A Ready Supply of Brownshirts

Decent people are baffled by atrocities. They want to believe that regular folks don’t engage in horrible acts of mass violence. That attitude was pronounced in the years following the Holocaust: we in the West have a superiority complex, and we just couldn’t imagine that ordinary Europeans took enthusiastic part in Hitler’s Final Solution. His Brownshirts and the SS had to be filled with ranks of crazed, godless, evil fuckers, not average European citizens. Civilized people wouldn’t do such things.

It’s terrifying to realize that civilization is a thin veneer, that decency and humanity can so easily be stripped away by politicians playing on ordinary people’s fears and insecurities. All it takes is a set of leaders giving people permission to unleash their inner demons on easy scapegoats. They blame an indentifiable minority for the country’s ills: Jews, blacks, liberals. They whip up the hate. They work the crowd into a frenzy. And then, suddenly, ordinary people become a howling mob. Ordinary, civilized folks find themselves willing to do the unthinkable, because they’ve been given permission. It’s normal. It’s okay. It’s patriotic:

It’s no wonder that the slightest incitement from Sarah Palin or John McCain will turn one of their rallies into a lynch mob. Just talk to the folks who attend.

My camera was rolling for literally seconds before people happily said to me, on camera, that Barack Obama is a terrorist. If I hadn’t spent most of my time at the event inside, waiting for the candidates to show up, I could have gotten dozens of these people on tape.


I’ve been doing blog video for a while, and presidential rallies a lot longer. And this is the most strange, ignorant, uninformed, angry, up-to-no-good, and gullible group of people I’ve ever seen at a political rally.


These people have been told for years that their lives are threatened by scary brown Islamofascists. They’ve been told that their problems are caused by the minorities taking over America. Then, when a man with a Kenyan father and a white mother runs for office, they’re told he’s a closet Muslim with a militant black pastor who befriends terrorists – and the easy conclusion is jumped to. They’re terrified and primed to strike out. All they need is permission.

It seems McCain and Palin are more than willing to give them that permission for the sake of winning an election.

Of all the evil McCain’s responsible for, this is the worst.

A Ready Supply of Brownshirts

What Does McCain Have in Common with a Dying Salmon?

He flips and flops and flails around in utter desperation. The latest example: it took him less than 24 hours to flip-flop on his homeowner bailout “plan.”

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) made an overnight change in the homeowner bailout he proposed at Tuesday’s presidential debate, making it more generous to financial institutions and more costly for taxpayers.

McCain’s staff says it was always meant that way.

When McCain sprung his surprise idea at the start of the debate in Nashville, his campaign posted details online of his American Homeownership Resurgence Plan, which would direct the government to buy up bad home mortgages, allowing strapped people to keep their property.

The document posted and e-mailed by the McCain campaign on Tuesday night says at the end of its first full paragraph: “Lenders in these cases must recognize the loss that they’ve already suffered.”

So the government would buy the mortgages at a discounted rate, reflecting the declining value of the mortgage paper.

But when McCain reissued the document on Wednesday, that sentence was missing, to the dismay of many conservatives.

That would mean the U.S. would pay face value for the troubled documents, which was the main reason Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) gave for opposing the plan.

A McCain campaign official explained the change: “That language was mistakenly included in the initial draft and it’s been corrected. It doesn’t reflect the intentions of the initiative, which necessitated the correction and the removal of the sentence. A simple mistake.”

What am I sitting on right now? That’s right: my ass. Admit you flip-flopped when your greedy banker friends came a-whining. Admit you plan to shaft American taxpayers. Might as well say it outright, because by saying that you mistakenly included language in a draft that would’ve forced shady lenders to pay for the poison they’ve pushed, you’ve basically just told us you plan to let them get off scott-free while the American taxpayers foot the bill.

That’s John McCain for you. Populist rhetoric spewing out one side of his mouth while he sucks Wall Street’s dick with the other.

What Does McCain Have in Common with a Dying Salmon?

