Grant Park Obama Rally

I signed up for notification for a ticket to go to this rally, weather notwithstanding.

Speaking to U.S.

James Janega and John McCormick write:

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s campaign Tuesday offered online applications to Illinois supporters to attend an Election Night rally in Grant Park, as Chicago officials gave every indication they were bracing for an enormous turnout.

The decision to limit tickets to Illinois residents—at least so far—reflects a desire among campaign officials to pack in a raucous crowd while also limiting the rally’s potential for leeching campaign volunteers from voting battlegrounds in Indiana and Wisconsin.

City planners face their own balancing act: a desire to showcase Chicago as inclusive, while also making sure that the presidential candidate and the attendees are safe.

“That night will be a celebration, and we are asking the families and everybody to come together. And of course security is very important whether it’s a presidential candidate or any grouping you have for the people,” Mayor Richard Daley told reporters. “This is going to be a night of celebration. You can feel it in the air.”

Last week, the city said the south end of Grant Park can hold up to 70,000 people.

On Tuesday, Daley said he expected an overflow crowd of up to a million.

[From Tickets needed for Obama rally —]

and looks like I cannot bring my standard camera bag with other lenses. I’d like to bring both a wide angle lens and my fastest lens, a 50mm prime lens.

It appears that people attending the rally will need to pass through metal detectors to gain entry, similar to going through security at the airport.

The Obama campaign’s invitation required photo IDs and prohibited bags, signs, banners, chairs and strollers.

The electronic invitation for next week’s rally, sent exclusively to Illinois supporters, says gates will open at 8:30 p.m., well after the end of the downtown rush hour. After providing a Web address for ticket applications, the invitation states that “an official printed ticket is required for entrance” and that each ticket will be valid for two people.

Doesn’t look like there are any tickets left either. Want to buy mine? Leave a compelling reason/offer in the comment field, and we’ll see.

Obama palooza

Update: election day. Unless somebody makes an insane offer, we’re using the tickets.

map Obamapalooza

Charles Barkley for Governor!

Charley Barkley doesn’t need my financial support, obviously, nor would I ever consider moving to Alabama to vote for him, but I sincerely hope Mr. Barkley does run for Governor of Alabama in 2014. Alabama, and the nation, could use the Round Mound of Rebound.

Campbell Brown: Uh, do you think…do you think that John McCain, do you think the Republican Party has used race as an issue in this race?

Charles Barkley: Oh, no question, and they’ve used cold1 words like welfare and things like that. When people pick on welfare, first of all when they use the word welfare, that is really swaying, trying to use that as a minority thing, because people assume — if they really knew anything about the numbers. There seven times as many white people on welfare as black. Because there’s more white people in America. But when I see a story on welfare on television, they only show black people. But most white people don’t know that sometimes there’s as many whites on welfare as black people. And they just use cold2 words, they use the terrorist thing now. You know, they try to use the Muslims thing. Those are racial innuendos, of course, and I’ve said it from the beginning, the only way with the economy in the situation it is — we’ve had eight terrible years under the Bush’s administration, with the war in Iraq — I’ve said it from the beginning. The only way they can win this election is make it about race. That’s the only way they can win. I wrote a chapter in one of my books about what happens in a race, when things are going bad, everybody kind of goes with their own tribe and the only way the Republican party can make this thing work is they get their tribe to get together and of course they use racial innuendo.

[From Transcript: Charles Barkley tells Brown ‘racism is a cancer’ –]

and Barkley echoes a frequently made point about the Christian Taliban aka fake Christians:

Brown: You, there has been a lot of polarizing rhetoric on both sides, frankly throughout this campaign. You yourself have called the evangelical base of the GOP fake Christians.

Barkley: Well, because they are so judgmental. And you know what is really interesting about that? I was actually defending John McCain when I said that, because they were saying when he first got nominated that he is not part of the evangelicals. You got to respect Sen. McCain. What I meant by that and I still stick by it — my idea of religion is we are supposed to encourage people to love other people. I am a big pro-choice guy. I am a big gay marriage guy and they are so divisive and that is not my idea of religion. My idea of religion is we are supposed to bring people together. We are not supposed to judge other people.

Brown: But aren’t you judging them?

Barkley: They judge me. First of all the notion that you would vote for a president because he is against abortion or against gay marriage is absurd. I think politicians have three jobs.

