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Archive for September, 2008

I was going to use this space to discuss the lack of intellectual honesty in Republicans’ claims yesterday that Democrats/Nancy Pelosi/Barack Obama are to blame for the fact that John “The Conquering Economic Hero” McCain and John “I’m a Huge Boner” Boehner couldn’t wrangle up the GOP votes they had prematurely given McCain credit for wrangling up for yesterday’s failed $700 billion economic bailout package. (Let me see if I have this right: It was a good bill, worth voting for, that you planned to vote for, but Pelosi pissed you off with a “partisan speech” in which she — perhaps indelicately but justifiably, nonetheless — railed against Bush/GOP economic policies as the cause of our troubles, and you get all blustery and decide not to vote for an otherwise good bill. And then you turn around and blame the people who actually did vote for it. How small. How petty. How fucking stupid.)

I was also going to use this space to investigate the ongoing saga that is Sarah “Dinosaurs and Man Coexisted” Palin and her attempts to sound at least as informed as a 9th-grader on matters of national and international import. How bad is it when you’re blaming “gotcha journalism” when the media publish something you said in public to a voter? Seriously? Karl only wishes he were that cynical.

Yes, I was going to use this space to talk about all that. Instead, I’ll talk about an item that came across my desk this morning. Seems the mayor of Fort Mill, S.C., was “just curious” when he forwarded an e-mail (from a business account, not a city account) that suggests Barack Obama is the antichrist. Mayor Danny “Ass for Brains” Funderburk, intrepid investigator that he is, was merely “trying to get documentation if there was any scripture to back it up.”

I’m about to send the following e-mail to hizzoner Funderburk:

FWD: How to do biblical research by looking shit up in your bible as opposed to sending already-discredited bullshit to 50 of your most bass-ackwards idiot friends and family

This isn’t the first time South Carolina has made news recently thanks to one of these “who, me?” ignoramuses. Check out this jaw-dropper from the good-hearted Christians in Greenville. (But let’s just keep in mind that decent people — of which there are plenty in the Palmetto State — don’t make the news for acting decent.)

Ol’ Karl will be the first to admit this is all entertaining as hell. Sad, but entertaining. Distressing and deeply troubling, yes. But entertaining.

A dire forecast for the future of America, the world and humanity as we know it, absolutely.

But still entertaining — right?

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Philadelphia is an interesting place, to say the least. If you’ve ever had the “pleasure” of watching your team play the Eagles at the Linc or the Vet, then you know what I mean. If you haven’t, then let me put it to you this way… Bad shit happens to you when you’re in Philadelphia. Keep your head down, get in, get out, stay safe. Your team might win, but someone will wing a snow covered battery at your head as you high-five your buddy… And a graduate student from Temple did just that to Sarah Palin as she got a Cheesesteak from Tony Luke’s. Now McCain hasn’t won anything, and this guy didn’t actually throw a D cell at Governor Palin, but he did ask her about Pakistan. The end result, however, was just as damaging.

Crazy Alaskans Love their Steaks Whiz, Wit

Crazy Alaskans Love their Steaks Whiz, Wit

As reported by CNN, this is how the whole thing went down after Palin used the word “awesome” to again describe John McCain

The governor got a more serious interrogation moments later when Temple graduate student Michael Rovito approached her to inquire about Pakistan.

“How about the Pakistan situation?,” asked Rovito, who said he was not a Palin supporter. “What’s your thoughts about that?”

“In Pakistan?,” she asked, looking surprised.

“What’s going on over there, like Waziristan?”

“It’s working with [Pakistani president] Zardari to make sure that we’re all working together to stop the guys from coming in over the border,” she told him. “And we’ll go from there.”

Rovito wasn’t finished. “Waziristan is blowing up!,” he said.

“Yeah it is,” Palin said, “and the economy there is blowing up too.”

“So we do cross border, like from Afghanistan to Pakistan you think?,” Rovito asked.

“If that’s what we have to do stop the terrorists from coming any further in, absolutely, we should,” Palin responded, before moving on to greet other voters.

