Posts Tagged ‘Sara Palin’

The F-card won’t wash

September 13, 2008

Sarah Palin is disastrous for women’s rights, no matter how Republicans try to frame her as a feminist

Jessica Valenti | The Guardian, Friday September 12 2008

The New York Post calls her “a feminist dream”. National Public Radio asks if she’s the “new face of feminism”. And the Wall Street Journal, ever subtle, calls it “Sarah Palin Feminism”. I call it well-spun garbage. (Yes, I’d even call it a pig in lipstick.) It seems you can’t open a newspaper or turn on the television without running across a piece about how the Republican vice-presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, is not just a feminist, but the feminist – a sign that all is right in the US when it comes to gender equality. (Turn in those Birkenstocks and picket signs, gals!)

Palin’s conservative cohorts are claiming her candidacy as a win for women and proof that it’s Republicans who are the real agents of change. After all, what more could American women want in a vice-presidential candidate than a well-coiffed “hockey mom”?

Never mind that Palin talks about her teen daughter’s decision to keep her child while awaiting the chance to take that choice away from American women. Don’t worry about how Palin cut funding for a transitional home for teenage mothers. And forget that, under Palin’s mayoralty, women in Wasilla, Alaska, were forced to pay for their own rape kits to the tune of up to $1,200.

We’re not supposed to care about these issues because – say Republicans – we should just be happy that there’s a woman on the ticket. The McCain campaign is cynically trying to recreate the excitement that surrounded Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, believing that all women want is … another woman.

Ann Friedman, deputy editor of the American Prospect, wrote: “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 … McCain has turned the idea of the first woman in the White House from a true moment of change to an empty pander.”

What’s worse is conservatives can’t understand why women aren’t lining up to thank them. In fact, the same people who moaned that women – those darn feminists, especially – were only supporting Hillary because of her gender are now screaming to the rafters because they’re not supporting Palin for the same reason. That’s what makes Republicans pulling the feminist card that much more insulting – the stunning hypocrisy. The McCain touting himself as the person who will put a woman in the White House is the same man who joked that Chelsea Clinton is “so ugly” because “her father is Janet Reno”.

And despite the talk about being the party of change, appropriating feminist symbols – such as at a Pennsylvania rally, where people held up signs of Rosie the Riveter with Palin’s face – and propping up anti-feminist women as trailblazers is typical of the Republicans.

Organisations such as the Independent Women’s Forum and Concerned Women for America, who call themselves the “real” feminists while fighting against things such as equal pay and legislation to combat violence against women, have been around (and funded by conservatives) for years. Their brand of feminism means benefiting from the gains of the women’s movement while striving to keep other women down – all for a patriarchal pat on the head. Sound familiar?

As the feminist writer Rebecca Traister says: “Palin’s femininity is one that is recognisable to most women: she’s the kind of broad who speaks on behalf of other broads but appears not to like them very much … It’s like some dystopian future … feminism without any feminists.”

The good news is, this twisted homage to feminism means conservatives must recognise it as a force in American politics – why spend so much time framing Palin as feminist if we’re all just a bunch of hairy man-haters? The bad news, however, trumps all. If this campaign is successful, American women will suffer. We’ll be under the thumb of yet another administration that thinks nothing of rolling back women’s rights.

No matter how many times feminists point out the hypocrisy of Republicans pulling the F-card, however, the bigger truth is that it’s not Palin’s anti-feminist bona fides alone that matter. While Palin is bad for women’s rights, she’s terrible for America. In addition to being investigated by her own legislature for abuse of power, she is also reported to have asked a librarian about the process for banning books in Wasilla, doesn’t support sex education, and has made lying about her record unusually central to her candidacy – even for a politician. These are big warning signs that cut across gender lines.

So while the McCain campaign holds Palin up as a shining example of feminism in action, let’s not forget the truth about who’s doing the spinning and what they’re selling. Because the last thing America needs is another corrupt and lying politician – man or woman.

