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McCain win probability: 2.8%

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fivethirtyeight.com runs 10,000 simulations every day. Now sees McCain win in only 2.8% of potential outcomes.
clipped from www.fivethirtyeight.com

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Written by Monte

November 1, 2008 at 12:33 pm

Posted in Politics

Des Moines Register rebukes McCain, endorses Obama

with 5 comments

“Though widely regarded as a man of honor, he has overseen a campaign premised on purposeful distortions about Obama and his record.”

Amen to that.

clipped from www.dailykos.com
McCain, like Obama, brought an appealing personal history to the campaign. He’s a genuine American hero
The Register’s editorial board endorsed McCain for the Republican nomination and looked forward to a serious-minded contest between competing ideologies and worthy foes
But it’s as if McCain has lost his way, forfeiting principle for gain of a few points in the polls
Though widely regarded as a man of honor, he has overseen a campaign premised on purposeful distortions about Obama and his record
Worst of all, in grasping for political edge in his choice of a running mate, he burdened his ticket and potentially the country with an individual utterly unqualified to ascend to the presidency
Before choosing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, McCain emphasized the importance of experience
Then he picked a running mate who clearly isn’t ready.
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Written by Monte

October 26, 2008 at 9:10 pm

Posted in Politics

McCain/Palin campaign rebuked: “incendiary mendacity”

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Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin

Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin

Ninety-one college and university professors of communications—the people who write the textbooks that teach our kids how to tell truth from propaganda—have called out the McCain/Palin campaign for deceptive and inflammatory statements.

Yesterday, they wrote:

… the Republican ticket of John McCain and Sarah Palin has engaged in such incendiary mendacity that we must speak out. The purposeful dissemination of messages that a communicator knows to be false and inflammatory is unethical. It is that simple.

Surely it is not wise to elect people who claim to be “country first” yet, for their own benefit, inflame the sad fears and racial divisions that still lie among us.  We need presidents who lead the way against those things.

Statement Concerning Recent Discourse of the McCain/Palin Campaign

October 23, 2008

This statement is signed by research faculty of communication programs from across the nation. We speak as concerned educators and scholars of communication but do not claim to speak for our home institutions.

We wish to express our great concern over unethical communication behavior that threatens to dominate the closing days of the 2008 Presidential campaign.

Both major campaigns have been criticized by fact-checking organizations for prevarications. We call on both campaigns to halt blatant misrepresentations of their opponent’s positions.  [Bravo! – Monte]

It would be misleading, however, to imply that since “both sides do it” there is no qualitative difference worth noting. In recent weeks, the Republican ticket of John McCain and Sarah Palin has engaged in such incendiary mendacity that we must speak out. The purposeful dissemination of messages that a communicator knows to be false and inflammatory is unethical. It is that simple.

Making decisions in a democracy requires an informed electorate. The health of our democracy and our ability to make a good decision about who should lead our nation require the very best in communication practices, not the worst.

Media investigations have debunked the notion that Senator Obama “worked closely” or “palled around” with “terrorist” Bill Ayers. Governor Palin cited a New York Times article that actually contradicts her claim by noting “the two men do not appear to have been close.” Nonetheless, the McCain/Palin ticket continues to repeat the canard, most recently with so-called “robocalls” in battleground states.[i]

The McCain/Palin ticket now describes the Obama/Biden tax plan with such terms as “socialist” and “welfare.” Such descriptions are false. Even if they were not, they would apply equally to the McCain/Palin tax proposals.[ii]

The repeated use of “Joe the Plumber” as a symbol by the McCain/Palin ticket is more deceptive than truthful. Despite the fact that media reports have revealed that the person is not a licensed plumber, owes back taxes, and his current personal income tax would decrease under the Obama tax plan, the McCain/Palin ticket continues to take Obama’s words to Joe out of context to repeat the false claim that Obama would raise taxes on the middle class and thus hurt the American Dream.[iii]

Such discourse is inflammatory as well as deceptive. Behind in the polls, the McCain/Palin campaign and its surrogates now appear intent on marking Obama as “other” to elicit racist fears. Senator McCain’s odd question “Who is Barack Obama?” is answered by Governor Palin’s assertion that Obama “is not a man who sees America as you and I do,” along with her comment “We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic. . . pro-America areas of this great nation.”

We see an effort to color code the election as between an urban, African-American Obama falsely linked to terms like “terrorist,” “unpatriotic,” and “welfare” versus small town, white, “patriotic” Americans like the mythical Joe the Plumber. “Intended” or not, the message is getting through, as reports have emerged of ugly scenes at some Republican rallies and racists hanging Obama in effigy in Oregon and Ohio. In an echo of McCarthyism, Representative Michelle Bachmann has called for investigations into un-American members of Congress, pointing to Senator Obama as the prime suspect. Speaking to warm up the crowd before a McCain rally, Representative Robin Hayes continued the theme: “Folks, there’s a real America, and liberals hate real Americans that work, and accomplish, and achieve, and believe in God.” The official website of the Sacramento County Republican Party compared Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama to terrorist leader Osama bin Laden and urged people to “Waterboard Barack Obama.” The October newsletter of the Chaffey Community Republican Women in California depicts Obama on a food stamp surrounded by a watermelon, ribs, and a bucket of fried chicken. The McCain/Palin campaign has not repudiated such actions taken on its behalf, nor has it done enough to respond to reprehensible behavior at rallies.[iv]

The McCain/Palin campaign and its surrogates, of course, will deny explicit racism. But their purposeful repetition of inflammatory false statements is unethical and stokes the fires of racism.