OK, let’s get a few things out of the way…

1. The guy who asked the question sounds like an idiot as he’s trying to trap Palin. Please use “like” and “blowing up” in your dissertation. Ass.

2. Tony Luke’s? F that.

3. Aside from Palin sounding like a high schooler when she says “awesome”, and somewhat awkward when she references Pakistan’s economy, her answer isn’t all that bad

EXCEPT! If you’re John McCain. Because that’s Barack Obama’s position. A good position. One the Bush administration should have adopted long before they did. In the end, this whole episode prompted McCain to retract Palin’s statement by saying

“She would not [support unilateral strikes inside Pakistan]…she understands and has stated repeatedly that we’re not going to do anything except in America’s national security interest… In all due respect, people going around and… sticking a microphone while conversations are being held, and then all of a sudden that’s—that’s a person’s position… This is a free country, but I don’t think most Americans think that that’s a definitive policy statement made by Governor Palin.”

HOW DARE YOU REPORT SOMEONE’S POSITION, MEDIA! SHAME ON YOU FOR NOT REQUESTING CAMPAIGN APPROVAL BEFORE RUNNING WITH IT! I MEAN, THIS IS A FREE COUNTRY, BUT GOVERNOR PALIN HAS NO IDEA WHAT SHE’S DOING!

So we can all see the problems here. This one simple question from a private citizen resulted in a formal response by Senator McCain, and exposed flaw after flaw with the McCain-Palin ticket. McCain’s campaign can’t stay on message; Palin is still grossly unprepared for the position she has been selected; McCain refuses to let Palin speak for the campaign, or allow any rigorous media access to her; almost any questioning of Palin has been deemed unfair; and most importantly… wait for it… John McCain would rather unilaterally invade Iraq (when the country had ZERO connection to the 9/11 terrorist attacks or al-Qaeda) than conduct surgical strikes in Pakistan where Osama bin Laden has been hiding and members of al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations have been operating freely since late 2001.

Country First!

But don’t you fret, America! Palin has Putin on LOCKDOWN.

Thank God for Palin's Alaskan Vigilance

Thank God for Palin's Alaskan Vigilance

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Welcome to what we hope is the first in many roundtable discussions about the goings on in the hilarious world of American politics. While a few of our contributors are indisposed for this first installment, 4 of Bandit Pulpit’s most obnoxious personalities are here to give you the business concerning John McCain’s decision to suspend his campaign as the mushroom cloud that is our economy continues to cast a shadow over Wall Street and Main Street.

With that being said, heeeeeeerrrrrrrrrreeeeeee we go!

Karl Trollve

It’s brilliant! True grit and leadership! It’s “country first!” Mac’s the only candidate in this election who really knows the economy! It’s a game-changer!

It’s a ploy! A stunt! The man’s in over his head and wants to dive deeper! Barney Frank is right — he’s trying to swoop in and take credit for something that’s already getting done! Of course he wants to cancel the debate — the economy is the last thing McCain wants to talk about — not just ever, but especially right now! It’s Sarah Palin times 10!

Phew. Ol’ Karl’s head is spinning. The McCain “suspension” (I use the quotes because he still gets wall-to-wall coverage without having to spend a dime on campaign ads; he’s off the trail but very visible; he’s not running but right in your face; on and on) is all the above things and more. This is the ultimate test of the spin-doctors and opinion-peddlers. May the shrewdest and most cunning win!

This is Karl politics, and it makes me proud. Don’t wage the war on facts and objectivity — the battle is to be fought and won in the realm of perceptions. Who looks and acts presidential? How does this feel? (Oh, and don’t forget: Who would you rather have a beer with? I know that might seem irrelevant in our current crisis, but trust me — it’s the ultimate presidential litmus test, even when your guy says he doesn’t actually drink.)

I’d be inclined to admit it’s a dangerous gambit to lay your fate upon the perceptions of the masses. Because, remember, the people are dumb. But that’s the brilliance of Karl politics — the more transparently cynical and can’t-pass-the-smell-test a ploy is, the better chance it has of leaving the populace drooling over themselves and begging for more.

John McCain, The Original Maverick. The Conquering Economic Hero. Cue “Hail to the Chief.”

