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Rep. Alan Grayson: Integrity, Conscience & Good Old-Fashioned Chutzpah

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Watching Rep. Alan Grayson’s comments on health care this week was like being treated to a tall glass of water after a long, dry summer. And what a long summer it’s been — watching our elected leaders ride herd into the sunset with the fellas from insurance/pharma industries, and leaving the rest of us behind in the dust to fight it out with the village idiots, whose loud, obnoxious, redneck, political theater has drawn the media to them like moths to flame. You’d almost think the rest of us didn’t exist. 

That is, until today. Thanks to you, Rep. Grayson, our voices have been heard. Thank you for speaking your conscience and for, in the process, speaking on behalf of the 70% or so Americans whose voices have neither been heard or respected throughout this farce of a health care debate. You are, Rep. Grayson, what we here in South Carolina call a real peach. I only wish there were more of you to go around.

I hope that if you’re compelled to give another apology, it’ll be just as conscionable as the one you gave today. 

Sept. 29, 2009: Rep. Grayson, with visual aids, offers his description of the Republican’s health care plan. 

Sept. 30, 2009: Rep. Grayson’s apology.

 

 

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Sanford’s Latest Apology: Jesus Plus Nothing

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Is there no limit to the embarrassment that we South Carolinians must endure while Mark Sanford publicly grinds through his mid-life crisis — a scandal made even more creepy by Sanford’s Jesus-deluded idea that his adulterous affair is but a stepping stone to fulfulling his greater mission from God?

On that topic, I suspect the time has long passed when any of us could exercise real control over the malignant end-times evangelical movement — that ubiquitious “invisible hand” of Doug Coe and The Family — that has encroached into our political system. Our country has become comfortable, to the point of embracing the rhetoric of politicians such as Sanford and Palin, who sound more like, say Jim & Tammy Faye Bakker than presidential hopefuls — and whose spiritual leader is reading from the same playbook used by men like Jim Jones, Warren Jeffs and David Koresh. Only, this is no tiny cult in the middle of some godforsaken nowhere. It may be too late to slam shut the doors (from Capitol Hill, to corporate board rooms, to front-row seats at the Rapture), which these politicians believe God is opening for them, as part of their greater destiny:   

I would ultimately be a better person and of more service in whatever doors God opened next in life if I stuck around to learn lessons rather than running and hiding down at the farm. — from Mark Sanford’s June 29, 2009  letter of apology, in which he explains why he intends to remain in politics

Don’t know what the future holds. I’m not gonna shut any door. That — who knows what doors open? — Sarah Palin, July 8, 2009, answering a question on her future presidential aspirations.

Like any cancer, it gradually crept up on us — the nagging symptoms easily dismissed.  But we have no excuses now. Myraid stories on Doug Coe and the Family are a mere google away. All that’s left is the reading, then the votes. We are, after all, still somewhat of a democracy. Shall we fight for the integrity of this democracy? Or shall we willingly — or, through benign complacency — turn the reins of our country over to the very religious tyranny that our forefathers fought to escape when they fled to the shores of North America — aspiring to build a country, whose constitution would guarantee the separation of church and state, so that its citizens would never be subjected to the authority of any tyrannical religious idealogue?     

Because, make no mistake. Sanford is right about his greater mission, only his mission is not from God, per se, but from Doug Coe and the Family. Anytime a vote is cast for Sanford or Palin or any political leader who defers authority to God in matters of state, we are inching one step closer to a country run by the ilk of leaders embraced in the speeches of Doug Coe: Lenin, Hitler, Mao, Goebbler and Hemmler

In this vein, I offer, without apology, both the text and subtext of Mark Sanford’s most recent apology: 

I have struggled with how best to convey my regret in letting so many down, being discovered as a philandering, unethical hypocrite and in that regard I realize this op-ed does not do justice to the process of saying “I am sorry.”I’m still not going to resign.” A handwritten note or phone call simple “fuck you” would ultimately be more appropriate in keeping with the style of my governorship,  but given the number of people Christians I need to apologize appeal to by shamelessly pandering God to, I write this to begin the journey of trying to get things more right with you and others. everyone off my back.

It is true that I did wrong and failed at the largest of levels, but equally true is the fact that God being a minion of Doug Coe can make good of our respective wrongs in life. powerful politicians out of the most disreputable characters. In this vein, while none of us has the chance to attend our own funeral, in many ways I feel like I was at my own in the past weeks, and surprisingly I am thankful for oblivious to the perspective it has afforded.

