Daily Archives: September 7, 2008

u.s. wants ‘exclusion zone’ round russia

“Exclusion Zone”, or new plans for the West
to isolate Russia from the outside world.

Oleg Mihalin, Moscow Post

To comment on the situation involving his arrival in neighbouring Russia country representatives American administration, correspondent for The Moscow Post appealed to one of Representatives Foreign Minister of Russia, he explained that what the United States intended purpose. The source explained to The Moscow Post, that he possesses information that the United States gather around Russia to create so-called “exclusion zone”. Her sense is that isolating Russia from the outside world through its neighbouring countries in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. The plan creating “exclusion zone” provides for the phased establishment of border regimes loyal to America. This has been done in Georgia, Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic countries. The source noted that for these purposes America is using all means, ranging from proposals lucrative international contracts and ending with undisguised bribery. Thus, according to the source, the amount of one billion dollars, which the US is going to provide Georgia as humanitarian aid, and there is an example of such bribery.

Since then, the US put on the throne “completely loyal to the policy, which was anti-Russian interests (Yushchenko, Saakashvili, etc.). After that, “Americanize” the country provoke a conflict with Russia (military, economic, political). Here among the possible source of examples called “five-day” war, the demolition of the monument Bronze Soldier, claims Poland, etc. Next in series of pro-American media is anti-Russian propaganda, misleading the whole international community. In doing so, advance information on changing distorted or completely the opposite. Source again gave the example of lighting “a five-day” war. Of the pro-American television-“hawks”, the source identified the CNN and BBC. After that, with Russia almost artificially quarrel European countries. As a result, Russia is losing many political and economic partners. The outcome of all these actions is the international isolation of Russia and the loss of her most lucrative political allies and trade partners. The ultimate aim of creating “exclusion zone”, the source is the imposition of Russia loyal to the Americans to the president. This, according to the US plan, should become final victory over Russia. The source noted that the current American administration is planning to complete the transaction around Russia to establish “exclusion zone” by 2012, when Russia will be held presidential elections. The source called on residents of Russia can be both more accurate in the voting in 2012, to clearly understand who is a potential presidential surrogates of Washington. Otherwise, Russia to replace a pair of “Putin, Medvedev” risks to get a couple of “Yushchenko-Saakashvili”.

nato plans to re-arm georgia

NATO experts to visit Georgia on Monday: officials
AFP, 7 September 2008

TBILISI – A NATO delegation will travel to Georgia on Monday to evaluate damage to military infrastructure following a five-day war between Moscow and Tbilisi last month, diplomatic officials told AFP. “A NATO mission is expected here tomorrow,” a European diplomatic official in Tbilisi told AFP on condition of anonymity. “It’s a mission to assess the military damage,” said a second diplomatic official. A NATO official confirmed to AFP the expected arrival of the delegation. NATO chief Jaap de Hoop Scheffer is due to travel to Georgia on September 15-16 along with representatives of all 26 member states for talks with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili to discuss NATO assistance. At an emergency meeting last month, NATO foreign ministers agreed to set up a NATO-Georgia commission and De Hoop Scheffer said 15 experts would be sent to assess the extent of the damage in Georgia, stressing the need for aid for refugees.

US to establish naval base in Georgia
Press.TV (Iran), 7 Sep 2008

The US is negotiating with Georgia and Turkey to establish a naval base at one of the two key Georgian ports of Batumi or Poti, reports say. Turkey, in an attempt to avoid political tension with Russia, has not officially revealed its position regarding the plan, said Gruzya Online, a Russian-language internet site. Russia had previously announced its intention to station its own special forces at the Georgian ports. One of the responsibilities of US Special Forces in the region is to ensure the security of an oil pipeline passing through Georgia.

slightly smeary article about ron paul

Among the Paultards
Matt Labash, Weekly Standard, 09/15/2008

While the press often considers the Ron Paul movement to be chock-full of cranks, wackos, and conspiracy theorists, I take a more nuanced view. For me, the Ron Paul Revolution is like a cozy winter fire. From a distance, the crackling flames of individual liberty and freethinking libertarianism take the chill off sterile two-party politics. But get too near the searing embers, and they will cause blistering, profuse sweating, and all-around general discomfort.