Rofl Blitzer

McCain suggesting that presidential campaigning be suspended is just another gimmick dressed up as “putting country first.” I’m putting this move in the same category as picking Sarah Palin as his running mate. It is political theater. Nothing more than a stunt designed to dupe voters into thinking McCain is some über-patriot who will sacrifice whatever is necessary for our amber waves of grain and purple mountain majesties.

My opinion is that McCain sees himself sliding in the polls and, suspending campaigning “for the good of the country” is the easiest way to stop the bleeding. Points to Obama for calling McCain on this say boldly saying “we can do both.” I would much rather support a candidate who can handle multiple things at once rather than someone who can only focus on one serious issue at a time.

David zomGergen

Surreal. It’s the only word I can think of. I have a hard time imagining John McCain “rushing” anywhere, let alone to save the economy. One can only wonder if history will look back and say “If not for John McCain the United States would have been helpless to resist the coming destruction of their financial markets.” It somehow falls short of “If not for Superman the world would surely have fallen into chaos at the hands of the evil Brainiac.”

I write this in the wake of David Letterman’s 2 night tirade on McCain canceling his appearance, a fair amount of clever comparative editing on behalf of the Daily Show, and a lot of general reflection on the news coverage regarding the financial crisis.

For me the most adequate point came from Letterman’s scathing critique. In short: If you have to leave the campaign trail to tend to important Washington business, fine. You leave your VP in charge and you leave your campaign running. The notion that you suspend your campaign and delay debates (through which the American people will arguably get their first glimpse at pseudo-unfiltered dialog on the issues upon which you will be ELECTED)…strikes me as absurd and disrespectful to the American people and to the democratic process.

Let’s have a little less political theater and a little more content. This nation IS in a crisis no doubt, on many fronts. That they need leadership is beyond question. In light of that we need information, we need direction, vision, and intelligent dialog regarding those issue which will define the next 4 years and much farther beyond, NOT another press conference of political posturing with LOTS of talk and LITTLE meaning.

Rush Limblog

This whole “suspending the campaign” move reeks. Every move the McCain campaign insists is genuine is just the opposite. All McCain and his advisers want to do is derail the news cycle that continues to expose his deficiencies as a candidate when it comes to the economy. The same policies and pleas for deregulation that McCain has been calling for have gotten us into this mess… Go ahead and add that on top of the fact that an advocacy group run by Rick Davis (McCain’s campaign manager) called Homeownership Alliance has been collecting lobbying fees from Freddie Mac since 2005, and you have a campaign disaster… But you see, this disaster is all self-inflicted. McCain is the one who insisted that the fundamentals of our economy are still strong, that deregulation is the only way, and that Obama’s thin connections to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are worthy of attack while insisting that his campaign manager has no ties to either company.

The same goes for you too, Johnny Mac.

The same goes for you too, Johnny Mac.

McCain wanted to slow down this campaign and postpone the debate because he knows that he would get torn apart and his numbers would continue to plummet… Regardless of the fact that the debate is supposed to center on foreign policy and national security, it is inevitable that the economy would be brought up. There is NO reason for McCain to go to Washington during the bailout negotiations other than to skip out on the debate and artificially boost his already horrible economic credentials. Even tonight, reports are coming out that McCain is sabotaging the negotiations with the help of the Bush administration, hoping to draw them out so he can have a reason to not debate Barack Obama on the issues. The fact is that McCain cannot win on the issues… The only chance he has to win is to continue to distract this country from his disastrous flaws and shortcomings; use dirty tactics like THIS or THIS or THIS (proof positive that McCain is a total d-bag); or hope that white America is still scared by brown skin and funny sounding names.

Suspend the campaign? Fine by me… Just don’t expect us to buy that this is anything but a bailout for your campaign.

