Friday, October 31, 2008

Why is Sarah Palin Infallible?

In a recent interview, Gov. Sarah Palin claimed that her first amendment rights are in jeopardy by the mainstream media's portrayal of her attacks on Barack Obama's "associations." Palin told Chris Plante, a host on WMAL-AM: "If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations, then I don't know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media."

I think that in order to put this in context we need to look at the first amendment and what it means: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Just at first glance, it is obvious that it is impossible for the media to, by definition, limit someone's first amendment rights because the first amendment prohibits congress from doing so, not the media. In practice, the first amendment can be extended to all federal and state government offices.

In this context, the only person who is jeopardizing first amendment rights is Palin, a government official attempting to supress the media. The only protection (this is a scary thought) that we have from the lies of politicians is the media. If a politician incorrectly labels another politician (like, say, calling Sen. Obama a Marxist), while credible evidence to the contrary exists in abundance, the media has the right (and the moral obligation) to discredit the claim.

Contrary to Palin's statement, I don't know what would happen to first amendment rights in this country if candidates didn't have to worry about attacks by the mainstream media. I find it hard to believe that Palin hasn't read the first amendment. She has to read it to get to her favorite ammendment, the second, which she believes gives her the right to shoot wolves from a hellicopter (Maybe constitutional law professors would disagree with that interpretation, but hell, it looks way too fun to pass up because of some legal mumbo jumbo).

It goes without saying that Palin's labeling of Barack Obama as a Marxist, terrorist, political operative etc. lacks evidence (to put it lightly, others would call it a lie and they wouldn't be wrong). Imagine what would happen if Sen. Obama said at a rally: "John McCain is an alien sent from Mars to infiltrate the highest level of U.S. government so he can send information back to his home planet about the space program to help them plan an invasion of Earth. Additionally, Cindy McCain is actually Ursula from The Little Mermaid."

Surely, every single journalist in the world would disprove it in a matter of seconds. The front page of every newspaper would be "Barack Obama Lies at Rally." This would then be followed by 24 hour news anchors bringing on UFO experts (if there is such a thing), NASA officials, scientists, historians, and a plethera of other experts onto their shows saying the words: "Barack Obama lied (accept about Mrs. McCain, the jury is still out on that one)."

However, Palin is doing essentially the same thing. She is making false claims about Barack Obama without held accountable for her lies. After getting an immunity card from the media (or whatever they gave her that has made her infallible), she had the nerve to claim that the media is being too critical of her.

The way I look at it, Sarah Palin is one of two things: dumb enough to not understand the first amendment of the constitution (which is really easy to find, its at the top of this list!), or smart enough to know that most of her supporters are too dumb to even spell constitution. In my oh so very humble opinion, its probably the first. (that is not to say, however, that the second half of the second possibility is false.)

Read the amendments of the constitution here; I think we could all use a refresher course.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bush Pushes EPA to Let Power Plants Pollute More

The EPA is racing to meet a deadline Saturday set by the Bush administration to reduce regulation of pollution of power plants. Under this new regulation, it will be possible for power plants to increase the amount of fuel they burn without installing new controls to limit pollution. Why isn't this a bigger story?

I guess that the Bush Administration is smart in doing this under the cloak of an election. After all, the media has only been covering this election for 2 years, why should they move on to cover something more important now? (sarcasm)

If anything, I would expect that Bush would be trying to increase pollution regulation this close to the end of his term. He would be trying to put in a last minute change to turn this all around, after eight years of taking undeniably the wrong approach to every environmental issue (and every other issue) we face(in my oh so very humble opinion). Instead, he is trying to put one more thing on his oh so very long list of horrible things he has done to this planet. Why do I find this surprising? I shouldn't.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The next time a pollster asks you about a candidate's religion, you say: "I don't care."

A recent LA times/ Bloomberg Poll shows that 7% of registered voters in Ohio and Florida believe that Barack Obama is a Muslim. Another 44% in Florida did not know what religion Barack Obama is (that seems like a lot to me). I must admit that a part of me feels like I should not bring it up because it would bring some sort of sense of accomplishment or validity to those who began this smear.