No. 1 they should fix our public school system, they should make sure our neighborhoods are safe and they should give people economic opportunity. I don’t care who is gay, I don’t care who is pro-choice. I really think that is the only three jobs that our government and our elected officials should have and we obviously got to do something about the health care and this situation. But to elect a president and vote for a president just because he is against abortion and against gay marriage is absurd.

  1. obviously a typo: should be code []
  2. sic. s/b code []

Rouged Rogue

Let the finger pointing begin! McCain’s team is starting to implode, probably because their internal poll numbers look as bad as the aggregate poll numbers from sites like RealClearPolitics or Electoral Another example of John McCain’s shoot-from-the-hip mentality, in other words, and another example why McCain should not be president.

Several McCain advisers have suggested to CNN that they have become increasingly frustrated with what one aide described as Palin “going rogue.”

But two sources, one Palin associate and one McCain adviser, defended the decision to keep her press interaction limited after she was picked, both saying flatly that she was not ready and that the missteps could have been a lot worse.

They insisted that she needed time to be briefed on national and international issues and on McCain’s record.

“Her lack of fundamental understanding of some key issues was dramatic,” said another McCain source with direct knowledge of the process to prepare Palin after she was picked. The source said it was probably the “hardest” to get her “up to speed than any candidate in history.”

[From Palin’s ‘going rogue,’ McCain aide says –]

Another Poppy in Sitka

[some sort of poppy, Sitka, Alaska]

and so forth:

McCain sources say Palin has gone off-message several times, and they privately wonder whether the incidents were deliberate. They cited an instance in which she labeled robocalls — recorded messages often used to attack a candidate’s opponent — “irritating” even as the campaign defended their use. Also, they pointed to her telling reporters she disagreed with the campaign’s decision to pull out of Michigan.

A second McCain source says she appears to be looking out for herself more than the McCain campaign.

“She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone,” said this McCain adviser. “She does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else.

“Also, she is playing for her own future and sees herself as the next leader of the party. Remember: Divas trust only unto themselves, as they see themselves as the beginning and end of all wisdom.”

A Palin associate defended her, saying that she is “not good at process questions” and that her comments on Michigan and the robocalls were answers to process questions.

The same McCain sources also vented to Politico, eager to affix blame on each other. Bwha-ha-ha!
Even McCain’s BFF, and preferred VP1 is looking to reposition himself again.

  1. if McCain had any Maverick in him, Lieberman would have been McCain’s VP, no matter what. But McCain long ago ceded that argument []

Florida Voter Fraud

Oh sure, blame it on the voters again1 . The NYT photographs of the ballot don’t make the same point, in fact, the ballot looks fairly straightforward.

Panel Cites Voter Error, Not Software, in Loss of Votes

Florida officials suggested that as many as 18,000 votes were lost in a disputed Congressional race due to voter confusion rather than malfunctioning software.

While some voters in Sarasota bristled yesterday at the idea that they had done anything wrong in casting their votes, or that nearly 13 percent of all voters could have failed to spot the race on the ballot, members of the investigative team said that those remained the only plausible theories.

The report acknowledged that the huge undervote — in which voters cast a ballot in other races but not for the Congressional seat — was both “abnormal and unexpected.

Clare Ward-Jenkins, a Sarasota resident who had trouble registering her vote, said she felt insulted by the report’s implication that ”we’re too stupid to know how to vote.“

Ms. Ward-Jenkins and more than 100 other voters contacted The Sarasota Herald-Tribune shortly after the election to complain that even though an ”X“ appeared on the touchscreen when they pressed the box for Ms. Jennings, their votes had disappeared by the time they got to a final screen for reviewing their choices. Ms. Ward-Jenkins and most of the others said they had to go through the process at least one more time to make their votes stick, raising concerns in the Jennings camp that other voters might have failed to notice similar problems that voided their ballots.

But other voting experts said that because the machines used in the election have been sequestered by a court, only a portion of them have been examined closely.

The software experts said they also found several security vulnerabilities in the programming for the voting machines, made by Election Systems and Software in Omaha

I expect all problems to be ignored, and expect most news reports to focus on the view of ‘experts’ who support the election board, ignoring the minor yet nagging indications of fraud.

