Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hear From The Great Palin Anytime

Can't get enough of the wisdom of The Great Palin, the messiah, zealous leader, and savior, that John McCain and this country need in these frightful times. Then visit the Sarah Palin Quotes Generator 24/7, and hear insightful comment and analysis almost as inspirational as the real thing.

All Hail The Great Palin!

Many Doubt The Great Palin

A pox on ye of little faith. Some say The Great Palin has simply never given much thought to many important national and international issues. They say that she spits out tired cliches, random jargon, and catchphrases she has been coached to repeat, often resulting in nonsensical answers, gibberish really. And who are the doubters, see the bad reviews and commentary about The Great Palin’s readiness to be vice president and perhaps even president:

And let us not forget the heretics at Saturday Night Live, mocking The Great Palin, not once, but twice.

They are all Unbelievers. I say The Great Palin is divinely inspired. Her likeness should be carved into Mount Rushmore today, why wait. I know she has the answer to the great crisis(es) now facing this country.

On Thursday, The Great Palin will rise from the stage and smite the unbelievers and doubters. Then she will save us all with her wisdom.

All hail The Great Palin!

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Great Palin Speaks Again, This Time About the Economy

McCain will not share The Great Palin with us all. CNN anchor Campbell Brown has accused the McCain camp of treating Palin like "a delicate flower" for refusing to allow Palin to hold press conferences or field questions from reporters. Nevertheless, The Great Palin has honored us with her insight into the financial crisis. Here is the exchange between The Great Palin and CBS anchor Katie Couric:

COURIC: Why isn't it better, Governor Palin, to spend $700 billion helping middle-class families who are struggling with health care, housing, gas and groceries; allow them to spend more and put more money into the economy instead of helping these big financial institutions that played a role in creating this mess?

PALIN: That's why I say I, like every American I'm speaking with, were ill about this position that we have been put in where it is the taxpayers looking to bail out. But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health-care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy, helping the--it's got to be all about job creation, too, shoring up our economy and putting it back on the right track. So health-care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions and tax relief for Americans. And trade, we've got to see trade as opportunity, not as a competitive, scary thing. But one in five jobs being created in the trade sector today, we've got to look at that as more opportunity. All those things under the umbrella of job creation. This bailout is a part of that.

Some might call this "nonsense--a vapid emptying out of every catchphrase about economics that came into her head. . . the more Palin talks, the more we see that it may not be sexism but common sense that's causing the McCain campaign to treat her like a time bomb."

Not I, I eagerly await the next great pronouncement of The Great Palin.

How about you?

The Bailout is a Bad Idea, Part V

The following article explains that the financial crisis was not caused by subprime mortgages, but by the enormous liability that insurance companies and financial institutions have for credit default swaps.
It also appears that Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. is trying to bailout his former firm Goldman Sachs. From the article:

"Although it was not widely known, Goldman, a Wall Street stalwart that had seemed immune to its rivals’ woes, was A.I.G.’s largest trading partner, according to six people close to the insurer who requested anonymity because of confidentiality agreements. A collapse of the insurer threatened to leave a hole of as much as $20 billion in Goldman’s side, several of these people said.

Days later, federal officials, who had let Lehman die and initially balked at tossing a lifeline to A.I.G., ended up bailing out the insurer for $85 billion."

Can you say conflict of interest.

Don't forget that in the first draft Paulson demanded that Congress forbid judicial review of his decisions on use of the money in the bailout. Not only would his decisions be beyond review but so would the actions of his pals in the banking world.

Paulson should be removed from office. And there should be no bailout until he is removed.

The Great Palin Makes Former Beauty Queens Proud

The National Review was founded by the late author William F. Buckley, Jr. and describes itself as "America's most widely read and influential magazine and web site for Republican/conservative news, commentary, and opinion." It is usually considered the center of intellectual activity for the American Conservative movement in the twentieth century. But on Friday,Kathleen Parker, a nationally syndicated conservative columnist, suggested that The Great Palin quit. How dare she!! Parker wrote in her op-ed found at the National Review:

"As we've seen and heard more from John McCain's running mate, it is increasingly clear that Palin is a problem. Quick study or not, she doesn't know enough about economics and foreign policy to make Americans comfortable with a President Palin should conditions require her promotion. . .

Palin didn’t make a mess cracking the glass ceiling. She simply glided through it.