However, I think the reaction to this smear shows a harsh and overlooked reality: throughout this election, Muslims have been demeaned by both Republicans and Democrats in a way that is disgraceful in a country this great. As Colin Powell put it on Meet the Press a few weeks ago: "it doesn't make any difference who you are or what you are, if you're an American, you're an American." What if Barack Obama were a Muslim? (he's not) Should it matter? (no) What if there's a Muslim-American child doing his civics homework who decides that someday he wants to be president? Is someone to tell him: no you can't have your shot at your American Dream because you're a Muslim? (of course not!)

Anytime Obama has been confronted with the question "are you a Muslim?," he has responded with the answer "no I am a christian." In doing so, he has implied that being a Muslim would disqualify him as a candidate. The correct answer to this question (in my oh so very humble opinion) is: "Not that it is any of your business, but I happen to be a Christian. However, if I were a Muslim, there would be nothing wrong with that because we live in a great country where we don't discriminate against people because of their religious beliefs" (or lack thereof for that matter).

So, next time a pollster calls you and asks: "What religion is Barack Obama/John McCain/any other candidate for public office?" you say: "I don't care."

Read more about the poll here

Obama to voters: Our future depends on this week

Obama told voters yesterday that we can't get over confident in the upcoming weeks. Obama is in a safe position, but he can still lose this election if he is not careful. So my advice, if I were given the opportunity to give it, to Barack Obama is to take his own advice.

Obama has a huge lead in the polls that can guarantee him victory on election day (in my oh so very humble opinion). All he needs to do is hold his ground. I hope with every fiber of my being that he doesn't try to reach out to any new demographics. As Kerry learned in 2004, you can't win an election as a Democrat by appealing to the Republican base (I am referring to the cultural ones, not the fiscal conservatives).

Obama will loose too many of his supporters if he goes any further to the right to pander over some more Republicans. He has enough of them as it is. Senator Obama, I beg of you (not that I suspect that you will do this) to stand your ground, stay cool (as you so often did during the debates), and most importantly to remember the promise you made to me and the rest of America when you are finally elected after a two year campaign: to change the way Washington works and end the war.

read more | digg story

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Best Worst President We Could Hope For

I would like to preface this by saying that this election is not yet a forgone conclusion. There are still many things that Democrats can do to lose this election. It is imperative that we do not get overconfident.

Having said this, I think that we can all pause and take a brief sigh of relief to recognize that eight years of the worst presidency ever is almost over. I must admit that in one major way however, (brace yourself for this) that George W. Bush , the unequivocal worst president in United States history (in my oh so very humble opinion) has been good for the democratic process in this country by unintentionally causing a necessary split in the Republican Party (I know it may not sound like a big deal, but stick with me on this one).

What the Republicans are left with is the group that has been a destructive force for American democracy since their emergence as a major political force in 1980: the "moral majority" (because, of course, they are more moral than those horrible people known as democrats), now better known as evangelical voters. George W. Bush won the election in 2004 by mobilizing the right wing evangelicals and alienating everyone else; John Kerry lost the election by doing essentially the same thing.

With Bush's approval ratings so awe-inspiringly (and kind of amusingly) low, McCain will not win by concentrating only on the base. McCain has been given the impossible task of uniting the Republican Party that Bush divided. Bush furthered democracy (unintentionally, mind you) by dividing the Republicans into the two parties that they really are: the right wing religous nuts, and the understandable fiscal conservatives.

This correction that George W. Bush has made to the Republican Party will change the way Washington works for the better. Republicans from more civilized states (yes that wording is intentional) will feel more comfortable voting against old party lines in such non-issues as gay marriage and flag burning while being champions in understandable goals such as cutting spending and reducing the national debt.

For this reason, George W. Bush, who came into power in 2000 in spite of losing the popular vote (and possibly the actual election), suppressed the rights of gays and other minorities, increased the national debt to unprecedented and unimaginable figures, and performed favors for the rich while throwing the less fortunate into the streets, is the best worst president any country could ever hope for.

Many thanks, Governor Bush (as George Carlin put it, governor is the last position he held legally) for being so incompetent, uninformed, out of touch, and in many cases just plain lazy during your eight long, painful years in office. Through your failures, America has learned much about what they really need in a president, and, most importantly, that they should never elect someone like you ever again.