1960 election.
The story is half true and half lies. As we all know, Barack Obama is from Chicago and was a community organizer. Those are the only true parts of the conservative story. But the other two facts are myths: the 1960 election wasn't stolen (says the conclusion of recounts and investigations in 1960 and numerous academic studies since). And, ACORN has not committed voter fraud. Not one bit.
The facts about ACORN are worth getting out. ACORN is an organization that, among other things, registers low-income people to vote. One of the ways they do this is to hire door-to-door canvassers from the neighborhoods they are working in. This sort of work is tightly regulated. So, when one of the thousands of people they give jobs to doesn't do their work right and brings back bogus or phony voter registration cards, the law REQUIRES that ACORN turn the forms in to the voter registration office. The law, rightly, doesn't want anybody throwing out voter registration forms for any reason.
But ACORN goes a step farther. They have people assigned to do quality control on all the cards--calling people on the forms after they fill them out. When they find bad information on the cards they attach a cover sheet to the card but, as mentioned above, they turn in the cards as required by law. The effect is that a few bad canvassers or a poorly run office will mean that bad cards are submitted as part of the normal process. But ACORN has done everything possible to make sure voting officials know to check the forms.
The sad fact is that in at least one state--Nevada--the voting officials disregarded ACORN's cover sheets flagging the voter registration forms. That should have never happened. The resulting blowup was a scandal in search of a scandal.
The stunning con of this whole thing is the assumption that bad voter registration cards being submitted will lead to vote fraud. If somebody submits a card for Mickey Mouse it isn't like Mr. Mouse is going to show up to vote. There is no voter fraud if nobody votes.
But the big story here is what the Right is doing. Their attacks on ACORN open up the door for two things.
First, the ACORN myth allows the Republicans to do more purging of the voter rolls--the process of removing people from the voter rolls because of arbitrary anomalies in the voter registration databases. Richard L Hasen, author of the Election Law Blog and a distinguished law professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles recently wrote, "Careless purging--driven by unsubstantiated fears about voter fraud--can lead to many eligible voters being incorrectly removed from the polls." Already in Ohio the Republican Party is pushing for more purging and they found a federal judge who agreed citing ACORN's activities.
Second, in the event that campaigning, purging and intimidating voters doesn't work, the Right is creating a myth like they did in 1960. They are creating the myth of a stolen election. Conservatives plan to claim that ACORN and Barack Obama stole the election. Their hope is to steal the legitimacy of what is looking like a massive repudiation of Bush, conservatives and the Republican Party. The Right plans to steal the election by trying to steal the legitimate defeat of them by progressive forces.
And why wouldn't they? The entire Republican coalition could be shattered with this election. White suburban voters who once voted Republican on tax issues are running away from Republicans on a host of issues--including taxes. Independent are looking more and more like Democratic voters. Barack Obama may even win a majority of male voters. All of them are joining with urban votes, voters of color, young people, working class union members and others to form a long-term governing majority for progressives--a progressive majority.
Conservatives are scared of a progressive majority. And they're going to lie, cheat and steal to prevent it from happening. But they can only be successful if we let them.
The best way to deflate the conservative fable is to win with an overwhelming landslide that guarantees there won't be a dispute of the results.
We also need to confront the Republican vote purging and suppression. Already big efforts by the Obama campaign, the DNC and independent groups are working on this. Progressives and Democrats are united in this effort.
But we also need to make sure the ACORN canard doesn't get to live in daylight. It is time to circle the wagons and make sure John McCain and the Right can't steal the election...even if we win.For progressives, the ball is in our court.
- McCain Camp Alleges ACORN Trying To Steal Election For Obama
- PHOTOS: Republicans (Used To) Love ACORN