26 nov. 2009

Obama cracks wise, pardons turkey


In a ceremony on the North Portico Wednesday, President Obama pardoned a turkey, known as Courage, from his "terrible and delicious fate." "I believe it's fair to say that we have saved or created four turkeys," Obama joked.

25 nov. 2009

Supporters Struggle To Explain Why They Support Palin



These fans expressed very strong support for Palin, but it was mostly couched in vague generalities about her being "real" and "strong" and "fair."
When pressed to cite specific policies that they favored or thought qualified her for the presidency, most of her fans struggled to come up with anything other than generic lines about cutting taxes and spending and the Palin staple: "drill, baby, drill."
On the other hand, they were all worried that President Obama has been doing enormous damage to the country. However, again, specifics eluded them.

The Phantom Menace



A funny thing happened on the way to a new New Deal. A year ago, the only thing we had to fear was fear itself; today, the reigning doctrine in Washington appears to be “Be afraid. Be very afraid.”

What happened? To be sure, “centrists” in the Senate have hobbled efforts to rescue the economy. But the evidence suggests that in addition to facing political opposition, President Obama and his inner circle have been intimidated by scare stories from Wall Street.

Consider the contrast between what Mr. Obama’s advisers were saying on the eve of his inauguration, and what he himself is saying now.

In December 2008 Lawrence Summers, soon to become the administration’s highest-ranking economist, called for decisive action. “Many experts,” he warned, “believe that unemployment could reach 10 percent by the end of next year.” In the face of that prospect, he continued, “doing too little poses a greater threat than doing too much.”

Ten months later unemployment reached 10.2 percent, suggesting that despite his warning the administration hadn’t done enough to create jobs. You might have expected, then, a determination to do more.

But in a recent interview with Fox News, the president sounded diffident and nervous about his economic policy. He spoke vaguely about possible tax incentives for job creation. But “it is important though to recognize,” he went on, “that if we keep on adding to the debt, even in the midst of this recovery, that at some point, people could lose confidence in the U.S. economy in a way that could actually lead to a double-dip recession.”

What? Huh?

Most economists I talk to believe that the big risk to recovery comes from the inadequacy of government efforts: the stimulus was too small, and it will fade out next year, while high unemployment is undermining both consumer and business confidence.

Now, it’s politically difficult for the Obama administration to enact a full-scale second stimulus. Still, he should be trying to push through as much aid to the economy as possible. And remember, Mr. Obama has the bully pulpit; it’s his job to persuade America to do what needs to be done.

Instead, however, Mr. Obama is lending his voice to those who say that we can’t create more jobs. And a report on Politico.com suggests that deficit reduction, not job creation, will be the centerpiece of his first State of the Union address. What happened?

It took me a while to puzzle this out. But the concerns Mr. Obama expressed become comprehensible if you suppose that he’s getting his views, directly or indirectly, from Wall Street.

Ever since the Great Recession began economic analysts at some (not all) major Wall Street firms have warned that efforts to fight the slump will produce even worse economic evils. In particular, they say, never mind the current ability of the U.S. government to borrow long term at remarkably low interest rates — any day now, budget deficits will lead to a collapse in investor confidence, and rates will soar.

And it’s this latter claim that Mr. Obama echoed in that Fox News interview. Is he right to be worried?

Well, spikes in long-term interest rates have happened in the past, most famously in 1994. But in 1994 the U.S. economy was adding 300,000 jobs a month, and the Fed was steadily raising short-term rates. It’s hard to see why anything similar should happen now, with the economy still bleeding jobs and the Fed showing no desire to raise rates anytime soon.

A better model, I’d argue, is Japan in the 1990s, which ran persistent large budget deficits, but also had a persistently depressed economy — and saw long-term interest rates fall almost steadily. There’s a good chance that officials are being terrorized by a phantom menace — a threat that exists only in their minds.

And shouldn’t we consider the source? As far as I can tell, the analysts now warning about soaring interest rates tend to be the same people who insisted, months after the Great Recession began, that the biggest threat facing the economy was inflation. And let’s not forget that Wall Street — which somehow failed to recognize the biggest housing bubble in history — has a less than stellar record at predicting market behavior.