  1. actually a repost from 2007. Am curious as to the 2008 election. Perhaps since the Karl Rove conservatives aren’t really vested in John McCain, they won’t even bother trying to swing the current election, and will just keep their powder dry for a future election []

Ken Adelman leaves the sinking ship of McCain

First the Chicago Tribune, then Colin Powell, and now Ken Adelman! Soon only the brain dead will be supporting McCain1

Ken Adelman is a lifelong conservative Republican. Campaigned for Goldwater, was hired by Rumsfeld at the Office of Economic Opportunity under Nixon, was assistant to Defense Secretary Rumsfeld under Ford, served as Reagan’s director of arms control, and joined the Defense Policy Board for Rumsfeld’s second go-round at the Pentagon, in 2001. Adelman’s friendship with Rumsfeld, Cheney, and their wives goes back to the sixties, and he introduced Cheney to Paul Wolfowitz at a Washington brunch the day Reagan was sworn in.

In recent years, Adelman and his friends Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz fell out over his criticisms of the botching of the Iraq War. Still, he remains a bona-fide hawk (“not really a neo-con but a con-con”) who has never supported a Democrat for President in his life. Two weeks from now that’s going to change: Ken Adelman intends to vote for Barack Obama. He can hardly believe it himself.

[From FIRST COLIN POWELL, NOW…: George Packer: Online Only: The New Yorker]

Adelman’s reasoning for supporting Obama is mostly about temperament as well. Read for yourself

  1. wait, isn’t that already true? []

How John McCain came to pick Sarah Palin

Jane Mayer has an interesting piece of reporting, covering how two boatloads of conservative pundits made the trek up to visit with Sarah Palin in 2007. John McCain shouldn’t have listened to them, especially since so many conservatives now have second thoughts about Palin’s competence.

Amsterdam in Sitka

The selection of Palin thrilled the Republican base, and the pundits who met with her in Juneau have remained unflagging in their support. But a surprising number of conservative thinkers have declared her unfit for the Vice-Presidency. Peggy Noonan, the Wall Street Journal columnist, recently wrote, “The Palin candidacy is a symptom and expression of a new vulgarization in American politics. It’s no good, not for conservatism and not for the country. And yes, it is a mark against John McCain.” David Brooks, the Times columnist, has called Palin “a fatal cancer to the Republican Party.” Christopher Buckley, the son of National Review’s late founder, defected to the Obama camp two weeks ago, in part because of his dismay over Palin. Matthew Dowd, the former Bush campaign strategist turned critic of the President, said recently that McCain “knows in his gut” that Palin isn’t qualified for the job, “and when this race is over, that is something he will have to live with. . . . He put the country at risk.”

Palin initially provided the McCain campaign with a boost, but polls now suggest that she has become a liability. A top Republican close to the campaign said that McCain’s aides have largely kept faith with Palin. They have been impressed by her work ethic, and by what a quick study she is. According to the Republican close to the campaign, she has sometimes discomfited advisers by travelling with a big family entourage. “It kind of changes the dynamic of a meeting to have them all in the room,” he told me. John McCain’s comfort level with Palin is harder to gauge. In the view of the longtime McCain friend, “John’s personal comfort level is low with everyone right now. He’s angry. But it was his choice.”

[From How John McCain came to pick Sarah Palin.: The Insiders: Reporting & Essays: The New Yorker]

Well worth reading the entire article

The Acorn Story

The New York Times editorializes about voter fraud, and lack of…

But for all of the McCain campaign’s manufactured fury about vote theft (and similar claims from the Republican Party over the years) there is virtually no evidence — anywhere in the country, going back many elections — of people showing up at the polls and voting when they are not entitled to.

Meanwhile, Republicans aren’t saying anything about another more serious voter-registration scandal: the fact that about one-third of eligible voters are not registered. The racial gaps are significant and particularly disturbing. According to a study by Project Vote, a voting-rights group, in 2006, 71 percent of eligible whites were registered, compared with 61 percent of blacks, 54 percent of Latinos and 49 percent of Asian-Americans.

Much of the blame for this lies with overly restrictive registration rules. Earlier this year, the League of Women Voters halted its registration drive in Florida after the state imposed onerous new requirements.

The answer is for government to do a better job of registering people to vote. That way there would be less need to rely on private registration drives, largely being conducted by well-meaning private organizations that use low-paid workers. Federal and state governments should do their own large-scale registration drives staffed by experienced election officials. Even better, Congress and the states should adopt election-day registration, which would make such drives unnecessary.

The real threats to the fabric of democracy are the unreasonable barriers that stand in the way of eligible voters casting ballots.

[From Editorial – The Acorn Story –]

From my perspective, there should be a few changes made to the US election system.