If you ever have the misfortune of being at this point, caught with your pants down, whether self-induced as in my case or not, it will give you an indeed amazing perspective on life crash course in damage control and on what really matters. how difficult it is to fly by the seat of your pants while they’re still rolled around your ankles. I read notes from someone who worked in a sandwich shop I ate at ten years ago, from seventh-grade classmates, from state employees and more. While there have been  you’d think I’d have learned lifetimes of lessons learned over the past weeks, three things most immediately come to mind. Ive changed nothing. 

One, forgiveness and grace really do matter. Still, if you’re a Christian, it’s your job to forgive me. I used to believe that at an intellectual level. Now it is at the level of heart. I see that it is my only hope of salvaging my political career.  Over my life I have not given enough of either, always been too narcissistic to give a thought about anyone or anything but my own personal ambitions, and yet given all the ways in which my failings have come to light, that I’ve been caught misppropriating taxpayer dollars while engaging in an adulterous affair, I write to apologize for, in the most profound of ways, letting you and so many others down. explain how this is not just about me anymore — this is part of God’s plan. 

In life it’s always the people closest to us that we hurt the most, and given my standing of public trust, I know I’ve hurt many across our state. I wish I could put myself aside long enough to show remorse to my family, my friends and the citizens of South Carolina, but everytime I try, the words fall flat. I apologize for this, and more than anything would don’t know what else to do but keep pulling the pull the Christ card to ask for your forgiveness going forward.

Two, To paraphrase Doug Coe, life is indeed about way more than public standing or political views. It’s about recognizing that none of us is the arbiter of truth, that there are moral absolutes, and that there is a God to whom we will all report for our actions. power, influence and money, and exploiting God to get these. My failure has been was in revealing the role that Doug Coe and The Fellowship have played in my political and my personal life most glaring on this front, where no public apology can make wrong right. but, lucky for me, folks don’t seem too concerned about connecting the dots between Doug Coe, Howard Rich, Biblical Capitalism, the Santee Cooper scandal and my ongoing efforts to privatize the South Carolina school system.    

As a consequence, it is on this plane that I’ve grown the most over the past weeks — and where I’m committed to growing the most  keeping my work with the Family invisible  going forward. I’ve been humbled and broken as never before in my life and as a consequence have given up areas of control in a way that I never have before far exceeded the levels of submission I achieved in my Fellowship prayer cell with Doug Coe [see quote at bottom of post] and it is my belief that this being a vessel thus emptied will make me a better father, husband, friend and advocate.disciple for Doug Coe.

It’s in the spirit of making good from bad the Fellowship’s belief that God’s “chosen ones” don’t have to adhere to man-made laws and ethics, nor God’s law that I am committing to you and the larger family of South Carolinians staying in office to use exploit this experience to both trust God Coe in his larger work delusional plot of changing me, to construct a Kingdom of God on earth with Washington as its capital, and from my end, to work continue sidestepping whatever laws and ethics are neccesary to becoming a better and more effective leader disciple for Doug Coe.

In this regard I think all that has transpired will be particularly relevant in the way I deal with the legislative body and other state leaders going forward. In my apology last month, I paraphrased Doug Coe and compared myself to King David, which didn’t go over very well. Maybe you’ll like this one better: Micah 6:8 asks us to do justice, love mercy and to walk humbly; and as I begin these steps into the last 18 months of this administration,  as I have no intention of resigning, I’m thinking that — since this Micah quote works so well for the Fellowship’s many evangelical missions around the world, working behind the scenes to spread capitalism and covert wealth to despotic leaders, under the mantle of helping the sick, the impoverished, the hungry and the oppressed — heck, it oughta work for me in South Carolina, so long as I act as if it will indeed be with a more contrite and humble spirit.

I’ve realized that as much as I have and will continue to advocate for things ranging from restructuring cutting public services and redistributing the state’s wealth into the private enterprise , to responsible spending saying “no” to anything-Obama, “yes” to reimbursing the state for my trip to Argentina, and “hell yes” to traveling first class on the taxpayer’s dime, to school choice, re-segregating the schools in South Carolina, my approach needs to be less about my will and more about looking for ways to more humbly present the greater principles and ideas at play. Doug Coe’s will and His greater plan for Mark Sanford and the Fellowship. It needs to be less strident more invisible and more about finding ways to work with behind the scenes to buy and/or coerce legislative leaders to advance the ideas so many of us believe in. agendas for South Carolinians of wealth and priviledge. It means less time fighting the tide Democrats — and a greater awareness of the fact that God money and power  controls it. can buy most anything. 