Still, let’s grant that there is some risk that doing more about double-digit unemployment would undermine confidence in the bond markets. This risk must be set against the certainty of mass suffering if we don’t do more — and the possibility, as I said, of a collapse of confidence among ordinary workers and businesses.

And Mr. Summers was right the first time: in the face of the greatest economic catastrophe since the Great Depression, it’s much riskier to do too little than it is to do too much. It’s sad, and unfortunate, that the administration appears to have lost sight of that truth.

Pirelli Brings People Togetther

Schultz says Limbaugh's claim that Dems get "72 virgins" if health bill passes is "Psycho Talk"



Dobbs fill-in Dom Giordano declares NY terrorists' trial "could be deadly for people"



Matthews: "I think [Dobbs] actually speaks for and to a lot of people, maybe he should think about" running for president

"The final chapters, if we don't wake up, America, are being written about us right now"

javascript:void(0)

24 nov. 2009

The White House's Difficult Position On Climate Change



It's been a bad few weeks for the Obama administration when it comes to climate change, as the White House has found itself trapped between a stalled Senate and constant hammering from world leaders on a lack of leadership on global warming.

On Monday, the administration hit back.
"It would be a mistake to conclude that the international community's failure to reach a final treaty in Copenhagen is due to a lack of domestic legislation in the United States," said a senior White House official, who briefed reporters on the condition of anonymity.
The United States, said officials, plans to propose a near-term emissions reduction target as part of a "meaningful submission" the country will present at the talks.
Just what that meaningful submission will be remains unclear. But the White House on Monday was clearly reaching out trying to change the negative narrative on the climate debate, making senior administration officials available to insist the U.S. will head to the climate change conference in Copenhagen next month with a real plan.

Until now, the United States has resisted setting a specific goal for greenhouse gas reduction, arguing that the international negotiators cannot preempt Congress. And expectations for the talks have fallen over the past few months, a change some blame on the inability of Congress to commit to a concrete target.
"That strategy is untenable," Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, on an EU website, wrote of the failure of the United States and China to deliver specific targets. "It provides no global answer. It does not solve the threat of climate change."
But administration officials said that the White House heads into the talks with confidence.
"I think we go into Copenhagen with a very, very strong hand," said one of the officials. "We have done I think more than anyone could have expected us to do in a short time."
The targets, said Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Ed Markey, will demonstrate U.S. leadership on the climate issue and encourage other nations to make firm commitments.
"The Obama administration will be able to say to the world we are no longer going to preach temperance from a bar stool. We are now ready to begin to make a commitment," he told POLITICO.
Administration officials rattled off a long list of achievements, like new fuel economy standards, a House cap and trade bill, and a joint statement on climate change issued by the United States and China last week.
But White House officials also acknowledged that the international negotiators would have a stronger position had Congress already passed a climate bill.
"We would have preferred that health care be done a long time ago, and we'd be having an energy debate today," the official said.
The goals presented at Copenhagen, said officials, will "take cognizance" of Capitol Hill proposals.
The House passed legislation that would cut greenhouse gases 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. A Senate bill that passed the Environmental and Public Works committee last month called for a 20 percent target, but that version of the bill is expected to be significantly changed by other committees.
U.S. negotiators are holding out hope that a bipartisan effort by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) will give them some momentum heading into the climate talks. The trio of senators is expected to release a framework laying out broad principles of their bipartisan proposal before the conference.
Aides and experts suggested that the White House could introduce a provisional target that would be subject to congressional approval.
But environmental advocates say the targets alone will not be enough to get a deal without presidential assurances that the legislation will eventually become law.
International negotiations learned the power of Congress after lawmakers failed to ratify the 1997 Kyoto climate treaty — an international climate treaty to limit greenhouse gas emissions that had been negotiated but not finalized.
"They're looking for that assurance from the president himself that this is going to get done," said Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Administration officials said Obama would decide over the next few days whether he would travel to the conference. More than 60 world leaders plan to appear at the conference. Obama will be in the region during the talks to receive his Nobel peace prices in Oslo on Dec. 10.
"Why should they negotiate with us when it's not really clear that this is a huge priority and we are going to put all our political might into making sure we ratify the treaty," said Keya Chatterjee, director of the United States Climate Change Program at the World Wildlife Fund. "It's really really dependent on whether they have the confidence on whether there will be some political support on ratifying the treaty."