A Rofl Blitzer Production

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Obama made a stop in Green Bay a couple of days ago and, as he’s known to do, made a speech. Big shocker. Pretty standard stuff but there was one specific section of the speech I’d like to dwell on and possibly over analyze. Here’s the relevant passage that piqued my interest:

As president, I will go through the entire federal budget, page-by-page, line-by-line and I will eliminate the programs that do not work and are not needed…. Even for the programs that we do need, I’ll make them work better and cost less. I want to create a high performance team that evaluates every agency and every office, based on how well they are serving the American tax payer. We are going to fire government managers who aren’t getting results. We will cut funding for programs that are wasting your money. We will use technology and the lessons from the private sector to improve efficiency across every level of government because we cannot meet 21st century challenges with a 20th century bureaucracy, and that is going to change when I’m president.”

Idealistic? Mmm-hmm. Ambitious? You bet’cha. Realistic? I seriously doubt it. Shenanigans? Quite possibly.

I realize this is a politician making a campaign speech but… seriously? High performance team to evaluate government efficiency? Fix the bloated bureaucracy by creating more bureaucracy? Come on. Adding to the total number of bureaucrats is not likely to make anyone more efficient, even if you do modernize the existing bureaucracy.

Then there’s the firing of government managers. This one had me scratching my head. Is he talking about civil servants? No, he can’t be…that’d be like suggesting the President could fire the chairman of the SEC. He must be talking about people in his cabinet. OK, fair enough. I’m all for accountability. If someone in your cabinet pulls a Brownie, sack ’em. Immediately.

More than anything, it’s disappointing that Obama is saying we’re still at a stage where we need to evaluate and find the inefficiencies in our government. After years of watching the current administration awkwardly stumble their way through multiple wars and natural disasters we still need to evaluate. Great. Change? Yeah, we’ll get to that, some day….

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Hello, friend

"Hello, friend"

Against a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq
Against bailout of AIG
Against attacks on terrorists inside Pakistan
Against regulation in the financial markets
Against negative campaigning
Against Bush tax cuts
Against overturning Roe v. Wade
Against torture of detainees by military personnel
Against ethanol use in gasoline
Against speaking at Bob Jones University
Critic and foe of George W. Bush

"Wait, let's start over. Hello, friend."

"Wait, let's start over."

For a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq
For bailout of AIG
For attacks on terrorists inside Pakistan
For regulation in the financial markets
Not against negative campaigning
For Bush tax cuts
For overturning Roe v. Wade
Not against torture of detainees by non-military personnel
For ethanol use in gasoline
For speaking at Bob Jones University
Man-crush on Dubya

To blave

"To blave."

Feel free to add to our list… There are more out there!

 

 

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I just got in from a night out and found my roommates tuned into the most recent episode of Gossip Girl. It could be worse, I tell myself…they could be watching network news.

On my subway ride home I sat across from two black men.  One young, in a smart, slick suit and the other older sporting a worn T-shirt, paint stained jeans and a baseball cap.  I eavesdropped, as New Yorkers are prone to do amidst so many converging life stories.  They were discussing Brown vs. The Board of Education but the finer points were lost amidst the background cacophony of subway noise.  The conversation turned to the economy and I hopped off.

Heading out to 125th St. I bought a copy of “The Final Call” for a dollar from a young, sharply dressed man (I gave him two— that CAN’T be a fun job) and pondered for a moment it’s front page article: “The United States Draft: Will you answer the call?” by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. An interesting civic dilemma, no doubt.

125th is empty tonight where I had half expected to see a sidewalk filled with congregation members from our local Pentecostal church. It’s not unusual on warm summer nights to turn the corner and be waist deep in a Southern style revival with its insistent demand to be heard above the din of the city. Tonight my companions on the walk home are tattered copies of the day’s newspapers and the odd Styrofoam cup, leaving a distinct lack of saving grace hanging in the air.

This is a day in America.  Honest, hardworking people, all of them. Some just need a break from their over stimulated media rich lives, a little peace and quiet or simple entertainment. Others are just looking for a dose of human contact, a genuine conversation or debate about the broad strokes of America as they pertain to their lives. A small sampling?  No doubt.  Indicative of the whole?  Not at all.  A snapshot of America?  To be sure.

It occurs to me as I grab a glass of water back in my apartment, this is the conflict in America in so many ways.   The media is there, two faced and double edged.  News and entertainment mixed until gray then blended with ads pushing Dunkin’ Donuts “Egg-white Flat breads,” and drugs for diseases you didn’t even know existed but now fear you may have.