· Jessica Valenti, founder of the Feministing website, is the author of Full Frontal Feminism

Christian Fundamentalism Permeats the Republican Party: Sarah Palin’s links to the Christian Right

September 13, 2008
Global Research, September 13, 2008

Some days ago, most Americans had never heard of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Now, following her Vice Presidential acceptance speech, viewed live by more than 40 million people, Palin is viewed favorably by 58% of American voters according to the latest Rasmussen Reports survey. The self-described ‘hockey mom’’s poll ratings, if they are to be believed, are that of a rock superstar who is rated now higher than either McCain or Democrat Obama. The same Bush-Cheney propaganda apparatus that made the nation believe that Saddam Hussein was the new Hitler and that Georgia was a helpless victim of ruthless Russian aggression after 8.8.08 in Georgia is clearly behind one of the most impressive media propaganda efforts in recent history—the effort to package Republican Vice Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska for less than 19 months, to be the American dream candidate. Her religious roots are something she has been deliberately vague about. It’s worth a closer look.

As I discuss in some detail in my soon-to-be-released book, Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order, one of the most significant transformations of American domestic politics over the past three decades since the early 1970’s, when George H.W. Bush was head of the CIA, has been the deliberate manipulation of significant segments of the population, most of them undoubtedly sincere believing people, around the ideology of ‘born-again’ evangelical Christian Fundamentalism to create something known as the Christian Right. Within the broad spectrum of fundamentalist denominations there are some currents which are particularly alarming. Sarah Palin comes out of such a milieu.

The phenomenon of the rapid spread within the United States since the 1980’s of evangelical Pentecostalism is a political phenomenon which has become so influential that the two elections of George W. Bush as well as countless races for Senate or Congress often depend on the backing or lack of it from the organized Religious Right.

The spawning of some Christian Right sects also creates an ideology to drive the shock troops willing to literally ‘die for Christ’ in places such as Iraq or Afghanistan, Iran or elsewhere that the Pentagon needs their services. That ideology has been used to build a fanatical activist base within the Republican Party which backs a right-wing domestic agenda and a military foreign policy that sees Islam or other suitable opponents of the US power elite as Satanism incarnate. How does Sarah Palin fit into this?

The CNP: manipulating religion to political ends

Many of the religious evangelical groups in America are coordinated top-down by a secretive organization called the Committee on National Policy. Former close Bush adviser, Rev. Ted Haggard, was a member of the Committee on National Policy until a sex and drugs scandal forced him out in late 2006.

Haggard was Pastor of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs described as the ‘evangelical Vatican,’ and was head of the National Association of Evangelicals. Ted Haggard was also a member of a highly significant and little-understood sect known as Joel’s Army or the Manifest Sons of God, the same circles which spawned Sarah Palin.

Another noteworthy member of the CNP as was Grover Nyquist, the man once described as the ‘Field Marshall of the Bush Plan.’

The CNP, created in the early 1980’s during the Reagan era, is the nexus for several odd and quite powerful organizations. It was described by ABC’s Marc J. Ambinder as ‘the conservative version of the Council on Foreign Relations.’ CNP Members include names such as General John Singlaub, shipping magnate J. Peter Grace, Texas billionaire Nelson Bunker Hunt, Edwin J. Feulner Jr of the right-wing Heritage Foundation, Rev. Pat Robertson of the Christian Broadcasting Network, Jerry Falwell, Tim LaHaye and most of the prominent names in the Christian Right around Bush. It has included prominent politicians including Senator Trent Lott, Senator Don Nickles, former Attorney General Ed Meese, Col. Oliver North of Iran-Contra fame, and Right-wing philanthropist Else Prince, mother of Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater the controversial private security firm.1

CNP members have also included not only the Rev. Sun Myung Moon Unification Church, definitely a bizarre formation whose founder openly states that he is superior to Christ. The CNP as well reportedly includes the Church of Scientology.2

CNP member and GOP strategist, Gary Bauer, links both. Bauer’s Family Research Council was a signatory of the Scientology Pledge to remove psychology from California schools and replace it with L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics. Bauer was also a speaker at Sun Myung Moon’s Family Federation for World Peace and Unification Conference in 1996.

Religious researchers Paul and Phillip Collins describe the CNP as follows: ‘The CNP appears to be a creation of factions of the power elite designed to mobilize well-meaning Christians to unwittingly support elite initiatives. The CNP could also be considered a project in religious engineering that empties Christianity of its metaphysical substance and re-conceptualizes many of its principles and concepts according to the socially and politically expedient designs of the elite. These contentions are supported by the fact that many CNP members are also members of other organizations and/or criminal enterprises that are tied directly to the power elite.’3

In order to shape public debate over the course of national military and foreign as well as domestic policy, the US establishment had to create mass-based organizations to manipulate public opinion in ways contrary to the self-interest of the majority of the American people. The Committee on National Policy was formed to be a central part of this mass manipulation.