23 nov. 2009

Palin's associated with a religious tendency whose leaders promote anti-Jewish conspiracy theory



There's some acceptance that statements such as Sarah Palin's prediction that Jews will soon be "flocking to Israel" may indicate Palin holds apocalyptic beliefs. What's not understood is that she's closely associated with a religious tendency whose leaders promote anti-Jewish conspiracy theories, including one most commonly used by the Third Reich, in the 1930's and 1940's, to whip up anti-Semitic hatreds: the claim that a worldwide cabal of Jewish bankers manipulates the world economy and preys on working classes.

Stumping for her new autobiography, Sarah Palin has made a round of interviews with high profile media figures such as Oprah Winfrey and Barbara Walters. In the Walters interview Palin justified her support for expansion of Jewish settler enclaves on Israel's West Bank with a strange prediction. Walters asked, "Now let's talk about some issues - the Middle East. The Obama Administration does not want Israel to build any more settlements on what they consider Palestinian territory. What is your view on this ?" Palin responded, "I disagree with the Obama Administration on that. I believe that, um, the Jewish settlements should be allowed to be expanded upon because the population of Israel is going to grow. More and more Jewish people will be flocking to Israel in the days and weeks and months ahead."

Why might Palin's prediction come to pass ?

In the 1920's and 1930's, rising anti-Semitism was propelled, in part, by conspiracy theories alleging that Jewish bankers such as the Rothschild banking family controlled both the German and world economies through the manipulation of global money markets. Leaders in Sarah Palin's religious tendency have for years been promoting extremely similar conspiracy theories. Some of these allege that the Rothschild banking family heads an international conspiracy that dominates much of the world economy and controls the U.S.economy through the Federal Reserve.

In the 1980's and 1990's that conspiracy theory was folded into a apocalyptic meta-conspiracy narrative claiming that Jews and "Illuminati" controlled, or were close to controlling, the US government and were plotting to implement a "New World Order." The narrative went on to claim that the Jewish/Illuminati conspiracy was imminently ready to call up hundreds of thousands of foreign troops hidden on US army bases and in National Parks, who would round up patriotic Christians and pack them into trains which would bring them to internment camps where, in some versions of the narratives, those Christians would be slaughtered via machine guns, guillotines, ovens, or poison gas.

While there are secular versions of that New World Order meta-conspiracy narrative, most of the narratives are rooted in Christian apocalyptic end-time narratives that envision, with the coming of the New World Order, the rise of a murderous, tyrannical anti-Christ figure. But the fusion of anti-Jewish conspiracy theory with an anti-Christ narrative has precedent.

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, probably the single most destructive work of anti-Jewish propaganda ever created, was first popularized through being printed as the final chapter in Russian Orthodox priest Sergei Nilus' 1905 book The Great within the Small and Antichrist, an Imminent Political Possibility. Notes of an Orthodox Believer. Alfred Rosenberg, Hitler's chief ideologist, tells of being given a copy of Nilus' book in 1917, while Rosenberg was studying in Moscow.

In short, this comes around to a concept widely promoted by Christian Zionists such as Christians United For Israel Founder, Texas megachurch pastor John Hagee, of the "fishers and hunters":

"Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the LORD, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks." - Jeremiah 16:16, KJV


Hagee and other Christian Zionists interpret that Biblical passage from the Book of Jeremiah as a prophecy which applies to current-day Jews worldwide.

Christian Zionists, broadly speaking, are Christians who think God wills it that all Jews live in Israel - and who go to elaborate lengths to bring that about. Regardless of whatever differences there might be between John Hagee's and Sarah Palin's respective brands of Christianity, the two seem to share a narrative common to Christian Zionist theology, that a terrible upwelling of anti-Jewish hatred will in the end-times cause Jewish citizens of every nation on Earth to make aliyah and move to Israel.

"Fishers" are, in that expected scenario, evangelists who try to convert Jews to Christianity and coax them to move to Israel. "Hunters" are overt anti-Semites who will come to hunt and kill those Jews who have not listened to the "fishers" and moved to Israel.