I’ve driven up to the Earle Brown Heritage Center, where leadership training is taking place for the Ron Paultards, as they are often called. The Texas Republican congressman’s people have decided that, though the presidential primary is long over, the Paultardiness must go on. And so they have convened in Minneapolis, to conduct a three-day shadow convention, the capstone of which will be an all-day “Rally for the Republic.” Though my Mapquest directions are sketchy, it’s readily apparent I’ve arrived at the right place. The bumper stickers are the giveaway, saying things such as “I don’t suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it”, and “My other car is a UFO”. More than 10,000 have made the Paul pilgrimage, arriving by plane, train, and “Ronvoy” caravans. Some stay in hotels, others under the stars at “Ronstock”, which is being held in the middle of a farmer’s pasture somewhere on the outskirts of town. (Attendees say it’s like Woodstock, but with wi-fi connections instead of free love.) Or else they’ll stay out at Camp Iduhapi, which, when I later stop by, I learn is the Lakota word for “campers who have unsafe amounts of political signage in their car windows”. It’s a testament to Paul’s drawing power, considering he’s no longer running for anything. To find this many people who’ve ever been this excited about John McCain, you’d have to go back to his press bus in the year 2000.

In the parking lot, I encounter Caitanya Dasa, a 15-year-old with braces who is getting something out of a van. It’s the “Liberty Van,” which is painted on the back of the Chevy Venture, along with “Truth is Treason In the Empire of Lies.” “That’s a quote from Paul’s book, The Revolution: A Manifesto,” Dasa helpfully explains. He’s in from Oregon after a 36-hour, near-sleepless trek with several people rotating driving duties, including his mom. Along the way, a swarm of gnats infiltrated their van, they were attacked by bees, and they ran over an entire bumper on the interstate. But it was worth the sacrifice. Because Ron Paul is here. “We were standing in the food line! And he comes up to us, and says, ‘That looks pretty good!’ ” a breathless Dasa exclaims. “None of us knew what to say.” Dasa wastes no time in taking me to his leader. Behind the building, on the well-manicured grounds, there is indeed a buffet of bear claws, sticky buns, melon wedges, and fresh-squeezed juices. But Paul is the main attraction, standing there, having snap after snap taken by a photographer with a long line of admirers that he mows down one by one. He’s like one of those Shaquille O’Neal cardboard cutouts you can have your picture taken with at the mall. Except Ron Paul is right here, in the flesh, right down to his black referee shoes.

I talk to the Oregon delegation waiting for my audience with Dr. Paul, the former obstetrician. Like most of the Paultards, and unlike most of the mainstream Republicans who are wringing their hands over whether to press on with their convention with Hurricane Gustav bearing down on the Gulf states, they are not going to let somebody else’s bad weather get in the way of their gathering. “There’s suffering all over every single day,” one tells me. “So if I skip the sticky bun, the world would be better?” Paul takes all comers, as he will at a Borders book-signing later that day, where I’m told he signs for no less than a thousand people. As I get a crack at him, he seems bemused by Republican skittishness over Gustav, and smells a rat. “They might’ve been looking for an excuse not to have the president speak,” he says, “but I wouldn’t accuse them of that. I’ve heard people say that.” He generally likes Sarah Palin, though is skeptical of her signing up with such a pro-war team. “When Bill Kristol says he loves her, it makes me wonder,” he says. Since he knows my affiliation, I give Paul points for honesty. Then he hits me with a little more: “I wanna get [our interview] over with, because I wanna go eat breakfast.” Like Dasa before me, I don’t know what to say. “Try the sticky buns,” I offer.

After breakfast, I settle into the invitation-only Leadership Summit with Dasa, who’s not supposed to be there himself on account of being underage (“The side door works great,” he says). The summit is to highlight the particulars of Paul’s new permanent organization, the Campaign for Liberty, the mission of which is to promote individual liberty, constitutional government, sound money, free markets, and a noninterventionist foreign policy. As a gentleman in a colonial outfit, complete with tricorn hat, plays “Yankee Doodle” on a fife to call the meeting to order, an organizer named Deb Hopper rushes over and tells me I’ve got to go, this is a closed meeting. “We’re going to get down to some of the tactics we’re going to be using,” she says. “What are they?” I ask. “Not gonna discuss it,” she says. “Just one tactic?” I plead. “Not gonna discuss it,” she fiercely reiterates, before bouncing me to the sound of fife music, giving me a taste of how the Redcoats felt in the 1700s.

