Posts tagged ‘Palin’

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Voice of America Mandarin Budget: “Keep Shortwave, for Now”

Cut spending, don’t raise taxes, America’s Republican Party keeps arguing. Not that history suggests that Republicans would act accordingly in practise, but it sounds so beautifully housewifely. Those folks understand how thinks work in real life, the classical Sarah Palin fan (usually herself a housewife, with a hard fiber hairdo and a squinched face underneath) will feel.

America's Space Shuttle Program, featured on a VoA QSL Card of 1986

America's Space Shuttle Program, featured on a VoA QSL Card of 1986

In past budget cut deals, Ronald Reagan preferred raising taxes over budget cuts, as Economist data is showing. George Bush senior on the other hand chose a mix where cuts exceeded tax increases, but by a modest ratio, compared with both Bill Clinton‘s in 1993/97, and Barack Obama‘s proposals this year. Both the past and present Democrat incumbents presided over budget reforms where spending cuts outweighed tax increases by far.

But then, it all depends on where you cut.

Obama cuts off VoA funding for China; gives it to NPR,

Ed Lasky wrote in a post for the American Thinker, in February. The VoA’s (Voice of America) shift from shortwave radio to digital media

is wrongheaded on many levels. The internet is quite easy to filter or just cut off.  Plus, many people in remote areas lack access to the internet,

Lasky wrote. Which might be as true as it reads, if the Chinese Communist Party’s approach in pursuing their agenda was about as fiery as Ed Lasky’s in pursuing his. Internet filtering in China is effective in many cases indeed, and besides, by far not every Chinese internet user even knows the basics about “surfing”. Try and open a browser in an “illegal”, i. e. unregistered internet café, and in about every second case, the address bar’s history is going to display quite a number of rather unimaginative porn searchwords which were entered by a previous user, rather than actual urls.

But you can be pretty sure that things would need to become very serious before the Chinese government would just cut off the internet – VoA wouldn’t be “good” enough for that much trouble. China is no banana economy, and cutting off the internet would come at a cost even the CCP needs to avoid.

Either way – the VoA’s Mandarin service’s radio broadcasts may not be exactly as dead as first reported. A bill by Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (Republican) reserves US$13.76 million from the total budget for government-sponsored broadcasting next year to be strictly used for Mandarin and Cantonese radio and TV broadcasts, the Taipei Times reported on Sunday. It’s only a small step into preserving the radio and tv broadcasts, the Taipei Times’ article points out. And obviously, the VoA’s Madarin service’s future will remain part of the general budget struggles between the administration on the one hand, and the House of Representatives, and the Senate, on the other.

But this is a situation where I feel that Rohrabacher – quite a reactionary in my view – has  a point.

The Chinese people are our greatest allies, and the free flow of information is our greatest weapon,

he was quoted by the Washington Times in February. And matters of taste, style, and the (implicit, but blanket, I believe) allegation against the Obama administration aside, he also has a point in saying that

This is another alarming sign that America is cowering before China’s gangster regime.

America isn’t cowering to Beijing, but the sign was still understood that way by the Global Times at the time – there was apparently no difference in how Beijing and Rohrabacher perceived the cuts. The Global Times, an English-language CCP mouthpiece, wrote in February that cuts at the BBC‘s and VoA’s Mandarin services demonstrated

a blow to the ideological campaign that certain countries have waged for over half a century. In addition to competition from other media, they were being marginalized due to their biased and unprofessional reporting [original Global Times link apparently no longer valid –*)

Every China expert is prepared to give you lessons in how to get your message across in China, when it comes to business. But in the VoA’s case, you’d better turn to Rohrabacher for advice. The VoA has been a tradition in Chinese since 1942, and cuts in a field where China is only beginning its own efforts seem to suggest that efforts to offer the Chinese public a foreign perspective have been abandoned.

That said, Rohrabacher’s and many other stakeholders’ or observers’ advocacy would come across as more credible if they sounded somewhat less sectarian. It is true that the Broadcasting Board of Governors’ (BBG) decision to turn the Voice digital sent the wrong signal. It is also true that it would signal weakness, given the views of the target audience. But to suggest that America  was therefore indeed cowering before China’s gangster regime doesn’t hold water.

The Taipei Times also makes a good point, but shreds some of it again, right away, with a hyperbolic assertion. The New-York based media research organization which conducted the VoA audience research in China, prior to the BGG’s decision to shut shortwave down, then relied on contractors in Beijing to conduct the survey, the paper points out. Doubts about the accuracy of research under these conditions  therefore seem to be in order – but not because of

the prospect of punishment facing anyone in China who admits to listening to VOA broadcasts.

