Humane Society Endorses Obama, Criticizes Palin’s “Retrograde Policies on Animal Welfare and Conservation”

I’ve previously noted how Sarah Palin’s history of mistreatment of animals led to The Defenders Action Fund airing commercials opposing her. Adding Palin to the ticket also led to the Humane Society Legislative Action Fund making its first ever endorsement of a presidential ticket. They note both Obama and Biden’s record of strong support for animal protection legislation. They write that John McCain has supported some animal protection bills but “has  been inattentive or opposed to others.” Then there’s the Palin problem:

While McCain’s positions on animal protection have been lukewarm, his choice of running mate cemented our decision to oppose his ticket. Gov. Sarah Palin’s (R-Alaska) retrograde policies on animal welfare and conservation have led to an all-out war on Alaska’s wolves and other creatures. Her record is so extreme that she has perhaps done more harm to animals than any other current governor in the United States.

Palin engineered a campaign of shooting predators from airplanes and helicopters, in order to artificially boost the populations of moose and caribou for trophy hunters. She offered a $150 bounty for the left foreleg of each dead wolf as an economic incentive for pilots and aerial gunners to kill more of the animals, even though Alaska voters had twice approved a ban on the practice. This year, the issue was up again for a vote of the people, and Palin led the fight against it—in fact, she helped to spend $400,000 of public funds to defeat the initiative.

What’s more, when the Bush Administration announced its decision to list the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, Palin filed a lawsuit to reverse that decision. She said it’s the “wrong move” to protect polar bears, even though their habitat is shrinking and ice floes are vanishing due to global warming.

The choice for animals is especially clear now that Palin is in the mix. If Palin is put in a position to succeed McCain, it could mean rolling back decades of progress on animal issues.

It appears the prospect of Sarah Palin ever becoming president is a terrifying thought to a wide variety of people.

Yepsen on McCain and Palin

David Yepsen of The Des Moines Register isn’t impressed with the Republican ticket:

Last week, Democrats succeeded at wrapping the nation’s economic troubles around McCain, who was trying to reinvent himself. But the born-again, pro-regulation populist didn’t help himself by saying the economic fundamentals were sound. That came on top of an earlier statement in which he said the economy isn’t his strong suit.

And Sarah Palin’s effect may be peaking. She seems uncomfortable in the rare interviews she grants. She doesn’t leave you with the impression she’d be any more competent to handle the nation’s economic anxieties than its foreign relations. Yes, she may be pro-family and a mom with five kids. That’s great but Americans are looking for someone to handle Wall Street and Iraq, not Bristol and Track.

Then the McCain campaign rolled out a Hillary Clinton supporter, Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild, to endorse McCain and accuse Obama of being elitist.

Is being attacked as an elitist by a de Rothschild more like the pot calling the kettle black, or putting lipstick on a pig?

After the week McCain had, Obama should crack open the Chateau Lafite and watch some polo.

Jed Bartlett’s Advice to Barack Obama

Maureen Dowd described a meeting between Barack Obama and Jed Bartlett of The West Wing as written by Aaron Sorkin. Bartlett explains to Obama while some Americans might not support him:

Because the idea of American exceptionalism doesn’t extend to Americans being exceptional. If you excelled academically and are able to casually use 690 SAT words then you might as well have the press shoot video of you giving the finger to the Statue of Liberty while the Dixie Chicks sing the University of the Taliban fight song. The people who want English to be the official language of the United States are uncomfortable with their leaders being fluent in it.

He advises Obama to get angry:

GET ANGRIER! Call them liars, because that’s what they are. Sarah Palin didn’t say “thanks but no thanks” to the Bridge to Nowhere. She just said “Thanks.” You were raised by a single mother on food stamps — where does a guy with eight houses who was legacied into Annapolis get off calling you an elitist? And by the way, if you do nothing else, take that word back. Elite is a good word, it means well above average. I’d ask them what their problem is with excellence. While you’re at it, I want the word “patriot” back. McCain can say that the transcendent issue of our time is the spread of Islamic fanaticism or he can choose a running mate who doesn’t know the Bush doctrine from the Monroe Doctrine, but he can’t do both at the same time and call it patriotic. They have to lie — the truth isn’t their friend right now. Get angry. Mock them mercilessly; they’ve earned it. McCain decried agents of intolerance, then chose a running mate who had to ask if she was allowed to ban books from a public library. It’s not bad enough she thinks the planet Earth was created in six days 6,000 years ago complete with a man, a woman and a talking snake, she wants schools to teach the rest of our kids to deny geology, anthropology, archaeology and common sense too? It’s not bad enough she’s forcing her own daughter into a loveless marriage to a teenage hood, she wants the rest of us to guide our daughters in that direction too? It’s not enough that a woman shouldn’t have the right to choose, it should be the law of the land that she has to carry and deliver her rapist’s baby too? I don’t know whether or not Governor Palin has the tenacity of a pit bull, but I know for sure she’s got the qualifications of one. And you’re worried about seeming angry? You could eat their lunch, make them cry and tell their mamas about it and God himself would call it restrained. There are times when you are simply required to be impolite. There are times when condescension is called for!

