Stop voting for people you want to have a beer with. Stop voting for folksy. Stop voting for people who remind you of your neighbor. Stop voting for the ideologically intransigent, the staggeringly ignorant, and the blazingly incompetent.
Vote for someone smarter than you. Vote for someone who inspires you. Vote for someone who has not only traveled the world but who has also shown a deep understanding and compassion for it. The stakes are real and they're terrifyingly high. This election matters. It matters. It really matters. Let me say that one more time. This. Really. Matters.
Mr. Uncle RageBoy pointed out to me by teleprompter - err phone - today that this 2008 election is the first YouTube election. He googled it while I drove to be sure, and sure enough, no YouTube til 2005, which means the last time (the last last time) George W. stole the election, the non-revolution was not youtubeized.
Thank you Jesus - we just might have our ace in the hole after all. I keep saying: One YouTube video of Palin speaking in tongues, and Bob, as they say, 's your uncle.
As I've said, every time I mention John McCain's name from here on out it will be with the Keating Five reference. That people are willing forget and forgive his pattern of corruption and lax ethics in his obsession for power is amazing to me. Not only was he ONE of the Keating Five, he was also the most worst of them.
You're John McCain, a fallen hero who wanted to become president so desperately that you sold yourself to Charlie Keating, the wealthy con man who bears such an incredible resemblance to The Joker.
Obviously, Keating thought you could make it to the White House, too. He poured $112,000 into your political campaigns. He became your friend. He threw fund raisers in your honor. He even made a sweet shopping-center investment deal for your wife, Cindy. Your father-in-law, Jim Hensley, was cut in on the deal, too.
Nothing was too good for you. Why not? Keating saw you as a prime investment that would pay off in the future.
So he flew you and your family around the country in his private jets. Time after time, he put you up for serene, private vacations at his vast, palatial spa in the Bahamas. All of this was so grand. You were protected from what Thomas Hardy refers to as "the madding crowd." It was almost as though you were already staying at a presidential retreat.
Like the old song, that now seems "Long ago and far away."
The story of "the Keating Five" has become a scandal rivaling Teapot Dome and Watergate. The outcome will be decided, not in a courtroom, but probably on national television.
Those who survive will be the sociopaths who can tell a lie with the most sincere, straight face. You are especially adept at this.
Those born when this article was written are now 18 and old enough to vote.
Yes, McCain made a decision that revealed many appalling things about him. In the end, his final concern is not national security. No one who cares about national security would pick as vice-president someone who knows nothing about it as his replacement. No one who cares about this country's safety would gamble the security of the world on a total unknown because she polled well with the Christianist base. No person who truly believed that the surge was integral to this country's national security would pick as his veep candidate a woman who, so far as we can tell anything, opposed it at the time.
Just got a call from a republican friend who up until Palin was going to vote for Obama. "You're Obama made a mistake calling Palin a pig." I said, "Did you WATCH the whole clip? He was talking about McCain's non-change-oriented approach. It's a famous saying. He didn't make it up."
I think I am going to say Keating-Five-McCain every time I say his name now.
She didn't want to talk anymore after I blasted Palin and her fundy beliefs. Believe me, Palin would not have this friend of mine as her friend. "I know you're smart and it scares me when you say these things," she said. And I say, "It's not rocket science--read more than fox news!"
She had to go. I don't know if and when we'll talk, but we can't talk politics. And that's going to be increasingly difficult. What are you doing about friends and family on the other side of what republicans have turned into a culture war?
My friend is lockstep with Fox news and her Republican parents. These are dear people. I have known them. They are genuine. But they are sorely misled. Brainwashed even.
I question how I will continue to have friendships with those who are willing to let the ideology of the Palin party go mainstream -- book banning, loyalty testing, lying, end times, anti-gay, anti-choice. How? How can my friends, in particular, be part of a party who would not want them as members?
Republicans are the great pretenders, and Palin is giving them a new make-believe to believe in.
Time to start watching for voter manipulation and fraud. Download black box voting's PDF tool kit - it has tips I would have never thought of, including confirming your polling place before election day.... And things to watch out for, including last minute changes in polling places.
