Sarah Palin’s Vindictive Hot Air for Piano: UnTrue Minimalism?

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It has been brought into plain view on various occasions, Sarah Palin is an ultra-right wing bigot, racist, a homophobe, a lier, a vindictive, vengeful polar bear killing character who abuses her public office’s powers and who together with her family over the last two months have acquired clothes, shoes, makeup etc. worth US$150.000, paid for by the Republican Party (that’s the coffee club of racist, anti-social rich people and stupefied low-paid white trash).

That’s no news, however, many -if not all – politicians are like that — the big difference in this case is that she also appears rather stupid (although politically clever in her stupidity), since she has nothing sensible to say and always only blurps out generalisations so basic and contentless that she is probably only right in one thing: she represents the All-American citizen. Here she goes again, to music by Henry Fey (from The Rest Is Noise):


3 thoughts on “Sarah Palin’s Vindictive Hot Air for Piano: UnTrue Minimalism?

    colono responded:
    Friday, October 24, 2008 at 10:29 (478)

    Obama might be leading the polls, but who can actually get to vote in the land of the Fee, Home of Depraved?

    More about Republican politrix:

    Protect This Election
    By Andrew Gumbel

    This article appeared in the November 10, 2008 edition of The Nation.
    October 22, 2008

    Not so long ago, when Karl Rove was still dreaming of a permanent Republican majority based on his “50 percent plus one” model for fighting and winning elections, 2008 was shaping up as possibly the dirtiest election season yet.

    The plan was straightforward: to use every legislative and executive lever available to the GOP to suppress the votes of minorities, students, the poor, the transient and the elderly; and to denounce any attempt by the other side to level the playing field as a monstrous exercise in systemic voter fraud.

    A lot of pieces of that plan are still in place and could still pose a threat to the integrity of the November 4 elections if any one of them–a crucial Senate race, say, if not also the race for the presidency–turns out to be remotely close.

    Voter ID laws passed by GOP-majority legislatures in Georgia, Indiana and elsewhere serve as thinly veiled mechanisms for suppressing opposition voters, because those without driver’s licenses or other forms of government-issued identity cards are more likely to be Democrats.

    In several states, the Republican Party has made plans to challenge the legitimacy of thousands of voters, in some cases using a notorious, legally dubious technique known as “caging,” whereby the party sends out nonforwardable mail to low-income or minority households (the people likely to move frequently or to be victims of subprime mortgage foreclosures) and uses returned envelopes to question the eligibility of the addressees.

    Some Republican-run states, most notably Florida, have introduced absurdly strict standards for the admission of new voters to the rolls, making it likely that thousands, if not tens of thousands, of them will have to go to extraordinary lengths on election day to prove that they have the right to cast a ballot. History suggests many of these new voters will either give up when challenged or fail to show up at all.

    Most serious, the Republicans have sought to use the Justice Department to legitimize these efforts and, in some cases, to extend them–by paying close attention to the (mostly nonexistent) problem of individual ballot fraud while showing little or no interest in protecting the rights of minority voters, as the Voting Rights Act mandates that the department do.

    The GOP has been laying this groundwork over the past several election cycles–using each technique either as a means to squeak ahead in tight races or as a pretext for challenging results in the event of a narrow loss. We know, for example, that in 2004 the party investigated the eligibility of more than half a million voters across the country, challenged 74,000 of them directly on election day and had a plan in place to challenge tens of thousands more in such swing states as Nevada, New Mexico, Florida and Pennsylvania in the event that John Kerry came out ahead of George W. Bush in the race for the White House. (An e-mail trail setting out these plans was uncovered after the election by the PBS program Now.)

    In 2008 the techniques for challenging voters this way–or for deterring or disenfranchising them in the first place–have become more widespread and sophisticated. Just look at the way the Republicans have demonized ACORN, the low-income advocacy group that works to register new minority voters.

