Propaganda 104 Supplemental: The Sound of Silence

by Gene Howington, Guest Blogger

“Silence is argument carried out by other means.” – Che Guevara

“Hello darkness, my old friend,
I’ve come to talk with you again,
Because a vision softly creeping,
Left its seeds while I was sleeping,
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence.”
– “The Sound of Silence”, by Simon & Garfunkel, lyrics by Paul Simon

“Darkness isn’t the opposite of light, it is simply its absence.” – Terry Pratchett

“In human intercourse the tragedy begins, not when there is misunderstanding about words, but when silence is not understood.” – Henry David Thoreau

Just as darkness is the absence of light, silence is an absence. We’ve considered the word and the image as propaganda up to this point, so let us pause to consider their antithesis as a form of propaganda. The phrase “[t]he only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” is often attributed to 18th Century Irish born English statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke, although what he actually wrote in Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents was that “when bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.” Regardless of the apocryphal attribution, the quote goes right to the heart of the issue of silence being a form of propaganda. Like most tactics of propaganda, silence has multiple forms and uses.  Let us examine some of these variations on a theme.

What is “silence”? According to Webster’s it is:

silence \ˈsī-lən(t)s\, n.,

1: forbearance from speech or noise : muteness —often used interjectionally

2: absence of sound or noise : stillness

These are the common meanings of silence that automatically leap to mind when one reads the word, but more to the point in discussing propaganda, we need to consider the full definition of the word and even enhance it a little bit.  Consider the third meaning of the word “silence” . . .

3: absence of mention: a : oblivion, obscurity b : secrecy

With this fuller definition, it becomes clear that silence is more than the absence of sound or stillness.  For discussion of propaganda, let us use an expanded specialized definition to have silence mean not just the absence of sound, but rather the absence of information. All propaganda is aimed at shaping the flow and content of information. With this expanded definition, we can see the broader scope of silence as a propaganda tactic. As you will see, this can lead to an interesting contradiction.

The first use of silence as a tactic is what you’d expect and the traditional definition of silence: the “No Comment” maneuver. You see this all the time coming from Hollywood and the entertainment industry as well as in the political arena. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t and this is dependent upon a variety of factors.  The public’s perception of the speaker, the relative severity and the public or private nature of the topic not being discussed, any associated value loading that can go with a scandal, how amenable to obscuration or obviation is the topic in general and are there any related topics currently drawing the public’s attention that may either attract or detract attention are some of the mitigating factors that influence how well playing the “No Comment” card will work out. Let us consider a couple of examples from both the entertainment and political realms and why or why not they succeeded.

Movie stars are well known (or not) for their scandals (real or imagined) popping up from time to time in the tabloid press. Very often, attempts to mitigate the damage of an embarrassing disclosure do more harm than good. An example of this is the current Kristen Stewart/Robert Pattinson/Rupert Sanders story. After photos of Stewart and Sanders (a married man with children) surfaced, naturally her relationship with her Twilight co-star Pattinson became somewhat complicated. In an effort to mitigate the damage, Stewart made a very public apology to Pattinson. This effort backfired as she caught criticism for everything ranging from the public nature of what most would consider a private message to the content for not being apologetic enough concerning the impact on Sander’s marriage and children to the impact the negative press would have on the forthcoming installment of the Twilight series. This in turn led to speculation that the studio might be reconsidering her for future roles as well as much distress among the Twilight fans. To complete this study in contrasts, consider the recent development in this story where Stewart (possibly after taking advice from her former co-star and actress/director well acquainted with the silence strategy, Jodie Foster) is now refusing to answer questions about her and Pattinson’s relationship.

In the political arena, silence is playing a larger part than usual in the Presidential campaign. The Romney campaign is trying silence as a tactic on his business dealings, his tax returns and the more extremist views of his choice in Vice Presidential running mate Paul Ryan. So far this application of the tactic has generally backfired miserably. For his business dealings, silence makes him look like a liar and a fraud considering it is his past business dealings that make up the bulk of his alleged experience and skill set to lead a nation.  With his taxes, silence simply makes him look like he has something to hide in addition to the arrogance he has displayed on the issue showing him to be massively out of touch with the American people and an elitist with remarks about “you people” and “trust me”. With silence about the points of view of his running mate, Paul Ryan? It is early in the use of that strategy to see how well it will work, but early indications are it is going to only serve to highlight Ryan’s extremist views as the media and the public start asking questions. Another spectacular backfire as Ryan’s stance come under greater scrutiny including his budget proposals (even attacked by Conservative King of Trickle Down Economics – David Stockman), the privatization of Social Security, replacing Medicare with a voucher system (also a form of privatization), cutting funding and participation in Medicaid, his dubious and manifestly politically expedient disavowal of his nearly life long love for Ayn Rand and all things Randian, his hypocritical support for economic stimulus when Bush was for it but attacks on it when it is Obama for economic stimulus, and reports of general dissatisfaction among voters of all persuasions about his selection.

