15 September, 2008

Has John McCain Stopped Abusing His Wife?

Here's something very, very strange. Over on the Huffington Post is a piece about a Baptist Minister, Marty Parrish, who stood up at a 'town hall' meeting and asked McCain whether he had actually called his wife a 'c**t' as alleged in Cliff Schecter's book, The Real McCain. Schecter alleges that in 1992, McCain angrily called his wife a "trollop" and a "c**t" in front of aides and reporters. The quote from Schecter's book, which is to be released next month, can be seen on The Raw Story e-zine and goes like this:
Three reporters from Arizona, on the condition of anonymity, also let me in on another incident involving McCain's intemperateness. In his 1992 Senate bid, McCain was joined on the campaign trail by his wife, Cindy, as well as campaign aide Doug Cole and consultant Wes Gullett. At one point, Cindy playfully twirled McCain's hair and said, "You're getting a little thin up there." McCain's face reddened, and he responded, "At least I don't plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you cunt." McCain's excuse was that it had been a long day. If elected president of the United States, McCain would have many long days.
In the book, Schecter is making the case that McCain has a really, really bad temper - an anger management problem, you might say - and that voters would be unwise to put such an unstable personality into the Oval Office.

If this is true, I'd be just as worried about what it says about McCain's attitude to women as I would be about his twitchy finger on the nuclear button. Women who wear makeup are 'trollops' it seems. His own wife is a 'c**t' in his eyes, it seems. (Does that go for Palin, too?) Sounds more like the Taliban than an American politician.

If you're of the Chistian loony persuasion yourself, you might like to wonder what the wedding vows mean to a man who would humiliate his wife in public like that (love? honour? cherish?) or how much charity there is in a man who is well-known for this kind of vitriolic, bullying outburst against subordinates. And, of course, there is the question: if he's like this in public, what's he like in private?

According to Parrish, it is such questions about McCain's mental stability and character that prompted him to stand up and ask the question that no newspaper or TV channel dare ask. I'm sure the McCain publicity machine (as vicious and cynical a group of people as I have ever come across) will paint this gutsy Baptist Minister as a deranged trouble-maker. For all I know, he is. But why is nobody else asking the question? What has happened to the American media during this campaign?

12 September, 2008

On Crap

Lauren Conrad, reality-TV star, signs a three-book deal with Harper. Pictured here with her ghost writer.I'm a bit of a linguist, you know. Alright, I never learned to speak more than a few words of French and German and I have an awful lot of bother with all that grammar stuff, but when it comes to idle and largely uninformed speculation about words, I can't be beaten!

Take the word 'crap'.

Now, obviously, this is a very recent word, being derived from the famous Thomas Crapper, inventor of the flush toilet.

WRONG! The word is very old indeed and, in fact, has Latin roots (crappa, meaning chaff). In Old English, crappe was chaff and other rubbish trodden underfoot in a barn and eventually, in the Middle Ages, crap became a generic term for things discarded. And then it went out of use – in England. Fortunately for Hollywood, although the Brits had stopped using the word by 1600, the founders of what became the Good Ol' U.S. of A. kept it going. In fact, it became so popular over there that approximately 15% of all American writing these days is the word 'crap' or one of its derivatives.

On the Web, of course, 95% of everything your read is crap, as are most statistics, economic theories, conservative policies, and reality TV shows. Only the world's great religious texts, however, are 100% pure crap.

(The picture above is of Lauren Conrad, reality TV personality, who just announced a three-book deal with Harper. Now that makes me feel really crap.)

11 September, 2008

A Pig With Lipstick On

Maybe I shouldn't get so upset about American politics. I mean, I'm living in Australia. It's not my problem, right?

Wrong. The half-wit they have as President at the moment has led the whole world into recession after screwing up the USA's economy about as badly as is humanly possible. He has stalled and delayed everyone's attempts to tackle climate change, leaving us teetering on the edge of irreversible climate damage. And he has dragged the West into an inexcusable invasion of Iraq, killing tens of thousands, ramping up global terrorism, and encouraging countries like Iran and North Korea to push ahead with nuclear deterrence.

Of course, the half-wit is on his way out. Praise be to the twenty-second amendment!

Yet look at who is lining up to replace him: John McCain and Sarah Palin. McCain might not be quite as loony, or as stupid as Bush but he's still loony and stupid and has been a firm supporter of Bush for many years as he climbed the slippery pole to political power. As for Sarah Palin, she seems to be even more loony and even more stupid than Bush himself. Her political views are to the right of Genghis Khan's. Her personal morality is suspect to say the least. (Did she fake a pregnancy - i.e. lie to everybody who voted for her - to cover her teenage daughter's indiscretions?) And there is a distinct possibility that she has committed a gross abuse of power by allegedly pressuring Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan to fire her sister's husband before sacking him when he wouldn't. (I suppose Monegan is lucky she didn't shoot him. She loves firing guns and killing things. She thinks it's fun.)

These people are not just ignorant (did you know that Palin has never travelled outside the USA except to visit US troops in Kuwait?) , they are not just religious bigots (do you know that McCain is a Baptist? that Palin wants Creationism taught in schools as if it was science?), they are not just cruel and uncaring (do you know Palin does not support abortion for any reason whatsoever?) they are not just cynical (look at all that deliberate misunderstanding of Obama's 'pig with lipstick' comment), they are completely and utterly sordid in the way they clamour for and abuse political power.

Yet there is a good chance the American people will elect them, a good chance this pair of sordid, stupid, uncaring, unpleasant, ignorant bigots will be running the USA in a few months.

How low can a country sink?

03 September, 2008

Is Sarah Palin a Liar?

Barak Obama is right to say that it is wrong to politicise his opponents' family problems. That kind of politics is about as low as it gets. However, I think he's missing the bigger picture here. Sarah Palin's 17-year-old, unmarried daughter is five months pregnant and that's a shame and, frankly, who cares? She's probably a very screwed up young woman - what with a mother who is in politics and who has such nasty, Christian conservative opinions. It should, of course, be a lesson to Sarah Palin that her approach to reducing the number of teenage pregnancies - encouraging abstinence, not teaching children about sex, and keeping contraceptives away from them - just doesn't work. However, we'll let that one pass too.

The real issues is whether Palin pretended to be pregnant with what may or may not be her fourth child, to disguise the fact that it was actually her daughter's baby. This piece of information is one that is of crucial importance to the American voters. If her last pregnancy was a fake, then Sarah Palin is a liar and a deceitful person. She is someone who believes that fraud is acceptable. She is someone who believes that to avoid embarrassing herself and her family, she is justified in deceiving her constituents.

Politicians who preach honesty and integrity deserve to be dragged through the streets and pelted with rotten fruit - or the tabloid press equivalent - if they don't hold themselves to the same standards they want to impose on everyone else.

With any luck, running as John McCain's VP will sink her career and also McCain's.

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