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Palin Takes a Dive
Meanwhile, GOP curries Osama bin Laden support

by Bryan Zepp Jamieson
July 3, 2009

This seems a good time to just sort of take an overview look at the sorts of things in the political news right now. Given that it's summer, it's supposed to be a quiet time of the year in politics, but these days, “quiet time” is reserved for politicians who are in mental hospitals, and usually involves padded rooms and heroic doses of tranquilizers.

Sarah Palin suddenly quit as governor. No, really, Happened this morning. Nobody knows why. Palin gave an impromptu speech that was jumbled and incoherent, but her impromptu remarks always are jumbled and incoherent. She said, “I know when it’s time to pass the ball for victory. We are not retreating; we are advancing in another direction.”

The Guardian seemed to think this would free her up to run for office, not swamped by the crushing demands of the Alaska governor's office. Trust me: the mayor of Fresno, California has bigger responsibilities to deal with. And, with the campaign for president (hopefully) two and a half years off, you don't quit a high-profile, sort-of prestigious position where you can command the public eye pretty much at will.

Which leaves me wondering what scandal broke, and does the party think that deep-sixing her career will shield them from it in some way? Best totally ersatz “speculation” around the story: she was caught in a three way with Ensign and Sanford. You can see Argentina from Alaska, you know.

Damn. I was really looking forward to her candidacy. Never any shortage of entertaining material there.

On a less humorous note, the latest unemployment figures, scary and unexpected, showed once and for all that Obama's stimulus package isn't going to be enough. The economy is in deep, deep trouble, and just because Wall Street is feeling cocky and acquisitive again doesn't mean the economic crisis is over.

The ever-worthless American media focused on the phony “stress tests” for the banks, and the stock market in general, and decided the worst was past. Except, of course, for Paul Krugman, who saw this coming four months ago. He was expecting 10% unemployment in the summer, and here, just before summer, it was at 9.5% It's going to go up, and will probably hit 12% by the end of summer.

The main problem is that this is still a consumer society, and consumers no longer have money to spend. The carefully modified cost of living rates don't mention he huge increases in food costs, or the surge in utilities. A family that spent $125 a month on water, electrical, fuel oil, sewage, garbage, and cable spends well over $300 a month these days. And a lot of them, while making 2% more income on paper than ten years ago, are seeing more of it going for less and less health care. Oh, did I mention that supplemental medical and insurance costs had gone through the roof?

It wasn't like they had a lot of money to spend to begin with after twenty years of Reaganomics. Now, with gas around $3 a gallon and credit shutting down everywhere, they are cutting way back on spending, which means thousands of businesses hiring tens of thousands of people are folding.

It's a vicious circle, and the media is still pretending that the real problem is just a matter of finessing the financial sector so “extreme actions can be avoided.” AP, the press-agency-turned-cheerleader-for-the-moneyed-class had a big article today about how the deficit must be solved. AP was pretty much quiet during the huge, unnecessary deficits of the Bush administration, but now that they are needed in an effort to keep the hinterland economy going, they are outraged. How dare they spend tax money on the plebes!?

Republicans are fighting the idea of more stimulus like wolverines because they believe that it's the wrong approach to the crisis. Instead, they suggest lower taxes and less spending. The same approach that pretty much led to this crisis in the first place, in other words. And they can't figure out why they are becoming a splinter party.

California, which was already reeling from an 11.5% unemployment rate and a shrinking economy, is about to discover the joys of a government that has no money to spend. The small band of radicals who have kept the budget process frozen for the past 16 years are still looking to destroy the government so private interests can run the state, and with July 1^st passed, no credit and no money to spend, the state government is issuing IOUs to everyone. That's another 8% of the state economy that just suddenly ceased to exist, other than as notes of dubious value. The people who wrecked the California economy are confident the people will run to them for leadership once the government by the people is swept out of the way. There is little reason to suppose that will happen, although it's not very clear what will happen next. Food riots?

The military is beginning a big push in Afghanistan, with one officer gleefully telling the press that it was the biggest military operation since Vietnam. Veteran reporters didn't find that very reassuring, given how Vietnam turned out. In a development reminiscent of Vietnam, soldiers are discovering that among the Afghani population, resentment and resistance has spread well beyond those who support the Taliban, and might make up 80% of their population. Something to do with invading and occupying their country for seven years. They just don't appreciate the White Man's Burden, the ingrates!

Normally when I say something like that, somebody emails me, accusing me of wanting American troops to fail. I don't want them to fail; I want them to get the hell out. Unlike Iraq, there actually was a rationale for attacking Afghanistan, but that time is long passed, and the opportunity to accomplish American goals was forever lost in 2002 at Tora Bora. Now America, Canada, and the other countries spilling blood and money there can only hope to get out and perhaps start infiltrating Afghani society with foreign aid.

But right wingers will have to go easy on shouts that anyone who disagrees with national policy wants America to fail after the horrifying interview that came to light yesterday. Michael Scheuer, appearing on Fox News as a guest on the repulsive Glenn Beck Show, said, “*The only chance we have as a country right now is for Osama bin Laden to deploy and detonate a major weapon in the United States. *Because it's going to take a grass-roots, bottom-up pressure. Because these politicians prize their office, prize the praise of the media and the Europeans. It's an absurd situation again. Only Osama can execute an attack which will force Americans to demand that their government protect them effectively, consistently, and with as much violence as necessary.” Beck, with a sympathetic simper, replied, “...Which is why, I was thinking this weekend, if I were him, that would be the last thing I would do right now.”

Darn that Osama! Just when you NEED him to kill several million Americans with an atomic blast, he flakes out on you! Has anyone run an investigation to make sure he isn't actually a member of the Democratic Party? Doesn't he KNOW there's a bunch of libruls in Washington whut needs embarrassin, and nothing will embarrass them more than a major terrorist strike?

What are you waiting for, Osama! Nuke Boston or Los Angeles NOW, so we have time to use it to affect the mid-term elections! You don't want Democrats to extend their lead in the Senate, do you? Come on! We're all on the same side now that a Democrat is in the White House!

That's the state of the Republican Party in America today. They are reduced to hoping for a major strike against the US so they can use it against Obama. Mind you, these are the same people who are telling us they oppose Obama on stimulus packages and health care because, just as with national defense, they have America's best interests at heart.

Scheuer, incidentally, was Chief of the _Bin Laden Issue Station _ (aka "Alec Station"), from 1996 to 1999. It was up to him to watch bin Laden and make sure he wasn't up to something.

Did a hell of a good job, didn't he? Of course, there was a Democrat in the White House then, and maybe he felt the same urge to protect America from Democratic complacency.

We'll never really know, will we?

Osama bin Laden is a fan of Scheuer's, writing, “"If you want to understand what's going on and if you would like to get to know some of the reasons for your losing the war against us, then read the book of Michael Scheuer in this regard.”

Maybe the GOP is planning to run him for Governor of Alaska. You can see Riyadh from Alaska, you know.

Posted: June 29, 2009

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