John Hagee's controversial late 2005 "God sent Hitler" sermon, which in May 2008 caused then-presidential candidate John McCain to renounce a long-sought political endorsement from Hagee, was more gratuitously offensive, even, than the general public was aware. During the internationally televised sermon, as Hagee asserted Adolf Hitler and the Nazis were hunters sent by God to chase Europe's Jews towards Palestine, pastor Hagee pantomimed holding a rifle aimed at, presumably, those hunted Jews.

[below: in internationally broadcast last 2005 sermon, Christians United For Israel founder John Hagee outlines his beliefs on the meaning of the Biblical scripture of Jeremiah 16:16]



Paradoxically, while "fishers" such as John Hagee decry overt acts of hatred and violence directed at Jews, they also promote various anti-Jewish myths, slurs, and conspiracy theories that foster anti-Semitism. The same grotesque paradox surfaces in Sarah Palin's religious tendency as well.

In September 2008, shortly after John McCain had picked Sarah Palin as a running mate, footage surfaced from an October 2005 ceremony, held at what many argue is by far Sarah Palin's most important church, the Wasilla Assembly of God. In the footage, saved by a blogger before the church partially scrubbed video and audio of past sermons and events from its website archive, Kenyan evangelist Thomas Muthee officiated over a strange ceremony in which Muthee and two other pastors blessed and anointed Sarah Palin and called upon God to protect her from "every spirit of witchcraft."

Before the ceremony Muthee gave a short speech, during which he advocated that the Christian church should "infiltrate" seven key sectors of society (including business, government, education, and media). During that speech, Muthee claimed that "Israelites" "run the economics" of America. But Bishop Muthee's apparently anti-Jewish attack was mild compared to those of some of his colleagues. Muthee is a prominent celebrity in the religious movement described below.

Sarah Palin's least scrutinized but arguably most significant religious influence, is Alaskan evangelist Mary Glazier, whose personal prayer group Palin joined in 1989 according to Glazier (linked Glazier talk from June 13, 2008 conference held near Seattle). Multiple sources including a January 2009 article in what has become the flagship magazine for American charismatic Christians, Charisma, have confirmed the Palin-Glazier relationship continued into 2008. Glazier's prayer warriors began praying for Sarah Palin's political success nearly two decades ago because, as Glazier was quoted in the Charisma article, "We felt then that she was the one God had selected."

As I've described in a recent Talk To Action story, late in September 2008 Mary Glazier sent out, through her personal prayer networks, a "prophetic warning" suggesting that a tragic act of terrorism might soon leave Sarah Palin alone with the American flag, "stepping into an office that she was mantled for." Glazier's warning appeared to suggest that John McCain would win the 2008 election but be killed in a terrorist attack, leaving Sarah Palin to become president.

Mary Glazier is no random evangelist - she is a high level leader and a prophet in the rapidly coalescing religious movement known as the New Apostolic Reformation. Glazier is also an "apostle" in its central leadership group, the International Coalition of Apostles, formed in 2001. In a January 7th, 2009 appearance at the Wasilla Assembly of God, Glazier's fellow ICA apostle Dutch Sheets credited Glazier with bringing the New Apostolic Reformation to Alaska. At least 5 leaders in the movement, including three ICA apostles, have appeared at the Wasilla Assembly of God. In June 2008, Sarah Palin spent Alaska State travel funds to fly from Juneau to the Mat-Su Valley, to attend two Wasilla Assembly of God related events.

There are over 500 apostles in the ICA, some of whom promote anti-Jewish bigotry on an industrial scale. Some of Glazier's fellow apostles, such as Cindy Jacobs, pepper their public speeches with anti-Jewish slurs. Other ICA apostles incite anti-Jewish hatred in a more focused manner.

ICA Apostle Tom Hess, who runs a messianic ministry in Jerusalem, has sent out worldwide, by his own accounting over 800,000 copies, in 24 different languages, of a book entitled "Let My People Go!" According to Hess 500,000 of those copies have been distributed in America. As I wrote in September 2007,

If you were one of the... Jewish Americans who received "Let My People Go: The Struggle Of The American Jew To Come Home To Israel" in the mail the first thing you probably would have noticed would have been the cover of the book, which features a somewhat crude drawing of a man in a business suit, with a briefcase, straining against numerous ropes tying him to a signpost which reads "Wall Street". There are so many of these ropes that it's quite obvious the man will never be able to break them simply by straining. If you had bothered to read the book, rather than simply tossing it in the trash, you'd have found no ambiguity ; the book says that the man on the cover is supposed to be Jewish, and it's hard to escape the implication that "Let My People Go" begins, and quite noisily so, with the premise that Jews, as a people, are bound to materialism, selfish and greedy.