"That One"

This very well could be McCain’s “macaca” moment, the dismissive, snippy little put-down that gets picked up and endlessly repeated until everyone in the nation knows just what a mean, nasty old bastard you are:

You’d think that a man running for the presidency could control himself just for a few hours. He’s already gotten a beat-down in the press for treating Obama with contempt before. He can’t afford another drubbing, but that’s just what he’ll get. No one but those howling mobs at his campaign events has any patience with his bullshit anymore.

How this man faces a mirror every morning is beyond me.

"That One"

Rolling Stone Rolls Right Over McCain

Here it is. This is the exposé that destroys McCain utterly.

This is the story of the real John McCain, the one who has been hiding in plain sight. It is the story of a man who has consistently put his own advancement above all else, a man willing to say and do anything to achieve his ultimate ambition: to become commander in chief, ascending to the one position that would finally enable him to outrank his four-star father and grandfather.

After reading this, only a true-believer, reality-blind frothing fuckwit could possibly retain any respect for this disaster of a man, or one iota of belief in his myth. And the most incredible thing? A lot of the most devastating quotes are taken verbatim from McCain’s own book.

You need to read the entire Rolling Stone piece. We need to print copies and hand them out liberally to anyone who’s on the fence. This article explains, in stark and plain language, exactly why this man should never be allowed to govern this nation.

Here’s some excerpts to whet your appetites:

There’s a distance between the two men that belies their shared experience in North Vietnam — call it an honor gap. Like many American POWs, McCain broke down under torture and offered a “confession” to his North Vietnamese captors. Dramesi, in contrast, attempted two daring escapes. For the second he was brutalized for a month with daily torture sessions that nearly killed him. His partner in the escape, Lt. Col. Ed Atterberry, didn’t survive the mistreatment. But Dramesi never said a disloyal word, and for his heroism was awarded two Air Force Crosses, one of the service’s highest distinctions. McCain would later hail him as “one of the toughest guys I’ve ever met.”

On the grounds between the two brick colleges, the chitchat between the scion of four-star admirals and the son of a prizefighter turns to their academic travels; both colleges sponsor a trip abroad for young officers to network with military and political leaders in a distant corner of the globe.

“I’m going to the Middle East,” Dramesi says. “Turkey, Kuwait, Lebanon, Iran.”

“Why are you going to the Middle East?” McCain asks, dismissively.

“It’s a place we’re probably going to have some problems,” Dramesi says.

“Why? Where are you going to, John?”

“Oh, I’m going to Rio.”

“What the hell are you going to Rio for?”

McCain, a married father of three, shrugs.

“I got a better chance of getting laid.”


McCain spent his formative years among the Washington elite. His father — himself deep in the throes of a daddy complex — had secured a political post as the Navy’s chief liaison to the Senate, a job his son would later hold, and the McCain home on Southeast 1st Street was a high-powered pit stop in the Washington cocktail circuit. Growing up, McCain attended Episcopal High School, an all-white, all-boys boarding school across the Potomac in Virginia, where tuition today tops $40,000 a year. There, McCain behaved with all the petulance his privilege allowed, earning the nicknames “Punk” and “McNasty.” Even his friends seemed to dislike him, with one recalling him as “a mean little fucker.”


In the cockpit, McCain was not a top gun, or even a middling gun. He took little interest in his flight manuals; he had other priorities.

“I enjoyed the off-duty life of a Navy flier more than I enjoyed the actual flying,” McCain writes. “I drove a Corvette, dated a lot, spent all my free hours at bars and beach parties.” McCain chased a lot of tail. He hit the dog track. Developed a taste for poker and dice. He picked up models when he could, screwed a stripper when he couldn’t.

In the air, the hard-partying McCain had a knack for stalling out his planes in midflight. He was still in training, in Texas, when he crashed his first plane into Corpus Christi Bay during a routine practice landing. The plane stalled, and McCain was knocked cold on impact. When he came to, the plane was underwater, and he had to swim to the surface to be rescued. Some might take such a near-death experience as a wake-up call: McCain took some painkillers and a nap, and then went out carousing that night.


