Time to Put the PUMA Out For the Night

sm77 at PUMA blog the Confluence sums up their irrelevance in a goodbye post (emphasis mine):

To think we waited 8 years PRAYING for a Democratic President.  Well now we have one and I still feel the same.   But as a true, firebrand, loud and hellacious liberal who endured the Dubya years, my job is to dislike the president and critique anything and everything the president does.   So it’s not like things have changed much.  Instead of a “W” now we have an “O.”   Instead of obsessively myopic Evangelicals, we have obsessively myopic Obamacrats.  Meet the new boss, same as the old.

PUMA power couldn’t resist going out with one last bang of ironic detachment from reality.  McCain, affectionally dubbed McSame, was cast out in enthusiastic favor of Obama.  The sense I got, reflecting on the vitriol sent our way by McCain/Palin supporters with those who supported Obama, Edwards, and Clinton during the primary season, was that we all had won.  The 18 million strong turned out to be a couple hundred vocal pundits and bloggers after all.

Meanwhile the candidates who stood for the same principals and policies as Hillary Clinton carried the day, defeating the heir to Bush’s self styled throne and the Cheney loving anti-feminist he picked as a “fuck you nod” to disaffected Clinton supporters.

Now is the time to recognize what Obama stands for, and to take up the banner he shares with Clinton and help bring progress to this great nation of ours.  Now is the time to leave PUMA behind, and follow Hillary Clinton’s lead and support our new President.

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Obama and the Anti-Choice Whisper Campaign

Most of America doesn’t like what Sarah Palin represents.  She’s so extreme on abortion she’d favor mandatory birth even if her own daughter were raped.  That simply isn’t in line with the American public.

The Republicans know this, and they’ve begun an urgent whisper campaign to paint Obama as a baby-killer to try and push Obama’s perceived positions out of the mainstream and into the fringe with their own.  This goes beyond the standard “Every Fertilized Egg is Sacred” line the most radical of the anti-choice movement parrot.  They’ve dug up a vote and deliberately and maliciously warped it into a rumor designed to feed into the worst fears of people on the reproductive rights fence.

I logged onto facebook today to notice a conservative Catholic friend had promoted a website shamelessly flaunting the irony in its name.  A cursory look at conservative blogs sees a frenzy of eager-to-slander bloggers jumping on this chance to regurgitate the rumor (Read this for an insight into the kind of person behind these attacks).  Seeing this come from a friend was unsettling, so I figured I’d take some time and break down why Obama opposed the bill.

First of all, and I’m going out on a real limb here, I’m pretty sure actual infants are already protected by law.  Now, onto fetuses (Dana Goldstein via Feministing):

But BAIPA isn’t really about protecting infants; it is anti-abortion rights legislation crafted by the hard right. BAIPA targets the abortion procedure known as dilation and extraction, which anti-choicers have so successfully re-branded as “partial birth abortion.”

Wait, its a misnamed piece of legislation crafted by the hard right?  Haven’t we seen that somewhere before?  Back to the bill, it was a crafty attempt by the anti-choice movement to mask their intentions (they seem to have a lot of trouble when they are upfront and honest):

The antis want to redefine these fetuses as “born alive” and require that doctors provide “resuscitation.” As a state senator, Obama saw BAIPA for what it was: an ideologically-motivated ploy to vilify women and doctors who choose abortion. On the state Senate floor on April 4, 2002, he explained, “This issue ultimately is about abortion and not live births. Because if there are children being born alive, I, at least, have confidence that a doctor who is in that room is going to make sure that they’re looked after.”

The horribly misnamed pro-life movement tried to pull a fast one on reproductive choice, and Barack Obama saw clear through it.  The “Born Alive” act wasn’t about protecting babies.  It was about using lies to force a religious viewpoint on a secular nation.  Obama stood up to it.

And in the fall we’re going to stand up to Palin and McCain.

Palin: Itchy, Crazy and Near the Red Button

How close is Governor Palin to the red button?  A heartbeat away.  A John “Older than Penicillin” McCain.

So when she makes a really stupid and bellicose statement towards Russia, we ought to take notice.

My friend Brad sent that to me, and Matt Damon raises a damn good point.  Sarah Palin is not a reason-based governor.  She’s a faith-based governor.

And what I want to know, in the midst of her support for our current wars and seeming willingness to engage in more, is the following:  Does she believe we are living in the end times, and if so, how will that drive her actions in the White House?

Analyzing Governor Sarah Palin

If we were to sum up McCain’s politics since 2000 a single word would suffice: hypocrasy.  The same can be said of Governor Sarah Palin.  She was picked primarily to shore up support in the conservative Christian community.  Because of this, I don’t think either of her scandals around pregnancy will really hit home (or cause McCain to drop her).