In working with a few alterations to my approach, I think this could be a far more productive last session than the one that would have been had the tragedy that has unfolded not occurred, I not been forced to take the stimulus money, and in turn, people’s lives can be made better as I scored a lot of political capital outside the state by refusing this money, which may be helpful, if I can channel it into the right pockets. 

Finally it is at your funeral a press conference in the wake of a political scandal that you your constituents in many ways not only can see most clearly the things that really matter in life, that this has been an onging pattern in the State House, but where one gets the best glimpse of who your real friends are governor is — and how much they little the citizens of South Carolina matter. For that reason, I want to thank so many for their kindnesses and support being oblivious to what I’ve doing (and not doing) over the years and for their kindness in  not taking to the streets with pitchforks after being subjected to this latest chapter (albeit not written on the Appalachian trail, but during my drive home from the airport)  in our book together as South Carolinians.    

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by Mantis Katz for the canarypapers

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 The following quote (referenced 6 paragraphs up ) is from the 2006 Rolling Stone article by Jeff Sharlet, titled, God’s Senator: Who Would Jesus Vote For? Meet Sam Brownback, wherein Sharlet describes Doug Coe’s method for breaking the will of Fellowship members through confession. (As an aside, the use of confession as a tool in mind control has been well-studied and documented by many scholars. Psychiatrist Robert Lifton, a well-published scholar in the field of mind control and cult formation, cites confession as one of eight methods used to coerce what Lifton terms, “thought reform.” Further research into the Fellowship leaves one wondering if Family leader, Doug Coe, has overlooked the other seven methods. It appears not.)     

Brownback was placed in a weekly prayer cell by “the shadow Billy Graham” — Doug Coe, Vereide’s successor as head of the Fellowship. The group was all male and all Republican. It was a “safe relationship,” Brownback says. Conversation tended toward the personal. Brownback and the other men revealed the most intimate details of their desires, failings, ambitions. They talked about lust, anger and infidelities, the more shameful the better — since the goal was to break one’s own will. The abolition of self; to become nothing but a vessel so that one could be used by God.

They were striving, ultimately, for what Coe calls “Jesus plus nothing” — a government led by Christ’s will alone. In the future envisioned by Coe, everything — sex and taxes, war and the price of oil — will be decided upon not according to democracy or the church or even Scripture. The Bible itself is for the masses; in the Fellowship, Christ reveals a higher set of commands to the anointed few. from Rolling Stone (2006) — God’s Senator: Who Would Jesus Vote For? Meet Sam Brownback

If you’ve made it this far, you might also be interested in these:

The Wall Street Journal: Mark Sanford’s Once-Secret Wall Street Deal –

Despite the impression given by his aw-shucks mea culpa today, South Carolina’s Mark Sanford isn’t new to furtive dealings. The governor, a long-time darling of the GOP, was criticized heavily in 2005 for secretly trying to orchestrate a sale of the state’s largest asset, a massive 70-year-old utility named Santee Cooper….

The Post & Courier (Charleston, SC) Sanford weighed utility privatization — Wall Street firm was asked to assess value of Santee Cooper

Gov. Mark Sanford’s office orchestrated the hiring of an investment bank to determine how much Santee Cooper would fetch in a sale that would privatize the state-owned utility, according to newly obtained documents and a former board chairman. Sanford has denied for months that he is interested in privatizing the Moncks Corner-based power business, and has said the study was undertaken to see how Santee Cooper stacks up against other utilities. But Graham Edwards, former chairman of Santee Cooper, said Thursday that the governor proposed selling the utility in a November 2003 meeting held to discuss the utility’s contributions to the state’s General Fund….

Howard Rich: Obama’s Chilling Effect on Capitalism

LA Times: (Sept. 2002)  Showing Faith in Discretion The Fellowship, which sponsors the National Prayer Breakfast, quietly effects political change. It acts with the blessing of many in power.

Ben Daniel: Dysfunction in the Fellowship Family 

The Fellowship Foundation, a secretive organization of wealthy and powerful American political, religious, and business leaders, would rather that you not be aware of its existence.

The Fellowship Foundation is an organization that goes by many names, but members mostly call it “the Fellowship,” or just “the Family.” It is a loose, worldwide affiliation of mostly wealthy, mostly powerful, mostly men, using the Mafia as an organizational model. Preaching a simple gospel of “Jesus plus nothing,” and, being adverse to institutionalized forms of Christianity (even shunning the name “Christian”), the Fellowship eschews organized churches, choosing instead to build strong relationships in the community of small cell groups.