It was fun while it lasted.

Palin’s recent interviews with Charles Gibson, Sean Hannity, and now Katie Couric have all revealed an attractive, earnest, confident candidate. Who Is Clearly Out Of Her League.

No one hates saying that more than I do. Like so many women, I’ve been pulling for Palin, wishing her the best, hoping she will perform brilliantly. I’ve also noticed that I watch her interviews with the held breath of an anxious parent, my finger poised over the mute button in case it gets too painful. Unfortunately, it often does. My cringe reflex is exhausted.

Palin filibusters. She repeats words, filling space with deadwood. Cut the verbiage and there’s not much content there. Here’s but one example of many from her interview with Hannity: “Well, there is a danger in allowing some obsessive partisanship to get into the issue that we’re talking about today. And that’s something that John McCain, too, his track record, proving that he can work both sides of the aisle, he can surpass the partisanship that must be surpassed to deal with an issue like this.”

When Couric pointed to polls showing that the financial crisis had boosted Obama’s numbers, Palin blustered wordily: “I’m not looking at poll numbers. What I think Americans at the end of the day are going to be able to go back and look at track records and see who’s more apt to be talking about solutions and wishing for and hoping for solutions for some opportunity to change, and who’s actually done it?”

If BS were currency, Palin could bail out Wall Street herself.

If Palin were a man, we’d all be guffawing, just as we do every time Joe Biden tickles the back of his throat with his toes. But because she’s a woman — and the first ever on a Republican presidential ticket — we are reluctant to say what is painfully true.

What to do?

McCain can’t repudiate his choice for running mate. He not only risks the wrath of the GOP’s unforgiving base, but he invites others to second-guess his executive decision-making ability. Barack Obama faces the same problem with Biden.

Only Palin can save McCain, her party, and the country she loves. She can bow out for personal reasons, perhaps because she wants to spend more time with her newborn. No one would criticize a mother who puts her family first.

Do it for your country. "

This column is conservative heresy. (NOTE: Heresy means dissent or deviation from a dominant theory, opinion, or practice, an opinion, doctrine, or practice contrary to the truth or to generally accepted beliefs or standards.)

I know you agree with me that The Great Palin is making former beauty queens everywhere very proud!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Dopey Endorses McCain-Palin

Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs

The seven dwarfs always left to go work in the mine early each morning. As always, Snow White stayed home doing her domestic chores.

As lunchtime approached, she would prepare their lunch and carry it to the mine.

One day as she arrived at the mine with the lunch, she saw that there had been a terrible cave-in. Tearfully, and fearing the worst, Snow White began calling out, hoping against hope that the dwarfs had somehow survived.

"Hello!...Hello!" she shouted. "Can anyone hear me? Hello!"

For a long while, there was no answer.

Losing hope, Snow White again shouted, "Hello! Is anyone down there?"

Just as she was about to give up all hope, she heard a faint voice from deep within the mine, singing . . .

"Vote for McCain/Palin!! - Vote for McCain/Palin!!"

Snow White fell to her knees, crossed herself and prayed, "Oh, thank you, God! At least Dopey is still alive!"

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Great Palin Speaks Again

When asked this week about her foreign policy experience and Alaska’s proximity to Russia by Katie Couric of CBS News, The Great Palin explained:

“That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and on our other side, the land — boundary that we have with — Canada. It’s funny that a comment like that was kind of made to — cari — I don’t know, you know? Reporters ...”

“Mocked?” said Couric.

“Yeah, mocked,” said Ms. Palin. “I guess that’s the word. Yeah.”

Actually, I think the word that she was trying to say was caricature. It means to depict by exaggerating the person's unusual or distinctive qualities. I think The Great Palin's foreign policy experience is particularly unusual. Don't you agree? But I digress, asked to explain the geographic point, The Great Palin honored us by saying:

“Well, it certainly does, because our, our next-door neighbors are foreign countries, they're in the state that I am the executive of.”

And thus was born a Great Palin Proverb -- To see is to know. Whatever The Great Palin sees, she knows. But the doubting Couric continued and asked Our Great Palin if she had ever been involved in negotiations, for example, with her Russian neighbors. And The Great Palin responded to the doubting Couric:

“We have trade missions back and forth. We — we do — it’s very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the airspace of the United States of America, where — where do they go? It’s Alaska. It’s just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to — to our state.”