Rivaling, or perhaps surpassing, Tom Hess is ICA apostle Jim Ammerman, who presides over between six and eight percent of the chaplains in the United States military, claims high level contacts in the Pentagon, and who September 2008 issued a thinly veiled threat against the lives of Democratic senators Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Biden, and Dodd.

Ammerman played an important role in inciting the 1990's militia movement - through barnstorming national tours, under the auspices of a Topeka, Kansas, Christian ministry called The Prophecy Club, during which Ammerman deployed an elaborate anti-Semitic conspiracy theory claiming that the United States government, controlled by evil forces, was imminently ready to declare martial law, round up dissenting Americans, and herd them into concentration camps. Ammerman claimed to have a "high level security clearance." Behind the evil conspiracy, claimed Ammerman, were Rothschilds and other international Jewish banking concerns.

I began this story by mentioning John Hagee for what was a less-than-casual reason. Like Jim Ammerman, John Hagee also distributes, on a worldwide scale, conspiracy theory claiming that Rothschilds control America through the Federal Reserve. Hagee's conspiracy theory-laden sermons go out on Christian broadcast networks that according to John Hagee's official biography reach 190 countries around the globe. According to Jim Ammerman, he and John Hagee are good friends who sometimes go out for lunch.

Both Jim Ammerman and John Hagee have promoted, on a mass scale, conspiracy theories alleging Jewish bankers rule the world. Recently, famed Holocaust survivor, scholar, author, and Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel gave a keynote address at one of John Hagee's church events. According to the ADL, claims that Rothschilds head such an alleged conspiracy amount to a "classic anti-Semitic myth."

[below: video documents similarity of John Hagee's financial conspiracy theory to the financial conspiracy theory promoted in the most notorious anti-Jewish propaganda film ever made, The Eternal Jew, produced under the personal supervision of Joseph Goebbels]





FRANK RICH ON PALIN'S BOOK


AT last the American right and left have one issue they unequivocally agree on: You don’t actually have to read Sarah Palin’s book to have an opinion about it. Last Sunday Liz Cheney praised “Going Rogue” as “well-written” on Fox News even though, by her own account, she had sampled only “parts” of it. On Tuesday, Ana Marie Cox, a correspondent for Air America, belittled the book in The Washington Post while confessing that she couldn’t claim to have “completely” read it.

“Going Rogue” will hardly be the first best seller embraced by millions for talismanic rather than literary ends. And I am not recommending that others follow my example and slog through its 400-plus pages, especially since its supposed revelations have been picked through 24/7 for a week. But sometimes I wonder if anyone has read all of what Palin would call the “dang” thing. Some of the book’s most illuminating tics have been mentioned barely — if at all — by either its fans or foes. Palin is far and away the most important brand in American politics after Barack Obama, and attention must be paid. Those who wishfully think her 15 minutes are up are deluding themselves.

The book’s biggest surprise is Palin’s wide-eyed infatuation with show-business celebrities. You get nearly as much face time with Tina Fey and the cast of “Saturday Night Live” in “Going Rogue” as you do with John McCain. We learn how happy Palin was to receive calls from Bono and Warren Beatty “to share ideas and insights.” We wade through star-struck lists of campaign cameos by Robert Duvall, Jon Voight (who “blew us away”), Naomi Judd, Gary Sinise and Kelsey Grammer, among many others. Then there are the acknowledgments at the book’s end, where Palin reveals that her intimacy with media stars is such that she can air-kiss them on a first-name basis, from Greta to Laura to Rush.

Equally revealing is the one boldfaced name conspicuously left unmentioned in the book: Levi Johnston, the father of Palin’s grandchild. Though Palin and McCain milked him for photo ops at the Republican convention, he is persona non grata now that he’s taking off his campaign wardrobe. Is Johnston’s fledgling porn career the problem, or is it his public threats to strip bare Palin family secrets as well? “She knows what I got on her” is how he put it. In Palin’s interview with Oprah last week, it was questioning about Johnston, not Katie Couric, that made her nervous.