There is a second variation on silence as a tactic and that limited silence or partial disclosure.  A fine example of this is the career of Michael J. Fox in its post-Parkinson’s phase. Since his diagnosis, he was careful with the media but remained largely silent. After announcing his condition, he carefully controlled his media presence until the scope and effect of his condition and the effectiveness of his treatment could be assessed.  What started with silence became partial disclosure of his progress, using his celebrity to draw attention to the condition and support for research, and eventually a slow and partial reintroduction into promoting active acting projects. This illustrates that in the process of information management, what you don’t say and when you don’t say it can be as important to image management as what you do say and when you say it, and that balance in tactics can be crucial.

The third use of silence is a close variant to the “no comment” form of silence and that is the tactic of externally enforced silence. Oddly enough, this tactic can arise from tactical missteps as well as situational elements and there is a perfect example of this going on in the current Presidential campaign.  Consider Mitt Romney’s camp and their inability to mention one of his (few) great successes in political leadership without having it blow up in their face and that is the so-called Romneycare he shepherded to life while Governor of Massachusetts. Their silence on this issue is externally enforced because of the similarities to Obama’s ACA plan. Romney cannot attack Obama for actions incredibly similar to actions he took as governor and then tout his actions as governor without tactically shooting himself in the foot with his target audience.

The fourth use of silence is where silence as the absence of information comes to the forefront as well as the previously mentioned interesting contradiction.  Sometimes silence can be noisy. Another way to create silence in the sense of an absence of information are the strategies of obfuscation and distraction (which can employ many tactics from white noise to straw men to simple misdirection). In this regard, when evaluating information it is just as critical to ask “what does this speaker not want me to think about or discuss” as it is to look at the explicit content of what they are saying.

Consider in a broader media sense the contrast between the television news coverage of World War II, Vietnam, the first Gulf War, and Iraq/Afghanistan. The media kept silent about a great many details of World War II and in those days of analog media dominance, it was possible to maintain such silence. To the credit of those in government who controlled the flow of information during World War II, the bulk of what was kept silent was validly done so in the name of operational security and once Allied troops were out of danger fuller disclosure was usually forthcoming.  Contrast this with the media coverage of Vietnam and the then relatively new medium of television. The collapse of public support at the end of the Vietnam war was due in part to the inability of the government to exert control over television. Once the images of what was really going on over there and the cost it was taking on our citizen draft military with daily visions of caskets being broadcast into a majority of American homes, it was only a matter of time before any public support for that war evaporated.

Fast forward to the first Gulf War. The war mongers in government had learned their lesson from Vietnam and the Draft was not a concern with a volunteer force – removing some of the direct impact into American homes from a war abroad. True, many civilians were against conscription, but getting rid of it came with a hidden cost to civic duty and a hidden opportunity for the unscrupulous to make war easier because of less public challenge. Add to this a high level of embedded journalists, a whole new bag of technology that made showing night actions possible and a theater conducive to night actions and relatively low casualties and you get the first war sold to the American public as essentially a video game. This war as an exercise in modern media control can only be termed a success from the point of view of policy hawks. Silence was kept where needed to keep public support flowing and the flow of information out was carefully controlled. The effectiveness of pro-war propaganda was back to WWII levels.