And so it came to pass that The Great Palin proclaimed that she would save us from the Evil Putin.

Did I say that her running mate is 72-years old?

All hail The Great Palin!

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Bailout is a Bad Idea, Part IV

Too stressed out to read, then listen to this story why the bailout is bull:
  • NPR Interview
  • Economist: Bailout Makes Little Economic Sense
    Morning Edition, September 26, 2008 · One opponent to the $700 billion financial rescue plan is Allan Meltzer, a former Fed economist and a professor at Carnegie Mellon university in Pittsburgh, Pa. Meltzer tells Steve Inskeep he's against the proposal because he thinks if Wall Street created the problem, then Wall Street should solve it.

Want to Know Why McCain has Been Hiding Palin

Read the article if you want to know why McCain has been hiding Palin and wants to cancel her debated with Biden next week:

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Soon To Be Infamous Statements

Remember these:

"I have great, great confidence in our capital markets and in our financial institutions. Our financial institutions, banks and investment banks, are strong. Our capital markets are resilient. They're efficient. They're flexible." -- Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, March 16, 2008

"Our policy in this administration -- laws shouldn't bail out lenders, laws shouldn't help speculators." -- President Bush, May 19, 2008

"Our economy has continued growing, consumers are spending, business are investing, exports continue increasing and American productivity remains strong. We can have confidence in the long-term foundation of our economy...I think the system basically is sound. I truly do." -- President Bush, July 15, 2008

Got any others?

Republi-Con Reality

9/11, Iraq, secret prisons and torture, Katrina, North Korea, Iran, budget deficits, etc., no matter, it is always someone else's fault. Is it just me, or are Republi-Cons (members of a group formerly known as the GOP) delusional?

My favorite quote is by Ayn Rand:

"We can evade reality, but we cannot evade the consequences of evading reality."

Reality is catching up with the Republi-Cons.

The Great Palin Has Spoken

In just her third interview in three weeks (hope she's not breaking a sweet), Palin, who I predict will dubbed the Accidental President if something should happen to her 72-year old running mate, said this about the bailout rescue bill:

"Not necessarily this, as it’s been proposed, has to pass or we’re gonna find ourselves in another Great Depression. But there has to be action taken, bipartisan effort — Congress not pointing fingers at this point at ... one another, but finding the solution to this, taking action and being serious about the reforms on Wall Street that are needed.”

Did this women graduate with a degree in communications-journalism? Has anyone actually seen the diploma?

Did I say that her running mate is 72-years old?

All hail the Great Palin!

Would Be Funny If It Wasn't So True

More bailout humor:
  • Editorial cartoons:
  • Ed Stein, The Bailout, Simplified,
  • Ann Telnaes, Robbing Us Blind,
  • Pat Oliphant and Bruce Plante on Bush and Cheney's mission accomplished.
  • Lat night humor:
  • Stephen Colbert on the bailout: "This is one of the most important, irrevocable economic decisions we will ever make. Let's make it in a state of panic."
  • Jon Stewart asked John Oliver: "Is this economic icing, then, sort of the turd icing on this administration's [expletive]-cake, if you will?"
  • Jay Leno: "Oh, more bad news from President Bush. Remember those rebate checks from a few months ago? He wants them back. Yeah! We need to give that money to rich people on Wall Street. They need it more than you do!"
  • Jimmy Kimmel: "President Bush made a farewell speech in front of the United Nations General Assembly. You know, the President is not an eloquent speaker, but I thought he spoke quite powerfully today, especially at the end of his speech when he looked out at all the delegates representing all the nations of the world and . . . said, 'Can we borrow some money?'"

The Joke's on Us

An email (with a few changes) from a friend:

What was the reason given for developing the Department of Energy during the Carter administration? We have spent multi-billions of dollars in support of this agency and I am willing to bet not one person who reads this will remember the reason given. It was very simple:

"Promoting America’s energy security through reliable, clean, and affordable energy."

Don't believe it.... read their mission statement.

Now, haven't they just done a bang up job of fulfilling their mandate??

In 2008 the DOE budget was $24.2 billion. Money well spent, NOT!

Note: For years, I've advocated GRAC, the Government Reform and Realignment Committee, to reform government.

