Nota Bene #119: Think! It Ain't Illegal Yet

“My wife and I were happy for twenty years. Then we met.” Who said it? Continue reading

"You're not really voting for John McCain, are you, Mom?"

With the election two days away, I’m wondering how many Scholars & Rogues readers suffer from Archie Bunker syndrome. That is, does someone close to you — mother, father, sister, brother — hold political beliefs diametrically opposed to you?

Does it poison your relationship and create a wall between you and him and her? How do you continue to carry on a relationship? Are you especially resentful because that person’s beliefs — and choice in the presidential election — seem the product of ignorance?

Kindly respond in the comments section.

Mitchell calls Obama '90%' ad 'remarkably negative'

by Brad Jacobson

The media continues to present this phony moral equivalency: Obama’s ads are somehow just as negative as McCain’s. On Meet the Press Sunday, Andrea Mitchell exemplified this ludicrous meme, unintentionally entering Onion and Saturday Night Live territory when she called the following “a remarkably negative ad”:

Here’s the specific context in which Mitchell presented this specious notion:

TOM BROKAW: Can they continue to tag John McCain with George Bush?

MITCHELL: They can, and, in fact, they’re doing it with a remarkably negative ad. I mean, we talk a lot about the negativity on the Republican side. But the fact is that Barack Obama has so much more money, and some of these targeted ads, one that they unveiled on Thursday and Friday of this week and it’s on national television, has John McCain in his own words saying, in another interview, in another context, “I voted, I supported George Bush 90 percent of the time.” So they’ve got him on videotape. And the fact is, that this ad is running and running and running. …Yes, the robocalls are reaching hundreds of thousands of people, the negative robotic calls from the Republican side. But these ads are reaching millions and millions of people.”

With all due respect to planetary travel, what planet is Mitchell on? Continue reading

CNN runs extremely misleading Obama headline

(Updated Below)

by Brad Jacobson

The day after the second Presidential Debate, one of CNN’s top online headlines was:

Ticker: Obama actions called ‘not presidential’

Naturally, readers might think this refers to something Barack Obama did or said during last night’s debate. That it’s possibly a response from a cross-section of undecided voters in a new poll. Or readers might think, having nothing to do with the debate, the headline refers to something Obama has done in the past, or something he may have even done today.

Whatever readers might think, they would have no idea — unless or until they clicked on it — that this egregiously misleading headline was actually referring to a new John McCain attack ad. Continue reading

Leaked memo of McCain camp's future Hail Marys

by Brad Jacobson

Tactic: Dress a small band of Alaskan National Guard troops in Russian military attire and stage an invasion of the Alaskan border, sending the rest of Alaskan National Guard troops, on Palin’s orders, to successfully capture or kill the “Russian invaders.”

Strategy: Ends questions about Palin’s national security credentials.
Tactic: In addition to claiming McCain invented the Blackberry, assert that he also invented the wheel, sliced bread, fire, the missionary position, whiskey, apple pie, sliders, cleavage, Beanie Babies, oxygen, blow jobs, sunlight, bikinis, pasteurization, nuggies, the handshake, ice cream, poll dancing, Penicillin, the wave, hot dogs, the Theory of Relativity, beer nuts, New Journalism, indoor plumbing, low-rise jeans, Method Acting, rap, Twister, funnel cake, the printing press, soft pretzels, the phrase “dude,” the color blue, moving pictures, “bringing sexy back,” nougat, and baseball.

Strategy: Highlights McCain’s superior record of accomplishment. Bonus: no time left in the campaign season for media to fact-check effectively. Continue reading

McCain's campaign shows new vulnerability, but will Obama exploit it?

by JS O’Brien

John McCain’s campaign advisers have made a potentially election-changing, tactical error.

They’ve started lying.

Lying in campaigns isn’t new, of course. The GOP has made big lies central to their campaigns since Nixon and Harry Dent, refining the technique with Reagan and his campaign manager, Lee Atwater, and have since kicked it up 20 or so notches in the Rove era. Most of us know about Rove, but he learned at Atwater’s knee, and it’s Atwater who accused Kitty Dukakis of burning an American flag and Dukakis, himself, of being treated for mental illness.

Generally, campaign lying works. The GOP knows that. The Democrats know it, too, and they’ve done some lying of their own. Unfortunately for them, they’re just not as good at it as the Republicans, so their lies tend to be smaller and less prolific, aimed at a constituency that is very different from the GOP one. In other words, lying doesn’t work as well for them. Continue reading

Flirting with Dictatorship – On the road to South Africa's next president

Ronald Suresh Roberts, sycophantic biographer of Thabo Mbeki

Jacob Zuma, some-time rapist, multi-million dollar arms-deal fraudster, populist, and permanently in search of his machine gun, declares that he is ready to “rule” South Africa.

This man is likely to be South Africa’s next president.

This is quite a departure for the African National Congress, the ANC, the party of Albert Luthuli and Nelson Mandela; both Nobel Peace Prize winners.

The noble ideal of setting aside the politics of race in search of a new, unified, representative nation has given way to the politics of race, nepotism, corruption and dictatorship.

As Kent Durr, South Africa’s one-time ambassador to the UK put it, “The ANC appears to have gone from struggle to corruption without an intervening period of service to the nation.” Continue reading