These are the moments that test men’s mettle. Where leaders are born. Leaders like . . . Lt. Cmdr. Herb Hope, pilot of the A-4 three planes down from McCain’s. Cornered by flames at the stern of the carrier, Hope hurled himself off the flight deck into a safety net and clambered into the hangar deck below, where the fire was spreading. According to an official Navy history of the fire, Hope then “gallantly took command of a firefighting team” that would help contain the conflagration and ultimately save the ship.

McCain displayed little of Hope’s valor. Although he would soon regale The New York Times with tales of the heroism of the brave enlisted men who “stayed to help the pilots fight the fire,” McCain took no part in dousing the flames himself. After going belowdecks and briefly helping sailors who were frantically trying to unload bombs from an elevator to the flight deck, McCain retreated to the safety of the “ready room,” where off-duty pilots spent their noncombat hours talking trash and playing poker. There, McCain watched the conflagration unfold on the room’s closed-circuit television — bearing distant witness to the valiant self-sacrifice of others who died trying to save the ship, pushing jets into the sea to keep their bombs from exploding on deck.

As the ship burned, McCain took a moment to mourn his misfortune; his combat career appeared to be going up in smoke. “This distressed me considerably,” he recalls in Faith of My Fathers. “I feared my ambitions were among the casualties in the calamity that had claimed the Forrestal.”

There’s more. There’s far more. Things you knew, and things you’ll learn here for the first time, relentless and appalling, building a mosaic of a man who would be catastrophic as our President.

I fear for my country. I fear for my world.

(Tip o’ the shot glass to Firedoglake.)

Rolling Stone Rolls Right Over McCain

Senator Hothead Rides Roughshod Over the Register

Talking Points Memo has put together a succinct and devastating little greatest hits from McCain’s angry interview with the Des Moines Register. This is the man who wants to snow you into electing him:

A man who shows this much contempt and barely-restrained venom toward a couple of reporters from a newspaper that endorsed him does not deserve to have his ass planted in the Oval Office.

Let’s make sure asses don’t plant him there.

Senator Hothead Rides Roughshod Over the Register

McCain: Aspiring Dictator

McCain tells the Des Moines Register what he thinks of the failed economic bailout bill and gives his game away:

“This is just, uh, an unacceptable situation. I’m not saying this is the perfect answer. If I were a dictator, which I always aspire to be, I would write it very differently…”

He surely didn’t look like a man who’s joking. If you have any friends, family, colleagues, etc. who are leaning McCain’s way, you might want to ask them how they feel about living in a dictatorship. And considering how old McCain is, and who’s been picked to succeed him, we’d soon be living in a Dominionist theocracy.

Be warned.

McCain: Aspiring Dictator

McCain: Low-Ranking Monkey

I don’t mean to flood you today, but this was just too awesome to pass up. A TPM reader analyzes McCain’s refusal to look at Obama during the debate, and comes to a fascinating conclusion:

And here’s another note from TPM Reader TB. I guess I’m really not sure quite how to characterize it …

I think people really are missing the point about McCain’s failure to look at Obama. McCain was afraid of Obama. It was really clear–look at how much McCain blinked in the first half hour. I study monkey behavior–low ranking monkeys don’t look at high ranking monkeys. In a physical, instinctive sense, Obama owned McCain tonight and I think the instant polling reflects that.

So McCain may have given away his status as a low-ranking monkey. I’d never even considered monkey rank.

Niiice. I’m going to have such fun with this one. Damn, I love behavioral science!

McCain: Low-Ranking Monkey

I Do Believe McCain's Set a New Record for Dumbfuckery

It’s been quite the day for the McCain campaign. I don’t think any presidential campaign in the history of America has ever had this many missteps, embarrassments, lies, gaffes, and damn fool moves in a single week. McCain’s managed it in one day.

The sad thing is, the following list is probably far from exhaustive. But I’ll do my best.

After slamming Obama for non-existent ties to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac executives, the campaign had to engage in some desperate damage control after it was revealed that campaign manager Rick Davis’s lobbying firm had been paid $15,000 a month by none other than Freddie Mac:

Today, McCain campaign spokesperson/blogger Michael Goldfarb published a 700-word response to the news, and by any reasonable measure, the statement is a complete mess. In the very first sentence, Goldfarb says the reports charge that Davis “was paid by Freddie Mac until last month,” which Goldfarb insists is false. Actually, the reports charge that Davis’ lobbying firm was the one paid until last month, which is true.

My goodness, what a shock: they tried to lie and obfuscate themselves out of a tough corner. And that was only the beginning.

Davis, perhaps realizing what a bloodbath it would be, decided to skip lunch with reporters. Better to look like a sissy than have to face tough questions about your business buddies, I suppose.

Especially in light of the fact that, you know, the campaign kinda sorta blatantly lied about him not having anything to do with the lobbying firm he’s – whoops! – still director of.

Sarah Palin, horror of horrors, got asked a question by a reporter. The campaign earned itself jeers by hustling said reporters out of the room before she could so much as open her mouth, thus proving that whatever else she might be, vice presidential material she ain’t.

Then came a poll showing Obama with a nine-point lead. Freakout! They promptly proclaimed the poll bogus, then belied that assessment by showing raw nekkid fear. What else explains McCain’s impetuous decision to suspend his campaign in order to rush back to Washington to play economic savior?

Obama, Pelosi, and Reid all took the opportunity to explain to McCain that a) his presence in Washington wouldn’t be helpful and b) people who hope to become President should know how to handle more than one thing at a time. Americans everywhere are now being treated to the novel idea that their President should be able to multi-task, and McCain has proven he’s incapable of doing so.

As far as political stunts go, this one is roughly equivalent to Evil Knievel trying to jump the Grand Canyon and ending up spattered all over the bottom. It’s working out just slightly better than McCain’s choice of Palin as a veep. Let us turn now to the spectacular series of serious embarrassments that is the Palin Political Pick:

Karl Rove, when asked if Palin would make a good president, said, “I don’t know.” Seriously. Even Turd Blossom can’t make this shit smell like a rose.

Laura Bush chimed in with this brutally honest response when asked by CNN if Sarah Palin has foreign policy experience: Well, obviously — Of course she doesn’t have that.” Geez, Laura, what happened to “Hey, I can see Russia from here!”?

Then there’s the ominous rumblings from Alaska. Seems like the campaign’s about to be dealing with a scandal a whole lot worse than Troopergate – an Alaska state rep is calling for an investigation into criminal witness tampering, and his evidence-loaded finger is pointed right at McCain staffers.

But that almost pales in comparison to the disasterous interview with Katie Couric. Go. Watch. Wince. There’s something terribly wrong with the anchor being orders of magnitude more intelligent than the vice presidential candidate. Stunningly stupid quotes are already flying thick and fast – and this was only an excerpt. The whole thing has yet to air. Betcha McCain’s goons try to get it quashed.

Speaking of quashing… McCain’s not only trying to get this Friday’s debate with Obama punted, he wants the October 2nd vice presidential debate nixed. Something tells me he’s terrified that what’s left of his campaign is going to get blown to smithereens the instant Palin opens her mouth on a stage with Joe Biden. He’s right. Biden won’t even have to say a word to win this one.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, McCain’s effort to portray himself as so deeply concerned about the economy that he felt compelled to suspend his campaign, attempt to weasel out of the debate, and rush back to Washington was belied by his lies. He said he was meeting with key advisors to discuss the crisis, when in reality he was meeting with Lady Lynn “I Hates Elitists! Hates Them!” de Rothschild. He then begged off Letterman by saying he was at that very moment flying back to Washington – which would be true only if Katie Couric’s studio got moved onto his campaign plane. Letterman responded by indulging in a rather thorough and accurate McCain bashing session while Keith Olbermann looked on in wonder.

And, as if all of that wasn’t enough, McCain’s volunteers in Colorado didn’t get the list of campaign suspension talking points – the media did. It turns out that McCain’s not the only one in his campaign who doesn’t understand how to send an email. The money quote: “Fuck, tell me I didn’t send it to the wrong list.”

Oh, but you did. It’s good to see McCain keeping up the tradition of Bush-league incompetence in his staff.

A complete musical comedy could be written around just this single day. If McCain somehow manages to lie, cheat, and steal his way to the White House, we can be assured of one thing: that while we may be bankrupt, at war with everyone in the entire world, choking on endless pollution, boiling in our own global warming juices, facing illness without the benefit of health insurance, suffering from the further erosion of our civil liberties and subjected to a Sarah Palin Dominionist crusade served up with a heaping helping of painful stupidity, at least we’ll never be short of breathtaking dumbfuckery to marvel at.

I Do Believe McCain's Set a New Record for Dumbfuckery

Campaign of the Absurd

Are you sitting down? Are your drinks fully swallowed?


I know the McCain campaign jumped the shark a long time ago, but somehow, they keep finding more sharks to jump. They’ve lied so much there’s now a website dedicated to tracking their lies (as of this moment, the count stands at 63). They held a conference call with the press to cry over the New York Times calling them out on their lies, and lied continuously throughout. They’ve lied so much that even McCain’s biggest fans in the media have stopped bringing him donuts and started reporting the lies.

And now we learn that even their “grassroots” efforts are nothing more than factories for lies:

“You can be whoever you want to be,” says an inviting Phil Tuchman. “You can be a beggar or a millionaire. A mom or a husband. Whatever. You decide!”

I volunteer in political campaigns now and then. After a series of outings for Obama and a first mission as a phone banker for John McCain, I returned to McCain’s headquarters in Arlington, Va. The offer was too alluring to delay — they wanted to put me into action as a ghostwriter. Next to commercials and phone banking, writing letters to the editor is the most important method of the McCain campaign to attract voters. At least that is what’s written in the guidelines that McCain campaign worker Phil Tuchman presents to me.


The assignment is simple: We are going to write letters to the editor and we are allowed to make up whatever we want — as long as it adds to the campaign. After today we are supposed to use our free moments at home to create a flow of fictional fan mail for McCain.


The “talking points” the ghostwriters work from include some screamers, including Palin’s former 80% approval rating (which was true – up until Alaskans got a good look at her and didn’t like what they saw). Let’s remember that when Bush first took office, his numbers were high, too. Now he’s Mr. 19%.

They also repeat that bloody Bridge to Nowhere lie that’s been debunked endlessly. In fact, if we had a dollar for every time that howler’s been disproved, we could very nearly pay for Paulson’s bailout plan.

You’d think there’d be some embarrassment, shame, and plausible denials put forth by the campaign after such a revelation. A normal campaign would say, “We had no idea this was going on. This was not authorized by the campaign, and the person responsible for it has been tossed out on his ear. We stand for truth, justice, etc. etc.”

But we all know the McCain campaign is anything but normal. Caught blatantly manipulating public opinion by getting hacks to write fake letters to the editor (in the best tradition of the National Enquirer, most of whose stories are made up on the spot), they didn’t express faux outrage. No, they went with their old standby: yell at the journalist who exposed their lies and then lie some more:

Gail Gitcho, a spokeswoman for the McCain campaign, said that Oostveen did not properly identify herself to campaign workers in Arlington. “She did not represent herself as a journalist to the people who work in the mid-Atlantic office.” Ostveen, who also wrote a column about an earlier stint phone-banking for the McCain campaign, says she twice explained to different workers in the Arlington campaign office that she might be using her experiences as a volunteer in her columns for the NRC Handelsblad.

Can you believe these fuckwits? They’re beyond pathological – I’ve known compulsive liars, clinically mentally ill pathological liars, no less – who have more respect for the truth than these assclowns.

There’s no way America can elect these buffoons and keep its self-respect.

Campaign of the Absurd