Con Job by the Republi-Cons

Have you received an email claiming that Democrats created the financial crisis and referencing an article at Bloomberg? This is just Republi-Con (new name for the group formerly known as the GOP) propaganda in an attempt to rewrite history.

First, the author of this article is Kevin Hassett, an adviser to McCain's camapign. Hassett, you might remember, wrote a book published in November 2000 titled Dow 36,000, in which Hassett and James Glassman argue that "that stocks have been undervalued for decades and that, for the next few years, investors can expect a dramatic one-time upward adjustment in stock prices. Why? While Wall Street has focused on valuation measures such as P/E ratios, it has virtually ignored how stocks can work as cash engines."

Undoubtedly he was asked to write this piece by Rick Davis, McCain's campaign manager. Davis was paid $180,000 by Freddie Mac, even though Davis did not do much substantive work for the company in return for the money. Guess Davis is trying to earn his pay now.

The S.190 bill was sent to committee in 2005, by, yes, that is right, the Republi-Cons. McCain didn't even join the until 10 months after it was sent to committee. And it was never considered an important bill, only four senators joined in the bill.

Finally, not two months ago McCain said he was for less government regulation.

I once admired John McCain. But he has bought into the main stream Republican hypocrisy, and as typical for Republicans, can't accept responsibility.

UPDATE: Davis was also paid $30,000 a month from 2000 to 2005 by the so-called Homeownership Alliance, an advocacy organization that he headed and that was financed by Freddie and Fannie to fight regulation.

The Bailout is a Bad Idea, Part III

Another idea worth considering:

But something needs to be done:

McCain is a Whiner

McCain suspends his campaign?!! Why all the whining about the economy, isn't it all just 'mental.' Let's ask Phil Gramm, McCain's former economic adviser.

It's a ploy because McCain is slipping in the polls.

I also suspect that McCain is attempting to cancel or postpone the VP candidate debate because Palin isn't ready. First McCain claims that he must return to Washington and suspends his campaign. Next he wants to postpone Friday's Presidential candidate debate. Finally, he will suggest rescheduling Friday's debate to next Thursday, when the vice presidential nominees are scheduled to face off.

Mission accomplished, Palin stays in an undisclosed location.

UPDATE: Told ya so, McCain wants to cancel the VP debate.

It's Déjà vu All Over Again

Does this economic crisis remind anyone else of the rush to war with Iraq? See

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Should We Return to the Gold Standard

Should we return to the gold standard? Read:
  • Since 1971, nothing has stood behind the American dollar except the world’s good opinion of the United States. And now, the world is changing its mind.

No Bailout Until They Say Sorry

Good idea, I second it:

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

(Not So Funny) Humor

This might be funny, if is wasn't so true:
  • Late Night Comedians
    Jay Leno: "See, you know the way a bailout works? Here's the way a bailout works. A failed president and a failed Congress invest $700 billion of your money in failed businesses. Believe me, this can't fail."
  • The St. Louis Post Dispatch editorial cartoon, Bush's new bullhorn moment

Fat Cats First

A good summary:
  • Washington Post article
  • Fat Cats First
  • Looking back on the wreckage of the Bush era, there is one undeniable bright spot: It's been a very good time to be a fat cat. A consistent result of virtually every major Bush policy, from tax cuts to war, has been to enrich the already wealthy. The pinnacle of Bush's legacy may turn out to be a $700 billion bailout of the high-flying Wall Street firms that made enormous fortunes -- and rewarded themselves with billions in bonuses-- leveraging risky mortgage-backed assets. Now that those firms are in deep trouble, the Bush administration wants taxpayers -- many of whom are facing their own financial troubles -- to come to the rescue. And, in case there's any doubt that it's fat-cats-first with this White House, the news today is that Bush aides are balking at moves that would require companies accepting bailouts to cap executive pay, or give taxpayers equity for their contributions.

How Low Can He Go

The latest American Research Group poll has Bush's approval rating at 19 percent, matching that survey's all-time low.

Compassionate Conservative Plea to Help Needy Wall Street CEOs

Excerpt from Washington Post article:
Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson (R-Goldman Sachs) made the rounds of the talk shows on Sunday, pleading for financial executives to be allowed to keep their multimillion-dollar compensation packages even if their companies need to be rescued by the $700 billion federal bailout.

"If we design it so it's punitive and so institutions aren't going to participate, this won't work the way we need it to work," Paulson, whose net worth is said to be north of $600 million, told Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday."