I spent six hours trying to vote in the Presidential primaries, and went to three different places to try to cast my vote. In the end, a few weeks after the election, I received a notice in the mail saying my vote wasn't counted. I registered appropriately at the library. Somewhere between there and my county voter registration office, I fell through the cracks.
Watch for: Last minute changes, polling place consolidation, confusing ballot design, shorting voting machines, malfunctioning machines, electronic poll book problems, supplies missing, not enough election workers, provisional ballot roadblocks, deceptive phone calls / fliers, deceptive ballot configurations, race left off some ballots, deceptive translations, snoop-friendly ballots, improper absentee ballot / envelope design, incorrect mail ballot insertions / delivery problems, cheat peeks.
Set news alerts: Google.com has a "News Alert" feature which allows you to set automatic e-mail notifications. Choose key words carefully, it can generate a lot of e-mail. Another easy method is to join an election protection e-mail list like email@example.com.
Confirm polling place before voting: Every election triggers complaints from voters when they learn that their polling place has been moved or eliminated. Of course facilities occasionally need to be changed, but we have even had reports of a husband and wife who were told to go to different polling places, even though they had lived in the same house for 20 years! This indicates a database problem. Also, due to cost run-ups from new voting machine purchases, hundreds of counties have closed polling places.
Part of election protection is knowing what to watch for. These things happen. The first time you see it, you can't quite believe it. That disbelief prevents citizens from taking crucial, immediate action. Elections are time sensitive. Keep your eyes wide open, vow to respond quickly and effectively.
The Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act was passed by the US House of Representatives and as of the time of this writing, is pending in the US Senate. This act prohibits any person, whether acting under color of law or otherwise, from knowingly deceiving any other person regarding the time, place, or manner of conducting any federal election, or the qualifications for or restrictions on voter eligibility, and it prescribes a criminal penalty for such deceptive acts.
Unfair practices are deception's cousin. They come with an "Oops Excuse" and a denial that there was intent behind them. Deceptive and unfair practices are sometimes minimized by calling them "dirty tricks."
Just days before the 2008 primary, the state of Indiana invoked new voter ID laws. Last-minute changes like this disenfranchise. And that's just what happened to a group of nuns, who were dismayed to find out that they could not vote in Indiana this year because they lacked newly required photo ID.
“Despite significant evidence to the contrary, the McCain campaign continues to assert that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin told the federal government ‘thanks but no thanks’ to the now-famous bridge to an island in her home state….,” the Journal states.
The Journal also makes clear that Palin only abandoned the project AFTER Congress had killed federal funding for it, and that “she did not return the federal money. She just allocated it elsewhere.” As late as last September, Palin was complaining that criticism of the project had been unfair, claiming that “much of the public’s attitude toward Alaska bridges is based on inaccurate portrayals of the projects here.”
In other words, it was never “thanks, but no thanks.” It was “thank you very much, and now give me some more.”
What makes me more crazy than the fact that Palin is applauded by conservatives for leaving her four-month-old special needs baby and her pregnant teenage daughter in order to participate in the biggest beauty contest of all - the Presidency - is the notion that somehow the media probing her background -- or asking ANY questions -- is unfair.
This woman-as-victim thing has GOT to stop. Now. With this election. Palin is the one who used her down syndrome baby as a human shield to hide her pregnant daughter's belly at recent campaign events. How low can you get?
The notion that the media has to treat Palin with "deference" is beyond me. WTF? Where is the outrage?
Maybe the GOP and the rest of America have grown too stupid or too scattered to know what deference means. From the L.A. Times:
John McCain's campaign essentially confirmed over the weekend what some had suspected: Media access to Sarah Palin, would-be vice president of the United States, will be tightly controlled.
Troublemakers need not apply.
And how will we know those troublemakers? They will be the ones unwilling to treat the governor of Alaska with what campaign manager Rick Davis called "some level of respect and deference."
The dictionary definitions I find begin with "respectful submission" and "yielding."
Respectful Submission. Are you ready to submit? Because I'm not ready to submit.