    In every election cycle since 2004, ACORN has been put through the wringer for supposedly aiding and abetting voter fraud–usually in ways designed to sway the public against the Democrats in the days before a key state vote. While ACORN has had well-advertised problems getting its low-wage workforce to produce reliable voter registration lists, those lists have not been shown to result in a single fraudulently cast ballot.

    This year, that demonization has taken on vast new proportions, presumably connected to ACORN’s claim to have registered 1.3 million new voters. The FBI has launched an investigation that smells, once again, of political interference in the electoral process by the Justice Department. Republican operatives have accused ACORN, absurdly, of perpetrating the subprime mortgage lending crisis [see Peter Dreier and John Atlas, “The GOP’s Blame-ACORN Game,” page 20] and of being a “quasi-criminal organization”–hinting darkly that ACORN-registered voters may not be eligible. One think tank that sees its mission as bashing ACORN on behalf of its big-business backers, the Employment Policies Institute, even calls it “a multi-million-dollar, multinational conglomerate.”

    The strange thing about this and the rest of the GOP attack machine is that somewhere along the way, the wheels started coming off. This is partly a result of straightforward political warfare: the groundwork laid by GOP operatives may be more extensive than in the past, but so are the campaigns to denounce their efforts, from the likes of Common Cause, the Century Foundation, the Brennan Center for Justice and other organizations that have issued report after report exposing the dirt and incompetence in the electoral system and calling the Republicans’ bluff on the supposed scourge of individual voter fraud. It certainly helps that the denunciations are now coming from well-known groups with serious academic credentials and a commitment to accurate research–a welcome change from the days when hardworking but underqualified Internet campaigners were breathlessly denouncing nonexistent political plots cooked up by the Republicans and the makers of touch-screen voting machines.

    The change of mood is also a reflection of broader political realities. Barack Obama is ahead in the polls, the public is of a mind to view Republican maneuvering of all kinds in a less than favorable light and attempts to deter or suppress Democratic voters are up against the remarkable surge in enthusiasm and voter registration behind the Obama ticket. The Republicans were reported to be thinking about mounting a vote-caging operation against the former owners of foreclosed homes in one Michigan county, only to deny any such intent when the plan became public. In Montana, an attempt to disenfranchise 6,000 people in Democratic-leaning districts has sparked similar outrage. Dirty electioneering, in other words, may boost a party headed toward a narrow victory, as it did for the Republicans in 2004, but it can sink a floundering party like a stone. Voters can smell the desperation, and they don’t like it.

    The Republicans also made the mistake, as they have in so many policy areas, of overreaching and alienating even their own supporters. The US Attorneys scandal was probably the starkest example, especially since at least two if not more of the fired federal prosecutors were given the boot for their failure to pursue individual voter fraud. David Iglesias, the New Mexico prosecutor at the eye of the storm, described in his memoir In Justice earlier this year how the White House first went after Todd Graves in Missouri, to see if there would be a backlash, and became emboldened when they didn’t detect much of a reaction. Another eight fired Attorneys later, the new Democratic majority in Congress was alarmed enough to start investigating–and expose the Bush administration’s gross political manipulations. Iglesias, interestingly, was a staunch Republican but refused to file unsubstantiated voter fraud charges when he knew any half-serious judge would throw them straight out.

    More Republicans standing on principle have surfaced in the heat of the McCain-Obama battle. In October, Montana Lieutenant Governor John Bohlinger declared publicly he was “appalled at the leadership of my political party” for vote suppression activities that have “no place in a democracy.”

    It would be a mistake, though, to count on other John Bohlingers coming forward to denounce every piece of skulduggery. In fact, for those with a mind to be alarmed, 2008 is already sounding several warning bells. Republicans in at least three states–Ohio, Florida and Wisconsin–have sued the electoral authorities to try to expand their power to challenge voters. (The Supreme Court thwarted those efforts in Ohio, but the other cases are still open.) In plenty of others they have telegraphed their intention to go after voter eligibility among certain choice demographic groups–students in Virginia, for example. Several swing states have tried to pass laws specifically outlawing caging and other vote-challenging techniques, but none, in the past couple of years, have successfully pushed them through their state legislatures and onto the desks of their governors.