The bailout is a con job by the Republi-Cons (group formerly known as the GOP).

No Questions From the Media in Media, PA

An article from the New York Times:

The Media Blackout: Nearly 40 Days and Counting

By Michael D. Shear
The country may have turned its attention to the economic crisis and a staggering $700 billion bailout proposal, but political operatives still have their eyes on other issues.

Among them, for the Democrats, is keeping track of how long it's been since the Republican presidential ticket has answered questions from the media. A Web site keeps track.

As of this writing, it has been 39 days and 22 hours since Sen. John McCain last held a news conference (despite having promised to hold weekly Q&A sessions with the press if he's elected). According to the Democrats, it's been 24 days and 11 hours since his running mate, Sarah Palin, held one.

Not the most important issue of the day, perhaps. But maybe the most ironic, given where McCain and Palin were Monday: In Media, Pa.

Where they didn't take questions.

Posted at 10:00 PM ET

The Bailout is a Bad Idea, Part II

If there is no oversight, there should be no bailout. See:
  • Article from The Huffington Post
  • Dirty Secret Of The Bailout: Thirty-Two Words That None Dare Utter
  • Article from The Nation
  • Paulson Bailout Plan a Historic Swindle
  • New York Times Op-Ed Columnist
  • A Second Opinion?
  • Lobbyists, bankers and Wall Street types are already hopping up and down like over-excited children, ready to burst into the government’s $700 billion piñata. This widespread eagerness is itself an indication that there is something too sweet about the Paulson plan. . . . The free-market madmen who treated the American economy like a giant casino have had their day. It’s time to drag them away from the tables and into the sunlight of reality.

Monday, September 22, 2008

My Vote

I'd vote for the first candidate who would resign his/her party if elected. But this comes close:
  • John McCain, on 60 Minutes, said that as president, “I would move the political office out of the White House and into the Republican National Committee. We've got to have a White House that is without politics.”

Glass Houses

Did McCain forget the old saying, people who live in glass houses should not throw stones? See:


More funnies:
  • Late Night Comedians
    Jay Leno: "Give you an idea how bad the American economy is -- Mexico is now calling for a fence along the border."
    Jay Leno: "President Bush has issued a new warning to Iran that it faces new economic sanctions after reports by the UN atomic watchdog committee that Iran is still enriching uranium. President Bush promising new economic sanctions. And believe me, if there's one thing the President is an expert on, it is ruining a country's economy."
  • Philadelphia Daily News editorial cartoon, George Bush the great nationalizer
  • Knoxville News Sentinel editorial cartoon, Bush's fireside chat


With which political candidate do you really agree? Statements on the economy, Iraq, immigration, health care, and other hot topics, choose the statement with which you most agree, and at the end see which candidate you have more in common with.

Was It A Con Job to Prop Up the Stock Market

Remember, the Republi-Cons (more appropriate name for the GOP) wanted to put government money in the stock exchange - McCain supports Bush's idea of channeling at least some Social Security funds into "personal accounts" that individuals would invest on Wall Street. Some of that money would have been entrusted to firms such as Bear Stearns (failed), Lehman Brothers (failed) and Merrill Lynch (sold at a fire sale).

The Bailout is a Bad Idea

Is the bailout a good idea? On what would you spend $1 trillion or more on, bailing out Wall Street or helping Main Street? See:

Government Reform

Article highlighting the need for government reform, and further proof that government workers are overcompensated:

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Listen to NoBullBert Today

The voice of wisdom and reason in a world/wilderness of partisan rhetoric -- No political insanity, no conservative/GOP hypocrisy, no liberal/Dem. foolishness -- Just straight talk, straight at you, and that’s no bull!!

On air Fridays from 4:05 to 6 p.m. at 1330 AM WEBY

On line (link on upper left side)

Is Palin "a toned-down version of the porn actress?"

No comment:
  • Canadian Broadcasting Centre Viewpoint
    A Mighty Wind blows through Republican convention
    I assume John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential partner in a fit of pique because the Republican money men refused to let him have the stuffed male shirt he really wanted. She added nothing to the ticket that the Republicans didn't already have sewn up, the white trash vote, the demographic that sullies America's name inside and outside its borders yet has such a curious appeal for the right. . . Palin has a toned-down version of the porn actress look favoured by this decade's woman, the overtreated hair, puffy lips and permanently alarmed expression. Bristol has what is known in Britain as the look of the teen mum, the "pramface." Husband Todd looks like a roughneck; Track, heading off to Iraq, appears terrified. They claim to be family obsessed while being studiously terrible at parenting. What normal father would want Levi "I'm a fuckin' redneck" Johnson prodding his daughter?