  1. If you can get a drivers license or a social security card1 – you should be able to check off a box on your application, and simultaneously be registered to vote. Why all the restrictions?
  2. Also, the election should be a national holiday, or at least held on a weekend, so that there is encouragement for everyone to vote.
  3. The polls should always be open for a month before the actual election2.

Simple, right? Americans should all vote in election, and the government should encourage citizens to vote in as many ways as it can afford to.

  1. our de-facto national id cards []
  2. they are in Chicago, for the first time I know of []

Duped into being a Republican

Is there any other reason one could reasonably claim to be a Republican? Other than being duped? Really?

– Dozens of newly minted Republican voters say they were duped into joining the party by a GOP contractor with a trail of fraud complaints stretching across the country.

Voters contacted by The Times said they were tricked into switching parties while signing what they believed were petitions for tougher penalties against child molesters. Some said they were told that they had to become Republicans to sign the petition, contrary to California initiative law. Others had no idea their registration was being changed.

“I am not a Republican,” insisted Karen Ashcraft, 47, a pet-clinic manager and former Democrat from Ventura who said she was duped by a signature gatherer into joining the GOP. “I certainly . . . won’t sign anything in front of a grocery store ever again.”

It is a bait-and-switch scheme familiar to election experts. The firm hired by the California Republican Party — a small company called Young Political Majors, or YPM, which operates in several states — has been accused of using the tactic across the country.

Election officials and lawmakers have launched investigations into the activities of YPM workers in Florida and Massachusetts. In Arizona, the firm was recently a defendant in a civil rights lawsuit. Prosecutors in Los Angeles and Ventura counties say they are investigating complaints about the company.

The firm, which a Republican Party spokesman said is paid $7 to $12 for each registration it secures, has denied any wrongdoing and says it has never been charged with a crime.

The 70,000 voters YPM has registered for the Republican Party this year will help combat the public perception that it is struggling amid Democratic gains nationally, give a boost to fundraising efforts and bolster member support for party leaders, political strategists from both parties say.

[From Voters say they were duped into registering as Republicans – Los Angeles Times]


Seriously, are the Republicans that hard up for new voters that the only way to inflate their numbers is through lying? Wait, don’t answer.

and the real repercussions to this slimy act:

Those who were formerly Democrats may stop receiving phone calls and literature from that party, perhaps affecting its get-out-the-vote efforts. They also will be given only a Republican ballot in the next primary election if they do not switch their registration back before then.

Some also report having their registration status changed to absentee without their permission; if they show up at the polls without a ballot they may be unable to vote.

The Times randomly interviewed 46 of the hundreds of voters whose election records show they were recently re-registered as Republicans by YPM, and 37 of them — more than 80% — said that they were misled into making the change or that it was done without their knowledge.

Read more before the article goes behind pay-wall.

Vote Early

I’d say, if you have the opportunity1 why not vote early? Avoid lines, and find out if you have been kicked off the voting roles before the official election day, in time to fix any problems.

Thousands of voters across the country must reestablish their eligibility in the next three weeks in order for their votes to count on Nov. 4, a result of new state registration systems that are incorrectly rejecting them.

The challenges have led to a dozen lawsuits, testy arguments among state officials and escalating partisan battles. Because many voters may not know that their names have been flagged, eligibility questions could cause added confusion on Election Day, beyond the delays that may come with a huge turnout.

The scramble to verify voter registrations is happening as states switch from locally managed lists of voters to statewide databases, a change required by federal law and hailed by many as a more efficient and accurate way to keep lists up to date.

[From Thousands Face Mix-Ups In Voter Registrations –]

GPS tracking powered by

  1. and assuming you aren’t a member of the mythical, and ridiculed, tribe of undecided voters []

The Colonel vs FDR

The Chicago Tribune has been a Republican-leaning newspaper for what seems like forever. The Chicago Tribune has not previously endorsed a Democratic nominee for President, ever. However, they did endorse Barack Obama for president, quite strongly, in fact.

On Nov. 4 we’re going to elect a president to lead us through a perilous time and restore in us a common sense of national purpose.

The strongest candidate to do that is Sen. Barack Obama. The Tribune is proud to endorse him today for president of the United States.

On Dec. 6, 2006, this page encouraged Obama to join the presidential campaign. We wrote that he would celebrate our common values instead of exaggerate our differences. We said he would raise the tone of the campaign. We said his intellectual depth would sharpen the policy debate. In the ensuing 22 months he has done just that.