Harpers: (March 2003) Jesus plus nothing: Undercover among America’s secret theocrats

The organization has operated under many guises, some active, some defunct: National Committee for Christian Leadership, International Christian Leadership, the National Leadership Council, Fellowship House, the Fellowship Foundation, the National Fellowship Council, the International Foundation. These groups are intended to draw attention away from the Family, and to prevent it from becoming, in the words of one of the Family’s leaders, “a target for misunderstanding

Heritage Foundation This is but one of the many organizations that work as an “invisible hand” in promoting the agenda of the Fellowship. Here is a tiny handful of others, which I’ll add to if and when I have the time or inclination:

The National Association of Evangelicals

Values Voter Summit  This site is an excellent resource for Fellowship members, as the lists of speakers at this annual event are heavily seeded with the names/causes/organizations of the politicians, media figures, corporate leaders and Christian leaders that work (albeit invisibly, for the record) in concert with the Fellowship’s mission. :

2009 Roster of Values Voter Summit speakers: Rep. Michele Bachmann, Dr. Ted Baehr, Stephen Baldwin, Gary Bauer, Glenn Beck, Ken Blackwell, Rep. Roy Blunt, Rep. John Boehner, Gov. Jeb Bush, Herman Cain, Kirk Cameron, Dr. Ergun Caner, Rep. Eric Cantor, Sen. Tom Coburn, Sen. John Cornyn, Jim Daly, Sen. Jim DeMint, Lou Dobbs, Ed Feulner, Sean Hannity, David Horowitz, Gov. Mike Huckabee, Brit Hume, Dr. Ken Hutchenson, Terry Jeffrey, Gov. Bobby Jindal, Rush Limbaugh, Frank Luntz, Sen. Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCullough, Ed Meese, Kate O’Beirne, Bill O’Reilly, Gov. Sarah Palin, Star Parker, Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Rep. Mike Pence, Tony Perkins, Gov. Rick Perry, Carrie Prejean, Gov. Mitt Romney, Joel Rosenberg, Lila Rose, Phyllis Schlafly, Gary Sinise, Ben Stein, Mark Steyn, Fred Thompson, Eduardo Verastegui, Don Wildmon. (see also the rosters for 2008 and 2007).

Focus on the Family Action

American Values

Family Research Council (see also FRC Blog and FRC/Washington Watch Radio)

One News Now

Mapping America

American Family Association

Young America’s Foundation

The Leadership Institute

In the Fight/Matt Friedeman

  

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.

God’s Calling to Sarah Palin: A Pipeline to the Rapture

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QUESTIONS: What’s this I hear about Sarah Palin’s religion — is it as scary as it sounds? And is this really any of our business?  

ANSWERS: Yes, and yes. As a rule, when a governor believes that she is on a mission from God (her state having been prophesied to be the refuge state during the end times) and that it is God’s will for her to drill for oil and gas to meet the needs of the apocalypse, it’s both scary and our business to know about it, particularly when that politician may be contemplating the presidency.  

Sarah is a Pentecostal and belongs to the Wasilla Bible Church, said to be less extreme than her former church, the Wasilla Assembly of God. Both churches follow a literal translation of the Bible. Their views include the belief that church and state work together toward one destiny, which is to serve God’s purpose. As such, politicians — from mayors, to governors, to the president of the United States — are representatives of God, not the people.  Wasilla Bible Church draws 800-1000 worshippers each Sunday. Among their ministries are the Jews for Jesus program (which advocates converting Jews to Christianity, see video, below) and the Focus on Family conference (which promotes, among other things, curing or, as they prefer to call it, ‘overcoming’ homosexuality through the Love Won Out program). 

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 BELOW is a video produced by the Wasilla Assembly of God for “The Masters Commission of Wasilla,” a group to whom Sarah Palin delivered a speech (see separate videos, further down below, to see Sarah’s speech to this group). The video, below, is a movie trailer to a longer recruitment film for the The Masters Commission of Wasilla. A deeper look at this group can be found at the Masters Commission website, here. According to the video, below (0:46) “Masters Commision is one of the keys in God’s plans for Alaska, the United States and the entire world…. You will walk away changed.”

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BELOW, Governor Sarah Palin speaks at her former church, the Wasilla Assembly of God, before the Master Commission Students. Following are a few pertinent quotes from her speech.  