People may get punished for a lot of things in China, even if their behavior would usually be considered completely legal, and even by Chinese authorities. But punishment for listening to the Voice of America is one of the less likely breaches of China’s own law.

In an article for the Public Diplomacy Council (PDC), Kim Andrew Elliott, an expert, if you like, recommends:

Keep shortwave, for now. The BBG is correct that shortwave radio ownership and listening rates are very small in China. Even domestic FM and AM radio has been much less popular than television in the country. Nevertheless, because of the high cost of shortwave transmission, and the unpopularity of shortwave in China, there is incentive for a premature declaration of victory in internet censorship circumvention efforts. Shortwave arguably remains the medium most resistant to interdiction. It is the only medium with a physical resistance to jamming, because radio waves at shortwave frequencies often propagate better over long than short distances. When an objective, independent assessment determines that average internet users in China can conveniently work around government censorship, the shortwave transmitters can be turned off.

I don’t agree that shortwave radio ownership and listening rates would be small in China, and I’m getting the feeling that all the assessments to this direction are based on surveying a rather well-off and well-connected Chinese middle class only. But on all other points he makes, Elliott is most probably right. And he argues in a rational, rather than in an ideology-driven way. He actually thinks about the listeners.

There is a list of twelve recommendations in his article, and each of them is in itself a recommendable read.


Update / Related

» China Radio International: Confucius’ Pavilion of Acid Pleasure, Comment, July 24, 2011


Update / Note

*) New link: Global Times now, rather than Huanqiu English:


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Photo Opportunity: Not her Level

Lady Thatcher will not be seeing Sarah Palin. That would be belittling for Margaret. Sarah Palin is nuts.

A Thatcher aide, reportedly talking to the Guardian.


» Margaret Thatcher’s Economic Record, May 4, 2010

Monday, May 9, 2011

Assange: through the Course of his Work

I had some discussions with Ned, a Catholic blogger from Australia, in 2008 / 2009, during the American presidential election campaign, and the early days of Barack Obama‘s presidency. This short thread is the only one I can find right now – either way, Ned distrusted Obama’s liberal-asshole background (this is a more complex issue than you might think; he was by no means in love with GWB, Palin, or Limbaugh either), and he distrusted what he referred to as Obama’s messiahdom.

His objections to the hype (that’s how I understand the messiah referral) was something I could always relate to, even though I still believe that America had a choice between two good candidates in 2008  – John McCain and Barack Obama -, and chose the better one of the two, the one who focused on rebuilding America, rather than the world.

But if that hpye angered Ned, why is he silent now, as one of his very Australian compatriots, Julian Assange, has become the global hero?

Julian Assange: some insight

Julian Assange: some insight (click on this picture for video)

Assange was interviewed by Russia Today‘s (RT) Laura Emmett earlier this month, and her introductory remark and question seem to be  ideal characteristics of an interview with a hyped personality:

Julian, thanks for talking to RT. Now, through the course of your work, it’s reasonable to assume that you have some insight into how political decisions are being made. What do you make of the recent events in the Middle East and North Africa. Do you think that we are seeing genuine social unrest, or are we seeing some kind of orchestrated revolt? And if so, who do you think is behind all this?

Why should Assange have particular insight into how political decisions are made – except for decisions he participates in? He knows how to shed light on confidential “cables”, and he may be called an IT expert. And if I had a chat with someone in a pub and got to hear views like his, I’d think that this is an unusually informed and observing contemporary. But that would be that. I wouldn’t think for a moment that he’d have particular insights into political decision-making, simply because what he says.

That’s not to say that the interview wouldn’t worth to be listened to. From 1’50”, Assange discusses “social networking”, and here, he is involved and both knows more than most people you could ask, and is prepared to say things that many other knowledgeable people wouldn’t be prepared to say.

When listening very closely to Assange’s answer to Emmett’s question – if the UK were still a haven for terrorists (3’10”) -, I seem to understand that Assange believes that it may still be a haven for terrorists. But it’s a quickly-mumbled reply, and he immediately switches to more exhaustive remarks about the UK’s role as a haven for oligarchs and former regime dictators.

Emmett’s next question is about why Wikileaks released Guantanamo information now – is it because Obama has recently announced his re-election campaign, and obviously, closing Guantanamo was one of his main election promises?