The next day, I attend the “Rally for the Republic” at the Target Center with 12,000 or so Paultards. The rally intends to call “the GOP back to its roots,” if by “roots,” you mean lots of people in tricorn hats, whose idea of a good time is batting around their favorite economists from the Austrian School. (I’m partial to Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk, but then, who isn’t?) My journalistic detachment is dealt a blow, since emceeing the event is my friend and former Weekly Standard colleague, MSNBC’s Tucker Carlson. We both like to think of ourselves as conservatives with strong libertarian overtones. We certainly like to do whatever we want, whenever we want, and hate paying taxes, as our libertarian brothers do. Tucker did a hang-out with Paul piece last year for the New Republic, and I suggest to him that he’s gotten too close to the story. “You can stay on the sidelines with the jackals, or enter the arena, your face marred by dust, sweat, and blood,” he says, archly paraphrasing Teddy Roosevelt. I tell him I’ve got a good seat at the press table, but that I’ll keep an open mind. “Sure you will,” he mocks. “Write the story before you come. Show up, and fill in the blanks. It’s like journalistic Mad Libs. I’ve been there, man.”

My high-placed Paultard source gives me all sorts of insider dope. Former Minnesota governor/pro wrestler Jesse Ventura, who is on the speaking docket, is a serious 9/11 denier. So the Paulians have convinced Ventura to button it on the subject, since furthering the cause of liberty and sound money doesn’t have much to do with who Ventura thinks may or may not have felled the Twin Towers. Tucker also won’t introduce a speaker from the John Birch Society, just as a matter of principle. And though the schedule calls for a 12:30 P.M. opening bell, “the hemp activists have taken over organizing,” says Tucker, “so there’s not a chance that we start on time.” Though he’s a little bit nervous about his uncharacteristic role — “falling off a cliff,” he calls it — Tucker opens the ceremonies with a stirring explanation of why he’s here: because, although he signs on to no platform and supports no candidate (especially since Paul isn’t one, though somebody should tell that to crowd members holding state delegate stanchions as though they’re at a nominating convention to make Paul emperor), Ron Paul, unlike most politicians, is a decent, gentle, and kind human being, who has no interest in controlling you. He stands for freedom and therefore will defend your right to do things he doesn’t even agree with, taking political hits for people with whom he has nothing in common. One of the crowd is so moved by this testimony as to yell: “I love you, Tucker!” “I love you too,” he shoots back, “And I mean that in a nonerotic, but powerful way.” I can’t help but think that this sort of interaction is good for the personal growth of the Paultards, as Tucker will introduce them to something they’ve likely never experienced before: irony.

The slate of speakers move along in a slow-as-molasses fashion. This must be a stroke to their egos, as I suspect there aren’t many occasions when people such as Lew Rockwell, the founder of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, are treated like visiting rock stars complete with foot-stomping and Ron Paul balloons being volleyed around during their speeches. “By the way,” Tucker at one point tells the crowd, “if you can’t get enough of [constitutional lawyer/lobbyist] Bruce Fein, he will be signing books afterward, so please don’t mob him, despite the temptation.” “We’re gonna rock tonight!” promises presidential historian Doug Wead. And the speakers do, too. Such as when Conservative Caucus chairman Howard Phillips ticks off a list of his favorite Ron Paul bills complete with their congressional numbers. (Paul’s opposition to the Trans-Texas Corridor was a particular crowdpleaser.) Or when John McManus of the John Birch Society whips the crowd into a frenzy when asking what we should do about the unsound-moneychangers at the Federal Reserve (“Suck my butt, Fed!” frothed one crowd member). A friend at the press table notes that “You can’t light a match near anybody because there’s so much double-knit here, the place would go up like that.” I adjourn to an arena snack bar during a Grover Norquist anti-tax speech — actually I’m just guessing what his speech was about, but it feels a safe bet.

