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Palin’s Resignation: A Rite of Initiation Into “The Family”

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It’s been two weeks, and folks are still scratching their heads: What’s the real reason she’s quitting? I, too, am scratching my head: Why is everyone so mystified? The answer is as plain as day. Anyone who listened to that speech and heard only a rambling mishmash of illogical justifications for quitting her job either wasn’t listening or doesn’t know squat about the impending apocalypse.

Alaska’s mission? To contribute to America. We’re strategic in the world as the air crossroads of the world, as a gatekeeper of the continent. And bold visionaries, they knew this, and they knew that Alaska would be part of America’s great destiny.  — from Sarah Palin’s resignation speech, July 3, 2009

The fact that her speech did, indeed ramble is due to the fact that Sarah’s mission was not to deliver a coherent explanation as to why she is quitting the governorship but, rather, to signal her intended audience that she is preparing to take the next  “next step.” 

dog whistleFlashing this signal necessitated dropping specific key words and phrases into the text of her speech: words that are — much like a dog whistle — silent to all but those attuned to hearing such things. This is to say that her dog whistles were her message, in entirety, with the words in-between being completely superfluous.

The Translation

Cutting to the quick, here’s a rough translation of Sarah Palin’s speech: The end times are near, and since God has appointed me, Sarah Palin, to oversee the affair, I’m stepping down from the governorship so that I may take the next step: preparing America for its destiny, as I’ve for Alaska over the past 3 years. Working from the White House, I can better tend to this greater destiny of our nation: aggressively developing our abundant natural resources and their wealth; “progressing” our laws and our Constitution to reflect our values as a Christian nation; and paving America’s path to the Rapture — the gates to which are in Alaska, which has been prophesied to serve as the refuge state, God’s alpha and omega, during the apocalypse.

We have John McCain to thank for this.

In June 2008, McCain — desperate to corner the fundamentalist Christian vote to fix his flagging poll numbers — flew to North Carolina and met with Billy Graham and his son, Franklin, a fixture on the Alaskan evangalical circuit. Here, it is believed, Franklin Graham countered McCain’s request with a price tag, of sorts: a Christian-approved candidate for the VP slot. Their meeting was sealed with a prayer for “God’s will to be done in the upcoming election.”  Whatever the impetus, McCain plucked Palin from her relative anonymity and cast her onto the national stage,  an event seen by the end-times evangelicals — and by Sarah, herself — as prophesy, a signpost from God. Her role on the McCain ticket is seen as but one stepping stone on the path to her ultimate destiny: working for the government of God, through the government of man, in the White House. As any evangelist worth her salt could tell you, God’s law supercedes all man-made laws and designs.   

I want you to please pray for Sarah, for Governor Sarah– there were some things about the natural resources, about the state, there were some things that God wants to tap into to be a refuge for the lower 48 –and I believe that Alaska’s one of the refuge states, come on you guys, in the last days, and hundreds of thousands of people are going to come to the state to seek refuge, and the church has to be ready to minister to them. Amen? So could you pray for our governor and what she’s requested? — excerpt from the prayer spoken over Sarah Palin in June 2008 by the pastor of the Wasilla Assembly of God.

God directs the affairs of Man and is the ultimate authority over human events. — belief statement from the website of the “Alaska Governors Prayer Breakfast,” an annual “Family” event.

Sarah Palin, George W. Bush & Doug Coe: One Big Happy Family

To understand the connection between Sarah Palin’s resignation and the apocalypse, it helps to first understand Sarah Palin’s connection with “The Family,” aka, the Fellowship. Specifically, it helps to understand the inner workings of the “church” on C-Street that recently gained noteriety — not only for its role in the adultery scandals of Gov. Mark Sanford and Sen. John Ensign and former Congressman Chip Pickering, but also for the “surprising political connections” and the disturbing speeches of Family leader, Doug Coe.

It also helps to understand that, in the eyes of Family leader Doug Coe, human beings people belong in one of three camps: the “chosen ones,” the masses, and “enemies of Jesus.” John McCain had the misfortune, during the 2000 election, of falling into the latter camp, simply by virute of running opposite George Bush, who was seen by the self-named Christian Mafia being their best hope for total control since the founding of the United States.

A senator who incurred the wrath of the Fellowship and its allies was the man who challenged George W. Bush for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000 – John McCain. After McCain beat Bush in New Hampshire, the right-wing evangelicals pulled out all the stops to nail McCain on their home turf – South Carolina. Christian operatives associated with Karl Rove, Ralph Reed, and South Carolina’s Bob Jones University began spreading rumors – through “push polls,” e-mail, sermons, and word-of-mouth that McCain fathered an illegitimate “black girl” out of wed lock (a reference to his adopted Bangladeshi daughter), that he was a traitor while a prisoner of war in North Vietnam, that his wife Cindy was a druggie, and that he was gay. The gambit paid off. McCain was trounced by Bush in South Carolina and Bush went on to win the Republican nomination. For the Christian mafia, Bush was their best hope for total control since the founding of the United States. — from EXPOSÉ: THE “CHRISTIAN” MAFIA: Where Those Who Now Run the U.S. Government Came From and Where They Are Taking Us, by Wayne Madsen

The Family holds similar hopes for Sarah Palin and, as such, began grooming her for the vice-presidency long before McCain made his June 2008 visit, hat in hand, to court Franklin Graham for the Christian fundamentalist vote. Sarah’s debut into the VP arena actually began in early 2007, when self-described “political junkie” and “Messianic Judaist” blogger, Adam Brickley, started a website “palinforvp.blogspot.com.” Brickley described his “discovery” of Palin as the result of an internet-Wikipedia search for viable Republican candidates, with “the hand of God” playing a role in choosing Palin. “The longer I worked on it,” he said, “the less I felt I was driving it. Something else was at work.”

The Ubiquitous Hand

While the story of Brickley’s happenstance discovery of Palin on Wikipedia, via the hand of God, makes for good copy on the populist front, the fact is that Brickley, himself, had already been groomed for the job. No stranger to Washington, Brickley has attended workshops, received scholarships and training, and has interned for several prominent ultra-conservative, Christian fundamentalist groups in Washingon, including the Leadership Institute, the Young America’s Foundation and the Heritage Institute.