Now comes the invasion of Iraq. America was reeling in the aftermath of 9/11, but anyone who focuses on intelligence in looking at foreign policy issues knew that Iraq didn’t have a damn thing to do with those heinous terrorist attacks. The general public was in a state of fear and the Bush Administration seizing upon that opportunity forced through Congress the purposefully vague Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) as well as the arguably prime facie unconstitutional Patriot Act. Using their media savvy sharpened by the Gulf War, little if any media mention was made of the pure irrationality of attacking Iraq was mentioned during the lead up to that action and once again the television was ablaze with video game warfare images. However, that silence about the cost and irrationality of this invasion had to deal with a change in technology analogous to what transpired in Vietnam with television: the Internet. Although it had technically been around for a while, the World Wide Web hadn’t reached maturity until roughly the same time the war in Iraq started. Due to the very nature of the medium, government found it difficult to control the message and enforce silence, but also due to the massively increased number of media outlets, the impact of negative reporting of the true costs of invading Iraq were somewhat diluted compared to the impact of television on Vietnam. Combined with the lack of impact created by a conscription military, a situation ensued where dissent against the invasion slowly built though the alternative information channels the World Wide Web provided, but instead of ending the war in 13 years (1962-1975) in Vietnam, the pressure to end the invasion of Iraq took 8 years (2003-2011)  to “officially” end – seemingly an improvement.  But is it?  We still have troop presence there so anyone paying attention knows that it is not over. A lesson learned in Vietnam is the euphemistic language of calling a war something other than what it really is, like “police action”, “liberation”, and “nation building”.

This is not to mention that we are still in Afghanistan, a country well known to military history buffs both professional and amateur to be a place practically impossible to occupy due to both terrain and a fractured culture in part created by that terrain. So here we are, still involved in two wars, one an invasion of questionable legality and unquestionably bad tactics (unless you’re in the oil business) and the other an attempt at occupation against a legitimate target but a target that historically has been shown highly resistant to occupation strategies. Unlike Vietnam though, the propaganda masters in government rapidly adapted to the World Wide Web. If you look only at MSM Web sources for news, you might be minimally aware of some sanitized facts of what is going on in Iraq and Afghanistan. If you only watch television, you might be hard pressed to even realize there are two wars going on at all. In either case, you can hear the media’s politically driven drumbeat starting already for war with Iran.

The propaganda masters have learned their lessons and put them into application. Where they could not directly silence, they sowed confusion. Where they could not sow confusion, they manufactured false support with tactics like hiring propaganda trolls and astroturfing. Where they could not manufacture support, they outright lied. And when their lies where exposed by whistle blowers like Bradley Manning and Wikileaks, they resorted to that old standby of fascists and totalitarian regimes to enforce silence about their misdeeds and malfeasance in representing the best interests of the general citizenry: threats and intimidation.

In being or seeking to become a critical thinker and a responsible citizen in the age of modern media and propaganda techniques, silence as an absence of information is your enemy. It can be overcome by diligent research, practiced evaluation, supporting whistle blowers who bring the public evidence of institutional and personal wrong doings by government, industry and its members and to practice through and proper analysis (in context) of as many sources of information as your mind can handle. But is it enough to overcome the silence of information to make your decisions about such matters? As George Orwell so famously noted, “Speaking the truth in times of universal deceit is a revolutionary act.” Is it enough to find the truth behind the silence? Or is it your civic duty to speak truth to power?

I think the answer is quite clear if you are following the sage advice of Marcus Aurelius and “seek the truth, by which no one was ever truly harmed.”

What do you think?


Source(s): E!, The Daily Beast, Times Live, Huffington Post (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6), Politico, New York Times, League of Women Voters, CNN (1, 2), Slate, Vanity Fair, The Raw Story

~submitted by Gene Howington, Guest Blogger

The Propaganda Series;

Propaganda 105: How to Spot a Liar

Propaganda 104 Supplemental: The Streisand Effect and the Political Question

Propaganda 104: Magica Verba Est Scientia Et Ars Es

Propaganda 103: The Word Changes, The Word Remains The Same

Propaganda 102 Supplemental: Holly Would “Zero Dark Thirty”

Propaganda 102: Holly Would and the Power of Images

Propaganda 101 Supplemental: Child’s Play

Propaganda 101 Supplemental: Build It And They Will Come (Around)

Propaganda 101: What You Need to Know and Why or . . .

Related articles of interest;

Mythology and the New Feudalism by Mike Spindell

How about Some Government Propaganda for the People Paid for by the People Being Propagandized? by Elaine Magliaro


537 thoughts on “Propaganda 104 Supplemental: The Sound of Silence”

  1. Tony,

    The question becomes what are you protecting? If you are merely ensuring survival against physical threat then government with a primate function of protection is nothing more than a protection racket. You are not ideally just protecting physicality, but a way of life created by a civilization – a way of life that is in many ways defined by the collective work of that society. The collective goals of that society are those items which you would relegate to secondary importance. Our Constitution (in the areas already stated) along with the spirit of the DOI state what kind of civilization our Founders sought to create and many of us seek to proliferate and recreate every day in the faces of those who would tear it down for the satisfaction of their personal greed or some other agenda, but a society that is defined by “defense” instead of “living” is a society warped and twisted by fear and no longer driven by an aspiration to do better and to be more. If you want to think protection is the primate function? That is your opinion and you’re entitled to it, but I say that you miss the best part of what our Founders tried to create if you want to relegate the rest of the social compact of our country to secondary status. It’s not just enough to fight to protect the food and the women. That’s what bands of animals do. You must be fighting for something more. Ad astra per aspera. Through hardship to the stars. That more is (or was supposed to be by our Founders vision) a civilization that uplifts all who participate in it. E pluribus unum. From many, one.