Backstage I find Jesse Ventura holding court. In jeans and a Navy SEAL T-shirt under a sports jacket, his large shiny head ringed with long wisps of unkempt hair, he has, since leaving office and moving to Mexico, taken on the demeanor of a deranged homeless man. When I approach, Ventura is talking about his Belgian Malinois attack dog who understands commands in three languages, and who’s picking up Spanish as a fourth. “He’s the smartest one in the house,” he says, making an entirely believable claim. I decide to bait Ventura, offering that some of the 9/11 Truthers in the crowd are disappointed their viewpoints aren’t being represented. “They will when I get up there,” he growls. He says he’s been studying the issue “for well over a year and a half,” and he feels “very strongly that the truth has not been forthcoming.” When asked what the truth is and whether the government had something to do with it, he says, “I don’t know. But I know this, I do have somewhat of a demolition background, being a member of the Navy’s underwater demolition team, and I spoke to a few of my teammates a couple weeks ago. We’re all in agreement that buildings can’t fall at the rate of gravity without being assisted. And that’s called physics, that’s not an opinion.”

Taking the stage, Ventura has the crowd ululating as he hits all the hot buttons, from the evils of the Patriot Act and closed presidential debates to the need to jealously guard our Second Amendment rights. Then, keeping his promise to me (and breaching assurances to convention organizers), he gets down to business, to a little “something called 9/11.” It’s like lighting a match around the double-knits. They ignite. Under the impression that there are no stupid questions, Ventura proceeds to ask several: such as why doesn’t the FBI website’s list of top ten international terrorists include the 9/11 attacks among Osama bin Laden’s other crimes? And why hasn’t the Justice Department charged Osama bin Laden? Though he doesn’t actually accuse the government of participating in the attacks, he doesn’t need to, judging from the crowd reaction. “Inside job!” someone chants. Backstage afterwards, Ventura is further holding court for reporters, after having hinted to the crowd that he might be amenable to a presidential run in 2012 if the Revolution stays on track. “I will be watching!” he threatened.

Tucker hadn’t heard the speech, so I break the news to him that Ventura got off his leash. Being a devout believer in the conventional, single-bullet version of the 9/11 attacks (that the terrorists acted alone), Tucker is both alarmed and offended, but doesn’t have much time to reflect. He is accosted by some grubby indie-media types who start trying to engage him: “Have you ever heard of the Controlled Demolition Hypothesis … Who I believe did it are the ones who control our money systems … Have you followed the NIST report on the collapse of building seven?” After a brief sparring match with the nutcakes, Tucker looks ashen. “This is crazy. I’ve got to get out of here. Let’s go get dinner.” We slip out the back door of the arena to hail a cab and get some steaks. But Tucker’s still supposed to be emceeing the event, and Paul has yet to speak. “Are you going to tell him you’re leaving?” I ask. “Nahhh,” Tucker says. “I really like Ron Paul. I don’t want to hurt his feelings.”

The beauty of the Ron Paul Revolution is that whatever you miss, you can catch on YouTube. (Number of Paul videos: 150,000 and counting.) The speech is a six-parter, so I don’t watch the whole thing, on account of wanting to be present when my young children graduate from college. Still, Paul sounds some nice notes on personal liberty, not wanting to control others, and the importance of adhering to both moral and constitutional principles, neither of which are in fashion where he works. Government should serve us, not the other way around, and we are not beholden to any government for our rights. “Rights are something that are very precious,” he says. “They don’t come from the government, they come in a natural way or a God-given way … as a right to your life and a right to your liberty … A true patriot defends liberty.” It’s an attractive line. And it’s easy to see why people subscribe to the Ron Paul Revolution. Easier still when you’re nowhere near it.

nice interview with hadag nachash guy

The one who stayed behind
Barry Davis, JPost

They don’t come much more die-hard Jerusalemite than Shaanan Streett. The 37-year-old lead singer of the longstanding and highly successful Hadag Nahash hip hop/funk outfit — and sometimes solo artist in his own right (he released Hevzek Or Holef last year) — called me up in something of a panic. “We have to reschedule,” he says with great earnest. “Wednesday evening’s no good.” The reason for the change was quite simply that his beloved Betar Jerusalem was due to play the return leg of its Champions League second qualifying round match against Wisla Krakow from Poland, when we were originally due to meet. Streett planned to be glued to his TV set, cheering our boys in yellow and black on to a potential showdown with Spanish giants Barcelona. Although I have long since lost much of my boyhood passion for the game, I naturally consented to a more convenient, Betar-free slot.