Associating these groups (or, for that matter, any organization, church, politician, dictator, CEO, lobbyist or evangelical) with The Family is, by design, convoluted. The Family collects no dues, wears no robes, maintains no official membership roster, nor even a website.  And while their mission is decidedly ultra-conservative, American and evangelical in nature, those who stand under the umbrella of The Family come from all religions, faiths, nationalities and political persuasions. Not all who work for The Family are members, per se, nor have even heard of The Family or know the nature of its work. As a body, The Family is amorphous. It is the sum total of all its parts, with each part contributing to the Fellowship’s work — even as they may operate independently of and/or be entirely oblivious to the greater, collective cause they are serving. It is their contribution to this cause that binds them to the body. It makes no difference whether their contribution is intentional or incidental, so long as it serves a role in promoting what author Jeff Sharlet describes as “Bibilical capitalism”:

They think capitalism is ordained in the Bible, but at the same time, they say that capitalism is the “wedge”—it’s the wedge with which we introduce the gospel. They are very blunt. They recognize that capitalism is this very powerful and appealing force for governments that want to get in on that market, and the Family has all these connections. We can help you. We can bring businessmen your way. Yosemite, meet AES, the largest energy corporation in the world. Jordan, meet Raytheon, the defense contractor. Part of Biblical capitalism is that they believe that the gospel and capitalism travel together. So ultimately, they say, it is about your soul, but you are going to come to us through the market, and then your soul will be okay.  — Jeff Sharlet in a 2008 interview with “Guernica”

Beyond educated guesses, it is difficult to peg any particular group or individual as working — officially or otherwise — under the Fellowship’s umbrella, except by connecting the dots. The guesswork is less so to those who recognize the language — the dog-whistle rhetoric, which serves as a secret handshake, of sorts. Ears perk up when political, religious and business leaders rail against:

Socialism, communism, feminism, environmentalism, government regulations, equal opporunity, gay rights, abortion, gun control, immigration, Arabs & Muslims (= terrorits), labor unions, food stamps, school lunch programs, Big Government takeovers, stimulus dollars, the Washington elite, Democrats, liberals, intellectuals, and the evil liberal media. 

Ears perk up at the mention of:

God, 9-11, patriotism, creationism, the flag, school prayer, the Bible, the pledge of allegiance, red-blooded (read that: white) Americans, pro-American values, family values, Christian values, America as a Christian nation, God’s will, prayer warfare, spiritual warriors, destiny, freedom, liberty, faith-based initiatives, states’ rights, sucession, individual wealth, unregulated free market capitalism, tea bag parties, privatization, exploiting/developing our natural resources, AIPAC, aggressive foreign policies and war, hardworking Americans, and (thinly-cloaked) innuendo against lazy poor people, minorities and people of other cultures. 

Mark Sanford, at an April 15th tea party earlier this year, squeaking out an impressive range of dog-whistles to a receptive, all-white audience. 
   

That these masses so eagerly yip and yap to the sound of these whistles — entirely oblivious to the real nature of the causes to which they swear blind allegiance — has only made them unwitting armies for Doug Coe’s Family, which succeeds entirely at the expense of the masses. It is no mystery why those who associate with The Family don’t blatantly tout their ties to the group. (Based on my own research, however, if I were to compile a list of likely Family associates, I’d be inclined to draw heavily from the list of ultra-conservative groups listed on the website Free Range Talk) This secrecy is crucial to the success of Doug Coe’s so-called “Christian Mafia,” which is no secret to anyone who has heard Doug Coe speak on the topic:

His body [Christ’s body] functions invisibly like the mafia…. The more you can keep your organization invisible, the more influence it will have. —from “The Family” (pg. 21) by Jeff Sharlet

Adam Brickley’s Wikipedia folk tale about the discovery of Sarah Palin makes invisible, all right, the hand that was behind her selection. Similarly invisible was the hand that sent cruise ships filled with Washington ultra-conservative politicians and media elitists to visit Sarah during the summer of 2007, as was detailed in the New Yorker article, “The Insiders: How John McCain Came to Pick Sarah Palin.” The topics du jour were oil exploration and Sarah’s struggles with environmentalists. On the guest lists were: Robert Bork (federal judge), John Bolton (George W. Bush’s former U.N. ambassador); Victor Davis Hanson (a favorite Dick Cheney historian); Michael Gerson (former chief speechwriter for George W. Bush); William (Bill) Kristol; Fox News executives; and, last but not least, political consultant, Dick Morris, who had the foresight to peg Palin as a VP hopeful during his August 2007 visit. As Morris would later recall:   

“I will always remember taking her aside and telling her that she might one day be tapped to be Vice-President, given her record and the shortage of female political talent in the Republican Party. She will make one hell of a candidate, and hats off to McCain for picking her.”

While McCain may have been naive to the invisible hand pushing Sarah into the VP slot, he was at least savvy to the fact that the only means to courting the Christian fundamentalist vote was to accept the terms of Franklin Graham’s offer. In another lifetime, this ultimatum would have been too reprehensible to accept; and had McCain not felt pushed into a corner, it’s fairly certain he would have made a more sensible choice: a running mate whose credentials and political resume were in keeping with his own agenda and values, instead of an evangelical populist. By summer’s end, however, McCain’s campaign had unraveled out of his control (via the demise of hope for a McCain-Liebermann ticket, the sagging poll numbers, and the lack of vibrant VP contendees, as contrasted with the vibrancy of the Obama ticket), forcing his hand. 

McCain’s erratic nature, tabbed as maverickhood, coupled with his desperation played no small part in the events of late August 2008. Going for broke, he chose Sarah Palin — the last-resort option to save his dying candidacy.  To many, it seemed like a match made in heaven — Sarah Palin’s evangelical populism, along with her aggressive work on oil exploration and her opposition to science and environmental protection. According to Jeff Sharlet, it was an attempt to “marry populist fundamentalism to [the] elite free-market fundamentalism” of the Fellowship. 

palin parnell one lord sundayThe union was equally fortuitious to the masses — those end-times evangelicals, who had been waiting for a sign.  Facts are facts: Jesus can not and will not return from heaven until the evangelicals retake control of the earth from Satan. While the evangelicals had been, for years, making great strides on a global scale, they had yet to tap into the God’s destiny for the U.S., for the want of the *right* person and the *right* time. The evangelicals had been waiting for a sign. In August 2008, John McCain gave it to them. 

