Saturday, October 16, 2010

Joe the Teabagger Campaign Death Spiral Watch - Day Six - A Tightening US Senate Race, As Miller Supporters and Detractors Campaign

I. Very few Alaska newspaper editorials have been favorable to U.S. senate candidate Joe Miller. Recently, most have been all but damning of his increasingly obvious hypocrisy. A few op-eds have come to his defense, a couple of them since Miller told the Alaska press corpse last Monday to take his version of the past, or go fuck off.

Rep. Wes Keller (R - Wasilla), the guy from Sarah Palin's church who Palin appointed to replace one of her first mentors, Vic Kohring, when Kohring had to go off to jail, penned an interesting defense of Miller for today's Anchorage Daily News. The ADN placed it very prominently on the Saturday editorial page, under their masthead. One wonders whether Miller or the ADN staff chose the op-ed's title, "Scriptures, Constitution Say It All - It's Miller Time." And all along I thought God preferred Alaska Amber, and that the constitutional framers preferred Samuel Adams Boston Lager. One learns something new every day.

Keller's op-ed makes some valid points. Our government does spend too much. Keller observes:
Ms. Murkowski is unable to come to grips with the fact that her own party rejected her complacent attitude towards the fiscal crisis of our country and instead, accepted the direction offered by Mr. Miller that America's elected leadership must return to obeying the law of the land, the U.S. Constitution, and turn us back from the brink of insolvency.
We were at the brink of insolvency on January 20th, 2009. Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats put us there. I don't remember any op-eds by Keller, or statements by Joe Miller during the two Bush administrations about the growing dangers of insolvency, while Bush was spending, according to Sen. John McCain, "like a drunken sailor."

Since the administration of John F. Kennedy, Federal spending during GOP administrations has been far more reckless than under Democrats. While I am no fan of President Obama's fiscal policies, or of Sen. Murkowski's record on these matters while she served from 2002 through 2010, Keller's got his head up his ass on this one. Here's Andrew Halcro
to explain how far:
In Saturday's Anchorage Daily News, State Representative Wes Keller (R-Wasilla) attempts to make the case that Joe Miller is the right choice for Alaska.

I'm sorry but this is as comical as reading his predecessor Vic Kohring's piece years ago about special interests, just before Vic got caught reaching into Bill Allen's candy jar.

In his opinion column, Keller first attacks U.S. Senator Mark Begich by saying "Alaska's economy and family values base cannot afford another Begich." Can't afford another Begich? This is ironic coming from a guy who not only voted to raise oil taxes so high they've damaged the economy, but he also voted for AGIA which has left this state without a reasonable natural gas pipeline strategy.

In fact, on the very same day that Keller's column was printed, a front page story detailed Governor Sean Parnell's admission that the higher taxes Keller voted for were hurting the economy.

He also states that Lisa Murkowski's campaign "is still in ICU but reportedly now off life support, and she claims she is still "in it to win it." Well, bless her fighting spirit. I only wish we could bless her good sense."

Save your blessings Wes, as you have obviously missed every poll done that shows the race a dead heat. If Murkowski's campaign is in ICU, what does that say about Miller's campaign?

And since Keller wants to drag the Holy scriptures into the debate over the U.S. Senate race, what does it say about Miller that he refuses to be honest and forthright. Oh...I'm sure there is something in the scriptures about being honest and not telling lies...right?

Like Miller, Keller is apparently playing the role of the "do as I say, not as I do" candidate.

Sorry Wes, your legislative record gives you no platform to be preaching about a "prosperous future," as your votes on higher taxes and AGIA have put Alaskan families at great risk...just like Joe Miller will if he is elected.
Comments at Keller's op-ed at the ADN are all over the place, and the bible bangers are out in force, defending the sanctity of Miller Time:

Joe received three bronze stars, how many did you receive?
Charity comes from the heart. Redistributing one persons hard earned money to another is not Charity it is thievery. It does not say in the Constitution from one according to his means to one according to his needs. You provide for you and I'll provide for me.
Fannie Mae and Fannie Mac destroyed the housing market by lending money to people to buy homes they could never afford. The banks sold off these toxic mortgages to spread the loss they knew was coming their way. Democrat Barney Frank of Massachusetts and Democrat Christopher Dodd of Connecticut destroyed our economy. The stimulus spending has been a complete flop. A trillion dollars have gone up in smoke and we have very few jobs to show for it. Unemployment is still around 10%. 40,000,000 people are on food stamps.

Extremist Fundamentalist Muslim Al Quaeda are trying to kill Americans all over the world including a plot right now to bomb New York City one more time. Drones and weapons are needed to track these killers down.