With the Internet came the notion that self-publishing means we all have a voice. Anyone with a connection can tap free self-publishing tools and have their say online. This, as humans, has changed us. If what we say resonates, others link and comment on our words, raising the profile of our voice, making it easier to find and hear what we have to say through search engines.
The problem is, in an emergency, the distributed nature of the Internet can cause more problems and confusion than it solves. In retrospect, articles about how Twitter helps hurricane victims organize are inspiring. In fact, in the middle of an emergency, all of our technology with its bells and whistles pulls a FAIL as often as a SAVE.
I'm afraid, very afraid, that distributed technology and far-flung voices are not sufficient to power the kind of revolution needed to save the soul of America.
I'm afraid that by its very nature, because the Internet lets the world speak simultaneously 24x7, writers and spammers and snake oil salesmen all, it dilutes the urgency, the outrage, the power of voice.
We have no more agora.
The marketplace is flooded.
We have millions of podiums with millions of voices and no where to gather. We are as disorganized as we are loud. Our collective power has been usurped by the very use of our individual voices, the freedom of speech we so value, the creative technology we've developed, and the tenor of our own voices.
When Paul Revere made his midnight ride, the signals were set before hand: one if by land, two if by sea. These were simple instructions, not a complex cacophony of opinions.
In the days before April 18, Revere had instructed Robert Newman, the sexton of the Old North Church, to send a signal by lantern to colonists in Charlestown as to the movements of the troops when the information became known; one lantern in the steeple would signal the army's choice of the land route, while two lanterns would signal the route "by water" across the Charles River. This was done to get the message through to Charlestown in the event that both Revere and Dawes were captured. Newman and Captain John Pulling momentarily held two lanterns in the Old North Church as Revere himself set out on his ride, to indicate that the British soldiers were in fact crossing the Charles River that night. Revere rode a horse loaned to him by John Larkin, Deacon of the Old North Church.
And when he rode through the streets, Revere did not shout loudly, "The British are coming! The British are coming!" as we were taught in school. His mission was secret. His voice was pointed. His success -- the collective success of his community -- depended upon precise action of a single purpose at the right time.
By the end of the night there were probably as many as 40 riders throughout Middlesex County carrying the news of the army's advancement. Revere certainly did not shout the famous phrase later attributed to him ("The British are coming!"), largely because the mission depended on secrecy and the countryside was filled with British army patrols; also, most colonial residents at the time considered themselves British as they were all legally British subjects. Revere's warning, according to eyewitness accounts of the ride and Revere's own descriptions, was "the regulars are coming out."[4
It began with a man on a horse, on a single street during a single night. That one voice cutting through the night, purposeful and centralized, created a unified response. Others joined him, and as many as 40 riders spread the news.
We need a Paul Revere. We need a lantern and an Old North Church.
Kilkenny witnessed Palin's book banning "test of loyalty" in Wasilla, and wrote an honest and eloquent email that gives an unmistakable preview of the woman who would be president.
This is what she said:
ABOUT SARAH PALIN I am a resident of Wasilla, Alaska. I have known Sarah since 1992. Everyone here knows Sarah, so it is nothing special to say we are on a first-name basis. Our children have attended the same schools. Her father was my child’s favorite substitute teacher. I also am on a first name basis with her parents and mother-in-law. I attended more City Councilmeetings during her administration than about 99% of the residents of the city.
She is enormously popular; in every way she’s like the most popular girl in middle school. Even men who think she is a poor choice and won’t vote for her can’t quit smiling when talking about her because she is a “babe”.
It is astonishing and almost scary how well she can keep a secret. She kept her most recent pregnancy a secret from her children and parents for seven months.
She is “pro-life”. She recently gave birth to a Down’s syndrome baby. There is no cover-up involved, here; Trig is her baby.
She is energetic and hardworking. She regularly worked out at the gym.
She is savvy. She doesn’t take positions; she just “puts things out there” and if they prove to be popular, then she takes credit.
Her husband works a union job on the North Slope for BP and is a champion snowmobile racer. Todd Palin’s kind of job is highly sought-after because of the schedule and high pay. He arranges his work schedule so he can fish for salmon in Bristol Bay for a month or so in summer, but by no stretch of the imagination is fishing their major source of income. Nor has her life-style ever been anything like that of native Alaskans.