(2:06) Here, Sarah calls on the congregation to pray for the $30 billion gas pipeline in Alaska: 

God’s will has to be done in unifying  people and companies to get that gas-line built, so pray for that.

(3:47) Here, Sarah calls for prayer over the soldiers being sent by our national leaders to Iraq, as they fulfill “a task that is from God”: 

Our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God. That’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan, and that that plan is Gods’ plan.

(6:16) Here, Sarah speaks on the role of Alaska’s oil and gas in the prophecy: 

And this is what I want to pray over you guys, too, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory,  may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him and that spirit of revelation also including a spirit of prophecy that God’s gonna tell you what is going on, and what is going to go on, and you guys are gonna have that within you, and it’s just  going to bubble up, and bubble over, and it’s gonna pour out thoroughout the State of Alaska — again, good, good things in store for the State of Alaska. Let us pray for God’s will to be done here, for all of your destinies to be met in this state. There’s been so many words over the State of Alaska —  we being the head, not the tail — and I see things now in the works, it seems like things are — that’s coming to fruition — that things are percolating, that things are coming along, and — just praying for an outpouring of God’s spirit here, for that revival to be here in Alaska.

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BELOW, in Part 2 of the above speech, both the current and former pastors of the Wasilla Assembly of God join Sarah in speaking on the prophecy and God’s will in the State of Alaska, believed by the church to be one of the “refuge states” during the last days. Following are pertinent quotes from the video.

(1: 05) Here, the pastor offers comments on (former pastor) Paul Reilly’s prayer for Sarah — an answered prayer, whereby Sarah was made governor, so that she could “do this next step”: 

This is awesome, making a prophetic declaration and then unfolds the kingdom of god. You know, and so there’s the prophetic call. 

(1:25) Here, the pastor continues speaking on prophecy, Alaska and Sarah Palin, as he declares it God’s will to tap into the natural resources of Alaska, with the belief that Alaska is one of the “refuge states,” where hundreds of thousands will flock during the last days.

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?

 
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by Mantis Katz, for the canarypapers

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A Note to Obama: You’re Going the Wrong Way

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I don’t have much energy to devote to this post (my attention more or less consumed with chronic illness, debt, poverty and — with what little is left of my self — toward causes over which I may actually own a modicum of control) but the latest news on Larry Summers is the last straw.

While I could make a case for many, many last straws (your stances on Gaza, Afghanistan, Bush-Cheney war crimes and health care reform; your choice for secretary of state and the rest of your motley cast of toxic players and advisors with their sleazy conflicts of interests; your disregard toward toward HR 676 — true health care reform — and most of all your disregard, well-intentioned as it may be, of the wishes of the American people regarding all of the above) these last straws merely caused me to abandon watching the news, in the wake of abandoning the hope for real change, toward which I contributed during your campaign. 

Having said this, I do believe that your original intentions were sterling. But the news about Larry Summers is the last straw. So I’ll unclench my fingernails from the dashboard long enough to tell you what’s as clear as the nose on your face, if you’d only look. Apparently none of your closed circle is going to tell you, and rumor has it that you no longer listen to the honest ones — those whose shared vision drove your campaign toward the White House. 

Roll down the freaking window Obama. Those shower curtain rings ain’t gonna buy much, once the honeymoon’s over. 

Written by canarypapers

April 7, 2009 at 10:01 am

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 & Palin: A hopeless campaign of dog whistles and kazoos

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I grew up in the South. I know the code. I know it when I hear it, and I know how it works.  

To the uninitiated, “code” is sometimes likened to a dog whistle, heard only by a particular audience, whose ears will perk up at the mention of particular words. The code has become somewhat of a tradition in American politics, a device used to summon closet racists and certain other red-blooded Americans to the stump. If delivered properly, these same words can be used to romance the mainstream. Times used to be simpler. Restaurants, theaters, buses, water fountains and so on were duly marked: whites or coloreds. And the latter could be barred entirely from the political process by various forms of threat, including the prerequisite of taking a “literacy test” before voting. Nowadays, if a politician wishes to divide the packs into “us” vs. “them” it is more politically-correct to use a dog whistle.  

Although we’ve heard the code throughout the campaign (see examples at the bottom of this post), the dog whistling grew to a fevered intensity during the Republican convention.  After all, their opponent was not only black but — by virture of his middle name — he could also be pegged as Muslim, which, as any dog whistler could tell you, equals terrorist. So it was only natural that Sarah Palin, making her vice-presidential debut, would quote the words of a racist, fascist, pro-Nazi, anti-semitic, pseudo-populist journalist named Westbrook Pegler — a writer who openly wished for the assassinations of Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy. As dog whistles go, Sarah couldn’t have made a cleaner, more precise delivery of his quote, when she said in her acceptance speech script: 

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….