The constitution limits the powers of the Federal Government. Democrats have overreached and have violated the authorities given to it.
Bill Clinton brought us Enron and the dot. com bubble. He also brought us the First World Trade Center Bombing and the Bombing of the USS Cole. Bill Clinton brought us the War in Bosnia and the bombing of Oklahoma City. Does Janet Reno and Waco Texas ring a bell?
Enough of that. Let's move on.

II. Paul Jenkins' vivid remembrance of combat experiences when he was a young soldier, in an op-ed last week at the ADN, critical of Miller, was vivid, poignant and to the point. Jenkins has been criticized in the comments there, and on Anchorage talk radio, of "Swift-Boating Joe Miller." I don't think so. Jenkins makes valid points in his criticisms of the way the Miller campaign has touted Miller as some kind of Audie Murphy, John Basilone or James Bondsteel:

A friend asked me why I have such a low opinion of Joe Miller, the GOP candidate for U.S. Senate. It's not because of his ideas, which range from naive to uninformed to flaky. It's not his "It was good enough for me; it's unconstitutional for you" hypocrisy. I'm offended by his Bronze Star, or, rather, the constant, shameless touting of his Bronze Star. It is unseemly, and I'm embarrassed for him.

Virtually everything written or said about Miller quickly turns to that medal. His campaign ads. The New York Times, Time magazine, even Wikipedia and radio idiots. All of them. It is presented in such a way that the average person certainly could be forgiven for believing it was awarded for battlefield valor. Miller's was not. It was for "meritorious achievement" from Jan. 17, 1991, to March 6, 1991, during Operation Desert Storm.

Without trying to demean Bronze Stars for meritorious achievement -- many have earned them -- there have been tens of thousands awarded, about 30,000 in Operation Desert Storm alone, and nearly 700 in the Grenada invasion. It easily is one of the most abused medals awarded by this nation.

There are similarities to the way Miller's advocates unthinkingly revere him as warrior and the way Palin trots out her son Track's of service in Iraq or Kuwait. Palin yelled at her crowd in San Diego last weekend, with Miller at her side:
You know what, you can say whatever you want to say about me but I raised a combat vet and you can’t take that away from me.
Whatever Miller may have taken away from his 100 hours of combat in Iraq and Kuwait, Keller's characterization of Miller, "We have Mr. Miller, a soldier seasoned by combat and life experience," isn't three-dimensional. With what we're learning these past few weeks of Miller, Keller's portrayal is cartoonish.

Our American style of war worship has not served us well. It is an incredibly expensive distraction away from far more pressing problems in sustaining human life on this planet through the 21st century and beyond.

Here we have Palin, Miller, Keller and a lot of other teabaggers, believing they will see Jesus return during their lifetimes, pushing to go to thermonuclear war against Iran, on behalf of an Israel they imagine in their Christianist heads, in hopes that these actions might spur Jesus to come back sooner, rather than later.

Believe it or not, some Christians, most notably Catholics (like Lisa Murkowski), believe that these actions, known as "
immanentizing the eschaton" are profoundly un-Christian and quite sinful:
The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the "intrinsically perverse" political form of a secular messianism.
My own view is that anyone who believes she or he will see Jesus in their lifetime should be kept far, far away from any thermonuclear launch codes, missile silos, nuclear devices, Ohio-class SSBNs or any other CBR kinds of weapons. They should be limited in how far they can advance in military rank, and should not be allowed to serve on committees in Congress that develop defense or civil defense policies.

Juan Cole noted this past week that:
Republican gadfly Sarah Palin said in an interview with Newsmax Tuesday that Russia should be warned against helping Iran because if Iran got a nuclear weapon it would bring about Armageddon.

She also warned against the imposition of what she called Muslim sharia law on Americans and said they would never put up with it.

Give me a break. No one is working harder to impose a religious law code on Americans than Palin herself. Palin is one of those people who says she would like to forbid abortion even in cases of rape or danger to the mother’s life. Palin’s hostility to pro-choice positions derives from her belief in the supremacy of Christian law, which she wants to impose on all Americans. For more see my classic Salon essay on how many of Palin’s stances track with sharia or actually are more rigid.

Iran does not have a nuclear weapon, and says it does not want one and would not accept one. There is no evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapons program, and the International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly certified that no nuclear material is being diverted to military purposes from Iran’s civilian nuclear enrichment facilities in Natanz near Isfahan.

In contrast, the United States and Russia each has thousands of nuclear warheads, and smaller nuclear arsenals are possessed by Britain, France, China, and Israel.

It is difficult to see how Iran, a poor weak state with virtually no air force to speak of, and which is defenseless against a nuclear-armed superpower, could possibly cause an ‘Armageddon’ or show-down battle ushering in the Last Days.