Will Hillary be VP?

She’s back, well almost, according to a rumor I received by email:

Let me share some info with you that I have gotten from excellent sources within the DNC: On or about October 5th, Biden will excuse himself from the ticket, citing health problems, and he will be replaced by Hillary. This is timed to occur after the VP debate on 10/2. There have been talks all weekend about how to proceed with this info. generally, the feeling is that we should all go ahead and get it out there to as many blog sites and personal email lists as is possible. I have already seen a few short blurbs about this - the "health problem" cited in those articles was aneurysm. Probably many of you have heard the same rumblings.

Is Fairhope, AL Some Communist, Hippie Commune

Interesting article for the local folks:
  • Fairhope is a refuge for writers, artists and iconoclasts, and for second-homers, retirees and young families. It has one foot dancing in the New Age, and one rooted in the Old South.

Who is the real John McCain?

Do you wonder, like I, who is the real John McCain. These might help:

President Bush, Bartender-in-Chief

Quote by author Naomi Klein:

President Bush was recently quoted as saying that Wall Street 'got drunk and now it's got a hangover.' The administration was serving the drinks, and I'm arguing that Bush was bartender in chief.

See her other comments and suggestions.

More Funnies

Dan Wasserman on Comrade Bush, Adam Zyglis on Bush's disaster tour, Stuart Carlson on the Bush lesson, Larry Wright on Bush's place in history, and Paul Zanetti on Bush's legacy.

Another Chip Off the Old Bush

Tuesday, Sarah Palin impressively managed to call for more government and less government -- in the same stump speech. First she said "Guys and gals, our regulatory system is outdated and needs a complete overhaul...We are going to reform the way Wall Street does business...

Moments later Palin say that "government has got to get out of the way" to allow the private sector to create jobs and that she would "recognize that it's not government to be looked at to solve all the problems."

Watch for yourself, about half way through after the ad, at time 2:30.

Someone should check her script, she is mixing up the cram notes that the McCain campaign gave her to repeat.

McCain Has No Honor

I thought John McCain was a better man than to stoop to Rovian-style campaigning. But it appears Mr. McCain forgot his midshipman training. Someone should remind him that the mission statement of the U.S. Naval Academy is:

“To develop midshipmen morally, mentally and physically and to imbue them with the highest ideals of duty, honor and loyalty in order to provide graduates who are dedicated to a career of naval service and have potential for future development in mind and character to assume the highest responsibilities of command, citizenship and government.”

Lying, even to get elected, is dishonorable. John McCain should be ashamed of himself.

Of course, he is a Republi-Con (proper name for the GOP).

Don’t vote for McBush.

NoBullBert, A Fellow USNA Graduate Like McCain

An article from the Washington Post that is on point:

Why Do Lies Prevail?

John McCain was not offended when Barack Obama described McCain’s policy agenda as putting “lipstick on a pig.” I can’t prove that, but it seems so obvious to me that it’s more like a fact than an opinion. Nor could McCain possibly have thought that Obama was calling McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin, a pig, since Obama didn’t even mention Palin. If Obama had even thought that his words would be misinterpreted as calling Palin a pig, he wouldn’t have said them. That also seems obvious. The whole controversy is ginned up, a fraud, a lie. All obvious.

I know that by even bringing this up, I am falling into the trap that McCain’s people have set and perpetuating this ridiculous controversy. But the routine acceptance of obvious lies now corrodes our politics as much as the money that was the subject of McCain’s famous act of Republican apostasy: McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform. McCain has described his motive for McCain-Feingold as a giant mea culpa for his involvement in the Keating Five scandal. Maybe when this is over, one way or another, McCain will swear off corrupt lying the way he has sworn off corrupt money.

But it shouldn’t be necessary to wait for one of McCain’s conveniently delayed conversions to righteousness. In a democracy, obvious lies and obvious liars should be self-defeating. Why aren’t they?