    Usually, vote suppression efforts come to light only in the last couple of weeks before election day. This time, though, the reports of foul play, or attempted foul play, started to pour in unnervingly early. “It’s exhausting from this end,” says one of the country’s leading voter protection activists, Jonah Goldman of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “Every day we get another three or four things we need to investigate. From a political perspective, the campaigns understand the mechanisms of elections a lot better than they ever did before. At the same time, we have by far the most robust and sophisticated voter protection program we’ve ever had. We’ve matured very far, on both sides of the issue.”

    Goldman is no apologist for the Democrats. On the contrary, he sees plenty of flaws to go around in the two-party system and in this country’s massively devolved, loophole-ridden electoral system. The only reason the Democrats aren’t causing more trouble of their own this season, he feels, is that they aren’t as scared of losing. That said, voter suppression is typically a Republican tactic, going back decades. (Democrats, when they cheat, prefer to pad the rolls with supporters rather than purge them of their adversaries.)

    Some of the possible vote suppression stems as much from organizational chaos as from ill will. This year, several states have struggled with a federal mandate to streamline their voter databases, leading to wide concern that eligible voters are being purged. The New York Times has found that tens of thousands of names were being struck from lists or blocked from registering in six swing states–Colorado, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Nevada and North Carolina–in apparent violation of federal law. In three states–Louisiana, Michigan and Colorado–the number of people who have died or moved out of state is far exceeded by the number of names taken off the voting rolls.

    In a report on voter purges published earlier this year, the Brennan Center denounced a process it said was often “shrouded in secrecy, prone to error, and vulnerable to manipulation.” Sometimes a highly technocratic point, like Florida’s insistence that every voter registration form should provide an exact match of the name on existing state records, can have profound political ramifications. If a lot of people are going to get disqualified, it is probably the wealthier, more comfortable voters who will have time to present the proper paperwork and get themselves reinstated on election day. More transient voters, or voters with inflexible low-wage jobs, are likelier to give up once they have been told they can vote by provisional ballot only.

    We can expect similar chaos with the allocation of voting machines, especially in new battleground states like Virginia and North Carolina, where the turnout for the presidential election is likely to break records. The voter registration problem and the machine allocation problem can be related, since new registrations are often a guide to likely turnout on election day. Since Virginia has a backlog on processing its registration forms, its chances of finding enough machines to satisfy demand look even dimmer. “Virginia is not preparing well,” Goldman said.

    To the extent that the problems affect minority voters, one might expect some sort of oversight or intervention by the Justice Department. Under the Bush administration, of course, the department has taken the opposite tack–rushing to find individual voter fraud where it doesn’t exist but filing no voter intimidation suits under Section 11(b) of the Voting Rights Act, except for one case in Mississippi where the aggrieved minority just happened to be whites. There’s still a chance the department will clean up its act–for example, it could choose to deploy teams of lawyers to problem areas in the South, as opposed to sending staffers, as it did in 2004, to keep an eye on crucial battleground states like Ohio. Typically, the Justice Department doesn’t announce its observation plans until two or three days before the election. “We’ll have to wait and see whether there has been an improvement or not,” says a cautious Kristen Clarke of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. We probably shouldn’t hold our breath.

    In the end, even the most insidious vote suppression technique makes just a marginal difference–one half-percentage point here, another there–and comes seriously into play only in a close race. Such tactics can’t prevent an Obama landslide, if that is what we are about to see, or overturn a two- to three-point victory in any given state. Anyone who cares about fair elections, though, should be looking beyond just this presidential election. The Republicans who have dreamed up these techniques are thinking long-term strategy over many cycles, not just short-term advantage. The day may also come when Democrats are tempted to play dirty in their own ways–although they have never attempted anything on a national scale as Republicans have. It will take many years of work to repair America’s tattered voting system. Keeping a close eye and exposing as much of the dirt as possible in this election, though, is a good place to start.

