This weekend's news included: The death of a postmodern novelist. Teetering Wall Street Banks. A hurricane wreaking havoc in Texas. Yet, the Jewish blogger PatriotMissive points out that the top five stories E-mailed from the New York Times this weekend are either accounts about Sarah Palin (who earns the top spots) or her running mate, John McCain.
Is America — and the rest of the world — going election mad? Inquiring minds want know.
A couple days ago in Australia, the Thinkersâ€™ Podium began an interesting debate on the importance of Americans taking stock in what the rest of the world has to say.
If Americans are going to anoint their leader, the leader of the free world, then I donâ€™t think it unfair for them to have to listen to the free world. That goes for Obama as well, whoâ€™s relative protectionism isnâ€™t above criticism by non-Americans (while I loathe the Bush Administrationâ€™s FTA with Australia, particularly itâ€™s intellectual property ramifications, Iâ€™m pro-economic-globalisation, pro-fair-trade).
Country First? Whoâ€™s not going to run that line and whoâ€™s seriously going to be say, putting China first? Itâ€™s a bit meaningless if you canâ€™t demonstrably demonstrate that you are more for your country than your opponent, at least beyond a superficial nationalism. And while we are talking about nationalism, or at least patriotism, I guess we should be asking Palin to explain how her vision of Creationism taught alongside Evolution in public schools sits with the establishment clause of the US Constitution.
And then, Thinkersâ€™ Podium sent out a Missing Personâ€™s report on the old John McCain:
I miss old McCain. Really I do. Palin has done nothing of substance to differentiate herself from the Bush Administration. No respect for the constitution nor the enlightenment values that informed it, thatâ€™s for sure. And while sheâ€™s not nearly as fanatical as the extremes of Bush supporters, sheâ€™s by no means stands out in as far as cultural terms are concerned. Fiscally speaking, sheâ€™s not so different either as her spending and taxation record in Alaska demonstrate.
McCain would be the one in the pair to break with the norms of the Bush regime. More traditional conservatives were aghast when the Bush Administration started spending like there was no tomorrow and if it wasnâ€™t for one thing, Iâ€™d believe that McCain would at least have serious fiscal reform in mind, if not other kinds of reforms.
Richard Silverstein at Tikun Olam covers the controversy of what he calls â€œthe right-wing, pro-Israel crowdâ€ distributing 28-million copies of an anti-Muslim film to voters in swing states. One commenter said the film came wrapped inside her newspaper.
The Muqata parties like its 2004 with a rundown on Obama Waffles.
A lengthy analysis in Mideast Youth finds few reasons for Arab Americans to cheer in the 08 Presidential Contest.
We all know that what the Middle East needs is someone courageous enough to make the Palestinians and the Israelis do what needs to be done. But that courageous person is not out there. In the face of that continuing reality, the best option is not to support someone who â€œlooksâ€ like they can be fair and is more likely to be a bigger disappointment. The real option is support the person who is unfair and wonâ€™t disappoint, but who could just change.
Obama wonâ€™t change. If Palestine and the Middle East were really important, he would have given signals to that affect already. But he wonâ€™t. McCain and Palin could actually bring more change.
And, for those who see things in Republican and Democratic colors, the other reality is this. Even if McCain wins, both houses of the congress will be controlled by Democrats. So, whatâ€™s the difference if Obama wins or loses.
Gerald from the Kenyan Diaspora Pro-Democracy Movement posts a video from a Obama rally in Michigan.
From South Africa, the lively Times Blog spent two days covering the transcript of Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palinâ€™s first interview on U.S. national television. With more than 200 comments, Iâ€™ll post a few here:
From a born again Christian:
This is scary! I am a born again Christian and this woman is not ready for prime time. Dan Quayle looks like Winston Churchill next to this one. I was on the fence as to who to vote for. This seals it. I appreciate all the mom juggling career and family stuff, and she has my respect for that. But one breath away from the presidency?!! She says she is not speaking for God, then she speaks for God. She says she canceled the bridge to nowhere, but she kept the money. Iâ€™m voting democratic!
From Travis M:
Sarah Palin sounds much better than Obama. It is a real shame that everyone is scared of her being in office when he has less experience then she does. The only person to lead this country at this time is McCain.
Not even the sport of Hockey is free from criticism:
Palin does talk like a â€œhockey momâ€!! My son played hockey and I was appalled by the violence that those so called â€œhockey momsâ€ think is cool to encourage in the sport! Her views are no different from the Islamic extremist who use there man made â€œGodâ€™s Planâ€ as the plan for the rest of us! Palin is stale air!
For those who wonder if any South Africans leave comments in one of their countryâ€™s largest newspapers, hereâ€™s a comment that is clearly from a non-American.
Sarah, dear Sarah,realize that the Bush Doctrine was Georgeâ€™s SELF IMPOSED right to attack Iraq under the guise of going after the 9/11 terrorists in Afganistan. By doing so he has dragged the US into a bloody mess, costing over 4,000 lives to no avail. Even now your top MILITARY minds are saying that victory in Afganistan, the original target, may not be attainable. Good luck to America in your election, choose wisely.
BiblioPolit, who is from South Africa, reports that while Chuck Norris has endorsed John McCain for President, he will be supporting the Constitution Partyâ€™s nominee Chuck Baldwin.
Talking about campaign strategies, Sultan Knish, from Israel to New York City, explains the necessity and dangers of bringing the fight to Barack Obama.
Right now Republicans are feeling confident, too confident. The confidence is good as a way to energize the campaign and GOTV but it leads to the danger of overconfidence. The real challenge is not Obama, a lightweight campaigner who speaks in cliches and has limited appeal, but the behind the scenes dirty tricks and a media even more ruthless than ever about destroying McCain and Palin.
And so the double standard is in good and roaring form.
Moving on to the United Stateâ€™s tricky relationship with Russia, director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy, Paul Goble points out in his blog, Window On Eurasia, that some Russians think John McCain is out to get them:
Valery Markov, the first vice speaker of the Komi State Council, said that his republic had no intention of separating from Russia or â€œparticipate in the political games of US Presidential candidate John McCain,â€ who he said seeks to destroy the Russian Federation by promoting the recognition of all non-Russian republics (mariuver.wordpress.com/2008/09/12/). What is interesting is that Markov felt compelled or was compelled to make this statement.
Does anyone remember the War in Iraq? Palestinian Pundit prints an analysis (and adds ample comments) that violence in Iraq is down not because of the Surge but because the government of Iran has now fully backed the Nouri al-Maliki regime and negotiated ceasefires with its enemies. The question is why?
Nonetheless, the Palestinian Pundit comes up with a surprising conclusion:
Fiery rhetoric notwithstanding, it is becoming clearer by the day that Iran will continue to play a significant role as the silent partner of the Empire, as long as the Empire leaves Iran alone.
The “security” agreement that will allow the US to permanently occupy Iraq is a virtual certainty and it will be signed by Iran's man, Maliki. It appears that Iran does not mind permanent occupation of Iraq as long as Iran gets a commission for helping to police and “stabilize” Iraq.
For me this is a major re-think. For the first time in years I am now doubtful that USrael will attack Iran. A major deal has been struck quietly.