One reason is that the media have trouble calling a lie a lie, or asserting that one side is lying more than the other — even when that is objectively the case. They lean over backwards to give liars the benefit of the doubt, even when there is no doubt. Objectivity can’t be objectively measured. What can be is balance. So if the sins of both campaigns are reported as roughly equal, the media feel they are doing their job — even if this is objectively untrue.

But the bigger reason is that no one — not the media, not the campaign professionals, not the voters — cares enough about lying. To some extent, they even respect a well-told lie as evidence of professionalism. If a candidate complains too much about an opponent’s lies, he or she starts being regarded as a bad sport, a whiner. Stoic silence doesn’t work either. People start asking why you don’t “fight back.” Pretty soon, the victim of the lies starts getting blamed. C’mon: this isn’t paddycakes; politics ain’t beanball; and so on. This happened to Al Gore in 2000 and to John Kerry in 2004. And it’s already starting to happen to Barack Obama this year.

Sure, if he loses, it will be his fault. Sure, he and everybody ought to know that the Republicans play this game for keeps. But that shouldn’t let John McCain off the hook. He says he’d rather lose the election than lose the war. But it seems he’d rather lose that honor he’s always going on about than lose the election.

By Michael Kinsley | September 10, 2008; 9:54 PM ET

Homework Assignment

Homework assignment for September 19, 2008, show:



Why NoBull?

I chose the name after reading the following article in the New York Times (important parts highlighted):

February 14, 2005

Between Truth and Lies, An Unprintable Ubiquity

Harry G. Frankfurt, 76, is a moral philosopher of international reputation and a professor emeritus at Princeton. He is also the author of a book recently published by the Princeton University Press that is the first in the publishing house's distinguished history to carry a title most newspapers, including this one, would find unfit to print. The work is called "On Bull - - - - ."

The opening paragraph of the 67-page essay is a model of reason and composition, repeatedly disrupted by that single obscenity:

"One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much [bull]. Everyone knows this. Each of us contributes his share. But we tend to take the situation for granted. Most people are rather confident of their ability to recognize [bull] and to avoid being taken in by it. So the phenomenon has not aroused much deliberate concern, nor attracted much sustained inquiry."

The essay goes on to lament that lack of inquiry, despite the universality of the phenomenon. "Even the most basic and preliminary questions about [bull] remain, after all," Mr. Frankfurt writes, "not only unanswered but unasked."

The balance of the work tries, with the help of Wittgenstein, Pound, St. Augustine and the spy novelist Eric Ambler, among others, to ask some of the preliminary questions - to define the nature of a thing recognized by all but understood by none.

What is [bull], after all? Mr. Frankfurt points out it is neither fish nor fowl. Those who produce it certainly aren't honest, but neither are they liars, given that the liar and the honest man are linked in their common, if not identical, regard for the truth.

"It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth," Mr. Frankfurt writes. "A person who lies is thereby responding to the truth, and he is to that extent respectful of it."

The bull artist, on the other hand, cares nothing for truth or falsehood. The only thing that matters to him is "getting away with what he says," Mr. Frankfurt writes. An advertiser or a politician or talk show host given to [bull] "does not reject the authority of the truth, as the liar does, and oppose himself to it," he writes. "He pays no attention to it at all."

And this makes him, Mr. Frankfurt says, potentially more harmful than any liar, because any culture and he means this culture rife with [bull] is one in danger of rejecting "the possibility of knowing how things truly are." It follows that any form of political argument or intellectual analysis or commercial appeal is only as legitimate, and true, as it is persuasive. There is no other court of appeal.

The reader is left to imagine a culture in which institutions, leaders, events, ethics feel improvised and lacking in substance. "All that is solid," as Marx once wrote, "melts into air."

Mr. Frankfurt is an unlikely slinger of barnyard expletives. He is a courtly man, with a broad smile and a philosophic beard, and he lives in apparently decorous retirement with his wife, Joan Gilbert, in a lovely old house near the university.

On a visit there earlier this month, there was Heifetz was on the stereo, good food and wine on the table.

But appearances, in this case, are somewhat misleading. Mr. Frankfurt spent much of his childhood in Brooklyn, and still sees himself as a disputatious Brooklynite - one who still speaks of the Dodgers as "having betrayed us." And, in any event, Mr. Frankfurt is not particularly academic in the way he views his calling.