    Andrew Gumbel is the author of Steal This Vote: Dirty Elections and the Rotten History of Democracy in America (Nation Books) and a US correspondent for The Independent of London. more…

    scottb said:
    Wednesday, October 29, 2008 at 11:06 (504)

    You wrote about the stupefied white trash in your article. Now i’m not picking on you for one minor thing, you did write a very good article, but i’m a very low income white american man; and the Republicans do not represent me.
    I expect that many people would call me white trash… but I’ve only wanted fairness for everyone at all levels of society, in all places, since I’ve become an adult. (I’ll bet that you smile with scorn when I write that — a poor white man with humanity??). I had to learn by myself, over the years, the humanity of others, who weren’t white or male or heterosexual or middle class or americans. No adult in my family and schools ever taught me empathy for others. Never was i taught compassion, never was i taught that i wasn’t alone. I was taught that even my family was a physical danger to me.
    White trash americans are taught bitterness, hopelessness, selfishness, fear and that they are completely alone. The one group with the highest rate of suicide now is the single, lone, poor white man. More suicides than any other group in america now. White trash are stupefied by generations of mental illnesses, childhood abuse, bad public school education, no long term jobs, no hope, no socialized medical care, and no HELP.
    I once hoped, assumed without thinking, that everybodies living conditions in america would become better over the years; but it’s just a pipe dream, it always was a lie that many of us believed. It will never happen for the majority. This country is dieing now; maybe it’s best for the rest of the world, but it’s hell for the lifelong poor in america. This country is a corrupt failure… I’m hopeless now, things just keep getting worse every year for the last , oh, forty years.
    The majority of people in the U.S. want more humanitarian help for each american citizen, not industry and corporations. But we’re beaten by lobbyists, Republican cheating, Republican ballot fraud and corporations. You can take hopelessness and pain for only so many years, before you give up or die in one way or another.
    White trash would want the lives of others to become better, but their feelings of hopelessness and abandonment cause them to feel bitterness and hate. It’s also impossible for an isolated mentally ill soul to feel empathy for “The Other” without being taught again and again that “The Other” is just another person exactly like them.

    Palin does not represent white trash. She represents the culture from which she originates.

    Thank you for allowing us to comment here.

    Scott B.

    colono responded:
    Wednesday, October 29, 2008 at 11:21 (514)

    Thank you very much for your comment – well said.

    So let me clarify, I never meant to suggest that all white people with low incomes are racist, evil bastards, as a matter of fact I am white and have NO income myself, but live for the time being off the charity of others.

    And you are certainly right that people have been forced and brainwashed for generations, no doubt about it.

    My sincere apologies for throwing out what is really a generalisation that of course does not apply to all white people with low incomes – and neither does it do justice to the history of exploitation and marginalisation that such white people have had to endure.

    That said, Obama is the same as Palin when it comes down to the power of corporations banks to continue to rule over and control people. He is exactly the same, just look at his sponsors, which include pure evil JP Morgan Chase:

    In the financial sector, one and a quarter million dollars have found their way into the Obama campaign. The largest donor was Goldman Sacs at $375,978. JP Morgan Chase was second with $216,459 while Citigroup coughed up $181,787 and Morgan Stanley only produced $109,025 to finance Obama’s campaign.

    Time Warner led the big business contributors to the Obama campaign with $131,485, followed by GE at $47,450 and Microsoft at $44,250. Last time I looked, each of those were ‘corporations’.

    AT&T, you know, the communications corporation, kicked in $43,483 and among insurance corporations, Blue Cross/Blue Shield managed to send along $40,150 to the Obama campaign.

    Other corporate contributors include Boeing, Walt Disney, Vivendi, UPS, Lockheed Martin, General Motors and American Airlines.

    I even managed to find contributions from Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly & Co. and GlaxoSmithKline to the tune of $23,350.

    So what can we do?

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