Seems that Emmett’s previous question about the UK’s role as a safe haven for terrorism wasn’t that important after all. What really matters is that Obama has “given up on closing Guantanamo”. The reporter is doing little more than throwing in cues for Assange. Many “mainstream media” people would do a better job in quizzing their respondents.

To be fair, the video is edited – from 40 to only 13 minutes. But in short, the only reason to watch the video is that it offers information you may not get elsewhere. If the Guardian (5’59”) sucks, Russia Today sucks even more. Mind you – the Guardian has, according to Assange, reduced the information provided by Wikileaks, beyond the reductions both sides had previously agreed to. The paper has, however, gone far beyond what Russia Today would ever dare, or ever want to do in publishing confidential information.

Mr Ed wants to share this farm's secrets with you

You can look - but you may still be clueless (click on this photo, if you like)

Confidentiality isn’t merely a tool to keep “common people” uninformed – and it isn’t meant to be such a tool in the first place. The intended structure is that members of the government’s executive branch can expect that they can discuss sensitive issues, such as how to deal with a representative of a foreign state, without having to expect that next time they meet that very representative, he will know exactly how they are viewing him – or his intentions. Another aspect of that structure is that democratically-elected members of  parliamentary committees will scrutinize the government’s work and documents – confidential ones included.

Every company of any size has the right to develop strategies without making them public – and every such company will still face some – select – scrutiny. Think of the fiscal authorities. But confidential material only needs to become a public matter when it constitutes an offense. In my humble profession, too, I have the right to talk with one, two, or several colleagues at the same time, to choose my interlocutors carefully, and I’m not obliged to reveal everything we’ve talked about to others. Such rights to confidentiality, too, are limited to what is legal, or in accordance with the rules of procedure. Some confidentiality is essential for decision-making.

Nobody knows the standards by which Wikileaks itself publishes the material it gains from its sources. Wikileaks accounts neither to the authors of its sources, nor to the public. And Wikileaks fans don’t seem to have a problem with that. They let explanations like these suffice:

The more secretive or unjust an organization is, the more leaks induce fear and paranoia in the leadership and planning coterie. This must result in minimization of efficient internal communications mechanisms (an increase in cognitive ‘secrecy tax’) and consequent system-wide cognitive decline resulting in decreased ability to hold onto power as the environment demands adaptation.

Hence in a world where leaking is easy, secretive or unjust systems are nonlinearly hit relative to open, just systems. Since unjust systems, by their nature induce opponents, and in many places barely have the upper hand, leaking leaves them exquisitely vulnerable to those who seek to replace them with more open forms of governance.

But it isn’t the world’s most secretive organizations whose members will be prepared to “leak” information. Don’t hold your breath for leaks from the Chinese bureaucracy, or even from Russia’s. Either members will either be to concerned for their own safety, or too patriotic to leak anything.

Let’s get back to Obama…

There were many reasons as to why he was frequently given messiah-like treatment (hosanna one day one, crucify-that-loser on day 300 (give it a few hundred days either way), and currently he’s-cool-he-caught-Osama). When people believe that a single person or party can solve their problems, they are most probably lazy. If Obama will take care of all that undefined stuff, and we will have full employment, public happiness, or whatever within four years. Be prepared to cry.

Or Assange will take care of all that stuff, and every government will be held accountable. The problem is: everyone who reads easily accessible sources – papers, online articles, and – even if only once a year – a carefully-chosen non-fictional book, will be better informed than anyone who would care to work his way through every damned cable that has been published by Wikileaks since last year. There is no shortcut to a society that holds its government – and its corporations – accountable. It takes more than Assange’s work. And while Obama’s performance does play a certain role after all, Assange’s doesn’t.

Most European societies, plus American society, plus many more around the globe, offer the conditions it takes to be judgmental, and to act in accordance with ones judgment.

Wikileaks is doing more damage than good to such an environment. There is no shortcut to individual judgment. Only the ability to judge, and to act, can hold bureaucracies accountable.


Guantanamo Files, Wikileaks, ca. April 24, 2011

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Don’t Reload – Mark it Zero

Oh dear. If Sarah Palin should ever get shot (I hope she won’t), I will have to take the blame, or some of it. After all, it’s me who wrote that post in October last year, and added that picture to it. And no, I didn’t mean to say that the stuff lying in front of that Christmas bird should represents Ms Palin’s guts. I  only wanted to express my view that things get messy once Sarah Palin shows up somewhere. Besides, the picture simply reminds me of Ms Palin. Can’t help it.