    This is what we are losing.

    What we are getting in return is a state of perpetual warfare where our military spending outstrips the next global competitor five to one, the needs of the many are sold to the greed of the Koch Brothers and their fascist ilk, and the general welfare of our citizens rightfully due to all is the cost of co-opting the Constitutional duties of a corrupted government that no longer considers what is good for their constituents over what is good for their personal pocketbooks, services their maladaptive egos and serves the agendas of oligarchs.

    It’s not enough to protect. You must protect something worth protecting. The aspirations of our Founders for (as mespo has called it in the past) something bigger, brighter and better is worth fighting for. What we have now? A slow descent into stratified oligarchy where the Kings and Queens of a New Guilded Age party on behind their walled encampments while the rest of civilizations burns is not only not what our Founders envisioned and enshrined in the Constitution and DOI, but I say that is the very thing they sought to fight against as defined by what they choose as their “secondary considerations”.

  2. @Slart: Our opinions differ, perhaps because I am far more incensed by Obama’s wholesale destruction of civil liberties and Constitutional rights, and I know others that (like me) voted for him that will not vote for him again, no matter what the consequences in the election. I won’t vote for Romney either, but even if he wins I won’t regret my decision; because I would rather Democrats have somebody to oppose (Romney) than continue strengthening the Imperial Presidency agenda.

    Because I know I am not alone in my opinion, I think Romney had a chance if he had run as a moderate Republican. I think 40% of the voters vote Republican no matter what, I think there are apathetic and former Obama supporters (I do not know about your university, but at mine enthusiasm for Obama among the students is nowhere NEAR what it was in 2008), and as a moderate I thought Romney might swing enough of the Independents to win, 50.5 to 49.5.

    I do not believe that anymore, so we may never know.

    The football analogy is pretty much lost on me. The only sports I watch are Olympic sports, every two years, and the occasional clip of an unbelievable catch or individual act. I have never had any team spirit or identification, apparently. I was a stickball, baseball kid. I have actually played football exactly three times. My nephew-brother is crazy about all sports, though, I imagine he can quote the free throw percentage of every quarterback in the league. 😉

  3. @Blouise: I should also state, for my “philosophy of government,” that I do not think government should conscript anybody for routine jobs (I am conflicted on conscription for the military, however). I think the government should pay market rates for the majority of jobs; just as we actually do in the USA. The wage should be high enough to fill the slots with qualified individuals, be they janitors or surgeons, and no higher.

    I am much less comfortable with the volunteer military, however (even though I volunteered). If people are going to risk their lives in battle, I think all strata of society should be equally at risk; rich or poor. Statistically the volunteer military over-represents the poorest segments of society, and I think the lack of risk for the rich and influential bias us toward war. I do not wish the loss of a son on anyone; I have lost two cousins to war. But whatever deaths there are in war should be proportionately distributed, chicken hawks squawk for war too quickly when all the funerals are going to be outside their gated community.

    1. Tony….

      You said something here that caught my eye….

      About the volunteer army… I TOTALLY agree….

      what you may NOT have thought about as far as a Conscripted Army… is that in the case such as Switzerland….
      Because they have a conscripted army…. they have FAR less violence over all, tho, they have as many if not more guns…. Of course Economic equality may have something to do with that as well….
      BUT, you can’t discount, that if EVERYBODY is equal in a Conscripted Army… meaning EVERYBODY is required…. then there tends to be a feel of MORE community…..
      People feel like they are all in this together…..

      Sorry…. I’m really ill… so I may not have written this very well…
      I hope you are able to get the jest of what I am trying to convey….

  4. Blouise said: “(anybody who needs a cite should seriously consider moving to a different country)”

    I couldn’t agree more.


    Hope you’ve got everything battened down… good luck!