Many Americans say they’re uneasy about Obama. He’s pretty new to them.

We can provide some assurance. We have known Obama since he entered politics a dozen years ago. We have watched him, worked with him, argued with him as he rose from an effective state senator to an inspiring U.S. senator to the Democratic Party’s nominee for president.

We have tremendous confidence in his intellectual rigor, his moral compass and his ability to make sound, thoughtful, careful decisions. He is ready.

The change that Obama talks about so much is not simply a change in this policy or that one. It is not fundamentally about lobbyists or Washington insiders. Obama envisions a change in the way we deal with one another in politics and government. His opponents may say this is empty, abstract rhetoric. In fact, it is hard to imagine how we are going to deal with the grave domestic and foreign crises we face without an end to the savagery and a return to civility in politics.

This endorsement makes some history for the Chicago Tribune. This is the first time the newspaper has endorsed the Democratic Party’s nominee for president.

Happy 4th of July

As a companion piece, a bit of newspaper history:

The most famous was the long-running feud between Tribune publisher Col. Robert R. McCormick and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

McCormick complained bitterly that Roosevelt’s New Deal was a socialistic boondoggle that he feared would destroy Americans’ personal freedoms and rights. At one point, the Colonel, as he was known around the Tower, had a photo “cooked up to argue that soon the Social Security plot would have every working man tagged and numbered like a prisoner of war,” according to historian Frank C. Waldrop.

In the 1936 presidential campaign, McCormick instructed telephone operators at Tribune Tower to answer all calls with a declaration of how many days remained to “save the Republic” by turning Roosevelt out of office.

The feud was very personal. Once, reported historian Richard Norton Smith, McCormick showed a Tribune financial writer a headline clipped from another newspaper. The story was about a nationwide series of fund-raising balls for a polio foundation organized by FDR. The headline: “President’s Balls To Come Off Tonight.”

“I suppose,” sighed McCormick, “that is rather too much to hope for.”

FDR once said of McCormick: “I think he must be a little touched in the head.”

The high–or low–point, depending on your point of view: In 1942, a livid Roosevelt briefly contemplated sending the Marines to occupy Tribune Tower because of a report in the newspaper that naval officials feared would tip the Japanese that the U.S. had broken their military code. Goaded by an adviser, FDR also briefly pressed for a charge of treason against McCormick, knowing a conviction could bring the death sentence. An investigation later cleared the Tribune and two of its staffers of violating an espionage law.

[From Behind the scenes: ‘Was there shouting?’ ‘Who really decided?’ —]

Fascinating stuff. Perhaps Colonel McCormick paid closer attention to his hemp farms than we know…

50 State Strategy

Personally, I think Obama’s adherence to the 50 state strategy1 is what turned this election2. The stupidity of recent presidential elections focusing nearly all resources on a couple of pivotal states – Florida, Ohio – always has irked me. The nation is not quite as divided as some would claim: the red state blue state was a convenient metaphor, but never was reality. Each state was more purple than red or blue, and Obama was clever to realize that early on, and thus out-maneuvered Hillary in the primary season, and is out-maneuvering John McCain right now..

Speaking to U.S.

Matt Bai has a New York Times Magazine piece coming out this Sunday, discussing mostly Obama’s quest to capture the rural, white, under-educated vote. Quite interesting to political junkies like myself.

Obama, though, has talked from the beginning about running a “50-state” campaign, and he has spent considerable time and money in more culturally conservative parts of the country where Democrats rarely, if ever, venture, from Elko and Appalachia to Billings, Mont., and Las Cruces, N.M. To a large extent, this reflects Obama’s personal conviction about modern politics, which he first laid out in his 2004 convention speech when he talked about worshiping “an awesome God in the blue states” and having “gay friends in the red states.” He told me, when we talked, that Washington’s us-versus-them divisions had made it impossible for any president to find solutions to a series of generational challenges, from Iraq to global climate change. “If voters are similarly polarized and if they’re seeing two different realities, a Sean Hannity reality and a Keith Olbermann reality, then we’re not going to be able to get done the work we need to get done,” Obama said.