Soccer apart, Streett is a true-blue Jerusalemite. While the rest of the Hadag Nahash gang have relocated to Tel Aviv, Streett is, at least for now, staying put in the capital. “Who knows what will happen,” he says. “For now, I can tell you my two sons are registered for kindergarten here for the coming year. So I’ll definitely be here until next summer.” One gets the feeling, though, that it would take something close to monumental to pry Streett from his hometown. During the school year he runs Reznik, a pub that offers live entertainment, on the Hebrew University Mount Scopus campus. Lesser known local musicians as well as several top acts have played there, including Noam Rotem, Amir Lev, Eran Tsur and — yes — Hadag Nahash (“the band only played there once”). Streett is also involved in a music series for Beit Avi Chai. Still, if you ask musicians from Tel Aviv and elsewhere outside the environs of Jerusalem what they think about performing here, they would invariably talk about the difficulty of attracting audiences — certainly compared with Tel Aviv. So, what keeps Streett here? “First off, Hadag Nahash has always had a faithful following in Jerusalem so, for us, it’s not hard at all here. We played at the Yellow Submarine a couple of weeks ago and it was sold out. “It doesn’t make any difference whether we play at the Yellow Submarine or Hama’abada, all our shows have been sold out now for four or five years.” Surprisingly, that’s not always the case at the other end of Route 1. “We don’t always fill venues in Tel Aviv. Don’t forget the places there are often larger. Barbi takes about 800 people and Zappa has a capacity of 600. Here [in Jerusalem] the capacity is 350-400.”

While Hadag Nahash has built up a strong fan base in Jerusalem, Streett doesn’t always have an easy time with his pub. “I opened Reznik last summer, but I soon realized the timing was off. There aren’t many students around in the summer.” Not only that, it’s no laughing matter getting non-students to Mount Scopus. “I tell you something, many Jerusalemites would rather drive to Tel Aviv to see a show than come up to the campus,” he says. “Other than, maybe, Ein Kerem, Jerusalem still doesn’t have neighborhood leisure spots that people come to from other places in the city. That happens a lot in Tel Aviv. “Look at Zappa — that’s all the way over in Ramat Hahayal [in north Tel Aviv]. It’s not just people who live nearby that go there. Tel Avivites hop in a taxi and go to shows there. It’s the same with Barbi [in south Tel Aviv]. It’s not just locals from Florentin that go there. But it’s so hard to get people to make the trek to Mount Scopus from other parts of Jerusalem.” So, what’s to do about the entertainment situation in Jerusalem? “I don’t know. I still haven’t fathomed the psyche of the Jerusalem entertainment consumer. Maybe it will develop over the years,” he says. That must be wearying. “Yes, I sometimes get fed up but, at least for now, I’m staying put,” says Streett. “I’m not promising anything — I’ve passed that age — but I’m definitely here for now. This is my town.”

And professionally, nowhere is more home for Streett than the Yellow Submarine. “When we play there, it’s not only that the audience knows all the words to the songs, even when I make up something on the spot they know the words to that too,” Streett laughs. “Sometimes I feel they are more intimate with the material than me.” The band’s following has also proven intergenerational. “We’re not just talking about the people that used to come to the gigs when we started out 12 years ago. We’re talking about their younger siblings and their families,” he says. “We always come off the stage at the Yellow Submarine trembling with excitement and enjoyment. That’s the place we feel most at home.” Streett, whose parents hail from Baltimore, also feels comfortable — although possibly not entirely at home — outside Israel. He has toured the States and Europe with Hadag Nahash and says he feels a rapport with non-Hebrew speakers, too. Streett and the band have also gained a reputation for speaking, and singing, their mind regardless of where they happen to be. “I once went to meet someone from the Foreign Ministry, from the Department of Culture that finances artists’ trips,” he recalls. “I couldn’t believe the ministry was going to help us perform in the United States. I mean, we’re often critical of the government and things that go on here. So I asked him if he was serious about sending us abroad. He said the ministry was serious about it, and they wanted to show people outside Israel that they are not afraid of criticism. I had no problems with that.”