Sarah and her whole family are avid hunters.
Her experience is as mayor of a city with a population of about 5,000 (at the time), and less than 2 years as governor of a state with about 670,000 residents.
During her mayoral administration most of the actual work of running this small city was turned over to an administrator. She had been pushed to hire this administrator by party power-brokers after she had gotten herself into some trouble over precipitous firings which had given rise to a recall campaign.
Sarah campaigned in Wasilla as a “fiscal conservative”. During her 6 years as Mayor, she increased general government expenditures by over 33%. During those same 6 years the amount of taxes collected by the City increased by 38%. This was during a period of low inflation (1996-2002). She reduced progressive property taxes and increased a regressive sales tax which taxed even food. The tax cuts that she promoted benefited large corporate property owners way more than they benefited residents.
The huge increases in tax revenues during her mayoral administration weren’t enough to fund everything on her wish list though, borrowed money was needed, too. She inherited a city with zero debt, but left it with indebtedness of over $22 million. What did Mayor Palin encourage the voters to borrow money for? Was it the infrastructure that she said she supported? The sewage treatment plant that the city lacked? or a new library? No. $1m for a park. $15m-plus for construction of a multi-use sports complex which she rushed through to build on a piece of property that the City didn’t even have clear title to, that was still in litigation 7 yrs later–to the delight of the lawyers involved! The sports complex itself is a nice addition to the community but a huge money pit, not the profit-generator she claimed it would be. She also supported bonds for $5.5m for road projects that could have been done in 5-7 yrs without any borrowing.
While Mayor, City Hall was extensively remodeled and her office redecorated more than once.
These are small numbers, but Wasilla is a very small city.
As an oil producer, the high price of oil has created a budget surplus in Alaska. Rather than invest this surplus in technology that will make us energy independent and increase efficiency, as Governor she proposed distribution of this surplus to every individual in the state.
In this time of record state revenues and budget surpluses, she recommended that the state borrow/bond for road projects, even while she proposed distribution of surplus state revenues: spend today’s surplus, borrow for needs.
She’s not very tolerant of divergent opinions or open to outside ideas or compromise. As Mayor, she fought ideas that weren’t generated by her or her staff. Ideas weren’t evaluated on their merits, but on the basis of who proposed them.
While Sarah was Mayor of Wasilla she tried to fire our highly respected City Librarian because the Librarian refused to consider removing from the library some books that Sarah wanted removed. City residents rallied to the defense of the City Librarian and against Palin’s attempt at out-and-out censorship, so Palin backed down and withdrew her termination letter. People who fought her attempt to oust the Librarian are on her enemies list to this day.
Sarah complained about the “old boy’s club” when she first ran for Mayor, so what did she bring Wasilla? A new set of “old boys”. Palin fired most of the experienced staff she inherited. At the City and as Governor she hired or elevated new, inexperienced, obscure people, creating a staff totally dependent on her for their jobs and eternally grateful and fiercely loyal–loyal to the point of abusing their power to further her personal agenda, as she has acknowledged happened in the case of pressuring the State’s top cop (see below).
As Mayor, Sarah fired Wasilla’s Police Chief because he “intimidated” her, she told the press. As Governor, her recent firing of Alaska’s top cop has the ring of familiarity about it. He served at her pleasure and she had every legal right to fire him, but it’s pretty clear that an important factor in her decision to fire him was because he wouldn’t fire her sister’s ex-husband, a State Trooper. Under investigation for abuse of power, she has had to admit that more than 2 dozen contacts were made between her staff and family to the person that she later fired, pressuring him to fire her ex-brother-in-law. She tried to replace the man she fired with a man who she knew had been reprimanded for sexual harassment; when this caused a public furor, she withdrew her support.
She has bitten the hand of every person who extended theirs to her in help. The City Council person who personally escorted her around town introducing her to voters when she first ran for Wasilla City Council became one of her first targets when she was later elected Mayor. She abruptly fired her loyal City Administrator; even people who didn’t like the guy were stunned by this ruthlessness.