It is also true, however, that a series of circumstances beyond his control have conspired to make a truly national campaign more feasible for Obama than for any Democrat since Carter ran in the dark days after Watergate. First, of course, there is the national sense of despair over the Bush era, which has made the president more of a uniter than he ever intended and which has enabled Democrats to get a hearing in parts of the country where they were being run off the land 10 years ago. Then there’s the advent of the Internet as a veritable money vacuum, which has enabled Obama to raise more money than any Democrat in history (about $460 million, at last count), meaning he can afford to pour some resources into states he has only a remote chance of winning. Perhaps most important, though, Obama’s campaign has also been able to take advantage of a drawn-out Democratic primary campaign that came through all 50 states before it was over — a draining experience that nonetheless established networks of volunteers and newly registered Democratic voters in states that in any other year would have been overlooked. In three states — Texas, Indiana and North Carolina — more people voted in Democratic primaries this year than voted for Kerry on Election Day in 2004.

[From Magazine Preview – Will Gun-Totting, Churchgoing White Guys Pull the Lever for Barack Obama? –]

The truth of the matter is that before LBJ’s presidency, and the confusion of the 1960s, white, rural Americans were reliably Democrats because the Republican party has long, long been the party of corporate America, and not the party of the little guy. Richard Nixon, Lee Atwater and their acolytes3 have cloaked Republican motives in a veil of cultural war, but perhaps the cloak is a bit threadbare this season.

  1. Howard Dean’s project, among others []
  2. with the caveat that the election isn’t quite over, yet []
  3. Karl Rove especially, but others too []

Ethics Not Important for McCain Ranch

For all of McCain’s yammering about changing the culture of corruption in Washington, you’d think he’d start by cleaning up his own corruption first. I’m sure you could call up Verizon or AT&T and complain about your cellphone reception, and they’d install cell-phone towers in your remote location, free of charge, right?

Early in 2007, just as her husband launched his presidential bid, Cindy McCain sought to resolve an old problem – the lack of cellphone coverage on her remote 15-acre ranch near Sedona, Ariz., nestled deep in a tree-lined canyon called Hidden Valley.

Over the past year, she offered land for a permanent cell tower, and Verizon Wireless embarked on an expensive public process to meet her needs, hiring contractors and seeking county land-use permits.

Verizon ultimately abandoned its effort to install a permanent tower in August. Company spokesman Jeffrey Nelson said the project would be “an inappropriate way” to build its network. “It doesn’t make business sense for us to do that,” he added.

Instead, Verizon delivered a portable tower known as a “cell site on wheels” – free of charge – to the McCain property in June…

In July, AT&T followed suit, wheeling in a portable tower for free to match Verizon’s offer. “This is an unusual situation,” AT&T spokeswoman Claudia B. Jones said. …

Ethics lawyers said Cindy McCain’s dealings with the wireless companies stand out because her husband is a senior member of the Senate commerce committee, which oversees the Federal Communications Commission and the telecommunications industry. He has been a leading advocate for industry-backed legislation, fighting regulations and taxes on telecommunication services.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and his campaign have close ties to Verizon and AT&T. Five campaign officials, including manager Rick Davis, have worked as lobbyists for Verizon. Former McCain staff member Robert Fisher is an in-house lobbyist for Verizon and is volunteering for the campaign. Fisher, Verizon chief executive Ivan G. Seidenberg and company lobbyists have raised more than $1.3 million for McCain’s presidential effort, and Verizon employees are among the top 20 corporate donors over McCain’s political career, giving his campaigns more than $155,000.

McCain’s Senate chief of staff Mark Buse, senior strategist Charles R. Black Jr. and several other campaign staff members have registered as AT&T lobbyists in the past. AT&T Executive Vice President Timothy McKone and AT&T lobbyists have raised more than $2.3 million for McCain. AT&T employees have donated more than $325,000 to the Republican’s campaigns, putting the company in the No. 3 spot for career donations to McCain, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

“It raises the aura of special consideration for somebody because he is a member of the Senate,” said Stanley Brand, a former House counsel for Democrats and an ethics lawyer who represents politicians in both parties.

[From Exclusive: Verizon and AT&T Provided Cell Towers for McCain Ranch – Washington Post Investigations]

What a perfect description of John McCain: special consideration for some, and bupkis for the rest of us. The tower would be so infrequently used, it made no business sense, unless you are helping out your friend in Washington, D.C.

Three telecommunications specialists consulted by The Post said the proposed site covers so few users that it is unlikely to generate enough traffic to justify the investment. Robb Alarcon, an industry specialist who helps plan tower placement, said the proposed location appeared to be a “strategic build,” free-of-charge coverage to high-priority customers. A former Verizon executive vice president, who asked not to be named because he worked for the company, agreed with Alarcon, saying, “It was a VIP kind of thing.”