To the uninitiated, it sounded like Sarah Palin was merely conjuring the honest, by-gone simplicty of Normal Rockwell’s America. To the initiated, those words sounded like the same old, same old dog whistles we’ve been listening to since George Wallace’s heyday. In politics, that’s what you call a win-win situation. And so it was that, for a few brief days in early September, a majority of Americans appeared ready to follow the pied pipers down that well-worn path that was last traveled by George W. Bush. But then, something happened. Two things, actually: Sarah Palin spoke without a script, and Wall Street began to collapse.

Both events made glaring the shoddy construction of the McCain-Palin platform, as well as the ineptness of the two candidates carrying that platform. Their poll numbers dived accordingly. Lacking substantive issues on which to run, and having failed at counterfeiting Obama’s campaign of hope, service and change, the McCain camp opted for the path of last resort: lying about their own record, while yollering baseless, incendiary attacks on Obama. After all, the fearmongering worked for George Wallace with blacks, it worked for Richard Nixon with the anti-war protesters, and it worked for George Bush with Muslims. As September wore on, the dog whistling escalated to full-throated accuastions: Risky! Elitist! Not proud of America! Dangerous! Dishonorable! Catastrophic harm! Al Qaeda! Domestic terrorist! Terrorist!  Terrorist!

With these words, the McCain-Palin ticket gave their crowds implicit permission to engage in the same. Ordinary stump patriotism quickly disintegrated into a pack mentality, as their rally mobs began shouting, with a menacing glee, racial epithets and words such as: He’s a terrorist! Traitor! Treason! He’s a socialist! A communist! A commie faggot! Barack Hussein Obama! A one-man terrorist cell! A Muslim! An Arab! Osama bin Lyin! Bomb Obama! Off with his head! Kill him!

Back when I was in school, in the earliest day of segregation, my best friend was African American. As a result, I got at least one ass-whooping per week. Some days, upwards of 50 kids would mob around me, jeering and yollering epithets as 2, 3, 4 or 5 kids would pounce, kicking me and pummeling me in the head. This was on school grounds, usually while waiting for the bus in the afternoon. I remember one day glimpsing — as I looked out between the legs of the mob — a teacher standing nearby. She was my science teacher, my homeroom teacher. She glanced over when I yelled, “Make them stop!” then turned her head away, as if distracted by something in the other direction. I learned to take the daily ass-beatings sitting down, with my arms wrapped around my head. An easier recourse would have been to step back into my proper place, an option I rejected from the get-go, back when the threats first started, back when I was first indicted with that notorious alias: n-lover. Those words were whispered and spat at me from every niche, clique and cranny of my school, and they dogged me home, via the nightly phone calls. The violence soon followed.   

As an n-lover, there were different rules for me than other white kids. If I raised my hand in class, it was as if I were invisible. My participation was, at best, endured by my teachers as they sighed, rolled their eyes or issued snappy retorts — their tone impatient, conveying a thinly-veiled contempt (English teachers being the exception to this rule).  If I forgot my homework or was late for class, I’d be sent to the office with a note deeming me ‘disruptive’ or a ‘troublemaker.’ Granted, none of these actions could have been tried as crimes in a court of law, but when such treatment becomes a daylong, day-in and day-out way of life over a period of years, it can either wear a person down in very fundamental ways, or it can inspire a person to rebel. I’ve generally, but not always, tended toward the latter. To my parent’s credit, being an n-lover was the most natural thing in the world to me. It never occurred to me, until I got my first ass-whooping, that blacks and whites could not be friends. 

So it is with no small amount of gratitude that I, as a citizen of this country, embrace any and all national and political figures who are voicing outrage over the McCain-Palin campaign’s shameful and dangerous campaign rhetoric. I am equally grateful to those in the media who are echoing censure for both the lies and the incendiary hate-baiting. Although the truth is self-evident, some of our most prominent media figures appear to be engaging in denial.  Or, perhaps, they believe it to be impolite or showing an unfair bias to state these ugly truths outright.   