On the one hand, she may have faked her 5th pregnancy for the sake of her daughter.  The same daughter who is now pregnant and plans to have the child and marry the father.  The key here is that both pregnancies led to a birth, and I see that playing very well with the anti-choice crowd.  Life isn’t about perfection, its about making the right choices with what you are given.  And while the rest of the US looks on in shock, I’m willing to be the conservative Christian community will look on in admiration.  In their view Bristol Palin shouldn’t have any moral choice other than caryring to term, and thus her mother’s efforts to hide the first pregnancy, and her determination to carry through with the second, are examples of her pro-life position in action when it hits close to home.  That can only engender trust that she is completely pro-life.  Add in her support of creationism, and she seems like a great choice to cater to the religious right.

So that takes care of the religious base.  But Governor Palin brings more to the table for McCain, and not all of it is beneficial for the Republican Presidential campaign.  She’s supposed to be a reformer, a paragon of principled politics.  Turns out she is in the middle of an investigation for sketchy firings of State Troopers for personal reasons.  Alaskan newspapers openly question whether she’s fit for the position.  (Not that the McCain camp would have known this, it seems like they never checked local papers to vet her in the first place!)

This is the kind of stuff that can upset anyone, but particularly independents (whom Obama appeals strongly too, and McCain needs to win the Presidency).  It is here that his choice of Palin cuts him deep.  Because Palin isn’t just pro-life.  She’s crazy pro-life:

In November 2006, then gubernatorial candidate Sarah Palin declared that she would not support an abortion for her own daughter even if she had been raped.

Granting exceptions only if the mother’s life was in danger, Palin said that when it came to her daughter, “I would choose life.”

At the time, her daughter was 14 years old. Moreover, Alaska’s rape rate was an abysmal 2.2 times above the national average and 25 percent of all rapes resulted in unwanted pregnancies. But Palin’s position was palatable within the state’s largely Republican political circles.

You don’t need to be a feminist to see that this is a seriously fucked up position to take.  She is in fact, to sum things up, an extremist.  In addition to opposing abortion, she (edited the html to remove formatting and fix a link):

She supports teaching creationism in schools.
She denies global warming and opposed listing polar bears as an endangered species because it might prevent off-shore drilling.
Speaking of drilling, she supports drilling in ANWR.
I guess not surprising, Palin is in big oil’s pocket.

On top of it all her lack of experience makes McCain’s attacks on Obama look ridiculous by comparison.

She was essentially chosen to tackle three problems the McCain campaign faced.  How to get the religious right fired up, how to reinforce his appeal as a “maverick” and reformer, and how to somehow get former Clinton supporters to jump in.  I don’t see that happening:

I have a piece up at TAP:

Palin’s addition to the ticket takes Republican faux-feminism to a whole new level. As Adam Serwer pointed out on TAPPED, this is in fact a condescending move by the GOP. It plays to the assumption that disaffected Hillary Clinton supporters did not care about her politics — only her gender. In picking Palin, Republicans are lending credence to the sexist assumption that women voters are too stupid to investigate or care about the issues, and merely want to vote for someone who looks like them. As Serwer noted, it’s akin to choosing Alan Keyes in an attempt to compete with Obama for votes from black Americans.

Now would anyone really fall for that?  Yes of course they would:

As for Governor Palin, her supposed views on abortion and lack of national security credentials are supposed to make her unsuited for the office of the Vice Presidency, yet Barack Obama’s actual views on abortion and lack of national security credentials are supposed to make him perfectly suited for the Presidency.

Supposed views on abortion?  (Riverdaughter has really outed herself as a Republican on this one.)  An actual Clinton supporter would never vote for someone with the positions on reproductive choice, and the environment Palin has.  (Nor would they feel much affinity for a politician who called Hillary whiny.)

Governor Palin is sure to boost McCain’s rating with the religious right, and if he holds on, might just be enough to keep that piece of the Republican party from drifting off.  However that comes are the expense of independent voters and disaffected Clinton voters.  He couldn’t be doing more to turn them off.  It also might come at the expense of Republicans who have had enough of lobbyists and rampant corruption.  Governor Palin is not clean when it comes to lobbyists:

Palin’s relationship with Alaska’s senior senator may be one of the more complicated aspects of her new position as Sen. John McCain’s running mate; Stevens was indicted in July 2008 on seven counts of corruption.

Palin, an anti-corruption crusader in Alaska, had called on Stevens to be open about the issues behind the investigation. But she also held a joint news conference with him in July, before he was indicted, to make clear she had not abandoned him politically.

Stevens had been helpful to Palin during her run for governor, swooping in with a last moment endorsement. And the two filmed a campaign commercial together to highlight Stevens’s endorsement of Palin during the 2006 race.