The Committee on National Policy is a vital link between multi-billion dollar defense contractors, Washington lobbyists like the convicted felon and Republican fundraiser, Jack Abramoff, and the Christian Right. It’s at the heart of a new axis between right-wing military politics, support for the Pentagon war agenda globally and the neo-conservative political control of much of US foreign and defense policy.

The CNP has been at the center of Karl Rove’s carefully-constructed Bush political machine. Tom Delay and dozens of top Bush Administration Republicans are or had been members of the CNP. Few details about the organization are leaked to the public. As secretive as the Bilderberg Group if not more so, the CNP releases no press statements, meets in secret and never reveals names of its members willingly.

The elite circles behind the Bush Presidency have crafted an extremely powerful political machine using the forces and energies of the Christian Right and millions of American Christians unaware of the darker manipulations. Is Sarah Palin a part of such darker manipulations?

Continued . . .

A bigger liar than Bush

September 11, 2008

McCain (and Palin) are setting a record for outright lies. But what is to stop them?

Michael Tomsky | The Guardian, Sep 11, 2008

In 2002 and 2003, the Bush administration knew something about the media that the media still don’t fully understand about themselves. If you’re in a position of power and you want to say something, just say it, no matter what, and the media will repeat it and repeat it.

Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction to speak of? No matter. Just say he did. He wasn’t six months away from nuclear capability? So what—just assert that he was. He wasn’t tied to 9-11, there was no famous Prague meeting? No problem. Suggest there might have been. Muddy it up. Good enough.

Bush and co. knew that the media are constitutionally unequipped to call a lie a lie. People in the media like to flatter themselves as truth-tellers and the people’s watchdogs and all that, but the fact is that except in very rare circumstances, there’s no such thing as “objective truth” in the media, particularly the political media. There’s just what one side says and what the other side says. This is especially so on cable television.

The Bush people manipulated this. But the McCain campaign has taken it to extremes that make even Dick Cheney look like a wallflower. The number and intensity of outright lies, even for jaded observers, is just staggering.

There’s Sarah Palin’s lies about the bridge and earmarks. There’s an unbelievable one I mentioned yesterday about Obama’s alleged opposition to combat systems. There’s the flatly false assertion to middle-class audiences that Obama will raise their taxes, even though his tax plan does no such thing.

Now there’s this incredible McCain education ad that tries to argue that Obama wants to pervert kindergartners. The legislation, in Illinois, was in fact designed to allow local school boards to teach “age appropriate” sex education – and to teach children about how to identify sexual predators!

And then there’s this silly pig-lipstick business, which I wouldn’t even dignify by mentioning except that, obvious as it was that Obama was talking about McCain and not Palin, the McCain camp has now created something called the “Palin Truth Squad” that was formed to push the lie that Obama was talking about Palin. I’ll say that again: a “truth squad” created for the express purpose of pushing a lie.

And where is the truth squad of the press, the people’s watchdogs? Mostly enjoying the show, hyping the “mudslinging” between the two sides, which of course “both sides” are guilty of. Nonsense. Obama and Biden distort certain things about McCain’s record – that whole 100 years in Iraq business is a stretch. But McCain did say it, so it’s only a stretch, not a fabrication.

McCain and Palin are engaged in serial total fabrications. And almost no one calls them on it. The New York Times, which found the space to run a puffy piece on Palin’s family on its front page the other day, hasn’t found similar space to run a story under a headline like, “McCain-Palin Claims Stretch Credulity, Some Say.”

CBS and CNN have finally gotten around to running reports that pretty much state outright that Palin is lying about the bridge. ABC’s Jake Tapper plainly called out the “truth squad” on the lipstick story. McClatchy did a strong fact-check of the McCain education ad. But for the most part, the media treats it all as entertainment, a matter of which side has seized the offensive.

The McCain team knows all this. So they consciously promote lies, knowing that no real mechanism exists to stop them from doing so.

The Obama team should have been doing a stronger job of push-back these last few days. It was only after Obama himself said Palin was lying about the bridge that a few media outlets started pursuing that angle. That’s how the game is played, and the McCain strategy will be a test of their ability to hit back fast and hard.