The book’s most frequently dropped names, predictably enough, are the Lord and Ronald Reagan (though not necessarily in that order). Easily the most startling passage in “Going Rogue,” running more than two pages, collates extended excerpts from a prayerful letter Palin wrote to mark the birth of Trig, her child with Down syndrome. This missive’s understandable goal was to reassert Palin’s faith and trust in God. But Palin did not write her letter to God; she wrote the letter from God, assuming His role and voice herself and signing it “Trig’s Creator, Your Heavenly Father.” If I may say so — Oy!

Even by the standard of politicians, this is a woman with an outsized ego. Combine that with her performance skills and an insatiable hunger for the limelight, and you can see why she will not stay in Wasilla now that she’s seen 30 Rock. The question journalists repeatedly asked last week — What are Palin’s plans for 2012? — is a red herring. Palin has no obligation to answer it. She is the pit bull in the china shop of American politics, and she can do what she wants, on her own timeline, all the while raking in the big bucks she couldn’t as a sitting governor. No one, least of all her own political party, can control her.

The fact-checking siege of “Going Rogue” — by the media, Democrats and aggrieved McCain campaign operatives alike — is another fruitless sideshow. Palin’s political appeal has never had anything to do with facts — or coherent policy positions. The more she is attacked for not being in possession of pointy-headed erudition, the more powerful she becomes as an avatar of the anti-elite cause. As Rich Lowry, the editor of National Review, has correctly observed, “She represents less a philosophical strain on the right than an affect and a demographic.”

That demographic is white and non-urban: Just look at the stops and the faces on her carefully calibrated book tour. The affect is emotional — the angry air of grievance that emerged first at her campaign rallies in 2008, with their shrieked threats to Obama, and that has since resurfaced in the Hitler-fixated “tea party” movement (which she endorses in her book). It’s a politics of victimization and sloganeering with no policy solutions required beyond the conservative mantra of No Taxes. Its standard-bearer can make stuff up with impunity: “Thanks, but no thanks on that bridge to nowhere”; Obama’s “palling around with terrorists”; health care “death panels.”

After the Palin-McCain ticket lost, conservative pundits admonished her to start studying the issues. If “Going Rogue” and its promotional interviews are any indication, she has ignored their entreaties during her months at liberty. Last week, Greta Van Susteren chastised Oprah for not asking Palin “one policy question,” but when Barbara Walters did ask some, Palin either recycled Dick Cheney verbatim (Obama is “dithering”) or ran aground. Her argument for why “Jewish settlements” should be expanded on the West Bank was that “more and more Jewish people will be flocking to Israel in the days and weeks and months ahead.” It was unclear what she was talking about — unless it was the “rapture” theology that requires the mass return of Jews to settle the Holy Land as a precondition for the return of Christ.

The discredited neocon hacks who have latched on to Palin as a potential ticket back into power have their work cut out for them. But it’s better for Palin’s purposes to remain as blank a slate as possible anyway. Some of her most ardent supporters realize that she’ll drive still more independent voters away if she fills in too many details. And so Matthew Continetti, the author of the just-published “Persecution of Sarah Palin” and her most persistent cheerleader after William Kristol, wrote in The Wall Street Journal that her role model for 2012 should be Bob McDonnell, the new Republican governor-elect of Virginia, who won on “a bipartisan, center-right approach.”

What Continetti means is that Palin could still somehow fudge her history as McDonnell did; his campaign kept his career-long history as a political acolyte and financial beneficiary of Pat Robertson on the down-low. Even the far right has figured out that homophobia is a turnoff to swing voters, which is why Palin goes out of her way in “Going Rogue” to remind us she has her very own lesbian friend. (What’s left unsaid is that the book’s credited ghost writer, Lynn Vincent, labeled homosexuality as “deviance” in her own writings for World, the evangelical magazine.)