Mark it zero.

Mark it zero.

Anyway. Sarah Palin has been accused of being, somehow, even if unintentionally, be partly responsible for the Tucson shooting on January 8. The suspected attacker, Jared Lee Loughner, it is suggested, was possibly inspired by the vitriolic way political concepts that ran counter to each other had been discussed, or by the way the “Tea Party” movement and other members of America’s political right attacked the Obama administration’s agenda. Besides, a photo exists where Palin holds a gun in her hands and gives someone a lunatic grin. She advocates the freedom to bear arms. And, yeah, she used the word “reload” in a political context.

And on the other hand, I don’t find attempts to politicize the Arizona tragedy – the gunshots at Gabrielle Giffords and the killing of six people – “repulsive”. To blame others than the attacker himself  is a natural reaction in a heated political climate, and in a rather shallow way, it can help to make some of the pain to go away, at least for a while. But it isn’t helpful to start blaming Palin & Cie. But what’s repulsive is the act of shooting at a group of unarmed and unsuspecting people. But for that, the assasin is responsible. Neither Palin, nor a perceived “liberal conspiracy”, nor Ms Giffords’ reported inability or unwillingness to answer a strange question. If the news from Tucson hurts us, we need a period of silence, rather than acrimony, and we must bear the sadness.

And, needless to say, it isn’t helpful to talk like Sarah Palin. But that’s a different story. She’s so out of touch with real life that she shouldn’t even be an issue.

That’s the problem. Entirely sane and reasonable people can either advocate gun control, or the liberty to bear arms. The problem is the news consumer. Anyone who isn’t prepared to listen to a statement, unless it is made in a pretty sensational way, is part of the problem. He or she isn’t guilty – that would be a different category.

Most people would agree that hate speech contains no hints to a true solution of public problems. Then why listen to it?

Let’s not hate stupid speeches. Let’s just mark them zero, and move on. Let’s look for arguments – from any party – which could make sense, even if the press makes them more difficult to find than radically stupid ones. There is no sensational shortcut to solutions which work.


Why Wikileaks can’t Work, December 1, 2010
A World of Pain, August 14, 2010
Germany’s Latest Superstar, March 12, 2009

Thursday, December 23, 2010

START: first Steps into a Multi-Polar World

A Step into the Right Direction

Coverage on the US Senate’s deliberations on the START treaty with Russia, signed by presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev in April this year, seemed to suggest that the Senate wouldn’t ratify the treaty. But on Wednesday, the senators approved by 71 to 26. Once again, America’s foreign policy proved itself to be mostly bi-partisan.

There seems to have been either a lot of, or at least some strong criticism of the treaty. There were people who would urge the Senate to reject the treaty.

Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina,came across as  status-aware, ahead of the vote on START:

I think I understand why the Russians don’t want to reopen the treaty. They have told us, take it or leave it. And my response to our Russian friends is, I choose to leave it at this time.

The Russians had said that they wouldn’t re-negotiate the treaty. But that was apparently a too assuming attitude in Graham’s view, a lèse-majesté against the world’s last remaining superpower. The treaty had been signed in April this year, but Graham apparently found the seven months since too short a time to digest it.

Another firm believer in American leadership is John Guardiano, who, according to his blog, worked with some of the world’s most influential think tanks and research institutes.  Obama, he says, isn’t reckless, but

neither is an internationalist who believes in the importance of American global leadership. Obama’s defense budget, moreover, reflects his unwillingness to exercise U.S. military power.

Guardiano is pursuing a Master of Arts degree in national security and strategic studies at the Naval War College. I believe that his view is one-sided. Even the greatest fans of a the idea that America should stay the old military course unabatedly, with their eyes firmly on their country’s global role, must understand that what America can do in global politics isn’t only limited by different ideas outside America, but also by the funding the American economy can provide for defense and attack, or even just for a credible threat of force, as advocated by the Bush jr. administration against Iraq, in the run-up to the invasion of the country.

The “reset” in America’s relations with Russia can only help in this field. It is hard to see how it could have been maintained without ratifying START. America will be busy enough in maintaining its military weight in East Asia, especially as it stands vis-à-vis China. Many foes, much honor may have looked reasonable to Hegel, but it can’t serve a democratically-elected government to account to its people.

