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I’m of two minds about how to deal with the McCain campaign’s further descent into ugliness. Their strategy is simple: you throw crap against a wall and then giggle as the media try to analyze the putresence in a way that conveys a sense of balance: “Well, it is bull-pucky, but the splatter pattern is interesting…” which, of course, only serves to get your perverse message out. I really don’t want to be a part of that. But…every so often, we journalists have a duty to remind readers just how dingy the McCain campaign, and its right-wing acolytes in the media (I’m looking at you, Sean Hannity) have become–especially in their efforts to divert public attention from the economic crisis we’re facing. And so inept at it: other campaigns have decided that their only shot is going negative, but usually they don’t announce it, as several McCain aides have in recent days–there’s no way we can win on the economy, so we’re going to go sludge-diving.

But since we are dealing with manure here, I’ll put the rest of this post below the fold.

It is appropriate that the prime vessel for this assault is Sarah Palin, whose very presence on a national ticket is an insult to your intelligence. She now has “credibility,” we are told, because she managed to read talking points off notecards in the debate last week with unwitting enthusiasm.

Over the weekend, she picked up on an article in The New York Times, which essentially says that Barack Obama and the former terrorist Bill Ayers have crossed paths in Chicago, served on a couple of charitable boards together, but aren’t particularly close. To Palin–or her scriptwriters–this means that Obama has been “palling around” with terrorists. Now, I wish Ayers had done some serious jail time; he certainly needed to pay some penance for his youthful criminality–even if most people in Chicago, including the mayor, have decided that he has something of value to say about education. But I can also understand how Obama, who was a child when Ayers was cutting his idiot swath, would not quite understand the enormity of the professor’s background. (I got to know Alger Hiss twenty years after the fact–he was a printing salesman then, a friend of my father’s–and thought of him as a sweet old man, if a good deal more liberal than dad’s other friends.)

In any case, this is rather rich coming from Palin, who is married to a man who belonged to a political party–the Alaskan Independence Party–that wanted to secede from the union. (I should add here that the Times may have been overreacting to the McCain campaign’s attack on its fairness here: the Ayers story was a nothingburger, but it was placed prominently in the top left hand corner of page one–a position that would seem to indicate that it contained important news, which it didn’t.)

Then we have the ever-reliable Bill Kristol, in today’s New York Times, advising Palin to bring up the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Palin, of course, believes that’s a darn good idea:

“To tell you the truth, Bill, I don’t know why that association isn’t discussed more, because those were appalling things that that pastor had said about our great country, and to have sat in the pews for 20 years and listened to that — with, I don’t know, a sense of condoning it, I guess, because he didn’t get up and leave — to me, that does say something about character. But, you know, I guess that would be a John McCain call on whether he wants to bring that up.”

So then, I’d guess, it would be appropriate to bring up some of the nuttiness that passes for godliness in Palin’s religious life. Leave aside the fact that The Embarracuda allowed herself to participate in a cermony that protected her from witchcraft, how about her presence–she didn’t “get up and leave”– at a sermon by the founder of Jews for Jesus, who argued that the Palestinian terrorist acts against Israel were God’s “judgment” on the Jews because they hadn’t accepted Jesus.

Speaking of Jews, the ever-execrable Sean Hannity has been having intercourse with a known Jew-hater named Andy Martin, who now wants to expose Barack Obama as a Muslim. According to the Washington Times:

In 1986, when Mr. Martin ran as a Democrat for Connecticut’s 3rd Congressional District seat under the name “Anthony R. Martin-Trigona,” his campaign committee filed papers saying its purpose was to “exterminate Jew power in America and impeach U.S. District Court of Appeals judges in New York City.”

Calling all Podhoretzs! Where’s the outrage? I mean, don’t the hateful doings at Palin’s church and Hannity’s perfidy deserve a lengthy exegesis from Pete Wehner or Jennifer Rubin or one of the other empretzled ideologues over at Commentary?

As I said, I’m of two minds about this. I don’t want to give currency to this sewage, so it will remain below the fold. And I’ll try to devote the lion’s share of my time to the issues–the war, the economic crisis, the fraying health insurance system, the environment–that should define this campaign. But what a desperate empty embarrassment the McCain campaign has become.

Soure: TIME

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Sarah Palin was shown in a video with a Kenyan bishop.

Sarah Palin was shown in a video with a Kenyan bishop.

An unusual video showing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee, being blessed by a Kenyan bishop against witchcraft has rattled liberal bloggers and fueled scorn among her detractors, but religious experts say the matter has been blown out of proportion by ignorance and intolerance.

The 2004 video, which began airing on the Internet last week, shows Kenyan Bishop Thomas Muthee calling Palin to the front of a church to lay hands on her and pray to keep her safe from “every form of witchcraft.”

“Make her way, my God. Bring finances her way even for the campaign in the name of Jesus…Use her to turn this nation the other way around,” Muthee said while placing his hands upon Palin. “Talk to God about this woman. We declare, save her from Satan.”