Bartlett encouraged Obama to fight on, explaining that he is making progress:

Four weeks ago you had the best week of your campaign, followed — granted, inexplicably — by the worst week of your campaign. And you’re still in a statistical dead heat. You’re a 47-year-old black man with a foreign-sounding name who went to Harvard and thinks devotion to your country and lapel pins aren’t the same thing and you’re in a statistical tie with a war hero and a Cinemax heroine. To these aged eyes, Senator, that’s what progress looks like. You guys got four debates. Get out of my house and go back to work.

Sarah Palin Believes She Will See Jesus In Her Lifetime

Steve Lopez, reporter for The Los Angeles Times visited Wasilla and found some very scary things. First he spoke with a fan of Sarah Palin, Glenna Edwards:

Edwards said she believes, as does Palin, that creationism ought to be taught in schools along with evolution, and that Barack Obama must be stopped. And Edwards assured me that humans have nothing to do with climate change, a position her pal Sarah used to share but has backed away from in recent weeks, saying that “some of man’s activities” are “potentially causing some of the changes in the climate right now.”

It gets worse when he spoke with someone else who was definitely not a fan:

But not everyone up here is ga-ga over Sarah. Phil Munger, a music teacher and composer who lives on the outskirts of town, told me she’s not the sweet person Glenna Edwards described. As for her image as an anti-corruption crusader, Munger said she’s much more apt to get rid of anyone who crosses her.

Munger, who writes the Progressive Alaska blog, told me Palin is not just a creationist, but a “young Earth” creationist who believes that man and dinosaurs once shared the planet, and that the world will end in her lifetime.

Palin-tology, you might call it.

Munger claims she tried to stock the local school board with creationists several years ago, which caused him to quiz her on her beliefs.

“She doesn’t believe in science, and her father was a science teacher,” Munger said. “She told me she felt she would see Jesus in her lifetime.”

If true, that’s a little scary. But no more so than her view that a woman who’s pregnant because of a rape shouldn’t be allowed to have an abortion, or that the Iraq war is “a task that is from God.” And you have to wonder if Jesus would have sued the federal government to have polar bears removed from the endangered species list.

The Hannity/Palin Infomercial


I’ve previously posted my Hannity/Palin interview generator in which you can generate the essence of the entire interview. Jon Stewart shows how the interview was really an infomercial in the video above.

McCain Campaign Chair on Freddie Mac Payroll Until Last Month

Despite denials from John McCain, The New York Times now reports that connections between his campaign manager and Freddie Mac were more recent than previously reported–continuing until last month. Previous reports indicated that Rick Davis received over $35,000 per month in the past from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Today The New York Times reports:

One of the giant mortgage companies at the heart of the credit crisis paid $15,000 a month to a firm owned by Senator John McCain’s campaign manager from the end of 2005 through last month, according to two people with direct knowledge of the arrangement. The disclosure contradicts a statement Sunday night by Mr. McCain that the campaign manager, Rick Davis, had no involvement with the company for the last several years. Mr. Davis’s firm received the payments from the company, Freddie Mac, until it was taken over by the government this month along with Fannie Mae, the other big mortgage lender whose deteriorating finances helped precipitate the cascading problems on Wall Street, the people said.

They said they did not recall Mr. Davis doing much substantive work for the company in return for the money, other than speak to a political action committee composed of high-ranking employees in October 2006 on the coming midterm congressional elections. They said Mr. Davis’s his firm, Davis & Manafort, was kept on the payroll because of Mr. Davis’s close ties to Mr. McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, who was widely expected by 2006 to run again for the White House…

Between 2000 and the end of 2005, Mr. Davis had received nearly $2 million as president of the coalition, the Homeownership Alliance, which the companies created to help them oppose new regulations and protect their status as federally chartered companies with implicit government backing. That status let them borrow cheaply, helping to fuel rapid growth but also their increased purchases of the risky mortgage securities that were their downfall.