Escaped Red Guard

The Atlantic’s Joshua Green follows up (and please click through if you are interested in the topic, there are several primary documents hosted at The Atlantic)

What’s clear from the report is that the process of putting up a tower required a lot of work—in addition to consultants and archeologists and Indian tribes, it meant notifying all sorts of government agencies, as the report lays out. What’s also clear from the public record is that Verizon knew full well whose non-sacred Indian land this ranch belonged to. Though the formal, bureaucratic name for the McCain’s ranch seems to be “AZ 2 Hidden Valley Ranch,” Verizon’s internal map, obtained by The Atlantic (it was part of a Verizon engineer’s report on the property), refers to it as “John McCain’s cabin.” So while Cindy McCain may indeed have requested the tower over the web like an ordinary millionaire rancher with spotty phone reception, Verizon was well aware that she was anything but that. (As of this posting, Jeffrey Nelson, the Verizon spokesman, hadn’t returned my call.)

All of this suggests a number of things: Rogers looks to have been correct in stating that the Secret Service asked for, and received, temporary towers—but that doesn’t address the parallel issue of the permanent towers, long underway until just recently, that lay at the heart of the Post piece and in the public record. The McCains may not have asked Verizon for any special favors—but, wittingly or not, they sure look like they were about to receive them. To my mind, Verizon looks worst of all: the company is claiming that it abandoned the tower because it wouldn’t “make business sense to do it.” In a sense, this is self evident: you don’t have to look any further than a map of the area to see what a remote and sparsely populated place is “AZ 2 Hidden Valley Ranch.” And so the only reason to embark on the two-year process of lawyers, regulators, consultant, archeologists, and Indians is if you’re seeking a payoff of another kind.

Hot Headed MCain

There’s a difference between a tough-guy and being just a dick. McCain sounds more like the latter, especially when you consider his cowardice on the campaign trail.

John McCain made a quick stop at the Capitol one day last spring to sit in on Senate negotiations on the big immigration bill, and John Cornyn was not pleased.

Cornyn, a mild-mannered Texas Republican, saw a loophole in the bill that he thought would allow felons to pursue a path to citizenship.

McCain called Cornyn’s claim “chicken-shit,” according to people familiar with the meeting, and charged that the Texan was looking for an excuse to scuttle the bill. Cornyn grimly told McCain he had a lot of nerve to suddenly show up and inject himself into the sensitive negotiations.

“Fuck you,” McCain told Cornyn, in front of about 40 witnesses.

It was another instance of the Republican presidential candidate losing his temper, another instance where, as POW-MIA activist Carol Hrdlicka put it, “It’s his way or no way.”

There’s a lengthy list of similar outbursts through the years: McCain pushing a woman in a wheelchair, trying to get an Arizona Republican aide fired from three different jobs, berating a young GOP activist on the night of his own 1986 Senate election and many more.

[From McClatchy Washington Bureau | 09/07/2008 | McCain’s history of hot temper raises concerns]

John McCain is not presidential caliber.

Then there’s McCain’s sensitivity to the POW-MIA issue. So highly strung on the topic, you’d think there was some festering wound lingering just below the surface.

Back in Washington, families of POW_MIAs said they have seen McCain’s wrath repeatedly. Some families charged that McCain hadn’t been aggressive enough about pursuing their lost relatives and has been reluctant to release relevant documents.…

In 1992, McCain sparred with Dolores Alfond, the chairwoman of the National Alliance of Families for the Return of America’s Missing Servicemen and Women, at a Senate hearing. McCain’s prosecutor-like questioning of Alfond — available on YouTube — left her in tears.

Four years later, at her group’s Washington conference, about 25 members went to a Senate office building, hoping to meet with McCain. As they stood in the hall, McCain and an aide walked by.

Six people present have written statements describing what they saw. According to the accounts, McCain waved his hand to shoo away Jeannette Jenkins, whose cousin was last seen in South Vietnam in 1970, causing her to hit a wall.

As McCain continued walking, Jane Duke Gaylor, the mother of another missing serviceman, approached the senator. Gaylor, in a wheelchair equipped with portable oxygen, stretched her arms toward McCain.

“McCain stopped, glared at her, raised his left arm ready to strike her, composed himself and pushed the wheelchair away from him,” according to Eleanor Apodaca, the sister of an Air Force captain missing since 1967.