Fred Barnes, executive editor of the Standard – which is hardly a “liberal” paper – doesn’t actually seem to suppose the START treaty:

The Cold War having been won (by us), an arms treaty with Russia is of minimal significance today. The Russians aren’t friendly, but they’re not an enemy who might launch a nuclear assault on the United States either. True, the treaty’s preamble includes an implied Russian threat to pull out of the agreement if the Pentagon enhances our missile defenses. But the Russians can already withdraw from the pact at any time, for any reason, as the United States did a decade ago in abrogating the ABM treaty.

Democracy’s Exigences

Nearly six out of ten Americans said that they opposed even Mr Obama’s “good” war – the one against al-Qaeda and the Taliban, the Economist wrote in August1). That doesn’t make it a duty for the American president to stop that war. There is no government by opinion polls. But the voters’ views need to be taken into account. Americans on average are hardly as focused on America’s global role as are many people outside America – and as are Americans like Lindsey Graham / John Guardiano (see above), or Sarah Palin.

What president Obama said in West Point, in December 2009, reflects a government’s duty to account to its people:

Indeed, I’m mindful of the words of President Eisenhower, who — in discussing our national security — said, “Each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration:  the need to maintain balance in and among national programs.”
Over the past several years, we have lost that balance.  We’ve failed to appreciate the connection between our national security and our economy.  In the wake of an economic crisis, too many of our neighbors and friends are out of work and struggle to pay the bills.  Too many Americans are worried about the future facing our children.  Meanwhile, competition within the global economy has grown more fierce.  So we can’t simply afford to ignore the price of these wars.
Our prosperity provides a foundation for our power. It pays for our military. It underwrites our diplomacy. It taps the potential of our people, and allows investment in new industry. And it will allow us to compete in this century as successfully as we did in the last. That’s why our troop commitment in Afghanistan cannot be open-ended — because the nation that I’m most interested in building is our own.

America alone won’t shape the world. There may be Americans who won’t like that, but that doesn’t change a thing. America should do the things it believes are right – but also, case by case, look at its allies.

What are they prepared to do in Afghanistan? Withdrawing one after another, before America does, would increase the burden on the US. If the European Union should drop its arms embargo against China, – it’s not likely to happen any time soon, but every EU member state’s initiative to that end is disturbing enough -, America may some day face European technology in an armed conflict about Taiwan. Whatever America does in a field of shared interests with others should not only depend on America’s own plans. It should also depend on the preparedness of America’s allies to do their bit.


1) The Economist, August 28, 2010, page 7


How long can India capitalize on global China angst, Post-Western World, Nov. 1, 2010
Deauville: “West could use Russian Boost”, October 18, 2010
Taiwan: “before it’s too late”, April 15, 2010
J-P Raffarin, Parliamentarians in Beijing, February 11, 2009

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Die Zeit: Making Fun of “The Coming Insurrection”

German and Chinese people are usually nice to each other – as nice as they can. It must be for cultural reasons. I guess we are all afraid of situations where they might hit the roof. Neither Chinese nor Germans are usually good at getting angry and saving their own face at the same time. In other words,  both Chinese and German people can easily climb a tree – but they aren’t good at climbing down again.

Of course, I can’t tell if this is only true for German and Chinese people I know (myself included), or if this rule really applies beyond our circles.

Premature Concept

Our political system stifles creative solutions.

Fortunately, for both our ancient cultures and nations, there’s the internet for venting anger.

My old chum Taide has translated an article by Adam Soboczynski for Germany’s weekly Die Zeit into English. And as Sobo compares current German anger movements with the American Tea Party movement, he has earned himself a long trail of devastating comments. (Germans have nothing against America, except that the average German thinks of himself as someone smarter than the average American. If you equate a German not just with the average American, but with the kind of Americans he deems reactionary, so much the worse.) One could think that Soboczynski has hanged himself in the meantime, after reading the first ten or so comments on his article.

But that would be a misconception. Most probably, he wrote his article precisely because he knew that he would earn himself a lot of new critics – or retread his old critics. I’m not very familiar with commenter threads at Die Zeit or Der Spiegel, but at first glance, I’d think that you’ll find the same usual suspects there, most of the time.

The major irony about Soboczynski’s article is that the way many of his critics react to it seems to confirm his point. It’s a fruitful interaction at the author’s terms, and predictable at that.

When Germans or Chinese air grievances and feel that those aren’t taken sufficiently seriously, they’ll feel deeply offended in most cases – more so than Americans or British people would. JR isn’t trying to analyze the issue here – he’s no psychologist, and besides, he is at times overexposed to both German and Chinese psychographs, for personal and professional reasons. He’s too close to the problem.