That the McCain-Palin ticket lost was no stumbling block in the eyes of Sarah’s followers. In fact, it seemed to only reinforce the greatness of her calling, proving that her destiny was not to serve as vice-president, but as president. The McCain ticket was merely a stepping stone. 

Which brings us to Sarah’s resignation speech and to her “next step.” In turning the reins of the state over to her like-minded colleague, Lt. Governor Sean Parnell, Sarah assures that the trail she’s blazed in Alaska will live on. Parnell will fight just as aggressively to develop Alaska’s oil, per God’s plan — cultivating earthly wealth for the righteous, while readying Alaska for the apocalypse and the attending influx of people from the lower 48 — freeing Sarah to do God’s work from “the outside” (Alaskan vernacular for the lower 48). 

PHOTOS: (above) Sean Parnell and Sarah Palin during during the “One Lord Sunday” ceremony in June 2008, in which the two receive a laying of the hands from Pastor Ed Kalnins, the senior pastor of the Wasilla Assembly of God. (below) The Lt. Governor receives a hug from Sarah Palin after her resignation speech. Palin Resigning

Dog-Whistling Dixie

At the same time — and despite ample evidence to the contrary — Palin is no dummy. She knows that not all of us share her vision (not yet, anyway) and realizes the need to exercise some Coe-like stealth, regarding her work as a spiritual warrior, lest her reputation as an apocalyptic politician become, on the campaign trail, like a wad of gum stuck to the bottom of her shoe. She’s savvy enough to know that she cannot blaze a trail to the White House on a platform of end times prophesy.

In order to claim victory, she must (and already did in her July 3rd speech) re-ignite the mob mentality from her days on the McCain stump, stoking the wrath of that particular voting bloc that she affectionately calls, “real” Americans. You know them: those patriotic, hardworking Americans who emerged from Sarah’s stump speeches shouting “Nigger!” and “Kill him!” and “Socialist!” and “Commie fag!” You know them. They’re the very folk that Sarah conjured in her first speech on the national stage last September, when she opined:   

A writer observed: “We grow good people in our small towns, with honesty, sincerity, and dignity.” I know just the kind of people that writer had in mind…. They are the ones who do some of the hardest work in America … They love their country, in good times and bad, and they’re always proud of America. – Sarah Palin at the Republican convention, Sept. 2008, quoting Westbrook Pegler, the racist, fascist, pro-Nazi, anti-semitic, pseudo-populist journalist/writer who openly wished for the assassinations of Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy.

This is why, in her resignation speech, it was necessary for Sarah to also give a few good bleats of her dog whistle to her base — those honest, sincere, dignified, hardworking, proud Americans (e.g. sucessionists & states’ rights activists, garden-variety Christians and anti-abortion activists, plus those who oppose the evil liberal media, debt-ridden stimulus dollars and Big Government Spending). 

We’ll likely never be offered an explantion from Sarah’s voting bloc, as to why they chose to sit on their hands while the Bush-Cheney Administration decimated the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and plundered our economy to historic depths (driving our country to its knees, creating massive unemployment, bank failures, the demise of businesses, bankruptcy, foreclosures, hunger, homelessness, etc.) but yet were inspired to fight to the death for America last fall…..

…. And then again (as seen below) in the wake of the Obama’s inauguration, as they vociferously raised their hands in protest at tea bag parties — fearmongering conspiracy theories about a socialist, Big Government takeover.

These most rabid defenders of Doug Coe’s Family values don’t know — and perhaps wouldn’t care — that they are, to men like Coe, mere putty. They are of no consequence beyond the votes, money and anger they contribute to empower the politicians, the corporatate heads, the evangelical leaders: the chosen ones.

Mere putty: the tea baggers, the evangelical churches and their missions, the Christian fundamentalists, the mobs at Palin rallies, the white supremacist groups, the pro-American pontificators…. They are the masses about which Doug Coe spoke: those to whom God’s wealth is not intended; those to whom (let them eat cake) the Bible is intended, as opposed to the chosen ones, to whom God speaks directly.   

This is because the Fellowship is not about fellowship or even religion, per se. It is about serving as conduits for power, wealth and influence to the select few. It is about a future where “everything — sex and taxes, war and the price of oil — will be decided upon not according to democracy or the church or even Scripture” but by the government of Christ’s will, as channeled  through the “chosen ones.” 

The chosen ones, as such, are not expected to adhere to man-made laws or man-made ethics — hence the plain-faced hyporcrisy of Family member evangelicals caught in adultery or embezzlement scandals; hence the disregard that ultra-conservatives hold for the U.S. Constitution, even as they present themselves as the most rabid defenders of liberty, freedom, America and the constitution.

Mere putty. For all their talk of being pro-American, Sarah’s voting bloc never runs out of justifications for trampling the U.S. Constitution — their justifications gleaned from dog-whistling politicians and religious zealots, who know just the right words to incite the sort of xenophobic, rasict, socialist fears that will compel large swaths of the population to defy not only logic, but their own individual and/or finanacial interests. 

apocalypseIf we learned nothing in the campaign of 2008, we learned that Sarah Palin has a unique gift for inspiring the masses, who will as gladly snuff out the life of Sarah’s opponents as they would trample the Constitution.      

And they trample the environment with equal fervor, as crapping up the environment is no sin to end-timers. In fact, destruction only brings us closer to the Rapture — to that perfect, glorious day when Jesus returns. By the same token plague, famine, global warming, oil instability and wars — especially as they involve Israel — are also embraced as stepping stones to the Rapture. Under this doctrine, nuclear armageddon is not only inevitable, it’s a good thing.

 

Scripture specifically mentions oil instability as a sign of the Rapture. We’re seeing more and more oil wars. The contractions of the fulfilment of prophecies are getting tighter and tighter. I’m looking out the window and I can see it’s going to rain. I’m just looking at the turmoil of the world, Iraq, other places – everywhere people are fighting against Christ.”– September 2008 quote from Pastor Ed Kalnins of the Wasilla Assembly of God, musing on the coming Rapture. While he declined to set an exact date, he said that he hopes it will be in his lifetime.