This is life in America— a life spent sifting daily through the noise and sorting out the devils in the details of everyday life. We walk a tenuous line between an honest day’s work, little luxuries, relationships, and our nagging civic commitment. We bring with us the myriad passions and distractions that define who we are, who we have been, and who we aspire to be.

Who DO we aspire to be? Somewhere between book reading binges, reruns of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and a healthy dose of the Blues, I recognize my own failings at asking this question. It can be tough to stop and ask yourself what you believe, why, and how to act on it. But do so we must. We must stand up and accept the responsibility of American Citizenship.

This is a great country, with great people, but only insofar as we bother to BE great people and work to MAKE a great nation.  America is NOT great because of the officials we elect and the agencies our government builds (certainly they help…sometimes).  It is great by virtue of the hard work of US, the unsung masses. It is strong thanks to the personal struggle we put into our lives and communities; this renews our nation every day, this turns the gears of American progress and prosperity.

It is my hope as this blog moves forward that regardless of our failures and shortcomings as people (and perhaps as writers!) we will succeed in showing the importance of people finding their own democratic voice and USING it.  In a world of a million voices spewing the profane and the sacred, the enlightened and idiotic, the cruel and the compassionate…sometimes you have to talk LOUD.

To raise one another by the quality of our ideas and passion of our commitment is part of what it means to be an American and it necessitates that we raise our voice.

Because we do not live alone in a vacuum, quarantined from the actions of others; we live with families and friends, in communities and cities and states which united form this one nation, this America.  Because to remain silent is to surrender your voice to someone else, is to open the door to an insidious apathy that would steal the very spirit of America from your lips.  Because we do not need to, nor do we wish to “lead lives of quiet desperation”; but would rather be bold in our pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness.  Because the first step is to say “I Will” and because sometimes “Talking LOUD is the ONLY way.”

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I realize we’re only a fledgling blog, but we get all the exclusives from the McCain camp. In fact, one landed on my desk this morning. Imagine that.

Has anyone been following the technology question? Well, long story short, McCain’s come under fire from the left for being completely useless with technology, but that hasn’t stopped the GOP spin machine from filling their retorts full of nationalistic jingo and heartstring-tugging imagery. Simply put: McCain is terrible with a computer because of Vietnam.

Well, it turns out he’s taken the bold gambit of speaking out against these accusations, and we here at BP received the first missive in what promises to be a fun little scuffle.
Read along!

For Immediate Release
September 18, 2008

Contact: Press Office 703-650-5550

John McCain issues statement on technology question; quotes bloggers and reporters as “grossly miscalculated” and sets record straight

ARLINGTON, VA — The liberal media focus in recent times has been unfairly placed upon my record with technology. Citing several mainstream media reports, it appears that my internet habits and general technology use has come in to question.

As has been stated by various campaign sources, the reasons behind my distrust and low use of computers, cellular telephones, blackberry devices and e-mailed messages stem back to my experiences in Vietnam. For anyone unaware, I was subjected to unspeakable horror and torture in my time as a Prisoner of War, resulting in scarring and damage to my body from which I have never fully recovered.

I did what I did to defend this wonderful country and to fight for the democratic rights afforded to me by this nation, and such participation in the wartime efforts enabled us all to enjoy the very freedom needed to invent and produce microchips, computers, portable telephones and facebooks. Even democrat Al Gore benefited directly from my experiences in Vietnam, for he was instrumental in the development and proliferation of the internets, a wide world of webbing that enriches all of us in our daily lives.

As correctly asserted by the straight-talking Jonah Goldberg of the National Review, my debilitating injuries prevent me from sitting and using a keyboard for long periods of time, and as such, my time spent on email is minimal compared to the average American. These ailments have not stopped me from serving this nation in public office for 25 years as a maverick, and they will not stop me from uniting Americans in my Presidential administration. It has slowed my MySpace page, but remember: I sacrificed my MySpace for freedom.

Given the callous left-wing attacks on this record, I’d also like to address several other criticisms in my character that are due to events in my history and in world history, so as to cut off this negative liberal campaign at the knees before it can truly begin. I. Will. Always. Give. You. The. Truth.