The code of ethical conduct for the National Communication Association reads in part We advocate truthfulness, accuracy, honesty, and reason as essential to the integrity of communication.”[v] We believe the integrity of political communication in our nation is being seriously threatened and we call on the McCain/Palin campaign to put a stop to such efforts immediately.

To see the endnotes and a list of the signers, click here.


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Written by Monte

October 23, 2008 at 11:32 pm

Enraged McCain supporters jeer early voters

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Fayetteville, NC: After an Obama rally, the attendees—mostly black—head to the polls for early voting, where they’re berated by angry McCain supporters—mostly white. The Sheriff refuses to intervene, suggesting he wasn’t pleased with the idea of voting on Sunday.

clipped from www.washingtontimes.com
An organizer at the rally rattled off the addresses of early vote sites nearby that would be open after the event.
Photographer Joe Eddins and I headed over to the closest one and found a steady line of voters hoping to cast ballots early. Most seemed to be Obama supporters and several had come from the rally. Nearly all the voters were black.
Also at the polling site was a group of loud and angry protesters who shouted and mocked the voters as they walked in. Nearly all were white.
As you can see from these videos, no one held anything back
At the voting site, I asked a local sheriff monitoring the scene if the protesters were allowed. “They’re fine,” he said. I asked if he’d ever seen anything like that and he said he’d never seen Sunday voting.
One black woman told me she was deeply saddened to see people protesting the most fundamental right of democracy.
The first video closes with Roger Farina (who won NHL fan of the year in 2003) going into detail about why he was heckling the voters.
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Surely this is in violation of federal election law regarding conduct at polling places. The likelihood of intimidation of voters is all too real.

Surely it’s aggravated by the fear-mongering, race-baiting, terrorist-suggestive campaign elements that Sen. McCain denounces in public appearances but encourages in TV ads.

And surely it is all-too-reminiscent of the George Wallace days.


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Written by Monte

October 20, 2008 at 9:58 pm

Posted in Politics

Frank Schaeffer’s “Open Letter to John McCain”

with 8 comments

Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin

Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin

Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin have gone off the rails with talk that arouses the worst instincts. The potential for tragedy is grave.

I was pleased to discover that Frank Schaeffer had written them a strongly worded rebuke. Orginally published in the Baltimore Sun, this reprint came from DemocracyNow!, and is part of an interview with Schaeffer there that I encourage you to read.  The emphases are mine. Here’s Amy Goodman’s setup:

Frank Schaeffer, bestselling author of Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back. He is the son of the late evangelist Francis Schaeffer and considered himself a lifelong Republican. He voted for John McCain in 2000, and McCain even endorsed one of Schaeffer’s earlier books on military service. On Friday, Schaeffer published ‘An Open Letter to John McCain’ in the Baltimore Sun.

Crazy for God

Crazy for God

An Open Letter to John McCain:

“John McCain: If your campaign does not stop equating Sen. Barack Obama with terrorism, questioning his patriotism and portraying Mr. Obama as ‘not one of us,’ I accuse you of deliberately feeding the most unhinged elements of our society the red meat of hate, and therefore of potentially instigating violence.

“At a Sarah Palin rally, someone called out, ‘Kill him!’ At one of your rallies, someone called out, ‘Terrorist!’ Neither was answered or denounced by you or your running mate, as the crowd laughed and cheered. At your campaign event Wednesday in Bethlehem, Pa., the crowd was seething with hatred for the Democratic nominee—an attitude encouraged in speeches there by you, your running mate, your wife and the local Republican chairman.

Keeping Faith

Keeping Faith

“Shame!

“John McCain: In 2000, as a lifelong Republican, I worked to get you elected instead of George W. Bush. In return, you wrote an endorsement of one of my books about military service. You seemed to be a man who put principle ahead of mere political gain.

You have changed. You have a choice: Go down in history as a decent senator and an honorable military man with many successes, or go down in history as the latest abettor of right-wing extremist hate.

“John McCain, you are no fool, and you understand the depths of hatred that [surround] the issue of race in this country. You also know that, post-9/11, to call someone a friend of a terrorist is a very serious matter. You also know we are [a bitterly divided country] on many other issues. You know that, sadly, in America, violence is always just a moment away. You know that there are plenty of crazy people out there.

Stop! Think! Your rallies are beginning to look, sound, feel and smell like lynch mobs.

Francis Schaeffer, Frank's father, was a big voice in the previous generation of evangelicals

Francis Schaeffer, Frank's father, was a big voice in the previous generation of evangelicals

“John McCain, you’re walking a perilous line. If you do not stand up for all that is good in America and declare that Senator Obama is a patriot, fit for office, and denounce your hate-filled supporters when they scream out ‘Terrorist’ or ‘Kill him,’ history will hold you responsible for all that follows.

“John McCain and Sarah Palin, you are playing with fire, and you know it. You are unleashing the monster of American hatred and prejudice, to the peril of all of us. You are doing this in wartime. You are doing this as our economy collapses. You are doing this in a country with a history of assassinations.

Change the atmosphere of your campaign. Talk about the issues at hand. Make your case. But stop stirring up the lunatic fringe of haters, or risk suffering the judgment of history and the loathing of the American people—forever.

“We will hold you responsible.”

Strong words! But those are the kind of words that Christians are supposed to speak to power misused.  Would that the whole Church would say them.

Don’t forget the interview, here.


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Written by Monte

October 13, 2008 at 8:40 pm