That evangelicals such as Sarah Palin and Doug Coe believe that God has appointed them to these particular missions is no less terrifying than the missions undertaken by those who believe, just as earnestly, that their god has appointed them to fly airplanes into buildings.

go to the light

 

As for the rest of us…

… those of all other faiths, non-faiths and persuasions who struggle to ensure equal rights and opportunities for all the citizens of the world, and to respect and protect all of humanity and the earth we inhabit (or, alternately, to just simply live our lives in benign complacency) … well, just ask Doug Coe and Sarah Palin, and they’ll tell you:  we are the anti-Americans, we are the idol-worshippers, we are the terrorists, we are the socialists, we are the elitists, we are the evil liberal media, we are, in the words of Doug Coe, the “enemies of Jesus.”

Re-Visiting Sarah’s Words

Reading the text and/or viewing the video of Sarah Palin’s resignation speech (available here, on a  separate canarypapers page) may give readers better insight and understanding into Sarah’s choice of words and, ultimately, the reasons behind her resignation speech. Or not.

In tentatively ending here (this post is a work in progress) I offer the following two quotes. The first is excerpted from a letter I received last fall in response to one of my posts about Sarah Palin. The second quote is from a book details the role that each of our 50-states will play, according to evangelical prophesy, as our country prepares for the end times. First, the letter, which I titled, “A Letter from Someone Who Grew Up with Sarah Palin’s Pastor: 

I grew up with Palin’s current pastor and was indoctrinated from birth in the evangelical movement. Evangelicals believe the end time is at hand at that Jesus will return any day. The long-term view on matters of global warming, environment, hunger, health, etc. are viewed quite differently when you don’t expect to remain on this planet.

Furthermore, as the name “evangelical” suggests, the God’s calling to the born again is to bring others to Him. No other belief is correct. All must come to Jesus and be born again. If they don’t, they will burn in hell – their just reward. Intolerance of other beliefs is the hallmark of the evangelical world.

Evangelicals want us to be taught their philosophy of creationism as a science in our schools. They can, as Palin does, totally disregard hard science in the furtherance of creationism.

They believe God (their God) should be at the center of government. They believe we should be praying to their God in our schools. They believe that literature and art not to their liking should be banned. —  

Excerpt from A Letter from Someone Who Grew Up with Sarah Palin’s Pastor, October 1, 2008

  Lastly, a quote from the book, “Releasing the Prophetic Destiny of a Nation,” which harks back to the quote from Sarah’s speech (seen above, at the beginning of this post), a dog-whistle that was echoed throughout the text of her speech:  

The Lord says, “Alaska is the Gateway of the Nation to the Ancient of Days!” God has given Alaska an assignment as a sentinel and a vanguard for North America. Alaska will open doors for the glory of the Lord to sweep through North America. From Alaska, the Spirit of God will fall, and your people will be sent to train prophets and intercessors. New cycles will begin in Alaska. — From page 123 of the the book, “Releasing the Prophetic Destiny of a Nation: Discovering How Your Future Can Be Greater Than Your Past,”by Dutch Sheets and Chuck D. Pierce 

 

 

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by Mantis Katz for the canarypapers 

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NOTICE TO COMMENTERS: I routinely delete rabid, menacing and/or threatening letters from folk who, no matter what their persuasion, heap hatred and destruction on the rest of us folk. So don’t waste your time tapping-out angry epistles, because they’ll go unread.

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There Must Be a Special Place in Hell for Those Who Would Vote for McCain, Based on the Color of Obama’s Skin

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On an altar of prejudice we crucify our own, yet the blood of all children is the color of God. — Don Williams, Jr., American poet and novelist

As American voters head off to stand in line for two (or three or five or eight or ten or more) hours today to cast their votes, the question bears repeating: Exactly why would anyone vote for McCain?

We’ve watched over the past two months as Republicans of sound mind and good conscience have jumped ship to Barack Obama, citing, among other things, the differences between Obama’s and McCain’s temperament, judgment, ability to handle crises, the moral tenor of their campaigns and — last but not least — their inclusiveness (or not) within their vision of the American story for ALL Americans: people of every class, race, generation, nationality, across every region of this country. 

Except for the criminally stupid and gullible — those hapless souls who, God bless them, actually believe Sarah’s stump speeches and are convinced that Obama is not only the anti-Christ, but is an Muslim, socialist, abortion-crazed terrorist, bent on turning our country into a communist state and shutting down the coal industry, to boot — who is left to vote for John McCain?  

Only the racists — those voters to whom issues of economy, jobs, education, health care, war and peace take a back seat to the color of a man’s skin. God help us all if the Republican vote stealing campaign trumps the voice of the American people. God help us, because these people have been whipped into such a frenzy by John McCain, Sarah Palin and their sidekick, Joe the Plumber, that they’re ready for blood. Anyone’s blood. And John McCain is just the leader to deliver.

Got War?

Lost in the flurry of the economy over the past 2 months has been discussion on the wars. Not just Iraq, but the wars of the future — those wars we have yet to see. As John  McCain would be the first to tell you, war is his specialty. Peace is not. As Pat Buchanan says in the video, below, about McCain: “He will make Cheney look like Gandhi”

Veterans for Peace: Commie Appeasers or Reality Checks?

What do these veterans of the Vietnam War, the Korean War and the Iraq War have in common?

For Now We See Through a Glass, Darkly

If we learned nothing over the past 8 years, it’s that the only thing worse than a warmonger is an ignorant, dishonest warmonger. 

McCain, Palin, Media & Co. — The Death Knell of Democracy? Not If You Can Help It

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It’s hard to believe that in the greatest democracy in the world, we need legislation to prevent the government from writing and paying for the news. — Sen. John Kerry

It’s pretty pathetic that the Republican Party’s only campaign strategy is to make a mockery of democracy and the entire polical process by parading out caricatures like Sarah Palin and Joe the so-called-Plumber to slander their opponent with racism, xenophobia, McCarthism and a slew of outrageous lies. It’s also pretty pathetic that the Republican Party’s only real hope of winning this election is to systematically steal the votes from Democrats. It’s even more pathetic that our media aid and abet them by turning a blind eye. 