But while he believes that Soboczynski made the comparison with The Coming Insurrection (European) and the Tea Party Movement (American) mainly for stoking the fire on his commenting thread, JR feels that the two movements may have a high degree of bigotry in common. They feel mucked about by illegitimate powers that be, they use the political classes of their respective countries as scapegoats for grievances that are usually not about daily life, but rather about a feeling of lacking political empowerment. According to Taide, Soboczynski wrote:

Apparently, every sense of formal aspects of democracy have been lost: people don’t want to get involved in the political parties’ mean business, but shortcut opinion formation by referenda. Ggovernments relying on discreet communication are deemed undesirable; people celebrate WikiLeaks. People wish to restrict minorities (such as migrants or smokers) by referenda, while the state is unnecessarily still protecting them.

Stuttgart 21, Wall of Grassroots Democracy

Stuttgart 21, Wall of Grassroots Democracy - Wikimedia Commons, Mussklprozz.

Of course, JR frequently feels angry, too. He may feel angry in his capacity as a smoker, for example. He’s discriminated against. His human rights are at stake. But as mentioned before, there’s the internet. And – in Germany – the Autobahn. (If you understand German, don’t miss the comments underneath the video.)


Why Wikileaks can’t Work, December 1, 2010
Anger Manipulation, July 12, 2009
“The Art of Happiness”, December 9, 2008
L’insurrection qui vient, March 22, 2007

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Future Horrors: Trapped in a Chinese Labor Camp

Be very afraid, suggests this 2030 prophecy, courtesy to the cultural unit of Citizens against Government Waste (CAGW).

“Of course we own most of their debt”, a professor (an updated Fu-Manchu, suggests Frog in a Well) tells a rejoicing Chinese audience, explaining why the American empire perished, as did Greece, Rome, or the British Empire, and adds a pitiful and contemptuous bit of laughter: “Ha, ha, ha, so now they work for us.”

Grandma is going to crap her pants when the sealed fate of her grandchildren dawns on her. Only Sarah Palin can save the American Empire.

Only Sarah Palin can save the American Empire.

Only Sarah Palin can save the American Empire.


A Sordid and Twisted Connection, Granite Studio, October 27, 2010
Barack Obama, a Choice out of Fear and Hope, November 5, 2008
Citizens against Government Waste, Wikipedia

Monday, October 27, 2008

Governor Palin “Going Rogue”?

going rogue?

going rogue?

All or most of those who speak about alleged rising tensions within the McCain / Palin campaign seem to be doing so anonymously. But the stories look credible. If the campaign goes wrong, Palin will make a great scapegoat. She has blundered before, and critical self-assassment and re-adjustment are hardly her greatest strenghts.

That said, she would still be a scapegoat. After all, it was Senator McCain who thought that she was a great choice, and if the Karl-Rove style mudslinging machinery had got the same attention as it did in 2004, Palin might have worked just as fine as people of her kind did four years ago. She’s spiteful and getting uglier one day at a time, but she’s by no means the only person to be blamed for a Republican campaign that appears to be on the brink of failure.

The Republicans haven’t addressed the issues. They haven’t done that four years ago either. But four years ago, it was enough for the Republicans to frown and to say things like Our security is too important to be left to Liberals. This time, the voters are very well aware that their vote could make a real difference for America’s future. The economy? Don’t ask Senator McCain. He will work on an honorable exit strategy for Iraq, and if that works, America will be fine (if you want to believe him).

And Palin does work fine on the mood of the desperate housewives standing behind her with angry and jerking faces. Tell ’em, Sarah, they seem to mutter. But tell em what? Telling em that Obama is “hanging out with terrorists”? Give me a break. Then again, it fits into a dirty machinery of the established Karl-Rove style. One would have wished that this campaign had been a bit more decent than that.

Those aides who are handling Governor Palin apparently haven’t told her to shut up about Senator Obama’s integrity, even though discussions about integrity “issues” are usually nothing else than hypicrite attempts to sling mud and look decent while doing it. Apparently, the handlers only became alarmed when Governor Palin called the use of robo calls “irritating”, and seemed to (you can often not be sure what she really means) disagree with the campaign’s decision to pull out of Michigan.

In short, Governor Palin was a bad choice. But she was Senator McCain’s choice. All you can blame her for is that she didn’t say “No” when she was asked to be candidate for Vice President.

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