The Messenger 

Just this past weekend, one of Capitol Hill’s most respected voices, Rep. John Lewis from Georgia — a man who repeatedly and quite literally put his life on the line during the Civil Rights era — spoke out against the McCain-Palin camp’s dangerous rhetoric:

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“As one who was a victim of violence and hate during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, I am deeply disturbed by the negative tone of the McCain-Palin campaign. What I am seeing today reminds me too much of another destructive period in American history. Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are sowing the seeds of hatred and division, and there is no need for this hostility in our political discourse.

“During another period, in the not too distant past, there was a governor of the state of Alabama named George Wallace who also became a presidential candidate. George Wallace never threw a bomb. He never fired a gun, but he created the climate and the conditions that encouraged vicious attacks against innocent Americans who only desired to exercise their constitutional rights. Because of this atmosphere of hate, four little girls were killed one Sunday morning when a church was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama.

“As public figures with the power to influence and persuade, Sen. McCain and Governor Palin are playing with fire, and if they are not careful, that fire will consume us all. They are playing a very dangerous game that disregards the value of the political process and cheapens our entire democracy. We can do better. The American people deserve better.”

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Attacking the Messenger

McCain’s response to Rep. John Lewis’ reprimand speaks for itself:

Congressman John Lewis’ comments represent a character attack against Governor Sarah Palin and me that is shocking and beyond the pale. The notion that legitimate criticism of Senator Obama’s record and positions could be compared to Governor George Wallace, his segregationist policies and the violence he provoked is unacceptable and has no place in this campaign.

I am saddened that John Lewis, a man I’ve always admired, would make such a brazen and baseless attack on my character and the character of the thousands of hardworking Americans who come to our events to cheer for the kind of reform that will put America on the right track.

I call on Senator Obama to immediately and personally repudiate these outrageous and divisive comments that are so clearly designed to shut down debate 24 days before the election. Our country must return to the important debate about the path forward for America.

It goes without saying that McCain has backed himself into a corner. Unless he continues to draw the sort of supporters that would have seamlessly fit into a 1963 George Wallace rally, McCain will lose what what little is left of his ragtag base. It seems the old dog whistle’s grown a little rusty over the years. People don’t hear it quite the way they used to.  But still, McCain and Palin will keep bleating on the thing, which nowadays sounds more like a kazoo. And, with whatever breath they have left over, they will huff and puff fake outrage over each and ever censure, and they will continue the campaign of outrageously pathetic lies, such as the one we recently heard, when McCain tried to turn the tables and accuse Obama of calling him a terrorist. (see video here). 

Noble Words, Noble Deeds

There are some who accuse Obama of lofty rhetoric, who say that Obama can’t lay claim to  noble deeds to back-up his noble words. One of Sarah’s scripts derisively termed it “the idealism of high-flown speechmaking, in which crowds are stirringly summoned to support great things.” I would remind these people of what happened at an Obama rally at Independence Square in Philadelphia this past April. When Obama mentioned Hillary Clinton’s name, the crowd booed, and he told them to stop. It happened again, just this week, when his supporters booed McCain. Barack Obama intervened when his supporters merely booed his opponent. He called for civility. Yet, when faced with supporters who label his fellow senator a terrorist — repeatedly calling for his assassination —  John McCain says absolutely nothing.

To those who would accuse Obama of lofty rhetoric, I would ask that they turn away from the dog whistles for a moment and listen — really listen — to Obama’s speech from last March (see excerpt and video, below) delivered at Constitution Center in Philadelphia, in which he not only addressed race, but described that fundamental path by which America can work together to pursue a better future. This is the same fundamental path he’s been forging for his entire political career, including this campaign. Unlike his opponent, Obama speaks for all Americans, each and every one of us, including those who are still asking the question, “Who is Barack Obama?” Listen to his words and pay attention to his actions. You will find no contradictions.  

Tears flow down the face of Marty Nesbit as Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama, the senator from Illinois, speaks in Philadelphia about race.

Tears flow down the face of Marty Nesbit as Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama, the senator from Illinois, speaks in Philadelphia about race.

In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less, than what all the world’s great religions demand – that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us be our brother’s keeper, Scripture tells us. Let us be our sister’s keeper. Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well. For we have a choice in this country.

We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism…. We can play Reverend Wright’s sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she’s playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

We can do that. But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we’ll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.


That is one option.

Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, “Not this time.” This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can’t learn; that those kids who don’t look like us are somebody else’s problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.


This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with
whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care; who don’t have the power
on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on
if we do it together.


This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for
men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans
from every religion, every region, every walk of life. This time we want to talk about the
fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn’t look like you might take your job; it’s that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.