If you’re not outraged by the pathetic state of the U.S. media, you’re either a Republican or you never, ever, ever read, watch or listen to one iota of corporate-generated “news.” I’m not here to justify this statement. Either you get it, or you don’t. I’m here talk about what’s wrong and how we might hope to fix it. 

In this vein, I saw a glimmer of hope when I read on Huffington Post a piece titled, “Is America Still a Beacon for Press Freedom? ” Herein was mentioned the Reporters without Borders’ recently released “Press Freedom Index” for 2008, which is essentially a report card for 173 countries around the world. Iceland rated the highest, at #1, while the U.S. ranked at a disgraceful #36. Intrigued, I researched Reporters without Borders (hoping it’d be a worthy forum to protest the state of our media) but found instead that, despite their seemingly noble agenda, Reporters without Borders is, in fact, on the payroll of the U.S. State Department. According to SourceWatch, its budget is primarily funded by the Orwellian-named “National Endowment for Democracy,” which operates under the auspices of the CIA.

It is no coincidence, then, that Reporters without Borders’ ranking system coincides more closely with Washington’s black list, which explains the low ratings of Cuba & Venezuela that oddly bear no correlation to this organization’s stated criteria for ranking countries. (for more on this, see links at end of post).

One would naturally wonder, then, why Reporters without Borders gave the U.S. the somewhat unfavorable rating of #36? If you look closely, you’ll see that the U.S rating is actually much lower, but this truth has been cleverly disguised. If you look at the actual report, (available here at Wikipedia), you’ll see that the U.S. and Israel, alone, enjoy the priviledge of having two separate ratings: ‘national territory’ and ‘extra-territorial’. Look more closely, and you’ll see that the U.S. is actually ranked #36 (national territory) and #119 (extra-territorial), which not only waters-down the U.S.’s actual ranking on freedom of the press, but effectively exonerates the U.S. for violations committed in territories it occupies.

In Other Words, It’s Just Another Big Lie

Frustrated to scratch the surface of yet one more democratic cause, only to find a corrupt agenda, I researched other media watchdog organizations which claim to work toward the cause of fairness in the media and freedom of the press. Over and over, I found (with two notable exceptions) only a preponderance of navel-gazing. For instance, what is the value of an ‘analysis’ that divides news coverage into negative vs. neutral vs. positive reporting, when the same criteria used to evaluate the McCain-Palin ticket’s lies (categorized as ‘negative’) are used to evaluate the Obama-Biden ticket’s response (also categorized as ‘negative’) to said lies? It’s apples and oranges, folks: one is lies, one is truth. Since when is truth categorized as a negative? Ever since our media lost their bearings: ever since our media became deregulated and consolidated.  (see links below for more on this).

It’s funny, in an un-funny sort of way, that McCain & Palin spend so much time frothing at the mouth over socialism/communism, considering that — over the past 8 years — our media have fallen under the control of the government/corporate conglomerates (two heads, same monster), to the extent that our national media are essentially state-controlled, just a stone’s throw from the sort of media traditionally enjoyed by socialist/communist regimes. 

Democracy or Not: Your Choice 

It’s with some hope that I offer two worthy exceptions to the above-mentioned navel gazers: Free Press (see links, below) and FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting). If we hope to restore the integrity of our media, these organizations are deserving of our time, attention and money. I’m particularly impressed with FAIR, which, first of all, takes no corporate funding, government grants or advertising of any kind. Secondly, they have a firm understanding of what’s wrong with the media and what needs to be done. Here is their stated perspective:

Independent, aggressive and critical media are essential to an informed democracy. But mainstream media are increasingly cozy with the economic and political powers they should be watchdogging. Mergers in the news industry have accelerated, further limiting the spectrum of viewpoints that have access to mass media. With U.S. media outlets overwhelmingly owned by for-profit conglomerates and supported by corporate advertisers, independent journalism is compromised.

Ultimately, FAIR believes that structural reform is needed to break up the dominant media conglomerates, establish independent public broadcasting, and promote strong, non-profit alternative sources of information.

Third, they have a powerful network of activist tools that encourage the public to become critically engaged with media. See something unfair in the media? A particular instance of media inaccuracy or bias? Their toolkit includes everything from tips for detecting bias in the media, to resources for contacting media outlets and journalists to demand more responsible reporting. Their activism gets results. They’ve forced rewrites of stories, propelled undercovered stories from the sidelines to the mainstream and succeeded in getting different perspectives into the news.

All the Kings Horses and All the Kings Men

Should our country survive this election (meaning, should Barack Obama be rightfully elected, despite the media’s 24-7 infomercial coverage of the McCain-Palin-Joe-the-so-called-Plumber ticket, and despite the epidemic of  voter fraud being committed by the Republican Party, aided and abettted by the media’s deplorable indifference toward their criminal engagement in these practices) then I would urge all Americans of good conscience to cast your energies toward restoring the integrity of our media.

Yes, I realize that there are myriad pressing issues in need of our attention — in between wars, a disintegrating planet, recessions, depressions, and attacking voter fraud. But until we have a truthful voice in the media, all other efforts toward restoring our democracy and healing the myriad wounds inflicted over the past 8 years will be rendered impotent. To repeat what has already been said: Independent, aggressive and critical media are essential to an informed democracy. And we’ve not seen hide nor hair of that for at least 8 years. And if we don’t do something about this — beginning now — you can be sure that, 4 years from now, there will be enough swiftboats, Joe the Plumbers, McCarthyism, evangelicals and vitriolic Sarah Palins to incite those rabidly ignorant mobs to finally put democracy out if its misery, once and for all. 