Streett and, for that matter, Hadag Nahash have never been afraid of airing their views. “That’s very much a part of who I am,” the singer declares. “The idea has always been to remind people where they are living, what times we live in and what load we are carrying on our shoulders. But we also want to hint to them that we can do something about the situation.” Does Streett really believe a hip-hop band can change the world with a bunch of songs? “Hey, I’m not a kid anymore. I have no illusions about making everything right with music. But I was a member of a panel the other day, with two university professors, that talked about that very subject. I said, and my learned colleagues agreed with me, that a song can reflect a general feeling in the public, and maybe help it along a bit. “Having said that, our audiences will remember what we said in our songs more than what the foreign minister said in some speech,” explains Streett. “I don’t thing it is a matter of no consequence when a band takes an idea and turns it into something aesthetic. The Internationale didn’t invent socialism, but it helped to bring people together with a song. It was the same with Bob Dylan songs. All we can do is to give people a sense of not being alone in the way they feel. I think that’s a lot.”

The band’s in-your-face approach has sometimes caused them grief. “Our second single, ‘Af Ehad’ (No One) was a protest against violence against women. But some people misinterpreted what we were trying to say and thought we were actually promoting violence,” recalls Streett. “Then, in the Second Lebanon War, we’d performed in three bomb shelters in Nahariya and we were on our way to an army base near Rosh Hanikra when we got a call saying that the base commander had decided we shouldn’t perform there. He probably thought our message was unsuitable for soldiers in the middle of a war. That was very frustrating for me… [and] got me wondering about lots of things.” When we met, Streett was in the throes of rehearsals with Hadag Nahash for what he hopes will become their next album. “We’re doing a lot of stuff in English,” he says. “I don’t know how it will all work out, and when it will become a CD.” Presumably, singing material in English might help the band gain a stronger foothold outside Israel. “You don’t think about things like that when you write songs. But it would be nice if that happens.” Streett is, apparently, an eternal optimist even following Betar’s humiliation at the hand of the Poles — they lost 5-0. “What’s good about soccer is that there’s always next season,” he said when I called him up later in the week to offer my condolences over the crushing defeat. An optimist indeed.

palin : le dernier cri

The FundamentaList, No. 48
Sarah Posner, American Prospect

1. Religious Right Ecstatic Over Sarah Palin.

Before the public knew very much at all about Sarah Palin, the religious right’s leadership, previously listless and unenthusiastic about John McCain, was suddenly ready to pull out all the stops to put McCain-Palin in the White House.

On Friday, an hour before McCain introduced Palin at a campaign rally in Dayton, Ohio, religious-right and conservative-movement leaders hosted a conference call with reporters to trumpet Palin’s conservative credentials. Members of the Council for National Policy, the secretive association of movement elites meeting in Minneapolis ahead of the Republican National Convention, watched Palin’s speech on television and were, according to Focus on the Family’s Tom Minnery, “electrified.”

The endorsements came fast and furious: James Dobson called the pick “outstanding,” and Tony Perkins added his applause, deeming Palin “the strongest pro-life, pro-family governor in Alaska to date.” Matthew Staver of the Liberty Alliance, the conservative legal group founded by Jerry Falwell, who convened Christian-right leadership in Colorado this summer to acquiesce around McCain, reiterated the “electrified” talking point. The clearly intended message: Get ready for an army of Christian-right activists to do battle with Obama’s on-the-ground organizing in all 50 states.

2. Not A Maverick, An Extremist.

This week’s news of Palin’s 17-year-old daughter’s pregnancy regrettably trumped other, far more significant revelations, like Palin’s husband’s membership in the Alaskan Independence Party (AIP), a secessionist group that believes that Alaska should not be part of the United States (Palin was also somewhat friendly with the group, even recording a video greeting for them while governor), and Palin’s support for Pat Buchanan’s retrograde presidential campaigns. The AIP — whose founder, Joseph Vogler, once said, “The problem with you John Birchers is that you are too damn liberal!” — is to the right of the Council on National Policy, itself founded by a group of Birchers. According to the watchdog group Political Research Associates, the John Birch Society’s founder, Robert Welch, believed that “both the U.S. and Soviet governments are controlled by the same furtive conspiratorial cabal of internationalists, greedy bankers, and corrupt politicians. If left unexposed, the traitors inside the U.S. government would betray the country’s sovereignty to the United Nations for a collectivist new world order managed by a “‘one-world socialist government.'”

The ardor of the Christian-right leadership says everything you need to know about Palin: She is an extremist who makes them confident of their access to and influence over a McCain administration. Palin has vowed to protect the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance because, she believes, “if it was good enough for the founding fathers, it’s good enough for me.” (The pledge was written in 1892, and the words “under God” added in 1954.) She opposes amending hate-crime laws to include protections for LGBTQ people, which the religious right wrongly claims would criminalize Christian speechifying about homosexuality being a sin. Last year, she signed a resolution designating an Alaska Christian Heritage Week.