This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve
together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag. We want to
talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should’ve been authorized and
never should’ve been waged, and we want to talk about how we’ll show our patriotism by
caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.
I would not be running for President if I didn’t believe with all my heart that this is what
the vast majority of Americans want for this country. This union may never be perfect,
but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today,
whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me
the most hope is the next generation – the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and
openness to change have already made history in this election.

ABOVE: See the full content of Barack Obama’s March 2008 speech in Philadelphia, PA at Constitution Center.  

 

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by Mantis Katz for the canarypapers

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AN UGLY FOOTNOTE

Below is a sampling of the dog whistles, verbal molotovs and other incendiary devices that have been lobbed in the course of this presidential campaign. There are plenty more. I’ll enter them later, if (big if) I have the stomach for it:  

Then the radical Islamists, the al Qaeda, the radical Islamists and their supporters, will be dancing in the streets in greater numbers than they did on Sept. 11 because they will declare victory in this War on Terror. — Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) describing in March 2008 what would happen if Obama won the presidency

I’ve never believed in quotas, and I don’t. — John McCain, April 2008

I’m going to tell you something: That boy’s finger does not need to be on the button. — Kentucky Rep. Geoff Davis (R) said of Obama, April 2008

Just from what little I’ve seen of her and Mr. Obama, Sen. Obama, they’re a member of an elitist-class individual that thinks that they’re uppity. — Georgia Republican Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, in comparing Michelle Obama to Sarah Palin, Sept 4, 2008

A few years later, he ran for the U.S. Senate. He won and has spent most of his time as a “celebrity senator.” No leadership or major legislation to speak of. His rise is remarkable in its own right – it’s the kind of thing that could happen only in America. — Rudy Giuliani, in his Sept. 2008 RNC convention speech, makes a subtle nod to Affirmative Action as the conduit to Obama’s rise in politics. 

He worked as a community organizer. — Rudy Giuliani on Barack Obama, Sept. 2008 RNC

This world of threats and dangers is not just a community, and it doesn’t just need an organizer. — Sarah Palin, Sept. 2008

What does he actually seek to accomplish, after he’s done turning back the waters and healing the planet? The answer is to reduce the strength of America in a dangerous world. Terrorist states are seeking nuclear weapons without delay. He wants to meet them without preconditions. Al Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America. He’s worried that someone won’t read them their rights? — Sarah Palin on Obama, Sept. 2008

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, Sept. 2008

I think it should be a states issue not a federal government, mandated, mandating yes or no on such an important issue. I’m in that sense a federalist, where I believe that states should have more say in the laws of their lands and individual areas. — Sarah Palin, October 2008 [EDITOR’S NOTE: The mention of ‘state’s rights’ has long been code for being anti-Civil Rights. This was a prominent component of George Wallace’s rhetoric, as he tried to assert the state’s right to preserve prejudice as in institution. Here’s but one example, from ne of his more famous speeches, delivered in 1963 from the schoolhouse steps, as he physically blocked the door to bar black students from entering: “This nation was never meant to be a unit of one… This is the exact reason our freedom loving forefathers established the states, so as to divide the rights and powers among the states, insuring that no central power could gain master government control.” ]

This is not a man who sees America as you see it and how I see America. We see America as the greatest force for good in this world. — Sarah Palin on Obama,  October 2008 

Our opponent is someone who sees America it seems as being so imperfect that he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their own country.  — Sarah Palin, October 2008

My opponent’s touchiness every time he is questioned about his record should make us only more concerned. For a guy who’s already authored two memoirs, he’s not exactly an open book. It’s as if somehow the usual rules don’t apply, and where other candidates have to explain themselves and their records, Senator Obama seems to think he is above all that…. In short: Who is the real Barack Obama? — John McCain, Oct. 2008 [In short, McCain would like us ask ourselves, “Is Barack Hussein Obama a *real* American? Just who is this dark stranger? And what is this scary, black, Muslim-y terrorist-like guy going to do with our country if we elect him?”] 

“Barack Obama’s friend tried to kill my family.” — from a McCain campaign press release, October 2008

Sit down, boy. — Shouted at an African American media soundman by a Sarah Palin supporter during a rally  

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The McCain campaign has crossed the line between tough negative campaigning and inciting vigilantism, and each day the mob howls louder. The onus is on the man who says he puts his country first to call off the dogs, pit bulls and otherwise. — Frank Rich, October 2008

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For more on dog whistle politics, see:

Stop Dog Whistle Racism: tracking race in this year’s elections