The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses. — Malcolm X

 

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by Mantis Katz for the canarypapers

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For more reading (this is not a comprehensive list, just a starter):

Global Research: The Deceit of Reporters Without Borders

Counterpunch: Reporters Without Borders Unmasked

ZNet: The Reporters Without Borders Fraud

Links to Media Watchers & Activists (a mixed bag)

For background on MEDIA DEREGULATION/CONSOLIDATION:

New York Times (Oct. 2007) Plan Would Ease Limits on Media Owners

 Op-Ed News: Robert McChesney’s The Political Economy of Media – Part I

Op-Ed News: Robert McChesney’s The Political Economy of Media – Part II

FreePress: Media Consolidation (while this site is guilty of navel-gazing, they also have the right idea)

FreePress: Who Owns the Media? (The Big Six)

Salon: Justice: Propaganda is A-OK

canarypapers: The White house Propaganda Machine: When the Truth Just Won’t Do

Meet Joe, the Invisible Vice-Presidential Candidate

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The American public has been cheated by the media. Yeah, we get the full skinny every time Sarah Palin sneezes. And we’ve seen enough footage on Joe the so-called Plumber to inspire every McCain-Palin mob member in America to chime, “Commie!” every hour, on the hour. But Joe Biden? Unless he makes some ghastly gaffe, he’s invisible. And what a shame for American voters.

Not only is Joe Biden a man of great character and substance, who has much to contribute to the national dialogue, but his is also (uh, earth to media) running for vice-president. Fortunately, the youth of America have done their best to pick up where the media’s left off in covering one of the most qualified and promising vice-presidential candidates we’ve seen in the past 3 decades:  

ABOVE: Here’s a video of a Joe Biden speech, covered by 5th grade reporter, Damon Weaver, who also interviewed Biden (starting at 3:34 on the video). Herein, we get a taste of the human interest story, as Joe tells about the slumber party with Biden’s grandchildren and Obama’s girls. Biden also explains the duties of the Vice-President. The sound quality of the video is not the greatest, but the content is first class. I only wish the media would cover this stuff. Or, at the very least, cover some of Biden’s speeches (see below). Lacking that, I wish we had an army of Damon Weavers to get out there and tell America what the hell’s really going on. 

ABOVE: Here’s the quintessential Joe we’ve been missing on the evening news. In this video, he discusses what we *didn’t* hear during the Republican convention. Of course, if the media is indeed owned by the Bush-cheney-McCain corporate henchmen, that would explain Joe’s absence.

ABOVE: More classic Joe. Here, he discusees John McCain’s record on the economy — his policies, contradictions and conflicts of interest, past and present — explaining details we’re not likely to ever hear on the evening news. 

ABOVE: This interview (WFTV w/anchorscab Barbara West) is more typical of the treatment the Obama ticket has received from the evil, liberal elitist media. To watch any news whatsoever, besides the Keith – Rachel line-up, I honestly can’t imagine how Obama and Biden have drawn such a large support base. It goes to show that maybe Americans aren’t as dumb as Palin and McCain, nor as dumb as they think.

McCain-Gramm Economics: Communism with a Capital “G”

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When I gave food to the poor, they called me a saint. When I asked why the poor were hungry, they called me a communist. — Dom Helder Camara

It’s All the Rage!

As the failed Bill Ayers smear slowly fades into the annals of campaign-smear history, its replacement — red-baiting — is proving to be one of the more effective scare-tactics du jour  to be pulled from the McCain-Palin campaign’s arsenal of sleazy tactics. Can the McCain-Palin ticket really and truly convince enough voters that Obama’s campaign is nothing but a secret plot to turn America into a communist state? It’s unlikely, although many voters will, indeed, take that red bait and run ‘scairt’ straight to the polls. 

I’m a proponent of the axiom that states, “You can never underestimate the stupidity of the American voters.” By the same token, it’s safe to say that an overwhelming majority of American voters have glimpsed the light at the end of tunnel, and — having discovered that it’s not daylight they’re seeing, but the headlight of a runaway train barreling toward them — they’ve come to their senses. Fear of imaginary bogeymen has been replaced by fear of real bogeymen — those political crooks who have spent the past 8 years not only raping the Constitution and Bill of Rights, but our economy — and, along with it, undermined the incomes, jobs, health care and/or security of some 95% of Americans. 

G is for Gramm & Greenspan

If David Addington is the architect of the Bush-Cheney assaults on the U.S. Constitution (and he is), then McCain’s long-time economic advisers/gurus, Phil Gramm and Alan Greenspan, are the architects of our collapsing economy. And John McCain, his finger ever on the pulse of what’s best for America, has approved — bill by bill, measure by measure — eight years worth of assaults on our economy.

The issue of economics is not something I’ve understood as well as I should. I’ve got Greenspan’s book. — John McCain, December 2007

The folks at the helm of this mess — most of them, coincidentally, filthy rich Republicans — would like the American people to believe the financial crisis is so complex as to be inscrutable, unknowable, when the only real unknowable is how bleak the future. Epidemic poverty? Mass homelessness? Food shortages? Worse? Much, much worse?

As such, they’d like us to climb on board with their we’re-all-in-this-together mantra: “Now is not the time to play the blame game!” — even as they, themselves, have systematically heaped the blame at the feet of minorities and the poor. Here, their hope is to stir racism into the mix, to seduce Americans into swallowing the lie that it’s the fault of poor folks and minorities, and that whites, middle-class and upper crust Americans were not alternately victimized and party to the corrupt lending practices. The folks at the helm are banking on the surety that, if they confuse us enough, we’ll just throw up our hands and hope that someone “up there” knows what they’re doing.

Covering Their Asses & Assets

If you trust in nothing else, trust in this: These crooks know exactly what they’ve done and what they’re doing. That’s why they want to avoid close scrutiny to the blame game. But if Americans don’t start playing the blame game — and fast — these crooks, who have benefitted to the tune of millions and billions of dollars over the past 8 years, will only continue to rake in millions and billions more from the so-called bailout. They’re already doing it. To not play the blame game is to invite a second Trojan horse into the city, having not learned our lesson after the first Trojan horse — a gift carved by none other than McCain’s financial gurus, Phil Gramm and Alan Greenspan.  

Ho-Ho-Ho and Merry Freaking Christmas

That first Trojan horse rolled onto Wall Street, via Capitol Hill, on Friday, December 15, 2000. With Christmas break only hours away, the U.S. Senate was rushing to pass an 11,000-page government-spending reauthorization bill. Tacked onto this bill — at the urging of Sen. Phil Gramm — was a 262 page amendment, called the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000. The amendment Trojan horse passed, without debate, in both houses. With this, our lawmakers paved the way for a practice called “credit default swaps” — a legalized form of gambling, whereby financiers could place bets on whether people defaulted on their mortgages.