The “witchcraft” line in particular caught the attention of liberal pundits and bloggers. Keith Olbermann, host of MSNBC’s “Countdown,” called the video “terrifying” and said it made the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the much-criticized ex-pastor of Barack Obama, look “pretty mainstream” in comparison.

But religious experts said there was nothing untoward in the video, which they said shows a fairly routine religious ceremony. Misunderstanding over it has grown because of the McCain campaign’s refusal to comment on the video, suggesting that the campaign was on uncomfortable footing with Palin’s religion, the experts said.

Jacob K. Olupana, a religion professor at Harvard, said the campaign appears to have been caught flat- footed when trying to answer questions on Palin’s faith. “I’m not sure they understand it,” he said.

“What you saw was something very basic that happens in a Pentecostal church,” said Anthea Butler, a religion professor at the University of Rochester. “You would see this in any Pentecostal church on any given Sunday.”

But while the practice may not have been unusual for Palin’s faith, the McCain campaign did not push back very hard against media’s coverage of the video, which has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on YouTube and got prime placement on top liberal blogs, including The Huffington Post, Daily Kos and Talking Points Memo. Instead, the campaign has highlighted Palin’s “nondenominational evangelical” beliefs, while rarely mentioning her many years in a Pentecostal church.

“Why can’t the campaign articulate what she is about?” Butler asked. “I don’t think they knew,” she said, or else they were “trying to mask” Palin’s true views.

The McCain campaign has not addressed Muthee or his blessing of Palin and declined to comment on the video for this story.

To see more videos on Palin’s church click here. If you’re in the deciphering mode that is!

When asked about the Alaska governor’s religious background, the McCain campaign said in an e-mail that Palin was baptized in a Catholic church as an infant, was a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in High School, and has been a member of the Wasilla Bible Church — “a nondenominational, evangelical church” — for the last seven years.

The Alaska governor’s religion gets no mention in her biography on the campaign’s website; campaign officials say that she does not consider herself to be a Pentecostal.

As a teenager, Palin joined the Wasilla Assembly of God, a Pentecostal church in Wasilla. She was baptized in the church and, along with her husband and children, attended the church until 2002. Since then, the Palins have attended the Wasilla Bible Church, an Evangelical church.

Butler said that at the Pentecostal baptism, Palin likely would have been expected to speak in tongues. Some members of the Wasilla Assembly of God reportedly do speak in tongues as part of their practice, though officials from Palin’s campaign and the church both say she did not.

In a statement on its website, Pain’s former church notes that she “has maintained a friendship with Wasilla Assembly of God and has attended various conferences and special meetings here.”

It was during one of those appearances in June that Palin called the Iraq war “a task that is from God.”

During that same appearance, Palin credited Bishop Muthee’s prayers for her becoming governor.

“As I was mayor and Pastor Muthee was here and he was praying over me,” Palin said. “He said, ‘Lord, make a way and let her do this next step.’ And that’s exactly what happened.”

Some of Muthee’s beliefs come from his experiences in Kenya, where he and wife, Margaret, founded a church in a violent area on the outskirts of Nairobi in 1988.

According to a 1999 Christian Science Monitor article, Muthee decided that witchcraft, specifically a spirit inhabiting a local woman named “Mama Jane,” was responsible for much of the turmoil in the area. To rid the community of the “demonic influence” of “Mama Jane,” Muthee set up a church in the basement of a grocery store where 200 people prayed in round-the-clock shifts. Under growing pressure from the Bishop, the woman eventually left town.

“Witchcraft is a sad reality in many parts of Africa, resulting in scores of deaths in Kenya over the past two decades,” Catholic League President Bill Donohue said in a statement that chastised the media for its coverage of the video.

“Bishop Muthee’s blessing, then, was simply a reflection of his cultural understanding of evil. While others are not obliged to accept his interpretation, all can be expected to respect it. More than that, Muthee should be hailed for asking God to shield Palin from harmful forces, however they may be manifested,” Donohue’s statement said. “And for this he is mocked and Palin ridiculed?”

“I don’t know why they are making a big thing out of it,” Olupana said of the media reaction to the video. “Witchcraft as part of a belief system is real to the people who live there,” he said, noting that there was “nothing unusual about what happened.”

The religion professor noted that when Obama came under fire for his ties to Wright, several black religious leaders stepped out from behind the pew to explain their faith and put the reverend’s remarks in context.

But with Palin’s tie to Muthee, he said, “no one has stepped up to explain this.”

Source: Politico

No witchcraft around here – not that I know of !!

Raw Video: Palin Saved From ‘Witchcraft’

Sept. 25 – A video on her hometown church website shows Gov. Sarah Palin being blessed three years ago by a Kenyan pastor who prayed for her protection from ‘witchcraft’ as she prepared to seek higher office.

AP