Fear of retribution has kept all of these people from saying anything publicly about her.
When then-Governor Murkowski was handing out political plums, Sarah got the best, Chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission: one of the few jobs not in Juneau and one of the best paid. She had no background in oil & gas issues. Within months of scoring this great job which paid $122,400/yr, she was complaining in the press about the high salary. I was told that she hated that job: the commute, the structured hours, the work. Sarah became aware that a member of this Commission (who was also the State Chair of the Republican Party) engaged in unethical behavior on the job. In a gutsy move which some undoubtedly cautioned her could be political suicide, Sarah solved all her problems in one fell swoop: got out of the job she hated and garnered gobs of media attention as the patron saint of ethics and as a gutsy fighter against the “old boys’ club” when she dramatically quit, exposing this man’s ethics violations (for which he was fined).
As Mayor, she had her hand stuck out as far as anyone for pork from Senator Ted Stevens. Lately, she has castigated his pork-barrel politics and publicly humiliated him. She only opposed the “bridge to nowhere” after it became clear that it would be unwise not to.
As Governor, she gave the Legislature no direction and budget guidelines, then made a big grandstand display of line-item vetoing projects, calling them pork. Public outcry and further legislative action restored most of these projects–which had been vetoed simply because she was not aware of their importance–but with the unobservant she had gained a reputation as “anti-pork”.
She is solidly Republican: no political maverick. The State party leaders hate her because she has bit them in the back and humiliated them. Other members of the party object to her self-description as a fiscal conservative.
Around Wasilla there are people who went to high school with Sarah. They call her “Sarah Barracuda” because of her unbridled ambition and predatory ruthlessness. Before she became so powerful, very ugly stories circulated around town about shenanigans she pulled to be made point guard on the high school basketball team. When Sarah’s mother-in-law, a highly respected member of the community and experienced manager, ran for Mayor, Sarah refused to endorse her.
As Governor, she stepped outside of the box and put together of package of legislation known as “AGIA” that forced the oil companies to march to the beat of her drum.
Like most Alaskans, she favors drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. She has questioned if the loss of sea ice is linked to global warming. She campaigned “as a private citizen” against a state initiaitive that would have either a) protected salmon streams from pollution from mines, or b) tied up in the courts all mining in the state (depending on who you listen to). She has pushed the State’s lawsuit against the Dept. of the Interior’s decision to list polar bears as threatened species.
McCain is the oldest person to ever run for President; Sarah will be a heartbeat away from being President.
There has to be literally millions of Americans who are more knowledgeable and experienced than she.
However, there’s a lot of people who have underestimated her and are regretting it.
CLAIM VS FACT •“Hockey mom”: true for a few years •“PTA mom”: true years ago when her first-born was in elementary school, not since •“NRA supporter”: absolutely true •social conservative: mixed. Opposes gay marriage, BUT vetoed a bill that would have denied benefits to employees in same-sex relationships (said she did this because it was unconsitutional). •pro-creationism: mixed. Supports it, BUT did nothing as Governor to promote it. •“Pro-life”: mixed. Knowingly gave birth to a Down’s syndrome baby BUT declined to call a special legislative session on some pro-life legislation •“Experienced”: Some high schools have more students than Wasilla has residents. Many cities have more residents than the state of Alaska. No legislative experience other than City Council. Little hands-on supervisory or managerial experience; needed help of a city administrator to run town of about 5,000. •political maverick: not at all •gutsy: absolutely! •open & transparent: ??? Good at keeping secrets. Not good at explaining actions. •has a developed philosophy of public policy: no •”a Greenie”: no. Turned Wasilla into a wasteland of big box stores and disconnected parking lots. Is pro-drilling off-shore and in ANWR. •fiscal conservative: not by my definition! •pro-infrastructure: No. Promoted a sports complex and park in a city without a sewage treatment plant or storm drainage system. Built streets to early 20th century standards. •pro-tax relief: Lowered taxes for businesses, increased tax burden on residents •pro-small government: No. Oversaw greatest expansion of city government in Wasilla’s history. •pro-labor/pro-union. No. Just because her husband works union doesn’t make her pro-labor. I have seen nothing to support any claim that she is pro-labor/pro-union.