Being such crackerjack economists, Greenspan and Gramm surely knew the bitter lesson history had taught Wall Street 100 years earlier, when credit default swaps (called “bucket shops” in the day) led to the Wall Street Panic of 1907. Surely, Greenspan and Gramm knew that, for nearly 100 years, the bucket shop industry had been outlawed as a felony. It is no giant leap, then, to say that their crime was one of foreknowledge.  

But what of our lawmakers on Capitol Hill? Was it ignorance, haste, inattention or blind trust that prompted them to legalize a felony, turning Wall Street into a giant betting parlor? Perhaps we’ll never know. But what we do know, is that John McCain embraced then — as he still embraces today — the financial giants whose policies erected these betting parlors, the same as he has embraced the policies of the Bush Administration, which has spent the past 8 years protecting this betting parlor industry, threatening to veto any attempt to regulate the credit default swap market. 

G is for Gambling  

Warren Buffet has called credit default swaps, “financial weapons of mass destruction.” True enough. But why not call a spade a spade? This bucket shop industry has made billionaires of gamblers who placed bets on the demise of mortgage holders and, ultimately, Wall Street, itself. And just who are the bookies in this gambling racket? The “insurance” industry, to which our government is now poised to roll our a second (or is it third?) gargantuan bailout package. You read that right: Our government is poised to bail out the bookies who operate (past and present tense) the betting parlors that have made multi-billionaires out of people who made a living from betting on the failure of our economy.

Of course, the official advisers to these government bailouts — the leaders at the helm — have been, and continue to be some of the biggest benefactors to this casino-style capitalism. The blame game is long overdue. It’s futile trying to stop a crime spree when the crooks are policing themselves.

G is for Greed: The Wall Street Collapse, in a Nutshell  

Last night, 60 Minutes ran a long-overdue segment on Credit Default Swaps, which is an excellent primer for those still scratching their heads over the inscrutable and seemingly unknowable facts about the Wall Street collapse. Check out the 12-minute video of this 60 Minutes segment. It’s easy enough to comprehend, and you’ll emerge substantially enlightened about what the hell’s going on. And if you also emerge seeing red, don’t be alarmed. That’s the color of McCain’s hypocrisy. 

Let Them Eat Cake

See, it’s not communism when the government spreads $750 billion dollars (and counting) to bail out and richly compensate the ka-jillionaires who continue to make a killing off the failure and misery of the millions of Americans who fell prey to their sleazy casino capitalism. No, it’s only communism when Barack Obama proposes to give a tax break to those hardworking Americans suffering the trickle-down effects of the Wall Street orgy. It’s only communism when Barack Obama calls for a tax plan that is more fair to those millions of hardworking Americans who will spend the coming months doing well to simply keep a roof over the heads and food on the table. It’s only communism when the wealthiest 5% of Americans are asked to part with some of their ill-gotten loot to heal our wounds they’ve inflicted in the biggest scam that has ever been perpetuated on the American people. 

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For more reading:

Mother Jones: Foreclosure Phil – Years before Phil Gramm was a McCain campaign adviser and a lobbyist for a Swiss bank at the center of the housing credit crisis, he pulled a sly maneuver in the Senate that helped create today’s subprime meltdown. Who’s to blame for the biggest financial catastrophe of our time? There are plenty of culprits, but one candidate for lead perp is former Sen. Phil Gramm.

Mother Jones: McCain Blasts Wall Street Failure, Neglects To Mention His Adviser Helped Cause It — As the news broke of the Lehman Brothers meltdown and the rest of the latest financial crisis, John McCain, speaking at a campaign rally in Florida on Monday, angrily declared, “We will never put America in this position again. We will clean up Wall Street. This is a failure.” And in a statement released by his campaign, McCain called for greater “transparency and accountability” on Wall Street. If McCain wants to hold someone accountable for the failure in transparency and accountability that led to the current calamity, he should turn to his good friend and adviser, Phil Gramm.

The Texas Observer: John McCain’s Gramm Gamble – The GOP presidential nominee is relying on the ex-senator who helped bring you the mortgage crisis

Huffington Post: A Nation of Village Idiots – Don’t let them tell you this economic meltdown is a complicated mess. It’s not. Our national financial crisis is readily understood by anyone who has seen greed and hypocrisy. But we are now witnessing them on a profound, monumental scale.

LaRouche Political Action Committee: In the Senate: Ban Derivatives “Bucket Shops” – Senate Agriculture Committee chairman Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) opened up his hearing on derivatives and the financial crisis today, with some promise of sane action, asking, “Shouldn’t we just outlaw these things? The collapse owes a great deal to the traffic in credit default swaps (CDS), collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), etc. Shouldn’t we just ban them?” As his hearing went on, Harkin backed off and wondered whether the U.S. Senate was allowed to outlaw financial derivatives!

 Baltimore Chronicle & Sentinel: McCain Defends Enron Loophole – Sen. John McCain says he opposes the $307 billion farm bill because it would dole out wasteful subsidies, but his chief economic adviser Phil Gramm also wants to stop its proposed regulation of energy futures trading, a market that was famously abused when Enron Corp. manipulated California’s electricity prices in 2001.

Newsday: State Federal Probe Investigating Credit Default Swaps – In an unusual move, the state attorney general and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan yesterday announced a joint investigation into credit-default swaps, those unregulated insurancelike contracts that have played a major role in the nation’s financial crisis.

Sarah Palin’s Reflection, as Seen from the Abyss

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Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you. — Friedrich Nietzsche

Many of us have been wishing for just a modicum of news coverage on Joe Biden, whose presence on the national stage has been dwarfed to near non-existence by the paparazzi-style coverage of Sarah Palin– our media’s latest flash-in-the-frying-pan darling, who has stepped into the shoes previously occupied by such notables as Paris Hilton, Brittney Spears and Anna Nicole Smith. 

Be careful what you wish for. Joe Biden finally got some news coverage this past Thursday, as he was “interviewed” by Barbara West, an anchor for Florida station WFTV (see video, below), who regaled Biden with a series of classic “when did you stop beating your wife” questions on Marxism. 