But no matter how much Palin tries to pass for “center-right,” she’s unlikely to fool that vast pool of voters left, right and center who have already written her off as unqualified for the White House. The G.O.P. establishment knows this, and is frightened. The demographic that Palin attracts is in decline; there’s no way the math of her fan base adds up to an Electoral College victory.

Yet among Republicans she still ties Mitt Romney in the latest USA Today/Gallup survey, with 65 percent giving her serious presidential consideration, just behind the 71 for her evangelical rival, Mike Huckabee. The crowds lining up in the cold for her book tour are likely to be the most motivated to line up at the polls in G.O.P. primaries. They don’t speak the same language as Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Michael Steele, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner or, for that matter, McCain. They are more likely to heed Palin salesmen like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh than baffled Bush administration grandees like Peter Wehner, who last week called Palin “a cultural figure much more than a political one” on the Web site of the establishment conservative organ Commentary.

Culture is politics. Palin is at the red-hot center of age-old American resentments that have boiled up both from the ascent of our first black president and from the intractability of the Great Recession for those Americans who haven’t benefited from bailouts. As Palin thrives on the ire of the left, so she does from the disdain of Republican leaders who, with a condescension rivaling the sexism they decry in liberals, belittle her as a lightweight or instruct her to eat think-tank spinach.

The only person who can derail Palin is Palin herself. Should she not self-destruct, she will doom G.O.P. hopes of a 2012 comeback. But the rest of the country cannot rest easy. The rage out there is larger than Palin and defies partisan labeling. Her ever-present booster Continetti, writing in The Weekly Standard, suggested that she recast the century-old populist outrage of William Jennings Bryan by adopting the message “You shall not crucify mankind upon the cross of Goldman Sachs.” If Obama can’t tamp down that rage across the political map, Palin will at the very least pave the way for a demagogue with less baggage to pick up her torch.

22 nov. 2009

REP. PATRICK KENNEDY (D-R.I.) 'BARRED FROM COMMUNION'



Providence Journal's John E. Mulligan: 'Providence Bishop Thomas J. Tobin has forbidden Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy to receive the Roman Catholic sacrament of Holy Communion because of his advocacy of abortion rights, the Rhode Island Democrat said Friday. 'The bishop instructed me not to take Communion and said that he has instructed the diocesan priests not to give me Communion,' Kennedy said in a telephone interview. Kennedy said the bishop had explained the penalty by telling him 'that I am not a good practicing Catholic because of the positions that I've taken as a public official,' particularly on abortion. He declined to say when or how Bishop Tobin told him not to take the sacrament. And he declined to say whether he has obeyed the bishop's injunction. Bishop Tobin, through a spokesman, declined to address the question of whether he had told Kennedy not to receive Communion. ... This latest exchange between Bishop Tobin and Kennedy, the only remaining public official in the nation's most prominent Catholic family, escalates their heated public debate over how the eight-term congressman's work for abortion rights bears on his standing in the church.'

One Step Ahead


Tonight we have the opportunity, the historic opportunity to reform health care once and for all,” said Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana, and a chief architect of the legislation. “History is knocking on the door. Let’s open it. Let’s begin the debate.”

The 60-to-39 vote, along party lines, clears the way for weeks of rowdy floor proceedings that will begin after Thanksgiving and last through much of December.

The Senate bill seeks to extend health benefits to roughly 31 million Americans who are now uninsured, at a cost of $848 billion over 10 years.

The House earlier this month approved its health care bill by 220 to 215, with just one Republican voting in favor. That measure is broadly similar to the Senate legislation, but there are some major differences that would have to be resolved before a bill could reach Mr. Obama, and that would almost surely push the process into next year.

As the Democrats succeeded Saturday in uniting their caucus by winning over the last two holdouts, big disagreements remained, making final approval of the bill far from certain.

Two reluctant Democratic senators, Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, warned that their support for a motion to open debate did not guarantee that they would ultimately vote for the bill. Their remarks echoed previous comments by several other senators, including Ben Nelson, Democrat of Nebraska, and Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut.

Those comments made clear that more horse-trading lies ahead and that major changes might be required if the bill is to be approved. And it suggested that the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, who relied only on members aligned with his party to bring the bill to the floor, may yet have to sway one or more Republicans to his side to get the bill adopted.

Comparing the House and the Senate Health Care ProposalsInteractive Graphic