"I got interested in philosophy because of two things," he said. "One is that I was never satisfied with the answers that were given to questions, and it seemed to me that philosophy was an attempt to get down to the bottom of things."

"The other thing," he added, "was that I could never make up my mind what I was interested in, and philosophy enabled you to be interested in anything."

Those interests found expression in a small and scrupulous body of work that tries to make sense of free will, desire and love in closely reasoned but jargon-free prose, illustrated by examples of behavior (philosophers speak of the "Frankfurt example") that anyone would recognize.

"He's dealing with very abstract matters," said Sarah Buss, who teaches philosophy at the University of Iowa, "but trying not to lose touch with the human condition. His work keeps faith with that condition."

Mr. Frankfurt's teaching shares with his prose a spirit Ms. Buss, who was once his graduate student, defines as, "Come in and let's struggle with something."

"He was very willing," she added, " to say, 'I just don't understand this.'"

The essay on [bull] arose from that kind of struggle. In 1986, Mr. Frankfurt was teaching at Yale, where he took part in a weekly seminar. The idea was to get people of various disciplines to listen to a paper written by one of their number, after which everyone would talk about it over lunch.

Mr. Frankfurt decided his contribution would be a paper on [bull]. "I had always been concerned about the importance of truth," he recalled," the way in which truth is foundational to civilization and the various deformities of it that were current."

"I'd been concerned about the prevalence of [bull]," he continued, "and the lack of concern for truth and respect for truth that it represented."

"I used the title I did," he added, "because I wanted to talk about [bull] without any [bull], so I didn't use 'humbug' or 'bunkum.' "

Research was a problem. The closest analogue came from Socrates.

"He called it rhetoric or sophistry," Mr. Frankfurt said, "and regarded philosophy as the great enemy of rhetoric and sophistry."

"These were opposite, incompatible ways of persuading people," he added. "You could persuade them with rhetoric - or [bull] - with sophistic arguments that weren't really sound but that you could put over on people, or you could persuade them by philosophical arguments which were dedicated to rigor and clarity of thought."

Mr. Frankfurt recalled that it took him about a month to write the essay, after which he delivered it to the humanities group. "I guess I should say it was received enthusiastically," he said, "but they didn't know whether to laugh or to take it seriously."

Some months after the reading, the essay, title intact, was published by The Raritan Review, a journal then edited by Richard Poirier, a distinguished literary critic. In 1988, Mr. Frankfurt included it in "The Importance of What We Care About," a collection of his essays.

The audience for academic journals and collections of philosophical essays is limited, however, and so the essay tended to be passed along, samizdat style, from one aficionado to another.

"In the 20 years since it was published," Mr. Frankfurt said, "I don't think a year has passed in which I haven't gotten one or two letters or e-mails from people about it."

One man from Wales set some of the text to music; another who worked in the financial industry wanted to create an annual award for the worst piece of analysis published in his field (an idea apparently rejected by his superiors). G. A. Cohen, the Chichele professor of social and political theory at All Souls College, Oxford University, has written two papers on the subject.

"Harry has a unique capacity to take a simple truth and draw from it very consequential implications," Mr. Cohen said. "He is very good at identifying the potent elementary fact."

It was Ian Malcolm, the Princeton University Press editor responsible for philosophy, who approached Mr. Frankfurt about publishing the essay as a stand-alone volume. "The only way the essay would get the audience it deserved was to publish it as a small book," he said. "I had a feeling it would sell, but we weren't quite prepared for the interest it got."

For Mr. Frankfurt, who says it has always been his ambition to move philosophy "back to what most people think of as philosophy, which is a concern with the problems of life and with understanding the world," the book might be considered a successful achievement. But he finds he is still trying to get to the bottom of things, and hasn't arrived.

"When I reread it recently," he said at home, "I was sort of disappointed. It wasn't as good as I'd thought it was. It was a fairly superficial and incomplete treatment of the subject."

"Why," he wondered, "do we respond to [bull] in such a different way than we respond to lies? When we find somebody lying, we get angry, we feel we've been betrayed or violated or insulted in some way, and the liar is regarded as deceptive, deficient, morally at fault."

Why we are more tolerant of [bull] than lying is something Mr. Frankfurt believes would be worth considering.

"Why is lying regarded almost as a criminal act?" he asked, "while bull is sort of cuddly and warm? It's outside the realm of serious moral criticism. Why is that?"