Given all of this, there is understandable speculation that Palin will be dropped from the ticket (perhaps in favor of Mitt Romney).  I highly doubt this, as dropping his VP pick would be a disasterous admission of poor judgment and weakness by McCain.  That is a perception he cannot afford to reinforce.  Additionally given his stubborness, I doubt he’d be able to bring himself to admit he’s made a strategic error.

Choosing Sarah Palin as his VP may have cost McCain the election, and there’s no way for him to back out without damaging his chances further.

The Republican Police State is Here

The Police, in riot gear and carrying semi automatic weapons, raided houses on a purely political basis.  This was done at the behest of the federal government.

They blamed “anarchists”.  No, seriously.  These raids were carried out for thought crime.

Ian Welsh is right in observing that the bleeding silence from the media and political class is enough to convict (emphasis mine):

It’s notable that as of this writing, at midnight, I see nothing on the NY Times front page or on their US page about the RNC harassment, arrests and snatch squads. I see nothing on the Washington Post’s front page, or its Politics page. As best I am aware no major Democratic politician has made a statement that warrants should be required before busting down doors, or that protesters have a right to protest, or that people even have a right to see a warrant.

Why is that? Is it that there’s a bipartisan consensus that civil liberties are just for talk, but when the handcuffs get slapped on people who have done nothing, when people are punished for crimes they haven’t commited, that it’s no big deal as long as they aren’t anyone important? Is it that Democrats stirring words about civil liberties were as sincere as many of their promises to vote against warrantless wiretapping?

I can only assume it is. But I’d certainly love to be proved wrong. So, perhaps a major newspaper might act interested in mass violations of basic constitutional rights like the right to free speech, the right to assembly and the right to be secure in ones own home and possessions and for the government to not be able to search and seize without a warrant. They covered the exact same sort of harassment by the Chinese government in Beijing against activists and journalists, but they don’t cover it when it’s the US government. Wonder why?

Because they have the same boss.  Complacency is complicity.  This is why members of the Accountability Now PAC are going against politicians from any party that tramble on our fundamental rights.

Further reading on slashdot, crooks and liars, and the huffington post.

To be fair, the media has some coverage.  The AP has some tepid coverage here.  The San Francisco Chronicle has more:

Activists planning protests around the Republican National Convention say they are being targeted in a heavy-handed attempt to chill dissent after police arrested five people, detained dozens of others, and seized computers and protest guides in raids Friday night and Saturday on private homes and the major meeting center.

Google News probably would have been a better place to check.  It isn’t that these events were not covered.  Direct censorship is easily noticed and countered.  Soft censorship, that is to say covering an event a little but not promoting it, is a far more effective way to keep most people (the kind who would not think to search for “RNC Protest” on a news site) in the dark.

I hate to be brutal, but the 2008 election is about making a choice.  The constitution is in tatters on the ground.  We’ve got to choose between the man with the bloody knife and the man with a single band-aid.  Perhaps I am being unfair, but Obama really needs to make a big stink about this.  Its about as close to an easy win opening as the campaign is going to get.  He needs to be the man between the constitution and the guy with the knife.  And if I were him, I’d be armed too.  Because the guy with the knife is just getting started.  At least the Democrats didn’t have anything like this at their convention.  Can’t wait to see what the Republicans do next.

Will McCain Leave His Wife for Younger VP Candidate?

My friend Masroor suggested it over lunch.  Its a funny thought.  But the answer is no, Cindy McCain isn’t crippled.

Still this AP article has the unfortunate title McCain taps Alaska governor for VP.

Riverdaughter: Desperation and Comment Fraud

How desperate do you have to be when you edit your user’s comments to fraudulently make it appear they support your position?  Riverdaughter has sunk to a depressing low.

My edited comment:

Dan (Fitness), on August 29th, 2008 at 12:52 am Said:

Are you happy? I am.

(Edited for the amusement of the Site Administrator)

My original comment asked how she could support writing Hillary Clinton in, when the NY Senator is not running, and in fact endorsed Barack Obama to continue fighting for their shared political positions.  I asked how PUMA could support John McCain, when he is pro-war, anti-choice, and stands against expanding health care (once Hillary Clinton’s signature issue).

The little disclaimer slipped in there leaves much to the imagination.  Is this Dan (Fitness) guy a Hillary supporter?  Did he leave spam or abusive comments?  No.  I just left a comment that ripped apart the flimsy rationale behind PUMA’s existence, and she couldn’t take the criticism.

Here is my latest comment:

Dan (Fitness), on August 29th, 2008 at 1:15 am Said:

Riverdaughter,
I can’t believe you’d stoop to editing my text to make it appear I support you.
I’m surprised and disappointed.

I wonder if she’ll respond to it, alter it to put words in my mouth, or just wipe it entirely.

UPDATE: It appears she’s content to leave the new comment and censor the traceback from this post.