This interview needs to be preserved in the annals of American history, so that future generations can see, firsthand, how fearmongering and demagoguery work. For historical perspective on how this has played out in America over the past 300+ years, read on. Otherwise, just vote. For cripe’s sakes, vote — and urge everyone you know to vote. And if, by chance, on November 4th, you find you’ve been caged or purged or challenged – call Election Protection at 1-(866) OURVOTE (1-866-687-8683). Click here for more info on protecting yourself from voter fraud.

HAS IT BEEN ONLY 316 YEARS?

From June through September of 1692, nineteen men and women, all having been convicted of witchcraft, were carted to Gallows Hill, a barren slope near Salem Village, for hanging. Another man of over eighty years was pressed to death under heavy stones for refusing to submit to a trial on witchcraft charges. Hundreds of others faced accusations of witchcraft. Dozens languished in jail for months without trials. Then, almost as soon as it had begun, the hysteria that swept through Puritan Massachusetts ended. — “An Account of Events in Salem,” from the University of Missouri — Kansas City website

As years passed, apologies were offered, and restitution was made to the victims’ families. Historians and sociologists have examined this most complex episode in our history so that we may understand the issues of that time and apply our understanding to our own society. The parallels between the Salem witch trials and more modern examples of “witch hunting” like the McCarthy hearings of the 1950’s, are remarkable. — from the Salem Witch Museum website

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 HAS IT BEEN ONLY 60 YEARS?

Below is a video with clips of various anti-communist footage, produced by the U.S. government during the McCarthy era, and designed to red-scare the bejeebers out of Americans. The Sarah Palin speech (see video at end of post) is a modern version of the same, just not yet whipped into the full frenzy that this sort of fearmongering ever-threatens to incite.  

HAS IT BEEN ONLY 7 YEARS?

In the wake of 9-11, the Bush Administration exploited our justifiable fear of terrorists to both squelch American dissent over their agenda, and to strong-arm Congress into approving all the legislation they enacted (e.g. the Patriot Act, FISA, extraordinary rendition and related torture laws), all of which were designed to sidestep both the spirit and letter of Constitutional law. Over the past 7 years this legislation has, word by word, dismantled our U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. These documents have yet to be restored to the former integrity they held for over two centuries. While these fundamental changes to our democracy affect each and every American, we’ve fortunately been spared, thus far, some of the worst outcomes potential to this legislation, even as this potential will continue to loom over us until our Constitution and Bill of Rights are restored to their pre-Bush Administration integrity. We’ve been fortunate. Some, such as Maher Arar have not been so fortunate: 

For more on this case, see the full Congressional hearing (1 hour, 28 minutes) on this case, held in October 2007, here, which includes Maher Arar’s testimony. Also, see footage here (7 minutes) from a related hearing, in which an outraged Sen. Patrick Leahy demands answers from Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales regarding the extraordinary rendition and torture-outsourcing in the Maher Arar case. 

  

HAS IT BEEN ONLY 1 DAY?

In the above video, Sarah Palin resurrects the ghosts of Salem and the McCarthy era, as she weaves a scary tale of lies to suggest that Obama’s tax plan will turn American into a nightmare communist state. Inherent to this accusation is a promise to carry the torch of the Bush-Cheney Administration’s legacy of fearmongering, persecution and lawlessness.  History bears this out: certain people in America live in a constant state of fear. All they need is someone to take the stage and tell them, exactly, what it is they’re so afraid of: Witches? Socialists? Blacks? Muslims? Communists? The McCain Palin campaign is telling them exactly what they want to hear. 

dem·a·gogue: One who will preach doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots — H.L. Mencken

  

WILL IT BE ONLY 9 DAYS?

Vote on November 4th. And do everything in your power to make sure that vote isn’t stolen from you. So much depends on this, with such a tremendous degree of voter fraud taking place by both Republicans and the Christian right. The extent of this fraud can only be known after the fact, when it’s too late to do anything about it.

Sarah Palin & Spiritual Warfare: A Kindler, Gentler Terrorism

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Honestly, the whole damned mess just exhausts me. The last thing I feel like doing right now is researching and writing on yet more layers of Sarah Palin’s nut-headed involvement in yet more bizarre, religious doomsday cults that have been combed from the fringes of Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity. So I won’t.

But you, the reader, may want to invest the time and energy, if you are a Catholic, a Jew, a Christian, a Buddhist, an agnostic or — for that fact — if you are any human being living on this planet who is not part of Sarah Palin’s religious network that embraces any of the following institutions, leaders, movements and terms as part of a larger strategy: Prayer Warfare/Spiritual Warfare, Strategic Prayer Network, World Prayer Center International, Transformations, witchhunting, New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), Thomas Muthee, Third Wave, C. Peter Wagner, Global Harvest Ministries, Global Apostolic Prayer Network, killing Mother Theresa with prayers, spiritual mapping, the apostolic-prophetic movement, Ana Mendez (Farrell), and Mary Glazier.

Why would you want to invest your time in this luncacy?

Because Sarah Palin’s religious fringes see it as their appointed mission from God to change the world through various modes of “spiritual warfare” — destruction and death being, at times, a necessary part of this grand design — which culls out “non-member” politicians, authorities and religious figures, so that they may be replaced with “member” politicians such as Sarah Palin. Her involvement with these fringes is more than casual. And one needn’t scratch too far below the surface to find this, nor to see that Sarah Palin has been flashing “the code” of this sect to her fellow members, in the casual, everyday language of her statements throughout her political career (e.g. her “prayer warrior” comment in her Oct. 22, 2008 James Dobson interview). I’ve seen enough. I don’t have the energy to write about it.  

At the same time, I can’t totally plunge my head into the sand, as some prominent members of this fringe feel it’s also their appointed duty to disenfranchise *certain* voters who vote for *certain* candidates, their tactics no different than the ones currently being used in the Republican Party’s voter fraud campaign. So it is with gratitude to Bruce Wilson that I offer a link to his article, below, which offers a comprehensive discussion on this topic, with many, many links included for verification and further reading. It should be delved and considered by any person who contemplates voting Sarah Palin’s into any public office — or by any human being who shares the planet with a person contemplating such a vote.

Huffington Post: Sarah Palin Linked to Second Witchhunter by Bruce Wilson