1. I am not particularly good at remaining still, especially when being talked to in a debate setting and/or a town hall environment.

This is not because I am nervous or have something to hide; moreso, it’s a symptom of my deep angst of being locked in a tiny box at the Hanoi Hilton. You’ve heard the stories, but I can always tell them again; they locked me in a tiny box and forced me to remain still for days at a time even with dislocated joints. As such, when I am being talked to by a democrat, I cannot remain still. I must move and shift around in my place to alleviate the intense pressure on my joints, sustained in Vietnam when imprisoned against my will as a Prisoner of War at the Hanoi Hilton. It also alleviates the intense pressure of my utterly indefensible positions on a number of hot button issues.

2. I am not particularly good at giving speeches.

This is not because I’m inauthentic, or suffer from having little-to-no original thoughts, as my detractors might claim. It is also not because I am spoon-fed words and catchphrases to repeat in a monotone. It is due to the trauma of Abraham Lincoln being assassinated in a theater, and my nerves are so unsettled at being stood so alone in front of a large crowd. My psyche is deeply bruised by what happened to that brave patriot, a man who stood up for what he believed in much like I did in Vietnam when imprisoned against my will as a Prisoner of War at the Hanoi Hilton.

3. I am unbelievably soft on the economy.

This is not due to my inability to break rank from the GOP despite my maverick status, nor it is attributed directly to my stubbornness to admit there is a problem with the state of our risk-happy spending culture. It is simply tied to not being hugged enough as a child due to my parents spending money needlessly on distractions for themselves.

You see, my parents were not particularly loving; it was not their flaw, it was the state of our nation at the time, with mothers and fathers dispensing little affection so as to breed strong, upstanding citizens, many of whom fought with me and were injured much like I was in Vietnam when imprisoned against my will as a Prisoner of War at the Hanoi Hilton.

Their lack of physical love and obsession with reckless spending on sex swings, supplies of snacks and drinks for their key parties and their pomade led me to be very distrusting of our family’s finances, and as such, I developed a blissful ignorance about the state of our monetary security.

Don’t worry; I will surround myself with intelligent people from the newly-absorbed financial institutions, because they clearly have a good idea of what’s going on.

4. I have no idea what I was doing in picking Sarah Palin.

You see, the first girl I was in love with was named Suzy. She was really sweet, and I thought she liked me. When it turned out she was going steady with my best friend, I enlisted in the war effort and directed all of my love and emotion into fighting for the ideals and values that this country holds dear. Those values were challenged when I was in Vietnam when imprisoned against my will as a Prisoner of War at the Hanoi Hilton, trapped in a tiny cube with no room to move.

As such, I needed some nursing and support to stem the lasting effects of those awful injuries, much like I did in Vietnam when imprisoned against my will as a Prisoner of War at the Hanoi Hilton, and Sarah Palin reminds me of the kind-hearted, small-town civil servant who helped bring me back to full strength while recuperating in that military hospital. She is the right attractive nurse-like strong woman to help revive this country’s ills, much like I was revived after Vietnam where I was imprisoned against my will as a Prisoner of War at the Hanoi Hilton.

Sarah also reminds me of Suzy. Even though that relationship in my youth didn’t turn out so well, there’s no reason why this doomed partnership should fail. As they said in my platoon, second time’s a charm.

There are many other inconsistencies in my personal value system and my political platform, but what’s important is this: I will. not. lie. to. you. I am a man of principles and beliefs that you all like, because we’re all Americans. I fought for this country, and I fight with my body’s limitations every time I pick up a telephone, a blackberry, or a computer that you put on your lap. Those limitations were handed to me by the Vietnamese army, much like those physical limitations I was handed in Vietnam when imprisoned against my will as a Prisoner of War at the Hanoi Hilton, but they have not limited my mind.

I will be a good president. Just don’t ask me to sit still, talk with confidence, devise a coherent economic plan or explore any vice president option other than the superficial, patently unfit candidate I actually selected.

Live well my friends, and God Bless America.

John McCain

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