Anyone who thinks that Miller would be Sarah Palin Lite is in for a scary fucking wake-up call if this bozo gets elected.

images - some American generals and their medals. Grant felt uncomfortable with them. Note MacArthur and Eisenhower, standing together during the crackdowns on the Bonus Army. Two entirely different characters.


Mark Springer said...

That's SSBN, Phil, not SSBM. Otherwise a fine post as usual.

Gary Van Ess said...

Looks like the military handed out Bronze Stars to all in active combat zones... and probably still does. As a vet myself, I'm with Gen. Grant... medals are handed out like candy in too many cases ( not all ), beginning with the ever popular "geedunk" medal everyone gets just for breathing.
Nothing worse than a vet bragging of their service... nothing. And I'd sure like to hear from Track himself on his "combat" experience. Big difference between the firing line and the rear.

Kevin said...

Phil, Iran's nuclear ambitions are not innocent. Please do not assume that everything the right wing says is nuts and do some reading. As the saying goes, a stopped clock is right twice a day. Iran has resisted international inspection and has resisted every proposal that would provide it with uranium enriched sufficiently for a power reactor but unsuitable for a bomb. Iran has also threatened Israel in language that has never been tolerated when directed toward any other country. Iran's government is repressive, reactionary, and dominated by religion, and I sincerely hope that its people will be able to change it.

Anonymous said...

pretty disingenuous of Palin — as if her juvenile delinquent turned soldier would ever meet real combat. Not.

And, why didn't Tawd serve? Given Sarah's warmongering there sure isn't a showing of military service in the men in that family — Tawd, Chuck, Sarah's brother .. when did she get all military happy?

Philip Munger said...


Where did I write that Iran's nuclear ambitions are innocent? They are no more innocent than ours, the UK's, France's, China's, Israel's, India's or Pakistan's. There is no such thing as an "innocent" nuclear ambition.

But, as Emperor Hirohito once learned, a deterrent might come in useful. Any Iranian, seeing himself surrounded by a country that easily invaded two adjacent countries without a deterrent, might understandably want one.

Even if the Green Revolution in Iran somehow succeeds in overthrowing the current regime, those democratically elected Iranians would probably pursue a nuclear program at least as aggressive as the one being pursued by those now in power.

Kevin said...

Sorry, Phil, if I misrepresented your beliefs. I was referring to the statement by Juan Cole which I understood you to be quoting with approval: "Iran does not have a nuclear weapon, and says it does not want one and would not accept one. There is no evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapons program ...."

I believe the second sentence is false. By saying Iran's nuclear program is "not innocent," I meant that it is intended to produce weapons, not merely electricity, and that is a meaningful distinction.

From your response to me, it appears that you believe Iran is morally justified in pursuing nuclear weapons, at least as morally justified as any other nation has been. I disagree. I don't know how you can say, "there is no such thing as an 'innocent' nuclear ambition" -- unless by "nuclear ambition" you meant the pursuit of nuclear weapons. A nuclear program can be innocent. Power-generating reactors can be operated under supervision so that the plutonium produced cannot be separated and purified for weapons use. Given the amount of available fuel, it is hard to see the need for uranium-enrichment capability, but, again, operated under supervision, enrichment can be limited to the low concentration used in reactor fuel which is useless for weapons.

But maybe I am misunderstanding you, and your point was that no nuclear weapons program is "innocent." Do you believe that all are equally "guilty"? Doesn't it depend on the situation and intentions of the nation involved?

Nuclear weapons are not only a deterrent against other nuclear-armed nations. Nuclear weapons deter the employment of conventional weapons, employed defensively as well as offensively. If Japan had possessed deliverable nuclear weapons in 1941, not only would we not have dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we would not have fire-bombed Japanese cities. In fact, we would never have gone to war with Japan. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor would have been totally unnecessary, as the United States and Britain would not obstinately have been blocking the expansion of the Japanese Empire. We would have retreated from the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, and most of Asia would be ruled today from Tokyo. Do we want to see the Middle East ruled from Teheran?

I'm puzzled by your saying that "any Iranian, seeing himself surrounded by a country that easily invaded two adjacent countries without a deterrent, might understandably want one." I assume you mean Iraq, which borders Iran but does not surround it, and which invaded Iran in 1980 and Kuwait in 1990. Saddam's dictatorship is gone, and an Iraq in which the large Shiite minority participates in government is unlikely to be hostile to Iran unless provoked. In any event, Iraq will not be capable of posing a threat to Iran anytime soon.

I cannot see Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons as defensive, and I see no moral justification for it. Even if Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons threatened no one and would amount to no more than a "status symbol" of national pride and achievement, it would hardly be morally justifiable given the poverty of the country.