    Swarthmore mom,

    Great article—I plan on using it as reference material for an essay I’m writing on why I’m voting for President Obama (I have an aunt who has been trying to convince me that I shouldn’t be voting for Obama—I believe that she has invited me to question her choice as well… ain’t I a stinker?).

    Tony C,

    I share your goals (at least for the most part) and I respect your ideas, but I feel your analysis generally leaves a lot to be desired. Someone, I forget who, when asked what the most difficult thing in sport (i.e hit a fastball, get a hole-in-one, etc.), answered that the hardest thing was going into the locker room at halftime and convincing the team to abandon the strategy that got them to the Super Bowl because it wasn’t working.

    The Romney campaign, faced with whatever is hiding in his income tax records, did just that—decided that appealing to independents couldn’t work and changed to a strategy of firing up their base, spamming the airwaves in battleground states using their monetary advantage, and suppressing voter turnout (preferably in demographic groups which skew Democratic). Whether or not this strategy is ultimately successful or not (and I believe it has a non-trivial chance of working—as opposed to the conventional plan that you suggest, which would, in my opinion, fit the “doing the same thing and expecting different results” definition of insanity) is beside the point. They made their decision (in my opinion the selection of Paul Ryan as running mate was the point at which they went “all-in” on this strategy) and the only reasonable thing to do now is to honor their choice and hope it works. Your advice, to continue the Super Bowl analogy, is like suggesting that, after changing tactics at the half and getting to within 5 points, with the ball to the 40 yard line and 0:01 on the clock, the quarterback should check down out of the “Hail Mary” and run the ball up the middle…


    I haven’t forgotten your email—I just got swamped. In the meantime, consider this: what do you think it means that you cannot refute any of the logical arguments that Gene makes regarding your philosophical position?

  5. @Blouise: With prostitution, my main concern is coercion, including the financial coercion of not having any alternative form of income. (that and legal adulthood, I should hasten to add.)

    I do not think prostitution is the type of work the government should be allowed to require, however. If a person refuses to engage in prostitution, I think the government should provide the minimum of food, shelter, and health care anyway.

    I do not think it is the role of government to decide who men or women may have sex with, or for what reason they do it, monetary or otherwise, as long as it really is their unforced choice.

    When I consider people meeting in a bar and leaving together to have sex, I think that is an unforced free choice. I fail to see how that does any more harm to anybody if an exchange of money is involved or not.

    What IS in the government’s wheelhouse is Rape, Slavery, Blackmail, Sexual Harassment, Threats, Assault, Battery, or in general Coerced sex. IMO voluntary sex is not in their wheelhouse.

    So I think that if a sex act is legal for a person to choose without pay, it should be legal for them to choose it for pay.

    That is not an absolute standard with me, for example I would not apply that standard to organ donation for pay. But I think sex is different than that, and can be voluntarily engaged in without affection by both genders, like a massage.

    I do not address the psychology of what it means to people to have prostituted themselves; because I do not think it is the government’s business to manage our psychological states for us, or to prevent us from doing things we might regret (or might not, if many prostitutes and porn stars are truthful about their lack of regret.)

    One role for government in prostitution, I think, might be in requiring periodic health inspections for STDs. Just like when citizens eat at a restaurant, I think they have a right to expect some minimum standards for disease control are being met.

    The hard part, I admit, is in distinguishing between prostitution out of existential desperation and prostitution as a free career choice made for high pay, low effort, and the freedom to pursue unpaid interests (like school or art). I think the solution to that is to do our best to eliminate existential desperation as a motivation for anything.

  6. Malisha,

    They were also a bunch of guys deeply in debt to British bankers … well not Washington so much but he had a lot of “western” land he was worried about losing. 😉

  7. I would have opted for “life, safety, security, and liberty” rather than “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness,” but then again, it was written by aristocrats who had plenty of help.

  8. Tony C.,

    I believe I am reaching a fairly good understanding of your, for want of a better word, philosophy of government.

    Towards that end, could you address prostitution, not from any religiously moral standpoint, but from an acknowledgement of the practice within all societies and the government’s role, if any.

  9. @Blouise: I think “the pursuit of happiness” is the freedom to do what you want to make yourself happy, including our rights like speech and association. I think government has two roles in this regard, one of which is its primary role: protecting your freedom of choice in such actions, or more specifically balancing your freedom of choice against the harm it might cause to others.

    So that leads us back to protection; the government (or at least my ideal of it) cannot tolerate others restricting your choices unless your choices are, in a fair analysis, likely to cause harm to others.