WHY AM I WRITING THIS?
First, I have long believed in the importance of being an informed voter. I am a voter registrar. For 10 years I put on student voting programs in the schools. If you google my name (Anne Kilkenny + Alaska), you will find references to my participation in local government, education, and PTA/parent organizations.
Secondly, I’ve always operated in the belief that “Bad things happen when good people stay silent”. Few people know as much as I do because few have gone to as many City Council meetings.
Third, I am just a housewife. I don’t have a job she can bump me out of. I don’t belong to any organization that she can hurt. But, I am no fool; she is immensely popular here, and it is likely that this will cost me somehow in the future: that’s life.
Fourth, she has hated me since back in 1996, when I was one of the 100 or so people who rallied to support the City Librarian against Sarah’s attempt at censorship.
Fifth, I looked around and realized that everybody else was afraid to say anything because they were somehow vulnerable.
CAVEATS I am not a statistician. I developed the numbers for the increase in spending & taxation 2 years ago (when Palin was running for Governor) from information supplied to me by the Finance Director of the City of Wasilla, and I can’t recall exactly what I adjusted for: did I adjust for inflation? for population increases? Right now, it is impossible for a private person to get any info out of City Hall–they are swamped. So I can’t verify my numbers.
You may have noticed that there are various numbers circulating for the population of Wasilla, ranging from my “about 5,000″, up to 9,000. The day Palin’s selection was announced a city official told me that the current population is about 7,000. The official 2000 census count was 5,460. I have used about 5,000 because Palin was Mayor from 1996 to 2002, and the city was growing rapidly in the mid-90’s.
Anne Kilkenny August 31, 2008
I'm not sure. I think Kilkenny may have ridden too early. History will determine how important her warnings were, how many heard her, and whether or not she made a difference.
She made a difference to me.
My hope is that in the coming weeks, someone will emerge, some meeting place will emerge, some tool will emerge, that will power and centralize our voices, our energy, our efforts, so that instead of "tweeting" our lunch plans across the distributed Internet, we can ride together. That others will join us. That no one will be able to dispute the significance of our ride, because on this mission, we will speak with one voice and a single purpose: freedom.
If you live in an urban area and you get a girl pregnant you're a "baby daddy."
If you're the same in Alaska you're a "teen father." (Actually, according to your own MySpace page you're an F'n redneck that don't want any kids, but that's too long a phrase for the evil liberal media to take out of context and flog morning, noon and night.)
Black teen pregnancies? A "crisis" in black America.
Just remember the next time a politician tells you he's not talking to the press, it's not for your benefit. It's for his. So when McCain and Palin expect you to cheer that they're sticking it to the media, they're really asking you to celebrate that they're sticking it to you.
And here's a roundup of some intriguing stories on Palin in light of my posts this week:
The Politico's Roger Simon writes the best column on the role of the political press I have ever read. "It is not our job to ask questions. Or it shouldn't be. To hear from the pols at the Republican National Convention this week, our job is to endorse and support the decisions of the pols."
Conservative Detroit News columnist Nolan Finley apologizes for not drinking the Palin Kool-Aid.
Time's Joe Klein looks at McCain's slime the press strategy and if it will cause the media to be gentler on the Republican.
The Freep's Stephen Henderson ponders the new morality that teen pregnancy can be celebrated and asks how it would be viewed if Bristol Palin were black.
A McCain aide can't answer what Palin's foreign policy credentials are, leading Republicans to criticize CNN for biased reporting.
Gone are the days of the Straight Talk Express, when McCain is hostile to innocuous questions in a Time interview, such as asking him to define honor in political campaigns.
A Wasilla evangelical Christian mom disagrees with Palin's choices.
Hanna Rosin explores how the Religious Rights' views on morality have changed as their behavior hasn't met their ideals.
Jacob Weisberg points out how shotgun weddings equal sky-high divorce rates and looks at how the right's anti-abortion absolutism has meant more acceptance of teen pregnancy.