But this race is now a test of the media too. You’d think after being told in the run-up to the Iraq war a bushel of things that didn’t end up being true that they printed anyway, they’d have given some thought to the question of how not to let themselves be manipulated like that again. But it is happening again, and the media are getting played in exactly the same way.

And what does all this say about John McCain? In 2000, when he was running against George Bush in the South Carolina primary, he was smeared by outright lies charging among other things that he’d fathered an out-of-wedlock black child. The man who “directed communications” for Bush’s 2000 South Carolina effort was Tucker Eskew. McCain confidants have long held Eskew partly responsible for those smears.

Last week, McCain hired him, to staff up Palin. That just about says all we need to know about today’s McCain.

Now let me ask you. What is more revealing of a candidate’s “character”: The fact that a candidate used a phrase as old as the hills, a phrase the other candidate himself has used (see Jake Tapper above), or the fact that a candidate would hire someone he once regarded as having helped spread vile innuendo about him and his family?

Deeper and deeper we go into the hall of mirrors…

Palin was member of party calling for vote on Alaskan secession from US

September 4, 2008

Revelations about McCain’s running mate for vice-president raise questions about his selection

John McCain and Sarah Palin

US Republican presidential candidate John McCain with his vice-presidential running mate, Alaska governor Sarah Palin, in Ohio. Photograph: Matt Sullivan/Reuters

New revelations about the Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin — including her membership of a party that wants Alaskans to vote on becoming a separate country — are raising questions about how thoroughly John McCain’s campaign vetted her background before adding her to the ticket.

Palin was a member of the Alaskan Independence party (AIP) before becoming an elected Republican official, according to party members, and recorded a video message for the AIP convention this year. The AIP’s chief goal is securing Alaska a vote on seceding from the US, a goal that party leaders believe the state was denied before it became part of the US almost 50 years ago.

Yet it is the AIP’s motto, “Alaska First, Alaska Always”, that may cause the most trouble for McCain. The Republican’s campaign slogan this year is “Country First”.

At the convention where Palin’s video was played, the AIP vice-chairman, George Clark, told the audience that she was an AIP member before getting her first political post as mayor of the small town of Wasilla, Alaska.

“But you get along to go along — she eventually joined the Republican party, where she had all kinds of problems with their ethics, and well, I won’t go into that,” Clark said. “She also had about an 80% approval rating, and is pretty well sympathetic to her former membership.”

Palin suggested in a July interview with CNBC news that she would insist on making Alaskan issues a high priority before agreeing to serve as a vice-presidential candidate. “We want to make sure that that VP slot would be a fruitful type of position, especially for Alaskans, and for the things we’re trying to accomplish up here for the rest of the US, before I can even start addressing that question,” she said.

In response to the AIP flap, the McCain camp denied that Palin was a party member and released voter registration documents that showed her affiliating with Republicans. “If the Alaska Independence Party at some point taught Governor Palin their secret handshake, there is no record of it,” McCain aide Michael Goldfarb wrote on the campaign’s website. “Otherwise, the only relevant criterion for membership in a party is registration — and Palin has never been a member of the AIP.

Intense media scrutiny of Palin since she became McCain’s running mate four days ago has led to speculation that the Republican party failed to fully examine her background. In addition to the pregnancy of Palin’s 17-year-old unmarried daughter, Bristol, several other disclosures threaten to throw the McCain camp into turmoil.

Palin has promoted her independence from Alaska’s powerful senior senator, Ted Stevens, who is facing seven criminal charges in Washington. But she served for two years as a director for one of his political groups that was able to raise unlimited money from corporate patrons.

Palin faced pressure to resign as mayor of Wasilla in 1997 after she fired the city police chief for not fully supporting her agenda, leading to a lawsuit for breach of contract.

In Alaska, Palin faces an ethics investigation into whether she abused her office by firing the public safety commissioner, who refused to intervene in a messy divorce case involving her sister. Palin has hired an attorney to help her handle the case, leading to another round of embarrassing press coverage.

McCain’s spokesman, Tucker Eskew, defended the selection: “This legal defence is neither new nor uncommon nor at all political. It is a matter of her job and is not recent and it is not related to her selection on the McCain-Palin ticket.”


%d bloggers like this: