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Saying it all in a few words

No one ever went broke misunderstanding the intelligence of the American people. – H. L. Mencken

You betcha – Sarah Palin





-posted by George Curcio

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Sarah, oh Sarah

Sarah Palin, go away

Please don’t come back another day.

Here it is Wednesday, and for yet another day, AC360 remains obsessed with Sarah Palin, giving tremendous gratis publicity to her new memoir.  It’s a funny thing about Sarah.  The more you see her, the less you care that you do, unless you are in the small minority of conservatives who swoon at her every word.  No matter how empty of meaning and thought it may be.

The memoir contradicts much that Palin has said before ye no one really seems to care.  Liberals roll their eyes while conservatives open theirs even wider, reacting as if she had said something profound with each “You betcha” or the equivalent.

Now, Sarah, the former beauty queen, is aghast because Newsweek used on its cover a picture of her for which she willingly posed for Runner’s World magazine.  Palin posted to her Twitter account that she views the cover as beneath the standards to which Newsweek should he held.

It seems, Ms. Palin, that doth protest too much.  Palin posed for the picture willingly – whether it appears on the cover of Newsweek or as a feature within Runner’s World, the context does not change the subject of the picture.  Somehow, though, in Sarah’s twisted mind – the same mind that spews endless platitudes with no deeper meaning than what appears on the surface –  there is something wrong with the picture gracing the cover a newsweekly and not being contained within the pages of a runner’s magazine.

Therein lies the problem that Sarah Palin evidently fails to recognize and therefore will likely never overcome if she is serious about furthering her political career, which, incidentally, may not even be a goal of her’s.  Sarah Palin has shown herself to be an unrepentant complainer, one who has never acknowledged wrongdoing or mistaken action on her part without ascribing actual fault to someone else.  The John McCain camp.  The news media.  Anyone, in short, who has not bowed before her and declared her a goddess of the Republican Party specifically and America in general.

The same applies with the Newsweek cover with which Palin is now upset.  She had no reluctance to pose for Runner’s World in an image that seems more closely akin to a Playboy cover than anything else.  But now that the image is getting widespread attention, she seeks to find fault with the publication that is publicizing it.  Not, most likely, because she is really upset with the image, but because she wants to bash the established media of which Newsweek is a part.  Sarah, unfortunately, is more glitz than substance, and when it works for her, she is more than willing to show it.  At the same time, she seeks to make it work for her in a completely opposite way, hopefully, in her aim, giving her the best of both worlds. – George Curcio

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Palin lives the dream while many Americans have nightmares

In one of the best summaries today of American politics, it is safe to say the following:  Sarah Palin actually has very little of relevance to say, but everyone wishes she did.  Monday night’s AC360 took a look at the unveiling today of Palin’s newly-written memoir, Going Rogue:  An American Life.

According to public reviews from various sources, the memoir is simply that, a remembrance and review of Sarah Palin’s life, including her unsuccessful 2008 run for the vice-presidency of the United States.  As such, it is not surprising that the book is regarded as rather shallow and not very insightful, according to the reviews.  If that is a true reflection of the book, then it is not surprising, except that it perfectly provides a snapshot of the what has become of the author’s life.

As was alluded to in a previous post, Sarah Palin could have kept her dignity and political mettle had she stayed within her life’s boundaries. She was apparently an effective small-town mayor in her hometown of Wasilla, enough so that it catapulted her to the governorship of , and it was there that she reached her natural zenith.  When John McCain picked her, for political appeal and nothing more, as his vice-presidential candidate, he put her in a position to live a life she likely never thought possible.

As David Gergen pointed out on AC360 last evening, she will likely make about $10 million from her book and other appearances.  It is an amount and an income she likely never thought possible, and now that it’s hers for the taking, it would be rather unexpected not for her to do so.  The problem for the American voter, and for the media as reflected in it’s still never-ending coverage of her, is a wish to deny the truthfulness of the situation.  Love her or hate her, Sarah Palin has now become tantamount to a mascot for the conservatives across the nation, and, as such, a lightning rod for liberal hate and contempt.

Conservatives wish she had more depth when she speaks out on issues that make them say “damn right,” whereas liberals seem to wish she actually had some depth to understand the issues on which she has been ruling during her governorship.  Politicians such as Republican Dede Scozzafava, whose candidacy Palin derailed in the recent 23rd Congressional District of New York, wish Palin would actually resort to minding her own business rather than running around the country interjecting herself into political races beyond her purview.

But races like Scozzafeva’s have become her purview.  She is playing to her base now, political conservatives who are looking for a star, and will continue to do so as long as it is worthwhile.  In an ironic way, Sarah Palin truly has lived the American dream, despite the nightmarish aspects it holds. – George Curcio

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Show me what you have – literally

A young Sarah PalinSo much of life is a matter of being in the right place at the right time.  Andy Warhol predicted a future that would make everyone famous for 15 minutes.  Combine that with the Peter Principle, which tells us in essence that everyone rises to the level of their incompetence, and you have Sarah Palin.

Mayor.  Governor.  Vice-Presidential candidate.  Now, author The erstwhile Republican overachiever has now written a book, largely as a way to make money and keep her name in the public eye as she contemplates her next move.  If achievement were tied to qualifications, her decision would be at which fast-food joint she should seek to flip burgers back in her hometown of Wasilla, Alaska.  But achievement has nothing to do with ascension in American politics, as the election of Barack Obama showed us, and now Palin is contemplating a run for the same office that Obama currently holds.

Her biggest drawback is also her biggest qualification for success in American politics in 2009:  she has no creditability.  She is polarizing.  You either love her, and believe every word she says, or you hate her, and disparage everything she says and does.  There is no middle ground, and there is no debate about what she says.  You either believe her or you don’t.  Conservatives, who have latched on in love, believe every word that comes from her mouth.  Liberals believe none of it.  The question becomes whether enough conservatives can coalesce to once again foist their opinion on the American population, as they have done in the not-too-distant past.

In a somewhat laughable way, Sarah Palin’s rise through the Republican ranks has mitigated the universal popularity she would have likely enjoyed for eternity if she had remained a small-town mayor.  In towns across America, there are a good number of small-town mayors who are extremely popular because they fit the role they are playing.  They are boosters for their town and do not become immersed in the political quandaries in which people find themselves bogged down at higher levels of the political food chain.

Palin was in the right place at the right time, however, and her small-town popularity as mayor propelled her to the governorship.  There, she encountered some controversy that came with the first signs that she was now in over her head.  Next came the vice-presidential nomination, which showed what an empty suit she is and what an empty head she has.

But her lack of qualification does not really matter.  Politics is as much about personality as it is about true traits of leadership.  And, for many Republican men, there is probably a bit of fantasy that they project as a connection between themselves and Sarah Palin, much in the way we were told women fantasized about Obama after his election.  Evidently, many Americans want politicians to “show me what you have,” but not in a mental way. – George Curcio

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Whose your daddy?

Father Henry:  The Father was a fatherPerhaps it was coincidence, or perhaps it was some producer’s idea of a witty joke.  Just moments after airing a report on members of Congress being pressured by the Catholic Church, among others, to oppose abortion rights within the health-care reform bill, Thursday’s AC360 aired a report about a wayward father in the Midwest. Evidently, the Father was a wayward soul when he was not in the pulpit preaching, and in the worst possible circumstances the Catholic Church could imagine, the Father was a father.

More than an isolated incident, it appears to be an ongoing theme in the life of Father Henry Willenborg.  In fact, he is now under suspension from the Catholic Church for allegations statutory rape that allegedly occurred 22 years ago – while the Father was having an affair with Pat Bond, a parishioner who left her husband and three children to cohabitate in her Father’s house.

Most importantly about this whole issue, it is coming to light only because the son who had been fathered by Willenborg is now suffering from terminal brain cancer.  The mother has come forth about her affair with Willenborg, saying she is free to do so, despite having signed a confidentiality agreement, because, she says, the Catholic church has invalidated that agreement by failing to provide adequate financial support.

Since her revelation, the Catholic church has stepped up in its support, but one cannot help believe she is not correct when she says the Church cannot wait for her son to die so they can be removed from the whole sordid affair.

As for Father Henry.  Well, he is somewhere in hiding as he awaits the latest charges against him.  From all accounts, he was a great priest except for one minor problem.  He could not get past the celibacy requirements.  His on-again, off-again affair with Bond, which produced a child and ended her troubled marriage, came to an end when he was caught having an affair with a married woman.  A great priest – if he could have only dealt with that one small “catch.”

As a result, then Catholic Church is mired in a scandal that shows it to be hypocritical and immoral in its behavior.  Rather than forcing fFather Henry to leave the clergy and face responsibility for his errant conduct, the Church sought to make a deal.  For 22 years, it thought it had gotten away with it.  Now, with no statute of limitations to protect the Church, it has been exposed.

But life has gone on, and the Catholic Church is pressuring for abortion opposition to be included in the health-care reforms.  The message is clear:  have the children, but what you do with them afterward is your problem. – George Curcio

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Obama uses real but willing pawns in Afghanistan chess game

Barack Obama is faced with some serious issues about the war in Afghanistan, and it is reported that he is unhappy with the four options that have been prepared and presented to him by those within the administration, as reported on Wednesday’s AC360.   The options range from sending 40,000 more American troops at a maximum  to a minimum of sending 20,000 more in a supplemental effort to what is already there.  Interestingly, though, all focus on maintaining and continuing an American presence in Afghanistan as we continue to shift the focus from Iraq.

As is usually the case, the military side is campaigning for a larger force and military campaign while the ambassadorial side is lobbying for less open warfare.  Not only is there fighting being waged in Afghanistan, but now there is open fighting being waged within the Obama administration’s top levels.

Obama has been in office nearly a year now, but our presence in Afghanistan is still waiting to be altered.  Obama has awaited presentation from his staff, which has responded with four alternatives, none of which is to his liking.  Thus, he has sent them back to the drawing board, and the waiting starts anew.

The present situation clashes greatly with what Obama declared when he was running for the presidency.  In July of 2008, Obama traveled to Afghanistan and called for a troop buildup within the country.  Unfortunately, his desire was more aimed at criticizing George W. Bush’s handling of Iraq, whether appropriately or not, and using Afghanistan as an alternative focus to do just that.  Obama was successful in his goal, but he is now backtracking on his words.

Lost in the quandary about what to do is the American public’s opinion on how Afghanistan should be handled.  It is an issue that was not addressed in our handling of Iraq and is now not being addressed in our actions towards Afghanistan.  Despite what our leaders believe, it is the people who fight the war, and they should have a say in whether they want it to continue.

Until now, Americans who choose not to be touched by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan largely are not.  The armed services are all volunteer, and largely manned by gung-ho personnel who choose to be where they are.  As a result, many Americans have been untouched by the ravages of war and they do not really feel the effects of what is happening overseas.

The first action Obama should take is to reinstate the draft for age-eligible Americans, with no exception other than physical shortcomings that obviously preclude service.  Americans should then be drafted and forced into action, so they feel the true effects of war and a public debate should then ensue over whether we should continue our presence overseas.  Until then, this is nothing more than a chess game in which Obama is using real yet willing pawns. – George Curcio

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What if you hear God but it really isn’t His voice???

Radical Muslimreport aired during Tuesday’s AC360 focused on radical Muslims who are preaching hatred outside a non-participatory mosque in New York City, much to the dismay of the Imam there.  They are openly contemptuous of the United States and its people, and they say it stems ultimately from what they are being told in the Koran, which is to “terrorize” non-believers.  In other words, they are doing it because Alllah, their interpretation of God, is telling them to do so.

The report was labelled as a focus on “hate speech,” but, ironically, the Muslims who are voicing the hate do not see it in the same way.  They see themselves as messengers of Allah, or their God, bringing His views further into the world.  Americans, naturally, as a whole are aghast, with the rising levels of anger and disgust rising with further movement along the right side of the political spectrum.  That seems rather ironic, because in many ways the speech of the radical Muslims directly mirrors that of conservative Christians in America.

For years, conservative Christians have pushed the belief that they have heard God, and it is He who is imposing their views, through them, into the lives of everyone else, including and perhaps especially non-believers.  Ironically, it is partly this attitude that has fostered backlash towards America from others in the world, such as the radical Muslims.

What’s missing from the conservative Christians’ views is recognition that there is a New Testament as well as an Old, perhaps mirroring the typical liberal Christian behavior that there is no Old Testament at all.  The shortcoming on each side is to realize that there are actually two books to the Bible, and they both deserve equal attention.  Yes, there is sin in the world, but it is to be forgiven.  Yes, it is to be forgiven, but not encouraged.

It is a difficult tightrope to walk, that between forgiveness and responsibility.  The Christian Right long ago abandoned any fidelity to the concept of continuing to walk it and jumped off, whereas the Christian Left seems more to have slipped, but still ends up not walking the line.

In its defense, which is not a sterling one, those on the Left, for the most part, practice a “Live and let live” philosophy that does not seek to intrude upon anyone’s lifestyle.  The Christian Right, however, can do no such thing, for they are convinced they have heard the truth from God, and that it is their mission to spread His word, and impose their beliefs, whether others want to hear it or not.

Much like the radical Muslims that the Christian Right says we must fight and obliterate.  It begs the question, “What if you think you hear God talking to you but it isn’t really Him?” – George Curcio

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