    Thus, drunk driving is not a valid “pursuit of happiness” because a fair analysis and experience suggests a likelihood of harm to others. On the other hand, “gay marriage” IS a valid pursuit of happiness because there is no fair analysis or data that suggests it can do any more harm to others than roommates living together. (And we do not define negative emotional states like outrage or disgust as ‘harm’.)

    So PART of “the pursuit of happiness” translates into the government simply protecting your right to choose a path for yourself, and that also means refraining from laws that unnecessarily restrict your path, or tax paths to which they are morally opposed. I do not believe, for example, in taxing cigarettes or alcohol to reduce smoking or drinking. I do not smoke or drink, I know the taxes are effective, but I do not believe in the philosophy of a nanny state, and I also believe such taxes oppress the poor more than the rich, and I disagree with any law that lets the wealthy buy immunity.

    Although I consider it a secondary role of government, I believe the second role of government, after protective services, is communal services. There are many things that everybody needs, like roads, health care, insurances, education, clean water, energy, elderly care, etc, and I am generally in favor of getting those done for everybody without any profit margin or anybody getting rich from it; and I think the government is really the only entity that can truly do that.

    So I believe that with such communal efforts, the government can help people pursue happiness by reducing the costs of that pursuit to the minimum. No profit margin for investors, no giant salaries, no outlandish perks, nobody gets rich. Just the cost of operations. But that minimization of costs really means the maximum “happiness” return for the true investors; the citizens.

  10. Sorry … hit post before I was finished

    Happiness … it’s right there with Safety in the Declaration. The security of Happiness means something more than just the security of Safety.

  11. literary license in changing dinkin to dickin … dickin works better with tickin

    Slarti understands … 😉

  12. … now, what gets Romney’s dickin tickin?

    Greed. (code word this rime around … the debt)

    That’s why the conservatives like him. And make no mistake, conservatives always liked him … all those other losers running in the primaries were just for show as the Republicans tried to imitate the build up and suspense that the Democrats had accomplished in 2007-08. Romney had the nomination wrapped up 2 years ago because he is Mr. Greed and conservatives love money.

    Republican platform has always been, at least since Reagan switched from the Democratic Party to become a Republican …

    Sex in the closet

    Greed center stage

    Bigotry lighting

  13. @Gene: …but it is not alone or first in importance.

    It is not alone, but it is first in importance. Without military defense or the enforcement of law and protection of rights, I think the “rest of it” is meaningless. (roads, education, clean water, sanitation, etc.)

    I think protection is not the only thing government can do, but is a prerequisite to all of the collective cooperative benefits a government can provide. (And government is not the only route to collective cooperation, there is also voluntary charity, trade, and friendship).

    A man alone can (and has) done without roads, or public education, or collective sanitation or water supply. A healthy man alone can dig a sanitation pit, tap a stream, grow his own food and livestock. He cannot defend himself for long from an invading army or gang of thugs.

  14. “I think McCain, the proven philanderer and cheater, was thinkin’ with his dinkin.” (Tony C.)

    Aha … I never looked at it from that viewpoint but hot da*n, you’re right!!!

  15. @Blouise: The very first time I saw Sarah Palin speak on TV, I told my wife McCain just lost the election.

    As I have from the first weeks of Palin, I still maintain that Palin was in politics purely as a financial opportunist, her record in Alaskan politics supports that conclusion as well, her quick retirement as Governor to pursue FOX largess supports that. She was given a free national stage and played the rubes for all she could get.

    I think McCain, the proven philanderer and cheater, was thinkin’ with his dinkin.

  16. Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. ” (anybody who needs a cite should seriously consider moving to a different country)

    Safety AND Happiness

  17. “I do not get what is motivating Romney to make moves that, he has to know, are ensuring a victory for Obama.

    (I am not rooting for either side, just watching the match.)” Tony C

    Perhaps his job is to take down the Republican Party … or at least that arm of the party that keeps dragging them down so that they can reemerge as the “New Nixon” once again in 2014-16. He’s already proven that if he’s paid enough, he’ll do anything.

    As to Palin … she fooled ’em all … used them to her own advantage and then moved on. It was one of the best political con jobs ever done. The party of the grand con got conned by the simple, little girl from Alaska.

    Or perhaps Malisha is right … we have to look behind the sounds of silence because something truly evil is being enacted. Evil (I’m not speaking in a religious sense here, rather I am addressing the base capabilities of man) loves the dark.

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