And in case you’re worried about whether she can beat back the Islamists the religious right says are bent on destroying our Christian nation, Ken Blackwell, who co-chaired the GOP’s platform-writing committee, helpfully points out that as “the commander-in-chief of the Alaska National Guard, Mrs. Palin [is] staring across a narrow strait at Vladimir Putin’s Russia.” Chairing the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is overrated isn’t it?

3. The Religious Right’s New Superwoman.

“Take that, feminists,” was Janice Shaw Crouse’s, director and senior fellow of Concerned Women for America’s Beverly LaHaye Institute, response to Sarah Palin’s selection as GOP VP nominee. “For years the feminist movement has acknowledged for leadership only those women who embrace a radical agenda,” Crouse said in a statement. “Sarah Palin is pro-life, pro-marriage and pro-family. She is a woman who is balancing the personal and professional in admirable ways. … Here is a woman of accomplishment who brings a fresh face to traditional values and models the type of woman most girls want to become.”

The Beverly LaHaye Institute, however, typically disdains working mothers: A 2004 paper it issued, “The Symptoms of Parent Withdrawal,” claimed that “the feminists have achieved their goal: widely available child care to ‘free themselves of motherhood.'” In that particular disparagement of working mothers, Crouse charged that “we’ve known for years that the outcomes are undesirable when children spend too much time in day care.” The article concluded, “Instead of asking the typical question of what is best or more convenient for the adults, we must ask the serious question: ‘What is best for our children?’ Dr. Crouse’s answer: The best environment to foster a child’s intellectual development is one in which his or her mother is actively involved on a day-to-day basis; the best environment is the home.”

But as Palin embarks on a grueling campaign to become vice-president of the United States, she is, in Crouse’s view, a model mother, unlike the millions of American women who have no choice but to put their kids in day care.

4. GOTV: Hype or Real?

Although it is Dobson’s endorsement that the national media holds its breath for, his stamp of approval in and of itself won’t drive people to the polls. That will be done by on-the-ground organizing and get-out-the-vote drives. Here’s a peek at who to watch in the religious right’s attempt to replicate past get-out-the-vote drives and face down Obama’s in the crucial state of Ohio:

David Barton, the religious right’s own historian of Christian nationhood, worked as a consultant to the Republican Party in 2004, traveling to churches advising pastors on how to encourage their parishioners to vote. In October, Barton will be appearing in conjunction with Citizens for Community Values (CCV), the Cincinnati-based organization that mobilized support for Ohio’s 2004 gay-marriage ban. He will make six appearances in the state, including some at churches, to help his audience “to understand the true historical and biblical role of Christians in civil government.”

The six appearances will be co-sponsored by and broadcast on radio stations owned by Salem Communications, which owns over 100 Christian radio stations nationwide and provides syndicated news and commentary to hundreds more. In 2004, Salem principals, many of whom have been long involved in fundraising for far-right Christian candidates and causes, helped organize a 2004 get-out-the-vote drive called Americans of Faith.

5. Palin: The Un-Hick Huck.

During the primaries, an internecine feud was on display between the anti-taxers, who tagged Mike Huckabee as a tax-and-spend liberal, and the evangelicals who loved him. Palin brings all the wings together, with the anti-taxers joining hands with the social conservatives in giving her their collective stamp of approval.

But aside from getting the thumbs up from Grover Norquist, Palin offers a new face for the religious right, a movement that has been dominated, not only by men, but by decidedly uncool men. Huckabee tried to change that image by playing in a rock band and being a conservative “but not mad about it.” Still, Palin isn’t a Southern Baptist pastor from the rural South — she’s an athletic beauty queen from the rugged West, an image that the movement no doubt relishes.

So with all that in mind, I have a short religious-right “in” and “out” list:

OUT: The South. IN: The West.

OUT: Folksy. IN: Frontiers-y.

OUT: Covenant marriage. IN: Eloping.

OUT: Eating squirrels. IN: Eating moose.

OUT: Pick-up trucks. IN: Snow machines.

OUT: NASCAR. IN: Ididarod.