On Sunday, in an interview with CNBC and the New York Times, Mr. McCain responded to a question about Mr. Davis’s role in the advocacy group by saying that his campaign manager “has had nothing to do with it since, and I’ll be glad to have his record examined by anybody who wants to look at it.”

Such assertions, along with McCain campaign television ads tying Mr. Obama to former Fannie Mae chiefs, have riled current and former officials of the two companies and provoked them to volunteer rebuttals of what they see as the McCain campaign’s inaccuracy and hypocrisy. The two officials with direct knowledge of Freddie Mac’s post-2005 contract with Mr. Davis spoke on condition of anonymity. One is a Democrat and the other a registered independent. Four other outside consultants, three Democrats and a Republican also speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that it was widely known that Mr. Davis was being paid though his firm.

As president of the Homeownership Alliance, Mr. Davis got $30,000 to $35,000 a month. Mr. Davis, along with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, have characterized the alliance as a coalition of many housing industry and consumer groups to promote homeownership, but numerous current and former officials at both companies say the two mortgage companies created and bankrolled the operation to combat efforts by competitors to rein in their business. They dissolved the group at the end of 2005 as part of cost-cutting in the wake of accounting scandals and, at Freddie Mac, a lobbying scandal that forced out its former top Republican lobbyist.

On Monday, the McCain campaign accused The New York Times of bias for reporting the payments to Mr. Davis from the mortgage giants. Mr. Davis said that had worked not for the two companies but for the advocacy group, which included other nonprofit organization as well.

After the Homeownership Alliance was dissolved, Mr. Davis asked to stay on a retainer, the people familiar with the deal said. Hollis McLoughlin, who was chief of staff to Richard F. Syron, Freddie Mac’s chief executive, arranged for a new contract with Davis & Manafort, at the reduced rate of $15,000 a month, they said. Mr. Syron lost his job in the government takeover this month. Mr. McLoughlin, who through a spokeswoman declined to comment, was a former chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady in the first President Bush’s administration, and has longstanding Republican ties.

An official of Freddie Mac also contradicts recent claims made by John McCain that he has been attempting to increase regulations on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac:

In an interview Tuesday with conservative talk-radio host Neal Boortz, Mr. McCain said, “I remember warning at that time that Fannie and Freddie were out of control and that they needed to be reined in. And, frankly, I warned that this kind of thing could lead to serious problems. Now, in full disclosure, I didn’t foresee something this huge, but certainly I saw the fundamentals there for serious problems when you have a quasi government agency acting the way they did.”

When Mr. Boortz noted approvingly that Mr. McCain had co-sponsored a Senate bill to mandate new regulations, Mr. McCain said, “I remember it very well.”

But a Freddie Mac official said Mr. McCain “never took on the role that some other Republicans did” to try to limit the companies. He named instead Senators Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, John Sununu of New Hampshire and Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina, all of whom were on the banking committee during recent years. “I remember working against a number of amendments and they were always introduced by Hagel and Sununu. John McCain was never anywhere to be found.”

A check of the records for the legislation that Mr. Boortz mentioned shows that Senator Hagel was the original sponsor on Jan. 26, 2005, and Senators Sununu and Dole were co-sponsors then. Mr. McCain did not sign on as a co-sponsor for more than a year, on May 25, 2006.

Factcheck Debunks Smears on Obama Based Upon Chicago Ties

As noted yesterday, McCain has been attempting to smear Obama based upon associations with other Chicago politicians. Not only has there been absolutely no evidence of Obama doing anthing wrong, but this actually plays to one of Obama’s strengths for having passed landmark ethics reform legislation in Illinois. also reports that the allegations made in a commercial from the McCain campaign are false. From their summary:

A McCain-Palin ad says that Obama was “born of the corrupt Chicago political machine” and implies that the candidate himself is corrupt by association with four local political figures. But the ad’s implication and many of its supporting details are false. In fact, this is a particularly egregious example of ricochet sliming:

  • William Daley, the first figure mentioned in the ad, is indeed related to the other famous Chicago Daleys, but he’s never been accused of any wrongdoing. And the former commerce secretary isn’t Obama’s only economic adviser, as the ad implies.
  • Emil Jones, Illinois state Senate leader, may indeed have been Obama’s “political godfather.” But he, too, hasn’t been charged with or even seriously accused of misdeeds despite the ad’s claim of an “ethical cloud.”
  • Obama did have a past relationship with real estate developer Tony Rezko, but he is no longer Obama’s “money man.” Obama hasn’t been associated with him since his indictment for wire fraud, bribery, money laundering and attempted extortion, and Obama donated all of the disgraced businessman’s previous campaign contributions to charity.
  • Rod Blagojevich has been touched by plenty of scandal but his relationship with Obama doesn’t extend much beyond being “his governor.” In fact, Obama has worked on ethics legislation triggered by some of the Blagojevich’s questionable moves.

Most important, the ad offers no evidence of wrongdoing by Obama himself in connection with any of these relationships, however close or distant.

There is further detail in the body of their article. On Rezko they write:

As we concluded back in December 2007, “Obama has a relationship with Rezko that dates back many years, but there’s no indication Obama did anything  improper.”

As I noted yesterday, if McCain wants the campaigns to be about the candidates’ pasts, there is nothing here on Obama but we could look at McCain’s past ethical violations as a member of the Keating 5. McCain’s involvement in the scandal is made even more relevant in light of the current problems in the financial markets.

Fact Check Says NRA Has Distorted Obama’s Position “Beyond Recognition” has debunked dishonest attacks on Obama from the National Rifle Association. From their summary:

A National Rifle Association advertising campaign distorts Obama’s position on gun control beyond recognition.

The NRA is circulating printed material and running TV ads making unsubstantiated claims that Obama plans to ban use of firearms for home defense, ban possession and manufacture of handguns, close 90 percent of gun shops and ban hunting ammunition.

Much of what the NRA passes off as Obama’s “10 Point Plan to ‘Change’ the Second Amendment” is actually contrary to what he has said throughout his campaign: that he “respects the constitutional rights of Americans to bear arms” and “will protect the rights of hunters and other law-abiding Americans to purchase, own, transport, and use guns.”

The NRA, however, simply dismisses Obama’s stated position as “rhetoric” and substitutes its own interpretation of his record as a secret “plan.” Said an NRA spokesman: “We believe our facts.”

Perhaps so, but believing something doesn’t make it so. And we find the NRA has cherry-picked, twisted and misrepresented Obama’s record to come up with a bogus “plan.”

The article gives further information to debunk the attacks on Obama and provides this quote regarding his position from as stated June 26:

I have always believed that the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to bear arms, but I also identify with the need for crime-ravaged communities to save their children from the violence that plagues our streets through common-sense, effective safety measures. The Supreme Court has now endorsed that view, and while it ruled that the D.C. gun ban went too far, Justice Scalia himself acknowledged that this right is not absolute and subject to reasonable regulations enacted by local communities to keep their streets safe. Today’s ruling, the first clear statement on this issue in 127 years, will provide much-needed guidance to local jurisdictions across the country.

As President, I will uphold the constitutional rights of law-abiding gun-owners, hunters, and sportsmen. I know that what works in Chicago may not work in Cheyenne. We can work together to enact common-sense laws, like closing the gun show loophole and improving our background check system, so that guns do not fall into the hands of terrorists or criminals. Today’s decision reinforces that if we act responsibly, we can both protect the constitutional right to bear arms and keep our communities and our children safe.

They also quote statement from Obama from September 5 in which he tells gun owners that he does not intend to take away their guns:

The bottom line is this. If you’ve got a rifle, you’ve got a shotgun, you’ve got a gun in your house, I’m not taking it away. Alright? So they can keep on talking about it but this is just not true. And by the way, here’s another thing you’ve got to understand. Even if I wanted to take it away, I couldn’t get it done. I don’t have the votes in Congress.

Related Post: Obama Defends Gun Rights With Restrictions

Has John McCain Violated Campaign Finance Laws?

Bill Conroy suspects that John McCain did violate FEC rules in a trip to southeast asia.

Chris Rock v. Bill Clinton


Chris Rock appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman after Bill Clinton. He responded to Bill Clinton’s favorable words about John McCain and rather weak endorsement for voting the “other way” for a candidate he did not name. (Bill, his name is Barack Obama.) Video above.

Rock also talks about Sarah Palin with the most memorable line being, “Have you been to Alaska? It’s like Road Warrior with snow!”