Sarah Palin – Black Helicopter Mama

David Neiwert and Max Blumenthal went to Wasilla, Alaska to get more details about Sarah Palin’s secessionist pals. They interviewed several Wasilla residents, spent time researching primary documents at the local library1 and so on.

Helicopter with Camera

Essentially here’s what we found:

  • That Gov. Palin, when a Wasilla city council member, formed an alliance with some of the more radical far-right citizens in Wasilla and vicinity, particularly members of the secessionist Alaskan Independence Party who were allied with local John Birch Society activists. These activists played an important role in her election as Wasilla mayor in 1996.
  • Once mayor, one of Mrs. Palin’s first acts was to attempt to appoint one of these extremists (a man named Steve Stoll) to her own seat on the city council. This was a man with a history of disrupting city council meetings with intimidating behavior. She was blocked by a single city council member.
  • Afterward, Mrs. Palin fired the city’s museum director at the behest of this faction.
  • She fomented an ultimately successful effort to derail a piece of local gun-control legislation which would simply have prohibited the open carry of firearms into schools, liquor stores, libraries, courthouses and the like. The people recruited to shout this ordinance down included these same figures, notably the local AIP representative (who became the AIP’s chairman that same year).
  • She remained associated politically with the local AIP/Birch faction throughout her tenure as mayor on other issues, particularly a successful effort to amend the Alaska Constitution to prohibit local governments from issuing any local gun-control ordinances.

[From Orcinus]

The full report is hosted at, take a gander at the New World Order foks, with their preoccupation with Black Helicopters, weaponry, and the like. Sarah Palin is most certainly not someone who should be anywhere near the levers of power in Washington, D.C. John McCain did a heck of a job vetting her, didn’t he?

and YouTube video from Max Blumenthal’s interview with Mark Chryson:

Max Blumenthal interviews former Alaskan Independence Party chair and longtime Palin pal Mark Chryson about his role in Palin’s political ascendancy. Chryson discusses his cooperation with Palin on legislation and campaign tactics, then offers his views on everything from the New World Order to Abraham Lincoln.


  1. presumedly, or wherever such government documents are maintained in Wasilla. []

Racist McCain

I was afraid the Westbrook Pegler citation in Sarah Palin’s convention speech was going down the memory hole, but Frank Rich mentions it in his column today:

The tone was set at the Republican convention, with Rudy Giuliani’s mocking dismissal of Obama as an “only in America” affirmative-action baby. We also learned then that the McCain campaign had recruited as a Palin handler none other than Tucker Eskew, the South Carolina consultant who had worked for George W. Bush in the notorious 2000 G.O.P. primary battle where the McCains and their adopted Bangladeshi daughter were slimed by vicious racist rumors.

No less disconcerting was a still-unexplained passage of Palin’s convention speech: Her use of an unattributed quote praising small-town America (as opposed to, say, Chicago and its community organizers) from Westbrook Pegler, the mid-century Hearst columnist famous for his anti-Semitism, racism and violent rhetorical excess. After an assassin tried to kill F.D.R. at a Florida rally and murdered Chicago’s mayor instead in 1933, Pegler wrote that it was “regrettable that Giuseppe Zangara shot the wrong man.” In the ’60s, Pegler had a wish for Bobby Kennedy: “Some white patriot of the Southern tier will spatter his spoonful of brains in public premises before the snow falls.”

This is the writer who found his way into a speech by a potential vice president at a national political convention. It’s astonishing there’s been no demand for a public accounting from the McCain campaign. Imagine if Obama had quoted a Black Panther or Louis Farrakhan — or William Ayers — in Denver.

The operatives who would have Palin quote Pegler have been at it ever since. A key indicator came two weeks after the convention, when the McCain campaign ran its first ad tying Obama to the mortgage giant Fannie Mae. Rather than make its case by using a legitimate link between Fannie and Obama (or other Democratic leaders), the McCain forces chose a former Fannie executive who had no real tie to Obama or his campaign but did have a black face that could dominate the ad’s visuals.

[From Frank Rich – The Terrorist Barack Hussein Obama –]

Is John McCain a bigot? Maybe, maybe not, but his campaign surely is. If McCain was the leader he proclaims himself to be, he would be able to effortlessly lead those demagogues into the 21st century, away from the mindless racism that stems from fear of the unknown. But he isn’t, and he won’t.